What is ECPIHE?
Throughout American history, early childhood policy (ECP) has emerged in bits and pieces – often in response to national crises – without comprehensive planning or the presence of diverse voices. Today, as policy, funding, and political will centered upon young children are burgeoning, there is a need for more strategic policy planning and for preparing a cadre of diverse individuals who can do this well. The Early Childhood Policy in Institutions of Higher Education (ECPIHE) initiative seeks to address this systemic demand by enhancing the study of, and experiences related to, ECP in American institutions of higher education (IHEs). The initiative intends to establish a new field of inquiry, early childhood policy, and train leaders to design, analyze, and advocate for constructive early childhood policies driven by research and evidence-based practice. More precisely, ECPIHE seeks to:
- Prepare individuals to assume ECP roles;
- Develop and disseminate a core body of ECP knowledge that can prepare those individuals and their legatees effectively; and
- Instantiate the study of ECP durably in IHEs throughout America by creating institutionalized and sustained programs, degrees, and Centers.
ECPIHE aims to achieve these goals through the development of easily accessible, open-access sample tools, which will help define the emerging field of early childhood policy. The effort also supports the creation of five diverse IHE Centers (Boston College, the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Colorado-Denver, the University of Florida, and the University of Washington), each of which will offer certificates, Master’s, or Doctoral Degrees to interested students. Moreover, ECPIHE supports the establishment of an Alliance of IHEs through the Great Plains IDEA (Interactive Distance Education Alliance) where ECP certificates will be awarded. ECPIHE will also establish an on-line presence through a Network and develop a Consortium that will support the work of the involved Centers, Alliance, and Network. The ECPIHE initiative will outreach to other IHEs who are pursuing ECP independent of the ECPIHE initiative.
This initiative would not be possible without the advice and council of an outstanding and dedicated advisory committee (Linda Espinosa, Bruce Fuller, Walter Gilliam, Cathy Grace, Gail Joseph, Kristie Kauerz, Louis Manfra, Helen Raikes, Aisha Ray, Adele Robinson, Beth Rous, Catherine Scott-Little, Linda Smith, Valora Washington, and Albert Wat). Moreover, the vision and support of Heising-Simons Foundation, the Buffett Early Childhood Fund, and the Bezos Family Foundation have made all this work possible.