1st Edition

The Early Education Leader's Guide Program Leadership and Professional Learning for the 21st Century

    Grounded in current research and theory, this practical book guides program leaders and staff developers to design and implement engaging professional development and coaching approaches. It focuses on early educator competencies essential for high-quality learning and teaching--executive functions, emotion regulation, relationship skills, and talk for learning. Illustrated with an extended vignette of an early learning center, the book highlights how addressing educators' professional needs is a pathway to children's cognitive, social–emotional, and academic growth. User-friendly features include 24 reproducible checklists, handouts, and self-study and planning tools. Purchasers get access to a Web page where they can download and print the reproducible materials in a convenient 8 1/2" x 11" size.

    1. Introduction: An Early Educator for the 21st Century
    I. Promoting Cornerstone Educator Competencies
    2. Using Executive Functions: Planning and Reflection in the Early Education Classroom
    3. Effective Emotion Regulation: Managing Emotions for Improved Learning and Teaching
    4. Cultivating Strong Relationships: Developing Children’s Relational Skills by Starting with Educators
    5. Talk for Learning and Classroom Management: Using Language for Learning and Self-Regulation
    II. Professional Development That Promotes and Supports Educator Competencies
    6. Designing Effective Professional Development
    7. Effective Learning in Groups: Professional Learning Communities
    8. Connected Coaching
    III. Conclusion
    9. Leading a 21st-Century Early Education Setting: Supporting Educators to Support Children


    Nonie K. Lesaux, PhD, is the Juliana W. and William Foss Thompson Professor of Education and Society at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Her developmental and experimental research on school-age children and youth investigates language, reading, and social–emotional development; classroom quality and academic growth; and strategies for accelerating language and reading comprehension. With Stephanie M. Jones, Dr. Lesaux is also codirector of the Saul Zaentz Early Education Initiative and coprincipal investigator of the Early Learning Study at Harvard. She is a recipient of the William T. Grant Scholars Award and the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. Dr. Lesaux has served on the Institute of Medicine and National Research Council’s Committee on the Science of Children Birth to Age 8.

    Stephanie M. Jones, PhD, is the Gerald S. Lesser Professor in Child Development and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where she also serves as Director of the Ecological Approaches to Social and Emotional Learning Lab. Dr. Jones’s research focuses on the effects of poverty and exposure to violence on children's social, emotional, and behavioral development. Her recent work addresses the impact of preschool- and elementary-level social and emotional learning interventions on behavioral and academic outcomes and classroom practices, as well as new curriculum development, implementation, and testing. With Nonie K. Lesaux, Dr. Jones is codirector of the Saul Zaentz Early Education Initiative and coprincipal investigator of the Early Learning Study at Harvard. She recently served as a member of the Council of Distinguished Scientists for the Aspen National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development.

    Annie Connors, MEd, is a practitioner with over a decade of primary teaching experience in public schools. A literacy specialist and reading coach in the Greater Boston area, specializing in providing direct instruction to students and professional development for educators, Ms. Connors has served as a literacy consultant to education publishers and research groups on a variety of programs and initiatives.

    Robin Kane is Assistant Director of Professional Institutes and Partnerships at the Saul Zaentz Early Education Initiative at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She provides professional development training and coaching to novice and experienced early educators. Most recently, she has worked on the development of early literacy curricula and interventions for an urban school district, and the design and implementation of innovative professional development programs for early education leaders. Ms. Kane founded a child development center in 1991, where she taught children and mentored teachers for over 23 years.

    "Too often, early education leaders have been left on their own to figure out how to create and maintain effective programs. This book clearly lays out the 21st-century skills that teachers need to best support young children's development. It offers specific guidance on how to build those skills through professional learning communities, coaching, and other professional development. At every step, this work is grounded in the latest research, but it doesn't stop there--it provides practical tools to help leaders in their everyday work with teachers. Every early childhood leader, from the brand-new to the deeply experienced, will find something here to help build a program that makes a meaningful difference in the lives of young children and their families."--Bridget K. Hamre, PhD, Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning, University of Virginia

    "A great deal has been written lately on developing the competencies of early education leaders, but few resources address the system skills that leaders need to foster teachers' capacities. This unique book expands the competency conversation to include essential system-building habits and strategies. The authors provide a roadmap for creating a culture of adult learning that helps educators support whole-child learning."--Vincent J. Costanza, EdD, Chief Academic Officer, Teaching Strategies, Bethesda, Maryland

    "A special strength of the book is the vignettes that depict real-life scenarios and then link to research-based strategies and specific steps to implement. The authors clearly understand the demands of teaching--and leading--and do a great job of weaving cutting-edge science into meaningful strategies for leaders to support teachers, and teachers to support students. Among other topics, the book offers the most in-depth discussion I've seen of how to help teachers understand and manage the impact of their own stress levels on the classroom culture. It really clarifies what professional development, professional learning communities, and coaching need to look like in the 21st century."--Meg McNiff, MEd, New York State Education Department, Office of Early Learning