Research shows that many early childhood practitioners do not have the confidence and competence they need to serve young children with disabilities. One reason is because early childhood teacher preparation programs often do not require any courses in working with young children with disabilities. This can be the case even when a program’s stated mission is to prepare early interventionists and early childhood special educators.
What We Do
CONNECT is developing web-based modules and self-paced, self-guided courses on effective research-based practices. Each CONNECT Module and Course focuses on a discrete practice in a key content area (e.g., inclusion, family-professional partnerships, transition) and is organized around the 5-Step Learning CycleTM.
The courses and modules are designed to build early childhood practitioners’ abilities to make evidence-based decisions. They emphasize a decision-making process, realistic problems to solve, the importance of integrating multiple perspectives and sources of evidence, the relevance and quality of content, and feedback.
Information is presented in a variety of formats including audio and video clips, activities, and handouts and the modules are easily adaptable to the needs of multiple audiences and contexts. There are also many resources to support instructors in using the modules. The modules are available at no cost while the courses are priced at $30/course.
How we do it
Collaboration is a driving force throughout the work of CONNECT. Module topics were determined by the needs of faculty and other professional development providers, administrators, and families. And modules are being developed with constant feedback, testing, and refining based on people’s experiences. The flow of knowledge must be two-way and ongoing— a notion that serves as a core value of our work.