National Academies Press: OpenBook

Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth Through Age 8: A Unifying Foundation (2015)

Chapter:Part III: Implications of the Science for Early Care and Education

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Suggested Citation:"Part III: Implications of the Science for Early Care and Education." Institute of Medicine and National Research Council. 2015. Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth Through Age 8: A Unifying Foundation. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/19401.
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Part III
Implications of the Science for Early Care and Education

This part of the report examines the implications of the science of child development and early learning for the care and education of children from birth through age 8. The discussion is divided into three chapters.

Chapter 5 draws on the science of child development and early learning reported in Part II, as well as the realities of the landscape described in Chapter 2, to establish the critical need for continuity in care and education across the birth through age 8 continuum. It examines both vertical continuity over time as children move from one care and education setting to another, and horizontal continuity across the services and agencies that affect these young children at any given point in time. In addition, the chapter outlines the elements of professional practice, policies, and systems that need to be aligned to support that continuity: professional learning and workforce development; early learning standards; instructional strategies; learning environments; child assessments; accountability systems and data-driven improvement; family engagement; pathways for vertical continuity for children; and coordination and communication across professional roles, settings, and policies.

Chapter 6 then explores in greater depth the educational practices that, when applied with consistency and high quality over time for children as they age, can continuously support the development and early learning of children from birth through age 8. It examines cross-cutting principles for instructional practices and curricula, and their application to specific subject areas. This chapter also considers several other important topics related

Suggested Citation:"Part III: Implications of the Science for Early Care and Education." Institute of Medicine and National Research Council. 2015. Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth Through Age 8: A Unifying Foundation. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/19401.
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to educational practices, such as child assessment, working with special populations, engaging with families, and using technology effectively.

Finally, Chapter 7 considers the shared knowledge and competencies needed to provide consistent, high-quality care and education for children from birth through age 8, based on the science of child development and early learning, the knowledge base about educational practices, and the landscape of care and education and related sectors. In keeping with the scope of this report, the primary focus in Chapter 7 is on those professionals with direct, daily or near-daily responsibilities for the care and education of these young children in childcare settings and in preschools and elementary schools, as well as those in leadership roles in those settings. The chapter also discusses competencies that are important for different professional roles to work in synergy, both across settings within the care and education sector and between the care and education sector and other closely related sectors, especially health and social services.

Suggested Citation:"Part III: Implications of the Science for Early Care and Education." Institute of Medicine and National Research Council. 2015. Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth Through Age 8: A Unifying Foundation. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/19401.
×
Page207
Suggested Citation:"Part III: Implications of the Science for Early Care and Education." Institute of Medicine and National Research Council. 2015. Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth Through Age 8: A Unifying Foundation. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/19401.
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Page208
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Children are already learning at birth, and they develop and learn at a rapid pace in their early years. This provides a critical foundation for lifelong progress, and the adults who provide for the care and the education of young children bear a great responsibility for their health, development, and learning. Despite the fact that they share the same objective - to nurture young children and secure their future success - the various practitioners who contribute to the care and the education of children from birth through age 8 are not acknowledged as a workforce unified by the common knowledge and competencies needed to do their jobs well.

Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth Through Age 8 explores the science of child development, particularly looking at implications for the professionals who work with children. This report examines the current capacities and practices of the workforce, the settings in which they work, the policies and infrastructure that set qualifications and provide professional learning, and the government agencies and other funders who support and oversee these systems. This book then makes recommendations to improve the quality of professional practice and the practice environment for care and education professionals. These detailed recommendations create a blueprint for action that builds on a unifying foundation of child development and early learning, shared knowledge and competencies for care and education professionals, and principles for effective professional learning.

Young children thrive and learn best when they have secure, positive relationships with adults who are knowledgeable about how to support their development and learning and are responsive to their individual progress. Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth Through Age 8 offers guidance on system changes to improve the quality of professional practice, specific actions to improve professional learning systems and workforce development, and research to continue to build the knowledge base in ways that will directly advance and inform future actions. The recommendations of this book provide an opportunity to improve the quality of the care and the education that children receive, and ultimately improve outcomes for children.

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