Supporting the workforce is promoting childhood wellbeing. We know this. But did you? 90% of the brain’s capacity develops before children reach the age of 5. Yet the workforce who serves young children is often undervalued, underpaid and sometimes inadequately unequipped to make the most of these earlier years.
Early Childhood Development (ECD) services are increasing growing and improving in many parts of the world. Still, little attention is placed on one of the most critical factors in influencing children’s learning development – the early years workforce. ISSA therefore strives towards a full recognition of the importance well prepared professionals in kindergardens, preschools and daycare centers.
Who is the workforce?
While teachers are a crucial part of ECD services, they make up just a fraction of the early years workforce. Decades of research have shown that home visitors can increase parental wellbeing and efficacy, decrease child maltreatment and improve child outcomes. Across sectors, too little is known about those working with families and very young children as well as those who mentor them. By providing a clear picture of the early years workforce, the Early Childhood Workforce Initiative (ECWI) hopes to help policymakers in specific countries support the development of a quality workforce.
What can we achieve?
The Early Childhood Workforce Initiative works to strengthen policies and country strategies around enhancing the skills, preparation, training and employment conditions of those who work with young children. By improving the capacities and satisfaction of the workforce the quality of early childhood experiences can significantly enhance. Along with policy makers and early childhood communities, the Early Childhood Workforce Initiative can support the early years workforce in order to ensure each child receives the best possible education and care. What can the we truly achieve?
- The creation of solid competencies and standards that guide the work of early childcare workers
- The development of career pathways with diverse entry points/levels and a clear progression route for the workforce
- Systems for continuous feedback and coaching that ensure workers receive opportunities to improve their practice
- Improved status, salaries and working conditions for early childcare workers
Over the last two years, ECWI’s co-hosts Results for Development and ISSA, have strengthened the evidence base for the creation of a quality workforce. For the first time, research examines global challenges facing ECD practitioners and their preparation and training, and analyzes ways to strengthen and scale the workforce in various countries.
In the next phase of this initiative, the ECWI will work to improve the understanding of key workforce issues in specific contexts through interviews, highlight innovative or promising workforce practices in countries, and work toward a piloting needs assessment tool to equip policy and decision makers with knowledge to strategically support the development of a quality workforce at scale.
As change cannot be attained without sufficient information, the ECWI continuously works to produce new knowledge which facilitates practical steps toward improved early childhood education and care. The ECWI has created a space for learning and knowledge sharing. The ECWI Knowledge Hub is home to more than 100 resources for early years practitioners, researchers, trainers, mentors, administrators and policy makers. By filling gaps in knowledge between these groups, The ECWI can help raise the capabilities and recognition of the early years workforce.