In 2020, Vermont’s Task Force presented recommendations on Three Designations with Aligned Preparation Pathways for workforce consideration. The Task Force’s initial recommendations stemmed from the Task Force’s study of Power to the Profession’s Pathways, Preparation and Compensation. A Consensus Document is expected in Spring 2021.

Discussion Draft: Three Designations with Aligned Preparation Pathways (2020)

From the Discussion Draft:

Task Force Responses to Power to the Profession Recommendations: Three Distinct Designations (ECE I, ECE II, ECE III)

Image from the Unifying Framework

We see many positives in having one profession with these three distinct designations. There is a clear structure, easily understood by those within the profession, by partners in the early childhood field, by families and by the general public. Because all three designations are prepared to work as a team, it is inclusive with an emphasis on accountable, collaborative practice. We see parallels to other professions, such as nursing, with national, portable credentials and clear pathways for career growth.

Task Force Consensus: Put forth recommendation to the workforce as written.

Some additional thoughts that emerged in our discussion about the roles embedded in the three designations (support educator, lead educator, and guiding the practice of others) include:

  • Build in suitable supports for any current family child care provider (sole practitioner) to attain an ECE II designation; ensure a “true choice” to be in the profession
  • Incorporate the role of experience in readiness to guide the practice of others
  • In terms of equity:
    •  If an ECE III must be the lead educator in public preK through Grade 3, why is it different for infants and toddlers, where an ECE II may lead?
    • It is important to have consistency in preparation and compensation across school-based, center-based and FCCH settings.


Task Force Responses to Power to the Profession Recommendations: Aligned Primary Preparation Pathways

We see many positives in these pathways, as described. They are clear and align directly with the three designations. They build on each other, with no need to backtrack or start over. Each leads to a valued credential or degree. The preparation pathways are based on neuroscience and built on national standards and competencies. We particularly appreciate this part of the “audacious vision”: Anyone who wants to become an early childhood educator, at any level, has equitable access to affordable, high-quality professional preparation and development that supports them in developing the agreed-upon set of knowledge, skills, and competencies.

Task Force Consensus: Put forth recommendation to the workforce as written.


Task Force Responses to Power to the Profession Recommendations: Implementation

We embrace P2P’s commitment to “phased-in implementation that honors the existing and future workforce”. In that implementation, we understand that a national Professional Governance Body will make some decisions that are national in scope, such as short-term “exemption policies” and flexible ways for the existing workforce to demonstrate competencies. Other aspects of implementation, such as non-traditional pathways and innovative practices, may be unique to each state. In Vermont, the CCV’s Assessment of Prior Learning option, TEACH scholarships, and the apprenticeship program are examples of supports and innovative practices that must be part of any thoughtful implementation.

Task Force Consensus: The profession itself must take the lead in defining what supports we need to ensure our success as an early childhood education profession.

Some other things we discussed:

  • Ensure we communicate well with family child care providers, so they have faith about their place in the future profession.
  • Share: “P2P’s intentional approach for unifying the entire early childhood profession – not only across settings and states, but also across licensure age bands, provider types, government jurisdictions, and funding streams – is uncharted territory for the ECE field.” (DC7&8, p. 3)
  • Build trust and maintain relationships as we advance the profession.
  • Metaphors may be helpful:
    • During construction of a highway bridge, a temporary bridge helps travelers to reach their destination while all the complex parts of the long-term bridge are put in place.
    • In a community revitalization project, the image to focus on is what it will look like, not the messy in-between.
  • Specifically, define all the supports that will be needed and the funding to ensure those.
  • Make it clear how to access supports, including mentors, during the “temporary bridge” time.