Tuesday, August 28, 2012

California Preschool Instructional Network

Attendees participate in painting activity during breakout session of the
Annual Bay Region 4 CPIN Network meeting in Berkeley.

California Preschool Instructional Network    

The California Department of Education's California Preschool Instructional Network (CPIN) is an initiative designed to close the "school-readiness gap" for three- to five-year-old children, including English learners and children with special needs, by providing all children with opportunities to begin kindergarten ready to succeed.  The Contra Costa COE (CCCOE) is the lead educational agency that houses Bay Region 4 CPIN, serving Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Solano Counties.

CPIN provides evidence-based resources in social-emotional development, language and literacy, English language development, mathematics, visual and performing arts, physical development, and health.  In 2012-2013, CPIN will be adding history/social science, and science components.  The Network provides onsite support and technical assistance to preschools feeding into the highest need elementary schools, along with professional development and networking opportunities based on CDE publications: 
  • California Preschool Learning Foundations
  • California Preschool Curriculum Frameworks
  • Preschool English Learner Resource Guide
  • Inclusion Works! Creating Child Care Programs That Promote Belonging for Children with Special Needs
Debbie Supple, CPIN Region 4 director, and her team conduct regional network meetings for preschool and early elementary teachers, as well as other caregivers, administrators, program directors, principals, and other early childhood agency representatives that provide current evidence-based resources to support high-quality professional development.

In April this year, CPIN held their annual Bay Region 4 Network meeting.  The title of this year's network meeting was Celebration of Imagination: Foundations in Visual and Performing Arts.  Presenters included Debbie Supple, Eloisa Mendoza-Hinds (English Learner Lead), and Lisa Shaanan (Special Education Lead).  This meeting is held in a mini-conference format with hands-on resources, research-based information, and strategies for teachers and administrators to use to close the school-readiness gap.  "The goal of the network meeting is to provide attendees with the opportunity to communicate, share ideas, and build relationships, along with providing training materials to take back to their school sites to share with their colleagues," said Debbie Supple.

During the artwork breakout session, approximately 120 attendees created works of art using a variety of medium, such as paint, decoupage, and string art (see photos).
The day focused on attendees learning and experiencing through hands-on activities based on the Visual and Performing Arts CA Preschool Learning Foundations and Curriculum Framework.  The entire room was filled with colorful displays of visuals and tools they could use at their sites when incorporating visual and performing arts into their curriculum.  Attendees sang songs, danced, drummed and made music, participated in dramatic play, and created art projects.  These activities were presented in a way that was meant to show participants the fun side of teaching young children, based on the Foundations and Curriculum Framework. 

Additionally, participants learned perspectives on teaching English learners as well as children with special needs, focusing on the importance of inclusion.

On July 23-24, the COE Educational Services Division and CPIN hosted their Summer Institute: Bridging the CA Preschool Learning Foundations and Curriculum Frameworks with Transitional Kindergarten (TK).  Four separate modules were offered, including:  
  • Social-emotional development with a focus on self regulation
  • Social-emotional development with a focus on making smooth transitions between activities
  • English language development (for English learners)
  • Dialogic reading (an interactive read-aloud approach that promotes oral language and vocabulary development)
This institute evolved out of the CCCOE TK Workgroup comprised of Contra Costa County school district TK representatives, and was facilitated by Pamela Comfort, Ed.D., Associate Superintendent, Educational Services.

Preschool, TK, and kindergarten teachers, administrators, and directors were invited to attend.  "These modules were designed using the Foundations and Frameworks to help the attendees understand what children typically know and are able to do at or around 48 months, and at or around 60 months of age," said Debbie Supple.  "This makes sense since children in TK programs are not yet 60 months old and may be operating along a continuum of learning.  It was great to see TK and preschool teachers and administrators interacting across systems around what's best for our youngest children.  We have had positive feedback about the value of this institute."

The Summer Institute provided opportunities for approximately 40 plus attendees to become familiar with the CA Preschool Learning Foundations and Curriculum Frameworks as resources for intentional planning of environments, activities, and materials in the classroom to enrich learning and the development of our youngest learners. Plenty of opportunities to share ideas with colleagues were built into each session.  One participant stated, "It was very helpful to have a training that bridged Preschool-TK-Kindergarten!  I have much more clarity about how TK will fit into this continuum."

For more information about TK, visit the CCCOE TK web page  or contact Pamela Comfort.  For information about how to get involved with CPIN, contact Debbie Supple.