Subscribe to Exchange Magazine
The Early Childhood Leaders’ Magazine
Subscribe now and receive a FREE gift!
Your work on behalf of children comes with a wide range of celebrations and challenges, and each issue of Exchange is filled with practical advice, fresh ideas, innovative strategies, and inspiring stories.
As an extremely affordable professional development tool, Exchange supports all learning domains over the course of a year.
Delivered five days a week containing news, success stories, solutions, trend reports, and much more.
ExchangeEveryDay is the official electronic newsletter for Exchange Press. It is delivered five days a week containing news stories, success stories, solutions, trend reports, and much more.
It's an older catchphrase but worth repeating - we don't care for DAYS. We care for CHILDREN.
The fact that the POTUS used the language of "daycare" leads me to question whether he is receiving input from child development experts or is his advice primarily coming from the education/school field.
I have been in the Field of Early Childhood for 37 years!
I have been teaching in a High School CTE Early Education and Care Lab setting for the past 15 years.
Recently, I finally realized my dream and opened my own Child Care Center (and Covid -19 Struck!)
Now I am hearing our field is getting noticed by the new Government Elect, which I believe could be a wonderful partnership in helping families with young children, as well as, the hard hit private child care community.
These early childhood educators offer amazing programs all over the country to our young children.
I firmly believe for this partnership to become a reality EXPERTS from Early Education and Care need to be driving the conversation with the importance of what Quality Child Care is, and MOST IMPORTANTLY respecting that Early Childhood is a period of time in a child's life, where their work is PLAY!
Child Development cannot be pushed or ignored!
Over the past 37 years I have worked in ",Day Care," "Preschool", "Nursery school" as well as "Child Development centers".
A name must carry out the mission of what young children need.. Quality care that offers age appropriate activities, nurturing caring, educators, grounded in Child Development. All children deserve this!
I know as a Early childhood Educator it would be a very moving experience for me, when we hear our government and others understand and advocate that children .. young children, belong enjoying learning through play as a strong foundation to their educational journey.
I am very concerned and worried about this. In California, the state added a two year kindergarten program for those children who turn 5 years old between September 2nd to December 2nd. And, that is exactly what it is, 2 years of a kindergarten curriculum that is done at a slower pace than the typical kindergarten. The program is not developmentally appropriate, there is little time for play, and the teachers have a minimal background in early childhood education/development. I do not think early childhood educators were involved in the decision and design process.
Also, once you have programs in the public schools, outcomes will need to be measured through some type of standardized assessment process. We need to look at what the brain research says about how 0 to 8 years old children learn; exploration, child-centered play, games, active movement, uninterrupted time, etc.
I am so very happy at the thought of ALL children ages 3-4 being able to receive quality childcare! The one concern I have is that educators and providers understand and implement developmentally appropriate practice in their Early Childhood environment and curriculum! We MUST remain vigilant in protecting children and providing developmentally appropriate activities, curriculum and expectations!
My first reaction was exactly what the article stated at the end - school vs daycare still haunts us as a profession. I am sure that non-educators do not realize what that particular word means to ECE, but it still hurts. However there is a huge difference in the quality of early care and that is where the difference lies. No matter what you call it, high quality care for young children will make a difference throughout their entire lives. Conversely, care of poor quality will also impact them. It means a lot to hear the President of the US make a statement of this kind, but I also wonder how programs like these will be funded? The system as we now know it is so broken, it will take an enormous effort to follow through on these ideas. I am hopeful for the future, but will take his words with a grain of salt.
I am sadden to hear those words regarding the early childhood field. Even amongst the pandemic when the government finally realized how valueable and important we are so that parents can go to work and we are still overcoming the stigma around us.
I take into consideration that President Biden most likely does not realize the languge and termonolgy regarding our field. Those that wrote that statement for him probably do not either. But it still makes me feel like we will NEVER be seen the same as teachers. This will be our cross to bear.
I am concerned about cost, what the effect will be on private providers (will that become even more a source of resentment and privilege?), and the role of government in every aspect of young children: who can teach, what is the curriculum, what is the role of the parent, will all children be required to attend .... similar to public school attendance. During my 60+ years I was a teacher and later an administrator in both private, non-profit and public (state and federal) programs and found great strengths in the variety available. Each has advantages. As a Head Start administrator, the burden of 'paperwork' on classroom personnel was a continual challenge.
I remember years ago a professor asking our class of graduate students what we called the place young children (under 6 yrs) attended for care and learning.
As we called out, she wrote on the chalk board: nursery school, preschool, childcare center, daycare center, lab school, home care, infant crèche, even nanny and baby sitter. Many of us grumbled that we didn’t care for ‘Days’ or that people who worked in childcare were somehow less than real teachers who taught in schools.
