Four ways policymakers can support the early childhood workforce

Child care workers, preschool teachers, teacher assistants, social workers, community health workers, nurses — these are just a sampling of the many women and men who work with our youngest children to ensure their healthy development. Through their day to day work and interactions, these individuals have the opportunity to transform a child’s developmental trajectory, but often do not receive adequate pay, training, support, or incentives in order to maximize impact. We know that these individuals, collectively comprising the early childhood workforce, need to be better supported, but how?

Teacher Pay in Latin America & the Caribbean

Teachers are an essential component in the success of any education system. High-quality teachers are critical to student learning, and competitive salaries are one of the most effective ways to attract and retain effective teachers. However, teachers in the Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) region have fewer opportunities for salary raises compared with employees in other sectors, and the raises they do receive are often small relative to their compensation. The consequences of these salary policies can be felt throughout the region: rising rates of teachers—especially the most talented—leaving the profession, poor learning outcomes for students across the region, and limited opportunities to recognize effective teachers. A review of current policies reveals that most LAC teachers receive a salary heavily linked to seniority and qualifications, with limited opportunities to earn financial compensation for strong performance, and those opportunities that do exist are often for a one-time bonus rather than a permanent raise.

Challenges and opportunities in integrating early childhood services – a spotlight on the workforce

The discussion around the integration of early childhood services is not new at all, but it became more heated in the recent years because of increasingly complex challenges that families with young children face in the current dynamic social, economic, cultural and political contexts they live. There are many experiences of both bottom-up and top-down initiatives for strengthening integration in various countries, but all indicate a series of barriers. And many related to a manner of thinking and working which pays tribute to a highly specialized and silo-ed approach. The barriers also point to a weak or ‘dysfunctional’ relationship between practice, research and policies, which should be meant to make services more responsive and efficient and to bring them closer to children and families, and to communities.  

What Lies at the Heart of Teacher Education? Boxes Within Boxes, Worlds Within Worlds, Seeing and Being Seen

As a teacher educator, I tell trainee teachers that their starting point should be each pupil – not the lesson plan, nor the books. Try and see the encounter in the classroom, I urge them, from the perspective of the individual pupil as you engage with her or him. How does the pupil experience this moment within education, in the here and now? What experiences and emotions has he or she brought from the world outside and what perceptions are uppermost in her or his mind today as the lesson proceeds?

All work and low pay: Why we need to pay more attention to the early childhood workforce

Lucía walks 30 minutes to the first home. When she arrives, she greets a mother and her son. She is a facilitator, or volunteer home visitor with Cuna Más, a public early childhood development (ECD) program in Peru that runs daycare centers in urban areas and a home visiting service in rural communities, like this one. She asks how things are going and asks about the mother’s daily routine — feeding, bathing, washing her son’s hands — providing guidance and feedback from time to time. Next is playtime, and she takes out a toy for the mother and child. While the child explores, she encourages the mother to talk to the child and ask questions about what he is doing. After, they sing a song together, or tell a story. When the hour is over, Lucía says goodbye to the family and walks to the next home.