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The ELC: An Early Childhood Learning Community at Work

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The ELC professional development model was designed to improve the quality of teacher candidates’ Practicum field placements and align teaching in field placements with Learning Standards used in the teacher education program.

Teams of four educators from varied settings worked in a Practicum placement setting for one semester to improve their teaching and align it with Learning Standards. An action research approach improved teaching challenges teams faced. Research articles were read to improve teams’ teaching challenges by implementing one agreed strategy. Teams video-recorded, assessed, and reflected on the impact of the strategy on their teaching, on teacher candidates’ learning and on children’s learning.

This text compiles six case studies from this model to illustrate how teaching challenges were improved. Appropriate for practiced educators as well as educators in training, this text provides a real world look into applying Learning Standards in early childhood classrooms.

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Heather Bridge

Heather Bridge is an emeritus Early Years college professor, teacher, researcher, and student teaching supervisor, with knowledge of international  theory, practice, policy and administration. In UK and US, she demonstrated leadership, decision-making, training, and accreditation skills. She is passionate about improving the quality of Early Years teaching among pre-service candidates and in-service educators. She initiated a professional development model in which partnerships between college faculty, community leaders, educators in preschools and Practicum candidates were created to improve teaching challenges faced in classrooms. Currently she helps adults with autism to access services they need.

Lorraine Melita

Lorraine Melita is a degreed, experienced librarian with a New York State public librarian certificate. She is skilled in the areas of research, reference, collection development and cataloging. Before retiring from SUNY Cortland, she was in charge of the Teaching Materials Center.  She assisted students and faculty needing information for teaching content areas, lesson planning and literature for all levels.  Currently, she is the librarian for a small, senior center library.

Patricia Roiger

Patricia Roiger is an experienced Early Childhood/Childhood Lecturer, student teaching supervisor, New York State and Texas Certified Early Childhood/Childhood Teacher, Professional Development Specialist for the CDA Council, Substitute Teacher and a La Leche League Leader. She has taught in Nursery schools, Independent Schools, and Public Schools for more than 14 years in New York, Texas and Minnesota. She currently is a Lecturer in the Childhood/Early Childhood Department at SUNY Cortland and works with a team of early childhood professors providing Wise Wednesday professional development for local child care centers and early childhood teachers.