Advocacy

Advocacy in early childhood can have more than one focus.  It may address the needs of the child, the needs of the families, the needs of the staff or director/owner.  Advocacy in early childhood is of great importance because it reaches across all provider sectors and ultimately impacts the community and the society in which we live.

The three main focuses for CDEA are family choice, quality programs, and well-trained teachers.
Subsets include:

  • The importance of choices for providers and families regarding early childhood settings, choices of curricula, flexibility in training with consistent, but flexible training programs for directors and teachers.
  • The importance of knowing who your state legislators and federal congressmen are.
  • The importance of attending their meetings and letting them know where you stand on issues affecting early childhood.
  • The need to visit their offices and build a relationship with them while they are in your district, not during session.
  • The need to prepare for advocacy to meet the needs of the children, families, and staff you serve.

Effective Advocacy Steps for Everyone (E.A.S.E.)

  • 1

    CHOOSE AND DEFINE YOUR ISSUE

    Choose an issue that is personally important, interesting, or challenging to you.  Define the issue so that you can stay focused.

  • 2

    ORGANIZE YOUR TEAM

    Coordinate your work with others.  Form partnerships.  Create Coalitions.  Avoid duplication.  Set up an organizational meeting.  Choose your leaders. Organize committees. Create a name, slogan and/or logo.

  • 3

    DETERMINE WHAT YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE

    Develop a mission statement.  Set your goals and objectives.  Delegate each task necessary to meet your goals and objectives, and set a timeline.

  • 4

    STAY ORGANIZED

    Set up a meeting schedule. Prepare an agenda for each meeting. Keep records of your activities.

  • 5

    KNOW YOUR SUBJECT

    Research your topic so that you are educated about your issue and can discuss it with others.  Organize the facts.  Know the process for getting your plans implemented.

  • 6

    PREPARE A BUDGET AND RAISE FUNDS

    Even the smallest projects usually require some money.  Determine how much you need and decide how you will raise it.

  • 7

    KNOW YOUR OPPOSITION

    Determine who is working against you now or may be against your efforts in the future.  Find out what their goals are, and be prepared to counter anything they do to stop your work.

  • 8

    EDUCATE THE PUBLIC AND GATHER SUPPORTERS

    Target the decision-makers who have the power to create the change you want and the individuals who have the power to influence the decision. Determine the best way to deliver your message to the public. This will gather supporters who will donate their time and/or money to help you reach your goals.

  • 9

    TAKE ACTION

    Once you have set your goals and objectives, researched your subject and started educating the public, you need to choose the advocacy tool(s) that will help you effect the change(s) you desire.

  • 10

    EVALUATE

    By evaluating your work you will be able to measure whether or not you successfully achieved your goals and objectives. It may be beneficial to evaluate your work both throughout the project and when the project has been completed.

  • 11

    RECOGNIZE YOUR SUCCESSES AND SUPPORTERS

    Personally and publicly recognize individuals and groups for their support and accomplishments. Publicize the work you have completed successfully.

  • 12

    BE POLITICALLY ACTIVE

    Every United States citizen should register to vote, educate themselves about the candidates, and then vote accordingly on Election Day.  Voting is one of the most powerful advocacy tools we have.

LEGISLATION

An awareness of pending legislation is important for all early childhood providers if we are to maintain high quality with the flexibility needed to meet the needs of young children and their families. For specific information about legislation in your state, visit the National Council of State Legislatures.

  • Stay aware of legislative efforts in your area regarding parent choice, and the overall structure of early childhood through your professional organization or another legitimate source.
  • When needed, actively participate in contacting your state legislators.
  • If legislation will affect the children and families in your programs, then pass the information to the parents and other family members of your children.
  • Be aware that federal legislation affects state funding streams, which will in turn affect new state legislation.

POSITION STATEMENTS

CDEA endorses a variety of early childhood education settings for young children to promote and facilitate parental choice. These include: center-based, family child care, faith-based, private, and public programs. Full and part-time care is required to meet the individual needs of families and children. CDEA supports:

PARENT CHOICE:

  • Private, public, faith-based, or family child care programs
  • Part-day or full day care to meet the needs of the family and child
  • Faith-based or other curricula that support the values and philosophy of the family

DEVELOPMENTALLY APPROPRIATE PRACTICE

  • Developmentally appropriate room arrangement
  • Activity-based learning centers
  • Responsive pupil-teacher interaction
  • Learning activities appropriate to meet the needs of every child in the class

SPECIAL NEEDS

  • Early screening to identify children who may need further assessment
  • Individual plans and accommodations for children identified as having special needs
  • Inclusion of children into programs with typical peers
  • Additional teacher training specific to the field of inclusion as needed

*The following early childhood inclusion resources are available for parents and providers online:

headstart

CELL

floridadirecory

Inclusion Coordinators are also available as staff members within local Early Learning Coalitions throughout the state of Florida.

CURRICULA RECOMMENDATIONS

CDEA recommends diversity in the implementation and selection of curricula in order to meet the individual needs and values of families and children.  Curricula should be:

  • Comprehensive and integrated throughout the day
  • Appropriate for the age and development of the child
  • Based on research
  • Offered through activities in learning centers
  • Offered in multiple modalities, for diverse learning styles, and through the five senses

Moral/Spiritual Development – Christian curricula should include:

  • Judeo-Christian Values
  • Biblical Truths>
  • Integration of Principles
Assessments – CDEA encourages the use of research-based assessments to:
  • Assess the learning environment.
  • Assess the pupil-teacher interaction using a formal tool such as The CLASS Tool.
  • Assess the progress of the children enrolled using a formal tool such as TS Gold.
  • Provide ongoing development and educational progress documented and communicated to parents.

Learn more about how you can become a Member and join online today!