Getting Ready for Pre K– a view from the Institute for Educators

August 19, 2014 at 10:17 am Leave a comment

Submitted by Jim Clay’88, BSCAA Alumni Association President

I am lucky to have been chosen to be a facilitator for the Getting Ready for Pre K Institute for Educators, part of the UPK Initiative partnership between Bank Street and the Department of Education.  BSCAA Board member Labiba Abdur-Rahman is also one of the facilitators!  We will be training up to  6,000 “new” ece teachers that DOE will be hiring for UPK.  They have been attending the training in two cohorts during the weeks of August 11 and August 18 – both at Queens College and at Brooklyn College.

I was in the second cohort of folks attending the facilitator preparation at BSC – August 4 & 5.  Approximately 40 people were present.  I was surprised by the number of BSC alums and other folks already connected to the college.  It was like a reunion where, through less than six degrees of separation, we all found out we knew each other in some way.  The energy in the room was great.  Both Dean Roach and President Polakow-Suransky came by for greetings, and Shael even stayed for part of the training.

The folks who led our work together, Nancy Gropper and Mary Ellen Markham, practiced and demonstrated collaborative learning.  We connected as a group and began to depend upon each other to learn what we must do.  And there is a lot to do.  The initial committee has put together so much, but also we as trainers must flesh it out.  It’s a lot to go over in two days of preparation and three days of training.  More than once during the two days, I felt saturated!  I guess you could say – in a good way.

We will need to establish trust with the folks we’ll be training – paraprofessionals, lead teachers, and NYPS teachers who now will all become, if they aren’t already, teachers of Preschoolers (and I don’t want to say four year olds, since a third of them won’t be four at the beginning of the school year).  And inspire them.  And empower them.  Some of them may have years of experience others, not so much.  In any case, we will be modeling for them.

We are really focusing on the first three weeks of school!  And want to encourage them to be reflective teachers – to anticipate and respond appropriately to the events in a day.

It’s great that we are to emphasize Emotionally Responsive Practice (ERP), that has been developed at Bank Street, and that we definitely are promoting learn through play.  And of course the Common Core is there.  The daily schedule developed by the Office of Early Childhood at DOE is really a good one, incorporating two outdoor times and a naptime as well as long blocks of play.

The BSC website includes much about the institute at http://www.bankstreet.edu/pre-k-summer-institute. ; Go check it out.  The webliography is amazing!

Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Bank Street’s Getting Ready for Pre-K Reflections on Bank Street’s UPK Training Initiative in Partnership with the NYCDOE

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