Visual Storytelling for Social Change

We understand our world through stories: the heroes we aspire to be, the conflicts we identify with, the ideas that move us. Visual storytelling—whether a photo series, an online video, a long-form documentary or virtual reality—can capture our attention, generate deep empathy, and move us to take action.

The resources below are designed to help both seasoned and budding social change activists imagine and design stories that boost attention to issues, engage audiences more deeply, and increase the influence of campaigns.

Source: The Culture Lab

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Guide to Trend Mapping 

A trend map is a visual depiction of relevant trends influencing the system around a given topic. Developing a trend map can help a group deepen their understanding of an issue through exploring related history, identifying key external factors, and tracking shifts in social and cultural norms.

This guide will walk you through a feasibility assessment as well as how to prepare for and facilitate a trend mapping activity.

View the System Tools Matrix to help determine when trend mapping is the right tool.

Source: FSG

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Improving the Odds 


Recent research and advocacy efforts have led funders, politicians, and the business community to agree that the first years of a child’s life can determine the rest of their development. Across ideological divides, there is consensus that investing early makes sense—it helps children prepare for successful futures and creates a high return on investment of public dollars.

We have created this short guide, featuring examples and how-to’s based on our work with more than a dozen foundations working to make progress in the early care and education space. The guide highlights 7 principles to help funders understand and anticipate the challenges and opportunities of supporting early care and education, including practical advice on how to:

  • Inclusively identify and constructively connect the many actors that provide quality care and education to children and their families.
  • Navigate challenges that arise from a sector filled with different approaches and business models.
  • Balance long-term strategies and outcome measures with short-term wins and progress markers.

Source: FSG

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Benchmarks for Quality Improvement Self-Assessment Tool 


The Benchmarks for Quality Improvement Self-Assessment Tool can help States and Territories assess their current status and measure progress in implementing program quality improvement systems. The Self-Assessment Tool contains a series of questions to answer for each of the benchmark indicators. These questions and the States and Territories’ answers should help them to determine their status on a series of progress measures – No Action, Developing, Implementing, or Fully Implementing. Space is provided for notes and to prioritize and plan for next steps in those areas where progress is needed.

Source: Child Care Technical Assistance Network

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How Head Start Grantees Set and Use School Readiness Goals 


This report and accompanying brief present findings from a study describing how local Head Start and Early Head Start grantees set school readiness goals, how they collect and analyze data to track progress towards goals, and how they use these data in program planning and practice to improve program functioning. The findings are based on data that was collected during the 2013-2014 school year from 73 Head Start and Early Head Start grantees.

Source: Office of Planning, Research & Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families

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Practicing Your Preparedness Plan

September 2014

By Marco Beltran

It is lunchtime at the Early Head Start center. The three infant classrooms are busy with feeding babies. The toddlers are sitting down to their family-style meal. As everyone is enjoying their afternoon, a loud explosion occurs. The staff are startled and the children begin to cry. Staff look at one another, unsure of what happened. Over the PA system, the program director announces that the neighborhood has lost power.

If this were your program, would you know what to do next?During National Preparedness Month, we encouraged programs to review and revise their Emergency Preparedness Plans. However, for plans to be truly effective, they need to be practiced throughout the year.

Why Practice?

An effective emergency preparedness plan helps your program to respond appropriately and quickly to circumstances that occur. It helps to reduce risks to everyone in the Head Start community. But, the only way that can happen is if staff, children, families, and community partners know the plan and their responsibility.

The Office of Head Start OHS does not specify an exact number of times a plan should be practiced. However, it is a good idea to do a run-through at the beginning of the program year and again before the seasons when hurricanes, tornados, or snow storms usually occur.

Source: Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center

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Making the Link Between Health and School Readiness


Head Start is a school readiness program. The health-related activities required by the Head Start Program Performance Standards (HSPPS) are designed to ensure that every child who enters the program achieves his or her optimal development.

Children enter the program at different developmental levels and with a variety of health needs. Promptly identifying and treating children’s health issues and promoting their healthy development prepares children for school. Helping families understand developmental screening and referral, as well as proactive prevention when health issues affect children’s learning, supports school readiness.

This online tool is designed to help programs better understand the link between their school readiness goals and their health service plans. It will help program leaders and managers design school readiness goals that integrate meaningful health strategies. Well-targeted, actionable health promotion, prevention, and treatment can help achieve those goals.

It is meant to be used by:

Education leaders and school readiness teams to:

  • Understand the link between child health and school readiness
  • Develop health strategies that support school readiness goals
  • Integrate specific health services into school readiness plans

Health managers and health staff to:

  • Offer talking points about the link between child health and school readiness
  • Ensure health services plans, procedures, and protocols align with the program’s school readiness goals
  • Develop health strategies to include in school readiness plans

All program leaders to:

  • Help staff, families, partners, and policy makers understand the link between health and school readiness
  • Describe health strategies that promote children’s achievement of school readiness goals
  • Advocate for the inclusion of health services in a comprehensive approach to children’s educational services

Please read How Program Leaders Can Use This Tool to strengthen school readiness and health services plans.

Select Making the Link Between Health and School Readiness [PDF, 958KB] for the full PDF version of this tool.

Source: Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center and the National Center on Health is a state-of-the-art research project designed to meet the urgent need for a national, integrated information source that helps us understand:

  • Who our children are, by documenting and tracking the rapidly changing demographics of children and families in the U.S.;
  • What our children need, by  establishing a system for monitoring not only child outcomes, but also key factors (including opportunities, conditions, and resources) that drive child outcomes;
  • How to improve opportunities for all children, especially those that may need the most help, by focusing explicitly and rigorously on issues of racial/ethnic and socioeconomic equity in child health and wellbeing.

The child population of the U.S. is increasingly racially and ethnically diverse, with just under half of the child population comprised of Hispanic, black, Asian, American Indian/Alaska Native, and other racial/ethnic minority children. Unfortunately, large racial/ethnic and socioeconomic inequities stubbornly persist in the opportunities and conditions that allow children to thrive. Because all children have the right to grow and develop in a healthy way and because the foundations of adult productivity and health are established in childhood, we must improve opportunities for all children to fulfill their potential. This will not only enhance the quality of childhood for all children but foster future economic, social, and civic vitality and health. Prominent guardian organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and UNICEF have prioritized equity in child health and wellbeing as a key principle guiding policy development and practices that support children and families. Building equitable opportunities for all children (especially the most vulnerable) is not only a moral imperative, but a sound investment in America’s future.

Our vision is one of equity in child health. We believe that all children should have an equal chance to achieve the Institute of Medicine’s (2004) definition of child health, that is, “to develop and realize their potential, satisfy their needs, and develop the capacities that allow them to interact successfully with their biological, physical, and social environments.” Achieving equity requires that all children and their families have equitable access to supportive environments and resources in the settings where they live, learn, work and play. It also requires the eradication of unfair and avoidable systematic differences between groups of children in their opportunities to attain healthy development.

Despite increasing child diversity, persistent inequities, and recognition of equity as a policy goal, policymakers and practitioners must currently piece together limited information from disparate and fragmented sources to document equitable progress and policy gaps. To help fill this gap, offers the first comprehensive, equity-focused information system to monitor progress towards improved wellbeing for children of all racial/ethnic groups through the creation and dissemination of unique indicators and analysis of:

1. The state of wellbeing, diversity, opportunity and equity of children in the U.S., and

2. The availability, capacity and research evidence supporting the effectiveness of public policies and programs to equitably serve children of all racial and ethnic groups and reduce disparities among them.

Source: Brandeis University

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