The New Haven Early Childhood Council’s Success By 6 funded WORDS initiative celebrated an evening of reflection last night. Over 25 participating family childcare and center-based infant and toddler teachers shared their experiences, rich conversations and teaching tips, at the always-inspiring CT Children’s Museum.
The WORDS project, a literacy-based coaching initiative, is in the 2nd year of funding. It has been an incredible, awe-inspiring initiative, not just for the teachers, but also for the coaches, Sandy Malmquist and Adrenna D’Orlando. It is heartwarming to hear how reading, talking and listening is coming alive in early childhood classrooms and family childcare.
Teachers describe that the books and the mentoring sessions have helped them read more to the children. A teacher from the Early Childhood Learning Center said that she “used to pick the book to read, now the children choose the book they want to read”. She also shared that she “loved the way her literacy coach, Adrenna came into the class with a welcoming smile and that she helped to set up the classroom using books as learning props”. A family childcare provider said that before the coaching she only read one or maybe two books during the day. Now she reads at least five and sometimes as many as eight books to her children (ages birth – two years) and that kids know their numbers, alphabet and colors. “When I read these books, I learn to be a better teacher, I feel that I have learned so much from Sandy”. I had a big smile on my face, when Sandy asked how many books we want to read each day and everyone responded loudly “at least 5 books a day!!”.
The WORDS initiative also includes a Family Lending Library and teachers report that with their encouragement, many families are borrowing books. “The Family Lending Library bookshelf is very important, the children think it is their shelf, their books and their props”. Teachers and children love the books, “Cookies Week”, “Little Cloud” and “Napping House”.
We all left last night happy, energized and comforted knowing that our children are in very good hands!