Early Childhood Organizations


Resources for continued professional improvement

The field of early childhood education includes an abundance of organizations that support the professional development of early childhood teachers and that promote improvements in services to young children. Teachers become members of one or more of these associations to help them grow professionally, stay current on early childhood issues, and participate in group efforts to promote change. Listed below are some professional associations that are particularly relevant to CDA Candidates and Child Development Associates. In addition to membership benefits, these organizations also offer a wide variety of resource materials.

Early Childhood Membership Associations
Additional Early Childhood Websites

Early Childhood Membership Associations

Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI)

ACEI is a global community of educators and advocates who unite knowledge, experience, and perspectives in order to exchange information, explore innovation, and advocate for children. The Association promotes and supports the optimal education and development of children, from birth through early adolescence, and the professional growth of educators and others committed to the needs of children in a changing society.

Child Care Aware of America

Child Care Aware is the national network of more than 700 child care resource and referral centers located in every state and most communities across the U.S. These centers help families, child care providers, and communities find, provide, and plan for affordable, quality child care.

Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), Division for Early Childhood (DEC)

CEC is an international organization dedicated to improving educational outcomes for individuals with exceptionalities, students with disabilities, and/or those who are gifted. DEC is the Division of CEC that focuses on young children (birth through age 8) who have or are at risk for developmental delays and disabilities.

Military Child Education Coalition (MCEC)
The Military Child Education Coalition (MCEC) is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit, world-wide organization. A model of positive leadership and advocacy, the MCEC’s work is focused on ensuring quality educational opportunities for all military-connected children affected by mobility, family separation, and transition. The MCEC performs research, develops resources, conducts professional institutes and conferences, and publishes resources for all constituencies.

National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)

NAEYC is dedicated to improving the well-being of all young children, with particular focus on the quality of educational and developmental services for all children from birth through age 8. The Association administers a voluntary, national accreditation system for high-quality early childhood programs, sponsors a variety of initiatives to improve professional preparation of early childhood educators, and produces a wide array of early childhood resources. NAEYC membership provides participation in both national and local services through the Association's network of over 300 local, state, and regional Affiliates.

National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC)

NAFCC is dedicated to promoting quality child care by strengthening the profession of family child care. NAFCC provides technical assistance to family child care associations by promoting leadership development and by promoting quality and professionalism through the organization's accreditation process for family child care providers.

National Black Child Development Institute (NBCDI)

NBCDI provides and supports programs, workshops, and resources for African American children, their parents and communities in early health and education, health, elementary and secondary education, child welfare, and parenting. Affiliate chapters in many regions of the country provide direct services at the community level.

National Head Start Association (NHSA)

NHSA is dedicated to meeting the needs of Head Start children and their families. The Association provides support for the Head Start community by advocating for policies to strengthen Head Start services; providing training and professional development to Head Start staff; and developing and disseminating research, information, and resources that enrich Head Start program delivery.

World Organization for Early Childhood Education-United States National Committee (OMEP-USNC)

OMEP is the only worldwide non-governmental organization that focuses on education and welfare of young children, aged from birth to 8. OMEP assists any undertaking to improve early childhood education, and supports scientific research that can influence these conditions. The USNC works to educate its members and the public about issues relating to young children throughout the world.

Additional Early Childhood Websites

The following groups also provide valuable information and resources for early childhood professionals. They are listed separately because they are not structured as individual membership associations.

Office of Head Start

This website provides comprehensive information about Head Start programs, services, statistics, and events.

ACF Office of Child Care
The Office of Child Care supports low-income working families through child care financial assistance and promotes children's learning by improving the quality of early care and education and afterschool programs. The Office of Child Care was established in September 2010 and replaces the former Child Care Bureau.

National Child Care Information Center (NCCIC)

NCCIC is a national clearinghouse and technical assistance center linking parents, providers, policy-makers, researchers, and the public to early care and education information.

Pre-K Now

Pre-K Now's mission is to collaborate with advocates and policymakers to lead a movement for high-quality, voluntary pre-kindergarten for all three- and four-year olds.

Reggio Emilia

The Reggio Emilia (Italy) approach to early childhood education is an inspiration to early childhood educators worldwide. Ideas about this approach can be accessed through publications, a newsletter, traveling exhibits, and seminars.


ZERO TO THREE's mission is to support the healthy development and well-being of infants, toddlers and their families. This multidisciplinary organization advances its mission by informing, educating, and supporting adults who influence the lives of infants and toddlers.