Professionalizing Early Childhood Education: How Do We Get From Here to There? | Policy [M]atters, Episode 7

by Stacie Goffin and Teri Talan

Policy Matters is a quarterly video chat series between Teri Talan of the McCormick Center and a guest author in early childhood policy. Our guest author for Episodes 5-8 is Stacie Goffin. Want to catch up or revisit the series? Explore previous chats and topics here.

Welcome to Policy Matters episode 7.

Episode 7 is a continuation of episode 6, where Stacie and Teri solidified the distinction between ‘occupation’ and ‘profession’. In episode 7, Stacie and Teri use the parallels they drew from other fields to address the question of how do we get from here to there?

Stacie offers a pathway for the field’s journey toward becoming recognized as a profession, saying it begins with first making a commitment to change, defining the age span encompassed by the profession, and identifying the roles included. She then touches on the critical role of higher education in ensuring the profession’s competencies are universally acquired, while highlighting the state’s role in overseeing the individual licensure process.

Teri highlights what can be learned from other fields of practice that have sought to professionalize, including acceptance of a profession-wide understanding of the core early childhood knowledge and skills and the important connection to state regulation. The conversation dives a bit deeper when Teri and Stacie discuss the potential for specializations. Both Teri and Stacie mention NAEYC’s Power to the Profession as an initiative worthy of our attention.

What other aspects need to be considered on the road from here to there? What questions or comments do you have for Teri and Stacie? Share them in the comments section below.

Dr. Teri Talan is the Michael W. Louis Chair at the McCormick Center and Professor of Early Childhood Education at National Louis University. She is co-author of the Program Administration Scale, Business Administration Scale for Family Child Care, Escala de Evaluación de la Administración de Negocios, and Who’s Caring for the Kids? The Status of the Early Childhood Workforce in Illinois.

A recognized leader and author in early childhood education, Stacie Goffin has led change initiatives spanning higher education, local, state, and national organizations; organizational development; and advocacy, resulting in change for systems, policy, and practice. Stacie is a member of the McCormick Center’s Advisory Board and is a frequent presenter at the McCormick Center’s Leadership Connections national conference. Stacie has authored several books, including: Professionalizing Early Childhood Education As a Field of Practice: A Guide to the Next Era, Early Childhood Education for a New Era: Leading for Our Profession,and Ready or Not: Leadership Choices in Early Care and Education, which was co-authored Valora Washington.