advocacy strategies for early childhood education

Through Congressional and grassroots advocacy, as well as our own professional development and training programs, Teaching Strategies supports policies and practices designed to create a well-funded, high-quality system of early childhood education. A developmental rationale asserts that high-quality early experiences both in home and out of home benefit young children and provide them with the skills and dispositions necessary to succeed in school and community. In January 2020, Trying Together launched its second Early Childhood Education (ECE) Advocacy Fellowship. By nature, good advocates make good leaders, as they articulate the needs of children and families and offer concrete solutions to the barriers that face those who are too young to vote or whose economic or social status puts them on the margins. Teachers, social workers, and community organizers may come together to advocate for after-school care for elementary-aged children. These professionals attempt to improve the way the institutions in which they work meet the needs of their clients, patient, and customers by arguing for more responsive, accessible, and affordable services. To muster support for the issue being addressed, advocates turn to state and national data sources provided in the annual Kids Count profiles of child well-being published by the Anne E. Casey Foundation or the State of America’s Children reports released each year by the Children’s Defense Fund. The administration attempted to reduce funding or weaken regulations for programs such as Head Start, the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (PL 94-142), and federal subsidies for low-income families in need of day care. Vote with ECE in mind - in local, state and federal elections.Hannah Riddle is an advocate, facilitator and co-founder of SolBe Learning, an early learning ecosystem providing holistic care for infants, toddlers and preschoolers. In a democratic society with elected governing bodies, the power of numbers is the key to the change process. Week of the Young Child Celebrate young children and their families with hands-on activities encouraging movement … Know your resources: find referral materials and trusted agencies within your community to help your families.3. Such strategies may include collaborative, participatory organizing at the grassroots level as well as less direct means such as support for political candidates or testifying before local, state, or federal legislative bodies in order to enact child-focused social policies. In addition, early childhood advocates often teach parents to become self-advocates, capable of speaking directly to teachers, administrators, or policymakers on matters that affect their ability to care for and educate their own children and the children of others. Mark Shriver “Early childhood education is the most important economic and social justice question that our country is facing. Healthy Start, Inc. Pittsburgh has partnered with Trying Together to facilitate and implement the League. The child advocacy organizations mentioned earlier are one example of such coalitions or alliances. About Ed Trust–NY: The Education Trust–New York works for educational justice and the high academic achievement of all students at all levels, from early childhood through college completion. Savage inequalities: Children in America’s schools. Advocacy is the active support of an idea or cause expressed through strategies and methods that influence the opinions and decisions of people and organisations. Washington, DC: Children’s Resources International; Kagan, S. L., and B. T. Bowman (1997). (1995, p. 47) offer a comprehensive inventory of the skills most needed by those who serve as leaders in social service organizations. Formal advocacy organizations are concerned with practices or policies that affect groups of individuals or multiple communities. External advocates are those who are not employed by the organization of concern or who do not live in the immediate community but who identify systematic injustices or inequities that they believe should be addressed. This moral stance is concerned less with saving money, enabling parents to work outside of the home, or improving children’s later academic achievement than it is with acknowledging a collective responsibility to and for all citizens, including those in the earliest stages of their lives. Strategies for Children works to ensure that Massachusetts invests the resources needed for all children, from birth to age five, to access high-quality early education programs that prepare them for success in school and life. • An understanding of constructivist learning for all humans. Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 3.0 Unported CC BY-SA 3.0. Internal advocacy occurs when teachers, social workers, health care workers, or others use their positions within schools, hospitals, day-care centers, and other child-serving organizations to speak on behalf of children and families. Although some advocacy efforts are more successful than others, it is the process of the advocacy and voices behind it that matter most. She also serves as a Bilingual Professional Development Specialist for the Council of Professional Recognition. Informed Advocacy in Early Childhood Care and Education: Making a Difference for Young Children and Families deconstructs the myth that advocacy is something done by someone else, or only by someone at state or national levels of government.Rather, advocacy is a skill and responsibility to be practiced at the local level by any and all of us. These are broad concepts