A photo of students


The first 10 years of a child’s life are a critical developmental period that impacts all that follows. During these years, opportunity and achievement gaps begin early for the millions of U.S. children who live in families with low or below poverty-level incomes. Research shows that investing in early childhood education (ECE) and comprehensive servcies for these children has long-term benefits. Yet the disjointed patchwork of education, health, and social services programs in the United States leaves far too many children vulnerable and at risk.

Nationwide, EDC’s First 10 initiative supports community partnerships in creating pathways out of poverty for young children and their families. First 10 brings together elementary schools, early childhood programs, community organizations, and health and social services agencies to dramatically improve the well-being, school readiness, and school success of children.

Key Activities

First 10 provides community partnerships with the guidance and continuous improvement tools they need to ensure all children thrive. Current activities include:

  • Partner with communities to design plans to apply and sustain the four First 10 strategies:
    • Support professional collaboration to improve teaching and learning
    • Coordinate comprehensive services for children and families
    • Promote culturally responsive partnerships with families
    • Provide strategic leadership and ongoing assessment
  • Support a network of First 10 sites to facilitate peer learning
  • Study and raise awareness of innovative communities’ successes using the First 10 approach
  • Develop and share practical guidance on how to use the First 10 approach


Learn More

AL Dept of ECE, Claude Moore Charitable Fdn, Greater Worcester Community Fdn, Heising-Simons Fdn, Lancaster County CAP, ME Dept of Ed, MI Dept of Ed, PA Early Learning Resource Ctrs 9 & 10, RI Dept of Ed, W.K. Kellogg Fdn, York PA School District