State Representative Norine Hammond of Macomb is co-sponsoring legislation to help get more people involved in early childhood education. House Bill 4490 amends the early childhood teacher requirements and allows someone to earn their early childhood certification while they work under a more experienced teacher as an aide while they are earning full accreditation. It also shortens up some of the accreditation hours required at colleges to help get people in the classroom sooner. The bill would also require specified personnel of a child care facility to be present at the open or close of the facility, loosening some restrictions on who the specified personnel can be. Centers currently must have director designees on site when the director is absent. Designees must have two years of college with 21 credit hours in early childhood education and a business course. For smaller and rural facilities, these positions are even more difficult to fill than early childhood aides and teachers.
A 2017 state report found that the average teacher turnover rate in licensed childcare programs was 37% in infant-toddler classrooms and 42% preschool classrooms. Teacher turnover rate for school-based preschool classrooms was 21%. The bill hopes to provide another pathway for people earning their certification to stay in early childhood education and allow some daycare centers and facilities to fix their under staffing issues. The changes will also help assist smaller daycare centers find and fill vacant positions sooner. The bill is currently in the Illinois House Human Services Committee, which Hammond is a senior member.