By Jane Partridge
Project Coordinator for Early Learning
Visions for Early Learning/West Central Regional Coalition
It’s about connection, and you can see it when it happens.
It’s in a new kindergartener’s sure-footed confidence, entering a room he already knows. It’s in the recognition in his eyes when the teacher he sees is one he has already met. His hands already know what to do with teddy bear counters, and his brain is ready to link those bears to symbols and words.
And it starts with connections among early learning professionals intent on creating bridges between programs, curricula, systems and individuals.
Those bridges are built by individuals willing to do the work, and at the recent WaKIDS Early Learning Professionals Convening held at Centralia Community College, child care providers, school district administrators, preschool and kindergarten teachers, and professionals who support early childhood through private and public agencies came together to do just that. (Learn more about Washington Kindergarten Inventory of Developing Skills, or WaKIDS.)
Tasked with analyzing data and creating local action plans to impact student outcomes, individuals at the Centralia convening joined as integral parts of the circle of professionals supporting early learners. They formed Community Teams and filled in the blanks of this sentence: “If we ___________, then we would see significant improvement in _________ as students enter our local kindergarten programs next fall.”
Already, that work is beginning. As part of the action plan process, teams are meeting and plans are being made. Connections are strengthening between schools and those early learning professionals who serve students who will enter those schools in the fall. Strategies aimed at supporting children and their families will result in Summer Math Parties and shared professional development, transition planning and site visits, community events focusing on early learning ideas, resources and activities, and alignment of expectations and support systems to ensure student outcomes remain at the core of our work.
And it all begins with connections.
- Pamela Jane Powell writes in Kappan magazine about the pitfalls of defining school “readiness.” Read “The Messiness of Readiness.”
- Learning is a continuum that starts at birth and continues through kindergarten. See how Teaching Strategies GOLD aligns with the Washington Early Learning and Development Guidelines.