Helping to Build a Better Future

As the hub of early childhood efforts in the San Luis Valley, we build community awareness and engagement; disseminate information and resources; provide professional development and coaching; create leadership opportunities; secure funding; facilitate collaborative partnerships; build community capacity; and advocate for needed change.

A Letter from ECC SLV CEO:

Hello and Welcome,

I am delighted to extend a warm welcome to all visitors of the Early Childhood Council San Luis Valley (ECC SLV) website. Thank you for taking the time to explore our refreshed platform, designed to better serve our community and provide valuable resources for families, early childhood professionals, community partners, and elected officials.

At ECC SLV, we are passionate about creating a community where every member prioritizes and invests in the well-being of our children. Our nonprofit organization is dedicated to fostering a thriving society by working collaboratively with the community to benefit each child.

The significance of early childhood cannot be overstated. Research shows that brain development begins before birth and continues into adulthood. Positive early interactions and experiences with caregivers play a crucial role in shaping a child’s brain, providing a strong foundation for positive long-term outcomes. Unfortunately, not every child has positive experiences, and severe stress due to factors such as poverty, abuse, and neglect can be detrimental to a child’s development. That’s why our work at ECC SLV focuses on building resilience through positive relationships and supportive communities.

We believe that children have the best chance for success in school and life when their families thrive in supportive communities, and they have access to comprehensive health care, early learning opportunities, and social, emotional, and mental health support.

Our overarching goal for the developing child is to establish a strong social-emotional foundation, critical to all other areas of development and essential for school readiness. To achieve this goal, ECC SLV collaborates with families and primary caregivers, the early childhood workforce and environments, local communities, and state and national partners and policymakers.

Reflecting on our history, ECC SLV originated in 2000 as a response to legislative changes in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) reform. A group of passionate community members started this initiative with $4000 in a volunteer capacity. Over the years, the organization grew, adapted, and in 2007 became a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, expanding its service area to include three additional San Luis Valley Counties.

From 2003 to 2008, ECC SLV focused on early childhood systems building and support for licensed child care programs and early childhood educators. With the introduction of the Colorado Early Childhood Framework in 2008, our work expanded to include Family Support & Education and Health & Well-Being domains. Notably, in 2010, ECC SLV secured the federal Early Head Start grant, enabling us to serve 72 children and families, and we have continued to grow since then.

As of 2023, operating on nearly $4 million annually, ECC SLV employs 27 dedicated individuals. Our commitment to supporting the local early childhood field and the systems in which we operate remains unwavering. Throughout our website, you will find a wealth of resources tailored for families, early childhood professionals, community partners, and elected officials.

If you have any questions or need further information, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Your engagement with our organization is greatly appreciated, and we look forward to making a positive impact together.

Thank you for visiting our website.

Warm regards,

Sherri Valdez, CEO
Early Childhood Council San Luis Valley