A Best Practices Exchange Project Helps Create Better Early Childhood Education Programs
September 16 2011
To support the improvement of services to Latino children and families, NCLR facilitated the exchange of best practices among a number of organizations providing early childhood education (ECE) services across the United States. NCLR identified Affiliate organizations to serve as models for implementing programs and practices in one of the following three concentrations:
1. Dual-language development and integration of cultural elements
Lead Affiliate: East Coast Migrant Head Start Project (ECMHSP)
This organization demonstrated a well-established dual-language program in which children develop their skills through English and Spanish instruction, as well as by integrating cultural assets that facilitate not only their learning, but the active participation of family members in the instructional process.
Participating Affiliates: Centro de la Familia de Utah, Guadalupe Centers, Inc., Gads Hill Center
2. Family engagement
Lead Affiliate: The Concilio
The Concilio demonstrated an effective approach that fully engages parents and other caretakers in the learning process of their children in school and at home.
Participating Affiliates: California Association for Bilingual Education (CABE), Conexión Américas, Association House of Chicago
3. Continuous data-driven assessment
Lead Affiliate: Latin American Montessori Bilingual (LAMB)
LAMB exhibited an integrated system of assessments of the performance of students, teachers, and administrators, in which findings are used to continuously adjust practice and structure to more effectively support the development of student skills.
Participating Affiliates: MAAC Project, The Unity Council, Washington State Migrant Council
Since the beginning of 2011, each of the three lead Affiliates hosted site visits from other organizations seeking to enhance their own practices in these areas. The site visits included classroom observations, peer exchanges, and hands-on practice of successful strategies, as well as the sharing of tools and resources designed to support successful replication. NCLR facilitated these peer visits and provided follow-up monitoring and technical assistance as the mentored organizations worked to incorporate the new strategies.
Alongside the programmatic activities, NCLR is analyzing policy implications for the broad dissemination of best practices in these areas. Recommendations for policymakers and other stakeholders with influence over professional development and program development in early childhood education will be explored and published.
As a result of this project, NCLR:
- Formalized a professional development peer network
- Increased the number of organizations applying best practices
- Increased the number of Latino children and families positively impacted by improvement in instruction and administration in mentored organizations
- Increased awareness among federal policymakers and professional development providers of effective practices in community-based early childhood education programs for Latinos
A series of policy briefs and a publication documenting the exchange project and essential elements for quality work in early childhood education will be published in 2012.
Issues: Early Childhood Education, PreK Padres Comprometidos, Resources
Geography:California, Far West, Midwest, Northeast, Southeast, Texas