Laying a Strong Foundation

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Groundwork works to educate key decision makers in our state about the importance of quality, early learning and healthy development as the most transformative strategy to increase the life-long success of Ohio's children and lay a strong foundation for economic prosperity in our state. 


We understand that our state’s economic success is linked to a productive workforce and secure, welcoming communities. What is not widely understood, however, is how much Ohio’s economy is influenced by the health and development of our youngest children who, in a matter of years, will be our workforce.

This is why so many renowned economists, business leaders and public safety officials understand that early learning and healthy development are a foundation for community and economic development, as capable children become the foundation of a prosperous and sustainable society.

The early years are a critical time when neurological connections create the foundation for future intellectual, emotional, social and physical development. Like building a new house or office building, establishing a strong foundation will determine the likelihood of success in the development, learning and behavior that will follow. Our brains develop through an ongoing process that begins before birth and continues into adulthood. Cognitive, emotional, and social capacities are inextricably intertwined, and learning, behavior and physical and mental health are all inter-related over the course of our lifetimes. Getting everything right the first time is easier and less costly than trying to fix it later.


To champion high-quality early learning and healthy development
strategies from the prenatal period to age five, that lay a strong
foundation for Ohio kids, families and communities.


To make Ohio the best place to be a young child so that all children have the opportunity to reach their full potential.


Starting Early: The basic principles of neuroscience demonstrate that early preventive intervention is more efficient and produce more favorable outcomes than remediation later in life. As we advance early learning and healthy development strategies to support all young children, we have to ensure that they reflect brain science by meeting the unique needs of children age birth through three years old.

Systems Framework: We approach this work from a systems perspective, recognizing the whole child, to promote alignment and avoid the creation of or deepening of silos and gaps among the many resources, programs, services and funding streams that young children and their families require.

Equity: All children deserve the chance to learn, grow, and reach their full potential but not all children have access to the same quality environments and interventions. Race, geography, age, gender, and physical and intellectual ability play a determinative role in the gaps that emerge early and persist throughout the lifespan.

Research-Informed & Data-Driven: We use data to determine needs, measure outcomes, and evaluate impact to ensure programs and systems are best supporting children and families.

Targeted Investments: We prioritize public investments that have proven outcomes for children and
offer a high return on taxpayer dollars.

Continuum of Support: We understand that early childhood interventions are the foundation of a strong continuum of services for at-risk kids that support healthy development and learning throughout childhood and beyond.

Collaboration: The State of Ohio has a vision for young children in Ohio and we will promote a shared vision when possible.

Policy Framework: