The Nevada Registry as a Recognition System
In addition to collecting data for the state, The Nevada Registry is a recognition system that helps support the careers of Early Care and Education (ECE) professionals. The Nevada Early Care and Education Professional Career Ladder and the Professional Development Plan can assist ECE professionals in planning their training, education and career development goals. Each component of the recognition system helps individuals determine what they need to know and be able to do when caring for children, enables us to create a record of their educational accomplishments and helps each person take a more proactive approach to planning their ongoing career development.
Why Does Nevada Need a Registry?
States began recognizing the need for registry systems in the early nineties as they were identifying the key components of state career development systems; there are now 43 registries in 39 states and the number continues to grow each year. Registry systems help to set standards based on quantifiable data; they serve as a tool for collecting and verifying data and they create a process for documenting that data. Many of the states with active registry systems make policy recommendations based on data collected and Nevada’s registry plans to follow suit. There is also a growing trend on a national level to link registry systems to child care licensing, and while the degree to which participation is mandatory varies from state to state, there is an increasing recognition and understanding of the important link between professional development systems and licensing departments in terms of the data that can be generated as a result of incorporating participation into regulations for child care.
Trends in ECE
Creation of a Registry also follows national trends for professional development in the field of ECE. Nevada’s Registry is effectively aligned with the professional development systems in other states, and as seen in certain areas of the country, is beginning to be embedded into many of the existing and future professional development activities in the state. For example, The Nevada Registry is a component of Nevada’s federally required State Plan for professional development, is included in the requirements for T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® Nevada and will be an important component and link in any future ECE-related projects and initiatives introduced in Nevada, such as the Quality Rating and Improvement System or a compensation program for ECE professionals. Participation in the Registry is becoming the cornerstone of professional development in Nevada. Requiring that all individuals working in licensed child care settings participate in the Registry moves professionals in the right direction along a professional path, and increases their likelihood to be eligible to access and benefit from professional development opportunities in the future.
Shifting the Paradigm
The Registry is a tool that can help the ECE workforce shift the way we think about ourselves and what we do; how we present ourselves to consumers of child care (parents and guardians); and the way we are perceived by the public at large. It’s not an easy task, but every step we take toward professionalizing our field is a step in the right direction.