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A Huge Passion for Early Childhood

Primary school teacher is helping two of her students with a STEM project. They are building something using recycled items and crafts equipment.

I have been a member of National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) since 1980. That is 38 years, longer than almost anything else I have done in my life. What keeps me coming back is passion – a huge passion – not just for children and their families, but for the people that care for the children, that sit on committees, and that make the decisions that shape our field.

Reflecting on my time in the field, it seems that only in recent years the tide has changed. We have gone from babysitters to early childhood educators, we have gone from a job to a profession, we created and implemented a National Code of Ethics, we discovered the importance of developmentally appropriate care, and we are in the news!

There’s also much that remains unchanged in our field: wages are too low, educational paths too difficult, and the workforce doesn’t yet mirror the growing diversity of the children we serve. But given the trend, I don’t believe we will wait another 38 years for change. Before we know it, we will see an educated profession that is valued, respected, and fairly compensated.

Am I just dreaming? I don’t think so, because the one unchanging dynamic in the tapestry of early childhood education is passion – a huge passion.