As New Mexico expands investments in quality early learning opportunities for young children and their families, we need to make sure that we have a qualified and effective workforce. Through the Race To the Top – Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) grant we are providing opportunities for early childhood staff to gain a degree, and working with the 2 and 4 years Colleges and Universities to make sure that students are graduating with the knowledge and skills to work with infants, toddlers, preschoolers and families. We are also providing current teachers, home visitors and intervention staff with access to the most current information and training regarding the latest evidence based practices to promote the development and learning of young children.
Professional Development Work
Through the RTT-ELC funding we have developed the following:
- Infant Mental Health Endorsement
- A contract with the University of New Mexico - Center for Development and Disabilities to provide training and lectures regarding infant mental health and to support the endorsement of early childhood educators and early childhood education faculty
- Develop and provide trainings on Reflective Practice to FOCUS management and consultants
- Assist early childhood programs to access the infant mental health endorsement process
- Faculty Institutes
- We are conducting early childhood “Faculty Institutes” specific to incorporating the New Mexico Early Learning Guidelines, FOCUS TQRIS Full Participation and Leadership into all Early Childhood Education courses at the AA, BA and MA levels
- Cross Sector Consultation Competency Development
- We are conducting cross-sector orientation sessions and workgroups with system consultants, leadership and trainers to develop a consistent set of competencies for the New Mexico Early Childhood Consultants
- In alignment with the quality elements and criteria being measured under the FOCUS Tiered Quality and Rating and Improvement System (TQRIS) we are providing training workshops regarding the full participation of all children:
- Inclusion – Where children disabilities and other challenges such as behavior have access to early learning settings alongside typically developing children of the same age and receive the supports and intervention needed to meet their full potential.
- Culture and Language – that recognizes the importance of a child’s home language and culture on their development and how we meet the diverse needs of New Mexico families. This also includes meeting the needs of Dual language learners – children who are living in homes where the primary language is not English.
- Family Engagement and Family Centered practices – where classroom staff encourage families to be included in the classroom and establish a center to home continuum. Also, where home visiting and early intervention providers build relationships with families in order to support their parenting skills.
- Social and Emotional skills – that form the basis for all other learning and which are formed through the secure relationships with parents and other care givers, including teachers and other family members. Some parents and classroom staff may need more support and even intervention for some young children who develop social and emotional challenges that can affect their ability to learn. The Pyramid Partnership Framework is developing training based on the Center on the Social Emotional Foundations of Early Learning (CSEFEL)
- TEACH scholarships
- RTT-ELC funds are also being used to provide scholarship for people to gain a degree in early childhood at the Associates, Bachelors, Masters and Doctorate level. RTT-ELC funds are used to issue TEACH scholarship to folks wanting to get a degree. TEACH scholarships are administered under a contract with the New Mexico Association for the Education of Young Children (NMAEYC).
Professional Development Impact
The Race To the Top – Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) grant will ensure that New Mexico will have an early childhood workforce that is more highly qualified and skilled to teach and provide intervention to our youngest children and their families.