Ideal Pathways for Early Childhood Educator Development

August 13, 2020

 An interactive webinar co-Sponsored by ECFC & Trust for Learning

In the ongoing ambiguity of COVID-19, the early care and education landscape is constantly shifting. How can philanthropists support equity-driven, creative adaptations that serve the field in the short-term while creating new paths into a more equitable early childhood future?   

Building on a new report from the Ideal Learning Roundtable and Trust for Learning this interactive webinar highlighted alternative training pathways for early childhood educators, common barriers to equitable expansion of high-quality educator development models, and key areas of investment opportunity.

The Ideal Pathways report analyzes 11 high-quality early childhood educator development models in the context of waning confidence in higher education, the rise of alternative pathways for early childhood educators, ongoing and urgent racial inequities, and the emergent challenges and market pressures of COVID-19.  These models considered jointly for the first time in this report share a commitment to: equity and social justice; lifelong human growth and potential; immersive field experience; and continuous, reflective development of knowledge, skills and personal qualities in educators.

The report also summarizes findings about the patchwork of funding, higher education, and state regulations that perpetuate systemic inequities for educators in different settings and communities and, subsequently, the children they serve. It concludes with actionable recommendations for funders, policymakers, and researchers to support a more inclusive workforce that aspires to our shared ideals for children and communities.

To leverage and build on report recommendations, the Trust for Learning is launching the Supporting Equitable Educator Development (SEED) Fund, a national rapid-response fund to accelerate more equitable ECE educator pathways aligned with principles of ideal learning in the context of COVID-19 and racial justice uprisings.

Webinar Goals:

  1. Review key findings on equity issues in early educator development models;
  2. Consider recommendations for how funders can strengthen and support pathways for early educators.
  3. Learn more about opportunities for funders to engage in the SEED Fund as funding and thought partners, and how local and state funders can align with the Ideal Pathways recommendations and amplify the national work of the SEED fund.


  • Elizabeth Beaven, MA, EdD, report co-author, president of the Alliance for Public Waldorf Education, Provost at California Institute of Integral Studies
  • Eric Buchanan, Director, Strategic Partnerships, Buffett Early Childhood Fund
  • Brenda Fyfe, Ed. D., report co-author, board member of the North American Reggio Emilia Alliance, former Dean of Education at Webster University
  • Iheoma Iruka,  PhD, Chief Research Innovation Officer and Director of the Center for Early Education Research and Evaluation (CEERE) at HighScope Educational Research Foundation
  • Facilitated by: Ellen Roche, MEd, Executive Director of Trust for Learning




Ideal Pathways report