Thank you for joining us at Early Learning Legislative Day!

On February 8, the capitol rotunda was filled with the sound of children building and creating with blocks. The interactive BLOCK Fest event showed legislators how quality early learning experiences develop academic, social, emotional and cognitive skills in young children.

Idaho ranks 50th nationally in the number of 3 and 4 year-olds enrolled in pre-school and one of a handful of state governments that does not provide state funding for pre-k. The research is clear, children with access to high-quality early learning programs enter school better prepared than children who do not have these opportunities. Idaho AEYC will continue to inform and educate policy makers around the importance of early learning.

A huge thank you to our partners BLOCK Fest, Idaho Voices for Children, New Horizon Academy, Giraffe Laugh, Treasure Valley YMCA, Idaho Head Start Association and Idaho Business for Education for helping us offer this important advocacy event.

Find Your Legislator Idaho AEYC Advocacy Toolkit

2016 Early Learning Legislative Day

Our 2016 Early Learning Legislative Day was a big hit at our State Capitol. Activities were geared towards advocating for state investments in high-quality early childhood education for ALL children.

Beth Oppenheimer, Executive Director The Raising of America Discussion

As many of you know, Idaho is just one of five states that does not invest in public preschool, leaving thousands of children without the opportunity to participate in affordable, high-quality programs. The majority of families throughout Idaho simply cannot afford, and do not have access to, programs that offer developmentally appropriate early learning opportunities for their children. What these families are left with are often times programs or environments that are not best for children’s healthy growth and development.

Our activities included a screening of the documentary The Raising of America. A facilitated discussion was held directly after the film which offered community members an opportunity to share their thoughts and ideas around supporting families and their children. Idaho AEYC is currently planning to host a screening of this documentary across the state over the next several months. If you are interested in hosting a screening in your area, please contact us!

BLOCK Fest® BLOCK Fest®

We also hosted BLOCK Fest® on the first floor of the Capitol. This activity was a huge success and we had many parents, children, volunteers and community members participate. Several legislators came by to learn more about play-based learning and some legislators even sat down to participate!

Dr. Noreen Womack, a pediatrician here in Boise and Priscilla Salant with the University of Idaho, McClure Center, gave presentations to the House and Senate Education Committees. Their presentations focused on brain development and also presented the “Idaho at a Glance – Early Childhood Learning” report. The information was well received by our committee members and they asked several questions.

Dr. Noreen Womack presentation Rally on the Capitol Steps

The highlight of the day was a rally on the Capitol steps! We had many, many folks come out and show their support for investments in high-quality early learning. Our Lt. Governor Brad Little kicked off the rally and was followed by a business leader, legislators and parents. We were able to give our red scarves to participants that said “Support Early Learning” and they were a big hit!

Our work is not done and we have a long way to go, but it’s going to take ALL of US to make it happen. Next year, we hope to see even more members and folks that support investments in high-quality early learning at this event!

February 9, 2016

The Raising of America Screening
Lincoln Auditorium, Idaho State Capitol @ 6pm

Join this community-wide event to raise awareness of the importance of early learning and to take action towards a better future for all children.

The Raising of America is an ambitious documentary series that seeks to reframe the way we look at early learning. It shows how a strong start can impact our children's growth, development and learning.  Watch the Trailer.

Attend The Raising of America.

Can't attend? Idaho Public Television is streaming the event LIVE on their website Febuary 9.  Watch Live!

February 10, 2016

BLOCK Fest®
Idaho State Capitol Rotunda @ 8:30-11:45am

BLOCK Fest® was developed in Idaho to provide an interactive block building experience for young children ages 8 months to 8 years and their parents. The experience has been shown to increase parent knowledge of early development in the areas of math and science education while providing opportunities to increase social skills and literacy opportunities for young children. BLOCK Fest® is active in 12 states including Idaho.


Early Learning Rally
Idaho State Capitol Steps @ 12pm

Raise your voice for Idaho’s youngest children!

Join us for an Early Learning Rally at the Capitol. Send a message to our state legislators that high-quality early learning is a priority issue and is critical to the future of our youngest children and their families.

Attend Early Learning Rally


Education Committee Presentations
House Education Committee @ 9am - Room EW41
Senate Education Committee @ 3pm - Room WW55

Pediatrician Noreen Womack and Priscilla Salant, McClure Center, will be speaking to committee members about early brain development, learning environments in Idaho and investing in early learning. Let's fill the gallery with early childhood supporters!


Meet with Your Legislator

The freedom to speak to your legislator is a right and a privilege. These meetings will be a great opportunity for you to personally connect with your legislator and share your stories about the importance of early learning. Whether you are a parent, educator or an advocate, our legislators need to hear from their constituents.