By Leaps & Bounds: The Critical Role of Early Childhood Educators

Dec 3, 2019

Credit ELNC

High quality early childhood education experiences have a direct impact on outcomes for young children. Our communities in Michigan are filled with passionate, dedicated and innovative early childhood teachers and programs. Effective leadership, stable and sufficient funding streams, and access to professional development opportunities and resources can create a pipeline of well-trained and invested teachers. And yet, despite the important role early childhood educators play, it is difficult to earn a living wage as an early childhood educator, leading to programs facing challenges around recruitment and retention.

Kent ISD
Credit Kent ISD

According to NAEYC, the median hourly wage in early childhood is $10.60 per hour and at least 46% of the early childhood workforce is receiving public assistance. Additionally, earnings among early childhood teachers can be markedly different within communities, despite the same levels of education or experience. How do these inequities impact programs, staff, families and children? What is it like to work in early childhood – both the struggles and high points? How can the community support the important role that early childhood educators and programs play?

K’Sandra Earle, Associate Director, Early Learning Neighborhood Collaborative, and Ashley Karsten, Director of Early Childhood, Kent ISD are here to discuss. For more information, visit: and .