About Us

It is the Early Care & Education Association’s vision to ensure that every child and family has equitable access to quality early care & education.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Early Care & Education Association is to provide an opportunity for professionals working with children aged birth to 5 years to collaborate in an effort to enhance the lives of children and families in the Upper Valley region of New Hampshire & Vermont.

Executive Committee

Jennifer Hosmer: President
Jennifer Parker: Vice President
Deborah Kerwin: Treasurer
Kelley Downing: Secretary
Janet Bauer
Sunnie McPhetres
Katy Tremblay

Chief Goal & Driving Principle

The chief goal of the ECEA is to sustain and support our network of early childhood professionals. This network demonstrates the power of collaboration in growing efforts to sustain, expand, and improve equitable access to developmentally appropriate care in the Upper Valley. The driving principle of the network is to support professionals working with children from birth to age 5. Our initial focus was to provide these supports to center-based programs, early childhood support services, and family services. However, we have expanded our work to include the participation of family-based childcare and after-school programs.


  • Tapping into the power of shared knowledge and collective experience.
  • Collaboration that is inclusive, focused, safe, non-competitive, and diverse in thought and experience.
  • Collective action with reachable goals that affect positive outcomes.
  • Supportive relationships that empower, validate, and provide options for finding solutions.

Strategic Plan

Goal A: Build the ECE profession, increase support of a highly skilled professional workforce.

A1: Create opportunities for networking, information sharing and peer learning at every level of the profession.
  • Continue to identify and implement strategies to support directors in recruitment of staff.
  • Networking meetings offered to all center directors.
  • ECE related service and resource providers are invited to participate in relevant center director networking meetings.
  • Increase opportunities for ECEA directors to network outside their monthly meetings.
  • Provide quarterly networking meetings including making contact when possible.
  • Through peer relationships and targeted recruitment efforts continue to maintain relationships and recruit more directors who have not previously engaged.
  • Continue to build communication and resources through the website, social media, and email that raises awareness of ECEA and publicizes tangible benefits.
  • Provide opportunities for stakeholders to share and exchange information at monthly meetings.
  • Provide a web-based private chat site for directors, monitored by the webmaster.
  • Provide directors the opportunity to participate in an annual network retreat or luncheon.
A2: Expand the ECEA’s involvement in training and professional development offerings.
  • Increase the number of director level trainings offered during quarterly meetings.
  • Increase the ECE workforce’s knowledge of local, region, state, and national training opportunities.
  • Increase the number of training opportunites for the ECE workforce through internal collaborative efforts.
  • Increase the number of training opportunities for the ECE workforce through external collaborative efforts.
  • Expand director level training embedded in network meetings based on topics identified by the directors.
  • Identify external learning opportunities that would deepen director skills and knowledge, and support them to make plans to attend.
  • Child Development Associate credential support project launched in early September 2020 to support a cohort of experienced providers in attaining their CDA credential.
  • Support UVEI in recruitment of ECEA directors upon initiation of soft pilot.
  • Complete the Train the Trainer pilot for Be Resilient Upper Valley and begin recruiting for next cohort.
  • Engage NH Works and VT WIOA for possible training collaborations.
  • Continue to support the field by providing resources and training on COVID recovery needs.
A3: Transfer learning into quality improvements in programs and services.
  • Begin efforts to support a culture of intentional classroom development.
  • Begin efforts to support implementation of best practices in classrooms.
  • Identify needs for supporting intentional classrooms with interviews and surveys.
  • Identify needs for supporting implementation of best practices in classrooms with interviews and surveys.
  • Identify opportunities for collaboration with existing projects and learning opportunities.
  • Share opportunities for quality improvement on the ECEA website.
  • Reschedule retreat or explore possible virtual options.
A4: Support area directors in efforts to retain and recruit staff.
  • Increase efforts in supporting directors in staff retention and recruitment.
  • Identify and implement one strategy to support directors in retainment of staff including Staff Wellness Project.
  • Identify and implement one strategy to support directors in recruitment of staff with media campaigning and branding.

Goal B: Be a voice for the sector through the collective power of the ECEA.

