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Early Learner Brookings Overview:

MISSION: To address the child care challenges in Brookings County through cooperative work, explore innovative ways to improve the current needs, exchange ideas with business and community leaders, employees and organizations to improve child care in both the short and long term.  The collaborative efforts are based on community-led change. Through listening and learning, educating and engaging, these efforts support our community, ultimately leading to a strong workforce and economy.

Brookings had chosen to follow the National League of Cities Early Learning Community Action Guide for our early learning work. This guide provides researched guidance on how to build a community that supports early learning in all facets of the community.


The Leadership Team:

Early Learning is an important part of the Brookings County economic ecosystem as it prepares children for success in school and as they enter the future workforce. Knowing this initiative is fundamental to a strong economy, enhancing and expanding the presence of quality care is a high priority for Brookings Economic Development Corporation (BEDC) and their partners. The early learner initiative is supported by BEDC’s Child Care Task Force, a group of local individuals with knowledge, expertise, and backgrounds in this sector. This group is very passionate about creating positive change through community-wide conversations.


In 2020, BEDC conducted a child care survey to assess the needs of Brookings parents. When individuals were asked how they would improve their current care situation, 52% implied they would like to see more educational/ learning opportunities offered to their children. By partnering with ELSD, BEDC is showing its commitment to improving the access and quality of early learning experiences and environments. The task force hopes the focus on early learning will provide the following outcomes for the Brookings region:

  • Increase the accessibility to affordable, high quality learning environments for parents.

  • Create awareness around the importance of early learning and its impact on the community and its residents.

  • Provide children the tools needed to achieve success as future members of the workforce.


Our Successes Thus Far:


  • Conduct community survey assessing child care needs. Compile data and develop a comprehensive report.

  • Recruit members to participate in the Child Care Task Force. Engage stakeholders with a variety of backgrounds and experience in child care, early learning, etc.

  • Focus Group sessions with local in-home providers and child care centers.

  • Engage community leaders in an advocacy/awareness presentation.

  • Create Born Learning Trails in two local parks.

In Progress

  • Launch of Brookings Area Early Learner/ Child Care Connections Facebook group

  • Compilation and creation of a local child care/early leaner directory

  • Host “No Small Matter” documentary event to stakeholders

  • Collaborate with other partners such as Brookings Area United Way for activities such as Born Learning Trails and pop-up events.

Not Yet Completed

  • Develop early learner toolkits to be distributed to businesses, community members, etc. with local resources.

  • Utilize marketing materials from ELSD including post-cards and window decals.

  • Develop a short video series with guest speakers to talk about the impact of early learning, share tips, resources, etc.

  • Op-Ed Promotion in local media outlets

  • Increase awareness and conversations around child care in our community through various marketing campaigns.

Bring this to your community!

Want your community to become an Early Learner Community?

Have questions?

We would love to speak to you more about why Early Learning is vital.

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