Accreditation and Patterns of Licensure: Achieving the Potential
Like other teacher education sectors, the early childhood ﬁ eld includes systems of higher education program accreditation and systems of individual teacher licensure. Also like other teacher education sectors, in early childhood these two systems share a common purpose: to deﬁ ne, assess, enhance, and ensure teacher quality. The accreditation system focuses on quality at the level of college or university teacher preparation, while licensure (or certiﬁ cation) focuses on the quality of individual teachers. As Figure 5.1 illustrates, the characteristics of these two systems are inﬂ uenced by many factors: political and policy imperatives, research ﬁ ndings, professional organizations’ recommendations, and more. Keeping those inﬂ uences in mind, accreditation and licensure have potentially signiﬁ cant effects on what happens within early childhood teacher preparation programs and, ultimately, what happens when graduates enter the work force-both in their professional practices and in their impact on children’s development and learning.