Early Childhood Education as a Profession and the Investments Required

November 6, 2015

Early childhood education is finally getting its time in the spotlight. It’s great to see more and more funding going into programs that will make a difference for thousands of young children and their families. But, I haven’t heard much about early childhood education as a profession. As the CEO of Teachstone and a CPA by training, I want to step back and talk about three investments we need to commit to the adults supporting our youngest learners.

Forming a genuine partnership between organization and caregiver

Have you set goals for your organization yet? If not, I’d encourage you to check out my colleague, Rebecca’s, recent blog post on annual reflection and goal setting. If you have already set goals, take a look at them again. Do your goals align with the needs of your staff? Ask your teachers if they feel encouraged and sustained by the administration. When teachers don’t feel like their institution is working with them, they leave.

Take this recent interview with the UK’s Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (OFSTED) boss Sir Michael Wilshaw. He explained why teachers were leaving the profession—their leaders weren’t supporting them. He remarked that, “The thing that puts off teachers is working in an institution that’s not good and that’s poorly led, and where behavior, particularly, is poor.”

Dedicating time for reflection and improvement

Teachers need space in their schedule for training, professional development, and other growth opportunities. They must to be able to reflect on the needs of their students and have the time to learn how to better support struggling students. And, most important, we have to offer these opportunities to teachers in a way that meets their individual challenges and is personalized to their learning styles.

The good news is that it’s easier now than ever to provide this individualized support to teachers. With online professional development like myTeachstone you can take a systematic approach that combines teacher observation data with customized learning paths and leverages existing coaching structures.

Getting real about teacher pay

We have to pay our teachers worthy wages. Quality teachers deserve quality pay, otherwise they will leave the classroom. A quick Google news search of “teachers leaving” turned up scores of articles written in the last week alone about teachers from all over the world leaving the profession because their salaries are not enough to sustain them.

With early childhood education turning into a hot topic, now is the time to talk about the required investments in the profession: organization goals that align with teacher needs, time for personalized professional development, and a commitment to well-deserved wages. Without these investments, we cannot be committed to improving children’s outcomes.

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