About ECE³

Project Purpose

The purpose of the Hawai‘i Early Childhood Educator Excellence and Equity (Hawai‘i ECE3) Project:

  1. Transform early childhood education (ECE) lead teacher preparation programs
  2. Develop a plan to increase compensation for ECE lead teachers across sectors and settings, serving young children from infants through age eight

This initiative aligns with goals and objectives in:

  • Hawai‘i’s Early Childhood Workforce Development Strategic Implementation Plan and
  • the Unifying Framework for the Early Childhood Education Profession.
ECE placeholder

ECE3 is grounded in the following Theory of Improvement, illustrated by the equation below:


On the left side of the equal sign in the figure above are the three primary areas for ECE3 action summarized as: assets, research-based professional learning, and political will. The placement of the multiplier symbol between these areas is intentional and reflects the interconnectedness and ecosystem-like nature of the work being undertaken.

Our Approach

This project is utilizing an assets-based, systems integration, and multi-partner approach to dismantle structural barriers and gaps to ECE workforce preparation and compensation/financing that have been in place for decades. With the coronavirus pandemic requiring rethinking of teaching and learning at every level, it has become even more critical to address the limited access to high-quality early learning experiences for all young children and families in Hawai‘i.

The linchpin to early learning access are effective, equitable, diverse, well-prepared, and well compensated ECE professionals who can confidently adapt to changing circumstances and ensure that each and every child engage in joyful and relevant learning opportunities that fully support their optimal development and learning across all domains and content areas.

Theory of Improvement

EcoSystem: Elements are mapped as an ecosystem where all elements need to be present to create a sustainable movement for ECE workforce excellence and equity.

Theory of Improvement elements mapped as an ecosystem where all elements (community, research-based professional learning, and political will) need to be present to create a sustainable movement for ECE workforce excellence and equity. Hawai‘i seeks a smoother, user-centered experience that will attract and keep more high-quality teachers in the ECE workforce, meeting Hawaiʻi’s Pre-K expansion plans while advancing access to quality early learning for Hawaiʻi children and families. Hawaiʻi has developed a Theory of Improvement versus a Theory of Change to signify that the movement towards workforce equity and quality is continuous and will require a long-term commitment.

Theory of Improvement Graphic

Three Fundamental Goals

Reflect Hawaiʻi’s Values

Reflect Hawaiʻi’s values, diversity, and community-based assets in the state’s early childhood workforce system of support, including the voices of current and prospective students in our ECE teacher degree pipeline

Build Capacity in Higher Ed

Build the capacity of Hawaiʻi’s higher-education system to support preparation of the early childhood workforce, including statewide alignment of teacher degree pathways, credentials, and supports for degree seekers

Competitive Compensation

Provide Hawaiʻi’s early childhood workforce with necessary resources, including competitive compensation

Our Coalition

The ECE3 Project activities are being advanced through