Her point was it didn’t really matter what you called that place as long as the children were well cared for, the parents were respected and the environment was developmentally appropriate and fun. As teachers our jobs were to help children become likable and capable people and critical thinkers. Our school or daycare etc would help parents by giving them a safe, comfortable home-away-from-home so that they could confidently leave their children while they worked, went to school etc.
I remember being one of those students that needed the status of working at a real school not a daycare or nursery but after that professor made us realize that no matter where we worked or named it, we were all doing the same important work.
There is so much difference in High Quality Childcare and daycare programs caring for children offering no curriculum, training, or concern regarding appropriate expectations, learning environment, brain research etc. I hope this will be a move toward greater support and encouragement for High Quality programs for birth to five. The future of young children depends on it!
Universal early care and education are important to all children regardless of where they attend. My concern is that we need to continue to allow children to be children and learn in the best way possible, through play.
Yes. In today's NY Times, finally, finally, the need for qualified early childhood staff has been recognized as an important need for quality early childhood education. Previously, that paper seemed more to emphasize the problems of the fees parents must pay to have their young children cared for. All of us need to advocate for caring for the people who care for our young children.
I am pleased that President Biden recognizes the importance of preschool for 3 & 4 year old children. I am concerned that he specifically pulls out "school" rather than "day care." I have worked hard my entire 40 year career to change others thinking from "day care" to child care and/or preschool. Day care is babysitting, and child care provides developmentally appropriate learning experiences for children, with qualified staff who have early childhood education, and are continuing to learn how to best meet the needs of young children. Families need high quality, affordable child care for children birth - 5 years.
I think we do need to be careful with the words used.
People hear a word and certain images come to mind. If the wrong word is used wrong images are created and faulty practices creep in. The term "school" leads to certain images and faulty practices of a strongly academic curriculum, worksheets, strong teacher direction, and developmentally inappropriate practices for 3- and 4-year-olds.
The term "day care" is wrong as well. "Child care" or "early childhood education" is more appropriate.
While universal preschool may be beneficial, it is only beneficial if conducted in a developmentally appropriate way. We must use the appropriate language surrounding the field and practice so that what is happening and should happen in the preschool is clearly communicated.
I welcome the attention and funding that Joe Biden is giving to early education and care. But it is a false dichotomy to distinguish education from care. Carol Garboden Murray, author of Illuminating Care: The Pedagogy and Practice of Care in Early Childhood Communities writes, "Care is education. Care is not subordinate to education...Education and care are united." Funding needs to be given to all types of early education and care in order to promote the education and professional development of teachers toward the greater practice of quality education and care that is based on principles of care, open-ended play, children’s intellectual capacities and thinking, multiple ways of expressing children’s knowledge, project-based learning, embracing the roles of families, and understanding and fostering diversity. If we go down the path of linking this new initiative only to formalized pre-schools that are more like kindergarten and early elementary education than what I have described, we will in fact damage the great potential that younger children have for learning about, imagining, and contributing to their world.
I always feel some discord when politicians delve into early childhood education. It is important, and it deserves attention and funding. Yet, would universal preschool demand uniformity and lack of program autonomy? Could programs continue to respond to the needs/desires of their unique communities while "checking all of the standardized boxes?" It is appropriate for parents to be able to select a curriculum/philosophy that supports their family lives/goals. Could Reggio-inspired programs continue to scaffold intellectual development over mandated academic development (or Montessori, or Waldorf, so on and so forth)? It is a complex issue. . .
My hope is that law makers understand the curriculum and best practices for early childhood and that this does not turn into having three and four year old being held to inappropriate goals and standards.
I think that Mr. Biden was trying to emphasize was the need for trained providers. That's all.
He wasn't arguing against "care" - he was saying that we needed to do better than passing the job off to teenagers, or people without any understanding of early development, who would work for the lowest wage.
He was saying that the task of caring for young children is important and not just "babysitting."
To mix my metaphors - splitting hairs over the terms he used is looking a gift horse in the mouth. He's trying to help - and is willing to allocate billions of dollars to the cause.
I am THRILLED that the early years of life are finally part of the conversation!
I agree early care and early education matters for all, however if congress is going to expand the public school system to incorporate all 3's and 4's, where does it leave the small business owners of preschools that have been educating children for YEARS! All early educators need to draft a letter regarding Biden's statement and make it clear that we are here. Look at established preschools, give them the tools to make them even better.
I am pleased that the covid pandemic has opened some peoples eyes as to the importance of childcare for the economic stability of our nation. But, along with that they now are proposing public 3k which will take money away from Early childhood schools.
I've never liked the word daycare but I understand that it is the universal identifyer for infants through 2yrs old care. For our president to use the words "not daycare" is upsetting to say the least. As we all know these early years are critical to the child's development. The wealthy have no idea what it means to run a early childhood school on minimum budgets with teachers who work for low wages. Politicians are so out of touch with reality.
