How can we as leaders ensure that our early childhood programs are providing the highest quality care to our children?
Even before the pandemic, we asked ourselves this question often. Our search for a way to support teachers and continuously improve the quality of our programs led us on a journey culminating in the implementation of The Essential 0-5 Survey in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana.
The Jefferson Parish Early Childhood Collaborative focuses on providing intentional professional development to support teachers and leaders. Our PD typically focuses on day-to-day interactions between teachers and children inside the classroom, and for directors, it focuses on team support, assessment of children, and behavior management strategies. Before we implemented The Essential 0-5 Survey, we did not offer any professional development that focused on the organization as a whole.
The Essential 0-5 Survey, developed in partnership by Start Early and the University of Chicago Consortium, is a measurement system that provides insight into the strength and weakness of organizational climate for individual programs.
At this year’s Teachstone Interact CLASS Summit, we’ll partner with Stuart Lassiter, an early childhood practice consultant at Start Early, to share the innovative research and framework behind The Essential 0-5 Survey, and our experience implementing it in Jefferson Parrish. During our session – Strengthening Organizational Conditions through Collaboration and Data – we’ll show why it is vital to measure both parent and teacher/staff perceptions in order to provide program directors a holistic understanding of their programs’ strengths and weaknesses.
The Essential 0-5 Survey is rooted in decades of research from the University of Chicago Consortium and their 5 Essentials framework focused on K-12 education. Research demonstrates the impact organizational conditions have on program quality: a program strong in three of the five essentials is ten times likelier to substantially improve student engagement and achievement in math and reading (see graph 1).
In Jefferson Parish, we hope that our implementation of The Essential 0-5 Survey will not only provide a greater knowledge of our programs’ organizational environments, but also empower leaders, teachers, and families to collaboratively make improvements so that our children have the best chance to thrive.
Dr. Stricklin serves as the Director of the Jefferson Early Childhood Network supporting leaders of publicly funded programs in south Louisiana. She has worked in early education for over 30 years as a teacher, administrator, trainer, coach, and consultant. Currently, she leads a broad coalition of thought partners who are collaborating to increase access to high quality early care and education across neighborhoods in Jefferson Parish Louisiana.
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In this episode of Impacting the Classroom, our host Marnetta Larrimer talks to Dr. Daryl Greenfield of the University of Miami and Teachstone's own Veronica Fernandez. They discuss research on the importance of science in early education and how opportunities to explore the wonder of science with children are everywhere--even if you are not a scientist yourself.
Our guests had so much to share that we didn't have time to fit it all in one episode! You can read the extended version of the podcast in the transcript below.
Dr. Greenfield passed on a number of resources for educators, administrators, and parents interested in learning more about science education in the early years. You can check them out here:
The frameworks that power great interactions with children can be applied to relationships with our coworkers. In our webinar Staying In-Sync: Creating Positive Interactions Between Teachers, panelists Kate Cline, Professional Services Manager at Teachstone, and Deidre Harris, Educational Consultant at Team Agreements, led a lively discussion about how to foster healthy relationships among your staff. They identified a few key areas that make up the foundation of this work. Let’s get into it!
The time that you spend with all your staff together is limited, so how can you make the most of it? It’s crucial to ensure that you’re building strong relationships with staff and creating a structure that best works for your team. After all, you want your team to leave your in-service trainings feeling safe to grow, proud of their collective success, and supported with the tools they need to make an impact.
When I started teaching four years ago, I was one of a handful of new teachers in a small school that experienced high teacher turnover. We new teachers had to figure it out as we went along but were lucky to have a handful of veteran teachers for support. I remember more experienced educators telling me that most teachers don’t really feel like they have it together until year three, and that year four is really when the magic happens.