Two Bills in Congress Focusing on Improving and Expanding High-Quality ECE


Universal Preschool Since President Obama highlighted preschool in his State of the Union address, Congress has introduced several bills focused on improving and expanding high-quality early education opportunities. The Prepare All Kids Act and Ready to Learn Act have been introduced in the Senate, while the Providing Resources Early for Kids Act of 2013 (PRE-K Act) has been introduced in both the House and the Senate.

Alyson Klein at Education Week offers a quick look at the major components of each bill though all of the bills are still in committee. Laura Bornfreund and Kristin Blagg at the New America Foundation looked at these and other education bills, but warned that “most of these bills first appeared in previous Congressional sessions, and it will remain difficult for them to attract the bipartisan support they need to reach the president’s desk.”

Megan Carolan, Policy Research Coordinator for the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER ) provides further analysis of the content of these bills in a recent blog post. In the table below Carolan outlines the impact that the passing of the Bills will have on preschool teachers nationwide.


Prepare All Kids Bill   (S. 502)

Ready to Learn Act Bill   (S. 322)

Providing Resources   Early for Kids Act of 2013 (PRE-K Act) (S.519/H.R. 1041)

Class Size



Nationally established   “best practice”

Staff-Child Ratio

1:10 ratio

1:10 ratio

Nationally established   “best practice”

Teacher Credentials

Defined as having a BA   with specialization in ECE or early childhood development; or teacher is   working toward degree

within 6 years of   beginning employment as teacher in a provider assisted under this program

Within 2 years of   grant, each classroom must have teacher with BA in ECE or specialized   training in early childhood development

Teacher holds AA or   higher in early childhood or related field; Plan to require state-funded   pre-K program teachers to hold a BA (in ECE or related) within 5 years of   receiving funds


What are your thoughts on these educational bills?

Vanguard’s SPS-ECE Attends CAEYC Conference in San Jose


Last week I attended the California Association for the Education of Young Children conference in San Jose.  Though the primary reason for attending conferences is to provide attendees the opportunity to learn about our university and our online programs, I always feel that I benefit the most from the events.

As Vanguard University’s representative for the School for Professional Studies Early Childhood Education (ECE) programs and degrees I had the opportunity to talk with many of the key leaders in the field.  I talked to a gentleman who works directly with my favorite author, Dr. Marcy Whitebrook, the leading ECE researcher from UC Berkley. Then there was Shelley, a Vanguard student who just had to stop by and tell me how much she loved the online format, and that she is looking forward to advancing from the AA degree in ECE to our Bachelor’s Degree.

There was also much talk about President Obama’s State of the Union address and his proposal for Universal Preschool.  These discussions provide me with new insight to the direction to possible changes for early education in the future.

The days were long but enriching and I can’t wait to organize my notes and write the follow up report for my director.  I am excited about the changes in Early Childhood Education.   It is well overdue but I believe that with federal leadership, early educators will see a well-deserved increase in compensation and an improvement in quality care.

 Have you attended any conferences lately?

Photo compliments of


A “Pearce-ing” Role Model


This early childhood educator is a strong supporter of Bandura’s social learning theory which states that children learn (for better or worse) by observing the behavior of people around them. The validity of this theory was confirmed for me recently when Lee, an online classmate, wrote a wonderful tribute to his favorite role model – his grandmother Alice.

Alice continually worked to make the world a better place. In 1918 she participated in demonstrations to change the Constitution for women to be allowed to vote. She played in an orchestra trio. She volunteered as a Candy Striper, and as a remedial English teacher.

In fact, Alice never stopped growing intellectually. In 1979 she made coast to coast newspaper coverage when she was voted homecoming queen her senior year in college – she was in her 80’s! During a television interview, when asked why she went to back to school, her reply was, “I have two grandsons with master’s degrees and I’m smarter than both of them. All they have is a piece of paper (diploma) and I’m getting me one too.”

Alice graduated from Methodist College in Fayetteville, NC, and has a scholarship named in her honor. The Alice H. Pearce Scholarship is awarded annually to students on the basis of high moral character, financial need, and/or academic merit.

