Early Childhood Education (2024)

PK-3 Early Childhood Education Specialist Credential FAQ

This document provides responses to questions submitted to the panel discussion during the Quality Counts California (QCC) Higher Education Faculty Group quarterly meeting on June 3, 2022, regarding the proposed PK-3 Early Childhood Education (ECE) Specialist Credential. Responses in this document have been formulated by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing and other education partners. This document is intended to provide information and bring clarity to common questions and concerns as part of the collaborative work to create a path forward. All responses are current as of June 10, 2022. Please note that the PK-3 ECE Specialist Credential is still in development and must first be approved by both the Commission on Teacher Credentialing and the Office of Administrative Law before its requirements are finalized and it is available. The FAQ document is available to help support this effort.

Child Development Permit Overview

California has a multiple level Child Development Permit authorizing services in the care, development, and education of young children in a variety of settings. Each permit level has its own requirements and options for meeting these requirements. The Child Development Permit structure serves as a career ladder so that permit holders can progress towards higher levels of the permit over the course of their career in early childhood education.

Child Development Permit Information and Resources

  • Permit Leaflet (English)
  • Permit Application Form and Instructions (English)
  • Permit Application Form and Instructions (Spanish)
  • Child Development Professional Growth Manual
  • Curriculum Alignment Project (CAP) and CAP Coursework:CDTC CAP Website

Child Development Permits Data Dashboard

The Child Development PermitsData Dashboardprovides information on child development permits issued in the last five years.

Reframing Preparation for the Early Childhood Workforce

California has been working over the past six years on several foundational activities to reframe the preparation of the early childhood workforce from a system now largely based on seat time and units to a competency-based system of preparation, assessment, and licensure leading to sustained professional growth and development of the trajectory of an early childhood educator’s career.

As part of this work, the Commission has developed several significant pieces of supporting infrastructure, including the development and adoption of Child Development Permit job-role based candidate competencies, or “Early Childhood Education Teaching Performance Expectations” and a set of standards for preparation program quality known as the “ Early Childhood Preparation Program Guidelines (April 2019).” Under the auspices of the Preschool Development Grant-Renewal (PDG-R) funding, the Commission is also working to develop a new ECE Teaching Performance Assessment for formative use with permit candidates completing an ECE preparation program at the Teacher level of the permit, and a new Program Quality Peer Review process to replace the current transcript-based licensure process. For further information on this work, see the description of the PDG-R grant in the following section.

Child Development PDG-R Grant Activities

The Commission was invited in 2019 to join the state’s successful federal Preschool Development Grant-Renewal (PDG-R) application as a partner in the renewal grant. Initially received three years ago by the California Department of Education, the Preschool Development Grant-Renewal provides an additional three-year opportunity for the state to focuses on preparation, professional development and advancement for the early care and education workforce.

The Commission’s focus and role within the PDG-R grant is a $3 million effort from 2020-2022 to (1) promote the implementation of the ECE TPEs and the Program Guidelines through outreach and technical assistance to ECE preparation programs and program sponsors, (2) to develop and pilot a formative TPE-based Teaching Performance Assessment for the Teacher level of the permit, and (3) to develop and pilot a new ECE program Quality Peer Review Process. The ECE Teaching Performance Assessment will initially be for formative use in the field as programs become more familiar with TPE-based performance-oriented candidate assessments embedded within the program’s coursework and fieldwork/practicum experiences. The activities under the PDG-R grant, including working with the field within the context of the four ECE pilots described below, will take several years to implement and complete.

Pilot Activities and Opportunities for ECE Workforce Preparation Programs

Four distinct pilot opportunities are available under the auspices of the PDG-R grant for interested two-and four-year institution of higher education that offer preparation for the ECE workforce. The pilots will be operational during the PDG-R grant funded period of July 1, 2020-December 31, 2022. For those institutions interested in applying to be a part of the Pilots, applications are available (Application to participate in the ECE Pilots). The four pilots are:

1.TPEs implementation pilot
2.Program Guidelines (accreditation) pilot
3.ECE formative Teaching Performance Assessment pilot
4.Program Quality Peer Review

Because of the interrelated nature of the first two pilots, institutions choosing to participate in pilot 1 must also participate in pilot 2. The expectations and obligations for participating in any of the pilots are outlined in the Pilots Guidance Document. Pilot participation is voluntary on the part of individual institutions and programs. The ECE pilots include participants currently represent 59 institutions of higher education, including both two-year community colleges and four-year colleges and universities. Our participating institutions represent the full range of California higher education segments preparing the early childhood workforce: California Community Colleges, the California State University, the University of California, and Independent California Colleges and Universities.

