In my March blog, The Access vs. Quality Debate in Early Childhood Education, I discussed the ongoing debate in early childhood education systems building about increasing access or increasing quality. One thing I failed to do was provide a definition for “quality” early childhood education. I am not alone in this omission. If you were to review most federal, state, and local legislation on early childhood education, you would see a void in defining the word quality. I would argue that this lack of clarity around a central word severely impacts our ability within the nation, state, or locality to move forward in early childhood education systems building. Without a central definition to strive for, to drive for, and to focus upon, it is nearly impossible to build the infrastructure needed to build a quality system.
Do you ever stop to think whether you are making a difference? We live in a world with so many causes worth fighting for—access to medical treatment, cancer research, affordable housing, civil rights, clean drinking water ... the list goes on. But I can think of few causes that are as critical and worth fighting for than our investment in young children. Because giving children every opportunity to be great drives the future success of just about every worthy initiative out there.
Joe is fascinated by insects, and Liam is really into baseball. When teaching the concept of patterns, we may consider how patterns are demonstrated in baseball and the insect world to hook both Joe and Liam into learning. We frequently differentiate instruction based on students’ interests, and, as educators, we recognize the need to individualize learning opportunities for children in our classrooms. We may also differentiate based on learning styles.
Back in March, I was given an extraordinary opportunity to connect with Teachstone via its Ambassador initiative. What’s particularly exciting is the notion of engaging with an organization and others that share my passion and dedication to improving the professionalism of early care and education teachers. The results of the dialogue among the Teachstone team, other Ambassadors and I will be far-reaching, touching our respective audiences across the profession in a meaningful and positive way.
Earlier this month, at the National Head Start Association conference in DC, I had the opportunity to speak with Teachstone’s Ambassadors. The Ambassadors are one of our investments in making sure we are always listening to the profession we strive to support, the teachers.
Often, when I am engaged in professional development focusing on vocabulary lessons with teachers in bilingual classrooms, I am asked “Should I speak to the child in English or Spanish?” My answer is never simply one or the other.
If you missed our webinar, “What is Data-Driven Professional Development and Why Does It Work”, you can watch the full recording here. Rebecca Berlin, Scott Siegfried, and Padma Rajan covered how they use data to improve child outcomes.