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Breeyn Mack
May 6, 2020

A Reflection: Supporting Young Learners


: A Reflection: Supporting Young Learners

In my almost 10 years at Teaching Strategies, I have delivered close to 100 webinars and videos related to best practice in early childhood. But none have been as impactful or meaningful as the ones I have had the honor of hosting in these past couple of weeks. As part of our Best Practice for Early Childhood Education Continuity webinar series, I’ve hosted two webinars focused on supporting young learners during these unprecedented times.

Joining me on these webinars were amazing leaders in the field: Lesley Jennings, Kate Rosander, Trinisha Dean, Dr. Kara Ahmed, and Martha Strickland. They shared their programs’ priorities, strategies, and journeys over these past several weeks. They discussed the efforts they’ve undertaken to try to provide education continuity. And they shared the lessons they’ve already learned along with what has worked best for their programs and families.

To hear their stories, you can watch the archives of both webinars on demand.

 

After spending time with these ladies on the webinars, I am in awe of the power that is the field of early childhood. These educators and their teams have taken uncharted territory and risen to the challenge to ensure that the children and families they serve are embraced and supported in ways that are appropriate and meaningful for early childhood. Their commitments to supporting young learners is unwavering, and inspiring.

In a time where, let’s face it, there are no research-based best practices, I’ve noticed a few big ideas repeated across the stories.

My 3 key take-aways in supporting young learners during this time:
    1. While there is no best practice for distance learning in early childhood, the foundation of what’s most important remains consistent.
      Each of the programs highlighted within this series has taken different approaches to meet the needs of their families but there are many consistencies driving their work. Most notably, each approach maintains the understanding that children crave structure and consistency, relationships are at the heart of our work, and learning is most meaningful when it is hands-on, fun and follows children’s lead.
    2. Family engagement is forever changed.
      New levels of transparency and family access to quality guidance and strategies for supporting their child’s learning at home has given rise to a generation of parents and primary caregivers who now see even more clearly the impact of the quality time they spend together at home in the ordinary moments, such as preparing dinner together. When we do return to schedules that more closely resemble a typical school structure, I am excited to see the continued focus and success of elevated family engagement.
    3. Leadership and passion are contagious!
      As each leader in the series spoke, you could clearly see the passion and commitment they have not only to the children they serve but also to their teams. In a time when many of us are just plain exhausted from juggling so many things, it was clear that these leaders are consistently showing up for their teams, encouraging and modeling outside-the-box thinking to do what is best for children, and creating space for teachers and families to be vulnerable.

    Thank you to these five women who joined us for taking the time to be vulnerable themselves and share the ups and downs of these past several weeks. Your transparency, focus, compassion, and passion certainly motivated and inspired me and I know they will do the same for many others. Thank you!

We’d love for you to join us in one of our upcoming webinars in our Best Practices for Early Childhood Education Continuity free webinar series.

 

We’re here to support you!

Don’t forget about the available resources created to promote family engagement, health, safety, and distance learning. Visit our homepage to learn more!


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