Association for Childhood Education International

The Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI) is a nonprofit global organization that promotes and supports the education and development of children. They believe that every child in every nation should have access to quality education and this belief is highlighted in their tagline, “Bright futures for every child, every nation.”1 As a community of educators and child advocates, they utilize their shared knowledge, experience, and perspectives to evaluate and implement educational programs that will optimally enhance children's skills and abilities. They also advocate the rights of children to education and well-being, work with like-minded groups, and encourage the preparation and growth of educators and care givers.2

What has become the ACEI began as the International Kindergarten Union (IKU) in 1892. The kindergarten movement was still very young in America at that time, and the IKU were educators concerned with the kindergarten teachers' preparation and education. They worked to improve both the living conditions and education opportunities for children in the impoverished immigrant communities in the United States as well as for children internationally. After World War I, for example, they assisted in organizing kindergartens for the refugee children in France.

In 1931, the National Council of Primary Education organization joined with the IKU to establish the Association for Childhood Education (ACE). In America during the Depression, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) hired the ACE to publish materials for nursery school teachers. Later, during World War II, the ACE sent books and toys to children in Austria, Yugoslavia, Greece, and Italy. They also sent curriculum materials to the children's teachers, a continuation of their mission to enhance teachers' professional abilities and materials.

One more organizational transition occurred fifteen years later in 1946: recognizing their membership's international focus, they became the Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI). Besides hosting international conferences across the world, the ACEI has sponsored study tours in the United States for teachers from other countries. In these ways they have opened a global dialogue of educational ideas for children, focusing on the ages from birth through early adolescence.

As the ACEI fought discrimination throughout the world, so they took a stand against it in America, beginning in 1949 when they denied three state associations' requests to have separate associations for black and white educators. The following year, at least a decade before the Civil Rights movement's protests, they amended their Guide to say that African American members would have equal access to “hotels, restaurants, and public transportation.”3

Operating out of Washington, D.C., in the mid 1960s, ACEI joined in developing training kits for the new Project Head Start training centers that were preparing young children for school. They also became a member of the NGO Committee of UNICEF and gained Consultative Status at the United Nations. They support the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) that was established in 1990 and have tailored their programs to raise awareness of these delineated rights.

ACEI's four core beliefs echo the CRC: valuing the uniqueness of each child; upholding common bonds of human dignity and respect; promoting quality in instructional strategies and learning environments; and supporting education free from bias, favoritism, or prejudice.4 Building on these beliefs, ACEI has created the Love Me, Teach Me campaign, whose four cornerstones are See Me, Hear Me, Love Me, and Teach Me.5

Continuing in their tradition of opening dialogues, sharing ideas, and collaborating with similar organizations, the ACEI hosts the Global Summit on Childhood every other year.6 They continue to design ways to facilitate a global sharing of minds and resources in their mission to benefit the education and protection of children everywhere.

The Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI) and Alliance for Childhood joined together to launch a 10-year initiative, the Decade for Childhood 2012-2022, during the Global Summit on Childhood held in Washington, D.C. in March of 2012. Concerns about the rapid cultural and technological changes currently occurring combined with the ongoing problems of poverty, neglect, and abuse prompted the need for a platform to support a global conversation about childhood and the threats to the healthy development of children.7

  • 1. “About Us.” Association for Childhood Education International. < > 21 March 2012.
  • 2. “Principles/Governance.” Association for Childhood Education International. < > 21 March 2012.
  • 3. “ACEI History.” Association for Childhood Education International. < > 21 March 2012.
  • 4. Op.cit., “Principles/Governance.”
  • 5. “Love Me, Teach Me.” Association for Childhood Education International. < > 21 March 2012.
  • 6. “Global Summit on Childhood.” Association for Childhood Education International. < > 21 March 2012.
  • 7. “The Decade for Childhood.” Association for Childhood Education International. < > 11 April 2012.