Pathways to Early School Success

Pathways to Early School Success: Building Local Capacity project (also known as Pathways) was designed to help community-based early childhood coalitions support young children and their families, so that children get off to a strong start in school that will help them succeed in the early grades and beyond. To accomplish this, Pathways worked with early childhood coalitions on community outreach, a needs assessment, and evidence-based strategic planning. We focused on strategic planning in the areas of health and mental health, early childhood care and education, and family support. After conducting a pilot study in Virginia, we implemented the Pathways approach in communities in New York, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Colorado, California, and Oregon. We have also worked in a New Hampshire community and supported a statewide effort working with a number of communities across Illinois.

Although the initial phase of NCCP’s Pathways work has been completed, the tools developed to support community strategic planning and capacity-building are now available for download. For additional information, please contact

  1. Healthy, Well-timed Births including high-quality prenatal care, family planning, and programs aimed at reducing teenage parenthood.
  2. Health and Development on Track including high-quality child health care, early detection of developmental delays, and the prevention of child abuse and neglect.
  3. Supported and Supportive Families including programs that increase parenting capacity and literacy skills, treatment and follow-up for parents with substance abuse, mental health, or domestic violence, helping families build financial stability, and safe and stable neighborhoods.
  4. High Quality Child Care and Early Education including high-quality early education and child care programs, linking early learning programs to child care to health/mental health, substance abuse, and developmental services.
  5. Continuity in Early Childhood Experiences including curricula and expectations for early childhood learning aligned with K–12 learning expectations, providers of early education, health/mental health, social services, and K–12 schools connected with each other and families.
  6. Effective Teaching and Learning in K–3 Classrooms including conditions that produce and maintain effective teaching and learning (for example, professional development for teachers) and trusting relationships exist within schools and between communities.

Pathways includes a set of tools that coalitions use to conduct community needs assessments, develop evidence-based strategic plans, and implement strategies to support vulnerable children and their families. The project also provides guidance for coalitions to monitor their progress in achieving strategic planning goals.  The Pathways tools include: Early Chldhood Coalition Monitoring and Assessment of Progress (ECC MAP) tool, Program and Services Mapping tool, Demographic and Community Data tool, and the Strategic Planning Tool.

Get Involved

We have implemented Pathways in diverse communities in California, Colorado, Kansas, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, and Virginia.

If your community coalition is interested in participating in Pathways project, Contact Pathways.