B1: Strengthen our capacity by building relationships with key stakeholders and networks.
  • Continued participation and collaboration with established key stakeholders and networks.
  • Increase capacity by building new relationships with key stakeholders and networks.
  • Maintain collaboration with the Work United Project and Child Forum, Child Care Aware NH, Northern Lights at CCV, NH Council for Thriving Children, GUVIST, Coos Country Directory Network, and Claremont Learning Partnership.
  • Serve as the Lead Organization for the NH Preschool Development Grant project “Family Solutions to Child Care.
  • Identify collaborative opportunities with key stakeholders and networks in the region, including Dartmouth-Hitchcock Child Wellness Council, Starting Points, Integrated Family Services, and Licensed Family Child Care.
  • Work as a key partner with Upper Valley Strong throughout the pandemic response.
  • Continue to identify key networks, partners and stakeholders, and work to identify those where ECEA representation is appropriate.
B2: Be at the table in regional and statewide settings to influence policies and systems change.
  • Continued representation at Building Bright Futures, Let’s Grow Kids, NH Preschool Development Grant, NH Council for Thriving Children, Early Learning New Hampshire, and NH New Futures.
  • Increase representation at local, regional, and state levels as needed.
  • Increase bi-directional communication between the network and both regional and statewide representation.
  • Network Coordinator will represent the ECEA at targeted advocacy meetings with ELNH, NH New Futures, VT Regional BFF, and VT State Advisory Council.
  • Network Coordinator will continue to facilitate strategic presence of ECEA directors at targeted regional and statewide meetings and efforts.
  • Inform the network of regional and statewide policies and systems changes through network meeting and the website.

Goal C: Assure that the ECEA is a strong and sustainable organization that is able to carry out its mission.

C1: Build and sustain a paid staffing infrastructure.
  • The Executive Committee has a process to set goals and review the performance of the Executive Director.
  • Staffing scenarios and budgets to support program growth and changing needs are developed and funded for the coming year.
  • Adjust staff job descriptions as their positions evolve.
  • Contract and salary are finalized by June of the current year.
  • Regular support and check-ins take place between the Executive Director and the Executive Committee Co-Chairs.
  • The Executive Director and Executive Committee meet quarterly and on an as-needed basis, conducting a check-in on the strategic plan every 4 months, and implementing a cycle of annual goal-setting, performance reviews, and assessment of the staffing structure and responsibilities.
  • Staffing needs for the current year are determined by April.
C2: Continue to create a sustainable funding plan to support the ECEA’s staffing and programs.
  • Development of a 2-year plan for sustainable funding.
  • Securing a substantial potion of the coming year’s revenue by December.
  • Continue to engage a variety of funding sources including NHWorks Job training grants, VT WOIA, Mascoma Bank Foundation, and the HOPE Foundation.
  • Continue to build programming for the ECEA and connect to possible philanthropic partners.
  • Develop an Annual Report based on data of successful projects and the scope of impact with embedded stories from the field.
C3: Maintain a healthy governance and leadership structure with clear board, committee, and staff roles.
  • Continue to create and maintain sustainable leadership and committee structures that keep the strategic plan on track without undue burden on the officers and committee.
  • Continue to develop the roles and responsibilities of the executive director, officers, committees, staff, and ECEA membership and revise if need to reflect the current needs of the organization and to aid in carrying out its mission.
  • Maintain clear communication and a constructive working relationship between the Executive Director, Board Co-Chairs, Executive Committee, and other committees to ensure coordination or efforts and clarity about what each is responsible for.
  • Ensure that regular meetings of standing and ad hoc committees have clear agendas and effective outputs to implement strategic goals.
  • Monitor and adjust roles and expectations to keep within sustainable time commitments.
  • Explore experience and mentoring opportunities for members and committees to build a pipeline of future committee chairs and officers through River Valley College’s Intern Program, CEU’s for attendance through NH CCA and VT BBF.
  • Utilize periodic consultation and support from the governance consultation.

Goal D: Create a plan to engage and support an Upper Valley Family Child Care Network

D1: Develop a plan to engage a Family Child Care Network in the Upper Valley
  • Work with the PDG/Home Grown leadership to understand the purpose of the network and identify common activities.
  • Work with the PDG/Home Grown leadership to identify common needs and challenges between center-based and family-based providers.
  • Understand how the ECEA’s role in engaging the Family Child Care Network and individual Family Child Care providers will benefit our overall mission.
  • Work to develop a written plan that describes how engagement will be carried out.
  • Maintaining clear communication and a constructive working relationship between the ECEA and Family Child Care Network.
D2: Develop a plan to support a Family Child Care Network in the Upper Valley
  • Work with PDG/Home Grown leadership to understand the needs of the network and identify supports.
  • Work with the PDG/Home Grown leadership to identify what supports the ECEA could offer.
  • Maintain clear communication and constructive working relationship between the ECEA and Family Child Care Network.

What We’re Up To!

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Meet Our Staff

Amy Brooks
Executive Director

Katie Jenks
Program Manager

Tanika Beauchemin
Program Support-North

Katie Hinds
Administrative Assistant

Elena Marshall
Program Support-South