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Early Learner Huron Overview:

The Huron community has always been a strong supporter of early learning opportunities, so when the Early Learner SD initiative was formed, it seemed a perfect designation for our city to adopt.  With support from Mayor Harrington, we are creating awareness and communication among our stakeholders, bringing all interested entities together to form a communication coalition.   As we move forward, we will review the guidelines from UW of the Black Hills and National League of Cities.



In 2008 The Preschool Partnership Program was formed by the Huron School District, Huron Head Start, United Way and every preschool provider in our community.  This group came together to provide at least one year of quality early learning for children in our region.  (Note: We currently have 8 Early Learning Programs in Huron and can accommodate over 400 children in these programs). To date over 500 children have had preschool opportunities.  Tuition assistance is provided by the United Way Heartland Region, The Student United Way-Huron Youth Leadership, The Huron Community Foundation and private donors.   The Preschool Partnership Program has been the foundation of our Early Learner SD-Huron coalition.

The Leadership Team:

In January, 2021 a group of like-minded individuals gathered to discuss the Early Learner SD initiative and to identify key stakeholders.   Representatives from the Huron Public Library, United Way Heartland Region, Huron Public Schools, a retired legislator and a preschool/daycare provider met to review the programs already in place in our community and to expand our stakeholder group. 


Jen Bragg, Executive Director of United Way said, “At United Way Heartland Region, we are proud to be part of the team establishing Huron as an Early Learner Community. Working together to enhance early learning in our community makes us stronger as a whole, and continues our mission at the United Way of improving lives in our region. Working to improve the lives of the youngest in our communities today makes for stronger leaders tomorrow and helps to make a better community for years to come.”


Our leadership team identified many individuals and organizations directly involved with early learning.  After compiling the list, we sent a brief survey inviting those identified to join our Early Learner Huron Partnership.  We asked to what degree they wish to be involved, to identify precisely their program or interest in early learning and to share the survey with others. 



  • People’s Transit, our community transit program providing discounted rides to children unable to get to and from preschool as well as transportation from our 21st Century After School Program. 

  • The WINGS Foundation and other generous donors providing the funding for the Children’s Transportation Fund.  

  • The Huron Public Library providing year-round early literacy opportunities for children from birth to age 5 as well as school age students. 

  • The City of Huron Parks and Recreation Department providing year-round programs for children and a summer day camp with age-appropriate opportunities. 

  • The Huron Public School serving as the fiduciary agent for the Preschool Partnership Program as well as the Buchanan K-1 Center and the Madison 2-3 Center.

  • In addition, several at home day care providers, Greater Huron Development Corporation, Cornerstones Career Learning Center, Beadle County Humane Society, The Salvation Army, Believe Fest School Supply Distribution, Safety City, School Counselors and Social Workers, Community Counseling Services, True-Reflections Children’s Counseling Services and the Community Health Nurse-SD Dept. of Health and USD Dept. of Education students. 

To date we have 54 organizations/individuals become involved in our Early Learner Community partnership.  Among those joining the original Preschool Partnership Program to form the Early Learner Huron coalition are:

Our Successes Thus Far:


  • Continued communication via email regarding programs and training available

  • Invited Early Learner Huron group to participate in quarterly community information meetings hosted by UW, Dept. of Labor, Cornerstones & Vocational Rehab

  • Established Preschool Partnership Program

  • Provide an early literacy program via the Huron Public Library

  • Summer recreation and camps provided by Huron Park & Rec

  • Safety City program for 4 and 5 year old children

  • School supply distribution (BelieveFest)

  • Support from Mayor and City of Huron

  • Conduct quarterly meetings within the Preschool Partnership Program

  • Early Learner member survey sent via email

  • Adopted current mission of Early Learner SD as our Early Learner Huron mission

  • Title of stakeholder group to be Early Learner Huron and submitted Early Learner Huron information to website

  • Born Learning Trail installed in Winter Park

  • Modified Born Learning Trails installed at every elementary school

  • Distribution of Waterford Upstart Project

  • Distribution of Statewide Family Engagement Center Transition to Kindergarten Readiness Cards (English, Spanish, Karen) at Kindergarten Roundup

  • Distribution of Porter the Hoarder books to area 1st graders through partnership with Statewide Family Engagement Center (2019 & 2020)

  • Distribution of ‘We are an Early Learner Location’ window clings

  • Distribution of Early Learner information cards and book marks

  • Work with the Statewide Family Engagement Center to encourage family engagement as families are the first and foremost educators of their children

In Progress:

  • Create a community resource list and update information with 211 HelpLine Center

  • Organize a more structured organization to communicate, educate and advocate on behalf of Early Learner Huron

  • Increase community awareness of the impact quality child care has on workforce development

Not Yet Completed

  • Formally connect with legislative and government officials in order to communicate the relevance and importance of early learning and advocate for programs to make early learning activities and programs accessible to all families

  • Promote ‘No Small Matter’ information

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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