Did you know?

For every $1 invested in quality early learning, taxpayers save $7–13 in public costs, because children in high-quality early learning programs are less likely to repeat grades, require special education services, and need remediation. They are more likely to have grade-level reading skills by third grade, graduate from high school, continue with higher education, and have higher earning ability.

Evidence overwhelmingly supports early childhood education as a way to significantly benefit a child’s school readiness, the family’s ability to work, and community prosperity. We developed this toolkit to support your efforts to create a local preschool collaborative. By forming a local preschool collaborative, you can draw on local expertise to design and deliver preschool that works for the children and families in your community. A local preschool collaborative brings together important decision makers and voices—from mayors and school boards to parents, local businesses and teachers—united by the common goal of bringing high-quality preschool to their community.

While it’s intended to be comprehensive, the toolkit allows for customization based on the dynamics of your community. This toolkit will help you find inspiration and help you think through key decisions to bring or enhance local preschool options. Regardless of where your community starts, the important thing is to begin moving toward and having a plan to implement high-quality preschool options.

For more information, see the resources below, or contact Martin Balben at


Introduction, Snapshot of Early Learning in Idaho, and Toolkit Glossary

These three documents provide an overview of the content in Idaho’s preschool toolkit, who should use it, and a rationale for the importance to develop a local preschool collaborative. The toolkit glossary includes a definition of preschool and the components of a high-quality preschool program.

Section 1: Make the Case for Preschool

This section is designed to help you make the argument for why high-quality preschool should matter to your community. It outlines why preschool is important, why it’s a good investment, and how Idahoans feel about it.

Section 2: Assessment

In this section, you’ll think through what already is available in your local community, including opportunities for and potential barriers to success. This section will help you determine what your vision and goals are for local preschool.

Section 3: Engage Partners

A successful preschool collaborative brings together advocates from all areas of the community to work toward a common goal. From local government officials to nonprofit leaders, parents to teachers, this section will help you understand who should be engaged and how.

Section 4: Build a Collaborative

This section will help you engage stakeholders and guide the development of a preschool collaborative.

Section 5: Design Preschool for Your Local Community

This section will help you make critical decisions about the design of your local preschool and prioritize those decisions. This section also includes case studies from other successful Idaho preschool programs.

Section 6: How-to Guides

This section includes the how-to guides that will help you begin to build your collaborative and design your preschool program. You’ll learn about building a budget, finding funding, engaging families, building community support, and much more.

Section 7: Tools and Resources

There are several existing tools and resources that will inform the work of your collaborative and the development of preschool. From existing guidelines to curriculum and training resources, this section will help both providers and families find the support they need and learn from others who have had success in building preschool programs.



Thank you to the W.K. Kellogg Foundation for funding this project.