NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct - Part 1 of 7

hello I'm Peter Bissell Ango Senior

Director for professional development at

the National Association for the

education of young children and I'm

joined today with by Stephanie Feeny

Stephanie I'm really happy to be here in

this conversation Peter thank you for

asking me this gives me an opportunity

to talk about my favorite subject which

is professional ethics and early

childhood education

I was the co-author of the first na ey C

code of ethical conduct which was

approved in 1989 I've written two books

for any eyz about professional ethics

and quite a few articles over the years

I've participated in the development of

two supplements for the na ey C code of

ethical conduct one for adult educators

and one for program administrators and I

have been involved in three revisions of

the code that have been conducted since


wonderful wonderful so now you know

Waikato Stephanie is sitting here with

me well the reason that we're doing this

is for two things one this is the 20th

anniversary of the code so in honor of

this anniversary we are having this

dialogue and the other is that that this

dialogue is a supplement to an article

by Stephanie in in young children ethics

in early care and education where do we

come from and where are we going

so first I'd like to talk about what the

code is to na YC and the code is a

position statement of NAU IC and na e YC

develops and disseminates position

statements for several reasons one is to

take informed decisions on significant

issues in the field issues that affect

young children's development to promote

broad-based dialogue on these issues and

to promote this dialogue in a way that

we can all speak with a common language

practitioners researchers policymakers

and and families and certainly the code

does the code of ethical conduct does

give us the opportunity to do that

Stephanie mentioned some of the history

of the code and while this is the 20th

anniversary of the code work

on ethical issues in early childhood

education preceded that in the 1970s we

had the work of Lillian cats and

Evangeline Board and and others

regarding ethical issues in working with

young children so Stephanie can you tell

us about that work and then what work

followed that in which you were involved

well low in and

Evangeline wrote a wonderful and

influential book called ethical behavior

and early childhood education which was

first published in 1978 and it was

revised in 1991 I think it's still

available and Lillian really laid out a

very powerful rationale for why it would

be important for early childhood

educators to to have a code of ethical

conduct I served on the na ey C

governing board from 1980 to 1984 and at

that time people were interested in

Lillian's book so they had started

saying we need a code somebody should

write a code of ethics and I thought

that sounded like a good idea I didn't

know anything about it

I took all the files I went home I went

I don't know what I'm doing here I

didn't like philosophy in college but I

remembered a very interesting talk I had

heard by a philosopher in my institution

the University of Hawaii the

philosophers professor Kenneth Kipnis

he's a specialist in professional ethics

and a very interesting man and I'll call

him and so I called Ken and I said this

National Association of early childhood

educators has asked me to look into

writing a code and he had a child in

preschool and he had an ethical dilemma

with depression also he was kind of

interested he's a boy I know some things

about doing that and I'll work with you

and so we began a collaboration that

still continues when I when I don't know

what to do with a question now I still

cook in the first thing we did after he

kind of signed on and said well I'll

work with your organization we put an

article in young children in nineteen we

have a list of those it was about 80 84

85 and it was a survey and we

said to our readership its ethics an

issue for you should we be pursuing the

development of a code and do you have

any ethical issues we also got a lot of

ethical issues and dilemmas and at one

point Ken was looking through these

things and he looked at me and he said

Stephanie these people are in ethical

pain so we have difficult issues we're

dealing with so we got these issues and

we we read them and we categorized them

and we did a couple things we tried to

figure out what are the categories that

these issues fall into how do they

organize themselves and it was really

clear there were a lot of issues that

had to do with children there were more

issues that had to do with families

we'll talk about one of those there were

issues that had to do with colleagues

and employers but sort of with other

adults you work with and then there were

a whole set of things that were kind of

other agencies responsibility to

community and society so those became

the categories to four sections of the

code then we looked at these issues that

people sent us and we said there's some

that keep coming up and so we took some

of those issues and we wrote cases which

we will we're going to do that today and

then we went to groups all over the

country we got a grant from the Wallace

Alexander Gore bode foundation and we

traveled around mostly Hawaii in

California we said okay here's the


what would the good early childhood

educator do in this situation and we

started to get real consensus about the

things we should do the other thing that

we did that that was very interesting

and very fun to do was to start to look

at our core values because a code of

ethics is based on the core values of a

profession and so we said to people what

do we really believe in what are our

values and that was wonderful because we

had so much consensus we didn't always

agree on the words but we knew what we

believed in and that's my favorite

about this code yeah was identifying

what are the things we care about as a

group of people who weren't with young

children and then through that process

you were able to develop the first draft

of the code we did and take that around

the country that was part of the 5-year

process and in getting buy-in across the

exactly so first we looked at we looked

at core values we looked at cases we

looked at codes from other professional

organizations we talked to philosophers

we had a couple philosophy consultants

who really made sure that what we were

doing was consistent with with the

integrity of the philosophy of ethics

and then we drafted a code and some were

in early in that process in a EYC

created an Ethics Commission that

oversaw this work and that met regularly

and advised those of us who were

actually kind of doing the staff work on

it and it wasn't a staff work we were we

were volunteers and so we had that group

to guide us and then we would write

something up and we'd take it out on the

road we take it to workshops we'd put it

in the journal eventually we put drafts

in the journal we got comments we put

cases in the journal so what we really

loved about this process was that it it

was a participatory process this is our

code right we didn't write it for anyone

we went to our members to the people who

care about kids and we said what would

be the right thing for us to do in these

situation what would the morality of

early childhood education look like of

the ethics so we've written the code

with the field the governing board

approved that first code in 1989 and at

that time the board stated that every

five years the code would be reviewed by

the board and then it would be

determined do we need to update the code

we need to reaffirm the code or do we

need to revise the code so over the

since since 1989 the code has been

reviewed and revised and reaffirmed we

have had new additions of the code

1992-1997 and then the most recent code

revised in 2005 and then at each time we

followed the same process we've gotten

input from the field on what revisions

they feel that we need to put into the

code we develop drafts now that we do

have the internet we can we put a there

easier we get it out to everybody much

more quickly but we still do the

face-to-face and I've been involved more

recently and working with Stephanie and

Nancy Freeman and other leaders in

ethics in our field in getting input

from the field and so that's the process

that we we've continued I'd like to just

make make a comment about because we

were talking about core values right and

when we did the core values they're

right in the front of the code when we

did the core values in 1989 and we did

the first two revisions

there was no changes everybody said

that's right those are the right values

in the third edition we added one core

value so in 2005 we added the value

respect diversity and children families

and colleagues