Happenings

Calling all Quality Providers

Monday, June 17, 2019

As many begin to relax for the summer break ECEA has been full steam ahead in our efforts to support the private sector Child Care Providers and Education Centers. On our summer agenda- high involvement is shaping coming Pre K legislation, partnering with the Department of Education, continued partnership with the Office of Early Childhood, and educating our legislators on the importance of the private sector ECE field in the communities and our future as a state. ECEA wants to showcase high quality providers both large and small to demonstrate the many impacts made on access to quality care, exceptional early learning, social-emotional development, food security, multi-generational family support, and sustainable workforce. 

ECEA believes it is important for legislators and community leaders to see the value of the private sector both for profit and non profit providers so that as the next session begins legislators have a clear and memorable understanding of the importance of a mixed delivery system and the vital need to support our private providers. 

We are scheduling site visits for YOUR legislators to see the wonderful work you and your teams do in action. If you would like to host a legislative visit and tour please contact our Executive Director, Kristi Koltiska at kkoltiska@coloradoecea.org or by phone at 303-860-7174 to be matched and scheduled. Visits will take place between September 9th- October 25th, 2019, will be scheduled with only legislators for your district.

Not a member yet? Please reach out to our Executive Director, Kristi Koltiska at kkoltiska@coloradoecea.org or by phone at 303-860-7174

 

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Session End and Work Ahead

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

This year we have seen an encouraging amount of focus on the Early Childhood field. We have a very ambitious governor who has made it clear early childhood care and education is a priority that he will make an impact on. Full day Kindergarten was a starting point for this agenda but have no doubt it does not end with the failure of HB 19-1333. It is ECEA's goal that quality of care and parent choice play a foundational role in the vision of the Governor's plans and policies. The significance of the private sector in Early Childhood Education can sometimes seem over looked and ECEA is the only professional Association specifically focused on the policies, practices, problems and future that face the private sector.

Now that the Colorado Legislative Session has come to an end ECEA is gearing up for the work ahead. The key question that seems to be on everyone's mind is what does the future of Early Childhood Education in Colorado hold? Here at the Early Childhood Education Association we have made a conscious decision to be the creator's of our own destiny and we call upon all private providers in Colorado to join us. We are actively working to ensure mixed delivery framework for the expansion of the Colorado Preschool Program and policies to protect the private sector/ small business center/home based care in the policies being created by the current administration in Colorado. We will also be guiding policy in the implementation of the Full Day Kindergarten that was passed, the Infant Toddler Action Plan group, as well as the handling of the federal Preschool Development Grant. As these and other work groups and projects are developed we look to our members to help guide us as to how we move forward as a field. 
 

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Final Days of the 2019 Legislative Session

Thursday, May 02, 2019

As we look upon the legislative session's final days we wait in great anticipation to see how things will unfold. This year ECEA had hired an amazing team of Lobbyist from 3 different Lobby Firms. Though we had a late start as a team we accomplished some great things. See how we did on our key issues for 2019 legislative session: 

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CDPH Rule Changes that Affect Child Care Centers

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

New Health regulations go into effect on January 1, 2019. Unless your child care center holds a Retail Food Establishment License, there are only 2 changes to the Rules and Regulations Governing the Health and Sanitation of Child Care Facilities that will affect your center.  

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50 years of Kaplan Early Learning

Monday, July 30, 2018

(Winston-Salem Monthly) - Hal Kaplan talks a lot about concepts. 

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This Child Care Chain Will Now Pay for Its Employees to Get College Degrees

Monday, July 30, 2018

(Slate) - Ask any parent or guardian about child care in the United States, and he or she will agree: It’s a bank-breaking, anxiety-inducing mess. For many families, child care costs more annually than in-state college tuition, while the U.S. has some of the lowest public spending on early childhood education—a broad term that encompasses care for any child before kindergarten—in the developed world. Fewer and fewer college graduates are pursuing degrees in early childhood education, citing concerns about low salaries and a lack of professional development. Meanwhile, parents and experts are demanding their child care providers be more and more experienced and educated. All these factors have led to a workforce shortage in early childhood education, which is in part causing the spread of child care deserts across the United States.  

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Fighting the Child Care Shortage in Montrose

Friday, July 27, 2018

(WesternSlopeNow.Com) - MONTROSE, Colo. - For years now, Montrose families have faced a shortage of child care. 

