Thursday, December 3, 2009

Education Leaders Celebrate Early Childhood Education

Education leaders in the District returned to the basics of early childhood education as they watched a teacher read a story to her enthusiastic charges, they joined in an imaginary cooking class in a fully-equipped make-believe kitchen and the best part of all, officials had an opportunity to play with over-sized, multi-colored building blocks, again. Washington Teachers’ Union President George Parker relives his childhood with pre-kindergarten students at Patterson Elementary School in Southwest, on Thu., Nov. 19. Photo by Khalid Naji-AllahIn recognition of National Association for the Education of Young Children’s annual conference, Deputy Chancellor for D.C. Public Schools Kaya Henderson, Washington Teachers’ Union President George Parker and American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten visited two early childhood education classrooms at Leckie Elementary School in Southeast and Patterson Elementary School in Southwest, Thu., Nov. 19 to feature the District’s successful early childhood education programs.

“Every one of our elementary schools has a high quality early childhood program like Head Start,” Parker said. “Our early childhood [education] program is very strong and I think DCPS has a model program for the country. We are very, very proud to support it as a union.”

Henderson, Parker and Weingarten observed students in Angela Murphy’s Pre-Kindergarten class at Patterson Elementary as they talked about the first Thanksgiving with the pilgrims and the Native Americans. The officials also joined the students in “centers”, small theatrically designed play areas that emphasize literacy, social skills and learning-through-play techniques.

Henderson said that the District’s public school system continues to support and expand early childhood education programs across the city because a head start in education increases children’s chances of success.

“We want to continue to provide our educators with all of the resources that they need because we know that if we build a firm foundation at this age, students will scoot on through school and be successful in the long term,” Henderson said. Murphy, a veteran District public school teacher with 30 years of experience, echoed Henderson’s sentiment.

“If you don’t have an early childhood program that is fully-funded, the resources and the people who have the compassion and desire to teach in early childhood education, then you have problems in middle school and high school because they don’t have the foundation,” Murphy said. “This is where they get the foundation, the love of school and the love of learning.”

Patterson, which has a new, state-of-the art facility built in 2004, is located in what education officials consider to be one of the most vulnerable communities in the District -- Ward 8.

“What Patterson -- the building, the caring people who are here -- communicates to some of the most vulnerable children and families in neighborhoods that lots of people never get a chance to visit is that they are important, that they deserve a world class school and that they deserve world class educators,” Henderson said.

While the District’s education system has been hammered due to the recent teacher firings, District public school officials and union leaders teamed up to focus on early childhood education programs that appear to be working.

Weingarten said that it was important for the education leaders in the District to unite and recognize the importance of early childhood education by visiting the schools.

“This is National Early Childhood Week, so you have to not simply talk about early childhood education; you have to walk the walk. In this early childhood program you see kids playing with each other, kids being able to answer questions about pilgrims, kids being able to read and understand words and syllables and vowels. You see real education happening here,” Weingarten said.

Washington Teachers’ Union President George Parker plays with a Leckie Elementary School student as WTU Executive Director of the Office of Professional Development and Educational Issues Dorothy Egbufor looks on. “There’s been a lot of tension in terms of Washington, D.C. The fact that both the administration and the union are here together, hand-in-hand, looking at a program that works shows that we want to put aside those differences and work on behalf of children,” he said. The Washington Informer

No comments:

For WTU Members

The Washington Teachers' Union (WTU) is here to serve our members, and we encourage you to visit this blog often.

Join US!

As a new teacher in DCPS, you are automatically a member of the WTU bargaining unit as an agency fee member; however, we would like to invite you to become a full WTU member. The WTU bargaining unit consists of two categories of members: agency fee members and full union members. As an agency fee member your biweekly deduction is $28.22 and the biweekly deduction for full union membership is $33.20; a difference of only $4.98 per pay period.

As a full dues paying member of the WTU, you are entitled to representation from our highly qualified field representatives, Professional Development and Educational Research & Dissemination courses, and American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Plus benefits such as $1,000,000 liability policy and $15,000 accidental death insurance. Full dues paying members also obtain voting rights to participate in local school elections, the approval of the WTU contract, and the upcoming general election of union officers. As teachers who will have the responsibility for supervising children throughout the day, we strongly encourage all teachers to become full union members to take advantage of the $1,000,000 liability insurance coverage to protect your financial assets against possible lawsuits.

To obtain an application for Full Membership, click here.

WTU E-Portal Disclaimer

This WTU E-Portal was created and is maintained to facilitate a free exchange of ideas. The WTU E-Portal contains input from a large variety of individuals and sources which may or may not be connected with the WTU. The WTU does not necessarily agree or adopt the content or opinion of any posting on this site as its position on any subject. Further, the WTU does not necessarily agree or adopt the content or opinion of other Web sites linked from, or identified in, the WTU E-Portal. All claims otherwise would violate the spirit and purpose of the WTU E-Portal. For further information, please review the Terms of Use for the WTU E-Portal.

You are strongly urged to use and frequently update an anti-virus program. The WTU cannot and does not warrant any site linked from, or identified in, the WTU E-Portal is security tested or risk free.