Year One (2018-19)

Early Childhood Educator and child with statistic 72% of survey respondents support continuing the work to advanceThe project to Advance Early Childhood Education as a Recognized Profession in Vermont began as a workforce engagement project to determine whether Vermont’s ECE workforce was interested in working toward advancing as a recognized profession.

From June 2018 through June 2019, with support from Let’s Grow Kids, VTAEYC led a collaborative project working toward this goal:

To engage a critical mass of members of the Early Childhood Education (ECE) workforce in facilitated conversations and follow-up surveys on the topic of ECE advancing as a recognized profession, so as to gauge their collective will for advancing as a recognized profession.

More than 700 members of the ECE workforce (12%) participated. Of those, 38% responded to a follow-up survey.

In response to the question “What course of action do you favor?” a resounding 72% chose “continue the work to advance as a recognized profession.” A report by project coordinator Susan Titterton details the history, methods, and results of this year-long collaboration.

During this process, workforce feedback provided essential recommendations to frame next steps. These are:

  1. Learn from Chapter One of this project. Build on it in Chapter Two.
  2. “Do nothing about us without us.”
  3. Cultivate a cohesive workforce. Question stereotypes and assumptions.
  4. Encourage a “change” mindset. Begin the work of building a bridge to a new future.
  5. Build from Power to the Profession’s national-level work.
  6. With ongoing policy and funding changes, hold in mind the goal of early childhood education advancing as a profession.

See the report for details about each recommendation.

Year Two (2019-20)

As Vermont’s sole NAEYC affiliate and as an influential statewide advocacy organization, VTAEYC became the housing organization for a collaborative, workforce-driven initiative to move toward the goal to advance ECE as a profession. During this time, the project developed leadership and structure. By the end of the year, processes were well established: the Task Force released a Consensus Document on Professional Identity, along with a Discussion Draft on Three Designations with Aligned Preparation Pathways.

Vermont’s initiative is structured to be:

  • Influenced by and influential to Power to the Profession while distinct from it

The Task Force starts with recommendations from the Unifying Framework. They look closely at this national model of an early childhood education profession and come to consensus about the ways they envision Vermont might align with it.

  • Workforce led

The Task Force is made up of Vermont ECE workforce leaders. They meet to discuss each set of national recommendations and write Discussion Drafts that adapt these recommendations for Vermont. These drafts are shared with the statewide ECE workforce. 

Initially, group conversations to go over Task Force’s Discussion Drafts were held throughout the state. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in early 2020, the model pivoted to sharing the Task Force’s recommendations through online real time professional development opportunities. Feedback is collected through online surveys.

The Task Force incorporates this workforce feedback into Consensus Documents, unifying the workforce around a shared vision.

  • Well-resourced

A Core Team of funders; leaders of stakeholder agencies, organizations and networks; and consultants makes sure the initiative to advance has the funding it needs to succeed and is engaging the full early childhood education ecosystem.

  • Consensus-oriented and transparent

The Task Force’s process of making recommendations and incorporating feedback in the process places workforce consensus as a top value, and leaders work to engage as many members of the workforce as possible in the process.

Year Three (2020-21)

The initiative is currently in its third year.

  • The Task Force will publish a Consensus Document on Three Designations with Aligned Preparation Pathways and begin work on Professional Compensation and Resources, Structures & Supports. Read more about the Task Force’s focus here.
  • The Early Childhood Higher Ed Consortium subcommittee formed. Facilitated by Kaitlin Northey (UVM), they study “Aligned Preparation Pathways” and begin to discuss the potential for Vermont to move in that direction.
  • Dianne Carter joined the Core Team as an Implementation Consultant, engaging others in Vermont’s ECE Ecosystem. The aim is to build shared understanding of Power to the Profession’s Unifying Framework and to begin to consider supports and infrastructure necessary for a future ECE profession.
  • Members of the Core Team and Task Force are engaged in long-term strategic planning.

Beyond Year Three (2021-)

In the next phase of the project:

  • The Task Force will publish workforce-informed Consensus Documents on Professional Compensation and Resources, Structures & Supports.
  • Stakeholders will become more deeply engaged with the work to advance.
  • Increasing cohesion among the workforce and engagement among stakeholders will create new opportunities for public investment in early childhood education.