but are applicable to early childhood advocates who work simultaneously with children, parents, colleagues, policymakers, community leaders, and other allies. The first of the eight goals stated, “By the year 2000, all children in America will start school ready to learn.” This simple statement in turn led to a national Success by Six movement organized by the United Way in conjunction with hundreds of community-based organizations. In the 1980s, child advocates were especially challenged by the Reagan administration, which attempted to significantly reduce federal support for many of the antipoverty and civil rights policies enacted in the previous two decades. . Perhaps the most essential strategy for child advocates is to form coalitions with others in order to speak with one voice that will be heard by those who are in a position to effect change. Advocacy, which is too often viewed merely as a political tool, can be so much more; it includes speaking for, supporting or defending a person, group or cause. To carry out their responsibilities, public officials require and welcome the advice that well-informed people (like you) provide. [The Children’s Defense Fund] pays particular attention to the needs of poor and minority children and those with disabilities” (from the CDF mission statement). This article focuses on two such leaders, one at the state level and the other at the community level. Advocacy, which is too often viewed merely as a political tool, can be so much more; it includes speaking for, supporting or defending a person, group or cause. Other community organizations also will help to support League members in their advocacy efforts. This focus on social and economic justice has expanded in recent years to include such areas as children’s sexual understandings and identity and the particular realities of AIDS as experienced by parents and teachers as well as children (cf., Silin, 1995). Early Childhood Advocacy Toolkit - This advocacy toolkit is designed to help parents, student groups, practitioners, and other advocates get involved in the public policy-making process by educating key audiences about, and developing support for, early childhood initiatives. Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children; Kozol, J. In Massachusetts, Early Childhood Program Standards require that by 2017 all newly hired preschool teachers hold a bachelor’s degree that includes 18 credits in early childhood and a practicum in early education. Personal advocacy is usually informal and involves educating others on an issue about early childhood education. Earning a CDA is the best first step on the path to professionalizing early childhood education - and advocacy is included within the credentialing program as a critical topic. However, improving the education and training of the early education and care workforce presents • An understanding of context so that communities of memories can be continually drawn and enriched. Coalition building. Evolving social conceptions of inclusion and children’s rights have been responsive to such realities, in turn demanding of advocates a broader set of lenses than has been the case in the past. At the federal level, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights and the National Center for Educational Statistics are important sources of data for child advocates. A year later, the Harvard Educational Review published a landmark collection of essays on “The Rights of Children,” the first comprehensive set of arguments that the social and economic needs of children deserve as much attention as those of other disenfranchised groups in the United States. Advocacy can occur individually, collectively, or a combination of both. Lambert et al. The custodial rationale argues that society has a collective or shared responsibility to care for young children while their parents work. The focus of civil rights advocacy on universal social justice has become a core principle of child advocacy. This includes: Early childhood education and care (preschool, long day care, … Also in 1989, the United Nations promulgated the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which proclaimed that, “childhood is entitled to special care and assistance [and therefore] the family, as the fundamental group of society and the natural environment for the growth and well-being of all its members and particularly children, should be afforded the necessary protection and assistance so that it can fully assume its responsibilities within the community.” These two statements, one at the national level and one at the international level, have provided significant support for those who advocate on behalf of children and families. Individual versus organizational advocacy. Early childhood providers are everyday advocates for their children, families, communities and the early education field. Making a difference: A parents guide to advocacy and community action. Early childhood providers are everyday advocates for their children, families, communities and the early education field. Leadership in early care and education. Advocates must be able to effectively communicate in oral and written forms their understandings, views, and positions on issues related to children’s well-being, for both lay and professional audiences. This is especially effective when a child or family is confronted with a complex bureaucracy with multiple regulations that require expertise to negotiate or receive the desired service. June 2019 Newsletter – Advocacy in Early Childhood Education: Advocacy Opportunities in ECE May 31, 2019 May 30, 2019 There are many opportunities for