FILE - NH Chris Sununu 1-23-2020

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu signs an executive order Jan. 23, 2020, to boost early childhood development in the state.

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu has signed an executive order creating the Council of Thriving Children, which will be supported by $26 million in funding available through a federal grant.

The grant will be used to help children from birth to age 5.

“Those days in the past when we were asking parents, students and teachers to fit into our model, those days have to be done,” Sununu said during a news conference.

“We need to design a flexible model in which the system is about getting results for the kids and those families. We are going to be innovative in how we do it; we aren’t going to just do the status quo. We are going to lead,” Sununu said.

The initiative will support a website, family resource centers, and development of an Early Childhood Center of Excellence at the University of New Hampshire.

“It is an unbelievable economic opportunity, a first for New Hampshire,” Sununu said of the grant. “This is an opportunity that we can’t miss. This is an opportunity that says we are going to drive 21st century solutions for our students, for our families and for our kids. We are going to be innovative in how we do it, we’re not just going to accept the status quo – we’re going to lead and this is really an opportunity that these individuals have created for this state, to let New Hampshire lead the rest of the country, show by example.”

“Where we may have been behind in a lot of our early childhood opportunities, we can take a leapfrog forward, not just accept being average, but really start letting our children thrive and letting these systems thrive and hopefully be that gold standard that everyone can follow in the future,” Sununu added.

The system will allow teachers and students “to design their own pathway forward, and give them the financial and regulatory flexibility to do that – that’s how you get best the best results at the end of the day,” Sununu said.