What does effective early learning practice look like in action?
As we work with our partners across the country, we document exemplary early learning practices and elevate the wisdom of educators using video and interviews. Our collaborative video production results in a lasting digital library — a legacy that supports sustainable improvements in early learning.
We offer a sample of videos here, where you can see educator effectiveness in action and build upon your professional growth and learning. As you watch these videos, we invite you to approach them through a strengths-based lens and demonstrate respect for the educators’ learning processes.
All of the videos below were produced in collaboration with our colleague, Shaun Johnsen, of Murray Hill Studios in New York City.
11 Simple Rules to Create Thriving Communities for Children
The 11 Simple Rules is a Leading for Children framework that makes early childhood program quality holdable, sharable, and achievable for all the adults in the child’s ecosystem. As we define quality in early childhood education, it is important for all of us to be on the same page. We achieve this by guiding quality developments across three key dimensions: Relationships and Interactions; Emotional and Physical Environment; and Learning Experience.
Relationships and Interactions
Learning Network members in Mississippi illustrate the first dimension and four simple rules of the Coherent Path to Quality: Relationships and Interactions.
Our partners in Alabama describe how to foster relationships and interactions by Building the Classroom Community.
Jenny and Zaria
Fefe and his teacher
Nichole and Iakona
Emotional and Physical Environment
Learning Network members in Mississippi illustrate the second dimension and four simple rules of the Coherent Path to Quality: Emotional and Physical Environment.
Our partners in Alabama offer wisdom about Creating the Learning Environment.
Educators in New Jersey describe Setting Up to Support Children’s Learning.
Learning Network members in Mississippi illustrate the third dimension and three simple rules of the Coherent Path to Quality: Learning Experiences.
Our partners in Alabama offer wisdom about Assessing Children’s Learning Day-by-Day to ensure that the learning experiences they plan respond to each child’s growth and learning.
Ms. Jeanne with Parker
Ms. Molina with children in the block area
Ms. Howell facilitating a small group
Here are two videos that illustrate intentional teaching: the three dimensions of the Coherent Path to Quality in action.
Educators in New Jersey describe Intentional Teaching and Supporting Literacy.
Educators in Alabama explain Intentional Teaching and Learning.
To support equity and excellence in early learning settings, coaches and teachers in Alabama engage in reciprocal learning partnerships. Let’s see two examples in action.
Coaching is a Learning Relationship.
Teachers and Coaches: Setting and Documenting Goals.
Power Dynamics in Early Learning: The Language We Use
In this article, originally published in Child Care Exchange, Nichole Parks and Judy Jablon explore how our choice of language and communication styles can transform our interactions with children and adults.
Promising Practices in Alabama Using a Shared Leadership Model for Early Learning Coaching
In this article, originally published in Early Learning Nation, Judy Jablon, Alison LaRocca, and Tara Skiles describe LFC’s partnership with the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education to build a shared leadership model for equitable, strengths-based early learning coaching.
A World Called Home: Global Citizenship Education at Sunshine Preschool
In our Facebook Live Event in June 2020, Robin Hancock, Board Member of Leading for Children, shared some insights from her work in Global Education for young children.
The Five Commitments of Optimistic Leadership
In this article originally published in Child Care Exchange, Judy Jablon, Executive Director of Leading for Children, explores how we can practice the Five Commitments of Optimistic Leadership By Judy Jablon, Executive Director, Leading for Children Child Care Exchange, 2018
The Five Commitments of Optimistic Leaders: They Work Together
Another argument is brewing as Chandra tells her daughter, 10-year-old Rosie, to stop pestering her little brother, Dexter. As usual, Rosie ignores her and continues to tease her brother. This dynamic happens at least ten times a day and Chandra can’t see beyond the struggle. She’s furious with Rosie and annoyed with herself for not being able to resolve it.
