One of the mistakes that we have been forced to make has been the application of only some strategies that we were able to resource or were the current fad of a focus of policy. This, of course, at the expense of a systemic approach that acknowledges the complex and multi-dimensional nature of child care. Thus the results have been often superficial, tinkering, fleeting and unsustainable changes, though sometimes they succeeded as first steps. But as long as we refuse to face and tackle the complexity, we will not right the child care system. The somewhat silly metaphor of a quality “soup” speaks to the necessary variety of the ingredients and the adjustments that reflect local resources and priorities – but “low hanging fruit” does not make a hearty soup. Children need the real thing to thrive. And we have a lot of hungry American children.
Impossibly complicated to visualize, here is the recipe for Quality Soup. You can tinker with the amounts but all the basic ingredients have to be there in some measure.
- Teacher Compensation commensurate with public school teachers
- High quality Teacher Education
- Cultural Competence
- Authentic Child Assessment
- Applying knowledge to Practice through Coaching and Communities of Practice
- Generalist or child development
- Specific content knowledge (infant-toddler, DLLs)
- Classroom Structure (e.g. ratio, group sizes)
- Skilled and supportive adminstrators
- supports for a professional working environment (e,g, sick leave, paid planning time, health insurance)
- Family Engagement