advocacy that relate to the field of ECE, and while some are large national initiatives, there are also causes that relate directly to individual states and communities. Business leaders and real estate agents might be concerned about the affordability of housing in a community in order to reduce homelessness. Share your experience and knowledge with parents, colleagues and anyone willing to listen.2. Individual versus organizational advocacy. In addition to operating from core values such as a commitment to social justice, advocates rely on empirical data to argue on behalf of children. From state to state, the resources available to families and child care providers may vary. External advocates are those who are not employed by the organization of concern or who do not live in the immediate community but who identify systematic injustices or inequities that they believe should be addressed. Early Childhood Australia’s Advocacy What Early Childhood Australia (ECA) stands for: As the national peak body for early childhood, ECA is a regular, and trusted, contributor to the public policy debate on all matters affecting young children (birth to eight years) and their families. Advocates use a range of tools that incorporate comprehensive data about the status and plight of children and apply specific strategies meant to change the ways in which institutions or communities respond to the needs of children. In early childhood education, the work of advocacy entails speaking up on behalf of young children and their families in order to create more just, equitable, and effective social policies or community services. More than ever, early childhood educators are the voices that sing in harmony about the benefits of high-quality care and professionalization of the field. The goal of early childhood advocacy is to improve the lives of children and families by influencing legislators’ and policymakers’ opinions and activities. A citizenship rationale, more prevalent in western European nations, views young children as citizens with fundamental civil and human rights, including access to the same level of support and education enjoyed by youth and adults. The social justice emphasis in child advocacy has also been advanced considerably by the writings of Jonathan Kozol over the past two decades in such books as Savage Inequalities (Kozol, 1991) and Amazing Grace (Kozol, 1995). Both have employed effective advocacy strategies to raise awareness, mobilize the public and other advocates, and influence the public policy process in direct ways. Everyday advocacy shapes the bright future of our profession and positive outcomes for children.Five simple steps to advocate for our children and profession:1. In a democratic society with elected governing bodies, the power of numbers is the key to the change process. Business leaders and real estate agents might be concerned about the affordability of housing in a community in order to reduce homelessness. The child advocacy organizations mentioned earlier are one example of such coalitions or alliances. Judges, lawyers, and police may share work together to strengthen child protection systems in order to reduce child abuse and offer prevention programs. Consider for a moment these everyday activities; inviting parents to volunteer in your classroom, recommending breastfeeding resources, or talking about child development milestones with friends and family. Advocates may work on behalf of individuals or through formal advocacy organizations. Leadership [is a] process by which one person sets certain standards and expectations and influences the actions of others to behave in what is considered a desirable direction. The most effective advocacy coalitions bring all these groups together in nonpartisan organizations such as the Voices for Katrina’s Children network formed after the 2005 Gulf Coast hurricanes and supported by the Packard Foundation. Amazing Grace: The lives of children and the conscience of a nation. The National Association for the Education of Young Children’s (NAEYC) annual Week-of-the-Young-Child, held each April, is another example of advocacy conducted by an organization consisting of some 100,000 early childhood teachers and administrators. Speak up! . New York: Crown; Kozol, J. Corporate and political leaders began to see that the inability of the United States to compete economically with Japan (see Volume 4) and Western Europe was due in part to insufficient investment in the lives of young children. Advocacy and Leadership in Early Childhood Education To advocate is to give voice to a particular issue or concern through the processes of persuasion, argument, or direct action intended to draw attention to the cause and propose concrete changes or solutions. In the former, friends, allies, guardians, or lawyers speak on behalf of a child or family that does not otherwise have the skills, knowledge, or confidence to speak for themselves. Early childhood professionals have an ethical obligation to promote shared aspirations amongst communities in order to enhance children’s health and wellbeing, advocate for the development and implementation of laws and policies that promote child-friendly communities, and to utilise knowledge and research to advocate for universal access to a range of high-quality early childhood programs for all … In this week’s episode we examine advocacy in early childhood education – what it means, methods, implications, trends and channels – with someone who is, herself, a passionate advocate for quality early education for all children, regardless of socioeconomic status. If you look at it economically, you have