guiding principles for

the new early childhood

building on strength and


by Dr. Valora Washington & Brenda Gadson
foreword by Marcy Whitebook


With growing evidence about the critical period of birth to age 5 for child development and learning, the imperative to professionalize the early childhood education workforce has never been greater. In this follow-up to The New Early Childhood Professional: A Step-by-Step Guide to Overcoming Goliath, the authors share lessons learned from their work with thousands of practitioners. They focus on four Guiding Principles for leading change: the need to Respect diverse opinions, to seek Equity, and to acknowledge the field’s Strengths while doing the hard work to enhance Competence.

With a strategic emphasis on building professional communities, strengthening professional capital, and working together to craft solutions, Guiding Principles for the New Early Childhood Professional presents a clearer vision of a unified future in early childhood care and education.


Teachers College Press

Teachers College | Columbia University

The authors call on all of us to commit to making social justice for early educators a cornerstone of professionalizing the early childhood field, helping us to see that therein lies the power of our profession and our ability to equitably meet the needs of children and families.

– From the Foreword by Marcy Whitebook, Director of the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment

In a thoughtful, frank, and inspiring discussion, Washington and Gadson challenge the field of early childhood education to face the realities of our work and take charge of our professional destiny.

Jacqueline Jones, President of the Foundation for Child Development

This book speaks to both the leader and the early childhood professional. It challenges our perspective and offers concrete examples of competence and strengths of other early childhood professionals.

– Sherri Killins Stewart, Director of State Systems Alignment and Integration, BUILD Initiative