Top five takeaways from the Educare Learning Network Meeting

All of our Educare schools—from Seattle to Maine— joined in Washington, DC, on April 4-7 to explore early learning strategies at the 2017 Educare Learning Network Meeting. The annual meeting is an opportunity to connect, collaborate and celebrate accomplishments.

This year’s meeting was hosted by Educare Washington, DC, and focused on the theme of “Connected, Caring, Committed.” The week was full of valuable takeaways, including:


1. Connections are powerful
From the nurturing relationships children need with adults to the support that teachers, parents, school staff and partner organizations provide each other, connections form the foundation of quality early learning programs. Through sessions and time for networking, the meeting focused on the importance of collaboration and working together. “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together,” said Jessie Rasmussen, president, Buffett Early Childhood Fund, quoting a proverb.

2. Partnering with families helps children get the strongest start
To strengthen family engagement at early learning schools, it is important to partner with parents and learn from each other. “Nothing is possible unless we have a strong, trusting relationship with parents and move through the journey together,” said Cynthia Jackson, senior vice president, Educare Learning Network.

Educare parents shared their experiences and played an essential role at the meeting, especially in conversations about how early learning schools can better partner with parents in their child’s education. “My experience at Educare has helped me to be able to support other parents with school and parenting challenges,” said Whitney Pingleton, an Educare Tulsa parent.

Keynote speaker, Dr. Catherine Ayoub, director of research and evaluation at the Brazelton Touchpoints Center, also talked about the research behind family engagement and how intentional and active engagement with parents benefits children, families and staff.

3. Information is power
From family engagement to classroom quality to attendance, Network Meeting attendees discussed the meaning and importance of data. They also explored how early learning teachers, staff and parents can use data to strengthen child and family outcomes and how sharing data and best practices can be a powerful way to improve early childhood education.

4. Learning is continuous
Educare is a learning lab. Schools are learning from families, the field and each other in all aspects. During collaborative sessions, Educare schools shared experiences and lessons learned from various programs and techniques they have implemented at their schools—spanning a wide range of topics from the two-generation model to early childhood advocacy.

5. Create an inspiring environment for children
Educare Washington, DC, school staff welcomed attendees and showed how they provide a nurturing and inspirational environment for children in the nation’s capital through a tour of the school. The tour also included a full artistic experience with local music, art and poetry, showing the importance of creative expression and new ideas.

For more takeaways from the meeting, follow #EducareMeeting on Twitter and check out photos from the meeting: