Submission Guidelines for Young Children
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Young Children is the peer-reviewed journal of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). It is published five times per year and each issue offers practical, research-based articles on timely topics of interest. Our readers—approximately 70,000 members and subscribers—work with or on behalf of young children from birth through age 8 (infants, toddlers, preschoolers, kindergartners, and primary school children). Members include teachers, family child care providers, child development program administrators, resource and referral counselors, early intervention specialists, elementary school principals, teacher educators, students, researchers, policy makers, and others.
reflect the current knowledge base in early childhood education
share numerous positive examples and vignettes from the author’s experience (which should include the age or grade of the children depicted)
provide practical strategies for practitioners
cite relevant research findings, when appropriate
suggest ways to involve families, when appropriate
discuss the roles of culture, ethnicity, and home language, when relevant to the content
support inclusion of children with a range of abilities
show respect for individual characteristics such as gender, culture, and home language
Young Children articles vary in content, length, and writing style because our readers have diverse backgrounds and interests. The best way to learn what kinds of articles are appropriate for Young Children is to read articles published in the journal. Access selected articles.
Many of our authors have observed a particular classroom, school, or teacher prior to their writing process. If you could not have written your article without documentation of someone else's good practice, please credit these contributions or include him or her as coauthor.
Young Children does not publish term papers, literature reviews, or reports of research methodology and findings. The journal does not accept articles already published elsewhere in print or electronic format. We expect that articles have not been simultaneously submitted to other publications.
Successful authors write in an informal, conversational style. They use active voice (e.g., “The teacher planned…” rather than “Plans were made by the teacher…”) and language that is plain and clear. This makes the text easier and more enjoyable to read.
In addition, try to avoid using the words “should” and “must” when describing teaching practices (“Teachers can engage children by...” versus “Teachers must engage children by...”).
General Feature Articles (Note: Article proposal is not required, but see the "Formatting Requirements" section for formatting guidelines.)
These articles address important issues for the early childhood community. Here are examples of the types of articles found in Young Children.
- Innovative, research-based teaching strategies.
- Early childhood theories and research, along with recommended practices.
- Specific issues affecting young children.
Cluster Topic Articles (Note: Article proposal is required.)
Each issue includes a group of articles that consider different aspects of the same topic. Cluster topics are decided on many months in advance (see below). Read an example of a cluster article.
Young Children requires authors to submit an article proposal before submitting a full article for a cluster topic. This process provides authors with useful feedback from peer reviewers and editors before they write and submit full-length articles. Not all authors are invited to submit full articles. The following steps detail the submission process for cluster articles.
1. Article proposal submission. Authors who are interested in submitting an article for a specific cluster should first write and submit a 2- to 3-page proposal, at least 9 months prior to the cluster publication date.
The proposal should include
a. Intended audience for the article
b. Why the topic is important for early childhood educators
c. An outline of the topics to be addressed
d. How one-third of the article will be devoted to practical strategies for practitioners
e. A description of any tables, exhibits, or images that will accompany the article
f. A reference list
To submit proposals for cluster articles, use Manuscript Central. Each proposal will receive an ID number. Include the author(s) name, contact information, affiliation, and a brief cover letter. Note the month of the cluster for which you are submitting, as this will be a required question in the submission system.
2. Proposal review. Consulting editors and the Young Children editorial team review the proposals. Editors provide feedback 8 weeks after the cluster proposal due date.
3. Cluster article submission. Young Children’s editors invite selected authors to write and submit full-length articles that will undergo peer review. Please note that the invitation to write a cluster article does not guarantee acceptance. Authors whose proposals are not selected will be notified of this decision. Cluster articles are due 3 months before the cluster issue comes out.
In addition to cluster topic and general articles, Young Children includes several periodic features. We accept submissions for these features on an ongoing basis.
- Viewpoint columns allow authors to express their research-based opinions about specific issues or practices.
- Research in Review articles summarize research and describe implications for practice. Authors work with the journal’s Research in Review editors. For more information, contact Derry Koralek, editor in chief/chief publishing officer.
The chart that follows provides Young Children's cluster topics for 2014–2015, the date of publication, and due dates for proposals and articles. Designations of "N/A" means that Young Children is no longer accepting proposals for that cluster.
Article Due Date
|November 2014||Nutrition and Fitness for All Young Children||N/A||N/A|
|March 2015||Blocks: Great Learning Tools From Infancy Through the Primary Grades||
|October 1, 2014|
|May 2015||Leadership: Supporting a New Generation of Early Childhood Professionals||N/A||December 1, 2014|
|July 2015||Social Studies: From a Sense of Self to a Sense of the World||October 1, 2014||February 1, 2015|
|September 2015||Editor's Choice||N/A||N/A|
|November 2015||It Takes a Team: Collaborating with Colleagues and Related Fields||February 1, 2015||June 1, 2015|
|March 2016||Topics and Issues in Urban Education||June 1, 2015||October 1, 2015|
|May 2016||21st Century Teaching and Learning||August 1, 2015||December 1, 2015|
|July 2016||Ensuring Best Practice Local, State, and Federal Quality Improvement Initiatives||October 1, 2015||February 1, 2016|
|September 2016||Editor's Choice||N/A||N/A|
|November 2016||The Uniqueness of the Kindergarten Year||February 1, 2016||June 1, 2016|
When submitting an article to Young Children please adhere to the following formatting and submission guidelines.
All manuscripts must meet page-length requirements.
- General and cluster articles and Viewpoints are from 3–12 pages, double-spaced, including references and tables. Our readers find articles 3–9 pages in length most useful; these shorter articles tend to be published more quickly.
If manuscripts are not formatted correctly, they will be unsubmitted until the appropriate changes are made.
- Make sure the name(s) of author(s) do not appear on any pages of the article; all manuscripts are subject to blind review.
- Use pseudonyms in place of children's real names.
- Include subheadings throughout the article. (Make sure the headings and subheadings do not contain information that could identify the author to reviewers.)
- Use Times New Roman font, 12-point type, double space lines, and at least 1-inch margins.
- Number the pages.
- Include the title and date in the footer.
- Prepare the cover letter as a separate document.
- List the title of the article.
- Indicate the type of article (cluster topic, general, Viewpoint).
- List the name, affiliation, title, address, phone, fax, and e-mail for each author.
- Designate one author as the primary contact.
- Give the Manuscript ID for any manuscript written by a primary author or coauthor that was accepted for publication in Young Children within the last two years.
- Provide a brief summary of how one-third of the text offers useful and relevant information for teachers and other practitioners.
Authors should provide accurate and complete information for references and resources. Young Children expects authors to focus on references published within the last 10 years (unless they are seminal sources) in order to reflect the most recent research and data. Use primary references when available and avoid online resources such as Wikipedia or Ask.com. Authors should also use the number of resources appropriate for the length of their manuscript.
Young Children follows Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 11th edition, for spelling and The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition, for style and reference formatting, especially Chapter 15, "Documentation II." Examples are available here.
We encourage authors to include informative, interesting visuals (e.g., high-resolution photographs, children's work samples, charts, graphs) that enhance the content of the article and promote understanding. This is not a requirement.
Prior to submission, the author must possess completed model release forms for any recognizable person appearing in the author's photos (signed by any adult who appears in the photo and by the legal guardian of any child who appears in the photo). If the author did not take the photos but submits them with the article, the author must confirm that she or he has the right to publish the photos and that the photographer possesses the necessary model releases.
One sample model release and the visuals themselves should be uploaded as separate files in Manuscript Central as part of the manuscript submission. Do not include them in the body of the article. Young Children does not pay authors for their own photos when they are integral to the content of the article.
To make a photograph submission, please see our photography guidelines.
Authors are responsible for seeking and maintaining written permission from parents or legal guardians to include photos of children and adults. NAEYC may request to review these permissions.
