What are the Gold Standards?

The ECE IHE Gold Standards were developed in 2016 as part of the William Penn Foundation-funded ECE Workforce Transformation Initiative. Three organizations in Philadelphia (Public Health Management Corporation, Delaware Valley Association for the Education of Young Children, and Montgomery Early Learning Centers) collected data (from ECE employers, ECE employees, and Institutions of Higher Education (IHE) offering teacher preparation programs) in order to document challenges in the ECE workforce and offer possible solutions.  The report is available here. (pdf file)

Directors expressed frustration with the poor level of new teacher preparation, almost regardless of degree type and institution.  IHEs expressed frustration at the challenges associated with finding quality field placements for students, transferring students between degree programs, and meeting Department of Education P-4 Certification degree requirements.  ECE teachers expressed confusion regarding which degree program would be the best fit, which scholarship program might be available, and how degree attainment might lead to career advancement.

The development of a local set of IHE teacher preparation program standards was based on the anecdotal and survey data collected, and these ECE IHE Gold Standards (pages 18-20 of the report) were then presented to the IHEs and cross-walked with NAEYC accreditation standards.  The Gold Standards were developed to provide a framework to assist consumers of teacher preparation programs to evaluate their fit.  A group of IHEs that are also NAEYC accredited have been working with PHMC staff and consultants to refine gold standard language and to create meaningful metrics. 


Gold Standard 1Gold standard 1: Preparation for work in diverse and inclusive settings that teach every child: children with developmental delays or disabilities, children who are gifted and talented, children whose families are culturally and linguistically diverse, children from diverse socioeconomic groups, and other children with individual learning styles, strengths, and needs

Curriculum content prepares graduates for work in local/state inclusive Child Care, Head Start and PreK settings.

Gold Standard 2Gold standard 2: Preparation for work with every child from birth through age 8

Adequate preparation for work with every child, including infants, toddlers and preschoolers.   

Gold Standard 3Gold standard 3: Field placements

Field experiences that start in the first year of the student’s program, inform reflection in the classroom, include inclusive early education settings serving children from birth through age 5, and are located in high-quality ECE programs. When lower quality field placements are necessary, other strategies are used to ensure that students have high quality learning experiences and demonstrate strong ECE teaching practices.

Gold Standard 4Gold standard 4: Financial aid and other strategies to reduce costs, increase compensation, and support degree completion for students already working as EC teachers.

Engagement in advocacy for improved EC teacher compensation, financial aid, scholarship programs, and participation in other special initiatives that increase access to high quality degree programs for the ECE workforce.

Gold Standard 5Gold standard 5: Equity strategies to support students facing barriers to degree completion

Flexibility and supports that allow for the participation of students who are employed, whose first language is not English, who are first generation college students, or who are caregivers to young children.

Gold Standard 6Gold standard 6: Educational pathway supports

Articulation between high school, associate, baccalaureate and graduate ECE programs. Implementation of transfer transition activities to support student attainment of a baccalaureate degree.

Gold Standard 7Gold standard 7: Programmatic accreditation from the profession

Accreditation of the early childhood degree program from the NAEYC Commission on the Accreditation of Early Childhood Higher Education Programs - or accreditation of the education unit from CAEP (Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation) with recognition of the P4 degree program from NAEYC.

Gold Standard 8Gold standard 8: Full-time, well-qualified faculty

Full-time faculty qualified to lead and teach early childhood education courses

Gold Standard 9Gold standard 9: Preparation to teach all children using developmentally, culturally, and linguistically appropriate teaching practices

Curriculum content that prepares students to use developmentally appropriate, culturally and linguistically relevant approaches in teaching and to differentiate instruction for individual children and for groups. 

Gold Standards Institution Symbol