The Unifying Framework for the Early Childhood Education profession, published in March 2020, is a set of national recommendations in four key areas:

  • A clearly defined profession, with distinct roles and responsibilities
  • Aligned professional preparation, pathways and licensure
  • Professional compensation
  • Supportive infrastructure and shared accountability


It is the consensus document of a multi-year initiative at the national level, NAEYC’s Power to the Profession, “a national collaboration to define the early childhood profession by establishing a unifying framework.”


How the Unifying Framework Fits Into Vermont’s Process

The Unifying Framework is a starting point and guide for our work in Vermont. As a state affiliate of NAEYC, VTAEYC’s initiative to Advance ECE as a Recognized Profession determines to what extent Vermont’s workforce wishes to align with the recommendations in the Unifying Framework.

Our process involves our Task Force examining the recommendations of the Unifying Framework through a lens of Vermont’s unique values, opportunities, and needs, and then putting forth our recommendations to the full workforce through Discussion Drafts and professional development opportunities.

The feedback we collect from Vermont early childhood educators informs our Consensus Documents. Our work provides valuable feedback to the national level while taking steps to eliminate fragmentation, grow cohesive, and advance as a profession at home.

Where We Are Going: An Audacious Vision for the Profession of Tomorrow

The Unifying Framework offers a bold vision for a future structure for the early childhood education profession in which:

  • Every child (0-8) across all settings, is supported by early childhood educators with recognized early childhood degrees and credentials;
  • Early childhood educators at all professional designations (Early Childhood Educator I, II, and III) are valued, respected, and well-compensated for the important roles they play;
  • Educators with lead responsibilities across settings and age bands are prepared at the ECE III designation (earning a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education), at a minimum;
  • Anyone who wants to become an early childhood educator, at any designation, has equitable access to affordable, high-quality professional preparation and development that supports them in developing the agreed-upon set of knowledge, skills, and competencies for any setting; and
  • Early childhood educators at all designations are compensated in accordance with the complex and demanding work they perform, as part of a system that recognizes the cost of quality and finances early childhood education as the public good that it is.