folks like James Heckman, Nobel Prize-winning economist out of the University of Chicago, talking about high-quality early childhood education, 13% savings per kid per year. New York: Teachers College Press; Silin, J. G. (1995). (1995). These include the following: • A sense of purpose and ethics, because honesty and trust are fundamental to relationships. In the Early Childhood Leadership and Advocacy specialization, you will critically review the latest research to understand the complex family, cultural, societal, and developmental influences that affect child development and learning. In Informed Advocacy in Early Childhood Care and Education: Making a Difference for Young Children and Families the author outlines six contexts for advocacy in the field of early childhood education -- individual child and family, advocacy for the profession, program-based advocacy, private-sector advocacy, political activism, and advocacy in the global arena. © Copyright 2020 Council for Professional Recognition. Join us at the members-only event and build your advocacy skills, expand your networks, and advance federal and state early childhood policy. Often, internal and external advocates form alliances to put pressure on administrators or elected officials in order to stimulate change. In this light, the work of advocates has been especially influenced by the strategies and successes of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement beginning in the late 1950s, in which a wide range of methods have been applied effectively including civil disobedience, street protests, petitioning, legislative action, and community organizing. If you are the copyright holder of any material contained on our site and intend to remove it, please contact our site administrator for approval. Early Head Start, which provides early education services to low-income families with children under three. Description. Judges, lawyers, and police may share work together to strengthen child protection systems in order to reduce child abuse and offer prevention programs. The most effective advocacy coalitions bring all these groups together in nonpartisan organizations such as the Voices for Katrina’s Children network formed after the 2005 Gulf Coast hurricanes and supported by the Packard Foundation. Advocates may work on behalf of individuals or through formal advocacy organizations. In the former, friends, allies, guardians, or lawyers speak on behalf of a child or family that does not otherwise have the skills, knowledge, or confidence to speak for themselves. Advocates identify social and personal barriers that prevent families and communities from fostering children’s healthy development. (1994). To muster support for the issue being addressed, advocates turn to state and national data sources provided in the annual Kids Count profiles of child well-being published by the Anne E. Casey Foundation or the State of America’s Children reports released each year by the Children’s Defense Fund. At the federal level, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights and the National Center for Educational Statistics are important sources of data for child advocates. by 2013. Welcome to our podcast about all things early childhood education. There are three major federally funded early learning and childhood education programs: Head Start, which provides preschool services to low-income families with children ages three to five. Get involved with policy: start today with NAEYC's Advocacy ideas.5. The Early Childhood League will be composed of a minimum of 25 selected parents and other caregivers of young children. . Reprint series no. In this light, advocates must be capable of analyzing and critiquing federal and state social policies as they affect the lives of young children. Over the years parents, professionals, and politicians have come together to advocate on behalf of children’s rights. A human capital rationale assumes that early financial investment in the lives of children produces long-term returns that will ultimately save society subsequent expenses associated with remediation, compensation, or even incarceration. Leaders are people who can influence the behavior of others for the purpose of achieving a goal.” As indicated throughout this entry, these leadership attributes are synonymous with those of effective child advocates. Raise awareness: participate in community events and celebrate children's learning. Leadership in early childhood: The pathway to professionalism. Often alliances of groups with similar missions or values are developed by advocacy leaders. . Others include the Child Welfare League of America and the National Association of Child Advocates, which represents state-level organizations such as the Children’s Alliance of New Hampshire or the Advocates for the Children of New York. Download the PDF to read the full article. This growing concern led directly to the 1989 Education Summit, at which the nation’s governors declared a set of National Educational Goals for the first time ever. The Children’s Defense Fund cited earlier is perhaps the most widely known of these advocacy organizations. Teachers, social workers, and community organizers may come together to advocate for after-school care for elementary-aged children. National Advocacy Organizations The SEEDS Network believes that access to quality early care and education should be available to all families in our country. • A deep understanding of change and transitions, because change is not what we thought it was. To support early care and education, consider advocating about improving the quality, availability and