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DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET Introduction M any students in our college early childhood education (ECE) courses teach in community early care and educa- tion centers. Some of these students enroll in our college classes to fulfill employer- or state-mandated licensing requirements. A smaller percentage of students have never worked in the ECE field but plan to in the future. Often many of our students have received their teaching positions prior to meeting all of the state regulations. What is common to all students, regardless of why they are in classes, is their experience with the ideals of in-class theory versus the realities of real-life practice. They see a huge discrepancy between what is happening at their work sites or during field observations and the developmentally appropriate practices that are taught in their ECE classes. During classes students often share their frustration with inappropriate practices in the field and having to follow a standardized curriculum that is overwhelming for them and the children they teach. They comment on how they desire to work in the early learning classrooms described during our class meetings but question if such programs really exist. They marvel at our presentations that depict inspiring programs—the ones that show intriguing environ- ments, meaningful activities, and children who are joyful in their explo- rations and experimentations. Frequently our students ask how they can approach their supervisors about making changes. They know what is best for children based on what they are learning in classes, and it resonates with them. Yet they find that they are unable to articulate their position about what they know is best for children. Challenges Educators Face If you have experienced these feelings, you are not alone. Many teachers today experience frustration in expectations to implement inappropriate practices, are overwhelmed by content standards, and are unable to articu- late a philosophy of education and advocate for the right of children to learn through direct, active, hands-on experiences—that is, through play. These are serious challenges that face the field of ECE today. 1 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL