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A core component of administering an early childhood program is having a knowledge base of early childhood theory. As educators, it is often easier to see theory in practice when using developmentally appropriate practice directly with children. Embarking on a leadership role means that you need to explore theory from the lens of a leader in order to inform decision making for program-wide best practice. To prepare for this discussion, read the required chapters of the textbook

In your initial post:

Provide at least one specific example when answering the following questions:

How should our awareness of developmental theories guide our work as administrators?

How should theory influence the implementation of quality programming as an administrator?

Which theory most influences your personal view of leadership and/or what you have come to value as an educator?

Explain one developmental theory or aspect of one theory that is not mentioned in the book. Discuss why this additional information is important for managers/administrators when considering program quality.

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Overview of Early Care and Education and Program
NAEYC Administrator Competencies addressed in this chapter:
Management Knowledge and Skills
1. Personal and Professional Self-Awareness
The ability to be a reflective practitioner and apply a repertoire of techniques to improve the level of personal fulfillment and professional
job satisfaction
3. Staff management and human relations
Knowledge of different supervisory and group facilitation styles
8. Leadership and Advocacy
Knowledge of organizational theory and leadership styles as they relate to early childhood work environments
Knowledge of the legislative process, social issues, and public policy affecting young children and their families
Early Childhood Knowledge and Skills
1. Historical and Philosophical Foundations
Knowledge of the historical roots and philosophical foundations of early childhood care and education
Knowledge of different types of early childhood programs, roles, funding, and regulatory structures
Knowledge of current trends and important influences impacting program quality
2. Child growth and development
Knowledge of current research in neuroscience and its application to the field of early childhood education
5. Children with special needs
Knowledge of licensing standards as well as state and federal laws (e.g., ADA, IDEA) as they relate to services and accommodations for
children with special needs
The ability to work collaboratively as part of family-professional team in planning and implementing appropriate services for children with
special needs
10. Professionalism
Ability to reflect on one’s professional growth and development and make goals for personal improvement
Learning Outcomes
After studying this chapter, you will be able to:
Identify the unique characteristics of young children’s growth and development that make it particularly important that programs of
early care and education are of high quality.
Describe the historical trends that have shaped early childhood policy and programming.
Identify the most common types of early childhood programs and the services that meet the needs of particular populations.
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Describe the differences between structural and process quality in early care and education programs.
Identify the personal attributes and areas of competence of effective leaders.
Child care is a now a way of life for many of America’s young children, but this has not always been the case. In 1960, only about 10% of the 3and 4-year-olds in the United States participated in a preschool (pre-K) program outside of their home. By 1970, twice as many 3- and 4-year-olds
had enrolled in preschool, and by 1990 participation in preschool had doubled again to about 40% of all 3- and 4-year-olds. We know more mothers
were working full time in 1990 than had been in 1960, but that is not the only explanation for the increased demand for early childhood education.
Other factors, including the trend toward smaller families and a growing appreciation for the contributions preschool can make to children’s
development, meant that more families were willing and able to seek out early educational experiences for their preschoolers (Barnett, Robin,
Hustedt, & Schulman, 2003
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P7000499572000000000000000003463) ).
Today, child care is a part of many families’ daily routine; in fact, young children may attend child care for more than 2,000 hours per year. That is
about twice the amount of time older children spend in public school classrooms. In fact, the cumulative total time young children spend in child
care may equal the total time they spend in school from the beginning of kindergarten until they graduate from high school (Children’s Defense
Fund, 2006
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P7000499572000000000000000003471) ). These
figures help us appreciate why young children’s experiences in child care have a lasting impact on their learning, growth, and development.
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As demand for early care and education has grown, results from compelling large-scale studies have been used to raise the public’s awareness of
the importance of the early years. Some of the findings that have influenced policy include the following:
Children’s brains are literally shaped by early experiences in their homes, child care settings, and communities. Early experiences
influence the developing brain’s architecture and children’s lifelong learning potential (Center on the Developing Child at Harvard
University, 2007a
; Yoshikawa et. al, 2013
; Shonkoff & Phillips, 2000
Quality early childhood programs have been demonstrated to enhance children’s language, literacy, and mathematical learning as well
as their social and emotional development. These advantages last throughout their school careers and beyond (Barnett, 2013
; Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, 2007b
; Camilli, Vargas, Ryan, & Barnett, 2010
; Yoshikawa et. al, 2013
; Votruba-Drzal, Coley, Koury, & Miller, 2013
The economic benefits of investments in quality early childhood education outweigh their costs. Economists estimate that every $1
invested in large-scale programs like the ones implemented in Tulsa and Chicago produce a savings of up to $7. They reduce the
likelihood that children will repeat a grade, need special education services, or be incarcerated; and increase the likelihood that they
will graduate from high school to become productive, gainfully employed adults (Barnett, 2013
; Yoshikawa et. al, 2013
; Schweinhart et al., 2005
While all young children reap lifelong benefits from participating in high-quality early childhood programs, children from low-income
homes and those with special needs benefit the most (Barnett, 2013
; Votruba-Drzal, Coley, Koury, & Miller, 2013
This appreciation for the vulnerability of very young children’s developing brains and the windows of opportunity that are uniquely open during
their first 3 years, as well as a growing appreciation for their potential to make long-term contributions to children’s well-being, have led efforts to
invest public monies on quality early childhood programming (Barnett, 1995
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P7000499572000000000000000003457) ; Center
on the Developing Child at Harvard University, 2007a
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P700049957200000000000000000346B) ; Duncan
& Magnuson, 2013
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P7000499572000000000000000003487) ;
Yoshikawa et. al, 2013
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P70004995720000000000000000034E5) ; Ramey
& Ramey, 1998
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P70004995720000000000000000034C0) ;
Schweinhart et al., 2005
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(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P70004995720000000000000000034C8) ; Votruba-
Drzal, Coley, Koury, & Miller, 2013
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P70004995720000000000000000034E3) ).
But even while science has provided mounting evidence of the importance of the early years, the fact remains that too many children begin school
with disadvantages that are hard, and sometimes impossible, to overcome. As many as 49% of America’s children under 6 live in low-income
homes, and 25% live in poverty where families of four have an income of $22,050 or less per year, and families of two try to manage with an annual
income of just $15,130. These figures represent a significant rise in poverty in the past five years, a burden that is shouldered disproportionally by
minorities; 70% of African American, 70% of American Indian, 67% of Hispanic, 35% of white, and 30% of Asian children live in low-income
households (Addy, Englehardt, & Skinner, 2013
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P7000499572000000000000000003453) ). Poverty
impacts children during their infancy and early childhood years in multiple ways. Low-income mothers are less likely to seek prenatal care and are
more likely to have babies weighing less than 5½ pounds. Young children living in poverty are more likely to be poorly nourished; may not be fully
immunized against childhood illnesses; and are more likely to be homeless or to live in unsafe, stress-producing neighborhoods (Addy, Englehardt,
& Skinner, 2013
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P7000499572000000000000000003453) ; Center
on the Developing Child at Harvard University, 2007b
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P700049957200000000000000000346D) ;
Children’s Defense Fund, 2014
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P7000499572000000000000000003473) ).
Children thrive when they have their caregivers’ undivided attention.
Suzanne Clouzeau/Pearson Education
Advocates who appreciate how children can benefit from participating in quality child care need to focus, in particular, on those children who are
most at risk for school failure because they live in poverty, are being raised by a single parent with low educational attainment, or have unmet
medical or mental health needs. These children have the most to lose by falling behind, and the most to gain by being enrolled in a quality early
childhood program. It can give them an opportunity to break the cycle of poverty and put them on the road to success in the years to come.
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Effective program administration begins with an understanding of the history and traditions of early care and education. This overview will provide
a starting point as you learn about program planning and implementation, effective management, and leadership.
