Quality Initiatives and Accreditation

Nicole Willard

Quality Initiatives and Accreditation Committee

CAAEYC's Annual Conference will take place in Pasadena from April 19-21. Each year I am excited to walk into the venue abuzz with the excitement and eagerness for what is ahead. Attendees have the opportunity to participate in interactive sessions covering areas such as child development, curriculum design, family engagement, and advocacy. Our annual conference serves as an opportunity for participants to connect with colleagues, exchange ideas, and build partnerships to strengthen their practice and enhance the quality of early childhood education.

Having moved from Massachusetts in 2020, I was new to the California early childhood education field. I remember walking into the 2022 conference completely unaware of what was to come. The weekend flew by as I connected with educators, administrators, policymakers and more. I learned about the resources available to support me as a teacher, and left heavy with knowledge to bring back to my school. Almost two years later, and I am still excited to showcase and share these resources with educators who may not know what is available.

For those looking to continue their professional development and training, the Child Development Training Consortium (CDTC) is a great resource. The consortium focuses on enhancing the knowledge, skills, and competencies of early childhood educators to ensure high-quality care and education for young children. CDTC provides credentialing support and scholarships and financial assistance for those who need it. The permitting structure can be really confusing, especially for someone who is new to the field or the state, so they are a great resource to reach out to for support.

The California Early Childhood Mentor Program (CECMP) provides activities at more than 100 community college campuses to support practicum students with access to experienced mentor teachers and mentor directors. The program offers mentorship matching, Individualized support, professional development and support in reflective practice. CECMP plays a crucial role in supporting the ongoing professional development of early childhood educators.

I am also sure that the conference will be humming with excitement around the news that the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) new PK-3 Early Childhood Education ECE Specialist Instruction credential has been approved and will be effective April 1, 2024! This is an exciting step towards ensuring those serving our young students have the knowledge they need to meet the children's developmental needs.

As the countdown to the conference begins, I look forward to connecting with members to better understand how the Quality Initiatives and Accreditation Committee can serve you. If you have an interest in joining the QI&A Committee or have any questions or comments, please reach out to me, Committee Chair, Nicole Willard, at nwillard.edd@gmail.com.