Her grandson Lee says, “Calling her a role model and an inspiration is an understatement. If I can do half of what she did in her life, it will be more than I have already done.  Alice H. Pearce passed away in 1984.  I miss her terribly.”

Alice proved that it is never too late to get your degree. If you or someone you know is thinking about returning to school, please contact the SPS admissions office, (714) 668.6130.

Who is your positive role model?

Nippy Nature Naps?


Nordic preschoolers snoozing in the frigid fresh air


Parent: “Excuse me,  where is my child?”

Preschool Teacher: “Napping outside, of course.”

Parent: “It’s twenty three degrees outside!”

Preschool Teacher: “And your point is…?”

If you’re in America, you can imagine what the response to this answer would be! Most likely a call to child protective services, a law suit, and a jail sentence for the offending preschool administrators. Yet in Scandinavian countries, letting children nap outside has been a standard practice for generations. Some pre-schools, in fact, are conducted entirely outdoors, naps and all.

The Internet is a-buzz with conversation on this topic, from in-country ex-pat blogs to articles from the BBC. The common byline seems to be “There is no bad weather, only bad clothing.”

Talk about building a hearty constitution – no wonder the Vikings struck fear into the hearts of their enemies!

Outdoor pre-school is catching on in America, but I don’t see us including the out-door nap.  We tend to create cozy indoor nests for our young, tucking them in with comforters, snuggly blankets and cadre of stuffed animals that each require a nap-time kiss. I don’t think American parents will ever be ready to bundle up their little ones for a nap outdoors in inclement weather.


What are your thoughts on outdoor pre-school and napping? Do you know any schools who do this?





Is Universal Preschool a Threat to Private and Faith Based Preschool Enrollment?

What I am hearing as I talk to students at Vanguard this week is, “What effect is Universal Preschool going to have on private and faith based enrollment?”

Right now all preschool teacher education requirements are pretty much equal (with the exception of Head Start schools which have raised the level of education for preschool teachers to a BA Degree).  So, parents who want their children taught with Christian values, with Christian role models, feel their children get the same academic instruction and quality of education as state preschools while benefiting in a sound Christian education.

President Obama proposes to expand early childhood education to provide pre-K for 4 year olds for poor or dysfunctional families – those whose incomes are at or below 200% of the poverty line ($47,000 for a family of four).  This is less than the income of most private and faith based preschool families – so where is the threat?

In actuality, the proposal will also raise the education requirements of preschool teachers to match K-12 teachers. This is where Christian preschool teachers are going to have to step up or lose enrollment.

Parents of preschool children are willing to pay extra for a quality Christian education for their children, but not if the teachers have inferior training and education.

So, is universal preschool a threat to private and faith based preschool programs?  This writer’s opinion says, “Yes it is.”   Unless private and faith based preschools elevate their teacher education requirement to match the Head Start and State Preschool requirements, their enrollment will suffer.

Early Childhood Educators Will Be Equal to K-12 teachers


I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am to share this good news. This week, President Obama, in his State of the Union address, called for a new program to support state efforts to ensure all 4-year-olds have access to quality preschool.  President Obama’s emphasis on the importance of early childhood education is just the latest example of national momentum towards investing public resources where we know it counts most: in a child’s earliest years.  Universal Preschool will help drive our nation toward ensuring that every child, no matter their family income or circumstance, has access to critical early learning experiences. I would love to hear your take on our President’s proposal.

Then yesterday I read the following from the Washington Post.

President Obama used his State of the Union address to launch a push for massively expanding pre-K and other early childhood education programs. Shortly after his speech, the administration released this  component of his plan for early childhood education:

  • A State-Federal partnership to guarantee pre-K to all 4-year-olds in families at or below 200 percent of the poverty line, to be provided by school districts and other local partners, and to use instructors with the same level of education and training as K-12 instructions. (It is about time)

Vanguard University’s School for Professional Studies has invested its resources in completely ONLINE Early Childhood Education Programs. President Obama’s announcement means there will be great state jobs available for preschool teachers with degrees in ECE. Many states already have universal preschool and based on the success of these models, Colorado, Ohio, Connecticut, Vermont, Hawaii, and Pennsylvania governors’ are all moving forward with funding for early childhood programs. So, be prepared when universal preschool comes to your state – back up your years of experience with the required competencies that can only be obtained through the process of earning a degree in early childhood education. Get your ECE Degree now.




