National Academies Press: OpenBook
« Previous: 11 Status and Well-Being of the Workforce
Suggested Citation:"Part IV Summation." 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.
×

Part IV

Summation

As adults with responsibility for young children, all professionals in the early care and education workforce have a similarly complex and challenging scope of work and make a highly valuable contribution to healthy child development and early learning. However, the sophistication and complexity of these professional roles are not consistently recognized and reflected in practices and policies regarding education requirements, professional learning expectations and supports, and compensation and other working conditions.

Science has converged on the importance of early childhood, but that understanding is not yet reflected in recognition of the critical role of the professionals who work with young children from infancy through the early elementary years. There is a growing base of knowledge about how children learn and develop, what children need from their interactions and relationships with adults, and what adults should be doing to support children from the beginning of their lives. Yet that knowledge is not consistently channeled to adults who are responsible for supporting the development and early learning of children, and those adults are not consistently implementing that knowledge in their professional practice and interactions with young children. This gap exists in large part because current policies and systems fall far short of placing enough value on the knowledge and competencies required of high-quality professionals in the care and education workforce for children birth through age 8, and the expectations and conditions of their employment do not adequately and consistently reflect their significant contribution to children’s long-term success.

Much is known not only about what professionals who provide care

Suggested Citation:"Part IV Summation." 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.
×

and education for young children should know and be able to do, but also about what professional learning and other supports are needed for prospective and practicing educators. Although this knowledge and understanding has informed standards and other statements and frameworks articulating what should be, those standards are not fully reflected in the current capacities, practices, and policies of the workforce and their leadership; the settings and systems in which they work; the infrastructure and systems that set qualifications and provide professional learning in higher education and during ongoing practice; and the government and other funders that support and oversee those systems.

The breakdowns that have led to this gap include the lingering influence of historical differences in how different professional roles have evolved with different expectations and status; limited mutual understanding, communication, and strategic coordination across decentralized and diverse communities of practice and policy; and a lack of a concerted effort to review and improve professional learning systems that support educators before and during practice. These barriers impede both improving how the current workforce is supported and transforming how the future workforce is cultivated. Changes within and across multiple systems are needed to strengthen the early care and education workforce through supports that include informed leadership; access to high-quality degree-granting programs; ongoing professional learning opportunities; practice environments that enable and reinforce the quality of their work; and attention to their working conditions, well-being, compensation, and perceived status or prestige. These changes would help lead to a convergent rather than a divergent approach to caring for and teaching young children, one that would allow for continuity from birth through elementary school settings.

Perspectives from the Field

“We’ll never move things forward unless we create disruption.”

————————

See Appendix C for additional highlights from interviews.

Suggested Citation:"Part IV Summation." 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.
×
Page483
Suggested Citation:"Part IV Summation." 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.
×
Page484
Next: Part V: Blueprint for Action »
Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth Through Age 8: A Unifying Foundation Get This Book
×
Buy Paperback | $79.95 Buy Ebook | $64.99
MyNAP members save 10% online.
Login or Register to save!
Download Free PDF

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.

  1. ×

    Welcome to OpenBook!

    You're looking at OpenBook, NAP.edu's online reading room since 1999. Based on feedback from you, our users, we've made some improvements that make it easier than ever to read thousands of publications on our website.

    Do you want to take a quick tour of the OpenBook's features?

    No Thanks Take a Tour »
  2. ×

    Show this book's table of contents, where you can jump to any chapter by name.

    « Back Next »
  3. ×

    ...or use these buttons to go back to the previous chapter or skip to the next one.

    « Back Next »
  4. ×

    Jump up to the previous page or down to the next one. Also, you can type in a page number and press Enter to go directly to that page in the book.

    « Back Next »
  5. ×

    Switch between the Original Pages, where you can read the report as it appeared in print, and Text Pages for the web version, where you can highlight and search the text.

    « Back Next »
  6. ×

    To search the entire text of this book, type in your search term here and press Enter.

    « Back Next »
  7. ×

    Share a link to this book page on your preferred social network or via email.

    « Back Next »
  8. ×

    View our suggested citation for this chapter.

    « Back Next »
  9. ×

    Ready to take your reading offline? Click here to buy this book in print or download it as a free PDF, if available.

    « Back Next »
Stay Connected!