Guiding Principles

Bright Beginnings Guiding Principles – Early Childhood

Bright Beginnings uses a collective impact approach to support, develop, and initiate early childhood strategies and activities that embrace the following principles based on current research. Projects will embrace best and emerging practices within the context of community wisdom. Bright Beginnings, including the Collaborative Action Teams and Policy Advocacy Network, is guided by the following shared understandings when working:

Principle Current Research Findings Project Approaches
Children are born capable, ready, and eager to learn. From birth a healthy child is an active participant in their growth, actively providing opportunities for them to construct ideas, and theories about how things work. Projects will support children as active participants in their growth.
The first years of a child’s life are a period of extraordinary growth. Children’s brain development in the first five years of their life significantly influences their ability to learn over their lifetime. Projects will focus on working with young children and their families at an early age.
Experiences and relationships matter.  Learning happens in a social context. The quality of relationships that children experience will impact how a child develops and what they learn. Projects will support quality relationships between children and the adults who care for them, as well as with their peers.


Emotional and cognitive developments are interrelated. How children feel affects how they learn. The development of intelligence, language, emotions, and social skills is highly interrelated. How children feel can affect how they learn. Projects will enhance and support emotional and social development as the foundation for the development of cognitive skills.
Parents and caregivers are the child’s “first teachers.” Building on caregiver skills and strengths enhances their capacity to create opportunities for learning. Projects will build on caregiver skills and strengths.
Early language and literacy (reading and writing) development begin at the start of life. Exposing children to activities that are integrated across different, but interconnected literacy activities best accomplish strong literacy skills in later years. Projects supporting early literacy and language will engage children in all forms of communication: listening, speaking, singing, reading, drawing, and writing, in the context of strong relationships.
Quality early care is critical to early learning and school readiness and success. High quality early care has a long lasting effect on children’s capacity to learn and long-term academic achievement. Projects will support opportunities for high quality early care and learning.
Early intervention with children with special needs better supports them in building their abilities. Early intervention with children can serve as a cushion against the multiple adverse influences that may hinder their development progress. Projects will support early interventions for children with developmental concerns and/or adverse influences.
Safe and interesting places to explore and play build children’s curiosity, learning, and physical development. Children strive to make sense of the world they live in. An environment can maximize a child’s intellectual potential and provide a foundation for the development of emotional security. Projects will support opportunities for play and exploration for our youngest children.