Reaching across cultures and circumstances to inspire
collective action to alter the direction of our society
through an investment in young children based in love,
trust, and kindness.
Transforming our future by envisioning
Utopias for all young children
Invest in Children
The Washington Collective is a non-profit organization formed to reach across cultures and circumstances to celebrate and inspire collective action to redirect the discourse in our society through an investment in young children based in love and trust.
LOVE AND TRUST
Children, regardless of circumstance, thrive in relationships with both adults and other children where loving relationships abound. Love in these relationships is grounded in action. More than just a feeling or just giving care, love is an act, a letting go of power and domination and making a commitment to honesty and joy in extending oneself for the benefit of others. Since childhood is when we learn to extend our love to others, we need a public discussion explicitly dedicated to the creation of communities of love and trust for all young children.
In communities of love and trust it is not only the children that are loved and trusted. Their mothers and fathers are loved and trusted, and their caregivers are loved and trusted. For this to happen people in children’s communities must act with love and trust for the benefit of themselves, others, and the community. Communities of love and trust are founded upon the commitment of people to constructing culture together in spaces characterized by welcoming innovation, embracing the unexpected, and aspiring to the best that human beings can be.
The Washington Collective seeks a way to work with others to alter the stories we have about what children need, how settings for young children ought to do, what young families need, and the societal responsibility for making a significant investment to enhance society at the time it is most needed. This requires providing facilities, resources, family wage income, opportunities for interaction, trust in local responsibility and an investment in regional conferences and gatherings to promote best practices. We assume no single solution. We trust in the gradual evolution of understanding built by the participants who make a family support salary.
Around us today many systems are failing, crumbling in the face of lived experience of hopelessness and despair. As early educators we see unchallenged stories created by centralized standards dulling the spirit and locking us into existing economic disparities and social injustices. These stories are told by privileged voices, while other stories, of children playing freely in challenging democratic spaces, are heard only faintly.
The Washington Collective is dedicated to the creation of new stories—stories of democracy and experimentation that foster the potential of people and the institutions they create act to benefit humanity and the planet. Our job is to bring forward stories of early childhood and provisions for young children and their families that are engaging, wholesome, and full of spirit.
To collect people’s stories, ideas, and conversations about young children to share as provocations for inclusive efforts to build evolutionary, democratic, locally-trusted, participatory schools for young children.
To create the conditions for a political mandate to invest in childhood as a public resource that accrues benefits for society in the future.
To call attention to the importance of the investment in provisions for young children and their families as integral to any action that addresses the crises of today: economic and social injustice and the warming of the planet.
Despite decades of research, political advocacy, and widespread support, the United States has down-played almost all investment in resources for the commons, and most especially in creating communities of love and trust for all young children, their families, and their educators. Since we all care about children and our own grandchildren and since we naturally prefer caring, collaboration, and community over extracted profit for the extremely wealthy, when will we all recognize it isn’t our fault?
To transform society and halt increasing poverty and environmental degradation, we depend upon the next generation of children become committed to participating in an interdependent community and assuming responsibility for each other and the environment. The next generation must step beyond social injustices and legislative hindrances to co-construct a sustainable way of life in harmony with the planet and each other.
That transformation must begin today, this year, and be well established by the end of the decade. Rather than argue policies and paths, we believe we need to hear and promote new stories of children and childhood that value every perspective in order to more widely understand how creating the best for all young children is a real possibility.
We believe democracy and experimentation provide vastly expanded opportunities and innovation. Lasting innovations are deeply collaborative undertakings that succeed only with the mobilization and collaboration of many different participants. We believe we build this, not by argument or confrontation with market thinking, but by conversations that link us in our love for children.