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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?

Strengthening & Supporting the Early Childhood Workforce: A Global Overview

Evidence is growing that early childhood development (ECD) services have a strong, positive impact on children’s development. Research from diverse contexts shows that interventions which promote nurturing care in early environments significantly improve childhood development and later adult outcomes. For example, a study of the Hogares Comunitarios de Bienestar program in Colombia, which provides child care and nutrition services to children under age six, found that adolescents ages 13-17 who had participated in the program were almost 20 percent more likely to be in school than those who had not participated. 

Thinking differently about the early childhood workforce to deliver quality results

On July 12 and 13, 2016, the Early Childhood Workforce Initiative hosted its first webinar entitled Diversity and identity: the early childhood workforce. The webinar kicked off the first learning event for the joint learning initiative between the International Step by Step Association (ISSA) and Results for Development (R4D). The Early Childhood Workforce Initiative aims to build learning to empower those who work with young children by bridging the gaps in policy and practice so as to build high quality services for all children under age 8. The initiative seeks to strengthen competences and standards, as well as training and professional development, improve monitoring and mentoring and increase the recognition of the profession. Other webinars will be proposed in 2016.

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