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Lead from the Start: June 2007

Friday, June 01, 2007

a great day for little people

Today was the begining of the begining for higher quality preschool in Virginia. I attended the Governor's Summit on Early Childhood Education where the new Foundation Blocks for Early Childhood Education standards were presented. The new standards are way better than the previous standards. They are specific without being prescriptive and they are serious. They don't stop at letters and numbers they describe activities like comparing capacity as well as standards for physical/motor development and social-emotional development. These standards give teachers the direction to move forward without feeling like "basic skills" are all they teaching. I am jazzed.
Also, other parts of the new early childhood Quality Rating System were revealed by those that had a hand in creating them. The teacher-child interaction evaluation tool developed by Dr. Bob Pianta at UVA, is very promising. I learned today that this tool will be adopted by the National Head Start Association for use with its next PRISM evaluation system. Adopting this tool puts Virginia on the same footing as the largest early childhood organization in the country, the NHSA. Great minds think alike.
Finally, the Milestones for Early Development talks about development for children birth to 5 years old. I am most pleased they decided to call them milestones instead of benchmarks which is one of the descriptors they were considering.
All of this work comes through the Governors working group on Early Childhood Education, directed by Kathy Glazer. Kathy is amazing. Her ability to bring the huge body of knowledge and all of the people involved together to create unified recommendations for the future of Virginia's young children is nothing short of hero like. I will have to add her to my list.
For preschoolers in Virginia the future is bright.