The simplest definition of Ethics is doing something that is right. A certified code that defines what is right for providers of childcare is a tool that helps to instill responsibility in respect to how children, adults, and the society relate to one another and how they ought to live together. Early childhood educationalists have a given code of ethics that defines principles for acceptable behavior.
This forms a universal foundation for working out dilemmas as far as ethics in early childhood development is concerned (Decker, Decker, Freeman &Knopf, 2009). The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Governing body updated and revised the given set of guidelines and later on, the Association for Childhood education International (ACEI) approved them.
Ideals are the utmost objectives that guide an individual. Principles explain what the individual should or should not do in order to achieve these objectives.
Responsibility on the other hand is an individual’s obligation to perform a task. In the book of NAEYC code of ethical conduct, there is no direct link between a specific problem and the principles contained. It just includes what is required of the educator hence acts as a guide to solving any problem that may arise in taking care of children at an early stage. There are four main sections in the NAEYC code of conduct manual.
These are preamble, the core values, conceptual framework and a statement of commitment. A special kind of numbering distinguishes the various codes of ethics with reference to the groups of individuals they address e.g. P-1.1(Decker, Decker, Freeman &Knopf, 2009). These groups are Children, Families, Co-workers, and the Society.
A principle that is challenging to programs is P-1.2 which states thus; we will not engage ourselves in activities that look down on children by either denying them their rights or favoring a specific group based on gender, parent’s financial status or spiritual belief. This principle ceases to be effective where there are laws that allow certain programs to give services to a specific group of children.
As an educator, I find principle P-2.9 to be quite challenging; we will respect the privacy and uphold confidentiality of the child’s family life. Any information relating to the child and the family will remain a secret. This information shall however be released if concerns about the child’s well being arise and will be given to individuals with the child’s interest at heart.
This principle is not solid enough to cater for a child’s privacy as it has a loophole, which is not well defined. One can easily release crucial information about the child with the pretext that the child’s interest is the key factor.
The ethical code of conduct has emphasized on the importance of policies and procedures. Policy 2.3 and 2.8 both shed light on the importance of policies in early childhood care. P-2.3- Notification of families of the children regarding policies is crucial and they shall be included in decision making regarding policies.
P-2.8- We will come up with documented policies that protect children and the secrets of their families. Policy 2.3 Put emphases on the necessity to involve families in making decisions regarding policies as seem necessary. Policy 2.8 on the other hand affirms that written policies regarding a child’s confidentiality are in place to protect records of the child from exposure (New & Crochran, 2007).
Under the ethical responsibilities to children code, we are assured that community procedures and laws put by state shall be adhered to in order to familiarize with symptoms of child abuse and neglect t(P-1.5) Employees are not left out either. P-3C.2 states that staff members are to work in conditions that will ensure maximum achievement of goals and responsibilities (Decker, Decker, Freeman &Knopf, 2009).
Ethics is the act of an individual behaving in a responsible manner. The NAEYC Code of ethical conduct is an important instrument used by childhood educators and providers to come up with solutions to problems that arise in the care of children. This code of ethics aids an educator to comprehend their responsibilities to the children under their care. It is hence of great importance that the early child hood educator be familiar with the various codes of conduct as these will aid in solving dilemmas regarding ethics.
Decker, A,C, Decker, R.D, Knopf, H & Freeman, N.K. Planning and Administering Early Childhood Programs (9th Edition) Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education Inc, 2009.
New, R.S & Crochran, M. Early Childhood Education: O-Z. New York: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2007.