Writing for Young Children
You are here
- Writing for Young Children
- Types of articles
- Young Children cluster topics
- Formatting requirements
- Photos and visuals
- How to submit an article
- Review and editing process
Young Children is a peer-reviewed journal from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Published four times a year, each issue offers practical, research-based articles on timely topics of interest. Our readers work with or on behalf of young children from birth through age 8. Readers include teachers, family child care providers, child development program administrators, resource and referral counselors, early intervention specialists, elementary school principals, teacher educators, students, researchers, policy makers, and others.
The editorial team and consulting editors use the following criteria when reviewing the content of articles submitted to Young Children. We look for articles that
- reflect the current knowledge base in early childhood education
- describe real life examples of developmentally appropriate practice
- provide practical strategies for practitioners
- cite relevant research findings, when appropriate
- suggest ways to involve families, when appropriate
- consider the roles of culture, ethnicity, and home language when relevant to the content
- support inclusion of children with a range of abilities
- show respect for gender, culture, and home language
- reflect NAEYC's recent initiatives on developmentally appropriate practice and advancing equity
Articles selected for publication in Young Children are considered a contribution to the profession; authors do not receive fees or royalties. Articles published in Young Children are peer reviewed and vetted by the Young Children editorial team.
Young Children articles vary in content, length, and writing style. The best way to determine what types of manuscripts we are seeking is to read recently published articles. Many authors write about a particular classroom, school, or teacher they have observed. If your article describes another educator’s practice in detail, please acknowledge this contribution or consider including him or her as coauthor.
Young Children does not publish term papers, literature reviews without clear connections to practitioners, content or promotional pieces that focus on and promote one organization's products or services as editorial content, or reports that emphasize research methodology or the findings of an individual study. The journal does not accept articles already published elsewhere in print or electronic format. We expect that articles have not been simultaneously submitted to other publications.
Young Children articles are written in an informal, conversational style. They use active voice (e.g., “The teacher planned…” rather than “Plans were made by the teacher…”) and clear language. This makes the text easier and more enjoyable to read.
Each issue features a group of articles that address different aspects of a topic. Although cluster topics are decided on many months in advance (see below), in order to respond to topical issues and trends, the editors may change the publication date of a cluster from time to time.
These articles address important early childhood topics and have a variety of styles. General articles typically include
- innovative, research-based teaching strategies
- early childhood theories and research, along with recommended practices
- specific issues affecting young children
- professional stories and observations, often intended to enhance understanding of research-based practices
These are research-informed opinion pieces, similar to op-eds, that address specific questions, issues, or challenges of practices. A Viewpoint piece takes a particular stance or presents a specific perspective and offers supporting sources and examples. It should answer the question of why this viewpoint is important and impactful for early childhood teaching and learning as well as what it looks like in practice.
Young Children, NAEYC's award-winning, peer-reviewed journal, publishes four times a year, in Spring, Fall, Summer, and Winter.
We are excited to announce the cluster topics and associated due dates, which you will find in the table below, and we look forward to continuing to support educational excellence and focus on meeting the needs of all children, birth through third grade, through high-quality content in Young Children.
The table below provides the cluster topics for upcoming issues of Young Children, along with the due dates for submitting articles to be considered for each cluster.
Article Due Date
Informed and Guided by Context: Strengths-Based Teaching and Learning
October 2, 2023
Creating, Evaluating, and Supporting High-Quality Early Learning Programs
January 3, 2024
Transforming Our Understanding of and Approaches to Children’s Behaviors
March 11, 2024
Please note: We are no longer asking authors to submit proposals for cluster articles. Authors should submit complete articles (along with figures and photos, if possible).
When submitting an article to Young Children, please adhere to the following formatting and submission guidelines.
- All manuscripts must meet page-length requirements.
- General, cluster, and viewpoint articles: 3,000 - 3,500 words (not including the reference list or graphics)
If manuscripts are not formatted correctly, they will be unsubmitted until the appropriate changes are made.
- All manuscripts are subject to blind review. Make sure the name(s) of author(s) as well as specific workplaces/schools/program names do not appear on any pages of the article. This includes the reference list.
- Use pseudonyms in place of children's real names.
- Use in-text citations as outlined in The Chicago Manual of Style. Do not include footnotes.
- Include subheadings throughout the article.
- Use Times New Roman font, 12-point type, double space lines, and allow for at least 1-inch margins.
- Number the pages.
- Prepare the cover letter as a separate document.
- List the title of the article.
- Indicate the type of article (cluster topic, general, viewpoint).
- List the name, affiliation, title, and e-mail for each author.
- Designate one author as the primary contact.
- Provide a brief summary of how the submission offers useful and relevant information for teachers and other practitioners.
- Provide a brief abstract of 50 words or less.
