Our History

CE International’s work began in 1892, with the effort to promote kindergarten education in the United States and internationally. Since the very beginning, we have been an international organization driven by the belief that education is essential to human development. More than a century later, this core belief remains the same as we look at human development on a global scale and see how education has the power to change lives. Today, our commitment to advancing education translates to a commitment to education as a tool for global development and sustainable futures for all. CE International works for the education of all children, but has a special interest in ensuring that our energies are focused on meeting the education needs of the most fragile and vulnerable children.

  • Foundation and Focus on International Support
  • Child Protection and Domestic Growth
  • Child's Rights and Global Collaboration
  • Education Standards and Innovation
  • Child Well-being, Innovation, and Collective Action
Click and drag to explore our history!
  • 1892

    International Kindergarten Union founded on the belief that young children have unique gifts and talents that should be nurtured through special places of learning called “kindergartens.”

  • 1895

    Established first conference where educators join together to discuss critical issues in child development and education.

  • 1905

    Began international teacher exchanges.

  • 1918-1922

    Supported teachers and children living in poverty or suffering the consequences of war, hunger, and discrimination by sending educational supplies and toys to those living in World War I conflict zones.

  • 1924

    Childhood Education journal launched to provide greater guidance to teachers of young children worldwide.

  • 1926

    Engaged with experts who traveled worldwide to create shared understandings about the positive impact of education. These first “Education Diplomats” provided the grounding for our current Education Diplomacy program.

  • 1930

    Participated in the first U.S. White House Conference on child health and protection to raise awareness and focus public attention on issues affecting children’s well-being.

  • 1931

    Joined with the U.S. National Primary Council to form the “Association for Childhood Education” (ACE), recognizing the common needs in child development across the early years and strengthening child advocacy efforts.

  • 1935

    Hired by the U.S. Works Progress Administration (WPA), a recovery program of the Great Depression, to publish materials for early years teachers.

  • 1943-44

    Sent books, learning materials, toys, and curriculum guides to teachers and kindergartens in refugee camps for children displaced in conflict-affected nations during World War II.

  • 1946

    Strengthened organizational resolve to work on global education issues by reinserting “international” in its name—the Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI).

  • 1948

    Supported the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was the first document to establish education as a right for all.

  • 1949

    Took a stand against discrimination in the United States by denying the requests of three ACE state associations to have racially segregated education associations.

  • 1961-1963

    Incorporated optimal education, development, and well-being of children and the needs of children in a changing society into its mission, supporting  the ideals of equal access to education and education as a right.

  • 1970

    Worked with embassies located in Washington, D.C., to share effective teaching practices with educators from other nations.

  • 1973-1977

    Became a leading contributor on education issues to the United Nations and received Consultative Status through the United Nations Economic and Social Council.

  • 1986

    Established Journal of Research in Childhood Education to publish scholarly work from around the world.

  • 1990

    Supported the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and tailored programs and publications to raise awareness of child rights.

  • 1992

    Celebrated its 100th Anniversary.

  • 1999

    Held the first conference on global quality standards with representatives from over 90 education organizations and developed the very first set of Global Guidelines for Early Care and Education.

  • 2000

    Participated in the World Education Forum Dakar, Senegal, where the Dakar Framework for Action is created.

  • 2010-2011

    Developed the concept of Education Diplomacy to help educators shape a new way forward to advance the global concerns of education, and held first Institute for Education Diplomacy.

  • 2012

    Held first Global Summit on Childhood to examine issues of child growth, development, education, and learning in a rapidly changing 21st century.

  • 2014

    Launched Country Lead Network, engaging CE International education representatives in over 50 nations.

  • 2016

    Shifted focus to new innovations that are advancing and transforming education. Adopted a mission “to promote innovative solutions to education challenges.”

  • 2017

    Launched our International Principles of Practice in Education, which describes the enormous contribution of educators to human development and societal progress.

  • 2019

    Changed name to Childhood Education International and is accepted as an NGO in official partnership with UNESCO.

  • 2020

    Reaching educators in 184 nations around the world, Childhood Education Innovations explores new ideas and insights that advance education.

  • 2020

    Extends reach by diversifying opportunities to collaborate; establishing Practice Areas of Innovative Leadership, Child Health and Well-Being, and Rethinking Education; and mobilizing our global network.