Are you a Pre-K teacher that needs to complete your Certification? The Institute can help you!!

The early years represent the most sensitive time for children’s growth and development, and the effects of this time persist throughout children’s academic careers and into adulthood. This makes ensuring the highest quality education for our youngest learners critical for their future. A high quality education begins with high quality teachers, which is why the New York Early Childhood Professional Development Institute (Institute) and the Department of Education’s Division of Early Childhood Education (DECE) have partnered to support teachers as they seek New York State Teacher Certification in Early Childhood (Birth-Grade 2).

Attaining your NYS teacher certification has many benefits, including increasing your earning potential, opening additional career opportunities, strengthening your knowledge of early childhood development, developing your teaching skills, and building your confidence in the classroom.

The first step in determining your eligibility to receive support services is to complete the online self-assessment form. Once the Institute staff have reviewed your self-assessment, an advisor from the Institute will follow up to help you develop a clear plan of action, outlining your path to certification within 3 years of your hire date. 

Your certification support services may include:

  • Test prep and tutoring
  • Academic Advising
  • Study Plan Development & Monitoring
  • Career Counseling

Our form will remain open for submissions through November 30, 2016.  Submit your assessment form today!

If you have any questions, please contact the Institute’s Career Development Services Center at 718-254-7735 or email For general questions about teaching pre-K in New York City, email  

Governor Cuomo Announces $10.4 Million in State Funding to Support 3-Year-Old Pre-K in 25 High-Need School Districts

Research has consistently demonstrated that the early years of a child’s life have a significant impact on their school success, as well their success later in life. In fact, recent reports indicate that approximately half of the achievement gap is already apparent before children enter the first grade. These findings also suggest that experiencing high-quality education at an early age can narrow the achievement between low-income children and their more affluent peers and better prepare students for academic success. In an effort to ensure that all of New York’s children have an opportunity to experience high-quality early care and education, Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that $10.4 million has been awarded to 25 high-need school districts. With this funding, school districts will be able to increase access to high-quality pre-kindergarten for more than 1,500 three-years-old children.

New York has always made a strong commitment to its youngest and most vulnerable citizens across the state, and this investment will continue to support that work by expanding pre-kindergarten to more children than ever before. For more information and to read the official announcement from the Governor’s office, click here.

Unequal Access: Barriers to Early Childhood Education for Boys of Color

With election season coming to an end, a topic that both presidential candidates agree on is increasing access to early childhood education for the nation’s youngest citizens. The subject of early care and education has received growing attention over the past decade, but the findings of a recent report issued by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Forward Promise Initiative demonstrate how much more society has to do to create equitable access to early education, especially for boys of color.

Unequal Access: Barriers to Early Childhood Education for Boys of Color shares the results of a recent study exploring the issues young boys of colors face from birth through the early childhood years. The findings of the report suggest that there is a significant disparity among boys of color (including African Americans, Hispanics, and American Indians/Alaska Natives) in term of access to high-quality school. Young boys of color are also more likely to grow up in low-income households, and thus, often encounter structural obstacles throughout their early experiences with education that negatively affect their likelihood of school and later life success. In response to these issues, the authors of the report discuss opportunities at the community, state, and federal levels to eliminate barriers to quality early childhood education for boys of color.

As new leadership enters the Oval Office, the field of early childhood has the opportunity to increase access to excellence for all children and especially boys of color. With bipartisan support for early childhood education at an all-time high, federal investments must be increased for child care assistance funding and state funding for preschool expansion and quality improvement. Suspension and expulsion are one of the reasons identified in the report that boys of color have less access to early childhood education. The National Association for the Education of Young Children has issued a joint policy statement and offers a number of resources on the topic.  

The Aspire Registry October Newsletter

octobernewsletterThe Aspire Registry team has released their October newsletter. For more than a year now, the Aspire Registry Newsletter has discussed the latest Registry news and events, and highlighted the work of New York professionals in the field of early childhood. The newsletter also provides information about useful resources and tips for early childhood professionals. Each month, the newsletter is distributed to over 24,000 Aspire Registry members, a number that continues to grow.

In this month’s newsletter, The Aspire Registry member and QUALITYstarsNY Quality Improvement Specialist Kathy Moss shares her experiences on her early childhood career pathway. The Aspire Registry team also discusses how directors and administrators can use The Aspire Registry to help them keep track of their in-house professional development sessions. Lastly, the newsletter features a spotlight on Merideth Janke, Executive Director at Pooh’s Corner Inc.

