Are you a member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)? If so, you can access their new membership feature- Hello! Hello is an accessible online space for engaging and dynamic discussion around specific topics in early childhood education. It is a unique platform for early childhood educators to share their diverse insights, opinions, and ideas about their profession. Topics currently trending on Hello include blocks in kindergarten, tips for a director starting in a new program, and music in classrooms.
Each day NAEYC members receive a digest email highlighting the conversations their colleagues are having in the open forum on Hello. In addition, the platform provides early childhood educators the opportunity for digital, year-round networking with experts and peers nationwide to have conversations and create connections around early learning issues. This modern platform allows all NAEYC members to participate in these valuable conversations. Hello is the perfect opportunity to strengthen your connection to your profession!
Only NAEYC members can contribute to the conversations; however, anyone is able to view the posts online here. Below we highlight a few posts from a conversation about preparing early childhood educators:
NAEYC member Tim from Texas began the discussion:
I agree with the philosophical discussion that early childhood teachers need to be better trained and if they are better trained and receive a degree they should be better compensated, however I have yet to see the mathematical formula that makes that possible in the early childhood field. If someone has figured that out, I would be interested in hearing about it.
Another member of the Hello community, Robert from Virginia, replied:
I certainly agree with what others are saying. I believe a degree in Early Childhood Education makes a difference in the competency and confidence a teacher of young children has in designing and implementing a learning environment where young children enjoy learning, growing and developing together with their teacher and peers. I do think the quality of the degree program makes a difference and should integrate theory with practice. Connecting a practicum to a course seems to me to be beneficial as well as thinking about how to offer the courses where and as teachers work is important.
Community member, Nora from New Jersey, weighed in with her perspective:
Another issue is working conditions. I think with the low pay, in some cases hourly, and the long days that many early childhood educators endure also contribute to the turnover and loss of teachers to the public schools. The public schools are able to provide higher salaries, longer vacations, pensions, etc. This is a big draw. Many of the people who work in the community centers also have their own children to raise so, in some ways, it is unconscionable to have them working 8 to 10 hour days. Caring for and educating young children is a complex endeavor that takes a lot of reflection and critical thinking, requiring a great deal of knowledge about children's development and how they learn as well as subject matter knowledge. It is not enough to love children, although that is a baseline requirement. Those who care for and educate young children need to be prepared as teachers and knowledgeable about different theories of early childhood instruction.
To become a NAEYC member and join the conversation, click here.