Last week the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) held its annual convention in Anaheim, California. The conference brought together thousands of early childhood educators, unified around a common commitment to improve programs for young children and support parents who are trying to balance the sometime competing demands of work and family.
As parents, you would have been comforted to see the passion and dedication of the attendees, who have devoted their professional careers in support of the children of our country and who recognize the importance of the precious years of childhood. They take their responsibility seriously, and they believe that every child deserves a chance to have the best possible start in life–and that quality early childhood education is an important part of the path to success in school and beyond.
I had the opportunity to moderate an engaging panel that looked at the relationship among research, policy, and practice in improving the quality of the early childhood education programs in the US. The panelists included Pat Koh, the founder of Pat’s Schoolhouse, a leading provider of early childhood education in Singapore; Dr. Linda C. Halgunseth, Research Associate at the Center for Family Research in Diverse Contexts at Penn State University; and Danielle Ewen, Director of the Child Care and Early Education team at the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP).
In addition to this session, there were nearly 20 other presentations from representatives of Knowledge Universe (including KinderCare Learning Centers, CCLC, Knowledge Beginnings, and The Grove School), who shared their expertise on topics that ranged from developing and implementing sustainable and eco-friendly practices in the early childhood setting to inquiry-based learning that encourages young children to explore and make sense of the world around them to becoming a more effective early childhood leader.
In addition to NAEYC, I spoke last week at a Mom Congress Town Hall event, sponsored by Knowledge Universe, with Stephanie Wood, Deputy Editor of Parenting magazine, and Dr. Jacqueline Jones, Senior Advisor to the Secretary for Early Learning at the U.S. Department of Education, on how parents, educators and policy makers can better advocate for early childhood education.
Dr. Jones underscored what we all know to be so true: parents are a child’s first and foremost teacher and homes offer a powerful learning environment. She emphasized the important role families play in providing children with a home rich in language, literacy and experience – and highlighted various programs the Administration is developing to engage and support parents in this critical task.
To find out more about the work that NAEYC and the US Department of Education are doing in the field, I encourage parents to visit the Early Learning Initiative site.Previous PostNext Post