All children need and deserve great teachers—those with the passion and expertise to help them succeed in school and beyond. During the first eight years of child development and learning, the educator’s role is different in many ways than the role a teacher plays later in a child’s life. Policies and practices should reflect this reality.
In 1991, NAEYC joined the Association of Teacher Educators in calling for states to adopt a specialized early childhood teacher certification for educators working with children from birth through age eight. The goal was to recognize the special knowledge and skills needed to successfully teach young people during these critical years. In 2008, NAEYC and the National Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators (NAECTE) went further, stating, “Teacher certification/endorsement required in state-funded pre-kindergarten programs, kindergartens, and primary grade classrooms should be specific to early childhood education.”
The state profiles compiled here present a snapshot of information designed to show how state certificates/licenses and endorsements reflect the joint NAEYC-NAECTE position. We hope state policymakers and higher education leaders will use these profiles when considering new policies for preparing and licensing teachers. At the local district and school levels, we hope the profiles will fuel a meaningful conversation around the policies for hiring and assigning classroom teachers.
To develop the profiles, we created a survey that was sent to state directors of teacher certification and other state early childhood administrators. NAEYC staff also conducted research on state certification policies. States had a chance to make edits or clarifications. We are awaiting feedback from several states; in these cases, the profile has an asterisk at the top of the profile title. We will update information as we receive it.
The profiles describe the age and grade bands but not the content of the certificates or the teacher preparation programs in the states that lead to licensure. The list and names of certificates cover “general” and “special education,” but not content-specific endorsements such as science, reading, or specific disability categories.
NAEYC welcomes the submission of any clarifications and updates to the information in the state profiles. To submit edits, please email Julia Tavlas, Public Policy Associate, at firstname.lastname@example.org
To read Key Findings, click here.
NAEYC thanks the Alliance for Early Success for its generous support of this project.