Posted on 04/21/2015 at 07:33 AM by Liz Determan

As May approaches and we think about our children (students) heading off to summer, what did this year provide for those children, their families, teaching staff, administrators, etc.? Pondering these questions can offer time to reflect on what has changed because often we are so busy with today and tomorrow that we miss out on yesterday!


  • What were the children like when the year started? How can I think about who they are now and what they have learned?

  • Who were we as teaching staff at the beginning of the year and who are we now? What new things did we learn about ourselves as we supported children growing and learning? Did our interactions with children, families and colleagues change our thinking, beliefs and practices?

  • What can be provided to children and families as they head into “summer activities” and are thinking about the next school year?

  • What is it that we need to know more about? What areas in curriculum, instruction, and assessment can be explored to improve teaching and learning in the classroom?

  • What can be gained from knowing how children learn and how to provide  appropriate experiences? How can play become a more important tool for instruction and assessment?

  • Are there questions remaining that could support improved experiences for everyone: children, parents/families, teaching staff, administrators?

  • What conversations can be encouraged in which teaching staff and administrators discuss and discover the needed resources, information and strategies to support children and learning?


In reading a new book titled, “Leading Pre-K-Grade 3 Learning Communities: Competencies for Effective Principal Practice”, the NAESP (National Association for Elementary School Principals) encourages schools to look at some key elements of being effective programs for children PK-Grade 3. They ask schools, particularly led by the elementary principal (along with superintendent, school board, concerned citizens) to engage in those discussions on how to build quality in the PK-Grade 3 system, how to understand their (and everyone’s) role in building a strong link between school and community, how to engage families and communities in conversations about early learning and how to increase awareness/advocate with policymakers about quality in learning systems, and how to understand the main connection between curriculum, assessment and learning.

A webinar was held to introduce the book “Leading Pr-K-Grade 3 Learning Communities…” and one administrator from the Bloomington, Minnesota area who worked at an inner city school stated that he continually reminded his teachers of the following role they played in the lives of the students/children in their rooms. He said, “from the time they put their feet on the floor in the morning until the time they lift them off the floor at night to climb into bed, we have a role to play in helping develop the lives of these children.” He explained that the school is part of a community to engage in working with communities and families to build a high quality system for early learning.So, as this year winds down and reflection is made on how to “learn” from the experiences of this year in building stronger learning environments for children, families, school staff and communities

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