Optimistic Leaders Stay Steady Amidst Uncertainty
It was 2004, the fifth hurricane of the season was about to arrive in Florida, and my mom declared that she wouldn’t evacuate her home ever again. “I’m too old for this,” she insisted. Knowing that I was not going to change her mind, but unwilling to let her go through this alone, I decided I needed to be with her to ride out the storm. Full of worry and feeling criticized by my loved ones (who wished I would not fly towards a hurricane), I boarded the last flight from Newark to West Palm Beach. As the plane took off, I thought to myself, how do I want to show up for Mom?
The Five Commitments of Optimistic Leadership: A Day-by-Day Practice
Today’s blog is co-authored with Tara Skiles, Director of Professional Development for the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education and a member of our Optimistic Leadership Council.
Refine Communication for Mutual Clarity and Understanding
I was in New Mexico facilitating a workshop for a group of Navajo educators. During the lunch break, one of the teachers, Miss Augusta, offered me feedback. “Your words make us very tired, I just wanted to let you know.” I thanked her and she gave me a hug. Her feedback was an invitation to cultivate self-awareness and think about the impact of my words on others. She inspired me to listen to myself and to think about how others hear me. Thank you, Miss Augusta, for your wisdom and guidance.
Cultivate Self-Awareness to Guide Thought, Emotion, and Behavior
For me, cultivating self-awareness is like opening the windows and letting some fresh air in. It means allowing myself to be curious, rather than judgmental, about what I don’t yet know or understand about myself. And as Nichole Parks, LFC’s Associate Director of Programs, so wisely said: cultivating self-awareness is hard work. That’s why people shy away from it. We have to be brave, bold, and persistent. We have to keep talking about it and make lots of space to think about it with colleagues.
Nurturing Relationships: Me in a Group
When I was in my twenties, I was teaching third grade at a school in New York City. I had many close friendships among the faculty and got along with just about everyone. Early one year, the Director organized a whole-school professional development retreat at a beautiful location just outside the city. We were seated at large tables around the room and the event began. Within the first hour, I decided I didn’t like the presentation. Why is not important to the story — how I showed my dislike is what matters. I wrote a few sarcastic notes to my friends seated at my table. Their laughter fueled me and I continued to make jokes, bringing more people in and creating more of a distraction. The day continued. The next morning my Director asked to speak with me. She offered me feedback: Judy, she said, you have many relationships in this school. Your colleagues respect you and are influenced by you. You always have a choice about how to use your influence. Yesterday, you chose to use it to impede the learning of some of your colleagues.
Think Impact to Make Informed Decisions
When I think back to my freshman year in college, I recall a professor returning my very first paper with a comment on the front page. It said: THIS READS LIKE THE YELLOW PAGES. His comment was humiliating and painful. It certainly didn’t offer me tools to improve the paper. Instead, the impact of his choice of words and method of delivery squashed my confidence as a student. All these years later I wonder what impact he was striving for. Or, perhaps on autopilot, he just wasn’t thinking.
Why do we need Optimistic Leaders for Children?
We know that young children thrive in an environment of trusting relationships with the adults who care for and educate them. All aspects of children’s development — intellectual, social, emotional, physical, behavioral, and moral — are shaped by the relationships they have with the adults in their lives . Now, imagine this environment of nurturing relationships where every adult in children’s lives owns a clear sense of purpose, has a strong voice, and listens and learns from diverse perspectives. These adults are intentional decision-makers who collaborate with others to make good things happen. They are optimistic, see a path forward, and have the grit to persevere even when the going gets tough. Just imagine the possibilities for all children if they could live and learn in an environment with such exemplary models of leadership surrounding them.
Achieving Equity and Quality: 11 Simple Rules to Build Thriving Communities
April 7, 2022 2:00-3:30 PM EDT
Join Judy Jablon and Nichole Parks from Leading for Children, and staff members from the Wyoming Learning Network to explore the 11 Simple Rules for Thriving Communities – an LFC framework that establishes a new, equitable model for cultivating early learning communities where children and adults thrive.