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Introducing the Dual Language Learners Program Assessment (DLLPA)

Friday, July 27, 2018

  

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Director’s Professional Development Needs Differ by Developmental Stage

Thursday, July 26, 2018

(McCormick Center) -


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This document may be printed, photocopied, and disseminated freely with attribution. All content is the property of the McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership.


This resource is part of our Research Notes series.

Research suggests that many early childhood program administrators enter into leadership roles by being promoted from teaching positions and few have prior education, training, or experience specific to leadership or management (Catron & Groves, 1999; Billman, 1995; Bloom & Rafanello, 1994). Many directors of early care and education programs must navigate their own ongoing professional development and learn how to improve their leadership practice without assistance. Little attention has been given to differentiating professional learning opportunities by directors’ needs as they grow throughout their careers.

In 1997, Paula Jorde Bloom examined the perceived roles and work history of 257 early care and education program directors. She identified three developmental career stages: beginning directors, competent directors, and master directors based on self-identification. The Directors’ Role Perceptions Survey, developed for the 1997 study (Bloom, 1997, 2004), documented key differences in leadership and management practices at various developmental stages of the directors’ careers. The McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership recently conducted a follow-up study to examine current directors’ perceptions about their roles and to identify how their professional development needs differ by their stage of leadership development.

SAMPLE

In November of 2017, a national online survey was conducted using the McCormick Center’s contact database. The sample consisted of 1,530 childhood program administrators and included respondents from 49 states and the District of Columbia. Table 1 shows the roles of survey respondents.

Ninety-six percent of the participants were female with an average age of 48, ranging from 18 to 73 years. On average, respondents had worked in the field of early childhood for 22.5 years, with tenures ranging from one to 48 years. Their tenure included an average of 13.3 years in any administrative position and 8.4 years in their current position. Of those that provided race/ethnicity information (n = 555), 79% identified as White/Caucasian, 12% identified as Black/African American, 3% identified as multiracial, and 1% identified as Native American. Eight percent of respondents identified themselves as Hispanic (n = 549).

Participants (n = 1,258) reported their highest level of education as a graduate degree (42%), baccalaureate degree (37%), associate degree (17%), and high school (7%). The majority (67%) of those with an associate degree or higher had a major in child development or early childhood education. In addition, 17% had earned the Child Development Associate (CDA) credential. Twenty-nine percent of respondents had a state issued early childhood credential and 22% had achieved a state or national director credential.

Respondents were asked to specify the types of paid positions they held prior to their current administrative role. Table 2 lists the number and percentage of participants by their work experience prior to becoming a director, with 42% of respondents indicating they had previous teaching experience and 25% reporting previous administrative experience as an assistant director or education coordinator.

The mean current enrollment at programs where respondents worked was 121. The early childhood programs where respondents worked were well distributed among geographic regions: suburban 44%, urban 38%, and rural 18% as well as across various program types and sectors as shown in Figure 1.

METHODOLOGY

In consultation with Dr. Paula Jorde Bloom, author of the initial version of the Directors’ Role Perception Survey, researchers at the McCormick Center revised the survey to a 74-item instrument that included many items from the original survey while also adding questions related to leadership efficacy beliefs and categorizing questions according to the Whole Leadership Framework (Bella, Abel, & Talan, 2017). The survey was administered online through SurveyMonkey© and was sent to those on the McCormick Center’s email list. Data were analyzed from respondents that identified as a director (as defined in the survey), to examine various aspects about how early childhood administrators perceived their jobs. The Welch test was used to examine differences between groups of directors that perceived their career stage as novice, capable, or master. The Welch test was selected over the one-way ANOVA because the homogeneity of variance assumption was violated and because Welch provides a more robust test for equality of means.

RESULTS

Based on narrative descriptions of the three developmental career stages from the original 1997 study, the research team renamed beginning to novice directors and competent to capable directors. Results showed that 1,290 administrators self-identified their leadership competence level with the following results: novice – 69 (5%); capable – 859 (67%); and master – 362 (28%). Percentages among developmental stages differed somewhat from the original study: novice – 30%; capable – 60%; master – 10%. It is worth noting that approximately 20% of respondents had participated in a leadership academy prior to completing the survey and the percentage of directors with a baccalaureate degree or higher (79%) exceeds the national norm (62%). Both of these factors are likely to contribute to these results.

