High quality early care and education (ECE) is essential for children’s healthy development and school readiness. However, too few children have access to such experiences. At present, much of the education and training in ECE is focused on entry-level educators, leading to a shortage of highly qualified early childhood leaders. With few public or private investments in leadership development for early childhood professionals in Maryland, experienced early educators lack opportunities to develop and progress in leadership throughout their careers. Maryland needs more highly qualified, experienced and diverse early childhood leaders to improve outcomes for all children and families.
A New Investment in Leadership Development
The Maryland Early Childhood Leadership Program (MECLP), an initiative of the Sherman Center for Early Learning in Urban Communities at UMBC, is designed to accelerate leadership development in the early childhood field. MECLP believes that developing and supporting strong leaders will catalyze positive change and significantly improve school readiness and related outcomes for early learners, particularly disadvantaged and vulnerable children and their families.