Dear Colleagues and Friends,
Welcome to another new academic year! As I move into my second year of serving this great organization, I continue to be amazed by the dedication and passion I see among early childhood teacher educators in Illinois. I am particularly inspired by ILAECTE members who work tirelessly on behalf of both current students and potential future students even in the midst of their very demanding academic lives. As we enter the 2018-2019 academic year, ILAECTE continues to be a recognized leader and respected voice in the ongoing conversation about how to best serve the needs of young children and families in our state.
As I write this, I have just been informed that Senate Bill 1829 was just signed into law! Congratulations to all that worked to see this bill through to the end. As we look to the new year and survey the current EC landscape in Illinois, the ILAECTE leadership team has established the following items as priorities for our organization:
- Continued cultivation of a community of practice, in which members inspire and encourage one another by sharing from their own experiences in program development, curriculum, school partnerships, community partnerships, research, student mentoring, consulting, etc.
- Continued commitment to addressing our critical early childhood work force needs through new and innovative collaborations among Illinois early childhood teacher educators.
- Development of creative ideas to promote ECED/ECSE programs within our own institutions (including leadership), student populations, local communities, etc.
- Continued engagement in all state-level initiatives impacting EC teacher preparation through active participation in and leadership of state-level committees, task forces and work groups.
- Continued work toward nurturing and strengthening the relationship between four-year and two-year programs / ACCESS.
- Continued engagement with state leadership in the implementation of a Competency Based Education model for early childhood teacher preparation in Illinois.
Many sincere thanks to our colleagues that serve as members of state-level work groups and committees in addition to their active participation in ILAECTE, maximizing our collaborative advocacy efforts. As always, I encourage you to consider joining forces with at least one of these groups to add your voice to these critical conversations. We will once again highlight these opportunities at our annual fall meeting on November 2nd.
National attention on the work that we do as early childhood teacher educators continues to increase, and there is much to be hopeful about as we look to the future of ECTE. I hope that you will engage with ILAECTE even more deeply this year as we work together to advocate for the most valuable and vulnerable members of our communities. I look forward to our work together!
Rebecca J. Pruitt, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Studies at Lewis University and director of Early Childhood Special Education. She currently serves as President of ILAECTE. She holds a Ph.D. in Curriculum Studies, an MS in Family Relations/Child Development, and a BA in Early Childhood. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.