About Early Education & Care

Picture of adult reading to child

Quality Matters!

Early experiences have lifelong consequences.

“The basic architecture of the brain is constructed through a process that begins early in life and continues into adulthood…. One of the most essential experiences in shaping the architecture of the developing brain is "serve and return" interaction between children and significant adults in their lives.” -- Center on the Developing Child, Harvard University

“Children who participate in high-quality child care programs are better prepared to enter elementary school and are more empowered to maximize their independence and acceptance into society.” -- Child Care Aware®, NACCRRA

Several landmark, longitudinal research studies provide recognized evidence that high quality matters when it comes to early education and care. There is now much agreement about what constitutes high quality and what important ingredients are necessary for effective programs. National and state standards have been developed to ensure that families and young children have access to high quality programs.

As the components of high quality are built into program standards, the requirements for professional qualifications in the field of early education and care are increasing. More and more it is agreed that college degrees are a necessary way of ensuring qualified teachers who can deliver high quality early education and care programs for young children. According to some recognized experts in the field, even bachelor’s degrees are considered necessary but not sufficient. In addition, specific skill-based, ongoing professional development is recognized as necessary for quality programs. And better-educated teachers with child development knowledge are more able to learn from professional development as they gain experience working in programs and move from novice to expert teachers, adapting to advances in knowledge about learning and teaching.

Although it is not necessary to have an AA or BA degree to enter the field in MA, career advancement requires a commitment to continuing education and degree attainment. In recent years, we have seen a burgeoning field of research and a growing body of knowledge about early learning and development. It is important that early educators understand current theory, update their knowledge to keep up with new research, and are able to translate theory and new evidence into research-based classroom practice.