About the Navigator

What is the Navigator?

The Zaentz Navigator is a user-friendly, interactive, and innovative digital tool that helps policymakers and leaders learn how cities and states across the country are tackling the same issues they face as they work to structure, finance, expand, and improve early education and care.

The Navigator:

  • Shares state and city policy strategies and innovations across 5 key categories: Infrastructure + Systems, Dedicated Funding Streams, Cost Estimation for Subsidies, Expansion, and Workforce.
  • Describes the contexts in which these policy strategies and innovations have been implemented, including state and city demographics, political landscapes, early education program information, early education workforce data, and funding sources and streams.
  • Links the policy strategies and innovations to findings from a groundbreaking statewide study of early education and care.

Why the Navigator?

Policymakers and leaders across the nation are committed to improving the lives of the young children, families, and educators they serve. Today, at a time of great opportunity and great challenge for the field of early education and care, they are working tirelessly to make good on this goal. They are crafting plans and policies to advance and accelerate the work—often on tight timelines, with many decisions to make and potential directions to go, and with questions about what others are doing and what the research says. To support their work, the Zaentz Navigator shares early education policy strategies and innovations from all 50 states and some cities and makes them easy to find, learn about, and compare. To ensure connections to today’s research, the Navigator links these policy strategies and innovations to findings from a groundbreaking statewide study of early education and care.

Getting to high-quality early education and care systems means making good on the promise of early education to reduce systemic educational and social inequalities and put children on a path toward healthy development. Yet many of today’s early education and care systems and approaches show entrenched disparities in access, affordability, and quality—and thus a pressing need for deeper, more intensive systems-building work. Our 5 categories of policy strategies and innovations constitute a framework to drive equity and excellence in early education; on their own and in concert, they are key approaches for positive change.

Suggested Citation:

The Saul Zaentz Early Education Initiative. (2023). The Zaentz Navigator. https://zaentznavigator.gse.harvard.edu/