In April 2015, the National Academies Press published a seminal volume for the early childhood education field. Transforming the Workforce for Children from Birth Through Age 8: A Unifying Foundation, puts forth a vision for shared knowledge and competencies for care and education professionals, and lays out many principles for effective preparation and ongoing professional learning. Transforming the Workforce’s recommendations, titled “Blueprint for Action,” do not call for minor tweaks to policy and practice. Instead, the report urges significant shifts to revamp how teachers, leaders, and other professionals working with children birth through age eight (B–8) are prepared, credentialed, and supported.
This will be no easy task. Much thought will need to be given to the appropriate roles for key players including federal, state, and local policymakers and the starting point of each state, recognizing that some are much further along in this work than others. Each state and community is starting at a different place. States have different governance and regulatory structures as well as political contexts, and so it is important to help stakeholders understand and effectively navigate each state’s unique landscape so they have a clear understanding of the best place to begin promoting transformation within their respective states.
The National Academy of Medicine has produced several resources based on the report. This multimedia guidebook is our contribution, complete with key takeaways, videos, interactive tools, a glossary, and more. We have designed it with three doorways for three different but overlapping audiences: educators who work directly with children, educators in higher education who prepare those educators, and policymakers interested in improving early learning settings for children from B–8.
Before you dive in, you may have some basic questions about where the movement started and what challenges it is trying to overcome. We begin with Frequently Asked Questions.