Smart Start Communities are committed to building public will for early childhood investment by using marketing and public engagement strategies. Here, we have highlighted just a few examples of the public awareness activities happening at the local level...


  • Economic Impact of Early Childhood Investments

    Smart Start of Washington and Nowata Counties holds their annual Childhood Leadership Forum. The community brings renowned speakers and early childhood experts to inform legislators, business and community leaders, and families of the importance of investing in programs that support young children and early learning.

  • Issues of Poverty

    Smart Start Tri-County sponsored The Kaleidoscope of Poverty and Child Abuse Forum that educated child advocates, teachers, child care providers, parents, and community leaders on the affects of poverty and child abuse on children and society at large. This event was a huge success for Southeastern Oklahoma, an area with extreme poverty. Communities have brought Jodi Phar's training, Bridges Out of Poverty, to their communities in an effort to increase participants knowledge and change attitudes about issue of poverty. Several communities have conducted poverty simulations with key leaders in their communities in order to facilitate an experience that changes attitudes and viewpoints about the challenges of poverty that many families face everyday.

  • Educating Policy Makers

    Local communities make it their business to educate legislators and key decision makers in their communities. Whether it's visiting with them in their office, over coffee, or at more formal events, like Ada's Eggs and Issues legislative breakfast, communities realize it is paramount for policy makers to understand the importance of the early years and to take action. During legislative session, communities participated in Tuesdays for Tots at the State Capitol as well as the Take 5 for Kids advocacy campaigns. Smart Start of Central Oklahoma (OKC) hosted a legislative luncheon that brought over 300 constituents to the Capitol to have lunch with their legislator and ask for their support of young children and their families.

  • Media Relations

    Smart Start communities work with their local media to spread the word about the importance of the early years. Across the state, our message is carried via newspapers, radio, television, theater advertising, and a successful outdoor campaign. In Norman, a close partnership with local media produced Norman's first comprehensive Smart Start report to the community with a 4-page insert in the Norman Transcript. The insert combined awareness and engagement with the introduction of community projects that address young children's issues. From community events and festivals to presentations to businesses and organizations, Smart Start Communities are experienced at informing and alerting the public about early childhood issues, concerns, and most importantly - solutions!


    Child Watch Tours 

    Smart Start communities host Child Watch Tours for legislators, businesses and community leaders. Child Watch Tours provide an experience for each participant by visiting early childhood settings (child care, schools, hospitals, low-income housing) to observe critical early childhood experiences. The tours are complemented with speakers, early childhood experts, and families educating tour participants on the importance of early childhood experiences and the hardships faced by families. A Child Watch Tour is a powerful experience and makes the case for investing in young children. During the past year, Smart Start Communities have conducted many Child Watch Tours, with even more planned this coming year.


    "As a business owner, I had no idea the complexities of child care issues from access to cost trying to find quality care for your kids. After the tour, I understand a bit better my employee's worries and concerns about child care. It further supported my view that by investing in young children we avoid some expensive problems in the future."    - Child Watch Tour Participant, Local Business Owner

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