Hello my name is Paige Guido and I am currently a student at the College of DuPage to earn my Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education and Care. A part of one of my classes called Early Childhood Professional is to choose a cause to advocate for. I chose to advocate for high-quality childcare and to do so I am advocating for raising the qualifications of a lead Preschool teacher. Currently the DCFS standards for a lead Preschool teacher is to have an Associates Degree with at least six credits in Early Childhood. I am a firm believer that the minimum requirement should be to have the Associates Degree in Early Childhood or have an Associates Degree and the certificate in Early Childhood. Any of the parents reading this who have children in a childcare center agree with me?
Today more than eleven million children under the age of five are in some type of childcare arrangement every week while their parents are at work. The unfortunate part is that less than ten percent of the nation’s child care is of high-quality according to NACCRRA.org our nation’s leading voice of childcare. According to clasp.org, “Longitudinal studies of high-quality care and education programs link quality early education to long-term positive child outcomes like enhanced cognitive scores, decreases in grade retention, lower rates of special education placement and higher rates of school completion. These programs include factors that are associated with high-quality care: qualified teachers, low teacher-child rations, small class sizes, developmentally appropriate curriculum, and parental involvement.” I believe with qualified teachers come developmentally appropriate curriculum, and the understanding of how important parent involvement is for the child's success in school. “At age 15, teens who had high-quality child care in their early years performed better on academic and cognitive tests than did other teens, and they had fewer adolescent behavior problems, says study leader Deborah Lowe Vandell, PhD, professor and chair of education at the University of California, Irvine.” According to child action.org, “Look for providers who have a background in early care and education or child development. Educated providers are more prepared to understand the needs of the children in their care, have more knowledge about how children grow and develop, and have a more professional approach to child care.”
Since it is so important for young children to be in a childcare center that is of high-quality, but yet less than 10 percent of the nation's childcare is high-quality I am asking for you parents to join me in writing to our state legislators to try and convince them to change the DCFS qualifications to raise the qualifications/education of a lead Preschool teacher. I am from Illinois and I have composed a letter to our governor Pat Quinn, and I am currently waiting a response. According to NACCRRA.org, "...It makes all the difference in the world. Parents sharing their stories of their own personal challenges or personal tragedy..." I hope anyone reading this that feels the same way I do, and can help me advocate for the cause. Thank you for reading and feel free to comment.