I was happy to have the opportunity recently to speak with close to 100 ACCESS group members at the NAEYC PDI conference in Minneapolis on June 9th. The Associate Degree Early Childhood Teacher Educators–ACCESS to Shared Knowledge and Practice, known as ACCESS, is a national, non-profit group whose purpose is to support and advocate for associate degree programs in the preparation of early childhood professionals.
I learned about the group through two contacts in my home state of North Carolina: Brenda Blackburn at Blue Ridge Community College and Sharon Carter at Davidson Community College, both leaders in their field and in ACCESS. Brenda and Sharon are also advocates for the use of the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) in higher education. I was pleasantly surprised by how many college instructors in the room already knew about the CLASS and how many had been through Pre-K Observation training!
Teachstone has also been exploring how to use the CLASS tool and other CLASS-based products in teacher education programs and recently created “student bundles” of Dimensions Guides and Video Library accounts with discounted prices for students. While this is a good start, we wanted to hear more from Early Childhood instructors in the field about what they need from us.
At the ACCESS meeting, we discussed the importance of educating student teachers about effective teacher-child interactions and how they impact children’s learning and development. We are all committed to starting new teachers out in their careers with knowledge of the most current research and effective practices for success. This knowledge can be embedded in existing curriculum and field experiences for student teachers. Three ways this can be done are by providing:
Instructors attending the session also gave Teachstone much to think about with their suggestions to provide additional videos for student use showing less effective moments or non-examples along with exemplars. Students can learn a lot by noting and discussing missed opportunities as well as stellar interactions. Others suggested creating a Student Manual with more detail about each dimension and more examples of how to integrate effective interactions around each dimension into their classrooms.
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Children experiencing homelessness are subject to stressors that their housed peers typically don’t experience and it is difficult for children to “leave their stressors at the door” when they come to school.
The Council for Professional Recognition recently published a whitepaper, The Invisible Children in Our Midst, that explores this topic. The paper discusses steps that some teacher education programs are taking to help future teachers better understand how a lack of secure housing may impact children and their families.
How can credentialing be used to recruit, train, and retain early childhood educators, or perhaps even return professionals who have left the field? In today’s episode of Impacting the Classroom, you’ll learn more about the CDA® credentialing process, how it works, and how it can be beneficial for educators and program leaders alike.
What’s the best way to teach empathy to an infant, toddler, or preschool aged child?
Joanna Parker joins the Teaching with CLASS® podcast to answer that question. Joanna has spent her entire career in early care and education. She’s worked with Head Start, Early Head Start, child care, early intervention, public PreK, and home visitation programs at the local, community, state, and national levels.
Joanna explains that defining empathy in early childhood is all about understanding social-emotional development. Children will not display empathy the way adults do because they are still developing social-emotional skills. But educators can instill foundational skills for children to build upon as they mature.
Though exacerbated by the pandemic, turnover in early childhood education is not a new phenomenon. In 2012, the Institute of Medicine & National Research Council reported early childhood settings turnover rates averaging between 25-30 percent. Some pre-pandemic studies indicate it could be even higher, at a startling 26-50% turnover rate. The pandemic has compounded the already present challenge and has made the headlines as our country grapples with the realization that a healthy child care system is critical to our economic recovery.