The Greater New Milford Early Childhood Council (ECC) will hold its next meeting April 7.

The meeting, to be held at Northville Elementary School on Hipp Road, is open to new members.

The local ECC's mission is to strengthen communication and collaboration within the community to benefit the young children of New Milford.

Thirty people interested in early education, including staff from a variety of early education and day care programs, as well as staff from the library, public schools and VNA, attended the first meeting in February.

Funding for the ECC, including Countdown to Kindergarten, is made possible by the Connecticut Community Foundation.

To date, the foundation has given grants of more than $12,000 to support the efforts of the New Milford Public Schools to provide information and other resources to parents and preschools to prepare young children for kindergarten.

The formation of the ECC is one of the outcomes of a 2008 Community Conversation at which parents, school officials, elected officials, social service providers, and others cited the need for greater attention to early childhood education.

Since that time, joint workshops for preschool and public school teachers, informational sessions for parents on kindergarten expectations, and related efforts have been underway

The establishment of the ECC provides an opportunity to formalize and focus these efforts.

Initial financial support was provided by a funders, including Connecticut Community Foundation, Harcourt Foundation, the Meserve Fund, the Northwest Connecticut Community Foundation, the New Milford Rotary Club, the Savings Bank of Danbury, Union Savings Bank, the United Way of Western Connecticut and Webster Bank.

For more information or to join the group, call Grace Parker at 860-354-3235.