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What Are Our Ethical Responsibilities to Young Children?

Stephanie Bivins, MEd

April 15, 2023

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What are our ethical responsibilities to young children?

Answer

Early childhood education is pivotal to healthy, enriching development and school readiness, uniquely supporting two generations as developmental, educational, and quality resources for children. An early childhood professional is an important facet of the industry, shaping young minds in each moment and imprinting heavily upon each developmental domain. Decisions, actions, reactions, or non-actions will affect children's experiences, memories, and environments in dealing with difficult situations throughout the day.

Considering the core values and our responsibilities can inform your daily decisions and actions. With an immense and multifaceted impact, professionalism and advocacy become ethical codes and core values. As an advocate for early childhood best practices and for the industry as a valued and respectable career, the NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct is designed as a guide to support early childhood educators and assist in daily practices. 

Our ethical responsibilities to children include promoting a child's sense of self and honoring that child as a human being. This responsibility focuses on ideals and principles in providing safe, healthy, nurturing, responsive care and education, developmentally appropriate practices, valid assessments, data to inform decisions, and knowledgeable and responsive environments. We must understand that a child's needs impact development, reflecting the importance of the adult's guidance in nurturing overall competencies and developmental domains. Promote their sense of self-awareness, competence, self-worth, resiliency, and overall health. Honor children’s vulnerability, dignity, rights, abilities, home languages, and culture.

This Ask the Expert is an edited excerpt from the course Ethics in Action in Early Childhoodpresented by Stephanie Bivins, MEd.


stephanie bivins

Stephanie Bivins, MEd

Stephanie Bivins has been in education for over 14 years, has a master’s degree in early childhood education (ECE), and was a prior Center Director, bringing the center to high quality. Stephanie is a credentialed coach, trainer, and infant toddler specialist. She coordinated a community initiative in an effort to increase quality and capacity. Stephanie is the Director of the Colorado Early Childhood Council, leading current strategic efforts to impact early childhood.


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