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.
Choose an issue that is personally important, interesting, or challenging to you. Define the issue so that you can stay focused.
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.
Develop a mission statement. Set your goals and objectives. Delegate each task necessary to meet your goals and objectives, and set a timeline.
Set up a meeting schedule. Prepare an agenda for each meeting. Keep records of your activities.
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.
Even the smallest projects usually require some money. Determine how much you need and decide how you will raise it.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Personally and publicly recognize individuals and groups for their support and accomplishments. Publicize the work you have completed successfully.
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.
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.
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:
*The following early childhood inclusion resources are available for parents and providers online:
Inclusion Coordinators are also available as staff members within local Early Learning Coalitions throughout the state of Florida.
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:
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