Early childhood product

 a Work Product in which you will research pressing issues in the early childhood field and select one that you are particularly interested in, one for which you have a desire to generate awareness and bring about change. With this issue in mind, you will prepare a communication piece for policymakers or stakeholders to begin the change process. After you receive a response, you will reflect on your efforts to communicate and collaborate with policy-makers and/or stakeholders. 

Sources and Resources for RC004

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Informed Advocacy in Early Childhood Care and Education: Making a Difference for Young Children and Families, pp. 107-111

https://tempolearning.brightspace.com/d2l/common/dialogs/quickLink/quickLink.d2l?ou=6738&type=lti&rcode=walden-628&srcou=6738

WEBSITE: KIDS COUNT DATA CENTER

http://datacenter.kidscount.org/topics

KIDS COUNT Data Center

Annie E. Casey Foundation. (2014). KIDS COUNT data center: Data topics. Retrieved from http://datacenter.kidscount.org/topics

WEBSITE: NATIONAL AND STATE FACTS

ADVOCACY CENTER

WEBSITE: U.S. CHILD STATE DATA

ADVOCACY CENTER

WEBSITE: DATA TOOLS

Data & Policy Tools

Consider how this information will be beneficial within the context of Part 1 of your Work Product.

WEBSITE: ASSOCIATION FOR CHILDHOOD EDUCATION INTERNATIONAL

http://www.acei.org/

WEBSITE: DIVISION FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD

http://www.dec-sped.org/

WEBSITE: INTERNATIONAL READING ASSOCIATION

http://www.reading.org/

WEBSITE: NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR THE EDUCATION OF YOUNG CHILDREN

http://www.naeyc.org/

 

WEBSITE: NATIONAL BLACK CHILD DEVELOPMENT INSTITUTE

http://www.nbcdi.org/

BOOK EXCERPT: DEVELOPING INITIATIVES

https://tempolearning.brightspace.com/d2l/common/dialogs/quickLink/quickLink.d2l?ou=6738&type=lti&rcode=walden-640&srcou=6738

The following links lead to early childhood advocacy initiatives that focus on social change on behalf of children, families, and the early childhood field.

WEBSITE: WORLDWIDE TEACHER SHORTAGE: REGIONAL AND GLOBAL IMPLICATIONS

http://www.businessinsider.com/theres-a-massive-global-teacher-shortage-2016-10

WEBSITE: LEGISLATIVE HOT TOPICS

https://www.literacyworldwide.org/

WEBSITE: TAKEN ACTION NOW

http://www.naeyc.org/policy/action

WEBSITE: WHAT WE DO: POLICY

http://www.nbcdi.org/what-we-do/policy

BOOK EXCERPT: COMPREHENSIVE DEVELOPMENTAL SCREENING

As you read this information and the 

Guided Notes

 , consider how these apply to Part 2 and Part 3 of your Work Product.

https://tempolearning.brightspace.com/d2l/common/dialogs/quickLink/quickLink.d2l?ou=6738&type=lti&rcode=walden-647&srcou=6738

https://tempolearning.brightspace.com/d2l/common/dialogs/quickLink/quickLink.d2l?ou=6738&type=lti&rcode=walden-747&srcou=6738

https://tempolearning.brightspace.com/d2l/common/dialogs/quickLink/quickLink.d2l?ou=6738&type=lti&rcode=walden-2320&srcou=6738

This information is beneficial in the context of Part 2 and Part 3 of your Work Product.

ARTICLE: HOW TO BE A VOICE FOR BABIES: USING DATA TO ADVOCATE EFFECTIVELY

https://www.zerotothree.org/resources/496-how-to-use-data-to-advocate-effectively

ARTICLE: EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION ABOUT THE EARLY YEARS: UNDERSTANDING THE BASICS OF FRAMING

https://www.zerotothree.org/resources/482-understand-the-basics-of-framing-to-communicate-effectively

ARTICLE: EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION ABOUT THE EARLY YEARS: THE ELEMENTS OF THE FRAME: PART ONE

https://www.zerotothree.org/resources/483-the-elements-of-framing-communications-context-numbers-and-messengers

ARTICLE: EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION ABOUT THE EARLY YEARS: THE ELEMENTS OF THE FRAME: PART TWO

https://www.zerotothree.org/resources/484-the-elements-of-framing-communications-visuals-tone-and-metaphors

ARTICLE: EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION ABOUT THE EARLY YEARS: STRATEGIES FOR BECOMING A BETTER COMMUNICATOR

https://www.zerotothree.org/resources/486-strategies-for-becoming-a-better-communicator-and-advocate

ARTICLE: FRAMING EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT: RECOMMENDATIONS FOR INFANT-TODDLER PROFESSIONALS AND ADVOCATES

https://www.zerotothree.org/resources/485-framing-early-childhood-development-recommendations-for-professionals-and-advocates

https://www.zerotothree.org/resources/485-framing-early-childhood-development-recommendations-for-professionals-and-advocates

Guided Notes

Researching Topics

Researching advocacy topics requires determining what relevant theories and current research exist to support possible solutions to defined issues. Reviewing professional journals and position statements is a good place to begin.