To read the newsletter, click here: The Aspire Registry October Newsletter-2016.

Getting to know the Institute Staff: Meet Louisa


New York Works for Children is New York’s integrated professional development system for the early childhood and school age workforce. In 2010, New York Works for Children was founded by the Early Childhood Advisory Council’s Workforce Development Workgroup to support early childhood and school age professionals. The New York Early Childhood Professional Development Institute coordinates New York Works for Children and manages the day to day operations. With funding and support from multiple city and state agencies, New York Works for Children is committed to building the infrastructure so that everyone who works with young children and families has access to high quality education and professional development experiences. New York Works for Children is also the home of The Aspire Registry: New York's Registry for Early Childhood Professionals. Louisa Higgins is the Director of New York Works for Children. We asked Louisa to share some of her reflections about her work with us.

What is your current role? In your own words, how would you describe the work you do?

I’m the Director of New York Works for Children, the state’s early childhood workforce development system. I get to work with stakeholders from across the state to help build the infrastructure so that all early childhood providers have access to high quality preparation, professional development, and support. 

Who do you work most closely with at the Institute? What outside partners/organizations do you work with?

I am lucky to work with almost every other initiative at the Institute. A big part of the work we do is the administration of The Aspire Registry, our state’s early childhood workforce registry. Our registry is open to anyone who works with young children in New York and includes family child care providers, teachers, center directors, and trainers and coaches. Many of our colleagues at the Institute are members of The Aspire Registry and use resources like our statewide training calendar! We work with QUALITYstarsNY to track qualifications and professional development for staff in participating programs. Our colleagues at the Career Development Services Center provide career supports to some members of The Aspire Registry, such as keeping track of study plans. Additionally, information about New York Works for Children and The Aspire Registry has been integrated into the curriculum of the CDA and CPAC courses offered in partnership with the CUNY School of Professional Studies.

Outside of the Institute, we partner with anyone who is interested in improving education opportunities for early childhood providers. We are lucky to have funding and support from a variety of state and city agencies. We also work closely with the New York State Association for the Education of Young Children, the New York State Early Childhood Advisory Council, and various workgroups of the Early Childhood Advisory Council.

What motivated you to work in the early childhood field?

From an early age, I knew I wanted to work with and on behalf of young children. I entered the early childhood field wanting to do social justice work. The early years have such a significant impact on life outcomes, and I believe that the work we do at the Institute is really about giving more children positive experiences in their childhood and ultimately, better opportunities in life.  This is what brings me joy in my work. The awareness that we are building systems and creating infrastructure so that more children have exactly what they deserve- especially those that have the most stacked up against them. 

If you could learn a new skill today, what would it be?

There are so many things on my “to learn” list, a wide range of skills from infant massage to interior design. If I had to pick one today, I would chose metal soldering! I used to make jewelry as a hobby, and I never learned to solder. I have a feeling melting metal with a blowtorch is pretty satisfying. 

If you had one piece of advice for a new early childhood teacher, what would it be?

I often think about what I would say to my 24 year old self in my first year of teaching Head Start. I’d start with, “You’re doing a fantastic job.” That is probably the first thing I would say to any new teacher. It’s something I think teachers of young children don’t hear nearly as often as they should, and I also believe it is true. If you are committed to your work and you are respectful of children and their families, you are likely doing a great job. I’d also make sure every early childhood professional in New York- new or veteran!- had a copy of the Core Body of Knowledge. It is a tremendous resource for anyone who wants to reflect on his/her practice and start to think about opportunities to grow in his/her craft.

To learn more about New York Works for Children, please visit or email

Stabilizing New York City’s Child Care Services

The Institute is pleased to welcome a guest contributor, Nilesh Patel, the Director of Labor Relations and Mediation Service for the Day Care Council of New York to share some important news about stabilizing New York City's child care services.

The Day Care Council of New York (DCCNY) was created in 1949 by child care advocates as the membership organization for nonprofit agencies under contract with the City of New York to provide child care services. Over the past 68 years, DCCNY has maintained its role as an advocate, program supporter, and most importantly, the management representative in labor and pension negotiations.

In August 2015, the NYC Office of Labor Relations (OLR) convened meetings with DCCNY and District Council 1707, Local 205, (DC 1707) to discuss new salaries and benefits for child care workers in Early Learn programs. These workers had gone without a salary increase for ten years and both DCCNY (representing over 100 child care providers operating 300 child care programs) and DC 1707 (the union representing over 3,000 workers) highlighted the difficulties in maintaining a quality early childhood educational system without adequate support and funding.

