Name, Description, and Boundaries of the Profession: 2019-2020
The Task Force’s Consensus Document for Professional Identity aligns with Power to the Profession’s national framework with a few small, important variations derived from the Vermont workforce’s feedback.
Name of the Professional/Profession:
Name of the Professional: Early Childhood Educator
Name of the Profession: Early Childhood Education
Workforce survey on Name: Agree – 90%
Description of the Profession: Role and Responsibilities
Role: The distinct role of the early childhood education profession is to care for and promote the learning, development and well-being of children from birth through age eight to establish a foundation for lifelong learning and development. This foundation for learning is built through reciprocal relationships between early childhood educators and the children they serve. Reciprocal relationships require attention to family and child diversity – including race, ethnicity, language, culture, social class, immigrant status, family structure, special needs, and learner characteristics – which is one of the multiple influences on children’s development and learning.
Responsibilities: Members of the early childhood education profession, a distinct profession in the early childhood field, are prepared to be accountable for the following responsibilities:
- Planning and implementing intentional, developmentally appropriate learning experiences – including play-based learning experiences – that promote the social-emotional development, physical development and health, cognitive development, and general learning competencies of each child served;
- Establishing and maintaining a safe, caring, inclusive, and healthy learning environment;
- Observing, documenting, and assessing children’s learning and development using guidelines established by the profession;
- Developing reciprocal, culturally responsive relationships with families and communities;
- Advocating for the needs of children and their families;
- Advancing and advocating for an equitable, diverse, and effective early childhood education profession that is well-compensated;
- Staying current with new research and updated practice (e.g. trauma-informed, etc.);
- Engaging in reflective practice and continuous learning; and
- Following a Code of Ethics for professional conduct
These responsibilities are consistent across all early childhood education settings that support young children from birth through age eight. (Survey on Age Range: Agree – 84%)
Workforce survey on Role & Responsibilities: Agree – 98%
Boundaries of the Profession: Distinction between the ECE Profession and the ECE Field
Members of the early childhood education profession meet the guidelines established for the profession and are prepared to be accountable for everything outlined in the section entitled Role and Responsibilities. These individuals are early childhood educators.
Additional, important roles in the early childhood education profession include: (1) professional preparation faculty and trainers who instruct, monitor, and observe the practice of aspiring early childhood educators, and (2) pedagogical or instructional administrators who guide the practice of early childhood educators in early childhood program settings.
The early childhood field includes other roles that are not accountable for all of the responsibilities outlined in Roles and Responsibilities. Other roles are related occupations and professions in the early childhood field, such as mental health consultants, social workers, child psychologists, home visitors and others who often work closely with early childhood educators. The early childhood field also includes individuals not meeting professional qualifications established by the early childhood education profession.
This graphic comes from p. 30, Power to the Profession’s Decision Cycles 345&6.
Why this is important:
Until we state categorically who we are, clarifying the deep significance and importance of quality input for babies, toddlers and young children during the early years, and start claiming our professionalism, we cannot expect those not in the profession to truly value who we are and what we do.
– Vermont Early Childhood Educator, 2020