An instructive place to begin is by considering how current events and national priorities have influenced the country’s interest in, and support for,
programs of early care through the years.
Kaiser Shipbuilding provided 24-hour on-site child care for “Rosie the Riveter,” women who were building ships and other materials
needed by the war effort. These centers, staffed by nurses and nutritionists as well as teachers, operated from 1943–1945. Their focus
was on the well-being of the whole child and their families. The program’s services even included prepared foods for mothers to take
home at the end of the workday (MacKenzie, 2011
Head Start was launched as the centerpiece of the 1960’s War on Poverty, and continues to serve America’s at-risk children. Head
Start is a comprehensive program providing health, nutrition, and educational programming for young children. Head Start also
involves families in local programs’ operation while offering job training and social services to help bootstrap families out of poverty
(Hinitz, 2014
The women’s movement gained momentum in the 1970s, and the demand for child care increased dramatically to meet the needs of
mothers with young children who were entering the workforce in record numbers (Lerman & Schmidt, 1999
The 1994 Goals 2000: Educate America Act set high expectations for America’s schools and challenged them to provide all children
with opportunities to realize their full potential. Goal 1 stated that all children would come to school “ready to learn.” As a result,
programs that were focused on strengthening families and ensuring that children were well nourished, received needed healthcare, and
had access to quality early childhood programming attracted unprecedented support at the national, state, and local levels (Johnson &
Aulicion, 1998
Federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation enacted in 2001 put an unprecedented emphasis on standards and accountability.
States benefited from the support NCLB provided for the development of Good Start Grow Smart early learning guidelines describing
what young children should know and be able to do. NCLB prompted serious concerns, however, when program evaluation measures
required the administration of assessments of children’s learning that early childhood experts believed were inappropriate and even
harmful (Stipek, 2006
Goals 2000 and NCLB initiatives increased public spending on early education, but the economic downturn that began in 2008
threatened to drastically reduce the government’s investments in young children. In 2009 and 2010, the American Recovery and
Reinvestment Act (ARRA) stepped in to sustain states’ efforts to improve the quality and accessibility of early childhood programs
(Schulman & Blank, 2010
). This stream of funding expired in 2010, however, resulting in a return to bare-bones state budgets that stalled funding for initiatives
designed to improve the quality of programs of early care and education and increase the number of children served (Barnett &
Carolan, 2013
The federal Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge grants program launched in 2011 was designed to enhance states’ efforts to
improve the quality of early learning and development programs, support a well-qualified early childhood workforce, integrate
children’s services, and implement rigorous yet appropriate standards. States with successful proposals receive large infusions of
monies to support their system of early care and education programming (U.S. Department of Education, 2009
While it is true the United States does not yet have a robust infrastructure that provides all families with affordable, accessible, high-quality
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programming for their young children, these initiatives illustrate how early childhood care and education has, through the years, attracted the
investments of national, state, and local monies.
National and State Child Care Initiatives
One way to gauge public support for early childhood programs is to consider states’ investments in preschoolers, particularly 3- and 4-year-olds. In
the 2001–2002 school year, 40 states served about 700,000 children (4.8% of all 4-year-olds and 3% of all 3-year-olds) in publicly funded
programs. The low standards and minimal per-student funding typical during this period led some advocates to describe state-supported programs as
being “poor to mediocre” and to question states’ commitment to educating their youngest citizens (Barnet, Robin, Hustedt, & Schulman, 2003
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P7000499572000000000000000003463) , p. 6).
In 2013–2014, there were still 10 states with no state-funded program for preschoolers, while the 40 states and the District of Columbia that
operated preschool programs served over 1.3 million children (29% of all 4-year-olds and 4% of all 3-year-olds). It is heartening to see how the
number and percentage of children served has increased in the past decade, and to see that funding and enrollment have begun to recover from the
cuts caused by the 2008 recession (Barnett, Carolan, Squires, Brown & Horowitz, 2015
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P700049957200000000000000000345B) ).
Per-student spending is another way to measure states’ commitment to young children. In 2013–2014 the District of Columbia’s investment, of
$15,372 per child was the highest and presented a sharp contrast to the funding level of ten states that allocated less than $3,000 per child. This
variability alone is cause for concern. However, the most troublesome fact is that per-child support declined in 20 states between 2012–2013 and
2013–2014. These figures offer hope that state funding is recovering from the devastating effects of the recession, but have not yet fully recovered
from the drastic cuts that began in 2011–2012 (Barnett, Carolan, Squires, Brown, & Horowitz, 2015
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P700049957200000000000000000345B) ).
A third way to gauge a state’s commitment to preschoolers’ education is to consider its commitment to quality. One indication of quality is the
amount of specialized training teachers are required to bring to their work. In 2001–2002, only 74% of state-supported preschool programs
required teachers to have specialized training in early childhood education. By 2008–2009, 84% of states’ programs required teachers to have
specialized preparation. Efforts to continue to raise the bar for teachers’ education were stalled, however, by the 2008 economic downturn that made
it impossible to reward well qualified teachers with the higher salaries they deserve (Barnett & Carolan, 2013
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P700049957200000000000000000345B) ). What’s
more, public support for preschool programs remains consistently below that of programs for primary-age children, and teacher qualifications and
other characteristics of quality are more likely to apply to programs for school-age children than for those in preschool (Barnet, Robin, Hustedt, &
Schulman, 2003
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P7000499572000000000000000003463) ).
President Obama put early childhood education in the spotlight in his 2013 State of the Union Address when he proposed the Preschool for All
federal—state partnership. The president’s initiative is intended to engage local school districts in the effort to increase the availability and quality
of preschool for low- and moderate-income families. These efforts, coupled with continuing support for Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge
grants and the expansion of Head Start and Early Head Start, could be the foundation of a durable system of publicly funded early care and
education (The White House, 2013
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P70004995720000000000000000034D9) ).
We know that challenges remain as the field strives to increase quality, affordability, and accessibility to meet the needs of increasingly diverse
communities. We hope that this book will prepare you to advocate for the societal and governmental support required to provide all young children
with opportunities to enhance their chances for success in school and beyond.
Application Activity
Find your state’s child care center licensing regulations by going to nrckids.org (http://nrckids.org) and clicking on the link for State
Licensing and Regulation Information or by searching “child care licensing regulations YOUR STATE” or “day care licensing regulations
YOUR STATE.” Find the requirements to serve as a program director. Are you qualified now? What would you need to do to be eligible to
serve as a director? Are the qualifications the same or different in two neighboring states? What are these differences?
Bookmark this resource on your computer. You will be referencing it frequently as you use this textbook.
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One of the first challenges encountered when studying programs of early care and education is the confusion about the meaning of early childhood.
Professional organizations, state departments of education, researchers, and other stakeholders sometimes use vague synonyms or different
chronological ages or developmental milestones when they refer to “young children.” The National Association for the Education of Young
Children (NAEYC) has defined early childhood as the period from birth through age 8 (NAEYC, 2009
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P70004995720000000000000000034B0) ). That is
the definition we will use throughout this book, with a particular emphasis on children from birth to 5 years of age served in community child care
One way to classify early childhood programs is by considering the program’s sponsor. Early childhood programs are operated by
state agencies (e.g., public prekindergarten, kindergarten, and primary-grade programs operated in public schools)
federal agencies (e.g., Head Start and Early Head Start)
private for-profit or nonprofit organizations (e.g., community preschools, parent cooperatives, employer-sponsored child care, faithbased programs, programs operated by service, or philanthropic organizations)
colleges and universities that use them as clinical settings and as research laboratories
Early childhood programs may also be described by referring to their historical roots, which include health care, social services, home economics or
family and consumer science, and education (Meisels & Shonkoff, 2000
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P70004995720000000000000000034A6) ). Today,
as in the past, early childhood programs reflect the social interests, political trends, and community priorities of the day (Garbarino & Ganzel,
2000 (http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P7000499572000000000000000003492) ;
Sameroff & Fiese, 2000
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P70004995720000000000000000034C2) ).
