As you have learned in this course, societal factors and issues impact young children and their families. Both as a student of child development and in your future role as a professional who works with young children and their families, you have a responsibility to take an advocacy role in addressing these issues with the goal of improving conditions that affect children’s healthy development and learning.
Action Plan Professional Scenario: You have been challenged by a mentor you respect and admire to demonstrate your commitment to young children, their families, and the field of early childhood. Your mentor asks you to think about the many factors and issues that affect children’s healthy development and learning and choose one that you care about personally, examine the issue in your state, and then identify advocacy strategies you can use to champion this cause.
Before you develop your Action Plan, consider:
· What you need to know to understand the issue you choose
· What ideas and advice from experts will be effective in addressing the issue
· What you can do as an advocate to support young children, their families, and/or the field of early childhood
Follow these steps to create your Action Plan:
1. What You Need to Know: Learning About an Issue of Concern
There are many issues of concern to those who care about the rights and needs of young children and their families. Below are two issues and related articles/Web sites, including sources for finding information specific to your state. Select the issue that is of greater interest to you. Then as you read, take notes to help you summarize the issue and how it impacts children, families, and communities in your state.
As an alternative, you are also free to choose a different issue that you are passionate about and develop your Action Plan around that topic of concern. Include your sources for all information on the issue that you use in creating your plan.
· Issue 1: Providing High-Quality Child Care for All Children
Quality Child Care Helps Parents Work and Children Learn (PDF)
Child Care Basics (PDF)
State Fact Sheets on Early Childhood Development, Children’s Defense Fund
(Click on your state: All data relevant)
· Issue 2: Children Living in Poverty
Defining Poverty and Why it Matters for Children. (PDF)
Kids Count Data Center: Data by State
(Click on your state: View “Economic Well-Being” indicator, and click on “Poverty” indicator)
2. Ideas and Advice: Checking Resources for Advocacy Strategies
Review pages 440-446 in your text and access any or all of the Web site below to identify advocacy strategies. Take notes on ideas that would be effective in addressing your issue of concern and that you personally could carry out.
National Association for the Education of Young Children. (2017). Effective advocacy resources.
Retrieved from https://www.naeyc.org/policy/advocacy
Build Your Advocacy Skills
Tools and Resources
3. Taking Action: Advocating for the Issue You Chose
Combine the knowledge you have gained and strategies you have gathered to take action! Complete your Action Plan in three parts:
· Part I: Identify the Issue: Explain in your own words how this issue is affecting children, families, and communities in your state.
· Part II: Identify Your Strategies: List three strategies you believe would be effective in advocating for the issue you chose. For each strategy, include the specifics of how you would carry it out.
· Part III: Identify the Potential Impact: For each strategy, explain its potential impact on young children and families in your community. Set a goal for implementing each strategy.
As you create your plan:
· Choose ideas for which you have the skill and influence to implement now or would have as an early childhood professional.
· Write explanations of issues and strategies in your own words, to create a model that you could use in talking with others about the topic and encouraging others to be advocates, too.