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Guiding Change: Let's Talk!

by Valora Washington and Brenda Gadson
November/December 2018
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Article Link: http://www.exchangepress.com/article/guiding-change-lets-talk!/5024410/

The thought today’s leaders are abuzz with conversation about “professionalizing” and “defining” the field of early childhood education: What roles constitute the field? Who is in and who is out? What do staff in various roles need to know and be able to do? This is good news, and a clear signal that conversations about change are accelerating in directions that the field’s leaders have long sought.

While we are engaged and encouraged by all the buzz, we realize that the field has started down these pathways of change many times before. Any change effort inevitably will surface the field’s deep issues, challenge our values, generate disruption, and spawn gigantic misunderstandings. This is why in 2015 we wrote The New Early Childhood Professional as a four-path framework for change that could better equip all of us to be more strategic leaders (see Figure 1.1).

But professionalizing the field is a complex challenge complicated by the field’s lack of clarity about its purpose, identity, and responsibilities. To professionalize the field—and the society in which it is embedded—we must grapple with thorny topics such as stable financing, workforce qualifications, facility management, governance systems, program standards, and public expectations. The change agent—the new ...

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