I've been in this field for 30 years, and finally recieving some reconginition and additionsl funds through grants has been encouraging. All the challenges of running a center still exsist, the most challening of course is finding and keeping quality staff. I hope that additional funding will encourage more quality people to choose early childhood as a career.
The phrase "school, not daycare" can be jarring but now is the time to flip the script that "care" is the major component of what we do in early childhood. That is why "Love Language" is used in our classrooms. School and care are not mutually exclusive but inclusive of each other.
My other thought is switching the mindset from "school readiness" to "foundation for learning." I feel we build the scaffold/foundation for their education for the remainder of their lives. This could hopefully help people to pump the brakes when academics are talked about in early childhood.
I was turned off by Joe Biden's statement. I own and operate an Early Education and Care center for Infants - Kindergarten. We consider ourselves a "school" because we have an imbedded curriculum from Infants all the way through Kindergarten. That being said many people (parents, government officials, staff, etc.) may only see the care aspect of what we provide. When he made his statement, the general public listening to his speech, may incorrectly think that we aren't providing a "school" setting because we don't continue through elementary school. In general I find the term "daycare" derogatory, we do not take care of "days" we take care of children. The President's lack of understanding on this topic only perpetuates and incorrect understanding of what we do on a daily basis.
First, I think there needs to be more education about brain development and the first 3 years so that our government understands the importance of quality child care programs. We push our staff to continue their education and go to college. We encourage them every day to see themselves as professionals in early education. We need to make our government leaders see this as well.
Second, I'd like to know where exactly the money for universal preschool will be coming from and if it is coming from tax payers, can some of that money go to early childhood programs as well as schools?
I think that most of your readers and particularly those who will respond to this article are probably providing quality preschool experiences. Well-trained providers who understand the development of young children, and work in enriching and engaging environments are crucial for young children. I believe that is who, and what, he was referring to. I think that when we get heated about a word choice (that is commonly used) we miss an opportunity to work with the powers that be and end up creating a divide where one is not necessary. I understand and agree that we care for "children not days" but I also understand that a child care center can provide a high-quality preschool environment no matter what we call it. We need to promote quality and not get hung up on a word. The federal government is talking about the importance of the work we do! Let's celebrate and get on board!
I do believe the environment should be set to learn but I feel most preschools FORCE learning cuz have to meet standards (and document so much stuff) rather than letting kiddos learn through PLAY and develop at their own rates.
Early care is important in all settings. It is still a shame that leaders do not understand what really goes on at child care. Children learn through play at quality settings with caring educated adults. That happens at day care at "school" or at home every minute of the day where ever a child is and with whoever they are with. That is why all people need to be aware of how they interact with children and the impact they have on their development.
I, too, was put off by the President's reference to "school, not daycare." Thank you for reminding me that I want to address it with him personally!
It is time that we think of blending the care of children into one. Child Care and school should be universal. It is the only way that we really will fix the infrastructure of this country. Making it so the two years of preschool are in a child care center are funded further so more children are eligible will allow infant and toddler care to become more natural. The centers and schools would work together to become a care and educational system that takes care of children from infancy to adulthood.
Thanks for this article; I agree with the phrase "school, not a daycare"it's a bit disturbing. But it is also true that we have to stop referring to our job as a daycare; that terminology has to be redefined by "early educational centers." When people refer to our work as a daycare, we have to start that correct them and tell them that we are educational centers, not a daycare.
I was a day care teacher for 5 years and a director for 30 years. Day Care is education !!!!
Early care and education programs can provide better care and education to year children than elementary schools.
Day care center that are usually open 10 hours a day provide consist care which young children need. Many children in UPK have to attend 3 different programs in one day, before care and after school care. Day care centers have the facilities that are designed for young children including bathrooms and out door play areas.
Learning is much than academics.
Day care centers have been "educating young children for many years. Why take the children out of educational programs that are meeting the needs of the entire child and their family ?
As the possibility for funding for universal preschool moves forward, it is critical that high quality early childhood classrooms include learning through play as part of the context. Research shows that having children learn through play is developmentally appropriate practice for this age group. High quality ECE professionals understand this and can deliver this for children in an environment that integrates project based approaches, learning through play and investigation, etc... We must invest in the social emotional component and address the whole child in our preschool settings. Skill driven curriculum that does not address what the research suggests, can set a trajectory for a child that does not result in positive outcomes, rather quite the opposite. High quality early childhood care and preschool is essential.
As the possibility for further funding of universal preschool be available, it is essential that high quality early childhood settings include research based structures, such as learning through play. This element is missing in so many current preschool settings, that we are actually harming young children through a strictly skill driven curriculum. The social emotional aspect and working with the whole child is a critical component. Part of this process is must include families, play and care.
As we all know that preschool creates the foundation for lifelong learning for all children, so, obviously preschool should be made universal for all countries irrespective of richness.