On Thursday, August 6, 2020, the Early Childhood Policy Council held the first meeting of its Workforce Advisory Committee. The committee is chaired by longtime family childcare provider and Early Learning workforce advocate Tonia McMillian, and is comprised of members from a variety of backgrounds across the Early Learning system. Members include licensed family childcare (FCC) providers, Family, Friend, and Neighbor Care (FFN) providers, center-based teachers, and directors for subsidized and non-subsidized childcare programs (e.g., California State Preschool teachers, Head Start), and statewide organizations representing childcare providers.
Ms. McMillian opened the meeting by sharing about the exciting work that has taken place over the last few years in support of the Early Learning workforce, including the CA Assembly Blue Ribbon Commission on Early Childhood Education Final Report and Collective bargaining.
The bulk of the meeting was spent on providing input and recommendations for the Master Plan for Early Learning and Care (MPELC). This portion of the meeting was led by Lupita Alcala, Director of Education Policy and Outcomes for the Center for Child & Family Studies at WestEd.
Ms. Alcala began by providing an overview of the MPELC, including that it will build on the Blue Ribbon Commission report, Preschool Development Grant (PDG) needs assessment and strategic plan, and the Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth through Age 8 in California report. She shared the values that are the drivers of the MPELC and discussed the principles of the MPELC’s whole child approach, underscoring what children, families, and providers deserve. Ms. Alcala also outlined the MPELC’s goals of providing all California families with access to quality care and support that is affordable and includes comprehensive coordinated health and wellness support. More information can be found in the meeting’s presentation slides.
Ms. Alcala then led the committee members in a deep-dive discussion around the following topics. Below are some of the key themes discussed per topic area:
- Unifying Professional Requirements/Standards:
- Disabilities and ability to detect children with special needs early on
- Safe infants sleep skills
- Basic early childhood education pedagogy
- Adult-child interactions
- Dual Language Learner (DLL) children
- CPR and First Aid training
- Trauma-informed care
- Education, Professional Development, and Career Pathways:
- Education should be brought to educators, rather than educators having to go to the education.
- The need for a centralized system of education and professional development that is free or low-cost.
- The need for incentives for FCC providers to further their education.
- The need for early childhood mentorship programs.
- CDE Quality programs should be tied to incentives.
- The need for stepping stones to gaining higher compensation based on time, education, and training.
- The need to be compensated based on commitment to furthering education (however, college courses are costly and can result in debt when FCC business cannot cover that debt).
- Degrees should be part of the equation but not all of it.
- Cost of education is a barrier, making it inequitable.
- The need for forgivable loans.
- Need evidence of ongoing development of skills.
- Improving and Supporting Operations for Home-based Providers and Centers:
- Yes, support is needed. Should be easy-to-read and easy-to-understand.
- The need for assistance or a network to help with business matters so that providers can focus on providing care and education to children.
- Support must be in a form of a “menu.”
- Resource and referral agencies and programs (R&Rs) can play an important role.
- Need more clarity and consistency in directives.
- Shared networks or hubs are a good opportunity to provide support.
Ms. Alcala closed the meeting by sharing that the MPELC team will incorporate the input obtained through this meeting, as well as input from the ECPC and the Parent Advisory Committee, into the MPELC, which will be released in October 2020.
The next ECPC meeting is on August 24, 2020.
The next Parent Advisory Committee and Workforce Advisory Committee meetings will be scheduled in September.
More information about the ECPC and upcoming meetings can be found here.