Join us in celebrating ten years of transformative
high-quality, state-funded pre-K in Mississippi!

About Early Learning Collaboratives

In 2013, the Legislature enacted the Early Learning Collaborative Act, which established Mississippi’s first state-funded pre-K program. Through this program, local community partnerships known as early learning collaboratives (ELCs) offer a high-quality, low- or no-cost pre-K option to families. ELCs include school districts, local Head Starts, child care centers, and/or private or parochial schools. ELCs are funded through state funds and local matching funds.

25%

4-YEAR-OLDS SERVED IN 2023

35

ELCs IN 2023 ACROSS MISSISSIPPI

$24M

INVESTED IN ELCs IN 2022

5

COHORTS OF ELCs SINCE 2013

25,693

4-YEAR-OLDS SERVED SINCE 2013

1 OF 5

STATES RANKED #1 FOR HIGH-QUALITY PRE-K

348

CLASSROOMS ACROSS THE STATE

$70.3M

STATE INVESTMENT INTO ELCs SINCE 2013

When Mississippi first passed the Early Learning Collaborative Act, we knew it would significantly impact early childhood education in Mississippi. A decade later, we have evidence to show why investing in high-quality, state-funded pre-K is the right move for making Mississippi first in education nationally.

Mississippi First’s Impact on ELCs

Mississippi First is proud to have proposed and drafted the legislation, establishing the state’s pre-K program. Annually, children in the program are twice as likely to be ready for kindergarten as the average Mississippi child. In 2022, we were able to help secure the largest investment into the program thus far—$24M!


The Early Learning Collaborative Act established Mississippi’s state pre-K program, in which early learning collaboratives, or ELCs, offer high-quality pre-K.

The Mississippi Department of Education identified the first 11 ELCs to receive state funding for pre-K.

Mississippi First released the first State of Public Pre-K in Mississippi report.

The Mississippi Legislature expanded the Early Learning Collaborative Act by appropriating an additional $1M for the program, for a total of $4M.

Mississippi First published the second edition of the State of Pre-K in Mississippi report.

The Legislature expanded the Early Learning Collaborative Act by appropriating an additional $2.5M for the program, for a total of $6.5M.

Mississippi First published the Pre-K Briefing Book for candidates running for the legislature or statewide office in fall 2019.

 Mississippi First successfully advocated to raise the per-pupil funding rate for collaboratives from $2,150 to $2,500.

The Legislature made its largest commitment to pre-K yet—$16M. Mississippi First published the third iteration of the State of Pre-K series as a set of small briefs.

The Legislature increased pre-K funding to $24M. MDE announced the current list of 35 ELCs.


Ensuring Quality:
Providers’ Prospective

The National Institute for Early Education Research ranks Mississippi’s program among the top five programs in the country for quality. Rigorous program standards have long been a focus for improving program quality. ELC providers hire teachers with specialized training in early childhood education and support them in the classroom alongside the Mississippi Department of Education which provides quality coaching, all to ensure that every student is getting the quality education that they deserve.


Early Learning Collaboratives Spotlight

In an effort to amplify each early learning collaborative (ELC) program and the communities they support, we worked with each ELC lead and the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) to gather information to highlight each program into profiles.


We Are All Butterflies: Stories of Transformation

“The Very Hungry Caterpillar story is about hope. You, like the little caterpillar, will grow up, unfold your wings, and fly off into the future.” -Eric Carle

The stories below are often found in pre-K classrooms. These titles teach children about transformation, growth, and hope. These values are the core of high-quality pre-K. Celebrate ten years of transformative pre-K by clicking the read aloud titles below.

Ten Little Caterpillars

Bill Martin Jr. and Louis Ehlert

Waiting for Wings

Louis Ehlert