Most Common Types of Child Care
In 2011, families made regular child care arrangements for about 61% of all children under age 5. About 42% of these children were cared for by a
member of their family, most often a grandparent; about 5% were enrolled in family child care; and about 25% of America’s infants, toddlers, and
preschoolers attended an organized facility such as a child care center, preschool, or Head Start (U.S. Census Bureau, 2013
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P70004995720000000000000000034DB) ).
State-operated public schools and federally funded Head Start programs serve particular populations of young children from birth through age 4.
State-funded pre-K programs are sometimes located in public schools, but they can also be housed in community programs that are reimbursed for
their services. These publically funded programs have specific operating procedures and are governed by mandated standards. You will want to
learn more about these programs if you anticipate a career in a government-operated program of early care and education.
The two most popular types of child care that are the primary focus of this book are child care centers and family child care. A child care center is
a nonresidential facility serving 13 or more children and operating fewer than 24 hours a day (National Association for Regulatory
Administration [NARA], 2013
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P70004995720000000000000000034AC) ). Many
programs serve children from birth through school age for 10 to 12 hours a day, adjusting their schedules to meet the needs of working families.
Most serve the same children and families on a regular basis, but others accept children on a drop-in occasional basis. Child care centers are
regulated by states’ licensing agencies. While many for-profit centers are owned and operated by individuals or family corporations, some are
operated as large chains or are franchises. Not-for-profit centers are typically sponsored by state or local governments, religious groups, service or
philanthropic organizations, or parent cooperatives.
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Figure 1.1
A Comparison of the Licensed Capacity of Child Care Centers 2005, 2008, and 2011.
Sources: Created from data from NARA/NCCIC, 2006
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P70004995720000000000000000034AE) ; NARA,
2010 (http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P70004995720000000000000000034B8) ;
NARA, 2013
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P70004995720000000000000000034AC) .
Consider how the licensed capacity of child care centers has fluctuated in recent years. Figure 1.1
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p7000499572000000000000000000548#P700049957200000000000000000055C) illustrates
how the capacity in licensed child care declined between 2008 and 2011 when demand was slowed by the economic downturn that put many
families out of work.
Family child care is nonresidential care provided in a private home other than the child’s own. Just under 1 million (about 4.6%) of America’s
children under age 6 attend family-based child care at least once a week (U.S. Census Bureau, 2013
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P70004995720000000000000000034DB) ). In small
family child care homes, the number of children is limited—approximately six, including the caregiver’s own children. Many states differentiate
between small home programs and those serving 7 to 12 children in large family child care homes or group child care homes. Family child care
homes are most frequently operated as independent businesses, but they are occasionally part of a system (i.e., have a sponsoring organization
authorized by the state to approve and monitor their services), as is the case for home providers operating on military bases.
Wide variation exists among states’ regulatory requirements for small and large family child care programs. In some states, operators must simply
submit evidence that providers have undergone criminal background checks and have taken other essential steps to ensure children’s safety and
well-being. In others, home-based programs are held to standards similar to those applied to child care centers. You will need to become familiar
with your state’s requirements if you are considering opening a program for young children in your home.
Informal care includes a large network of often unregulated “kith and kin” providers. Low-income families, families of color, and families with
infants and toddlers are most likely to rely on these caregivers, who are most often relatives, friends, or neighbors of the children they serve
(Shivers, 2012
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P70004995720000000000000000034CC) ). Some
researchers estimate that nearly one-half of all young children, particularly infants, in nonparental care are using informal and unregulated child care
arrangements at least some of the time (Brown-Lyons, Robertson, & Layzer, 2001
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P7000499572000000000000000003467) ; Paulsell,
Mekos, Del Grosso, Rowand, & Banghart, 2006
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P70004995720000000000000000034BC) ).
As you study Figures 1.2
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p7000499572000000000000000000548#P700049957200000000000000000056C) and 1.3
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p7000499572000000000000000000548#P7000499572000000000000000000576) , notice the
child care arrangements families most often make for their preschoolers. Note the role that child care centers, preschools, and Head Start programs
play in families’ lives and reflect on the responsibilities they accept when children spend the majority of their waking hours in the care of adults
who are not members of their families.
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Figure 1.2
Types of Regular Child Care Arrangements for Preschoolers reports the percentage of children cared for by relatives as well as
those served in child care centers, preschools, Head Start, and family child care homes; by nannies in their own homes; and those
who have another arrangement.
Source: Created from U. S. Census Bureau, 2013
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P70004995720000000000000000034DB) data.
Figure 1.3
Regular Arrangements for Preschoolers Cared for by Nonrelatives reports the percentage of children cared for adults who are
not members of their families.
Source: Created from U. S. Census Bureau, 2013
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P70004995720000000000000000034DB) data.
Special Services in Child Care
Infant and toddler child care serves children from birth to age 3. Over 50% of the mothers of infants and toddlers are in the workforce, so the
demand for services for these young children is great (Murphey, Cooper, & Forry, 2013
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P70004995720000000000000000034AA) ). In 2011,
about 16% of infants under 1 year old and 47% of toddlers between 12–36 months of age were enrolled in center-based care, and about 10% of
infants under one and 14% of toddlers 12–36 months old were cared for in family child care settings (U.S. Census Bureau, 2013
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P70004995720000000000000000034DB) ). But, in
spite of this high demand, the supply of infant/toddler care is inadequate. The lack of availability is due in part to the high cost of maintaining the
low ratios (one caregiver to three or four children) that are the hallmark of quality. It is also particularly difficult to provide consistently high-quality
care for very young children. The now-classic Cost, Quality, and Outcomes study reported that 40% of infant/toddler programs were of poor quality
and only 8% were determined to provide quality care (Cost, Quality, and Child Outcomes Study Team, 1995
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P700049957200000000000000000347F) ).
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Federal initiatives, including the Infant-Toddler Set-Asides that are part of the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF), funnel increased funds
to specialized training and technical assistance for caregivers (ZERO TO THREE, n.d
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P70004995720000000000000000034E7) .). To date
these efforts have led to the creation of infant/toddler specialist networks in 27 states. These initiatives are designed to increase the knowledge and
skill of caregivers working with these youngest children by providing resources as well as professional development and hands-on technical
assistance (National Infant & Toddler Child Care Initiative, 2011
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P70004995720000000000000000034B6) ).
School-age child care (SACC) operates when school is not in session—before and after school, on school holidays, and during the summer. These
programs are in great demand, as illustrated by the fact that half of today’s grade school children participate in an organized program in addition to
school (U.S. Census Bureau, 2013
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P70004995720000000000000000034DB) ). SACC
includes services provided by child care centers; large and small family child care homes; parks and recreational departments; day camps; and youth
groups such as YMCA/YWCA, Boy and Girl Scouts, and Boys & Girls Clubs of America. As of 2013, 13 states had adopted separate school-age
licensing standards that typically address the physical environment, child—staff ratios and maximum group size, staff qualifications and background
checks, health and hygiene, and program activities. Many states continue to exempt these programs from regulation (NARA, 2013
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P70004995720000000000000000034AC) ).
Infant care is particularly intimate. Responsive caregiving supports babies’ emotional development.
Carla Mestas/Pearson Education
Children with identified special needs are often served in inclusive community child care programs. In this context inclusion, as used in the
federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), refers to the full integration of children with disabilities into their community. That
means children with disabilities are placed in classrooms with typically developing peers, where they have the opportunity to become part of the
classroom and school community. This federal mandate has been effective in giving children with disabilities the same opportunities as their
typically developing peers. The U.S. Department of Education reports that over 48% of all young children covered by IDEA are served in inclusive
community early childhood programs full time, and an additional 17% of young children with disabilities are enrolled in inclusive community
programs part time (2009
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P70004995720000000000000000034DF) ).
