Storytelling Is A Powerful Tool

April 29th, 2019 | by SRC

Storytelling is a powerful tool for children and adults alike. In February, we culminated our storytelling work with the Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL).

Across Pennsylvania, substantial momentum has been building to increase the availability and quality of programs focused on cultivating the healthy development of young children. A key resource helping this along was OCDEL’s Community Innovation Zone (CIZ)  Grant program. Through an interactive report and multimedia website, we had the pleasure of supporting OCDEL in telling this story.

OCDEL’s CIZ Grant program was birthed out of their 2014 Federal Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge Grant. With this funding, OCDEL had one goal: to improve outcomes for Pennsylvania’s youngest learners and their families. To meet this end, 50 communities across Pennsylvania used CIZ funding to develop, test, and replicate special localized programming around P-3 alignment, family engagement, and community coordination. Individuals from these 50 programs helped shape the story of this historic initiative.

By centering the voices of CIZ grantees, communities were able to lift up the reality that investments in supporting local, community-driven strategies to advance high-quality early childhood programming are vital. The website we created acts as a central hub for grantees to view the stories of other community efforts as well as contribute their own — and, the result is powerful.  Grantees can see what is happening in surrounding communities and across the state to share successes and lessons learned, foster collaboration, and highlight the impact of this initiative.

The website not only stores stories mapped across Pennsylvania from early learning providers, families, and community members about the impact of CIZ funding, but it also houses a family resource magazine and a full interactive report. Whether you’re a state leader, early childhood funder, or a community member, you’ll be able to navigate an innovative resource and see examples of quality work around early childhood education. Want to see for yourself? Visit


Written by Darya Nicol, School Readiness Consulting

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