Authors should provide accurate and complete information for references and resources. Young Children expects authors to focus on references published within the last 10 years (unless they are seminal sources) in order to reflect the most recent research and data. Use primary references when available and avoid online resources such as Wikipedia. Authors should also use the number of resources appropriate for the length of their manuscript.
We encourage authors to include informative, interesting visuals (e.g., high-resolution photographs, children's work samples, charts, and graphs) that enhance the content of the article and promote understanding. This is not a requirement.
The author must confirm completed model release forms for any recognizable person appearing in the author's photos (signed by any adult who appears in the photo and by the legal guardian of any child who appears in the photo). If the author did not take the photos but submits them with the article, the author must confirm that she or he has the right to publish the photos and that the photographer possesses the necessary model releases. The editorial team will reach out to the author upon acceptance to process the forms. NAEYC-approved model release forms are available from the editorial team if needed. Forms must be confirmed and provided to the editorial team before publication. Failure to do so will result in the visuals being excluded from publication.
The visuals themselves can be uploaded as separate files in Editorial Manager as part of the manuscript submission. Do not include them in the body of the article. Young Children does not pay authors for their own photos when they are integral to the content of the article.
Authors are responsible for seeking and maintaining written permission from parents or legal guardians to include photos of children or children's work samples, and for seeking and maintaining written permission to include photos of adults. These permissions must be provided to NAEYC for review prior to publication.
For quoted material longer than 100 words, as well as figures and tables (or the content therein), authors must seek and submit to Young Children written permission from the copyright holder prior to publication.
Young Children receives all submissions electronically through Editorial Manager. After creating an account, authors will find instructions for manuscript submission. Be sure to submit the cover letter, article, and photographs as separate files. Authors can view tutorials on the Editorial Manager website for assistance or e-mail the Young Children editorial staff at [email protected].
With the exception of cluster-topic articles, submissions are generally published 16 to 24 months after acceptance. Authors may check the status of their submissions by logging into their Editorial Manager account.
Please note: Individuals may submit only one article within a six-month period. Young Children's preferred practice is to publish a particular author only once per 12-month period. On rare occasions we make exceptions to best meet the needs of our readers.
Authors may submit only one article at a time. This holds true whether they are the only author, or one of several. If authors have written several articles for submission, they must decide which one to submit first.
After the article has been reviewed, the authors will be notified of its status. After receipt of this notification, the author may submit another article. Thus, only one article per author can be under initial consideration and review at a time.
The Young Children review process generally takes 6–8 months from receipt of manuscript. The process is compressed for cluster articles. The schedule may vary according to the schedule of our reviewers, many of whom are on the academic calendar.
Steps in the Review and Editing Process
|1. Initial reading. Given the volume of articles we receive, not all articles can be sent out for review, nor can we provide individual feedback on articles that are not reviewed. The editor in chief determines whether articles will go out for review. There are a number of reasons why articles are not sent out for review. Sometimes articles do not meet basic guidelines for content, writing style, length, or format. At times, the journal has a backlog of articles or has recently published an article on the same topic. In some cases, we receive a number of articles for a cluster that address the same topic and age group. The editor in chief might recommend revising an article before it is reviewed by consulting editors.||1 to 16 weeks after receipt|
|2. Peer review. Articles that meet basic guidelines undergo peer review by NAEYC’s consulting editors. The reviewers provide comments and suggestions. NAEYC senior staff may also review articles.||16 to 26 weeks after receipt|
3. Decision. Using all reviews as a guide, the editorial team determines one of the following as the next step.
The editor in chief notifies the author of the decision via e-mail. When necessary, this correspondence includes the reviewers' feedback and suggestions for enhancing the manuscript.
|26 to 32 weeks after receipt|
|4. Revision. When authors submit revised articles, they must include a summary of what the author did to address the reviewers’ feedback, through Editorial Manager.||Within 6 months of authors' receipt of decision e-mail|
From acceptance to print
It is not possible to determine in advance the exact publication dates of accepted articles (unless for a particular cluster). When planning issues, the editorial team considers the content, style, intended audience, and length of articles, as well as articles’ submission dates.
Authors are notified when their articles are scheduled for publication. They are asked to make updates—sometimes significant—and to complete biography, copyright transfer, and photograph submission and credit forms.
Editing involves substantive editing and copyediting by members of the editorial team. The lead editor returns the edited article to the author via email for final approval before the manuscript enters production. On occasion, last-minute changes in an issue’s content may cause publication of an article to be postponed.
Authors receive a protected PDF copy of their article and have the option to receive two print copies of the issue in which their article appears.
Annie Moses, PhD, Editor in Chief, Young Children
Susan Donsky, Managing Editor, Young Children
Email: [email protected]
Interested in writing for other NAEYC publications?
Check out our author guidelines for