Established in 1997 as the San Francisco Child Care Providers’ Association, Early Childhood Educators of San Francisco (ECESF) grew out of the Asian Providers Association (APA), an organization with a similar mission. APA started formalizing in the mid-eighties to help strengthen early education programs through professional training and advocacy to make changes in policies impacting the field. APA, and initially ECESF, was fiscally sponsored by Wu Yee Children’s Services. As the early care and education community mobilized around the impact of low-wages and high turnover of the quality of care and education, and pushed forward solutions focused on teacher retention through increased compensation and resources, an opportunity to broaden the geographical reach of the organization was created, and ECESF emerged. Since its inception, ECESF has built unity and community among early childhood educators and their allies throughout San Francisco, particularly focused on strengthening the voice of all child care teachers and program providers working directly with children.
ECESF works directly with early care and education providers to shape the ECESF program and content. Program goals are to promote leadership from the field; bring early childhood educators together across the diverse sectors to build a common voice; and ensure that the resources and policies essential to providing the best care and education for children, including concerns of the early care and education (ECE) workforce, are represented in community discussions and ECE policy decisions.
ECESF provides input on local policy and program implementation, initially advising administrators on the roll out of SF CARES in 1999, and continuing with other programs including Wages Plus, now C-Wages, the mental health consultation program, and the need for increases in standardized reimbursement rates. ECESF is actively involved with the current SF-wide ECE planning process.
ECESF is recognized across San Francisco, with alliances and participants dedicated to early care and education as well as broader child- and family-friendly goals. With a current outreach list of over one thousand five hundred, ECEF turns out hundreds to annual events including its ECE Leadership conference, and over 1,000 to the early care and education community promotion and advocacy event, Walk Around the Block.