For quoted material longer than 100 words as well as figures and tables (or the content therein), authors must seek and submit to Young Children written permission from the copyright holder prior to publication.
Young Children receives all submissions electronically through Manuscript Central. After creating an account, authors will find instructions for manuscript submission. Be sure to submit the cover letter, article, and photographs as separate files. Authors can contact Manuscript Central for assistance or e-mail the Young Children editorial staff.
With the exception of articles for clusters, articles are generally published 16 to 28 months after acceptance. Authors may check the status of their submissions in Manuscript Central by logging into the account and clicking on the "Submitted Manuscripts" link on the left hand side of the dashboard.
Please note: Individuals may submit only one article within a six-month period. Young Children's preferred practice is to publish a particular author only once per 12-month period. On rare occasions when we make exceptions to best meet the needs of our readers.
Authors may submit only one article at a time. This holds true whether they are the only author, or one of several. If authors have written several articles for submission, they must decide which one to submit first.
After the article has been reviewed, the authors will be notified of its status. After receipt of this notification, the author may submit another article. Thus, only one article per author can be under initial consideration and review at a time.
The Young Children review process generally takes 6–8 months from receipt of manuscript. The process is compressed for cluster articles. The schedule may vary according to the schedule of our reviewers, many of whom are on the academic calendar. The review and editing steps are explained in the table below:
Initial reading. Given the volume of articles we receive, not all articles can be sent out for review nor can we provide individual feedback on articles that are not reviewed. The editor in chief determines whether articles will go out for review. There are a number of reasons why articles are not sent out for review. Sometimes articles do not meet basic guidelines for content, writing style, length, or format. At times, the journal has a backlog of articles or has recently published an article on the same topic. In some cases we receive a number of proposals for a cluster that address the same topic and age group. The editor in chief might recommend revising an article before it is considered for review by consulting editors.
12 to 16 weeks after receipt
Peer review. Articles that meet basic guidelines undergo peer review by members of NAEYC’s Consulting Editors Panel. The reviewers provide comments and suggestions. NAEYC senior staff may also review articles.
16 to 26 weeks after receipt
Decision. Using all reviews as a guide, the editorial team determines one of the following as the next step.
o Accept the article.
o Ask the author to make revisions and resubmit it for further review (most articles require some revisions) and possible acceptance.
o Advise the author that the article is not accepted.
The editor in chief notifies the author of the decision via e-mail. When necessary, this correspondence includes the reviewers' feedback and suggestions for enhancing the manuscript.
26 to 32 weeks after receipt
Revision. When authors submit revised articles, they must include a summary of what the author did to address the reviewers’ feedback, through Manuscript Central.
Within 6 months of authors' receipt of decision e-mail
Members of the editorial team read the revised manuscript, considers the author’s responses to the reviewers’ feedback and suggestions, and determine one of the following as the next step:
- Accept the article.
- Ask the author to make additional revisions.
- Advise the author that the manuscript still does not meet criteria for publication in Young Children.
With the exception of articles submitted and accepted for publication in a particular cluster, articles are generally published 16 to 28 months after acceptance.
From acceptance to print
It is not possible to determine in advance the exact publication dates of accepted articles (unless for a particular cluster). When planning issues, the editorial team considers the content, style, intended audience, and length of articles, as well as articles’ submission dates.
Authors are notified when their articles are scheduled for publication. They are asked to make updates and to complete biography, copyright transfer, and photograph submission and credit forms.
Editing involves the editorial and copy editing teams. The copy editor returns the edited article to the author via email for final approval before the manuscript enters production. On occasion, last-minute changes in an issue’s content may cause publication of an article to be postponed.
Authors receive two copies of the issue in which their article appears.
Derry Koralek, Editor in Chief/Chief Publishing Officer
Amy Shillady, Journal Editor
Mabel Yu, Assistant Editor
or 800-424-2460, ext. 8417
Manuscript Central: http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/youngchildren
Interested in writing for other NAEYC publications?
Check out our author guidelines for: