By Paul R. Pace
The NASW Press book, Early Childhood Education and Care: History, Policy, and Social Work Practice, is written by Joy P. Greenberg, PhD, LMSW, professor of social work and the MSW program director at Lehman College, City University of New York; and Jessica M. Kahn, PhD, LMSW, professor of social work and MSW program adviser at the same college.
What inspired this book?
We had been conducting numerous research studies together on early childhood education and care (ECEC)—both in terms of policy and descriptive data on children and families. It occurred to us that we had the makings of an important book, and that by combining what we learned from our own research and research from other experts in the field, we could build a case for the profession of social work to play a larger role in this field of practice.
Our students also inspired us as each year most of them want to be placed in school settings. ECEC fits that bill. However, social workers and social work students were few and far between. We felt this book could be inspirational for them. Thus, our goal became putting forth a guide for both social work professionals and social work students interested in this domain.
Who can benefit from reading the book?
While the book is written for a wider audience, social work professionals and social work students interested in early childhood education and care were primary in our minds. As previously stated, we continue to believe this to be an emerging and important domain for the social work profession. We trust that the book can offer important background information and inspire readers to become involved in this field of practice. It makes sense that the profession plays a larger role in this arena, particularly given the role of social work in the history of early childhood education and care and our mandate to pursue social justice.
What is a key takeaway?
Although consensus exists on the importance of early childhood education and care, U.S. policies and practices are not yet well aligned with the research base. The country’s fragmented early childhood education and care system is composed of both high- and low-quality settings. As is the case with many systems in the U.S., there is no comprehensive, universal plan, and a better solution is critical.