May 7, 2018

Early Childhood Leadership Degree Programs: An Emergent Academic Discipline

by McCormick Center

In response to the 2017 release of NAEYC’s Early Childhood Higher Education (ECHE) Directory,1 Mary Harril, Senior Director of Higher Education at the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), raised some important concerns about the complexity of degree programs and pathways for the early childhood education workforce.2 She noted that there are over 3,000 early childhood degree programs, with more than 60 different names at certain levels, which may include multiple tracks for each degree, and are housed in a variety of divisions or departments within a college or university. Researchers at the McCormick Center examined the ECHE Directory to determine the prevalence of degree programs for early childhood leaders and posted the results on the L.E.A.D. Early Childhood Clearinghouse website.They found a similar array of degree names and complexity in the education pathways to program leadership, which suggests a need to define and clarify how ECE leaders—directors, family child care providers, and other administrators—are prepared. As NAEYC facilitates the Power to the Profession initiative, specialization in early childhood program leadership is especially relevant. Greater clarity about the professional preparation of the early childhood workforce, including program leaders, is needed as the Power to the Profession initiative advances.… Download this resource to read the rest of the research.

This resource is part of our Research Notes series.