Making the Grade: Making the Case for Well-educated, Well-trained Teaching Staff in Early Care and Education
This paper explores the elements of high quality early care and education. It examines educational qualifications of teachers as a component of quality, and explores the benefits gained from well-educated early childhood teachers. Research shows that teachers with two- or four-year degrees, combined with specialized training in early childhood development, provide significantly higher levels of quality for children in their care, as measured by positive interactions with children and stimulating learning environments. State examples are included of various efforts to increase teacher qualifications. If the educational level and expertise of teachers is a key to quality, Wisconsin officials and advocates should consider these options: (1) raise regulatory requirements, (2) increase support for scholarships and wage supplements, (3) develop incentives to encourage increased teacher qualifications, and (4) develop a statewide early childhood professional development system.