Contributed by Laurie Davis

Changes in life are difficult.  A simple adjustment to our schedule can rock our entire week. Taking on a new activity, class, work hours, etc. can take months to get used to. Sometimes we never adjust to it; instead we get cranky. I recently took on something new and the commitment has been hard. I recognized that I had two choices: I could either sit in my frustration and anxiety, or I could find some way to motivate myself. Motivation works differently for all of us. It can be something small such as a treat at the end of the week, a new outfit, a special dinner out, or a larger “treat” such as completing your degree.

God calls us to use Him as a foundation and a stronghold for our motivation. My favorite motivational verse from my Grad School days is Romans 5:3-5, “And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, endurance produces character, and characters produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

Whether you are starting school again, or have other stresses in your life, it can feel like you are walking onto a battlefield, and you are the target! God promises that we will not be left alone – we can be motivated by His promise that we will be molded into the servant He has in mind. We have no idea what God has planned for us, but how exciting and motivating to know that we have a purpose. That, to me, is the greatest motivation of all.

What about you? How and where do you find motivation?


A Beautiful Story About Compassion for All ECE Teachers


Imagine Finding  All the Apples If the Cart Spilled Over -  If You Were Blind

Can you imagine how your little students would react  after hearing this story at preschool.   Think how you could incorporate this story to a learning center – wouldn’t the children love it?

A few years ago, a group of salesmen went to a regional sales convention in Chicago. The convention lasted all week, and all the salesmen had assured their wives that they would be home in plenty of time for Friday night’s dinner.

As they hurried to the airport to catch their return flight, they rushed down the airport’s corridor with their briefcases in hand. In their rush, one of these salesmen inadvertently kicked over a table which held a display of apples.

Apples flew everywhere. Without stopping or looking back, they all continued running so they would make their plane.

All but one.

He stopped after running a few more yards, took a deep breath, and experienced a twinge of compassion for the girl whose apple stand had been overturned.

He told his buddies to go on without him, waved goodbye, told one of them to call his wife when they arrived at their home destination and explain his taking a later flight. Then he returned to the terminal where the apples were all over the terminal floor.

He was glad he did.

The 16 year old girl running the apple cart was totally blind. She was softly crying, tears running down her cheeks in frustration, and at the same time helplessly groping for her spilled produce as the crowd swirled about her, no one stopping and no one to care for her plight.

The salesman knelt on the floor with her, gathered up the apples, put them back on the table and helped organize her display.

As he did this, he noticed that many of the apples had become battered and bruised; these he set aside in another basket.

When he had finished, he pulled out his wallet and said to the girl, “Here, please take this $40 for the damage we did. Are you okay?”

She nodded through her tears.

He continued on with, “I hope we didn’t spoil your day too badly.”

As the salesman started to walk away, the bewildered blind girl called out to him, “Mister…..”

He paused and turned to look back into those blind eyes.

She continued, “Are you Jesus?”

He stopped in mid-stride, and he wondered. Then slowly he made his way to catch the later flight with that question burning and bouncing about in his soul: “Are you Jesus?”

Do people mistake you for Jesus?

That’s our call, is it not? To be so much like Jesus that people cannot tell the difference as we live and interact with a world (shopping, working, reacting to others that are serving us) that is blind to His love, life and grace.

If we claim to know Him, we should live, walk and act as He would.

Knowing Him is more than simply quoting Scripture and going to church. It’s actually living the Word as life unfolds day to day.

You are the apple of His eye even though we, too, have been bruised by a fall. He stopped what He was doing and picked you and me up on a hill called Calvary and paid in full for our damaged fruit.

Let us live like we are worth the price He paid.

Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.

–Author Unknown