We are now accepting Applications!

Learn more and apply below.

We are excited to announce that we will be expanding the number of San Francisco early care and education programs eligible to receive City-funding! Together, SF Office of Early Care and Education and First 5 SF strive to fulfill our promise to San Francisco’s youngest residents: to provide a high-quality early learning experience. We are committed to creating an early learning system that will ensure every child thrives and learns while providing resources to those who care for our city’s children.​ If you are interested in learning more about becoming an Early Learning SF (ELS) city-funded program, please read the information below carefully to learn about the process. 

Informational Sessions

The first step in becoming an ELS program is to attend or view an informational session to find out more about the benefits of joining the city system and the application process. If you have not already attended an informational session, please view the meeting recording and presentation linked below in the language of your preference.

Eligibility Requirements

Who is eligible to apply? 

In order to apply for the Early Learning San Francisco Program you must: 

  • Be a licensed Family Child Care home or Early Education Center located in San Francisco serving children ages birth to five. 
  • Be in good standing with California Community Care Licensing Division  
  • Be willing to serve low- and moderate-income populations who receive city funding from SF OECE and SF Priority Populations 
  • Meet Director / Owner Qualifications per the Quality Standards


Criteria to become an Early Learning San Francisco program:  

After you submit your application, you must meet the following criteria in order to receive City funding and enrollments: 

  1. Participate in site visit and CLASS assessment;   
  2. Meet the Quality Standards for Early Learning San Francisco Programs which includes qualification and ratio/group size requirements;   
  3. Agree to serve low- and moderate-income populations who receive city funding from SF OECE and SF Priority Populations;   
  4. Register Director/FCC Owner and teaching staff on the California Early Care and Education Workforce Registry;  
  5. Use SF MOCHA the attendance tracking, payment generating, and enrollment data system for OECE.   
  6. Agree not to deliver any direct faith-based instruction during program time supported with OECE funds. 


How to Apply

Step 1: Attend an informational session

Attend or view the recording of an ELS informational session using the links in the informational sessions section at the top of this webpage 

Step 2: Create a CA ECE Workforce Registry Account

The online application for the Early Learning San Francisco Program requires the CA ECE Workforce Registry ID Number of the program Director or Owner. If you do not already have a Registry account, please create one at before completing your Early Learning San Francisco application. 

For step-by-step guides to creating your Registry account and finding your Registry ID please view the video tutorials linked below:  

Create a Profile
Find your Registry ID


For additional questions or support with creating a California ECE Workforce Registry Account please contact the Children’s Council Help Desk: / 415-343-4669 



Step 3: Complete an Application

Complete the online application form in your preferred language using the links below: 

Step 4: We Will Contact You

OECE and First 5 SF will review your application and contact you regarding next steps. The flow chart linked below provides a detailed overview of the next steps after your application is submitted. 


Quality Standards

The Quality Standards describe the requirements and expectations of a city-funded program with important information to help programs understand each standard and the connection to every child’s development.  Based on research on the development and education of young children, the standards were created with input from national and state experts and input from educators in San Francisco. The standards define what we believe all early childhood programs should do when caring for young children. To participate as a city-funded site, programs must meet all ten (10) standards. 


Pre-ELS Resources

The resources below are designed to help programs interested in joining Early Learning San Francisco to meet Quality Standards requirements.

Quality Pathway Portfolio Tool

The Quality Pathway Portfolio is a tool to help interested Early Childhood Educators to reflect on their current quality practices, and identify strengths & areas for growth. The Portfolio is also a tracking system to assist programs who have applied to Early Learning San Francisco to organize and to track their progress in meeting quality standards. This tool has multiple tabs which include a Quality Standards Checklist, Professional Development Plan and Tracker, Staff Qualification Form, and Curriculum Statement Form to help you develop your portfolio.

Pre-ELS Resource Guide

This resource guide will provide information about online, technical assistance and training resources that are available to you as you complete your Quality Portfolio.

Pre-ELS Orientation Meeting: Building Your Quality Portfolio

Questions and Support

If you have reviewed all the information above and still have questions, don’t worry! Below are a collection of frequently asked questions and answers. If you still have questions please contact the support teams as directed below.

Join ELS: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

For questions about your eligibility or application support please contact:


If you are already a qualified ELS program and are planning to expand your program or add another site, please contact us at: (English/Spanish)  (English/Chinese)


For questions or support with creating a California ECE Workforce Registry Account please contact the Help Desk at Children’s Council.

Help Desk Email:
Help Desk Phone: 415-343-4669