Your VOICE Matters. Consider these steps you can take to become an advocate or add to your current efforts.

Why should you be an advocate for children and families?

Because

  • Your experience and those of families make the issues real to legislators.
  • You are the most qualified expert because you work with children every day.
  • You are the constituent.
  • If you don’t speak out, provide your expertise, or participate in the process who will do it for you?
  • What information do you want a decision-maker to consider when an issue affects you?
  • Children cannot advocate for themselves, but YOU can for them!

Six Easy Steps:  Advocacy for Everyone

  1. Register to vote! Stop in at a legislator’s office or visit your county election office. Look here for locations of your county office.
  2. Find out who your legislators are and decide which one or ones you will contact. Developing a relationship with your legislator or their staff is important.
  1. Decide what types of contacts you will make and how often, and make a commitment to do it.
  • Write a letter or send an email
  • Make a phone call
  • Set up an appointment to visit
  • Make notes before you call or visit so that you make concise points.
  • Jot down in your calendar the dates on which you have decided to take action.
  • For tips on writing, calling, or visiting legislators, visit Talk to Your Legislators
  1. Inform yourself.
  • Learn about the state and federal issues that are being considered.
  • Take a look at our state and federal advocacy pages and take action now page to see what PennAEYC is doing.
  • Sign up for the Children’s Champions email list
  • Build your advocacy skills and knowledge with NAEYC tools
  • Join PennAEYC’s Public Policy Committee, contact Jen DeBell
  • Join an advocacy group that sends public action alerts.
  • Visit the Pennsylvania General Assembly website.
  1. Make a list of key points.
  • In your contacts, tell your legislator that you are a registered voter.
  • Tell your legislator what is important to you:  your general concerns and desires regarding young children and/or your opinions on specific issues and legislation.
  1. Make the contacts that you’ve committed to.
  • If you can, get at least one other person to do these six simple steps.
  • Keep up your relationship and be sure to thank your official when they support a positive early care and education measure!

Adopt A Legislator
Our state legislators need to hear from everyone who cares about our youngest learners. That means parents, family members, teachers, community members, business and civic leaders—and they need to hear from us over and over again! The Pre-K for PA Campaign urges you to implement the Adopt A Legislator program at your facility. These instructions will help you begin the process, which also includes sending your legislator an introduction letter and adoption certificate.

Then, all you have to do is use your creativity to expand on these themes and invite others to do the same. Once you have a project complete, bring it to your local legislator’s office, mail it to them or email them photos. Contact information for your legislators can be found here. Stay in touch with your legislator frequently and be sure to invite them to all the activities you are holding at your site.

ACT & BE SEEN!
Early education programs throughout the state are encouraged to be visible and make some noise year round. Make sure legislators know we are engaged advocates:

  • Have kids do artwork and take a walk to your state legislator’s office to deliver it;
  • Ask your legislators to come visit your program and meet the children and learn about early care and education in person.

Just find something that fits easily with your regular routines, includes the children, is fun, and gets you visible to the public.  Our goal is for photos of ECE programs to be EVERYWHERE.

  • Post your photos on social media tag them with #iamprek & #makeitcount. Caption photos: “Don’t leave our kids out”.  If you have your legislator’s Facebook page, post there as well.
  • If you have an easily accessible local media outlet (TV station, weekly newspaper, etc.) let them know in advance or email them photos.

This is your opportunity to be creative and take initiative, and to put our youngest children in the public’s eye!