The early-childhood initiative of the Clinton Foundation has released a newly revamped, free online professional development program designed to help teachers promote early learning.
The head of Too Small to Fail presented the online tool known as “STRIVE for 5: Talk, Read, Sing, Early Learning Boot Camp” Friday during the National Head Start Association conference in Anaheim, Ca.
The STRIVE for 5 website allows early-childhood educators to go through five online lessons on topics such as creating a literacy-rich environment and engaging children in playful learning. It also provides educators with resources such as posters for the classroom and tip sheets in English and Spanish for the educators to share with parents.
“The goal is to equip early educators with tools to support young children’s early brain and language development and overall improve the quality of the early-learning environment,” said Patti Miller, the Too Small to Fail CEO.
Miller also announced today Friday that early-childhood educators who participate in the program will be able to earn training hours toward a Child Development Associate credential, which is awarded by the Council for Professional Recognition. That aspect of the program is set to begin next month after the council determines the appropriate number of training hours to make available for completing the course.
“Having a program that can promote improved performance and then provide recognition to early educators is really critical for the advancement of the field and also for helping get our kids ready for kindergarten,” said Miller.
YMCA Pilot Program
STRIVE for 5 was first launched two years ago, and Two Small to Fail conducted a pilot program with YMCA child-care workers last year.
That program ran from May to December and included 42 YMCA sites in 15 states. More than 100 YMCA educators completed the online course, and more than 40 of them took part in a survey about the program.
The survey found that 98 percent of the participants would recommend the program to other YMCA early-childhood educators. It also found that 85 percent of those surveyed increased the time they spent reading to the children in their care following participation in the program, and on average, they read to the children more than once a day.
Miller, who stressed the importance of talking, reading, and singing to young children, called the results encouraging particularly as they related to reading.
“A lot of times what we see is that the talking and singing might be happening more than the reading, so we were really encouraged to see that there was such an increase in the amount of time reading with children after participation in the program,” said Miller.
To date, more than 1,500 people have signed up online to use the program. Too Small to Fail has also handed out 5,000 STRIVE for 5 toolkits with resources from the program to YMCA early-childhood educators and to educators at conventions of the National Head Start Association and the National Association for Family Child Care.
STRIVE for 5 was developed by early-learning educators as well as researchers in the field and experts from Too Small to Fail, the National Head Start Association, and the National Association for Family Child Care.
Image by Getty
A version of this news article first appeared in the Early Years blog.