Inviting elected officials to tour your child care program is one of the most advocacy effective strategies. It’s an opportunity to both build a relationship with your elected official and show examples of what your daily work looks like. The steps to a successful tour are simple.  

  1. Invite the relevant elected officials to your program 

Elected officials at various levels of government make policy about child care. If there’s a particular issue you care about, try to figure out which level of government is in charge of that, and invite the corresponding policymaker. 

Email or a phone call is a great way to reach out. Here’s a simple script you can customize or build on to start the process. 

Hi my name is [your name], and I’m a constituent. I’m reaching out to invite [elected official] to tour my child care program and have a conversation about early care and education. Could we please schedule a time in the next couple of weeks? Thank you, [your name] 

There are times of the year when it will be easier for officials to schedule a visit, so start early and be flexible  

If there’s a particular policy you want to address, make sure to mention that. If you’re just looking to build a relationship and start a conversation, that’s great, too!  

  1. Give a program tour 

Just like you would do for a prospective parent, take the elected official around and show them the highlights! Point out what makes your program unique. Give them a sense of what a typical day looks like. 

If possible, do a short activity with the children and invite the elected official to participate. A read aloud, song, or short game are great options.  

If one of your goals is a policy or funding change, make sure to point that out as well. Highlight how a proposed policy would impact your program. Or share what changes you would like to see in order to better serve children and your community. You can use the space to start a conversation on what the solutions could look like. 

Be sure to take some photos to share with parents. You can also reach out to local media to invite them to cover the visit. Make sure to communicate with parents and legislators if you do that.  

  1. Follow up 

Send a thank you card or email to the official after the tour. (Anything decorated by children is always a hit!) If any questions came up during your time together that you had to look up, include the answers to those in your thank you. You can also use the follow up message as an opportunity to invite them to an upcoming event.  

Stay in touch! If legislation comes up that affects your program, be sure to reach out to your officials to express your opinions. Be sure to thank them if they introduce or support legislation you talked about on the tour.  

It really is that easy! Elected officials want to know what’s going on in their community, and a tour of your program is a great way for them to learn. They’ll definitely remember you when you reach out again!  

For more tips and ideas, check out these resources: 

NAEYC: Organizing a Site Visit for a Policy Maker 
The Ounce: Early Childhood Advocacy Toolkit, page 13 

By Marie Huey, Public Policy and Advocacy Staff Leader