National Academies Press: OpenBook

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

Chapter:Part IV: Developing the Care and Education Workforce for Children Birth Through Age 8

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Suggested Citation:"Part IV: Developing the Care and Education Workforce for Children Birth Through Age 8." 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 IV

Developing the Care and Education Workforce for Children Birth Through Age 8

This part of the report focuses on the development of the care and education workforce that supports children from birth through age 8. The goal is to review the available mechanisms that can contribute to developing a workforce with the appropriate knowledge, competencies, and supports for quality professional practice.

As described in previous chapters, children from birth through age 8 interact with a large number of professional roles in many different settings and sectors. As discussed in this part of the report, different roles have variations in pathways for training, professional learning systems, licensure and credentialing systems, and other policies for oversight and accountability. In keeping with the scope of this study (described in Chapter 1), this part of the report focuses on educators who have regular (daily or near-daily), direct responsibilities for the care and education of young children in home- and center-based childcare settings that span birth through age 8, as well as preschools and elementary schools. In some cases, as with the knowledge and competencies addressed in Chapter 7, the discussion is inclusive of closely related professions such as home visitors, early intervention specialists, and mental health consultants, who may not have the same frequency of direct interaction with a child as educators but are closely linked to the professional practice of the educators who do and share some of the same professional learning systems. Those in leadership roles are also included as an important part of the care and education workforce.

This part of the report consists of four chapters. It begins with Chapter 8, which presents a framework for considering the key factors that contribute to workforce development and quality professional practice for care and

Suggested Citation:"Part IV: Developing the Care and Education Workforce for Children Birth Through Age 8." 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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education professionals who work with children aged 0-8. This framework extends beyond the systems and processes that contribute directly to the development of knowledge and competencies to encompass such elements as the practice environment, policies affecting professional requirements, evaluation systems, and the status and well-being of these professionals.

Chapter 9 focuses on higher education programs and on professional learning during ongoing practice. Chapter 10 turns to several other key factors in the comprehensive framework presented in Chapter 8. It begins by reviewing current qualification requirements for educators who work with children from birth through age 8, and considers the extent to which these existing requirements accomplish the goal of standardizing the quality of professional practice across this workforce. This chapter also examines systems and processes for evaluating educators of children from birth through age 8, as well as program accreditation and quality improvement systems.

Finally, Chapter 11 turns to factors in the committee’s framework for quality practice that are not always thought of as aspects of professional learning, but are nonetheless essential to developing a workforce capable of providing high-quality care and education for children from birth through age 8. These include institutional and other factors that contribute to the work environment and the status and well-being of these educators, such as compensation and benefits, staffing structures and career advancement pathways, retention, and health and well-being.

Part V/Chapter 12 of the report then builds on these and the preceding chapters to present the committee’s recommendations for how stakeholders at the local, state, and national levels can work together to improve systems for professional learning and workforce development.

Suggested Citation:"Part IV: Developing the Care and Education Workforce for Children Birth Through Age 8." 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.
×
Page355
Suggested Citation:"Part IV: Developing the Care and Education Workforce for Children Birth Through Age 8." 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.
×
Page356
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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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