Sunday, February 9, 2014

webtastic ece sites

Here are some of my favorite Early Childhood Education sites.  Feel free to add your favorites to the list in the 'Post a Comment' section!

Defending the Early Years
Alliance for Childhood
Empowered by Play
Investigating Choice Time: Inquiry, Exploration and Play
Deborah Meier on Education
Teacher Tom
TK California
Early Edge California
California Kindergarten Association
A Year at Mission Hill School (A MUST WATCH documentary!)

tk/k collaboration - a time for sharing!

As part of my California Teachers Association, Teacher Leader Project, I facilitated our first TK/K Collaboration - A time for sharing! on January 29th. We had a terrific turnout of transitional kindergarten and traditional kindergarten teachers from 13 of our 16 elementary schools. After introductions, the brainstorming began.

I asked these expert early childhood educators to break into small groups, preferably with teachers not at their own school site, and discuss:
  • Concerns and challenges they are facing
  • Possible solutions to those challenges
  • How those solutions would benefit our youngest learners
Lively discussion ensued and after 20 minutes we came back together to share our thinking.  A number of topics concerning these experts kept recurring:
  • Class size (many classes are 32:1)
  • Combination classes (TK/K and K/1)
  • District Assessments (current and upcoming CCSS assessments with pre- and post-tests)
  • Lack of developmentally appropriate curricula
  • Lack of understanding among administrators to issues unique to kindergarten
  • Lack of understanding among administrators regarding the importance of play 
We began brainstorming possible solutions and their benefits, but soon found our time for discussion running out. In what seemed like just minutes we found that an hour and a half had already passed,  and we had only begun to scratch the surface.

As I brought the session to a close, I asked my colleagues what our next step should be. There was overwhelming interest in continuing our meetings. We decided that we would like to continue as a district-wide Kindergarten PLC and meet once a month on a district planning day.  Our local union president agreed to email the Assistant Superintendent of Instruction regarding this proposal. We are awaiting his decision.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

common core state standards

There has been a lot of discussion about the Common Core State Standards in regard to educating our youngest learners. In March 2010, the Alliance for Childhood released a joint statement written by early childhood health and education professionals. Their statement, signed by 500 early childhood professionals, reads in part: 
WE HAVE GRAVE CONCERNS about the core standards for young children now being written by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. The draft standards made public in January conflict with compelling new research in cognitive science, neuroscience, child development, and early childhood education about how young children learn, what they need to learn, and how best to teach them in kindergarten and the early grades. 
After reading the joint statement, what do you think?

welcome friends

Welcome to the Kinder Coffee Klatch. This space was created as part of  CTA's Teacher Leader Project to provide an outlet for early childhood educators to discuss:
  • The importance of play in the early childhood classroom
  • Best practices for teaching our youngest learners
  • Reclaiming our profession; and
  • Anything else that comes to mind
I invite you to let your voice be heard!