It is essential that you are discriminating when researching materials. The Internet might be a good source of information; however information posted is often opinion, not fact. Using critical reading skills is important to sorting out information that provides credible research data done by reputable organizations that provide articles that are peer reviewed. Peer-reviewed articles are read and critiqued by experts in the associated field and revised by authors prior to publication. You can determine if the journalist peer-reviewed by reading through the front matter where ownership, purpose, and editorial practices are described.

Balancing reading also requires reviewing primary sources of information, reflecting those that are written by people actually doing research in the field and creating theories related to the problem, and those that are written by secondary sources of information. Secondary sources are articles that interpret and synthesize the work and ideas of others. Secondary sources can help lead you to understand how concepts and ideas are applied within broader context.

Adapted from: Kieff, J. E. (2009). Informed advocacy in early childhood care and education: Making a difference for young children and families. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

©2014 Walden University 1

RC004:Research and Advocacy

This assessment has three-parts.

Review and complete each of the items below to complete this assessment.

Part I: Research Brief

Select a topic of interest.

What current problems, policies, or issues affect the health, safety, or education of young children and families? Which of these issues are of greatest interest to you? Perhaps you are concerned about the increased focus on high-stakes testing in primary grades, the lack of opportunity for young children to engage in creative and experiential play, or the need to increase children’s access to books in the home. Explore the web resources provided with the Assessment and/or other resources to gain information and insights on pressing issues, needs, and challenges that affect children and families.

Based on your initial exploration, select a topic of interest, one for which you want to advocate for action that can positively impact the lives of children and families. With this issue in mind, continue exploring reputable resources and investigate advocacy organizations and initiatives that are already in place. Consider how this issue relates to your sphere of influence (e.g., workplace, local community, state, national, global level) and what actions you might take to promote positive changes within this sphere.

Based on your exploration, prepare a 2- to 3-page Research Brief as follows:

1. Describe the advocacy issue/challenge/need and its impact on children and families.

2. Include a synopsis of major, compelling research findings that support your position on the cause for which you want to advocate.

3. Explore local, regional, state, national, and/or global advocacy efforts that have been devoted to this issue. Identify one or more organizations and describe their work in supporting the advocacy issue.

4. After reading about how established organizations have advocated for your issue, describe an initiative of your own that could further your cause. Your initiative should be one that you can spearhead within your sphere of influence. Your initiative might involve activities that will increase awareness, educate others, change a policy, bring in resources to your workplace, start a community project, create a service to families, or any other forms of advocacy.

· State at least two measureable goals that you believe can be achieved within the next six months to a year.

· Include specific action steps you plan to take and a timeline for implementation.

· Identify any roadblocks you anticipate and plans to overcome them.

· Identify one or more policymakers or stakeholders to whom you will communicate your advocacy initiative.

· Explain the purpose of your communication to these stakeholders.

·

Explain the purpose of your communication to these stakeholders.

Part II: Communication to Policymakers or Stakeholders

Determine whether your communication will be to policymakers or stakeholders. Consider what you know about this audience and, thus, what type of information and messages would best capture their hearts, minds, and interests about the issue/challenge/need you chose. Then, determine how best to present this information (e.g., PowerPoint presentation, letter, speech, video, proposal, historical timeline, report with statistics, etc.)

With these ideas in mind, prepare your communication piece and then either meet with your audience face to face or send the communication to your audience via e-mail or other means. If you meet with your audience, be sure to engage in dialogue and solicit their responses to the information, messages, and appeals for help. If you send the communication via e-mail or other means, request a response in writing, a phone call, or other form. You will submit your communication piece with this assessment. If it is a PowerPoint, video, or oral presentation, you will submit it as a separate file when you submit the Assessment.

Your communication should include:

· Statement of issue/challenge/need being addressed

· Brief explanation of the research you found

· Description of the initiative you are spearheading and a rationale for its importance

· Initiation of dialogue or an appeal for support

· Request for a response

· Proposal of next steps

Part III: Summary and Next Steps

Once you have received responses from policymakers or stakeholders, reflect on your experience and write a 2- to 3-page summary. Your summary should:

1. Describe your experience in delivering your communication to policymakers or stakeholders. What worked well? What could you have done differently to better communicate the issue or to better position your intentions related to advocacy?

