|For Immediate Release: May 28, 2014||
W.K. KELLOGG FOUNDATION AWARDS FOUR-YEAR GRANT TO THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR THE EDUCATION OF YOUNG CHILDREN (NAEYC)
“Funds are dedicated to strengthening and enhancing the system that educates and supports existing and future early childhood professionals and the institutions that educate them”
WASHINGTON, DC – The National Association for the Education of Young Children has been awarded a four year $750,000 grant by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation of Battle Creek, Michigan that will help to expand the breadth and depth of existing higher education options for those seeking to become early childhood professionals, and enhance how those individuals are recruited, trained, compensated, and supported.
“With the recent attention on and investment in early childhood programs, the field is seeing a rising demand to attract and retain highly qualified and highly effective professionals.” said Rhian Evans Allvin, Executive Director of NAEYC. “Delivering on the promise of early learning will require a highly skilled, diverse, and well-compensated workforce.”
Nationally, there is a high demand for early childhood professionals with the specialized knowledge and skills needed to support the development of young children birth through age eight. This demand will continue to grow as more public and private initiatives focus on supporting access to high-quality early learning services for young children and their families.
The funds from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation will support two complementary NAEYC initiatives:
1. Quality Improvement and Capacity Building in Higher Education: NAEYC will create an interactive early childhood higher education directory to highlight available degree programs; develop an advanced training program for early childhood higher education faculty; and expand the scope of the NAEYC Early Childhood Associate Degree Accreditation system so that eligible preparation programs across all degree levels can leverage this type of accreditation as a quality improvement and assurance tool.
2. Career Awareness, Investment, and Retention: NAEYC will conduct market research to gather data about how early childhood professionals and other stakeholders view the viability, impact, and depth of a career in early childhood; and use this data to create career awareness, recruitment and marketing tools. One potential outcome will be information that demonstrates the need for and supports efforts to address adequate and equitable compensation.
Diane Horm, a member of the NAEYC Commission on Early Childhood Associate Degree Accreditation and Director of the Early Childhood Education Institute at the University of Oklahoma-Tulsa, noted the importance of developing comprehensive support systems for early childhood professionals.
“The period of birth through age 8 is critical, and knowledgeable and effective early childhood professionals are better able to support children’s learning and development as they build the foundational skills needed to succeed in life and school," Horm said. “Helping to align and enhance recruitment, training, compensation expectation and educational opportunities for existing and future professionals is key to ensuring all children have the most positive early learning experience possible.”
About NAEYC NAEYC's mission is to serve and act on behalf of the needs, rights and well-being of all young children with primary focus on the provision of educational and developmental services and resources. www.naeyc.org
About the W.K. Kellogg Foundation The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life. The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Mich., and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. For more information, visit www.wkkf.org.
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.