On September 21st, Early Edge’s Local Educational Agency (LEA) Professional Learning Community (PLC) was hosted by PLC member, Dean Tagawa, Executive Director for the Early Childhood Education Division in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) for site visits at some of the district’s premiere Early Childhood Education programs. Early Edge’s LEA PLC consists of Early Learning Directors from public school districts from across the state who convene to discuss issues coming up in their work and learn together amongst peers.
Joined by PLC members from Washington Unified, based in West Sacramento, Santa Clara Unified, and the Early Edge Team, Tagawa took the PLC to visit El Sereno Early Education Center and Monte Vista Early Education Center. These Centers feature Spanish/English dual immersion California State Preschool classrooms, Collaborative (inclusion) Preschool classrooms, and new and developing Nature Explore Outdoor Classrooms. Participants were able to see the best practices LAUSD has developed to support the development of a child’s home language while also learning a second language. The site visits also showcased how teachers and aides support children with special needs during classroom activities to ensure that they are included in all activities while also having their needs met.
During the visits, LAUSD also highlighted its efforts to build Nature Explore Outdoor Classrooms at all of its Early Education Centers. At El Sereno, attendees were able to see the draft of the Outdoor Classroom plans for the center site and hear the excitement from the staff about what this will mean for the school as it is constructed over the next year. At Monte Vista, participants were able to witness the beauty of the Outdoor Classroom, which had been completed at the site during the pandemic. The center grounds feature vegetable gardens that children and staff can tend to and eat, as well as beautiful trees, plants, and grass throughout the yard that provide shade and a cooler environment to play in during those inevitably hot LA days.
After the site visits, PLC members went back to LAUSD headquarters to debrief and ask staff more detailed questions about their Early Learning programs. It was a great opportunity for LEA Early Learning Directors to share and learn from each other and discuss opportunities and challenges in overseeing robust Early Learning programs.