All Children Deserve to Belong, Be Safe and Thrive
As a nonprofit organization dedicated to the field of early care and education, we are appalled by the recent forced resignation of Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education Secretary Dr. Barbara Cooper over the use of the National Association for the Education of Young Children’s (NAEYC) Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP) (4th ed.) book in state-run early childhood education programs. We honor and stand in community with her defense of the principles outlined in the DAP and with all early childhood practitioners who work tirelessly on behalf of the children and families they serve.
We take this opportunity to reaffirm our commitment toward early care and education of children. Fundamentally, we don’t have to look, be, believe or act alike to share this common ground: all children deserve a sense of safety, belonging, well-being and opportunities to grow. In fact, we celebrate the many ways to make this happen.
We are committed to supporting early childhood professionals globally in their efforts to craft early childhood environments where adults and children thrive–environments that foster friendship, curiosity, self-esteem, joy, and respect; where the talents of all are fully challenged and justly rewarded. We believe that cultivating a diverse, equitable and inclusive culture is essential, not only for our own community, but because we believe in modeling these principles for our professional networks and field, as well as for the future of our children.
We affirm the statement from NAEYC that “children cannot learn if they do not feel seen, safe, and supported.” Similar to our own mission, DAP “reinforces the power of relationships and underscores that every child has the right to equitable learning opportunities—in centers, family child care homes, or schools—that fully support their optimal development and learning across all domains and content areas.”
These core values at Dimensions Educational Research Foundation and NAEYC emerge from decades of applied practice, observation, research and dialogue across our field in a wide range of programs, curricula, communities and conditions. They are foundational to our work and we commit to ongoing reflection, research, study, and practice.
As we conclude in our DEI statement, “We commit to a continuous process of listening and learning.” We will stand strong in the face of present and future challenges to the foundations of our work.
There is a role for each of us to play. Our coming together can include:
- Having conversations and discussing these issues. Consider these guidelines:
- Allow everyone a chance to speak — Listen respectfully and actively.
- Commit to learning about each other, not debating.
- Embrace differences of opinion as healthy and always support each person’s authentic self expression.
- Submitting articles, ideas, recommendations, and resources to Exchange magazine that focus on DAP and culturally responsive practices.
- Signing on to NAEYC’s call for supporting DAP.
- Using social media hashtags #DAPinECE and #EquityInECE to voice your views, invite dialogue, and support one another in our essential work.
Please join us as we continue to work on behalf of young children and families.
Chief Executive Officer
Communication and Collaboration Director
on behalf of
Dimensions Educational Research Foundation and its initiatives – Dimensions Education Programs, Exchange Press, and Nature Explore