This year, Best Practices was awarded nearly $900,000 to create the Online Learning Library Initiative (OLLI) to offer online training to providers and parents of children ages birth through five. Through this initiative, approximately 35,000 caregivers and/or childcare center directors will receive hands-on learning on: Teaching Children to Read, Importance of Play, Bilingual Learning, Family Partnerships and Supporting Staff.
Best Practices also received $1,300,000 in federal stimulus monies to fund the Increasing Compliance in Georgia’s Childcare Licensing Rules and Regulations (Project 9) initiative. Project 9 funds will be used to enhance the quality of childcare centers in Georgia who are not in compliance with state licensing rules and regulations. Products of the project include 9 podcasts for the target audience of 6,000 teachers on specific Core Licensing Rules.
The Network for Enhancing Teacher Quality (NETQ) grant of $13.5 million was awarded by the U.S. Department of Education to Georgia State University. The grant provides funding for enhancing teacher preparation through strong PK-12 school-university partnerships, thus extending the Department of Early Childhood Education’s longstanding relationships with Professional Development Schools.
ECE continues to partner with Teach for America and is working to develop and support 70 novice teachers working in urban classrooms. Teach for America Corps Members develop critical and pedagogical understandings that enable them to better serve the students in their classroom contexts.
The ECE Department hosts a new Georgia teacher certification program, Birth Through Five (B-5). The program responds to state and national initiatives to improve the quality of early care and education. B-5 prepares professionals for work with very young children, infants through Kindergarten age, including those with special learning needs. Students in the program include experienced child care teachers furthering their education, traditional college students, and career changes.
ECE and MSIT faculty have been named as the new editorial team for the prestigious journal, Language Arts.
The Department of Early Childhood Education (ECE) has recently partnered with Atlantas Alliance Theatre to develop a new literacy education initiative for the departments undergraduate students. Teaching artists from the Alliance Theatre Institute for Educators and Teaching Artists have teamed up with ECE literacy instructors to plan comprehensive, innovative workshops designed to help preservice teachers utilize drama techniques in the teaching of literacy. Preservice teachers participating in the workshops are given hands-on ideas and strategies for enhancing the literacy experiences of their students through the use of drama. The ECE literacy faculty is committed to helping tomorrows teachers understand that literacy in the 21st century goes beyond traditional reading and writing. As such, drama is considered a form of literacy as well as a means of allowing students to represent their learning (Flood & Lapp, 1997). Additionally, the collaboration between ECE and the Institute provides a model for preservice teachers in developing both community partnerships and collaborative relationships with educators from other fields.
ECE congratulates Dr. Lydia Mays, recipient of the Distinguished Dissertation Award from the Association of Teacher Education. This is a most prestigious award and we are all so very proud of her.