Project REEL (Resources for Early Educator Learning) was a quasi-experimental, delayed-treatment professional development (PD) design to provide training, coaching, and materials to 220 early childhood educators (ECEs) in 85 diverse, high-needs settings (family, group, and center-based) across Tennessee. Its two primary goals were to (1) increase the frequency of research-based classroom learning experiences that promote language/literacy, numeracy, and social/emotional development among diverse early learners through training and coaching to ECEs and (2) improve the language/literacy, numeracy, and social/emotional readiness of children in low-income areas through research-based training of ECEs and parents. Even with differences in ECEs’ educational backgrounds and diverse settings, teachers in both treatment groups improved and maintained their knowledge and skills in response to the intervention. Preschool children in two cohorts showed significant improvements in most language and literacy measures over the course of an academic year, and improvements were often beyond that due to maturation (using age-controlled measures). Given the amount of improvement seen across a wide array of measures, there is substantial convergent evidence that the Project REEL PD approach was successful in promoting long-lasting improvements in the practices of ECEs in diverse settings and from diverse backgrounds. This chapter follows the development, implementation, and results of two literacy-related modules (“Print Awareness” and “Book Strategies”) for directors and teachers of three- and four-year-olds. These modules are representative of our training design, with its intensive focus on coaching in the diverse settings, and will provide the most beneficial model for other ECE professional developers to follow.
Jo Sandefur, S., Warren, A.R. and Gamble, A. (2011), "Project REEL (Resources for Early Educator Learning): The Design and Implementation of a State-Wide Professional Development Initiative for Early Childhood Educators in Diverse Childcare Settings", Sutterby, J.A. (Ed.) The Early Childhood Educator Professional Development Grant: Research and Practice (Advances in Early Education and Day Care, Vol. 15), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 61-90. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0270-4021(2011)0000015007
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