Design Team for Development of the new ECE Teaching Performance Assessment (Pilot 3)

The Design Team for the new ECE Teaching Performance Assessment was appointed by the Commission’s Executive Director in January 2021 and had its first meeting on March 2021. The Design Team will be meeting monthly for a period of at least two years to develop and pilot a new ECE formative Teaching Performance Assessment based on the adopted Teaching Performance Expectations for candidates for the Teacher level of the Child Development Permit. When the new assessment is ready for initial piloting with candidates, all higher education institutions preparing the ECE workforce will be invited to participate in the pilot activities.

Design Team for Development of the new ECE Program Quality Peer Review Process (Pilot 4)

The Design Team for the new ECE Program Quality Peer Review Process was appointed by the Commission’s Executive Director in January 2021 and held its first meeting on February 2021. The Design Team has drafted a proposed Program Quality Peer Review process that blends a supportive collegial inquiry group process with a more formal program approval (accreditation) process. The work of the Program Quality Peer Review Team is being presented for information at the August 5-6, 2021, Commission meeting and it is intended that the new process will be piloted during winter-spring 2022.

Informational Webinars for the Field About the ECE Work and the ECE Pilots

Informational webinars about the Commission's ECE work were presented and discussed with the field via a series of six webinars. The webinars can be access through the links below:

  • Introduction to the webinar series
  • Overview of the PDG-R grant and activities
  • Introduction to the Teaching Performance Expectations (TPEs) and the Program Guidelines, and to their role in educator preparation

ECE Webinar 1: Presentation Slides
Watch Recorded Webinar 1

  • Information on TPEs and Program Guidelines implementation pilot

ECE Webinar 2: Presentation Slides
ECE Pilots Guidance Document
Watch Recorded Webinar 2

  • Introduction to Performance Assessment
  • Overview of the development process for an ECE Teaching Performance Assessment

ECE Webinar 3: Presentation Slides
Watch Recorded Webinar 3

  • Putting the Pieces Together

ECE Webinar 4: Presentation Slides
Watch Recorded Webinar 4

  • Walkthrough of the application process, expectations, and completion of Appendices A, B, and C for Pilot 1

ECE Webinar 5: Presentation Slides
Draft CAP Coursework TPE Map
Watch Recorded Webinar 5

  • Program Quality Peer Review

ECE Webinar 6: Presentation Slides
Watch Recorded Webinar 6

The Master Plan for Early Learning and Care

California’s newMaster Plan for Early Learning and Care, published in December 2020, provides a new statewide direction for developing and supporting the ECE wrokforce. The Master Plan includes a framework and implementation plan to realize the vision of ensuring that all California children thrive physically, emotionally, and educationally in their early years through access to high-quality early learning and care resources; equitable opportunities for the workforce that advance equitable outcomes for children; and greater efficiencies to the state today and every day through structures for continuous improvement. The Commission’s work under the PDG-R grant is consistent with the vision and direction embodied in the Master Plan.

UPK Teacher Pipeline Resource Compendium

The Resource Compendium provides summaries of the key investments and policy changes included in the 2021–22 State Budget that support the professional development and recruitment of the California State Preschool Program (CSPP), Transitional Kindergarten (TK), and Kindergarten workforce. These investments can be leveraged to serve the goal of building a highly qualified, culturally, and linguistically diverse early education workforce. Several of these investments highlight the opportunities to utilize funds for activities specifically designed to support diversifying the workforce—for example, the Teacher Residency Grant Program and the California Classified School Employee Teacher Credentialing Program.

Bimonthly P-3 Newsletter Available from the California Department of Education

The California Department of Education provides bimonthly newsletters that share information on department news related to the CDE’s P-3 initiative, and include newresources and funding opportunities, spotlights on local P-3 implementation in action, and information on upcoming and recent P-3 related events. Please note that partner content is not endorsed by the CDE.

To subscribe to the CDE’s P-3listserve, email “subscribe” to subscribe-cdep3updates@mlist.cde.ca.gov.

Communications with the Field

The Commission offers multiple ways for the field to contact staff and to stay in touch with ECE-related news, events, and activities. Communication links include:

Subscribe to the ECE News List

Information from the Professional Services Division regarding the Child Development Permit and the work under the Preschool Development Grant-Renewal relating to the ECE TPEs, Program Guidelines, formative Teaching Performance Assessment, and Peer Review Process pilots is provided through ECE News Updates. Please Subscribe to the ECE News to receive these updates.
The previous ECE News Updates are provided here for reference:

ECE News May 2023

ECE News April 2023

Contact Commission staff via the ECE Mailbox

The ECE@ctc.ca.gov mailbox is for general questions about child development permit preparation programs and activities relating to the Preschool Development Grant.-Renewal. For questions about permit requirements and applying for a Child Development Permit, please email credentials@ctc.ca.gov.

