Communities Stabilize. Innovate. Build.

Community Learning Series



“Partnering with Schools to Support Early Learning and Literacy”: A panel presentation hosted by Zero to Five Montana featuring local champions working on collaborative relationships between school districts and other partners to bolster school readiness. Let this inspiring panel spark creative thinking around ways to support young children in your community! (Dec. 12, 2022)



Community and Employer Innovations Pilot

The goal of this pilot was to support community and employer partners in developing a child care infrastructure strategy that meets the needs of employers and families in communities across the state. Participants of the pilot received grant funds to support community or employer-level planning, access to technical assistance and consultation related to various child care models (including the child care cooperative model), as well as resources and connections to relevant business and child care supports as they developed a plan that worked for their businesses and communities. Over the course of one year, participating communities/employer groups worked to increase the supply of high-quality affordable child care in their local communities by developing strategies and action plans, and connected to a broader network to support successful implementation and access to child care funding.


Baker Community/Employer Partners – Baker, MT

Zero to Five Beaverhead Collaborative – Beaverhead County

St. John’s United – Billings, MT

Human Resource Development Council (HRDS) – Bozeman, MT

Lewistown Community/Employer Partners – Lewistown, MT

Zero to Five Mineral County Collaborative – Mineral County

Park County Community/Employer Partners – Park County

Sparrowsvine Resource Center & Seeley Lake Community Foundation – Seeley Lake, MT

Immanuel Lutheran Communities – Kalispell, MT


Click below for resources to support your community planning. Please reach out if you’d like more information, or would like to request a community-level conversation to further explore this topic in your community.





Montana Infant and Toddler Tribal Language Pilot

The Montana Tribal Language Pilot helped create opportunities for infant-toddler programs in Montana to create, strengthen, and promote native language strategies in classrooms for infants and toddlers.

2022 Montana Infant/Toddler Tribal Language Pilot Participants:

CS&KT Early Childhood Services, Pablo, MT

Browning Schools Child Care Center, Browning, MT

Fort Belknap Child Care, Fort Belknap, MT

Blackfeet Early Childhood Center, Browning, MT

Tiny Tots Child Care, Wolf Point, MT

The Zero to Five Network

Zero to Five Montana, a statewide advocacy office located in Helena, is part of the Zero to Five Network made up of locally-led coalitions across Western Montana seed-funded by the Headwaters Foundation. The initiative aims to help Montanans identify their most pressing concerns for kids and families and agree on, design and implement solutions. It also connects organizations and advocates to leverage resources, share lessons learned and identify opportunities for collaboration. Zero to Five’s local collaboratives operate independently, with their own budgets and workplans, and are united by a common, co-created Theory of Change, or their North Star.

Learn more on the Headwaters Foundation website.


Zero to Five Missoula is a strategic initiative working to identify and implement systems changes that will lead to long-term improved outcomes for young children growing up in Missoula County. Based at United Way of Missoula County, Zero to Five Missoula brings together people who care for and care about young children to ask deeper questions, identify ways to weave our system of services more tightly together, and to unlock systemic barriers to change. In Missoula County, their work includes:

  • Parent Leadership Training Institute, a 20 week program in civics and democracy to equip parents to be changemakers
  • Early Learning Fellows, an interprofessional learning cohort offered in partnership with the UM College of Education, building shared understanding and data driven action planning for folks who work with children 0-8.
  • Kindergarten Entry Assessment, a community learning tool for understanding how well our 0-5 system is (and isn't) ensuring children are ready for all the challenges and opportunities of the K12 system
  • And, they are working to establish a new network of shared services for child care providers and child care benefits for employers
Butte-Silver Bow

Zero to Five Butte-Silver Bow Collaborative is focused on bringing a diverse and inclusive set of community members together to find system-focused solutions for children and families in Butte-Silver Bow County. The Collaborative is focused on reduce the number of children in foster care in Butte-Silver Bow County by 75% by the year 2025. This work is made possible by supporting families involved with the child welfare system, the children and family services department, and the general parenting population in Butte.

Early Childhood Coalition (Beaverhead County)

The Early Childhood Coalition of Beaverhead County seeks to ensure that all families in our county with children aged 0-5 have access to a supportive parenting community. We provide access to developmentally appropriate play, material resources, and parenting education for optimal early childhood development. We operate an indoor playspace and a children's secondhand store, and offer parenting classes, maternal support groups, and other educational opportunities. As we strive to support children, empower parents, and connect families, we continue to evaluate the systems currently in place for young children and their families, working to identify and remove barriers that may prevent families from accessing the resources and opportunities they need in order to thrive.

Family Connections Collaborative (Mineral County)

The Family Connections Collaborative (FCC) has brought a diverse and inclusive set of stakeholders together to find system-focused solutions for children and families in Mineral County. Led by a Design Team of nine individuals, Family Connections Collaborative is working for their community by determining innovative and creative ways to define and address positive parenting. Through those efforts, they hope to improve outcomes for young children and build a strong, supportive system for families. Their mission is to reinforce or create safe, trusting, and nurturing systems-level environments that cultivate positive family and community norms. They envision creating a community environment that builds hope, perseverance, support, and safety for our children, families, and communities for a healthy Mineral County.

Currently the FCC operates numerous initiatives, including the Parent Liaison Program, universal Home Visiting for families, doula services, birthing and parenting classes, and parent mental health consultations. The FCC also hosts family events throughout the year and supports a Circle of Parents group for Mineral County moms and Mineral County’s Healthy Communities Coalition. Lastly, the FCC provides funding for Imagination Library for Mineral County families, scholarships for professionals and parents pursuing training related to early childhood or parent support, classroom resources for teachers throughout Mineral County and event scholarships for organizations hosting events for young children and families.

Lincoln County

Zero to Five Lincoln County is a multi-sector, county wide collaborative working together with a variety of partners, agencies, and community members to make a positive impact in the lives of families with young children. We strive for a county in which all families with young children are valued, connected, and empowered because we believe that “every kid in every corner of Lincoln County counts.” We employ 5 major strategies in our collaborative efforts to support families with children:

  • Strategically aligning community collaboratives for efficiency and effectiveness
  • Strengthening partner capacity through commitment and support
  • Connecting families with resources in ways that are respectful, accessible, and easy to navigate
  • Co-creating with parents/caregivers
  • Collaborating with partners to provide opportunities for family engagement
Flathead Reservation-Lake County

Zero to Five Flathead Reservation & Lake County is responding to the need for a variety of events and activities that are free or inexpensive for families in their community. They are also working to build appreciation and recognition for the outstanding achievements for programs assisting the 0-5 population.

They are working on shifting cultural norms and increasing respect for those working with the 0-5 population, increasing opportunities for engagement (direct client based services) and developing a level of activity and engagement with the natural world by helping connect families to the outdoors and healthy play in creative, educational, community-based play spaces.

Programs include Parent Night, various trainings, "Taking it to the People" quarterly fun family events, Children Connect - passes for kids to experience local points of interest, Toys "R" U - local providers can apply to receive funds for play options, outstanding achievements honoree program, and Playing it Forward - Implementing creative, culturally relevant, community based play structures.

Early Childhood Coalition of the Greater Helena Area

Zero to Five in Lewis & Clark County has just launched! Watch this space for more information. In the meantime, you can reach out with questions to Bray Holmes, community coordinator, at

You Can Make a Difference

We believe investing in our children today is the most important pathway to a healthy, thriving Montana tomorrow. Click the button below to learn more about how you can get involved.