Respondents also reported on their reasons for becoming a director. The most frequently cited reason was that others saw the person’s leadership ability and encouraged them to pursue the director position (24%). Many individuals were encouraged to pursue leadership because they were good teachers in the past and were asked to take the director position (15%). Combining these two responses, 39% of the sample were externally motivated to become a director. Responses in the “other” category included reasons such as “opportunity to own a business,” “fell into my lap,” and “appointed when director left.” Table 3 lists the frequency and percentages of reasons individuals became directors.

Participants were asked to respond to pairs of dichotomous questions about their role perceptions when they first assumed an administrative position. The results of their choices are shown in Table 4.

Respondents ranked their current level of confidence in several areas related to their leadership capability. Each question was scored on a range from 1 = “I am not confident in my ability” to 4 = “I am very confident in my ability.” The average scores for all respondents as well as the average scores for each of the developmental stage groups were computed. Individuals who saw themselves in a higher stage of development were more likely to be confident in their perceived leadership competence. Results indicate that there was a statistically significant difference between perceived self-efficacy depending on the director’s development stage: F(2,1289) = 122.27, p = <.001. However, the corresponding effect size was small. Overall, self-efficacy had an effect size of η2 = .169; suggesting that about 17% of the variance in self-efficacy scores could be attributed to the developmental stage of directors. Table 5 shows the average scores in directors’ confidence about their leadership capability for all respondents as well as those of each of the developmental stage groups.

Participants were asked to select three words or phrases that best described their role as director. The top three choices based on frequency are listed in Table 6 within each developmental stage.

There is overlap among the selection of words or phrases among the developmental stages. Problem solver is represented in each stage. In addition, consecutive stages share two similar words or phrases.

Participants were asked to select three words or phrases that describe their current job. The top choices based on frequency are listed in Table 7 within each developmental stage.

There is overlap among the selection of words or phrases among the developmental stages. Challenging and demanding are represented in each stage. In addition, consecutive stages share similar words or phrases.

DISCUSSION

Findings from this study provide insight into directors’ backgrounds and their perceptions about their roles. Forty-two percent of the respondents had previous experience as a teacher. Some indicated they were recognized as good teachers and asked to become directors. Others were encouraged to pursue the directorship due to their demonstrated leadership ability. However, upon becoming a director, only half of the respondents were confident in their role and more than 60% felt unprepared for the position.

Two-thirds (67%) of respondents identified themselves as capable directors and 28% perceived themselves as master directors. However, the percentage of novice directors was substantially lower (5%). One explanation for this difference could be that the characteristics of the sample (mean of 23 years in early childhood education; mean of 13 years in an administrative position, 19% attended a leadership academy, 79% achieved a minimum of a baccalaureate degree) may have skewed the results. Additional research is needed to further explore the distribution of directors in developmental stages.

Differences were found in the confidence levels regarding leadership capability among novice, capable, and master directors. While the confidence levels increased along the developmental levels for all the items, they did not increase at the same magnitude. For example, budgeting and financial management was the lowest rated item for novice directors, but was not ranked as low for master directors. Promoting leadership at all levels within the organization was rated relatively low for capable directors and relatively high for master directors. While the use of technology to support administrative practices was the lowest ranked item for master directors, it was not a low-ranked item for novice directors.

Perceptions of the role of director and perceptions of their current job included some overlap among development stage. There is also evidence of a progression of perceptions. For example words often associated with more difficulty such as “crisis manager,” “emotionally draining” and “stressful” are used among those identified as novice and capable directors whereas words often associated with less difficulty and more satisfaction such as “leader,” “rewarding,” and “enjoyable” are used among those identified as capable and master directors.

Taken as a whole, these findings suggest the professional development needs for directors differ by career stage. Additional research would be useful to better understand the unique leadership development needs of directors and how to design professional development based on these stages. These findings may be particularly useful for policy-makers, systems developers, and technical assistance providers in tailoring professional learning for optimal leadership development.

REFERENCES

Abel, M., Talan, T., & Masterson, M. (2017, January/February). Whole leadership: A framework for early childhood programs. Exchange Magazine, January/February, 39(1), 22-25.

Bella, J., Abel, M., Bloom, P.J., and Talan, T. (2017). Directors’ Role Perception Survey. Wheeling, IL: McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership.