Effective inclusion of young children requires meaningful collaboration among families, child care directors, classroom teachers, special education
service providers, and local education agencies to ensure that the children and staff receive the services and professional development they need to
be effective.
On-site child care is a growing trend that has attracted the attention of business leaders while earning the good will of parents seeking a healthy
work—life balance (Sing, 2013
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(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P70004995720000000000000000034D0) ). In fact,
on-site child care has been recognized as setting a company apart as a “good place to work” (CNN Money, 2012
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P700049957200000000000000000347B) ). On-site
child care has become more common in the workplace because it has proven to be a win—win investment. Parents are often happier and have
improved morale when their children are nearby (Sing, 2013
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P70004995720000000000000000034D0) ). An
added benefit is that employer-supported child care often comes with a price tag well below what other families in their community typically pay
(CNN Money, 2012
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P700049957200000000000000000347B) ). It has
proven to be a good business investment because it makes employees more productive while reducing tardiness, absenteeism, and turnover. That is
why many employers find they save money in the long run when they invest in bringing programs for young children into their workplace (Hahn,
n.d (http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P7000499572000000000000000003494) .).
Another trend is the growing need for care for children who are mildly ill with a noncontagious condition or who are recovering from surgery.
These programs provide a valuable service to working family members who would otherwise have to miss work. Five types of care are available for
children who are mildly ill: (a) centers that care only for sick children, (b) programs within hospitals, (c) “sick rooms” at regular child care centers,
(d) specialized family child care homes, and (e) in-home care or visiting nurse services. Programs vary as to which illnesses or conditions they will
admit or exclude; for example, many programs are not able to serve children with infectious diarrhea or a high fever. Some states have separate
regulations for programs serving children who are ill (NARA, 2013
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P70004995720000000000000000034AC) ).
There is also an increased demand for the overnight and weekend child care needed by families who work nonstandard or regularly shifting
schedules that are common in nursing, retail, food service, manufacturing, construction, and other occupations (Chaudry, Pedroza, & Sandstrom,
2012 (http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P7000499572000000000000000003475) ;
Enchautegui, 2013
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P7000499572000000000000000003489) ; Presser,
1999 (http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P70004995720000000000000000034BE) ;
Tavernise, 2012
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P70004995720000000000000000034D7) U.S.
Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P70004995720000000000000000034E1) ). Many
parents employed in these industries earn low wages on an hourly basis. They may have little control over their schedules and face losing their jobs
if they are not able to come to work promptly when told to report (McCrate, 2012
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P70004995720000000000000000034A4) ). While
most child care programs continue to operate Monday–Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., licensing regulations in 35 states now address programs that
care for children overnight (NARA, 2013
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P70004995720000000000000000034AC) ).
A final trend is the growth of drop-in child care programs that care for children on an unscheduled or occasional basis. Some child care centers
will accept children on a drop-in basis, but these programs are most often found in health clubs, shopping centers, or resort hotels (American
Academy of Pediatrics, American Public Health Association, and National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P7000499572000000000000000003455) ). A few
states have separate regulations for these programs that care for children when a parent is nearby and easy to reach in the case of an emergency
(NARA, 2013
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P70004995720000000000000000034AC) ).
Application Activity
Examine your state’s child care regulations to identify the kinds of programs they address. Identify any programs, such as those serving
school-age children for a limited number of hours each day, that are exempt from regulation.
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The growing appreciation for the potential benefits of quality programs of early care and education has strengthened funding agencies’ and policy
makers’ commitment to ensuring that all families have access to programming that can support and enhance young children’s development, growth,
and learning. These benefits can only be realized, however, in high-quality programs with characteristics linked to positive outcomes for children.
Characteristics of Quality
Researchers and policy makers assess a child care program’s quality by evaluating its structural and process characteristics. Measures of structural
quality include group size, child—adult ratio, and the extent of teachers’ and administrators’ specialized education and training. Many of these
features are readily observable and are addressed in states’ licensing regulations.
Dimensions of process quality address children’s experiences in care and can include measures related to health and safety, available materials, and
relationships with families. Some dimensions of process quality are straightforward and easy to evaluate, while others are more nuanced and
difficult to quantify. An example of an easy-to-observe dimension of process quality is an evaluation of a center’s health and safety practices.
Dimensions that are more difficult to assess include the level of caregivers’ warmth and responsiveness, their ability to support learning and higherlevel thinking, and the relationships that teachers nurture in the classroom (Yoshikawa et al., 2013
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P70004995720000000000000000034E5) ). While an
observer might develop an opinion about a program’s quality by observing these kinds of teacher—child interactions, assessments of these
dimensions of quality require trained assessors using standardized instruments that are generally not available to program administrators.
Parents as Consumers of Child Care
Families are not always able to differentiate between high- and lower-quality early childhood programs (Cryer & Burchinal, 1997
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P7000499572000000000000000003481) ). In fact,
discrepancies often exist between parents’ and experts’ ratings of program quality (Cryer & Burchinal, 1997
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P7000499572000000000000000003481) ; Fenech,
Harrison, & Sumsion, 2011
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P700049957200000000000000000348B) ; Helburn
& Culkin, 1995
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P7000499572000000000000000003496) ). There
are two ready explanations for these differences. First, parents often are not aware of the characteristics experts recognize as distinguishing highquality from lower-quality options. They may select child care by relying on the recommendations of family members and friends rather than on
data describing the quality of a particular program (Zinzeleta & Little, 1997
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P70004995720000000000000000034E9) ).
Furthermore, many parents have never seen a good program for comparison purposes.
Additionally, parents’ personal values may overshadow other criteria as they assess a program’s quality. They may be looking at costs, hours of
service, and convenience of location; they may be seeking a program with a strong academic focus or shared religious values; or they may prioritize
their children’ opportunities to exercise their autonomy or to develop close relationships with peers (Scopelliti, & Musatti, 2013
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P70004995720000000000000000034CA) ;
Zinzeleta & Little, 1997
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P70004995720000000000000000034E9) ).
A strategy many states have adopted to help families become more informed consumers of child care is the use of a Quality Rating System (QRS)
or Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS). These systems use easy-to-understand symbols, like stars, to represent differing levels of
quality. Like the diamonds that AAA uses to rank restaurants and hotels (AAA, n.d
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P7000499572000000000000000003451) .), they
summarize a comprehensive evaluation of a program’s structural and process characteristics, indicating a range of quality from adequate to
exemplary. In some states participation in the quality rating system is voluntary, in others it is mandatory. Either way, they are an effective way to
help families become better consumers when they select care for their young children.
Most communities also have Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) agencies dedicated to helping families find child care arrangements that
meet their needs. CCR&R programs are particularly focused on assisting new parents navigate the unfamiliar and often confusing process of
transitioning back to work while juggling the new demands of parenthood.
Cost is also an important factor families must take into account when selecting child care. The annual cost of full-time care for an infant in a centerhttps://content.uagc.edu/print/Freeman.4250.18.1?sections=p70004…nt=all&clientToken=7493fbfe-da0a-b3c5-b813-a54b0cb07922&np=cover
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based program costs between $4,822 (in Mississippi) to $17,062 (in Massachusetts), while families of 4-year-olds are likely to pay between $3,997
and $12,781 (the fees in those same two states) (Child Care Aware® of America, 2015).
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P700049957200000000000000000346F) These
figures demonstrate that the cost of child care can exceed tuition in a public college, which averages $8,980. What’s more, there has been a steady
increase in the costs of care from 1985 to the present, and this trend shows no signs of having run its course (U.S. Census Bureau, 2013
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P70004995720000000000000000034DB) ). The cost
of child care can put a tremendous burden on many families’ budgets: about 11% of middle-income families’ income and about 44% of the annual
income of a family in poverty.
