Congratulations to the graduates of our Instructional Leadership for Continuous Improvement in Early Education course!
This free course is designed to help small teams from programs (e.g., a director, curriculum coach, and a lead teacher working collaboratively) build capacity for creating the conditions that enable continuous learning and improvement and facilitate job-embedded professional learning.
On Dec. 7 we brought together graduates of our Native American Scholars in Early Education, Small Business Innovation Center, and Post-Master’s Certificate in Early Education Research, Policy, and Practice programs for a festive afternoon of networking focused on early educator health and wellness and outdoor education.
We’re grateful for the leadership of Brent Dunn, a graduate of our Native American Scholars program, and Merrill Miceli, a current Post Master’s Certificate student, in making this event so successful.
Alumni sipped white pine tea as Miceli guided them in creating floating candle decorations, filling recycled jars with water, tea candles, pine branches, and cranberries to warm up the holidays. They also sculpted solstice calendars from clay. Dunn led a presentation on outdoor education, describing accessible ways to bring the natural world into the classroom by creating classroom materials made from common organic items.
Additionally, Lynne Mendes, our director of leadership development, led a wellness and self- care exercise in which alumni created their own self-care plans, as maintaining a self-care routine has been shown to reduce or eliminate stress, anxiety, depression, and burnout; and improve concentration and boost energy, among other benefits.
There was also lots of socializing and networking over dinner. Mendes said alumni expressed the desire for additional opportunities to gather and share expertise.
“We found that alumni are looking for more network and leadership opportunities, workshops, monthly meetings, information on taxes and computers, self-care, and degree opportunities,” said Mendes. “We’re grateful to everyone who joined us, as alumni made connections with each other and were excited to participate in the workshop. We’re looking forward to hosting a few more events including one in February, so watch this space for more information!”
Students will receive training in entrepreneurial leadership, assessment, curriculum development and implementation, family support, and home- and center-based program development. They will graduate with a working knowledge of equity and social-justice practices, an understanding of typical and atypical child growth and learning, and proficiency in ethics and professionalism.
The Institute for Early Education Leadership and Innovation at UMass Boston (the Early Ed Leadership Institute) announces today that it has been awarded $2 million by the City of Boston to increase the number of credentialed early childhood educators working in the city. Funded by the American Rescue Plan Act, the three-year Growing the Workforce Grant is intended to mitigate the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the early childhood workforce.
The grant will support the creation of a new Early Childhood Fellowship program at UMass Boston for early educators seeking to earn a bachelor’s degree. The Fellowship will create a pathway to higher education by directly addressing and mitigating the myriad barriers faced by early educators pursuing a bachelor’s degree.
The work of the Institute for Early Education Leadership and Innovation is to catalyze transformation in the early care and education sector through leadership from within our field. The foundation for this work is our belief in the power of early educators to lead and drive change in ECE programs and systems.
The Institute for Early Education Leadership and Innovation at UMass Boston (IEELI) is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a $100,000 grant from the Administration for Children and Families of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The grant will fund research into the factors that contribute to turnover within the early care and education (ECE) workforce. The research will also examine ways to retain early educators in the workforce.
High rates of workforce turnover are an urgent problem within the ECE field. They contribute to the ECE labor shortage, create organizational instability by disrupting the scheduling and management of programs and damaging employee morale, and increase financial costs to programs. These factors lower the overall quality of programs and services and undermine the social-emotional learning and language development of very young children. Although the problems associated with ECE workforce turnover have been well-documented over the past 40 years, very little evidence exists for what drives ECE workforce turnover.
Christina Lopez has been advocating for child-and educator-centered, systemic reform to eliminate educational inequities in early education in Maryland for more than two decades.
In December 2021, she was invited to speak at a press conference hosted by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi about the ECE provisions in the Build Back Better social spending plan, sharing her difficult experience trying to secure adequate, affordable, high-quality care for her autistic four-year-old daughter during the pandemic. Through her work with the Maryland Association for the Education of Young Children (MDAEYC), for which she has been president for the past two years, Lopez has testified before the Maryland Senate for better early care and education (ECE) policy and conducted training across the state. She has also presented at conferences of its parent organization, the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) on such topics as public policy, equity, social justice, and peace.
Instructional leaders and instructional teams will benefit from our new course, “Instructional Leadership for Continuous Improvement in Early Education.” Participants will learn about organizational change and new research on methods for accelerating improvement and creating a culture of collaborative learning to promote continuous improvement by using a set of concrete strategies to apply with the staff at your program.