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Early Childhood Education


The Mayor is working to ensure that every young person in Nashville gets a fair start, regardless of family income, neighborhood, English language proficiency, or parents’ educational attainment. We are committed to ensuring that all 4-year-olds have access to high-quality Pre-K that lays a foundation that prepares children for success in school and life.

A high-quality start for all means being clear about what research says are high-quality environment for 4-year-olds. It also means keeping families at the core, intentionally leveraging strengths across programs, and using data to identify where additional services and changes are most needed.

Early Childhood Education Working Group

Local research has found that there is a lack of consensus of what constitutes high-quality Pre-K, that families experience barriers when navigating a disconnected and disparate system, and the city lacks the infrastructure to highlight best practices and identify opportunities for collective problem solving. In addition to these quality concerns, there is an additional need for Pre-K classrooms as the city continues to grow.

In January 2017, former Mayor Megan Barry convened an Early Childhood Education Working Group of leaders from the city’s and state’s early childhood community to work on these important issues. After months of collaboration, their work produced “High-quality Start for All,” a comprehensive five-year education roadmap for improving quality and access of Pre-K throughout Nashville. It contains a research-based definition of quality that all Nashville Pre-K programs, whether run by Metro Nashville Public Schools, Head Start, or community providers, should subscribe to, train, and evaluate against. The report also includes a set of strategies that are aligned with structural areas that are key for successful early education environments and address barriers faced by parents, children, and educators.

Read the strategy: High-quality Start for All or review a summary of the Pre-K strategy.

“The quality standards reflect what research says are essential classroom practices to improve outcomes for young children that are sustained over time. Nashville has taken a significant step by articulating not only a set of shared expectations for how we best support young children, but also the role that all of us must play moving forward to meet those expectations.” — ” Dr. Dale Farran, Vanderbilt professor, director of the Peabody Research Institute, and member of the Working Group

Early Childhood Education Working Group Members

Name Organization
Cynthia Croom Metro Action Commission
Jana Carlisle Metro Nashville Public Schools
Monique Felder Metro Nashville Public Schools
Phyllis Phillips Metro Nashville Public Schools
Shannon Hunt Nashville Public Education Foundation
Elizabeth Alves Office of Early Learning, Tennessee Department of Education
Candace Cook Office of Early Learning, Tennessee Department of Education
Laura Moore Office of the Mayor
Dale Farran Peabody Research Institute, Vanderbilt University
Tiffany Day Tennessee Department of Human Services
Lin Venable Tennessee Early Childhood Training Alliance
Erica Mitchell United Way of Metropolitan Nashville
Lisa Wiltshire Early Childhood Consultant

With support from:

Jody Lentz, Facilitator
Bloomberg Associates: Linda Gibbs, Clara Cezar de Andrade, Gail Nayowith