Many in the early childhood field would agree that the momentum surrounding early childhood education throughout the country seems to be building in our favor. On local and national levels, in the media and the government, with educators and politicians, early care and learning is in the news. This is exciting, but I'm torn because although the polls are showing that a majority of Americans believe in the importance of early education and care, I wonder if change is actually on the horizon.
We in early learning and development have known for years, backed by science, that the early years are critical. We also know through research findings that professional learning is a key component in consistent high quality care. Many in the field have been shouting these facts for years! In fact, I'd argue that although our field has made recent strides forward, historically we've been moving at a snail's pace. We need a sense of urgency - now is the time for a monumental push (and perhaps a shove!) Stacie Goffin is calling on us, within the field, to develop a "collective will or a shared passion for creating an alternative future" for tomorrow's children. (Dahlin)
Did you notice in the first two paragraphs that different terms were used? Early childhood education, early care and learning, early education and care, early learning and development... why are there so many? Do they refer to the same thing? Why is it that in nearly every state there are various early childhood systems working individually, disconnected from others doing similar work. I've always questioned these "silos" that seem to be deep-rooted within our field. Why reinvent the wheel ourselves when we can tap into our field's greatest asset...each other!
Last spring, the Institute of Medicine and National Academy of Sciences released the Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth Through Age 8 report calling for the transformation of the early childhood workforce.