Take Advantage of ECE Office Hours

Commission staff have established office hours for the ECE stakeholder community. Office hours provide an opportunity when ECE staff will be available to respond to questions, comments, and other informational needs. ECE office hours will be held from 12-1 p.m. on the first and third Tuesday of the month. Here is the zoom link for accessing ECE office hours on the first Tuesday and the zoom link for the third Tuesday.

Early Childhood Education (2024)


Early Childhood Education? ›

Early childhood experiences from birth to age 8 affect the development of the brain's architecture, which provides the foundation for all future learning, behavior and health. A strong foundation helps children develop the skills they need to become well-functioning adults.

What is the biggest problem in early childhood education? ›

What Are Three Challenges Facing Early Childhood Education Today?
  1. Scarcity of Resources. There is a scarcity of resources in our early childhood education system. ...
  2. Lack of the Training. Early childhood teachers are often not trained in the specific needs of young children. ...
  3. Low Parental Engagement.
Jan 19, 2023

What is the highest paying job in early childhood? ›

  • Teacher's Aid. ...
  • Nanny. ...
  • Grant Writer. ...
  • Early Childhood Special Education Teacher. ...
  • Kindergarten Teacher. ...
  • Preschool or Child Care Center Director. ...
  • Early Childhood Education Professor. Median Annual for this early childhood education salary: $78,470. ...
  • School Principal. Median Annual for this early childhood education salary: $95,310.
Nov 18, 2022

Why is early childhood education so important? ›

Early childhood experiences from birth to age 8 affect the development of the brain's architecture, which provides the foundation for all future learning, behavior and health. A strong foundation helps children develop the skills they need to become well-functioning adults.

What are the weakness of early childhood education? ›

Disadvantages of Early Childhood Education

Few educational institutions maintain the student to teacher ratio inappropriately, which restricts development. Lack of proper curriculum, student management strategies and syllabus effects kids.

What is the hardest part about being a preschool teacher? ›

1. Children (so many children!) Managing a room full of young children can be delightful, but it can also be hard and can drain a lot of your energy. The day-to-day challenges you will face can range from dealing with difficult behaviors to crying and cranky children.

Why being a preschool teacher is hard? ›

Preschool teachers rarely have time to sit and rest during the school day. They spend most of the day on their feet, bending, lifting, dancing, and playing with children. While being a preschool teacher is fun and exciting, it can also be exhausting. Your feet will likely be sore by the end of the day.

What is the highest-paid preschool teacher? ›

High Paying Preschool Jobs
  • Director of Teaching and Learning. Salary range: $98,500-$122,500 per year. ...
  • Head Start Director. Salary range: $42,000-$106,000 per year. ...
  • Preschool Principal. ...
  • Preschool Director. ...
  • Early Intervention Specialist. ...
  • Early Interventionist. ...
  • Child Development Instructor. ...
  • Head Start Coordinator.

Where do early childhood educators make the most money? ›

Instructional specialists have some of the highest paying jobs in early childhood education. These professionals are responsible for developing educational programs and curriculum for preschools and childcare centers.

Where do early childhood teachers get paid the most? ›

Highest paying cities for Early Childhood Teachers near California
  • Dublin, CA. $25.90 per hour. 6 salaries reported.
  • San Francisco, CA. $25.24 per hour. 47 salaries reported.
  • Walnut, CA. $25.15 per hour. 135 salaries reported.
  • Oakland, CA. $23.58 per hour. 31 salaries reported.
  • San Jose, CA. $23.47 per hour. ...
  • Show more nearby cities.

What is the age of early childhood? ›

Early childhood, which spans the period up to 8 years of age, is critical for cognitive, social, emotional and physical development.

What does high quality early childhood education mean to you? ›

A high quality early childhood program provides a safe and nurturing environment while promoting the physical, social, emotional, and intellectual development of young children. Early childhood is generally defined as birth through age eight.

What are the long term benefits of early childhood education? ›

Early Childhood Education
  • Less likely to repeat a grade.
  • Less likely to be identified as having special needs.
  • More prepared academically for later grades.
  • More likely to graduate from high school.
  • Higher earners in the workforce.

What is a challenge to early childhood teacher? ›

Managing Your Students

One of the biggest challenges early childhood teachers face is managing their students. It can be difficult to keep students engaged, especially if they are young or have behavioural problems.

