Iheoma Iruka, Ph.D.
Research Professor & Director The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Over 2018 – 2019, Trust for Learning supported teams of state policymakers to deepen their knowledge of high-quality pre-kindergarten programs by visiting exemplary ideal learning programs and engaging in peer learning.
1.6 million children attend state-funded pre-kindergarten programs in the U.S. Research shows the importance of providing these children with quality programming in order to improve child outcomes, yet many states face challenges of implementing programs with fidelity. In January 2018, the Council for Chief State School Officers launched the Chiefs Promoting High-Quality Pre-K Network (Network) – an 18-month project to support a dozen states to develop policy roadmaps that refine and enhance the effectiveness of high-quality, publicly-funded pre-kindergarten programs. Trust for Learning provided supplemental funding to this initiative to enable state policymakers to visit ideal learning programs in multiple cities to learn about these models in the classroom and inform their state plans.
The grant provided professional opportunities for state policymakers and administrators to observe and gain insight about multiple ideal learning approaches that work well in publicPre-k programs, including Montessori, Reggio Emilia- inspired, and Tools of the Mind. States reported these school visits were very useful, as were the opportunities to share and reflect upon them in the meetings afterward. Participants explained that being able to see high-quality practices taking place in a classroom helped bring alive the quality components they discussed in theory or in research and inspired them to keep pushing on their own quality initiatives. In addition, state policymakers found it very useful to speak with and learn directly from the school leaders involved in those local schools.
The policy impact from the visit will be seen in the way that we develop guidance, professional learning experiences and other implementation efforts. The Principles of Ideal Learning are well suited to use in developing deeper understanding of our state P3 Framework for P3 leadership throughout the state.
AppleTree Institute for Education Innovation, in collaboration with ideal learning providers in Washington, D.C., is working to revise the system…
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