For Immediate Release: April 1, 2015
Contact: Stephanie Morris
Historic Day for Early Childhood Educators:
IOM Report Recommendations Are a Critical Step
to Elevate the Early Childhood Profession
Early childhood educators working with young children birth through age 8 have an unprecedented opportunity to shape the future of their profession. A seminal report released today, “Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth Through Age 8: A Unifying Foundation,” from the Institute of Medicine and National Research Council, recognizes the diverse attributes that define the early childhood education profession and the multiple pathways that exist for those entering into and advancing within the field.
“This report marks an important day for early childhood educators,” said Rhian Evans Allvin, Executive Director of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). “I believe our time has come and that it is up to all of us in the early childhood education field to exhibit the courage and leadership it will take to attract and retain the most effective educators. This report provides an excellent blueprint for what it will take to get there.”
The 13 recommendations rest on a solid foundation of research, policy, and practice and are closely aligned with key elements of NAEYC’s new Strategic Direction, released in November 2014. They recognize the science of how young children learn, the sophistication that is required to ensure educational excellence, and the systems approach necessary to support young children and early childhood educators on multiple fronts.
The report also asserts that there must be a set of agreed-upon skills and competencies that all early childhood educators must know and be able to perform—a principle that drives NAEYC’s professional preparation standards, higher education accreditation, the Workforce Designs Policy Blueprint, and a new initiative funded by the Kellogg Foundation to expand the breadth and depth of existing higher education options and develop a national early educator recruitment and retention campaign.
“These recommendations have a significant and direct bearing on NAEYC’s work, from our accreditation system (for early childhood education programs and for higher education programs) to our policy and advocacy work to our professional development resources and publications,” continued Allvin. “And with close to 300 Affiliates located throughout the country at the state and local levels, we are well poised and enthusiastic to help implement the recommendations in this report to effect change.”
The report includes key recommendations to align teacher competencies with early learning science, another area that will be a major focus for NAEYC in the year ahead. These recommendations (listed below) provide the foundation for an elevated, well-compensated early childhood profession that is responsible for providing high-quality learning experiences for all young children birth through age 8.
The more than 570-page report includes the following key recommendations:
Recommendation 1: Strengthen competency-based qualification requirements for all care and education professionals working with children from birth through age 8.
Recommendation 2: Develop and implement comprehensive pathways and multiyear timelines at the individual, institutional, and policy levels for transitioning to a minimum bachelor’s degree qualification requirement, with specialized knowledge and competencies, for all lead educators working with children from birth through age 8.
Recommendation 3: Strengthen practice-based qualification requirements, including a supervised induction period, for all lead educators working with children from birth through age 8.
Recommendation 4: Build an interdisciplinary foundation in higher education for child development.
Recommendation 5: Develop and enhance programs in higher education for care and education professionals.
Recommendation 6: Support the consistent quality and coherence of professional learning supports during ongoing practice for professionals working with children from birth through age 8.
Recommendation 7: Develop a new paradigm for evaluation and assessment of professional practice for those who work with children from birth through age 8.
Recommendation 8: Ensure that policies and standards that shape the professional learning of care and education leaders (elementary school principals and directors in early care and education settings) encompass the foundational knowledge and competencies needed to support high-quality practices for child development and early learning in their organizations.
Recommendation 9: Improve consistency and continuity for children from birth through age 8 by strengthening collaboration and communication among professionals and systems within the care and education sector and with closely related sectors, especially health and social services.
Recommendation 10: Support workforce development with coherent funding, oversight, and policies.
Recommendation 11: Collaboratively develop and periodically update coherent guidance that is foundational across roles and settings for care and education professionals working with children from birth through age 8.
Recommendation 12: Support comprehensive state- and local-level efforts to transform the professional workforce for children from birth through age 8.
Recommendation 13: Build a better knowledge base to inform workforce development and professional learning services and systems.
Founded in 1926, the National Association for the Education of Young Children is the largest and most influential advocate for high-quality early care and education in the United States.