What is the hardest level to teach? ›

Standardized Testing May Cause Grades 3 and Up to Be the Hardest Elementary Grades to Teach. Many educators argue that the hardest elementary grade to teach is one with standardized testing pressures.

How old are most preschool teachers? ›

There are over 2,176,693 preschool teachers currently employed in the United States. 93.6% of all preschool teachers are women, while 6.4% are men. The average age of an employed preschool teacher is 39 years old.

What is the toughest time of year for teachers? ›

“Everybody who teaches on the east coast knows, it's Spring. Simply because the kids, staff and instructional staff are all running on fumes at that point; the weather starts to warm up and we all want to sit on a warm beach, holding a cold drink and get outSIDE!”

Why are preschool teachers quitting? ›

Low wages were driving away early childhood educators, who are overwhelmingly women of color, long before the pandemic began. But the physical, mental and financial stress they endured during the public health crisis, and the recession, accelerated their Great Resignation.

Why do first year teachers struggle? ›

Plan and Schedule

New teachers who don't plan are often overwhelmed. They won't have effective classroom management because they have not managed their classroom time well. Further, new teachers often lack the skills to tie standards and ideas together without an intentional effort.

What is the lowest salary for a preschool teacher? ›

Preschool Teacher Salary in California
10th Percentile Preschool Teacher Salary$34,146CA
25th Percentile Preschool Teacher Salary$37,870CA
50th Percentile Preschool Teacher Salary$41,960CA
75th Percentile Preschool Teacher Salary$47,960CA
1 more row

Which states pay preschool teachers the most? ›

The states and districts that pay Preschool Teachers the highest mean salary are District of Columbia ($55,960), New Jersey ($44,810), New York ($43,880), Massachusetts ($43,710), and California ($42,210). How Much Do Preschool Teachers Make in Your City?

What grade teacher makes the most money? ›

What grade / level do teachers get paid the most? The highest earners are typically high school level teachers, and the lowest paid are preschool teachers.

What state pays the most for childcare? ›

Detailed List Of In-Home Childcare Provider Salaries By State
RankStateAverage Wage
46 more rows
Nov 15, 2016

How much do daycare teachers make in the US? ›

Salaries by years of experience in the United States
Years of experiencePer hour
1 to 2 years$15.42
3 to 5 years-
6 to 9 years$16.49
More than 10 years$18.35
1 more row
6 days ago

What is the starting salary for early childhood teachers in USA? ›

$29,500 is the 25th percentile. Salaries below this are outliers. $38,500 is the 75th percentile.

What is the top pay for a kindergarten teacher? ›

Kindergarten teachers earn an average yearly salary of $95,160. Wages typically start from $48,000 and go up to $114,270.

What state pays starting teachers the most? ›

New York leads the nation in teacher pay with an average salary of $80,286, according to WalletHub.

Which school districts pay teachers the most? ›

In 2021, the average K-12 public school teacher nationwide was paid $65,090. Average teacher pay was the highest in New York at $87,738, followed by Massachusetts and California. In three states — Mississippi, Florida, and South Dakota — teachers made less than $50,000 on average.

What comes after early childhood? ›

Childhood is divided into three stages of life which include early childhood, middle childhood, and late childhood (preadolescence). Early childhood typically ranges from infancy to the age of 6 years old.

What grade is the end of early childhood? ›

Early learning encompasses all areas of a child's learning and development from birth through 3rd grade. During these first eight years, children learn essential skills and develop rapidly—physically, socially, emotionally and cognitively.

At what age do you learn the fastest? ›

Two-year-olds have twice as many synapses as adults. Because these connections between brain cells are where learning occurs, twice as many synapses enable the brain to learn faster than at any other time of life.

What is the difference between child development and early childhood education? ›

Additionally, while early childhood education centers on engaging students in learning and development activities, child development roles can include conducting activities, observing children, and identifying and solving problems.

What are the 3 important components of an early childhood environment? ›

The three discrete components of a well-designed early childhood environment—the temporal, social, and physical environments—really do not stand alone.

What are the 3 benefits in early childhood? ›

Early childhood education and care can help your child make friends, develop independence and learn new routines. It also supports their transition to school.

What is a long term goal in early childhood education? ›

Developing readiness skills

One career goal for an early childhood education teacher is to prepare students for future grades. Teachers can give young students a strong academic foundation and help them develop skills that can prepare them for the future.

What is a long term goal in childcare? ›

By considering the right childcare centre with the appropriate early childhood education program in place, your child can achieve long term goals such as feeling safe and secure, developing independence and resilience, learning empathy, discovering their identity as well as learning to transition to higher forms of ...

