A Job-Embedded Initiative to Develop Early Childhood Education Site Leaders
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Since 1982, the Ounce of Prevention Fund (Ounce) has focused much of its attention upon one major goal: expanding access to high quality early childhood education for all children. High-quality early childhood education, however, requires teachers or care givers with sufficient education or experience to be able to offer the education and care known to provide significant benefits to all children. This project evolved from the Ounce of Prevention Fund’s recognition of the need for early childhood education centers to build the professional capacity of staff. Based significantly but not exclusively on the University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research’s Five Essential Supports, the Ounce of Prevention Fund designed an ongoing, job-embedded professional development program that requires early childhood center leaders to build the systems and structures to support optimal adult learning. The aim is to establish a professional learning community within each site that is led by the center leader, whose attention is otherwise diverted in many directions. The task of this study is to investigate the extent to which the Ounce Professional Development Initiative is making progress in meeting this challenge by examining how the leaders involved in the project are experiencing the initiative. The findings of this study provide supportive evidence for the early-stage effectiveness of the Ounce’s model. Three consistent themes emerged throughout the first year: 1) this initiative is different than the leaders’ previous experiences with professional development, 2) it is important to establish a common language among the staff, and 3) it is incumbent upon the leaders to ensure they protect the time necessary for this work to take place. While only one of these themes was an explicit goal of the Ounce of Prevention Fund’s initiative, the other two were strongly implied.
education Key Phrase One
early childhood education Keyword 2
leadership Key Phrase Two early childhood site leadership