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Developing leadership in early childhood education and care through the integration of theory, policy engagement, and advocacy

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Garner, P. W., & Pagliarulo McCarron, G.
Publication Date: 
13 Aug 2020


Using a constructivist approach to teacher education, the present study compared the learning outcomes of students in two child development courses infused with instruction in how early education and childcare policy is formed, implemented, and applied. The intervention course, however, included a community-based, semester-long early education and childcare policy engagement and advocacy project. Students in the intervention course reported a greater increase in awareness of social policy and were observed as being more behaviorally engaged during in-class sessions than control group students. Although both groups showed an increase in the commitment to early education and childcare social action, students in the intervention group showed a greater change. Implications for supporting preparation of early childhood educators as leaders in policy engagement and advocacy are discussed.