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Early Childhood, Finally

New Report Heightens Interest In Education For Those Under Age Eight.

While research repeatedly shows that proper early childhood education experiences are critical to the emotional and academic development of children, those in the field would say it rarely has been given enough attention. But that may be changing.

A new report has been released with input from various segments of the early childhood education field that clearly defines the standards, qualifications, roles, supports, and compensation for members of the profession who work with children birth through age 8.

It is designed to guide changes in the field at the school level and with policy makers at all levesl of government.

“The Unifying Framework for the Early Childhood Education Profession” was developed by representatives from 15 organizations working in early childhood education over the last three years, according to Rhian Evans Allvin, chief executive officer at the National Association for the Education of Young Children, which facilitated work on the report.The task force spent three years defining the work and preparation of the professionals who work with young children.A 2015 Institute of Medicine and National Research Council report called for those working with children birth through 8 to receive a bachelor’s degree – and some experts say it helped instigate the task force’s work.

With the framework, there would be a title of "early childhood educator I” and then those with an associate degree would be an “early childhood educator II”, and a level III would require a four-year degree. 

More than 11,000 people in the field contributed ideas through surveys, focus groups, information sessions, conference sessions and webinars, sharing their stories and providing feedback on recommendations.

“For a long time, we’ve known that investing in early childhood education is essential to support and improve outcomes for young children and their families. Yet for far too long, our nation’s policies have not kept up with the science of early learning,” says Evans Allvin. “It’s a historic moment for education that these groups have agreed to this framework

The detailed report makes recommendations about

  • Educator roles, responsibilities, and scopes of practice across three distinct and meaningful designations within the early childhood education profession
  • Skills, preparation, and compensation needed for the profession
  • The shared accountability and resources for each sector that support the profession, including employers, preparation programs, and state and federal governments

Evans Allvin says that already states and school districts have shown an interest in the framework and how it advances the work in early childhood education.

She also said that the next steps for the collaborative effort by the groups will be to establish a group to pursue government action and develop model legislation for them to put forward at the state level. They will also be developing specific language to be used by schools and districts as they move forward with some of the recommendations.

Organizations participating included the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees; American Federation of Teachers; Associate Degree Early Childhood Teacher Educators; Child Care Aware of America; Council for Professional Recognition; Division for Early Childhood of the Council for Exceptional Children; Early Care and Education Consortium; National Association for Family Child Care; National Association for the Education of Young Children; National Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators; National Association of Elementary School Principals; National Education Association; National Head Start Association; Service Employees International Union;

Written by Jim Paterson, Education World Contributing Writer

Jim Paterson is a writer, contributing to a variety of national publications, most recently specializing in education. During a break from writing for a period, he was the head of a school counseling department. (

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