I have sat down to write a Happy New Year blog post from Teachstone on numerous occasions during the past three weeks, but it seems that every time I begin to write I am pulled away for another exciting conversation with a research partner, a higher education partner, a community partner, or a state partner. If the last three weeks are any indication of what 2015 will bring for the birth to five community, it is going to be one exciting and productive year. It will also be a wild ride! So I am going to take a deep breath as I relax on my fourth flight in 36 hours and share a bit of what I have been thinking about but unable to put down on paper (well actually on my laptop) for the past 20 days.
To begin with, I want to wish everyone a Happy New Year from your friends and colleagues at Teachstone. I hope that your year is filled with amazing, rewarding, and meaningful interactions! I am not one for New Year’s Resolutions, but my resolution for myself and for all of you is to use interactions as a way to stay connected, engaged, and present in the work that we do on a daily basis. So often the stress of everything that we are trying to accomplish begins to wear us down by the end of a long meeting, a long day, or a long week. However, I find if I allow myself to truly “be present” in my interactions—those moment-to-moment interactions that we talk about as being so important in CLASS training—then it will brighten our days, lift our souls, and fulfill our spirits. These interactions will then recharge our energy so that we can continue doing the difficult, yet rewarding, work that is so important.
Second, I would like to wish the 18 states selected for Preschool Development and Expansion Grants, as well as the 234 winning Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership Grant applicants, a well-earned round of applause and heartfelt congratulations. I believe that Wednesday, December 10, will go down in history as the day that the United States took “one small step for a man and a giant leap for mankind” forward to fulfill the promise of a better future for young children and their families. Almost $700 million dollars of federal funding was awarded as a result of the grant announcements that cold December morning in Washington, DC. Through this money, almost 100,000 children will be served in high quality early childhood or Early Head Start programs. This will absolutely change the life trajectory for these children and their families. I think it is important for us all to pause and realize the immense impact this will have on not only the early childhood education system but also the K-12 education system. As a result of this investment, these 100,000 children will be better prepared to excel academically in school, will be healthier as adolescents, and will contribute more fully to society and the economy as adults.
I know it is often hard to see the path forward when we are in the middle of the work, but the changes we are embarking on in 2015 are the beginning a national movement to bring the promise of high quality early childhood education to all children birth to five regardless of gender, race, language, culture, income, or zip code. This movement will weave together the voices and interactions of the children, teachers, directors, and families into a transformative early childhood community that will change the tapestry of birth to five education.
Good luck in 2015 and remember to hold on, as it will be a wild ride.
Image: Edward Zigler, assisted by Marilyn M. Smith, presents the first CDA Credential to Margaret E. Wright on July 24, 1975, in Washington, DC (Source - Council for Professional Recognition).
For 54 years, Head Start has prepared children for Kindergarten by providing services that foster growth in their physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development. In the words of former President Obama, “For millions of families, Head Start has been a lifeline. And for millions of kids, it’s been the start of a better life.”
Before the 2019 InterAct Class Summit in Nashville was even over, we were already excitedly planning 2020! But before we get too ahead of ourselves, let's take a quick look back at the incredible presenters, attendees, and staff that made 2019 possible. We had nearly 400 participants from all backgrounds—teachers, caregivers, mentors, coaches, trainers, implementation leaders, administrators, assessors, researchers, and more. However, their common passion for improving classroom interactions and empowering life-changing teachers was evident.
Teachstone is celebrating Week of the Young Child hosted by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). We'll be posting articles, videos, activities, and more all week on Facebook and Twitter.
For Tasty Tuesday, we've found a few healthy recipes for every mealtime, including dessert. These recipes are easy to assemble and make, and your early learners can help out as well. What are your favorite healthy recipes?
I have a confession to make—I'm a social media junkie. I had to go through a 12-step program to cure my Facebook habit. I had a short relapse, but I was able to kick it again. I tried Twitter years ago, but that just wasn't for me. Pinterest is just straight up evil. I've planned two weddings, a total remodel of a home, and a trip to Hawaii. None of these things is ever going to happen, but Pinterest has robbed me of about 400 hours of time that I put into these nonexistent projects. Instagram is one of those things that I can take or leave.