What We Do

At the Department of Early Learning (DEL), we work to help children in Washington prepare for success in school and life.

DEL vision: Children in Washington start kindergarten healthy, capable, and confident in their ability to learn and succeed.

DEL mission: DEL offers voluntary, comprehensive, high-quality early learning programs and support to families and early learning professionals.

Our four strategic goals:

  1. Provide voluntary, high-quality early learning opportunities for children and families in Washington
  2. Support all early learning professionals with research-based professional development and resources to ensure high-quality early learning opportunities
  3. Build public awareness of and support for high-quality early learning opportunities
  4. Promote system excellence by ensuring DEL is well-managed and supportive of its employees

Strategic Plan

View the 2015-2018 Department of Early Learning strategic plan.

View the strategic plan overview.

What we do at DEL:

The Department of Early Learning is responsible for offering programs and services that support healthy child development and school readiness for the approximately 90,000 children born in Washington each year. Many of our programs and services are for children who may be at risk of starting kindergarten not ready to succeed. We are guided by Washington’s 10-year Early Learning Plan. Our work includes:

DEL seeks advice from our Early Learning Advisory Council, which includes early learning coalition representatives, parents, state agencies, child care providers, legislators, tribal representatives and special education experts.

DEL’s approximately 271 employees work at the headquarter office in Olympia or in 16 field offices around the state. The current biennial budget is approximately $622 million in state, federal and private funding.

Establishment Legislation

Please see the legislation that established the Department of Early Learning here: Department of Early Learning Legislation.