As you have been learning, the field of early childhood is one of great breadth. Understanding the field requires knowledge of the rich and complex variety of early programs and services that exist in support of young children and their families, where programs are offered and to whom, the standards that shape programs, and how programs are monitored and funded. Each of these factors can affect outcomes for children and families directly and indirectly. Take time to review the multimedia piece “Five Sectors in the Early Childhood Field,” paying close attention to the monitoring, funding, and quality segments, and consider what you have learned about the incredible breadth of the field as well as information on program effectiveness, standards, and monitoring as presented in your learning resources. With this in mind, consider the following:
Although the field of early childhood has long debated the use of universal standards, increasing concerns about the discrepancy of quality in and across programs has led to growing support of universal standards for teacher preparation, program administration, curriculum, assessment, and parent/family communication (Seefeldt, 2005). Consider the universal standards movement, the state of existing standards within the field, and what you have learned about quality related to early childhood education programs.
After you have considered these factors:
What you view as the existing gaps in monitoring quality standards within the field
- Your perspective with regard to the benefits of universal standards
- Your perspective with regard to potential challenges and/or drawbacks to implementing universal standards