Marilou Hyson, Ph.D., is a national and international consultant in early child development and education. Formerly associate executive director of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), Marilou also served as professor and chair of the University of Delaware’s Department of Individual and Family Studies. At NAEYC, Marilou contributed to the development of position statements on early childhood curriculum, assessment, and program evaluation; early learning standards; early childhood mathematics; and professional preparation. She also worked on accreditation and national recognition for 2- and 4-year higher education programs. Most recently, Marilou has consulted with the World Bank, UNICEF, and Save the Children on early childhood projects in countries including Indonesia, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Timor Leste, and Sri Lanka. A former editor-in-chief of Early Childhood Research Quarterly and a former executive branch fellow of the Society for Research in Child Development, Marilou’s publications have emphasized young children’s emotional development and approaches to learning, global efforts to develop and evaluate early childhood services, and early childhood professional development.
In the states or abroad, Marilou’s sees the professional development of early childhood educators as a key factor for improving the quality of education of vulnerable children. To do so, Marilou recommends unifying pre-service teacher education in higher education programs with continuous in-service professional development. Although there have been many notable changes in the field of early childhood education in the past 30 years, including the establishment of public pre-K programs, research advances in understanding the importance of social and emotional development, and the development of state early learning and development standards, Marilou emphasizes that each of these those changes raises critical issues that must be addressed. Looking forward, Marilou recommends that state and federal policymakers should draw upon the growing field of implementation research to create strategies that are likely to make programs, practices, and policies more effective, and to rigorously evaluate those strategies in the interest of continuous improvement.
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“…the single most powerful predictor of quality in programs for young children and of results for those programs is the quality of the teaching workforce.”
“…if we want to improve professional development, we have to include and strengthen the higher education system”
“I think that we continue to relearn that this is no one magic bullet, magic solution.”