Low-income families receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or Medicaid may be eligible for government subsidies to help
cover child care costs. These programs are typically administered by the state-level agency responsible for early childhood programming. Recent
reports reflect, however, that tuition support tends to be available to only 12% of the families with young children living in poverty, leaving many to
find affordable care for their children on their own (U.S. Census Bureau, 2013
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P70004995720000000000000000034DB) ).
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Now that we have identified trends that have shaped the landscape of early care and education and have discussed the importance of providing highquality programming, we will provide an overview of the roles, responsibilities, and professional attributes of effective early childhood program
administrators. As the “captain of the ship,” the director has a tremendous influence on the quality and success of the center. You will want to refer
to NAEYC’s definition of a program administrator and a description of the competencies needed for success as you study this chapter. They are
found on the first four pages of this book.
The Roles of a Director
An early childhood administrator wears many hats in the course of a typical day. She may be called upon to “fix swings that don’t swing, confront a
cash flow that doesn’t flow and toilets that overflow, and [to] work with way too many 4-year-olds named Jennifer” (Freeman & Brown, 2000
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P700049957200000000000000000348E) , p. 20).
He may be called upon to be a teacher, caregiver, coach, mentor, fund-raiser, cook, bus driver, plumber, or mechanic, all while ensuring that the
center runs smoothly on a day-to-day basis and planning for the program’s long-term success. Consider these important responsibilities that come
when you move into the director’s office.
Leader: In this role the director looks toward the future and the program’s continuous improvement. Her responsibilities include honoring the
program’s values, being mindful of the needs of all stakeholders, demonstrating her mastery of the field’s knowledge base, and reflecting what she
has learned through her professional experiences as she guides the center’s journey into the future.
Manager: The director’s managerial role is focused on the center’s day-to-day operations. She ensures that all children and families are receiving
the services to which they are entitled and that all staff have what they need to be successful. The director should make a point of interacting with
children, families, and staff every day so that he is aware of any developing issues and be prepared to act promptly to address concerns before they
become problems. The administrator is also responsible for keeping an eye on the safety and appearance of the facility, monitoring the
organization’s financial health by tracking both income and expenditures, keeping a watchful eye on enrollment, reaching out into the community,
and marketing the center as appropriate to ensure the center’s financial health.
Program directors must be very good at multi-tasking. They are often called on to complete many tasks every day.
Suzanne Clouzeau/Pearson Education
Coach: When acting as a coach, a director provides specific, targeted professional development and technical assistance designed to help a staff a
member address a particular issue or solve a particular problem (Chu, 2014
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P7000499572000000000000000003477) ). The
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director-as-coach might model appropriate behaviors, role-play problematic situations, provide specific feedback after an observation, or advise a
teacher to watch a video or read professional materials to address the target issue (Barton, Chen, Pribble, Pomes, & Young-Ah, 2011
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P7000499572000000000000000003465) ).
Coaching is always one of the roles a director plays in her program.
A director might coach a teacher who is striving to create a safe and engaging room arrangement for her active toddlers or provide another teacher
with strategies to channel a 4-year-old’s sometimes aggressive behaviors into constructive pursuits. Coaching might also involve challenging a
teacher get out of the rut of doing the same things every year by encouraging him to introduce new activities and materials to his 3-year-olds.
Effective coaching has been shown to result in lasting changes to practice and can be an effective way to help teachers move toward excellence
(Barton, Chen, Pribble, Pomes, Young-Ah 2011
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P7000499572000000000000000003465) ).
Mentor: The director’s role as a mentor is similar in some ways to that of a coach: both coaching and mentoring are forms of personalized
professional support and development. Mentorship is characterized, however, as being a continuous, long-term, intimate, relationship that
“refocuses us on the traditional values of relationships at the center of teaching.” (Chu, 2014
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P7000499572000000000000000003477) , p. viii;
Onchwari & Keengwe, 2008
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P70004995720000000000000000034B8) ) The
mentor/mentee relationship is always self-selected. It begins with a focus on strengths and progresses to reflections about teaching, learning, and
the mentee’s efforts to increase her knowledge and refine her practice (Chu, 2014
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P7000499572000000000000000003477) ). A
mentoring relationship is likely to have broad goals, focusing not only on the present, but also on the mentee’s long-term personal and professional
goals. Effective mentoring has been shown to increase retention while developing individuals’ leadership skills (Clutterbuck, 2008
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P7000499572000000000000000003479) ;
Onchwari & Keengwe, 2008
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P70004995720000000000000000034B8) ). Program
directors often mentor members of their staff; however, because the mentor/mentee relationship is self-selecting, these efforts will involve some but
not all employees (Starcevich, 2009
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P70004995720000000000000000034D3) ).
Consider Table 1.1
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p70004995720000000000000000005b8#P70004995720000000000000000005CC) to clarify
the differences between coaching and mentoring.
Table 1.1
The Difference Between Coaching and Mentoring
Action oriented
Targeted professional development with specific
goals addressing knowledge and skills
Can be spontaneous and responsive to immediate
Can be provided to individuals or groups
Can be provided by a peer or supervisor
Focused on a process that helps the mentee connect theory to practice through reflection
General and often focused on the mentee’s personal and professional development
Always part of a director’s responsibilities
Begins by setting goals with a long-range vision of the mentee’s personal and professional
Is a personal, one-on-one relationship
A mentor is always a more experienced colleague; if the mentor is someone in a supervisory
capacity, mentoring should be separated from supervisory responsibilities
Based on a positive, trusting, and respectful self-selected relationship; a director is likely to
serve as a mentor to some, but not all members of the program’s staff
Sources: Chu, 2014
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P7000499572000000000000000003477) ;
Management Mentors, 2014
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P70004995720000000000000000034A2) ; NAEYC
& NACCRRA, 2011
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P70004995720000000000000000034B2) ;
Oystercorp Pty Ltd (n.d.
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P70004995720000000000000000034BA) );
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Starcevich, 2009
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P70004995720000000000000000034D3) .
Effective Leadership
Former President Bill Clinton has described leadership as “bringing people together in pursuit of a common cause, developing a plan to achieve it,
and staying with it until the goal is achieved” (Colvin, 2014
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P700049957200000000000000000347D) , p. 66).
That description applies to leadership in the field of early childhood education as well as on a world stage.
One place to begin learning about leadership is by identifying three common leadership styles. Some leaders are autocratic or authoritarian,
preferring to solve problems and make decisions based on what they feel is best for the group; democratic or participative leaders are likely to
solicit input and advice from the group but are ready to be decisive after gathering the information they need; and laissez-faire leaders take a handsoff approach and expect members of the group to be able to make decisions without needing their guidance. They are likely to approve any
reasonable course of action (Dressler & Starke, 2004
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P7000499572000000000000000003483) ). As you
think about being the administrator of a program of early care and education, you might begin by thinking about which of these styles best fits your
skills, knowledge, and personality.
Another way to learn about leadership is to consider the personal attributes and skills of effective leaders.
