Los Angeles Times to Launch Early Childhood Initiative

A project manager for Kids First works with a 4-year-old transitional kindergartner.
(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)
Nikki Perez, project manager for Kids First, celebrates in 2020 with a 4-year-old transitional kindergartner in Van Nuys after she successfully learns to say different colors in English and Spanish.
(Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times)

The Los Angeles Times is launching an early childhood education initiative focused on exploring the critical issues affecting California’s youngest residents, their parents, care providers and educators. The two-year program, set to begin in early 2023, will include expanded coverage of children from birth to age 5 as well as the creation of learning resource guides designed to help support parents and caregivers. It is being funded by six California philanthropies in collaboration with the L.A. Partnership for Early Childhood Investment.

Through the initiative, The Times will hire two-full time journalists who’ll be dedicated to covering the pre-kindergarten years, explaining the challenges and exploring solutions, as part of the larger newsroom. The journalists will produce original, independent reporting delving into research, data and real-life stories to help families and others navigate the awesome responsibility of raising and educating babies, toddlers and preschoolers.

“We know that the life of a child from the prenatal months through their fifth year is so critical to their future,” said Stephanie Chavez, the Times deputy Metro editor who is overseeing the coverage. “We’re eager to extend our education coverage and foster collaboration among teams across our newsroom to look at a range of issues, including the factors that contribute to a child’s language development, how transitional kindergarten programs are unfolding across the state and what approaches may be necessary to address the learning needs of a generation born and raised during a pandemic.”


The journalists hired for the initiative will be Los Angeles Times employees and, as with any newsroom partnership or initiative, The Times’ newsroom will retain complete editorial control.

As a companion to the editorial initiative, during the same two-year period, The Times’ Public Affairs group will produce and distribute a series of four early education guides. Building on The Times’ annual Reading by 9 parent reading guide, these guides will include research-based approaches to cultivating literacy, quality book recommendations, and advice from parents and experts to help encourage a lifelong love of reading among children ages 0 to 5 years.

“In Los Angeles County alone, an estimated 25% of children 5 years old or younger live in poverty,” said Parker Blackman, executive director of the L.A. Partnership for Early Childhood Investment. “We recognize the need to help increase the public’s understanding of quality early childhood programs, data, best practices and policy ideas. By funding an early childhood reporting team at California’s largest and most respected news outlet, we are investing in independent, trustworthy journalism that will shed light on these critical early years of a child’s development and engage the community in identifying solutions to the toughest challenges.”

The Times early childhood development and education initiative is being funded through the support of the Los Angeles Partnership for Early Childhood Investment (the L.A. Partnership), a consortium of foundations and donors whose mission includes improving the lives, health and education of children and families, particularly those from low income and traditionally underserved communities. L.A. Partnership members providing funding for this initiative include: Ballmer Group, Sobrato Philanthropies, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Heising-Simons Foundation and Stein Early Childhood Development Fund (at the California Community Foundation).

The Los Angeles Times administers community-funded journalism projects and community resource development and engagement initiatives through its Public Affairs group. The Times retains complete editorial control over all journalism produced by its newsroom, including community-funded journalism initiatives. More information and the latest announcements from The Times can be found at

About Los Angeles Times Public Affairs
The Public Affairs group at the Los Angeles Times manages philanthropy, community engagement and corporate social responsibility for the West Coast’s leading news media company. With history dating back to 1881, The Times is both Los Angeles’ paper of record and part of the fabric of the city. Building on a tradition of civic responsibility, Public Affairs mobilizes the resources within the organization and its community of subscribers and connections throughout Southern California to address the defining issues of our time. More: