Forum Newsletter – 2018 Spring Edition: Forum Corner – What’s going on at the Children’s Forum?

Stronger Together: FLAEYC and the Children’s Forum Join Forces

The Florida Association for the Education of Young Children (FLAEYC) President, Pam Parmenter, and the Children’s Forum President and CEO, Dr. Phyllis Kalifeh, are proud to announce the implementation of a shared services partnership. This partnership enables the Children’s Forum to be the administrative and program support arm for FLAEYC. Each organization remains independent, but the services shared strengthen each organization’s collective impact.

“The Forum has a strong infrastructure to support many of our association’s needs,” said Parmenter. “We believe it will be a win-win for both organizations.”

“We are excited to launch this new model,” explained Dr. Kalifeh. “We believe that it has the potential to serve as a viable and exemplary model throughout the nation. Furthermore, FLAEYC and the Children’s Forum share compatible missions, and I believe it is imperative that we maintain a strong state professional association (FLAEYC) to join with our other state partners. Together, I am confident that we can make progress in ‘moving the needle’ toward the best possible outcomes for Florida’s children.”

FLAEYC’s headquarters will be co-located with the Children’s Forum in Tallahassee. The mailing address for FLAEYC is 2807 Remington Green Circle, Tallahassee, FL 32308. The new telephone number for FLAEYC is (754) 999-0544. The change became effective February 5, 2018.

Forum Vice Chair Receives Chiles Advocacy Award

Dr. Wil Blechman, a retired rheumatologist and the Forum’s Vice Chair, received the 2018 Chiles Advocacy Award at the 2018 Children’s Week Awards Dinner and Reception! The Chiles Advocacy Award, in honor of Lawton and Rhea Chiles’ dedication to Florida’s children and families, is presented annually to a Floridian who has dedicated his or her life to improving the lives of children and families, and who has successfully engaged others to promote policies and programs that benefit those children and families. The recipient of the annual Chiles Advocacy Award exemplifies the integrity, dedication, and commitment to improving the lives of Florida’s children and families for which we all strive. Congratulations, Dr. Blechman!

Higher Education Study

The Center for the Study of Child Care Employment (CSCCE) at University of California-Berkeley recently completed a study of early childhood higher education programs throughout the state of Florida. Commissioned by the Florida Office of Early Learning and the Children’s Forum, the report highlights the extent to which course content and learning experiences offered by early childhood higher education programs align with effective teacher preparation. In addition, the report provides recommendations to strengthen the early childhood education (ECE) workforce development in Florida.

Findings from the report suggested the following:

  • Bachelor’s programs were more likely to have specific course requirements such as working with children who are dual language learners or children with disabilities.
  • Associate programs were more likely to make coursework accessible in multiple formats and during flexible times.
  • Most faculty at ECE higher education programs had academic preparation in early childhood, but have not had recent experience teaching children, particularly infants and toddlers. In addition, the study proposed the need for more faculty with diverse ethnicities and specific expertise such as teaching children who are dual language learners.
  • Students were difficult to recruit and retain due to the low pay of the ECE field.
  • Faculty viewed family engagement and socioemotional development as very important in the preparation of early childhood teachers, while mathematics was viewed as less important than other domains.

“This report highlights the support our early learning workforce needs in caring for our earliest learners,” said Rodney MacKinnon, executive director of the Florida Office of Early Learning. “Our office is committed to building the infrastructure to enable it.”

Based on the findings, recommendations to improve early childhood higher education programs included unifying expectations and strengthening competencies for early childhood workforce preparation; strengthening program content such as child development, early mathematics, dual language learning, and field-based experiences; building a leadership pipeline; and increasing faculty supports.