Dr. Sue Bredekamp is an early childhood education specialist from Washington, DC, who serves as a consultant on topics such as curriculum, teaching, early literacy, and professional development. From 1981–1998, she served as Director of Accreditation and Professional Development at the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) where she developed and directed their national accreditation system for early childhood programs, and launched their annual Professional Learning Institute. She is the primary author of NAEYC’s highly influential and best-selling publication Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood Programs, the 1987 and 1997 editions, and coeditor of the 2008 revision. From 2007–2008, Sue served on the Committee on Early Childhood Mathematics of the National Research Council, National Academy of Sciences. She served as a consultant to the Head Start Bureau from 1999–2003.
Sue is the author of numerous books and articles related to standards for professional practice and teacher education. Sue holds a PhD in early childhood education from the University of Maryland. Her professional experience includes teaching children ages 2 through 6, and serving on the faculty of the Human Development/Childhood Education Program at Mount Vernon College in Washington, DC. She has been a visiting lecturer at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia; Monash University in Melbourne; New Zealand Tertiary College; University of Alaska; and University of Hawaii.
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Throughout Sue’s career, her interest in research, particularly brain research, on practice, has fueled her work with developmentally appropriate practices for almost 30 years. From her years of experience, Sue explains how research and practice should influence policy and how continuous evaluations of programs and practices in place are needed to ensure children are making learning and developmental progress. To do so, Sue also advocates for the increase in the development of third party funding for early education to improve compensation for teachers and quality of education.Sue explains how the critical research analyses of curriculum wars like child-initiated versus teacher-initiated, whole language versus phonics, and academics versus play should not be a matter of either/or choices but rather both/and combinations of practices.Sue continues to work towards research on affective practices that promote executive function, self-regulation, that help children with challenging behaviors, and children who come from stressful backgrounds to better prepare the teaching workforce.
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“The solution to every problem contains the seeds of a new problem.”
“I feel really proud that I learned to listen. I learned to not be defensive. My capacity to do that, I personally think it resulted … I know it resulted in better outcomes, but it was, again, not my doing that by myself.”
“I’m concerned about our workforce. I’m concerned about teachers being adequately prepared with the current knowledge base. That’s where I’ve put my energies.”