Colorado is one of many states working to ensure that young children experience an equitable, high-quality continuum of services and supports. Liz Houston, Executive Director at the Early Childhood Council Leadership Alliance (ECCLA) provides a glimpse into how Colorado’s 34 Early Childhood Councils and community organizations work together to ensure families are connected to local resources and services. Councils have a unique role within their local communities to serve as an early childhood hub for partners, child care providers, caregivers, policymakers, and business leaders to coordinate, collaborate, and align resources.
ECCLA’s mission is to improve access to quality services and supports for young children through a statewide network of Early Childhood Council leaders and key stakeholders. As a membership association, ECCLA supports Councils by providing technical assistance and capacity building, shared measurement, advocating for policies affecting early childhood issues, and leveraging statewide partnerships.
Liz is a seasoned nonprofit professional with a career encompassing resource development, advocacy, communication, and management for a variety of organizations including human services, research and policy, a major cultural institution, K-12 and higher education, and private industry.
Find an Early Childhood Council and learn more about ECCLA at www.ecclacolorado.org.
The skill in raising children is balancing optimal parenting and the child's personality - both must be taken into account. For optimal education, we need social and economic support - and too often in American culture we don't prioritize the support we need in early education. How much of a child's personality trait is defined by nature and how much is defined by his or her environment?
Individual childhood traits must be considered in early learning and development - our children don't grow up exactly the same way, why would we expect them to be taught, or learn, in exactly the same way?
Márcia is a Brazilian Psychologist and Certified Coach based in the US with extensive experience living abroad. She uses her parenting experience to discuss Psychology-based research on how to address the challenges of child-rearing. You can find her at https://www.marciafervienza.com
What does childcare look and feel like in New York City? How can center owners support early childhood education in bustling Manhattan? “We are filling the gap for parents looking for early learning opportunities in a very dense, urban city". Daniel Koffler of Explore and Discover started out by questioning why, in Manhattan, there are persistent conversations about pregnancy and new parenthood, and about preschool admissions (as a future predictor of success in K-12), but not dedicated attention on high-quality infant and toddler programs?
Koffler approaches childcare the way CEOs build tech startups; with a nuanced program focus, by identifying gaps in the market, offering professional development and specialized talent recruitment for his team, and by offering unique holistic early education practices, all of which allow his center to fill a gap in Manhattan childcare. Explore and Discover focuses on high-quality early childhood education specifically for children aged zero to three ("starting from the 91st day"). Listen to Koffler describe the importance of his staff and their dedication and enjoyment of their roles. "You have to find purpose in your work and make the environment the most meaningful to you". The team who works with Explore and Discover are passionate about working with children. “You have to really enjoy seeing a child experience the world. Each teacher here shares the excitement of watching children grow and develop”.
Explore and Discover makes strong use of Reggio-Emilia approaches and the RIE program (Resources for Infant Educare). RIE allows the team to approach everyday tactics in a thoughtful and caring approach. Is there a thoughtful way to carry out infant diaper changes that respects the whole personality of an infant? Koffler says yes. "I can't teach someone to have empathy with working with infant and toddlers. That is in your core".
Dr. Bill is an advocate for students of early childhood education. Dr. Bill is very interested in the development of early childhood education studies.
Students in ECE are our future leaders who impact so many channels in early ed; they interact with children in the classroom, connect with parents, confer with their college teachers and professors, interview with center owners and eventually enter the field. Our support and encouragement for early childhood education students are critical to the long-term success of the profession. What are today's student's questions, challenges and struggles as they enter the field? Are there unique opportunities to expand their learning before students join our preschool classrooms? Dr. Bill's enthusiasm is electric and contagious, this week's episode is a real treat.
How can we professionalize and elevate early childhood educators? "The evidence is clear that to improve childhood outcomes for children, especially those in poverty, that we need highly trained staff". Tulsa is making early childhood education a priority in the city and in many cases is supported financially by the municipal government and by non-profit organizations. The cost of providing high-quality childcare is significant. The way to ensure that all children in Tulsa can access high-quality education is through a unique funding partnership with private and public funding (with federal Head Start programs and non-profit foundation grants http://www.gkff.org). What makes early childhood education in Tulsa so special and unique?
Annie Koppel Van Hanken oversees GKFF’s early childhood education and common education initiatives. Before joining the Foundation in 2002, Ms. Van Hanken worked in inner-city Los Angeles at a community-based youth development center. She serves as board president for Tulsa Educare and Tulsa Legacy Charter School. Ms. Van Hanken also serves on the board of Sunbeam Family Services of Oklahoma City and is a gubernatorial appointee on Oklahoma’s Early Childhood Advisory Council. She has a master’s degree in education, with an emphasis on learning disabilities, from the University of Texas at Austin and a dual bachelor’s degree in English and history, with a minor in classics, from Tulane University.
How are professional development and pay equity considered within a larger conversation about early education in Oklahoma? Listen to find out.