Educational Administration, Department of



S.J. Zuckerman

Date of this Version



Zuckerman, S.J., Garrett, A.L., Huddleston-Casas, C., Sarver, S. (2020) Playing Well With Others: A Case Study of Collective Impact in the Early Care and Education Policy Arena. International Journal of Child Care and Education Policy.14(7), 1-23.


© The Authors 2020. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License


The quality and quantity of early childhood care and education services have risen as a key reform area for influencing educational and economic outcomes. However, changes in this policy arena are stymied by the fragmentation of this policy arena. Collaborative approaches have been proposed to create systems-level change. Collective impact is one such approach; however, few examples exist in the early childhood care and education literature, especially at the state level. This ethnographic case study conceptualizes collective impact as a policy network capable of change in a fractured policy arena and reports the results from the first year of a statewide collective impact effort examines stakeholder perceptions of mobilization and development of a common agenda, or shared understandings. The results illustrate the importance of relationship building, ongoing attention to common understandings through multiple processes and mechanisms, the importance of the backbone organization, and the need to attend to mindset shifts that accompany early collective impact work.