By the fact that you are browsing through this text, it is assumed that you plan to operate or own a child care center, want to learn more about the tasks of owning/ operating a child care center, are interested in applying at a government (Head Start) program, or are considering preschool teaching in an early childhood education center. You may be saying to yourself, "I enjoy young children, and I want to gain knowledge and experience so I can effectively guide their growth, development, experiences, and attitudes!" Your next thought may be, "But where do I start? The field is so broad and my influence on young children and families will be so lasting. How do I prepare myself for this tremendous undertaking?" You do it one step at a time! You listen carefully, you read for meaning, you ask questions, you watch others, you are perceptive and teachable. You share your talents and you broaden your interests to what is going on around you and throughout the country that will have a permanent bearing on children and families. What is happening in social/cultural circles? What bills are being proposed and passed in state and federal legislatures that affect families? What are the concerns of child care directors, teachers, staff, and parents, and how can they be resolved? You'll want to ask yourself (and others) this question: "Is early care good for young children?" What about the different types of care for young children--and how can you make it better and also prepare children for their future experiences? Let it be clearly stated here and throughout the text that there can be no division between "care" and "education" of young children. They are inseparable; for when one is caring for a child, one is also educating the same child, and vice versa. WHY THIS BOOK? Today more than ever, the education and care of children is the shared responsibility of parents, educators and other professionals, and the children themselves. The unique pressures of our times demand a cooperative plan, so that all these parties can work together comfortably In colonial days, parents reared their children in the home, schooled them, and prepared them for careers or occupations through experience or apprenticeship. Travel was limited, families produced their own food and clothing, and printed materials were luxuries. Today the situation is different. Children have many encounters that influence their lives, both outside the home and within it. Public-, private-, and home-schooling options are available to students. Employment opportunities change--jobs once considered stable are phased out and new types of jobs are created. For a variety of reasons (including lack of time, know-how, and patience), parents need or want help with their infants, toddlers, and preschool children, whose needs are different from those of schoolage children. It is often difficult for parents to find the type of substitute care that they desire. However, it is extremely important that during the children's early years both they and their parents interact with individuals who are capable of building self-confidence, satisfaction, happiness, and trust. This text addresses the need for out-of-home care, the provision of quality care, and the value of a harmonious balance between the two. Throughout the text, the worth of all individuals (whether children or adults) is emphasized, as well as the need to appreciate the significance of building their relationships with others. Among other inquiries, you'll want to know what this book is all about and how it will help you understand the needs of children and families in our country today. You will wonder how it will help you to be a good teacher, administrator, parent, or advocate for young children, and if choosing this field is wise for you as you learn about the needs of children and others and study related issues. Much of your commitment to children and issues will dependTaylor, Barbara J. is the author of 'Early Childhood Program Management People and Procedures', published 2001 under ISBN 9780130326300 and ISBN 0130326305.