Welcome to our second issue of Volume 15 of ECRP.
This issue is focused on a range of aspects of early care and education here in Illinois, though no doubt similar issues occur in most of our 50 states and in other nations as well.
In Illinois, state government agencies, statewide organizations, nonprofit groups, universities, private foundations, the federal government, and local school districts are all actively involved in supporting, improving, and providing a variety of services for young children and their families. Our first article, “Organizations Concerned with Early Care and Education in Illinois: A Sample,” consists of brief descriptions of some of the agencies, foundations, and other organizations concerned with the well-being, care, and education of our young children. Links are provided to homepages and to resources produced by each of these organizations.
Are you an educator who is interested in the Project Approach? Our multi-media 2-disc teacher resource titled Projects to Go includes the popular DVD “Rearview Mirror: Reflections on a Preschool Car Project” and a CD-ROM of selected ECRP articles (most in both English and Spanish) related to the Project Approach. See http://ecap.crc.illinois.edu/pubs.html#sale for more information.
The evidence has been accumulating for several decades now that high-quality early care and education programs can yield important long-term benefits to the children and the families they serve. The article by Kelton, Talan, and Bloom reports their findings from a study of two approaches to assessing the quality of family child care programs; they found disparities that suggest that the different approaches are not equivalent.
As is true in other states around the country, in many parts of Illinois programs for young children are dependent on a variety of kinds of support. Spielberger, Zanoni, and Barisik report their findings from a study of such “blended and braided funding,” exploring the various effects of state and federal funding levels that may both encourage and challenge collaboration among the various organizations that serve young children and their families.
While the use of multiple funding strands may facilitate the provision of services, it may also include a variety of complications, as suggested by the article by Lloyd and Joseph. The authors found that even a strong local commitment to the provision of early care and education services could not fully make up for the losses of government funding.
Fowler and her colleagues remind us that even programs carefully designed to reach out to families and to assist them are not always responded to as we would wish. This presents us with real professional challenges, and it is helpful to learn from others how they interpret the issues and what might and might not work.
Other concerns related to family involvement in programs for young children are also addressed in the article by Hilado, Kallemeyn, and Phillips. They describe the findings of their interviews with administrators in Illinois’ state-funded prekindergarten programs about parent involvement in their early education programs.
As the population of the state becomes more culturally and linguistically diverse—as in most parts of the United States—professionals and paraprofessionals in our field can benefit from specialized preparation and support to help them deal with the complex challenges they face. Heineke, Kennedy, and Lees describe one Illinois higher education institution’s response to those issues that can help us think through how best to do likewise.
Finally, this issue features a brief “In Memoriam” by Mindes for her colleague, the late Harriette Herrera, whose efforts on behalf of young children, their families, and those who work with them touched many lives in Illinois.
We hope that you find these articles useful.
ECRP is an open-access journal. We do not take subscriptions and fees from authors are not accepted. We cannot accept advertising. Thus, we are completely dependent on contributions from individuals, foundations, and corporate donors. So we urge you to help support ECRP with a tax-deductible donation. Any amount can make a difference. In fact, if each of our readers donated just $5, we could sustain the journal indefinitely!
Donations to ECRP are managed by the University of Illinois Foundation (UIF). For instructions, go to http://ecrp.illinois.edu/donation.html
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Lilian G. Katz, editor
Jean Mendoza, associate editor
Susan Fowler, associate editor
The editors wish to acknowledge the work of ECRP’s Spanish translator, Theresa Arellano, and its Spanish proofreader, Berkeley Hinrichs.
Early Childhood Research & Practice (ECRP) is the first scholarly, peer-reviewed, bilingual (English-Spanish) open-access electronic journal in the field of early care and education. ECRP is sponsored by the Early Childhood and Parenting (ECAP) Collaborative at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The journal publishes research reports, literature reviews, essays, interviews, reflections, and commentary on emerging trends and issues by scholars and practitioners from around the world. Areas of emphasis include classroom practice, curriculum, ethics, teacher preparation, higher education, policy, and parent participation. Beginning with the Spring 2004 issue (Vol. 6, No. 1), ECRP is fully bilingual (English and Spanish). Chinese translations of selected articles are sponsored by the Yew Chung Education Foundation. ECRP is indexed in the Directory of Open Access Journals.
Published biannually by the Early Childhood and Parenting (ECAP) Collaborative at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Children's Research Center, 51 Gerty Drive, Champaign, IL 61820-7469. Toll-free phone: 877-275-3227 (Formerly published by the ERIC Clearinghouse on Elementary and Early Childhood Education, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.)