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Early Bird

Early Bird Learning Adventures: An Oregon effort for Latino communities

From Durham to Oregon, models to empower early childhood teachers

Early Bird readers, hello again. Newcomers, welcome! If you were forwarded this email, you can sign up here to receive it every two weeks, and join our conversation on issues facing North Carolina’s young children and those who support them. If you’re already a subscriber, please help us reach more people by sharing this with your friends and co-workers interested in early childhood education. 

Liz and Katie with leaders from Capaces Leadership Institute and the Children’s Institute in Oregon.

We’ve had a whirlwind of a fall, traveling the country to search for ways North Carolina can better meet the needs of its young children and those who care for them.

Our latest Learning Adventure took us the farthest yet: Oregon. A regional effort in the Willamette Valley was particularly inspiring. The project, called Primeros Pasos, taught us about the power of unlikely advocates championing child care. Mike McNally, owner of Fairsing Vineyard & Winery, has become an expert in child care after hearing that a lack of child care access was one of the biggest needs of the vineyard’s stewards and their families.

Unlike many business owners waking up to the child care crisis, McNally dug deep, making it his mission to understand the systemic issues underlying a lack of access for families. He paired up with Jaime Arredondo, executive director of Capaces Leadership Institute, and soon realized: “It’s not about the building, it’s about the workforce,” he said.

That’s why Primeros Pasos, a consortium of early childhood organizations and supporters, is focused on supporting existing providers, recruiting new ones, and providing scholarships to students studying early education. And it’s doing so with Latino leaders, and the needs of their communities, at the forefront. Read more here about how this project got started and where it’s headed.

‘The work of healing’ in Durham

Back home, Katie brings us an inspiring story from Durham you don’t want to miss, featuring Kate Goodwin, owner of Kate’s Korner Learning Center.

Goodwin has big plans for expanding high-quality early care and education across Durham. And at the heart of her vision is taking care of early childhood professionals — “helping teachers see their own humanity, dignity, and worth,” Katie writes.

That means living wages, benefits, unlimited paid time off, and support for education. But it also goes deeper:

“This is absolutely the work of healing,” Goodwin said of the empowerment model. “How do I heal that person? And then how do I allow them to free flow that down [to students]?”

I had the privilege of visiting Kate’s Korner with Katie a couple months ago, and left filled with hope. I think you’ll feel the same from spending the time with Katie’s piece.

We’re headed to New Mexico this week for our final Learning Adventure! Thank you for following along, for asking questions, and for all the work you do for North Carolina’s students. We’ll be back in the new year, and are excited to bring you more insights from our travels.

More from EdNC on early childhood

Child care teacher pay at top of challenges ahead of next session, legislators say

Increased compensation for child care teachers — who make some of the lowest wages of any industry — was at...

An ‘empowerment model’ of child care takes root in Durham

Kate Goodwin describes her vision for early childhood care and education as being like a tree: “When a seed is...

Oregon's regional 'Primeros Pasos' brings together sectors to build child care for Latino communities

In 2021, Mike McNally found himself on an unexpected mission. As owner of Fairsing Vineyard & Winery an hour outside...

As sites close in North Carolina, ‘a new era of child care’ begins in Vermont

On a recent Wednesday in Burlington, Vermont, a teacher blew bubbles over two infants lying side by side, of the...

Chirp! Chirp! Opportunities to share your voice

What ways are your programs and communities supporting early childhood teachers? We want to know about more inspiring efforts in North Carolina. Reply to this email and let us know.

The big picture for little kids

Taking flight! Opportunities to spread your wings

  • A webinar on trauma healing during the perinatal period - From NC Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Association

    Dec. 12, 11-1 ET

    Ghosts in the Frontera: Integrating Trauma Healing and Migrant Justice During the Perinatal Period

    From the organizer: “This training will invite participants to reflect on the intersections of immigration trauma and perinatal mental health. Strategies for healing in relationship during the perinatal and postnatal period will be explored using a de-identified clinical vignette.”

  • An advocacy network for moms - From MomsRising

    From the organizer: “The volunteer New Beacons of Hope Community Leaders program will develop your leadership as you mobilize your local community to take action.”

  • A webinar on ideal learning in Head Start - From Trust for Learning

    Dec. 14, 1 pm ET

    In Head Start, Our Ideals are Possible

    From the organizer: “Join Trust for Learning on December 14th at 1pm to learn from Montessori, Tools of the Mind, HighScope, Reggio-inspired, and Waldorf partners from around the U.S. These leaders will share how they have worked creatively within Head Start guidelines to create ideal learning environments for all children and families. We’ll also explore opportunities for collective action in response to newly-proposed rule changes and the possibility of reauthorization in the coming years.”

  • Grants for Western NC in-home care - From Dogwood Health Trust

    From Dogwood: “The majority of our grant investments will be made through our Strategic Priority Grant Opportunity in the first half of the year. The Strategic Priority Grant applications will open on November 13, 2023.”

    Included in the organization’s 2024’s priorities are:

    • “Continue to support two ECE Workforce cohorts.
    • Make exploratory/learning investments into family-centered early childhood education in homes and community spaces.”
Liz Bell

Liz Bell is the early childhood reporter for EducationNC.