Effective leaders possess these personal attributes:
Authenticity: genuine, do not manipulate others to get their way
Openness to change: willing to try new experiences and to explore untried approaches to solve problems
Trustworthiness: demonstrate integrity and fairness by being consistent in what they say and do
Self-motivation: show a drive to lead, and persistence in working toward a goal
Self-confidence: realistically evaluate their capabilities and believe that they can achieve the goals they set for themselves
Optimism: look for and expect the best in themselves and others
Conscientiousness: demonstrate a commitment to hard work and excellence: work toward that goal while encouraging others to do the
Self-awareness: realistically understand who they are, how they feel, and how others see them
Effective leaders demonstrate these competencies:
Knowledge: they have a strong foundation in child development and early childhood education. They will have, ideally, “walked the
walk” of those they supervise and can effectively recognize opportunities, anticipate potential problems, find solutions, and embrace
innovations that would contribute to the program’s quality
Possess vision and demonstrate imagination: they are aware of the big picture while considering short and long-term goals; are able to
create a vision for the future, and to inspire others to join in pursuit of that vision
Communicate clearly: they ensure that others understand where they stand; are approachable, accessible, and willing to hear others’
Demonstrate decisiveness: make informed decisions confidently
Effectively mentor, coach, and teach their staff: instill confidence; show a commitment to working with others to develop their
knowledge and skills; encourage others to take on new responsibilities and realize their goals
Show curiosity and a desire to learn: are open to real dialogue and encourage respectful debate of issues
Instill confidence: encourage others to develop their knowledge and skills, creating the environment that celebrates success
(Dulewicz & Higgs, 2005
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P7000499572000000000000000003485) ; Gächter,
Nosenzo, Renner, & Sefton, 2012
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P7000499572000000000000000003490) ; Jung &
Sosik, 2006
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P700049957200000000000000000349C) ; Müller
& Turner, 2010
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(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P70004995720000000000000000034A8) ;
Schoemaker, Krupp, & Howland, 2013
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P70004995720000000000000000034C4) ).
This introduction to leadership styles, including the personal attributes and competencies of effective leaders, can help you identify the ways in
which you are well suited for this role and may guide your continuing learning and professional development. Our goal is to support your efforts to
become the best program administrator you can be.
The Journey Begins…
We hope that this book will serve as a guide on your journey toward becoming an effective program administrator. You will not be on this journey
alone. We have woven the stories of two program directors into each chapter. They bring different experiences to their work and work in very
different settings. You will meet both of them in this chapter, and one will be featured in each of the following chapters. You will learn about their
struggles to try new strategies and develop new skills. We hope you will identify with some of their struggles—and will celebrate their successes.
Meet Marie
Marie is in her early 40s and has been working in the early care and education field for 18 years. She attended college full time while working
on a degree in business administration and worked part time for a licensed for-profit child care center near campus. Initially, Marie thought of
this preschool teaching position as “just a job,” but it didn’t take long for her to develop a real passion for working with children and having
the opportunity to make a difference in their lives.
As a result of this growing interest and focus, Marie soon made a change in her degree plan and began coursework in early childhood
education. She worked for the same child care center for more than 5 years, moving from a preschool classroom to the school-age room, and
eventually becoming the assistant director. Marie was still the assistant director when the time came to graduate and make a decision about
her career. Because the center director with whom Marie had worked with during college was still in that position, she decided to search for a
management position in another licensed child care center.
Soon after graduation, Marie accepted a position at a child care center licensed for 150 children. She was hired as the assistant director and
reported to the center director who had been there for nearly five years. Marie thrived in her role and was given many opportunities to use her
past experience and knowledge to mentor the center’s teachers. Marie’s performance was rewarded on several occasions with words of praise,
recognition at parent events, and a well-deserved salary increase. After a year, the director announced that she was expecting her first child
and would not be returning to work. Marie was offered the director position. She had every confidence in the world that she could excel in that
role: she knew she had received the proper training and mentoring in her previous position.
Over the past 13 years, Marie has remained at the same center. She has enjoyed the challenges of managing the business and operations but
recognizes that there is always more to know. She is committed to continuing to acquire the knowledge and skills she needs.
Meet Grace
Grace is in her early 30s and has worked in child care since high school. She attended a local technical college part time and graduated
several years ago with an associate’s degree in early childhood education. She became a full-time assistant teacher while still in school and
became a lead teacher after she graduated. She has worked with children from ages 2 to 5.
Over the years, Grace has worked in large and small for-profit and nonprofit programs. She had never considered becoming a director but was
encouraged to apply for the position when the longtime director at the nonprofit center where she has worked for the past three years moved
away. The center is licensed for 90 children. She was the most experienced teacher at the center, was very popular with children and parents,
and seemed ready for a new challenge. Furthermore, the center’s board of directors believed that the center had gotten into a rut—the facility
was getting a bit run down, they were constantly dealing with teacher turnover, and enrollment had its ups and downs. In short, it was a “good
enough” program—but not of the quality the board of directors expected.
Grace wasn’t too surprised when she got the job; however, as she begins her first full year as director, she is overwhelmed by everything she
needs to know and do to keep the center’s license in good standing and to make sure everything is running smoothly, let alone improve the
program’s quality. She is getting used to thinking of herself as a leader and manager but doesn’t feel qualified for many responsibilities that she
must now shoulder. She has no experience or training in making hiring, budgeting, marketing, or purchasing decisions. She is familiar with her
state’s licensing regulations, but they address many issues that she never paid attention to as a classroom teacher. For example, now she is
responsible not only for her own annual professional development, including the additional requirements for director, but also for ensuring
that her staff receives the annual training they need to comply with licensing regulations. What’s more, she knows she needs to lead some of
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that staff development herself, to become a coach for the entire staff, and to evaluate their performance. She’s worried that these duties will be
particularly difficult as she navigates the shift from being a teacher to director. She is now supervising teachers who were her peers just a few
months ago.
Your Own Journey
You will not become an effective early care and education administrator simply by reading this book or any other book on early childhood
programs. It takes years of experience as well as continual reflection and self-evaluation. It is our hope that this text will help you on your journey to
becoming an effective program administrator by describing the characteristics of quality program development and management. Throughout the
text, you will find authentic examples from successful early care and education programs. In addition, we have developed worksheets and forms that
might also be useful as you work to either develop or improve a program for young children. While we do not attempt to provide solutions to all the
situations you might encounter, we have endeavored to identify the essential knowledge and skills that will set you on the path toward success.
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Child care is a way of life for many families. Quality programming takes young children’s unique characteristics into account while meeting
families’ needs for safe, reliable care. Effective program administrators must have knowledge as well as a commitment to leading their program
toward excellence.
Identify the unique characteristics of young children’s growth and development that make it particularly important that programs of early
care and education are of high quality.
Numerous scientific studies confirm that young children’s brains grow exponentially during their early years. Therefore, it is imperative
that the patchwork quilt of programs that make up America’s system of early care and education commit to not only doing their best to
protect all children from harm, but also to providing responsive care and engaging educational experiences.
Describe the historical trends that have shaped early childhood policy and programming.
Over the past several decades, early childhood programs have experienced unprecedented growth. Even in difficult economic times, the
demand for child care and education in America’s increasingly linguistically, culturally, and ethnically diversity communities has
increased. Educators as well as federal legislators have been spurred to respond to the changing needs of today’s families.
Identify the most common types of early childhood programs and the services that meet the needs of particular populations.
More parents than ever before are looking for flexible child care arrangements. They may work in occupations that do not offer a 9–5
weekday schedule or they need occasional care for mildly ill children. The cost of such care is high, and many families lack access to the
high-quality programs they would like their children to attend. Early childhood educators have adapted in the past, and must continue to
respond to families’ needs as they plan to care for tomorrow’s children.
Describe the differences between structural and process quality in early care and education programs.
Early childhood education has attracted the increased attention of the public and policy makers at local, state, and national levels. New
opportunities mean the field must remember that the quality of early childhood programs remains an overriding concern. The benefits of
quality early education can last a lifetime and can improve, in particular, the chance for a lifetime of success for children living in poverty,
surrounded by violence, or facing chronic health conditions and disabilities. The fact is, however, that optimum quality has become even
more difficult to achieve because of shrinking state budgets and minimal public support for programs for preschoolers.
Identify the personal attributes and areas of competence of effective leaders.
Effective leadership can guide programs toward a vision of excellence. Well-informed, well-prepared program administrators can make
significant contributions toward the goal of quality early childhood programs for all.
