Early Learning Newsletter | September 2020 | Early Childhood Resources for the New School Year!

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The U.S. Department of Education's Early Learning Newsletter
 

Early Childhood Resources for the
New School Year!

September 2020 

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In This Issue:


From the Directors

Laurie VanderPloeg and Christopher Rinkus

Hello, Early Learning Leaders!

We hope that everybody’s new school year is off to a good start. We want to congratulate all parents, educators, caregivers, and our youngest learners on embarking on a new school year in these unprecedented times. We know that this new school year looks different for many. Some schools or programs are providing virtual schooling, while others are providing hybrid or face-to-face instructions. Regardless of the way your school or program operates, parents, educators, and caregivers are working long hours to ensure that children and families are getting what they need. We sincerely hope that everyone will stay healthy and safe. This edition of Early Learning highlights different resources that parents, providers, and educators can use to help ease the back to school transitions.

In celebration of the new school year, we interviewed Kirsten Bilderaya, preschool special educator at Tarver Elementary school in Thornton, Colorado. She talks about how her school is delivering instruction and how she helps students and parents stay engaged.

Enjoy reading the rest of the newsletter to find out about recent developments and resources to support our youngest learners, and their teachers, caregivers, and families. In addition to exploring the resources presented in this newsletter, please continue visiting ED’s COVID-19 information and resources page for COVID-19-related resources and updates.

Thank you, as always, for reading Early Learning. We hope you and your loved ones stay healthy and safe!

Laurie VanderPloeg
Director
Office of Special Education Programs

Christopher Rinkus
Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary
Discretionary Grants and Support Services
Office of Elementary and Secondary Education

 


Project Spotlight

Logo: STEM Innovation for Inclusion in Early Education (STEMIE) Center

STEM Innovation for Inclusion in Early Education

The U.S. Department of Education (ED)-funded STEM Innovation for Inclusion in Early Education (STEMIE) Center aims to develop and enhance the knowledge base on engagement in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) learning opportunities for young children with disabilities. Its first virtual STEMIE Fest was held Sept. 14–18. This free virtual conference convened STEM and inclusion experts and engaged participants in learning about evidence-based practices in STEM and the inclusion of young children with disabilities. Families, practitioners, and young children were invited to explore, make, and tinker through MakerFest, and discover STEM-focused books through Storybook Conversations. Early STEM videos and games from museums, researchers, and other organizations were showcased through Media Cubbies. You can access recorded conference events via the STEMIE website.

 


Early Learning Updates from ED

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Ready Now Early Learning Distance Resources

Ready Now Early Learning Distance Resources         

As schools begin reopening for the new school year, a group of 70 developers and researchers have collaborated to produce a new series of guides to education technologies. The guides present information on education technology products that were supported by ED or other federal agencies. All of the resources are ready now for in-class and remote learning, are web-based, and can be used on computers, tablets, or personal devices. The resources in the guides include a mix of no-cost products as well as ones that are fee-based. The guides focus on early learning, mathematics, science and engineering, social studies, and special education.

 


Voices From the Field

Kirsten Bilderaya

A Preschool Teacher’s Perspective on the New School Year

We recently interviewed Kirsten Bilderaya, a preschool special educator at Tarver Elementary school in Thornton, Colorado. She talks about how her school is delivering instruction and how she helps students and parents stay engaged. We invite you to read the full interview on the OSERS Blog.

 


This Month’s Recommended Resource

REL Midwest logo

Meaningful Online Education for Our Youngest Learners

In a recent blog post, the ED-funded Regional Education Laboratory Midwest provides tips to reconcile the need for e-learning with how young children learn best. When schools suddenly closed down last March, many teachers lacked experience with using technology to instruct students and connect with them. In early childhood and early elementary school classes, this challenge was compounded by the fact that many teachers consider e-learning to be developmentally inappropriate for younger students. To support young learners, explore these tips to ensure that e-learning is developmentally appropriate.

ECTA logo

COVID-19 Resources for Children From Birth Through Age Five

The ED-funded Early Childhood Technical Assistance (ECTA) Center has developed a COVID-19 webpage with resources for states and local programs serving young children with disabilities and their families. The ECTA Center also hosted a series of discussions during spring and summer 2020 with teachers, providers, administrators, and families from across the country and gathered supporting research. With the findings from these discussions, ECTA developed a new resource, Reaffirming Key Early Childhood Practices During a Pandemic. This resource emphasizes practices that have proven effective in meeting the challenges of providing services to young children with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reopening Instructional Programs for Our Most Vulnerable Students: A Reopening Guidebook for the 2020–2021 School Year

Reopening Instructional Programs for Our Most Vulnerable Students: A Reopening Guidebook for the 2020-2021 School Year

The ED-funded Comprehensive Center Network recently published a guidebook, Reopening Instructional Programs for Our Most Vulnerable Students: A Reopening Guidebook for the 2020–2021 School Year, that includes the following four chapters:

  1. Virtual Learning,
  2. Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 3 Parent Supports,
  3. English Learners and Spanish Learners, and
  4. Students with Disabilities.

This guidebook is intended to help educators address the pressing issues that students face, particularly the most vulnerable learners, as schools reopen their programs in the 2020–21 school year. This guidebook is also available in Spanish.


Featured Webinar

Go to the National Center on Parent, Family, and Community Engagement

Responding to Domestic Violence During COVID-19

Many communities continue to use physical distancing and stay-at-home orders to slow the spread of COVID-19. Because of this, families experiencing domestic violence may have a harder time finding support and resources. At a Sept. 10 webinar, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)‑funded National Center on Parent, Family, and Community Engagement facilitated a discussion on responding to domestic violence during COVID-19. Presenters discussed key ways early care and education programs can support resilience building for families experiencing domestic violence.

Webinar: Elevating the Role of Cultural Responsiveness in Effective Teaching Practices

Elevating the Role of Cultural Responsiveness in Effective Teaching Practices

During this Sept. 3 webinar, the HHS-funded National Center on Early Childhood Development, Teaching, and Learning explored research related to the role of culturally responsive materials and practices in high-quality instructional interactions. Participants discussed the value of making authentic connections between concepts that children are learning and their home language and culture. They also examined examples of how to elevate instructional interactions with culturally authentic and relevant connections to support early learning in all domains.


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Connect With Us Online!

Check out ED's Early Learning website for updates on all of ED's early learning activities, and to view the Early Learning newsletter archive.
 

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