Accreditation as an Early Learning Community was among the top priorities listed in a 2023 report on the state of the childcare crisis in Sioux Falls. Now, community members are being asked to commit their time and energy to reaching this elite designation on the road to real solutions.

An introductory meeting of the Sioux Falls Early Learning Community Accreditation Team will begin at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 6, in Meeting Room B of the Downtown Library.

This hour-long session is open to the public and will include time for questions. Doors open at 5 p.m. to allow for pre-meeting networking.

The Sioux Falls Childcare Collaborative has been working over the past several years to identify and advocate for solutions to the local childcare crisis. Their Community Childcare Initiative Report provided more than 30 potential solutions that community, state, and local businesses could enact to effect change.

Early Learning Community (ELC) accreditation showcases a community’s commitment to ensuring young children and their families thrive by establishing places and policies that promote early learning and child development. The criteria are based on recommendations from the National League of Cities and the South Dakota Association for the Education of Young Children.

Community Stakeholders Lead Accreditation Effort

ELC accreditation involves establishing a group of stakeholders from a variety of organizations who will meet regularly over the course of the next six to 12 months to review and complete the ELC Assessment Tool. This process will identify current community resources and establish key action items for the ELC accreditation.

Members of the accreditation team must represent a diverse cross section of community organizations and businesses from outside the childcare industry. While the meeting is in person, a virtual option will be available, and the meeting will be recorded.

Doors will open at 5 p.m. Feb. 6 for networking and socializing. There is no cost to attend. This activity is supported by the Sioux Falls Childcare Collaborative and Sioux Falls Thrive.

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