2. Describe in detail the responses you received from individuals to who you delivered the communication. What did you learn? Explain how the responses serve to support or present challenges to your advocacy initiative.

3. Determine at least three action steps for continuing your advocacy efforts (e.g., responding to one or both of the stakeholder groups, communicating with other stakeholders, organizing for action, conducting further research, etc.)

Guided Notes

Reflecting on Advocacy Efforts

1. How do you see yourself as an advocate? How does this complement your role within your present position?

2.

What is meant by informed advocacy? How does knowledge of child development, evidence-based practices, and issues impacting children and families influence our ability to advocate around important issues? Which do you think is more important: information about an advocacy issue or information on an issue?

3. What are the hot topics, related to young children and their families, within your community? Who are the agencies or leaders responsible for implementing policies related to these topics? What is the public’s role? What do you see as the potential role of the early childhood professional in providing a voice?

4. What strategies can you use to determine where policymakers stand on specific issues? Who would be the best to target, based on what you have learned about the five categories of policymakers’ stands, for a lobbying campaign?

5. What current strengths can bring to your advocacy role?

6. What skills do you need to develop in order to be an effective advocate? What is your plan for developing these skills?

©2014 Walden University 1

Guided Notes

You were introduced to several professional organizations in this Sub-Competency that work on behalf of young children and their families. The table below provides you with an overview of the purpose of each professional organization and a brief description of their activities.

Organization Name

Organization Purpose

Brief Description of Advocacy Activities

Association for Childhood Education International
http://www.acei.org/

This organization is dedicated to promoting the optimal education and development of children in a changing world.

The organization is committed to social change through activities that include the provision of research and statistics, professional development, and advocacy information.

Division for Early Childhood (DEC)
http://www.dec-sped.org/

Supporting professionals, the DEC is dedicated to promoting policies and evidence-based practices that support families and enhance the optimal development of children.

Provides information on policy and advocacy issues influencing young children with special needs and their families. Strongly influences evidence-based practices and professional practice within the field through the development of strategies and related policy.

International Reading Association
http://www.reading.org/

This nonprofit, global network of individuals and institutions is committed to worldwide literacy.

This organization connects professionals with resources, advocacy efforts, volunteerism, and professional development activities related to supporting literacy.

National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)
http://www.naeyc.org/

This organization is the largest early childhood organization that works on behalf of young children and practitioners.

In addition to professional development and outreach, the organization focuses on public policy.

National Black Child Development Institute
http://www.nbcdi.org/

This organization is dedicated to engaging leaders, policymakers, professionals, and parents around critical and timely issues that directly impact Black children and their families.

Activities include programs, publications, advocacy, and trainings related to early childhood care and education; K-12 education; health and wellness; literacy; family engagement; and child welfare.

©2014 Walden University 2

Guided Notes

Choosing Strategies and Staying the Course

Strategies and tactics refer to actions that you take to accomplish your advocacy goals. There are many different types of strategies and tactics that you can use.

Educational strategies are used when you want to inform the general public and help them gain awareness or a better understanding of an issue. All advocacy agendas generally require educational strategies. Fact sheets and briefs are designed to inform the reader about an issue in a quick, easy-to-read document that organizes general facts. These need to be readable and clear and provide links for more information. Websites are another common educational strategy designed to provide additional information. Reports provide a general overview of a particular issue that often include the history of the problem, statistical analysis, and a review of related information. Position papers outline an organizations philosophy on a particular issue. Position papers provide essential information that can be used to develop backseats to educate policymakers. Letters to the editor and editorials are another educational strategy—these are short and to the point and designed to educate others. Multimedia presentations are also designed to educate in an engaging, informative format that presents and highlights information.

Persuasive strategies are used when your objective is to promote or display the development of specific rules or policies. Often, we need to educate individuals as well as persuade policymakers about accompanying policies around our targeted issue. Persuading policymakers requires knowledge of five different kinds of positions that they might take: champions, who are already dedicated to the cause and will lend their effort in support; allies, who were generally on your side but can be influenced to do more; fence sitters, who are uncommitted on your issue; mellow opponents, who work against your issue when it comes up; and hard-core opponents, who are leading are aligned with your major opposition. Lobbying can be accomplished via visits, letters, e-mails, phone calls, or testimony. Your expertise within your role is particularly important. Drawing on personal testimony, as well as facts, becomes important within your presentation. One effective strategy is hosting policymakers, where you invite policymakers to be a part of program visits where they can see firsthand the importance of your early childhood program practices.

Mobilization strategies are designed to get your message out and keep your message alive in the minds of policymakers and the general public. Is essential that you evaluate whatever strategy you have put into place and follow up with additional strategies based on initial effectiveness.

