There is a growing understanding that a sole focus on teachers and improving classrooms in early childhood education is insufficient and unlikely to succeed—we need instructional leadership and collaborative job-embedded professional learning (JEPL) to help drive continuous improvement.
This paradigm shift begins with the understanding that, second only to teaching, leadership influences children’s learning and leaders must drive improved outcomes for all children, especially those born into poverty. We’re working to broaden how the early learning field defines quality and understands instructional improvement; that is, leaders must cultivate collective responsibility among staff for excellence and provide teachers with sustained supports that enable them to successfully improve their teaching and children’s learning. Leaders are responsible for creating an organizational climate supportive of teachers and for facilitating collaborative job-embedded professional learning routines in which leaders and teachers work together to develop and improve ambitious curriculum and instruction.
We set out to drive better child outcomes by conceptualizing and designing a Professional Development Intervention that cultivated instructional leadership and instilled cultures of collaboration that successfully impacted teaching and children’s learning.
The Five Essentials-Early Ed teacher and parent surveys will measure five organizational supports that are essential to the continuous improvement of teaching and learning. These surveys will give voice to the experiences and perspectives of staff and parents that will help inform how leaders conceptualize, plan and generate continuous improvement.
The Ounce is supporting instructional leadership in school- and center-based programs by helping leaders install systems of job-embedded professional learning and engage teachers in sustained supports for achieving instructional excellence and improvement.