SPECIAL ISSUE: Exploring Approaches to Early Childhood Educator Preparation for Inclusion!


EXTENDED DUE DATE!!!  Submissions now due May 31, 2024!

Examining Approaches to the Preparation of Early Childhood Education Professionals for Inclusion

A Special Issue of the HS Dialog: The Research-to-Practice Journal for the Early Childhood Field

The HS Dialog Special Issue II 2024, Examining Approaches to the Preparation of Early Childhood Education Professionals for Inclusion, invites research articles, conceptual pieces, program descriptions, research to practice narratives, applied policy work, and accounts of innovative initiatives focused on the preparation of the early childhood workforce. Changes in federal law (Congressional Research Service [CRS], 2019; Hebbeler, et al.,1991) and societal needs (Burton, e al., 1992), in the 1980s led to an increase in the number of young children, with and without identified disabilities, participating in early childhood programs across the country (U.S. Department of Education, 2020). In response, the field experienced a paradigm shift regarding the way in which services for children were designed and delivered (Buysse & Wesley, 1993). This in turn spurred increased attention as to the preparation of the early childhood workforce. The historical literature from the time includes a number of program descriptions and other research as faculty responded to the needs of the field. However, limited literature has been published since that time resulting in a limited and dated contemporary literature base that is increasingly difficult to apply to the increased diversity of educational contexts (Mickelson et al., 2022). Additionally, contemporary contexts necessitate a broader view of inclusion that takes into account the diverse and intersectional identities of the children and families served. Further, these contexts call for recruitment of similarly diverse professionals into the field.  Indeed, many recent definitions of inclusion come from a broad, shared equity agenda designed to assure educational success for every group of marginalized learners (Pugach et al., 2020; U.S. Department of HHS and U.S. Department of Education, 2023). 

The aim of this special issue is to showcase the contemporary landscape of early childhood preparation and highlight how higher education and community partners currently respond to the varied programmatic, licensure, field, and other contexts observed across the field. The special issue welcomes articles focused on all models and approaches to early childhood preparation and workforce development for inclusion. As a research to practice journal, HS Dialog also requires authors of accepted articles for this special issue to submit a research to practice summary of their work that provides guidance for the broad community of professionals engaged in early childhood preparation and workforce development. 

Timeline: Submissions due MAY 31, 2024, decisions received July 2024, and anticipated publication Fall 2024.  Submissions will be accepted via upload to the journal system. If you are new to HS Dialog, please send an email to Editor, Dr. Ann Mickelson (amickels@charlotte.edu) to obtain a user account for the journal management system.

Editorial Team

Ann M. Mickelson, Ph.D.

Bryndle L. Bottoms, Ph.D.

Rebecca A. Shore, Ed.D.



Burton, C. B., Higgins-Hains, A., Hanline, M. F., & McCormick, K. (1992). Early childhood intervention and education: The urgency of professional unification. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 11(4), 53–69.   https://doi.org/10.1177/027112149201100407 

Buysse, V., & Wesley, P. W. (1993). The identity crisis in early childhood special education: A call for professional role clarification. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 13(4), 418–429. https://psycnet.apa.org/doi/10.1177/027112149301300406 

Congressional Research Service. (2019). The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Author.https://crsreports.congress.gov/product/pdf/R/R41833 

Hebbeler, K. M., Smith, B. J., & Black, T. L. (1991). Federal early childhood special education policy: A model for the improvement of services for children with disabilities. Exceptional Children, 58(2), 104–112. https://doi.org/10.1177/001440299105800202 

Mickelson, A. M., Correa, V. I., & Stayton, V. D. (2022). Blended preparation in early childhood and early intervention/early childhood special education: Reflecting on the past, paving a path forward. Teacher Education and Special Education, 45(2), 101–122. https://doi.org/10.1177/08884064211037377   

Pugach, M. C., Blanton, L. P., Mickelson, A. M., & Boveda, M. (2020). Curriculum theory: The missing perspective in teacher education for inclusion. Teacher Education and Special Education. https://doi.org/10.1177/0888406419883665 

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Early Childhood Learning & Knowledge Center. (2020, January 22). Inclusion of children with disabilities. https://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/policy/im/acf-im-hs-20-01      

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services & U.S. Department of Education. (2023). Policy statement on  inclusion of children  with disabilities in  early childhood  programs. www2.ed.gov/policy/speced/guid/earlylearning/joint-statement-full-text.pdf