What is the best age to start preschool? ›

Most preschool programs are designed for children between ages of two and five years old. Preschools tend to fill up quickly, so it's best to start looking for options when your child is around one year old or even sooner.

What are the negative outcomes of early childhood? ›

The more adverse experiences in childhood, the greater the likelihood of developmental delays and other problems. Adults with more adverse experiences in early childhood are also more likely to have health problems, including alcoholism, depression, heart disease, diabetes and other chronic diseases.

How do you handle unruly students? ›

What to do
  1. Be steady, consistent and firm.
  2. Acknowledge the feelings of the individual.
  3. Remember that disruptive behavior is often caused by stress or frustration.
  4. Address the disruption individually, directly and immediately.
  5. Be specific about the behavior that is disruptive and set limits.

Are preschool teachers happy? ›

On average, preschool teachers rate the meaningfulness of their work a 3.4/5.

What is the most challenging thing about working in childcare? ›

A common challenge shared by most early childhood educators is paperwork. There can sometimes be a lot to get through, in a short amount of administration time. Of course, with practise and experience, dealing with this necessary part of the job becomes easier – all things you're taught during your studies at Selmar.

How do you overcome challenges in early childhood education? ›

How to Overcome the Challenges of Teaching Preschoolers
  1. Maintaining the Attention of Young Kids. One of the biggest challenges of teaching preschoolers is retaining the attention of your students. ...
  2. Managing Misbehavior in the Classroom. ...
  3. Communicating with Family Members. ...
  4. Surviving the Physical Demands of the Job.
Mar 25, 2021

What are the common problems of early childhood? ›

Eight Common Issues In Child Development
  • Child development is something adults struggle with. ...
  • 1) Receptive Language Disorder. ...
  • 2) Expressive Language Disorder. ...
  • 3) Speech Production. ...
  • 4) Cognitive Delay. ...
  • 5) Gross Motor Delays. ...
  • 6) Fine Motor Delays. ...
  • 7) Emotional or Behavioural Delays.
Oct 19, 2017

What are 3 critical challenges impacting early childhood education? ›

purposeful, challenging, and achievable. Three critical challenges impacting early childhood practices are: addressing disparities in school success and achievement; integrating and aligning preschool and elementary school programming; and improving teacher preparation, professional development and ongoing support.

What are the challenges faced in early childhood development? ›

Approximately 43% of children younger than 5 years in low-income and middle-income countries fail to reach their full development potential because of unsafe conditions (eg, poverty, malnutrition, pollution, and extreme stress), negative interactions (eg, inadequate adult care, violence, abuse, neglect, and conflict), ...

What is a common concern during early childhood? ›

Sleep issues, thumb sucking, coping with picky eating, and determining if a child is ready for school are common concerns of families with young children.

What is one of the main issues in early childhood assessment? ›

Young children can be easily distracted and may have difficulty controlling their behavior during testing situations. Standardized measures used with preschool children have poorer reliability and validity than when used with school-age children.

What are the three C's in early childhood education? ›

The three C's for healthy youth development—connection, contribution, and competence. Observe and reflect on children's work for them to be successful.

How can I improve my early childhood development? ›

Take care that no one feels bullied, invisible, or unnoticed. Develop trusting relationships with children and nurture relationships among them while building on their knowledge and skills. Embrace children's cultural experiences and the languages and customs that shape their learning. Treat each child with respect.

What are the 3 primary elements of an early childhood educator? ›

Developmentally appropriate practice requires early childhood educators to seek out and gain knowledge and understanding using three core considerations: commonality in children's development and learning, individuality reflecting each child's unique characteristics and experiences, and the context in which development ...

What are the negative effects on early childhood development? ›

The more adverse experiences in childhood, the greater the likelihood of developmental delays and other problems. Adults with more adverse experiences in early childhood are also more likely to have health problems, including alcoholism, depression, heart disease, and diabetes.

What are examples of risks in a childcare setting? ›

Common Safety Hazards in Child Care Facilities
  • Falling Objects. Kids are curious and sometimes rambunctious. ...
  • Choking. Food and small objects present a choking hazard for children, especially infants and toddlers. ...
  • Old Playground Equipment. ...
  • Inadequate Supervision. ...
  • Poorly Trained Staff. ...
  • Neglect. ...
  • Unsanitary Environment.

What preschool problems might suggest a child is at risk for learning disabilities? ›

Speech and language problems are often one of the first signs of a learning disability such as an auditory- or language processing disorder in which a child's brain has difficulty interpreting or using sound or language.


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