Advocacy can be most effective when you work with others. Groups have more power, visibility, and greater capacity to get things done. Advocacy groups can be essential to accomplishing your advocacy agenda. Many advocacy efforts are grassroots, where ideas for change begin with the people who are most involved, not the policymakers.

Managing an advocacy effort requires many essential steps. Individuals need to begin with recruitment, researching the problem and solution, defining goals, developing strategies, choosing effective tactics, and creating informative and persuasive materials.

Often, groups of advocacy organizations will combine and form a coalition, representing an organization of organizations. Coalitions might form around specific issues or to accomplish a specific goal.

When advocating around an issue, it is important to keep several key concepts in mind. Having a media contact list and organize material that includes a press release and different mediums to connect with different kinds of media is essential. Implementing an advocacy agenda requires that you understand your issue, have a clear understanding of your stakeholders, clearly understand where your policymakers stand on the issue, that you know who you are targeting for your issue, that you understand who you could work with, and that you have a clear understanding of the different tactics you can utilize.

Adapted from: Kieff, J. E. (2009). Informed advocacy in early childhood care and education: Making a difference for young children and families. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

©2014 Walden University 2

Guided Notes

Developing Initiatives

Developing advocacy initiatives begins with getting involved. One of the most important things you can do as an early childhood professional is to join professional organizations. These organizations can serve as a forum to meet with others and exchange ideas, as well as provide an opportunity to connect with others on issues that are important to you. As well, professional organizations provide opportunities to potentially serve in leadership positions and participate in campaigns designed around important advocacy issues.

Early childhood professionals can also provide an important voice through serving as a community resource in a variety of different capacities. Sharing your voice as a professional throughout the community through planning, contributing to public forums, and advocacy is an important way to connect. Community advocacy also includes connecting within the private sector, where organizations can work to develop family-friendly policies and support access to high-quality early childhood education services for all families.

Initiatives are also born through the advocacy that takes place within our early childhood programs. Often, programs require additional resources or are impacted by existing policies. Many individuals within programs share similar challenges and collaborate around particular issues.

A key component of developing initiatives requires being aware of what is happening within your community and being an involved and informed participant.

Adapted from: Kieff, J. E. (2009). Informed advocacy in early childhood care and education: Making a difference for young children and families. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

©2014 Walden University 1

Guided Notes

Advocacy Research

As you have been learning, research is an essential tool for advocates. The following list provides an overview of research available at the sites presented within your Sub-Competency resources. As you review this information, consider how it relates to Part 1 of your Work Product.

Annie E. Casey Foundation

The data center of the Annie E. Casey Foundation allows advocates to search for information within their individual state. As well, advocates can search for data on a variety of different topics, including demographics; economic well-being; education; family and community; health; and safety in risky behaviors. The site includes a variety of publications, including The 2014 KIDS COUNT Data Book: State Trends in Child Well-Being.

References:

Annie E. Casey Foundation. (2014a). KIDS COUNT data center: Choose a state. Retrieved from

http://datacenter.kidscount.org/locations

Annie E. Casey Foundation. (2014b). KIDS COUNT data center: Data topics. Retrieved from

http://datacenter.kidscount.org/topics

Annie E. Casey Foundation. (2014c). The 2014 KIDS COUNT data book: State trends in child well-being (25th ed.). Baltimore, MD: Author. Retrieved from

http://www.aecf.org/resources/the-2014-kids-count-data-book/

Children’s Defense Fund

The Children’s Defense Fund provides a variety of data resources on children within the states. These resources include compilations of data on gun violence, kindergarten, and poverty. As well, the site provides a report on The State of America’s Children: 2014.

References:

Children’s Defense Fund. (2012). U.S. child state data. Retrieved from

http://www.childrensdefense.org/child-research-data-publications/us-state-child-data.html

Children’s Defense Fund. (2014). The state of America’s children: 2014. Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved from

http://www.childrensdefense.org/zz-testing/2014-refresh/library/state-of-americas-children/2014-soac.html

Child Welfare League of America (CWLA)

The CWLA provides an overview of advocacy facts available state-by-state. Topics include child abuse and neglect (adoption, kinship care, and permanent families for children); child poverty and income support; childcare and Head Start; health and substance abuse; vulnerable youth; child welfare workforce; and funding the child welfare workforce.

Reference:

Child Welfare League of America (CWLA). (2013). National and state facts. Retrieved from

ADVOCACY CENTER

National Center for Children in Poverty

The data tools of the National Center for Children in Poverty include a basic needs budget calculator; a young child’s risk calculator; a family resource simulator; a demographic wizard that creates data on child poverty; an income converter; and a state-by-state policy tracker.

Reference:

National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP). (2014). Data tools. Retrieved from

Data & Policy Tools

©2014 Walden University 2

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