Participants from the Ecosystem Mapping Session sitting in round tables focusing their attention to the back of the room where the main activity is taking place

On May 16th, 2024 a pivotal event unfolded at the SLO Studio within Pomona’s School of Arts and Enterprise—the inaugural Ecosystem Mapping Session. This innovative gathering served as a platform for participants to visually and introspectively delve into the various elements shaping Pomona’s P-3 (Prenatal to 3 years) Ecosystem. Ecosystem Mapping offers a structured approach to examining stakeholders, organizations, policies, and other influential factors. Its utility lies in pinpointing gaps, discerning power dynamics, crafting transformational strategies, and untangling the intricacies of multifaceted challenges to streamline collaborative efforts.

Participants from Pomona’s Accelerator Leadership and Advisory groups also identified sector-specific strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats through a SWOT analysis. Participants began the session by first identifying the following sectors that represent the early childhood ecosystem in Pomona: Health, Early Childhood Education, Economy/Business, and Child Welfare. Participants then began expanding on the different factors of each sector to include elements, structures, and paradigms. 

  • Elements: Programs and opportunities, human resources, financial resources, natural and build environment, and socio-cultural artifacts 
  • Structures: Decisions-making, policies and practices, connections
  • Paradigms: Mindsets and goals 

With four groups of about 3 to 4 participants, everyone began identifying the elements within their sector and some of the connections that were seen almost immediately across sectors included the mention of services and entities such as Tri-City Mental Health, Western University, and Foothill Family Services among others. When participants moved on to identifying the various structures within their sector, answers were more varied. Finally, the section focused on the paradigms pertaining to each sector revealed empathy towards the people on the other side- those receiving, not receiving, or utilizing programs and services. For example: within the Child Welfare sector, participants shared the following paradigms: “It’s someone else’s problem to solve,” “I do not feel like I can trust or feel safe/respected by systems,” and “My documented status does not allow me to get services.” Similarly with Early Childhood Education, paradigms from this sector included: “I don’t know what to do,” “I don’t trust you!,” and “I’m too tired.” 

Next Steps

The Ecosystem Mapping Session yielded a wealth of insights into the interconnectedness and deficiencies within Pomona’s early childhood ecosystem. To ensure inclusivity and amplify diverse perspectives, plans are underway for an upcoming session involving parents in June. This collaborative endeavor promises to further enrich our understanding and catalyze actionable solutions toward nurturing a thriving P-3 ecosystem in Pomona.