Early Learning

The first goal of the Families and Education Levy is for all of Seattle's children to enter kindergarten prepared to succeed. Research tells us that for many children the achievement gap is already present when they enter preschool. To combat this, we fund, or help fund, the following programs:

  • Seattle Preschool Program – In 2013, the City of Seattle set the goal of developing a plan to create a Preschool for All program, making voluntary, high-quality preschool available and affordable to 3- and 4-year-old Seattle children
  • Step Ahead – A program of high-quality preschool sites located in or near elementary schools and run by community-based organizations and schools
  • Parent-Child Home Program – A literacy and school readiness program that provides home visits to 2- and 3-year-olds to help prepare them for school
  • Early Learning Academy – Culturally relevant training based on the HighScope curriculum for Seattle birth through 3rd grade educators, and Family, Friend, and Neighbor (FFN) child care providers
  • Seattle Early Education Collaborative – A network of early learning providers and educators working together to help increase the number of children entering kindergarten prepared to succeed

In 2013, we contracted with BERK & Associates to prepare an Early Learning Mapping Report.  Read the Executive Summary or the full report, Early Learning Mapping.

Managing Early Learning Investments

Strategies to Help Children Enter Kindergarten School Ready

Key strategies include:

  • Funding full- and half-day high-quality preschool programs for focus children 

  • Sponsoring educational home visits to families with 2- or 3-year olds not served in preschool

  • Ensuring that children receive health and developmental screenings

  • Providing training, mentoring, and coaching for early learning educators

  • Increasing the coordination and communication among Seattle's early childhood educators providers and educators

How We Invest in Early Learning

  • We contract directly with United Way of King County to manage the home visiting program for 2- and 3-year-olds

Key Community Partners

Measures of Success

Our Levy-funded partners select one or more of these goals to track and measure their children's progress. We monitor the data on an ongoing basis in order to recommend program changes as needed. Continued funding to the partners depends on the children making acceptable progress toward the identified goals.


  1. Children meeting age-level expectations on the Washington Kindergarten Inventory of Developing Skills (WaKIDS)
  2. Third graders meeting Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) reading standard

Indicators used to track results

  • English Language Learners make gains on state English proficiency tests (WELPA)

  • Students make or exceed annual typical growth rates on MAP assessments in reading

  • Students have fewer than 5 absences (excused or unexcused) per semester