National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education
This website includes links to several resources including Caring for Our Children, a comprehensive guide to best practices in the care of young
children. It also includes links to individual states’ child care regulations. Click on “State Licensing and Regulation Information.”
The U. S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook
Search “Preschool Director” to find the Preschool and Child Care Center Directors page. Discover an overview of the profession, including
educational requirements, annual salary, qualifications, and projections of future job opportunities.
Kids Count
Kids Count is a major initiative of the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Kids Count resources include an annual “Data Book” that reports on many
measures of child well-being. State-by-state, regional, and national data can be helpful as you learn about your community or prepare reports or
funding proposals.
National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)
This is the largest early childhood professional organization. Its home page offers a large collection of resources for teachers and caregivers,
administrators, and families.
As you embark on the process of becoming an effective program administrator of a high-quality early care and education program, think
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about the experiences, role models, or mentors that have brought you to this point in your career. Why do you want to be a program
administrator? What essential personal characteristics or competencies do you now possess? How can you cultivate the additional
characteristics and competencies that will help you reach your goal?
As the director of a respected child care program, you have been asked to address an upcoming local school board meeting about the
importance of early care and education. The board is considering implementing a new district-wide preschool program, but there are
citizens who want those funds to support other initiatives. What arguments would you make to convince this group that quality preschool
is a good investment?
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Identifying the Program’s Core Values, Developing Its Vision and
Mission Statements, and Planning for Program Evaluation
NAEYC Administrator Competencies addressed in this chapter:
Management Knowledge and Skills
1. Personal and Professional Self-Awareness
Knowledge of one’s own beliefs, values, and philosophical stance
8. Leadership and Advocacy
The ability to articulate a vision, clarify and affirm values, and create a culture built on norms of continuous improvement and ethical
The ability to evaluate program effectiveness
The ability to define organizational problems, gather data to generate alternative solutions, and effectively apply analytical skills in its
Early Childhood Knowledge and Skills
2. Child growth and development
Knowledge of different theoretical positions in child development
Knowledge of the biological, environmental, cultural, and social influences affecting children’s growth and development from prenatal
through early adolescence
Knowledge of developmental milestones in children’s physical, cognitive, language, aesthetic, social, and emotional development
Knowledge of current research in neuroscience and its application to the field of early childhood education
3. Child observation and assessment
Knowledge and application of developmentally appropriate child observation and assessment methods
Knowledge of the purposes, characteristics, and limitations of different assessment tools and techniques
Ability to use different observation techniques, including formal and informal observation, behavior sampling, and developmental
Knowledge of ethical practice as it relates to the use of assessment information
10. Professionalism
Ability to make professional judgments based on the NAEYC “Code of Ethical Conduct and Statement of Commitment”
Learning Outcomes
After studying this chapter, you will be able to:
Identify the sources of your program’s core values and draft a statement of its core values.
Describe what a vision statement does and why it is important.
Explain why it is important for your program to develop a mission statement.
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Identify the types of assessments used to evaluate programs of early care and education.
Marie’s Experience
The neighborhood where Marie’s center is located has not recovered from the recent economic downturn, and the parents of some children in her
center have recently lost their jobs. Sadly, some families have even had to withdraw their children from the program—they could not find a way
to pay the fees. Marie is troubled. She is very loyal to the neighborhood and to the families who have sent their children to the center for many
years. She is also beginning to worry about the effect decreased enrollment will have on the center’s cash flow and its ability to pay all its bills on
time. She has begun to think she might need to begin advertising her center in near by neighborhoods to keep enrollment high enough to pay the
bills and is looking for other ways to ensure that the center’s enrollment stays stable.
An effective director of a program of early care and education must be knowledgeable about the many facets of the center’s operation that
contribute to its ability to offer high-quality programming for young children and their families; the director must also be sensitive to external
factors that could impact its operation. This background will help prepare her to lead a four-step strategic planning process designed to ensure the
program’s short and long-term success.
The director must first lead the staff through a process of identifying the program’s core values. They provide a foundation for the creation of its
vision statement, a concise description of what the program is striving to achieve in the future; and its mission statement, a succinct description of
what the program is doing now, who it serves, serve, and why it exists (Ehmke, Dobbins, Gray, Boehlje, & Miller, 2004
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P7000499572000000000000000003500) ; Gabriel
& Farmer, 2009
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P700049957200000000000000000350A) ;
Grusenmeyer, 2012
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P7000499572000000000000000003510) ). The final
step in this strategic planning process is the creation of an evaluation plan designed to determine the program’s success reaching its short and longterm goals. Review Figure 2.1
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p7000499572000000000000000000657#P700049957200000000000000000069B) to
understand the relationships between your program’s core values, its vision and mission statements, and its evaluation plan.
Figure 2.1
Strategic Planning Process
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The core values of a program of early care and education express the foundational, essential beliefs that guide every aspect of its operation. They
should reflect the knowledge base, history, and traditions that have shaped the field of early childhood education as well as the philosophy of
teaching and learning and beliefs about the purposes of education embraced by the program’s sponsor, leadership, and staff. They must also
respond to the needs and values of the community that the program serves.
Core Values of Early Childhood Education
The process of developing a statement of the program’s core values begins by considering the professional core values of the field of early
childhood education that are part of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Code of Ethical Conduct (NAEYC,
2011 (http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P700049957200000000000000000351D) ).
They provide a foundation for the commitments all early childhood educators make to the children and families they serve, to each other, and to
their communities:
Appreciate childhood as a unique and valuable stage of the human life cycle
Base our work on knowledge of how children develop and learn
Appreciate and support the bond between the child and family
Recognize that children are best understood and supported in the context of family, culture,1
community, and society
Respect the dignity, worth, and uniqueness of each individual (child, family member, and colleague)
Respect diversity in children, families, and colleagues
Recognize that children and adults achieve their full potential in the context of relationships that are based on trust and respect.
A center working to identify the particular core values upon which its programming is based should begin by affirming its commitment to these
core values. It may then, after careful consideration, decide if it is appropriate to add to, expand upon, or elaborate on them to reflect their particular
center’s philosophy of teaching and learning, their views about the purposes of education, and the needs and values of their community.
Theories of Teaching and Learning
A center’s approach to teaching and learning is based on theories of child development. This knowledge base guides teachers’ day-to-day
interactions with children, families, and colleagues; its curriculum; and each classroom’s layout, daily schedule, materials, and equipment.
While not all early childhood educators agree about which theories are most accurate, the field is unified in its belief, as expressed in the core
values in the NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct that teachers of young children must be familiar with theories of child development and must
understand how these theories inform their work.
A Brief Review of Developmental Theories That Have Influenced Early Childhood Education
Theories of cognitive development that describe how children learn, and theories that explore children’s social and emotional development, are
essential components of early childhood educators’ professional knowledge. They have guided the field’s thinking about what we believe children
ought to know and be able to do and how we teach. It is important to remember as you review these theories that this is just a sampling of the
important research that has helped us understand children’s learning, growth, and development. Be mindful, as well, that scholars continue to build
on these theories, and to conduct research that will guide our work in the future.
Theories of Cognitive Development:
Through the years, three major theories of cognitive development have influenced our understanding of how children learn. The first, which
dominated the literature from the 1930s through the 1950s, is the maturationist view, which applies a biological and genetic lens to development
and learning (Gesell, 1931
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P700049957200000000000000000350C) ).
Maturationists can trace their roots to the teachings of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who believed that children’s growth and increased maturity are
natural processes that unfold overtime (Peltzman, 1998
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P700049957200000000000000000352D) ). Arnold
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Gesell’s research during this period demonstrated how genetics and biology guide the process of maturation and influence, to a great degree, what
children can do and can learn. This work led to the development of age-based norms describing children’s behaviors and warned against imposing
inappropriate expectations that would pressure children to perform beyond their developmental capacity.
