K-3 Teachers Are Early Childhood Educators

(Excerpted from Press Release) The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) has released results from a new market research project conducted to further understand whether and to what extent educators working with children in grades kindergarten through third grade see themselves as a meaningful part of the early childhood education continuum.

Results indicate that a strong majority do consider themselves early childhood educators, and, further, that they value preparation in child development and express comfort in being part of a unified system with educators of children ages birth to eight. K-3 educators are clear-eyed about both the challenges and benefits of creating this unified system, but believe that both higher wages and greater respect are the most important potential outcomes.

Key results include:

  • 76% of K-3 educators are in favor of creating a unified and aligned system of early childhood education birth through 8.
  • Both K-3 and 0-5 educators value an environment that promotes social and emotional development; 92% of 0-5 educators identify it as “extremely important,” while 69% of K-3 educators do the same.
  • 83% of K-3 educators prioritized the importance of a working environment in which they have leaders who trust and support their teachers.
  • 80% of K-3 educators identify assessment and testing as the biggest challenge they face.
  • Both K-3 and 0-5 educators agree that the positive impact they have on children and their community is extremely important to them in choosing the teaching profession.

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This research was conducted by a bipartisan team of Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates (FM3) and Public Opinion Strategies, and with support from the Richard W. Goldman Family Foundation. The first portion consisted of online focus group interviews with 14 educators currently teaching in grades K-3, conducted August 1-3, 2017. This was followed by a nationally representative online survey of 537 teachers who currently or recently taught in grades K-3, conducted August 23 – October 3, 2017. Participants were recruited from among the members of NAEYC and several other national and state early childhood education organizations, and a commercially-available database.