Read more…

The Hechinger Report Early Childhood Series

capturehechingerAlthough voters have voiced their strong support for access to quality early childhood care and education, the United States continues to fall behind other nations when it comes to investing in young children. In fact, according to a 2012 report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the U.S. ranked 35th in school enrollment of 3- to 5-year-olds among developed nations. The Little to Nothing Series, a series of six articles by Lillian Mongeau featured in the The Hechinger Report, explores the current state of public preschool in the U.S., including areas for improvement on a national level and strong examples of quality pre-K at the city and state level. A prevalent theme across the articles is the importance of building and supporting a well-trained early childhood workforce in order to best serve young children and their families. This theme is particularly evident in the fourth article of the series, What do Preschool Teachers Need to Do a Better Job?, which details New York City’s achievements and challenges faced during the implementation of universal pre-K. Mongeau argues that New York City’s universal pre-K efforts are a model for the whole nation due to its diversity and scale.

Read more…

Gender, Sexuality, and Family in Early Childhood Education

workshop-gsf-noctaGender and sexuality are often considered topics exclusively for adults, or at least for teens or pre-teens. But early childhood classrooms are rife with questions, interactions, and play that address and present opportunities to explore children’s and families’ ideas about bodies, identities, and relationships.

In the dramatic play corner: “You can’t play. You’re a boy and we’re playing princesses.”

In the bathroom: “I have a wee-wee. Why doesn’t she have anything there?”

In circle time: “You have to have a daddy. Everybody has a daddy.”

During pick-up: “Go hug your teacher goodbye.” “I don’t want to.”

During nap-time: “But it feels nice!” (says a masturbating child to an alarmed new teacher)

While often undiscussed by grown-ups, children are busy exploring their bodies: touching themselves during nap-time, watching other children use the bathroom, playing “doctor” during dramatic play. Young children are also engaging with, contesting, and internalizing gender stereotypes. Colors, toys, play, and families are all terrains on which gender lines are drawn and redrawn. Who can play what role, play with what toy, wear what item of clothing, or be a family are frequent topics for debate, and pose situations in which early childhood classrooms can become spaces where gender norms are further entrenched or, alternatively, where children develop a more expansive conception of identity.

Read more…

The Aspire Registry August Newsletter


The Aspire Registry team has released their August newsletter. For more than a year now, the Aspire Registry Newsletter has discussed the latest Registry news and events, and highlighted the work of New York professionals in the field of early childhood. The newsletter also provides information about useful resources and tips for early childhood professionals. Each month, the newsletter is distributed to over 24,000 Aspire Registry members, a number that continues to grow.

In this month’s newsletter, Aspire Registry member Marilyn A. Ballard shares her experiences on her early childhood career pathway. The Aspire Registry team also discusses their second annual focus group, which provided the team with great insight into the application process, website, and much more. Lastly, the newsletter features a spotlight on Diana Diaz, the Aspire Registry’s Administrator.

To read the newsletter, click here

Getting to know the Institute Staff: Meet Ariel

head shot

Ariel Davis is the Director of QUALITYstarsNY, New York’s quality rating and improvement system. Her work focuses on helping early childhood programs across the state of New York to identify areas of improvement and supporting them to meet their quality improvement goals. We asked Ariel to share some of her reflections about her work with us.

What is your current role? In your own words, how would you describe the work you do?

QUALITYstarsNY is New York's Quality Rating and Improvement System that supports programs serving young children to build and sustain quality. A program participating in QUALITYstarsNY is evaluated or "rated" based on how it measures up to QUALITYstarsNY Program Standards, a robust set of research-based indicators known to affect child outcomes. Working in collaboration with the program, QUALITYstarsNY then uses that evaluation data to build a plan to address specific areas for growth. Finally, and in an ongoing way, QUALITYstarsNY provides coaching and resources to help programs implement their plans—from purchasing books for the classroom to providing scholarships for staff to earn degrees or credit(s) in areas that will help improve their quality. 

As Director of QUALITYstarsNY, I oversee and coordinate many aspects of the day-to-day implementation work while also planning for the future expansion of the system. The work itself varies daily, but certain constants include: establishing and maintaining relationships with community partners, initiating and managing work with subcontractors, and using data to evaluate and continuously improve internal and external strategies.

Read more…