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Key Readings on Policy Levers to Promote Social Inclusion and Respect for Diversity in Early Childhood

Author: Mariajosé Romero
Publication Date: July 2010

This is an excerpt from the full bibliography

Overview

This resource includes a sample of research and policy books, articles, reports, and other resources reporting findings and lessons learned on the viability and effectiveness of various policy strategies to infuse a social inclusion and respect for diversity (SI & RD) perspective in early childhood education in the U.S.

Since the 1960s we have seen growing efforts to articulate early childhood education with the realities of a diverse, multicultural society, as well as to make early education responsive to the learning and development needs of disadvantaged groups in the U.S. Some of these initiatives have aimed at expanding the provision of learning-oriented early childhood experiences (for instance, Head Start and Early Head Start programs): whereas others have attempted to transform the preparation, recruitment, retention, and compensation of teachers; the nature and quality of the early childhood curriculum; and the function of early education towards preparing young children for formal schooling. Embedded to varying degrees in these efforts have been concerns to ensure that the content of the early education experience represents and validates diverse cultures of U.S. society and an increasingly globalized world; is meaningful to the culture and language of children and their families and strengthens their cultural capital and skills; and lays the foundation for children to be respectful of diversity and inclusive of difference. Also present in these efforts have been concerns for the prevalence and impact of disparities at a more structural level: specifically, the differential representation of racial, ethnic, income and gender groups in different sectors of the early childhood education market and industry, which vary in terms of teachers’ educational credentials, working conditions and compensation as well as of the quality of the educational experience and the level of child outcomes.*

This resource constitutes an effort to provide a broad overview of the policy context surrounding early childhood education in relation to issues related to social inclusion and respect for diversity. The resource is intended for researchers new to the field of SI & RD, as well as for professionals and stakeholders in early childhood education. The list presents each citation followed by a brief description, organized according to the following broad topical categories:

  • Policies that impact on the early childhood education workforce: training and certification; training program accreditation; professional standards of ethics; recruitment and retention; professional development;
  • Policies that impact on the early childhood education setting: provider program licensing; provider program accreditation; quality ratings and improvement systems;
  • Policies that impact on the early childhood education outcomes: early learning standards and guidelines; state assessments; and
  • Leadership in early childhood education.

Because of the complexities of the issues involved, this resource does not include the literature on policy levers related to language of instruction and home language, nor those related to access to and financing of early childhood education in the U.S.

For a more exhaustive list of publications see Romero, Mariajosé. 2010. An Annotated Bibliography on Policy Levers to Promote Social Inclusion and Respect for Diversity in Early Childhood. New York: National Center for Children in Poverty, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

For a summary of key research findings on how children develop concepts related to SI & RD see Romero, Mariajosé. 2010. Promoting Social Inclusion and Respect for Diversity in Early Childhood: What are the Research Findings? Report of a Meeting, Nov. 6, 2008. New York: National Center for Children in Poverty, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

For a short list of resources on recent research on how children develop concepts related to SI & RD see Romero, Mariajosé. 2010. Key Readings on Children’s Development of Social Inclusion and Respect for Diversity. New York: National Center for Children in Poverty, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

* It is unclear how children understand and interpret those structural disparities or how their views of those disparities affect their learning. Research suggests, however, that from a very young age children are not oblivious to the character of and messages from their structural contexts.