Evidence Brief: Ideal Learning Environments
Scientific evidence supports key principles of early learning environments Many studies have demonstrated that early childhood is a critical time…
Our 2022 report highlights the remarkable work of our nine SEED partners across the country.
Trust for Learning’s staff, board, and partner funders are excited to announce our support of nine Supporting Equitable Educator Development (SEED) Fund grant projects. All of these projects are designed to reduce barriers for low-income early childhood (ECE) educators and ECE educators of color; incorporate anti-bias, anti-racist strategies into existing ECE educator development programs; and/or create new on-ramps to high-quality credentials for low-income ECE educators and ECE educators of color. The SEED grants grew out of a report on equity issues in high-quality educator development approaches co-authored by members of the Ideal Learning Roundtable and our staff: Ideal Pathways — How Ideal Learning Approaches Prepare and Support Early Childhood Educators.
The AVANCE SEED program will create an onramp to degree and credential pathways for educators serving children and families in low-income rural areas of Texas by strengthening articulation between educator development experiences and institutions of higher education. The program will focus on four main outcomes: 1) engaging and encouraging current AVANCE educators to further their education; 2) assisting educators to create continuing education plans; 3) assisting educators to enroll in certified ECE Bachelor’s programs; and 4) supporting teachers to complete their degree program while maintaining employment. The grant will increase opportunities for non-degreed AVANCE educators to pursue additional credentialing – which will not only facilitate economic mobility, but also increase their capacities on behalf of the children and families they serve.
In an effort to enable a diverse cohort of educators to reach their full potential, the University of Nebraska’s Buffett Early Childhood Institute, Avenue Scholar’s Intern Omaha program, and Educare of Omaha, Inc. are partnering to launch a “Grow Your Own” program throughout the City of Omaha in summer 2021. The program seeks to provide a solution to multiple issues currently facing Omaha’s workforce: a need for meaningful diversity and inclusion efforts; a limited number of diverse early childhood educators; and a lack of pathways to help incumbent and future ECE educators to grow within their practice.
Bank Street is partnering with the Louisiana Department of Education to enhance the quality of coaching received by early childhood educators to improve practice and child outcomes. This project supports the realization of recommendations from Bank Street’s white paper, Investing in the Birth-to-Three Workforce: Investing in the Foundation of All Learning and the Trust’s recent Ideal Pathways report, deepening expertise through high-quality coaching and professional development support for educators enrolled in Louisiana’s state-approved CDA programs. Bank Street will develop a tailored professional learning program for coaches, set of coaching competencies, and will ultimately offer a coaching certification. Bank Street will publish the coaching competencies, using lessons learned to scale coach training across Louisiana and to other states across the country. SEED grant funds will also support strategic planning to create an effective statewide coaching program.
For over 30 years, Washington D.C.’s CentroNía has been a leader in bilingual, multicultural early childhood education for children 0 to 5 and professional development for educators. In collaboration with partners, CentroNía will develop and pilot a professional development module to address the challenges of evaluating English Language Learners (ELLs) for special needs. The module’s objective is to prepare early childhood educators to both distinguish between atypical child development and second-language acquisition and employ evidence-based practices in response. Areas of study will include atypical development in cognitive, language, physical, and socio-emotional domains; second-language acquisition; immigration experience; and special education laws and regulations. Ultimately, participants will learn how to individualize lesson planning and coordinate appropriate accommodations to promote optimal child outcomes.
The CEP is partnering with the Council for Professional Recognition, the entity that oversees the Child Development Associate, on a new project to embed equity across all of the credential’s professional requirements. The two teams will work together to systematically review the CDA system and develop a strategic equity plan. The CEP will also develop a new series of equity training modules to incorporate into CDA clock hour training requirements. The partnership has broad implications as the CDA is largely seen as the ECE field’s entry level credential, with about 40,000 new credentials or renewals each year.
In keeping with HighScope’s commitment to racial equity, diversity, and inclusion, professional learning opportunities will be re-imagined to reduce barriers to participation for educators. First, all training will be turned into virtual courses, which are more accessible, reducing travel, lodging, and substitute educator costs.
Second, since many infant/toddler educators have limited resources, new online and virtual courses will be developed as a part of this grant. Finally, scholarships will be established to help reduce the cost of courses for those whose earnings are at or below the Federal Poverty Level. Through partnership with racial equity, diversity, and inclusion experts, each of these courses will infuse anti-bias, anti-racist training as well.
As part of NH ChILD’s commitment to increase access to quality early childhood programs for all of New Haven’s young children, leaders will partner with Gateway Community College (GCC) to design and offer an Ideal Learning CDA program for ECE educators. This two-course intensive will include content and experiences aligned with IL principles through a racial equity lens. Many of New Haven’s support staff, often women of color living at or near the poverty level, have years of experience but lack an early childhood credential that puts them on the ECE career ladder. Recruitment will also focus on educators from New Haven’s Housing Authority and programs in danger of not meeting the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood’s definition of qualified staff. This program will also offer intensive and culturally responsive learning opportunities in community programs that align with IL approaches.
D.C.’s Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) will work with local partners to develop a curriculum toolkit to aid ECE educators in developing culturally responsive programming for children birth to 5. This content will be integrated into D.C.’s Professional Development Improvement System for educators and delivered virtually. In addition, OSSE will use a “train the trainer” approach in partnership with local communities of practice. This project aims to ensure early educators in D.C. have the requisite skills, knowledge and appreciation of diversity to create culturally responsive ideal learning environments for all children and families in D.C.
This SEED Fund grant will support the Educare Learning Network’s efforts to integrate anti-bias, anti-racist content into its Essential Practices of Educare (EPE) training series. EPE leverages the capacity of Educare schools and other high-quality early childhood organizations around the country to provide professional learning and training that improves quality in other center-based programs as well. During the grant term, Start Early will work with an external group of advisors and a consultant with expertise in developing anti-bias, anti-racist professional development for early childhood educators to integrate content into all modules of the series and begin delivery of the improved trainings.
The Pathways project documents key aspects of ideal learning educator development models within the overall landscape of early childhood education…
NH ChILD proposes to revolutionize the early care and education landscape in New Haven, Connecticut by bringing the community together…
In New Haven, CT, early childhood educators receive on-going in-service professional learning anchored in the Principles of Ideal Learning. Context…
Creating opportunities for early childhood centers that are serving New York’s most vulnerable communities to benefit from Ideal Learning approaches…
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As we work to advance equity in early childhood, we regularly share our progress with the field. Please join our email listserv to learn along with us as we invest and evolve our strategy!