“The current hodgepodge of terminology in our field promotes utter confusion,” writes Kelly M. Campbell, in an online opinion piece in The Hechinger Report.
“Here’s a thought experiment,” she proposes. “Replace the recent headline, ‘Democrats Aim to Dramatically Reshape Child Care, Preschool,’ with ‘Democrats Aim to Dramatically Reshape Support for the Foundational Years.’ Which one might be more appealing to the parent at home or the legislator in Washington, D.C.?... Indeed, foundational brain connections for complex language, math and social emotional skills form during this time.”
Over the past few months, readers of ExchangeEveryDay have offered many thoughts on what to call our important work. We wonder what you think of Campbell’s proposal to call it “The Foundational Years.” We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
In addition to what we call our work, how we describe our program and its culture is vitally important when it’s time to advertise for new staff (an activity that has become increasingly challenging). So write Margaret Leitch Copeland, Susan Gimilaro, and Nancy Sullivan in the Exchange Essentials article collection, “Strategies for Promoting Your Program.” They explain:
“Unfortunately, few ads for early education and care positions take the applicant’s view or address the applicant. They emphasize the number of ECE credits needed, the hours, and sometimes the salary. Some do not even mention the name of the program or its location, so the applicant is left to guess by the phone number. When ads are written in haste or without mission statements in mind, the job postings can lead to unintentionally negative impressions.”
In our large collection of Exchange Essentials article collections, find resources on subjects such as administration, child development, curriculum, environments, family, and leadership.
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This article mentions using Foundational Years to imply Childcare, Early Childhood Education or preschool and it makes perfect sense since we are facilitating and supporting the Foundational Years; the care and guidance we "lay" for Young Children is preparing and supporting them for the "building" of their future!
The Early Years Framework is a term that is commonly used around the world and is applied to children who have not yet commenced formal schooling - 0-5 yr olds. This might work better than Foundation which is a term usually applied to the first years of primary school.
For many people elementary school remains the "Foundational Years". If we agree that you cannot educated without caring or care with out educating, why are we not using Early Care and Education as our frame? That can encompass the broad field and distinquish our specialized knowledge base and preparation to care for young children.
I love reading all of your comments and words you choose!
-Tiffany at Exchange Press
If its words that matter, lets call our field, National Defense! I am so tired of these discussions. We will NEVER get respect until, 1) we pay teachers and providers of young children what they are worth, 2) we provide adequate benefits, including vacations, to all those involved with young children, and 3), we provide free, ongoing training to all those involved with young children. It's not what we say, it's what we do!
This is truly inspiring! One of the Family Child Care Providers used to ask me, "Where's the respect?" Barriers in our thinking truly create barriers in our actions toward professionals working in various settings! I feel I have a responsibility to respond to all professionals with equity.
In Leadership Credential courses our students often suggest the term "Foundational" as a word that best describes the work of our field. I felt a sense of solidarity to read that many others in this field expressed the same preference.
Personally I love the idea of referring to the foundational years! I have frequently called the team of educators that I work with, brain developers.
Great quote and great article!
I agree that terms currently used in the early years are confusing. Given that care should be part of any education I suggest the term ‘early years education’ as it covers all providers but also indicates that what happens is education, making it part of children and young peoples’ educational experience. So the first early years education, then to Primary Education, then Elementary Education as in North America, followed by Secondary Education/High School Education.