Early childhood encompasses a series of life stages, marked by developmental milestones. Here, we define early childhood as the period between birth and eight years, although we also recognize the importance of quality prenatal care in early childhood outcomes. Other early childhood education programs may be run by private for-profit companies, churches, or as part of a private school curriculum. Because of the strong push to strengthen early childhood education policy in the United States, the prospects for job growth for those who work as early childhood educators are very promising.
In addition, UNESCO supports high-quality early childhood education as one of its sustainable development goals. This video in the InBrief series addresses the basic concepts of early childhood development, established through decades of neuroscientific and behavioral research. Studies conducted over the past few decades have given greater importance to the importance of early childhood education in preparing children to enter and succeed in a post-kindergarten school environment. A program that is capable of achieving these positive developmental goals will have an essential understanding of early childhood development, the enormous potential of early childhood students, and the risks and benefits associated with early childhood education.
Early childhood education is a broad term used to describe any type of educational program that serves children in their preschool years, before they are old enough to enter kindergarten. To that end, the summary of this issue highlights three basic indicators of high-quality programs for early childhood and identifies six structural supports that are necessary to achieve and maintain high quality. Over the years, there has been much debate about what the attributes of an effective early childhood education program are, largely due to the fact that ECE is a relatively new field. To obtain a position as an early childhood teacher, some form of post-secondary education is generally required, although specific requirements vary in all 50 states.
For those who love teaching and helping to shape children's lives, a career as an early childhood teacher could be the perfect choice. A high-functioning operating environment is an essential element of a quality program for early childhood. Most early childhood programs are private companies and, like any other small business, their long-term stability depends on proper business management and the implementation of good budgetary practices.