A second school of thought that influenced education from the 1950s through the 1970s is behaviorism (Skinner, 1938
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P7000499572000000000000000003537) ). B. F.
Skinner taught that the environment, rather than genetics, has the greatest influence on learning. Behaviorists can trace their beliefs to those of John
Locke, who popularized the notion that children were “blank slates” to be shaped by their experiences (Ezell, 1983–84
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P7000499572000000000000000003506) ).
Behaviorism, with its emphasis on children’s experiences, provides a theoretical rationale for direct instruction with sequenced goals and
objectives. A behaviorist teacher describes or models desired behaviors and uses praise to reinforce appropriate responses. There are serious
limitations to a behaviorist approach to teaching young children: learning is defined by observable behaviors, success depends on a system of
rewards and punishments, and the teacher rather than the child is viewed as the source of knowledge and understanding.
The third theoretical approach to teaching and learning, which is consistent with brain research and supported by research investigating how
children learn, is constructivism. Constructivists, beginning with the work of Jean Piaget (Piaget & Inhelder, 1969/2000
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P700049957200000000000000000352F) ) and Lev
Vygotsky, (1978)
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P7000499572000000000000000003543) , help us
understand that children learn by interacting with the people and things in their environment. Piaget’s theory describes four stages of children’s
cognitive development:
During the sensorimotor stage (birth—2 years), infants learn by exploring the world with their senses. Object permanence and a
beginning understanding of cause and effect develop during this period.
The preoperational stage (2–7 years) is marked by children’s increased ability to use language. They develop memory and
imagination, which means they can think about the past, present, and future and enjoy make-believe.
Elementary-age children (7–11 years old) are typically in the concrete operational stage. During this period, they begin to be less
egocentric, which means they understand that others do not share their perspectives, thoughts, or experiences. Concrete operational
children are beginning to think logically but often rely on materials they can manipulate to solve problems.
Adolescent formal operational thinkers (12 years and up) are able to solve abstract problems systematically and can engage in
theoretical and hypothetical reasoning.
Piaget applies this constructivist theory to help us understand children’s acquisition of language, the characteristics of their moral reasoning, and
their understanding of geometry and time. His contributions provide convincing evidence that demonstrates children’s ability to direct their own
While both Piaget and Vygotsky are constructivists who emphasize the essential contributions hands-on experiences make to cognitive
development, Vygotsky places greater emphasis on learning within a social context. For that reason, his theory is described as social
constructivism. Vygotsky provides insights into how both children and adults can benefit from the help of a teacher or more capable peer who
guides or scaffolds (Wood, Bruner, & Ross, 1976
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P700049957200000000000000000354B) ) their
efforts to solve problems that are too difficult for them to manage independently. Vygotsky labeled the difference between what learners can do
independently and what they can do with expert coaching as their zone of proximal development (ZPD). Just as scaffolding is removed as building
project nears completion, the scaffolding provided by the more skilled coach who stretches the learners’ performance can be removed as students’
ZPD is expanded and their mastery builds (Vygotsky, 1978
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P7000499572000000000000000003543) ).
Vygotsky also focused on how culture shapes development. He described culturally developed “tools of the mind” (i.e., symbol systems, such as
language) that demonstrate how children’s culture prepares them to understand their world.
While it is instructive to be familiar with all three of these theoretical perspectives of cognitive development, it is important to appreciate that
research-based best practices in early childhood education take a constructivist approach anchored in the work of Piaget, Vygotsky, and scholars
who have continued in this constructivist tradition.
Theories of Social and Emotional Development:
Teachers of young children appreciate the importance of nurturing the growth and development of the whole child. They recognize their
responsibility to support children’s social and emotional development and the potentially life-long influence they can have on the children in their
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care. Three theories of social and emotional development are particularly important for early childhood educators to understand.
Erik Erikson’s (1950
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P7000499572000000000000000003502) )
psychosocial theory takes a life span perspective. It describes how social experiences shape individuals’ personality and influence their mental
health. Erikson identified eight stages: each of which involves a conflict that marks a developmental turning point. The first of Erikson’s stages,
trust versus mistrust, typically occurs between birth and about 18 months of age. This conflict is resolved successfully when infants experience
responsive and consistent caregiving that leads them to trust that their needs will be met. If care is inconsistent, caregivers are emotionally
unavailable, or babies feel rejected, the result is likely to be a fearful and mistrustful toddler. Each of the remaining seven conflicts involves a
similar turning point that has the potential to lead to either personal fulfillment or less-than-optimal development. Erikson’s theory takes an
optimistic view by including the possibility of revisiting conflicts that were not well resolved, repairing the potential damage to individuals’ healthy
emotional development.
Urie Bronfenbrenner also described how children’s relationships, and the social environment in which they live, influence their emotional
development. His ecological systems theory puts the child in the center of five overlapping systems of relationships and identifies the contributions
that robust, interconnected systems of relationships make to children’s development (Bronfenbrenner, 1979
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P70004995720000000000000000034F2) ;
Bronfenbrenner, 1989
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P70004995720000000000000000034F4) ):
Microsystems are made up of the child’s powerful relationships such as his family, child care setting, and peers.
Mesosystems are interactions between two microsystems, such as parent-teacher interactions or employer-supported child care.
Exosystems are relationships the child is not part of but that impact him none-the-less. Examples of a child’s exosystems include his
mother’s workplace and his parents’ circle of friends. A child is affected by his mother’s workplace when her responsibilities
frequently require her to travel out of town, upsetting the child’s ordinary daily routines.
A macrosystem is the child’s cultural cultural environment. It includes the values, attitudes, religious, and political beliefs he
encounters in his home and community.
Chronosystems add a time-related dimension to Bronfenbrenner’s theory by considering how a child handles life’s transitions as well
as how he is affected by historical or cultural events. Consider how the birth of a sibling affects a 3-year-old differently than a 13-yearold. This is an example of how children experience life transitions differently depending on their stage of development. The impact of
cultural events also changes over time in two dimensions. The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, were experienced differently by
preschoolers than they were by students in high school. The impact of that tragedy also changes over time—the anniversary marking
9/11 is likely to become less traumatic as the years pass.
Bronfenbrenner is also remembered as one of the founders of the federal Head Start program in the 1960s. The ecological systems theory remains
one of Head Start’s guiding principles, illustrating how Bronfenbrenner’s influence continues to be felt in programs that keep their focus on
children and their families (National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER), 2006
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P7000499572000000000000000003525) ).
And finally, we consider attachment theory to help us appreciate the importance of consistent, attentive, nurturing care, particularly for infants and
toddlers. This work began in the 1950s with Harry Harlow’s research with monkeys. He demonstrated that attachment, the close emotional ties
between infants and caregivers, does not depend on food, but rather on warmth and security. John Bowlby extended this line of inquiry in the
1960s. He identified infants’ biological predisposition to form attachments and described infants’ preference for their primary caregivers, whom
they seek out for comfort when stressed or upset. Mary Ainsworth worked closely with Bowlby and took the next step in the development of
attachment theory by designing an observation procedure, the Strange Situation, which is used to describe the strength of the relationship between
mothers and their babies (Spielberger, 2004
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P7000499572000000000000000003535) ).
Insights gained from attachment theory are particularly important to early childhood educators because the long-term benefits of secure attachments
with consistent, reliable caregivers include higher self-esteem and self-confidence, increased social competence, and school success. Insecurely
attached children, and children who do not have the opportunity to develop secure attachments to consistent caregivers, are less likely to be
confident and less likely to do well academically (Coleman, 2003
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P70004995720000000000000000034F8) ;
O’Conner, McCartney, 2006
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P7000499572000000000000000003527) ; Wong,
Wiest, & Cusick, 2002
(http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Freeman.4250.18.1/sections/p700049957200000000000000000344b#P7000499572000000000000000003549) ).

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