Billman, J. (1995). Child care program directors: What skills do they need? Results of a statewide survey. Early Childhood Education Journal, 23(2), 63-70.

Bloom, P., & Rafanello, D. (1994, June). The professional development of early childhood center directors: key elements of effective training models. Paper presented at the National Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators, Chicago, IL.

Catron, C., & Groves, M. (1999). Teacher to director: A developmental journey. Early Childhood Education Journal, 26(3), 183-188.

Herzenberg, S., Price, M. & Bradley, D. (2005). Losing ground in early childhood education: Declining workforce qualifications in an expanding industry, 1979-2004. Harrisburg, PA: Keystone Research Center.

Rafanello, D. & Bloom, P. (1997, August). The 1997 Illinois Directors’ Study. A Report to the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, Chicago, IL.

 
 

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Strong Start’s 2018 budget created from tax dollars

Thursday, July 26, 2018

(Telluride Daily Planet) - Early childhood education tax provides needed funding 

When the Early Childhood Ballot Initiative passed last fall with 63 percent of voters approving the measure, it ensured that $604,116 voter-approved tax dollars would be spent on San Miguel County’s youngest residents.

That investment in the future was solidified at last week’s Board of County Commissioners meeting, when commissioners Kris Holstrom, Joan May and Hilary Cooper unanimously approved the Strong Start budget as outlined by Bright Futures’ Executive Director Kathleen Merritt.

“This is a simple budget to show voters where their investment is going,” Merritt said.

Last November, voters approved an increase in property taxes by .75 of a mill, or an estimated $5.40 for every $100,000 of assessed residential property value. The resulting revenue stream has given leaders in the county’s early childhood education field dedicated funds with which to provide for, among other items, increased infant and toddler daycare facilities, support for educators and infrastructure, and the ability to continually survey and assess area early childcare needs.

The budget details $25,000 for capacity building, which gives needy families increased access to services provided for pre-kindergarten children. The money, Merritt explained to the commissioners, goes toward facility upgrades, family child care grants and support for extending operating hours to accommodate parent working hours, among other identified needs.

The financial assistance line item is $116,732 and helps maximize other state-funded public subsidies.

Before the ballot initiative went to the voters, another key need identified was that of retention and recruitment of early child care and education professionals. With the new influx of tax dollars, educators can be paid better wages and continuing education opportunities can be offered to early childhood education professionals.

San Miguel County is the third-fastest growing county in child population in Colorado, so to proponents of the mill levy and its attendant benefits, the need was acute.

Cheryl Miller served as community advocate for the Strong Start ballot issue and is a former Telluride School District board member and a lifelong advocate for early childhood education. She is currently serving on the Early Childhood Advisory panel.

“The greatest need in early childhood education and care is access to quality services,” she said. “The ballot allows the Early Childhood Council to address this issue in a multi-pronged fashion; grants for quality improvements at early childhood centers, scholarships for teacher education, salary supplements to promote professionalism and low teacher turnover, as well as scholarships for students to improve affordability.”

In the 2018 budget, $116,732 is allocated to provide financial aid to qualifying recipients and $77,184 is dedicated to conducting annual surveys that seek to determine where services are best utilized. Reaching out to families who would most benefit from the services is an ongoing challenge.

“There are many reasons for lack of access and through data gathering we hope to customize these various avenues to best serve our county,” Miller said.

Also in the 2018 budget, $100,000 is dedicated to training, coaching and technical assistance, curriculum and materials, and parenting classes and workshops, among other aims.

Another feature is $9,000 for a grant management portal for all Strong Start funding. “This will house all our grant requests,” Merritt told the commissioners.

There is a one-time $20,000 research and consulting line item that will enable the group to create baselines on financial assistance needs and impacts, school readiness impacts, and for improving the lives of families with young children, among other statistics.

Numerous studies support the positive effects that opportunities provided for pre-kindergarten children and their families resonate in myriad ways, be they positive impacts on the economy, costs saved in law enforcement, and the general well-being of a society with productive citizens. In a 2015 study authored by Robert Lynch for Equitable Growth advocating for a universal prekindergarten program, it was demonstrated that investment in early childhood education is one of the best ways to improve child well-being and increase the educational achievement and productivity of children and adults.

 

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