Consider for a moment these everyday activities; inviting parents to volunteer in your classroom, recommending breastfeeding resources, or talking about child development milestones with friends and family. While perhaps unconventional, these activities are everyday advocacy! Advocacy, which is too often viewed merely as a political tool, can be so much more; it includes speaking for, supporting or defending a person, group or cause. Early childhood providers are everyday advocates for their children, families, communities and the early education field. More than ever, early childhood educators are the voices that sing in harmony about the benefits of high-quality care and professionalization of the field.
Earning a CDA is the best first step on the path to professionalizing early childhood education – and advocacy is included within the credentialing program as a critical topic. Everyday advocacy shapes the bright future of our profession and positive outcomes for children.
Five simple steps to advocate for our children and profession:
1. Speak up! Share your experience and knowledge with parents, colleagues and anyone willing to listen.
2. Know your resources: find referral materials and trusted agencies within your community to help your families.
3. Raise awareness: participate in community events and celebrate children’s learning. Check out NAEYC’s Week of the Young Child for more ideas!
4. Get involved with policy: start today with NAEYC’s Advocacy ideas.
5. Vote with ECE in mind – in local, state and federal elections.