Supporting the

Rights & Needs of Young Children

Defending the early years

DEY’s Primary Goals

  • To advocate at the grassroots, local, state, regional, and federal levels for education policies based on child development theory and research.
  • To mobilize the early childhood community to speak up for age-appropriate standards, assessments, and classroom practices that are based on research.
  • To promote appropriate practices in early childhood classrooms and to support educators in counteracting policies and practices that undermine whole child health and optimal learning.

DEY’s Mission

Our mission is to work for a just, equitable, and quality early childhood education for every young child, by informing educators, administrators, and parents about how children develop and learn best and advocating for the active, playful, experiential approaches to learning informed by child development theory and evidence-based research.

What’s New at DEY?

DEY Travel Grants June 5th Here4TheKids Denver, Co

Guns are the number ONE killer of children and teens in the United States, and we say enough is enough. Thanks to a generous donor, DEY is proud to offer 3-5 $1500 travel grants for you to get to Denver, Colorado, on Monday, June 5th, to join the #Here4TheKids action to ask the Governor of Colorado to ban guns and buy them back. This is a national movement with a state focus that begins in Colorado. If you are willing and able to go to Denver, please register here and complete this form to apply for a travel grant to reimburse up to $1500 of the expenses for lodging and transportation. Click here to learn more and if you can’t attend and want to support, visit #Here4TheKids website for details on the remote campaign.

2023 Fifth Annual DEY Summer Institute Program Overview

JUNE 26, 27, & 28, 2023, 4-6 PM EST!

This year we want to acknowledge the people, actions, and practices that get us closer to ensuring all children have a just and equitable early childhood education. We recognize the challenges and will continue strategizing on how best to overcome them, but after five years, we believe it’s time to focus on the solutions. How are educators engaging in best practices to support young children? What wins have advocates made to improve systems of early care and education? How can the latest research have a positive impact on our practices? We invite you to join us as we highlight a few examples of what works in early childhood education.

We at DEY stand in support of Developmentally Appropriate Practices (DAP) in early childhood education (ECE).  We are dismayed at the actions of Alabama Governor Kay Ivey, who reportedly forced Barbara Cooper to resign as head of the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education over accusations that an early childhood book of her endorsement and use of the NAEYC DAP book. The National Association of the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) has been the leading organization in the field of early childhood education for over 90 years. As a highly respected professional association, NAEYC has worked tirelessly to uplift the work of early childhood educators through a commitment to high-quality practices and professional development. Each of us at DEY has had a connection to NAEYC through membership, collaborations, and attendance at numerous conferences and events.  

Read the full statement here

In Defense of Early Childhood Education and Care

Restoring the Link Between High Quality and Child Development

Join Us as we advocate in defense of early childhood education and care that restores the link between high quality and principles of child development! 

Despite decades of research on child development that provides a blueprint for designing high-quality early childhood education and care programs, we continue to see a rise in the proliferation of harmful curricula and pedagogies for young children. Educators trained in child development know how to provide high-quality early childhood education and care. Unfortunately, our lawmakers and elected officials are allowing corporations and consultants to push inappropriate curriculums and instructional strategies under a misguided belief that high quality must be tied to academic learning and rigid teacher-directed practices.

Click here to read and endorse our sign on statement.

podcasts. PUBLICATIONS. resources.

Outdoor Preschool Licensing in Maryland

“In January 2020 (before the pandemic), ERAFANS director Monica Wiedel-Lubinski formed an Outdoor Preschool Licensing Advisory Team (OPLAT) and they got to work! Conversations with MSDE officials, local organizations and schools, policy makers, elected officials, advocates, and other stakeholders began in earnest to establish allies and help inform the public of the need for the bill. “

Jocelyn Roberts- Growing Up Co-Op

Jocelyn Robertson is a teacher director at Cottage Co-Op Nursery School in California and is a major contributor to their blog – Cottage Parenting.

Sarah’s House Celebrates, Educates, and Advocates During “Week of the Young Child”

Our Week of the Young Child celebration was amazing. Our county executive, Steuart Pittman, Chief of Staff, Jeff Amoros and our local library CEO, Skip Auld attended the event. It was so important to us that our stakeholders not only experienced the program at Sarah’s House but saw first-hand the barriers faced in our industry with workforce and affordable childcare for all families.

Take Action
Stand With DEY
Become an Activist

DEY seeks to rally parents and educators to take action on policies affecting the education of young children, by encouraging them to speak out with well-reasoned arguments against inappropriate standards, assessments, and classroom practices.

Apply for Action Grant

DEY provides mini-grants of between $200 and $500 to individuals and organizations to help foster work in communities across the country. DEY’s first mini-grant, awarded in 2014, resulted in a rally for play that took place in Minneapolis.


Are you concerned about the direction that education policy is going? We are, too!
Help DEY continue its important work advocating for appropriate education for young children. Please Consider Making a Donation.

A Brief Look at DEY’s impact.
DEY has an active presence on Facebook, with over 10,000 followers, and on Twitter, with over 2,000 followers.
Viewer traction of DEY produced videos also available on DEY’s YouTube channel.
Distinguished nationally and internationally-known early childhood experts and organizations.
DEY’s mini-grant impact on ensuring child-initiated play prospers
DEY issued comprehensive reports, position statements, and fact sheets in English and Spanish.
DEY’s reports, position papers, and op-eds have been quoted and published in the major national media and press.
DEY Newsletter

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