affordability of childcare in New Jersey. Early childhood advocacy generally relies on multiple rationales to argue on behalf of children and families. Advocacy In Early Childhood Education In this assignment, you will use the following transferable skills: Communication Critical thinking Digital fluency Ethics and professional responsibility You will use these skills to contribute to professional, in-field knowledge through the creation of three products for your Public Policy Tool Kit: a statement of the importance of advocacy […] The options can be characterized along the following dimensions: Internal versus external advocacy. In this nine-month program, selected early care and education professionals meet once per month to engage in half-day workshops; hear from informed early childhood, public policy, or community leaders; network; and more. Join us at the members-only event and build your advocacy skills, expand your networks, and advance federal and state early childhood policy. At the same time, however, the human capital rationale described earlier was gaining credence, partly because of the values that became dominant during the Reagan years. To advocate is to give voice to a particular issue or concern through the processes of persuasion, argument, or direct action intended to draw attention to the cause and propose concrete changes or solutions. New York: Crown; L. Lambert, D. Walker, D. P. Zimmerman, J. E. Cooper, M. D. Lambert, M. E. Gardner, and P. J. Ford Slack (1995). Sex, death, and the education of Children: Our passion for ignorance in the age of AIDS (the politics of identity and education). Further Readings: Charnov, D. J., and C. Rutsch (2000). These professionals attempt to improve the way the institutions in which they work meet the needs of their clients, patient, and customers by arguing for more responsive, accessible, and affordable services. Below is a list of some of the national advocacy resources that are available. Others include the Child Welfare League of America and the National Association of Child Advocates, which represents state-level organizations such as the Children’s Alliance of New Hampshire or the Advocates for the Children of New York. 9, Harvard Educational Review; Rodd, J. As Rodd (1994, p. 2) states it, “Leadership is about vision and influence. NAEYC is focused on federal initiatives to ensure high-quality early learning experiences for every child. This is especially effective when a child or family is confronted with a complex bureaucracy with multiple regulations that require expertise to negotiate or receive the desired service. The Role of Parents in the Language Development of Their Children. Early childhood advocates focus on the ethical, social, and practical responsibilities that arise in the context of work with children and families. You will find information from what a gifted child "looks" like, books, teacher training, parent involvement suggestions, as well as a state-by-state guide to gifted education. New York: Teachers College Press; The Rights of Children (1974). • A personal identity that allows for courage and risk, low ego needs, and a sense of possibilities. In 1973, the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) was founded by Marian Wright Edelman to “provide a strong, effective voice for all the children of America who cannot vote, lobby, or speak for themselves. The Children’s Defense Fund cited earlier is perhaps the most widely known of these advocacy organizations. The Education Trust–New York seeks a full-time Early Childhood Policy & Advocacy Associate, who will help to implement Ed Trust–NY’s early childhood education policy agenda. Advocacy Topics ECE 3010: Advocating for Young Children. Data-based advocacy. A great place to look for help and resources when developing an advocacy plan is the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) This is a one-stop-shop for gifted children. Often, internal and external advocates form alliances to put pressure on administrators or elected officials in order to stimulate change. All materials on the site are licensed Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 3.0 Unported CC BY-SA 3.0 & GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL). Finally, an ethical rationale suggests that society should provide high-quality, accessible, affordable services to young children and their families because it is the right thing to do. Early childhood advocates are especially concerned with enhancing the lives of children who experience social and/or economic disadvantage because of their race, ability, ethnicity, native language, family income, or place of residence. © 2016-2020 All site design rights belong to S.Y.A. In this light, early childhood educators must not only be good teachers, but they must also understand the processes of systems change, policy development and implementation, how to use the media effectively, how to supervise and support beginning teachers, and how to connect children and families to networks of social services. Argues that society has a collective or shared responsibility to care for young children while their parents work definition... And social justice has become a core principle of child advocacy organizations social justice question that our country facing...: teachers College Press ; Silin, J. G. ( 1995 ) estate agents might be concerned about the of! A range of strategies depending on their circumstances and goals childhood policy providers are advocates. Early education field and a sense of purpose and ethics, because framing, deepening, and federal... 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