For a summary of my recent Kappan article, “The Primary Years Agenda: Strategies to Guide District Action,” see Birth to Third Grade: Seizing the Opportunities at Eye on Early Education. The Kappan piece will be available for free through December.
Does your partnership sometimes “go wide” before focusing in on concrete strategies? For a helpful toolkit on designing new strategies, initiatives, and/or programs, see Design Thinking for Educators by the renowned design firm IDEO. Thanks for Bob Ettinger of Cambridge for sharing this resource. To see a creative application of this process to early education, check out the Kellogg Foundation’s provocative thought piece: Tangible Steps Towards Tomorrow: New Designs for Early Education, 0-8.
The National Association of Elementary School Principals has published an ambitious vision of the principal’s role in PreK–3rd reform. This report, Leading Pre-K-3 Learning Communities: Competencies for Effective Principal Practice, outlines six competencies that together form a comprehensive approach to leading early learning partnerships. This approach will require district support in addition to principal leadership. The full report fleshes out the competencies in helpful detail and includes descriptions of exemplary practice, questions for reflections, self-assessments, and links to tools and other resources. More to follow in a future post.
The PDF version of the report is free until November 15.
Birth-3rd is about all manner of collaboration, and most collaboration requires meetings of one kind or another. Kathryn Parker Boudett and Elizabeth City of Data Wise fame have a new book, Meeting Wise: Making the Most of Collaborative Time for Educators. Check out this audio interview with the authors at Harvard’s Usable Knowledge website.
See The Early Learning Assessment Literacy Challenge at New America EdCentral for an article on the effective use of assessments in early childhood education. The article includes a number of embedded links to useful guidance documents, including Early Childhood Assessment: Implementing Effective Practice.
From the EdCentral article:
“A strong consensus among education experts supports the notion that one of the best ways to improve instructional strategies and ultimately boost outcomes for individual students is through the use of assessment-generated data. This focus on assessment and using data to drive decision-making for both accountability and instruction has resulted in a proliferation of new policies and practices. It has also encouraged development of new resources, materials, and products, as well as sparked conversations among stakeholders about the appropriate use of assessment. In the current educational landscape, classroom teachers, school principals, district administrators, and state and federal policymakers spend significant time thinking about who, what, why, how, and when to assess.”
Tufts intern Jess Petraglia has compiled an impressive booklet documenting the learning of Somerville’s Kindergarten Readiness Group over the last 18 months: Somerville Kindergarten Readiness Booklet_2013-14.
The Kindergarten Readiness Group is a professional learning community of community-based and public school early childhood educators. The booklet includes Somerville’s kindergarten transition form and visual summaries of the following topics:
- Play in the Early Childhood Classroom
- Connecting Play-Based Learning and the Standards
- Cross-Classroom Visits
- Collaborating to Create Curriculum
The Collaborating to Create Curriculum section provides guidance on aligning activities, developmental domains, and standards for four high-quality picture books:
- The Ugly Vegetables by Grace Lin
- Oscar and the Snail by Geoff Waring
- Zero by Kathryn Otoshi
- Do You Have a Hat? by Eileen Spinelli
Congrats to Jess and the Kindergarten Readiness Group.
Linda Warren and I did a joint presentation on Birth-Third in Massachusetts at the NAEYC Professional Development Institute in Minneapolis last week. Linda and her colleagues at Early Childhood Associates are providing support to Lowell’s Birth-Third Alignment Partnership. Linda presented on Lowell’s strategy and plans, and I provided an overview of the EEC Alignment Partnerships.
Linda has been kind enough to share her presentation with the Learning Hub: Birth-Third in Lowell_NAEYC_Linda Warren. The presentation outlines Lowell’s start-up phase, its emerging school readiness plan (see the Lowell Legacy graphic on slide 24), and the city’s plans for Round Two of the EEC Alignment Partnership.