Author: Charlotte Diffendale
Role: State admin/coordinator
Location: Providence, RI
The Rhode Island Early Childhood Summer Institute, now in it's 8th year, has approached each institute thematically. Themes have included early literacy, parental involvement and appropriate assessment.
Community teams are invited to apply to participate in the institute. Throughout the week, the teams begin to plan a project or intervention that they will implement over the course of the following school year. Recognizing that a variety of perspectives should inform any discussion about the education of young children, is essential, especially if the plan is to be successfully implemented, the community based teams must include at a minimum: representatives of Head Start and private preschool and early care providers, a parent, representatives of early intervention or special education preschool, a primary teacher and a public school administrator.
Working collaboratively, the teams ensure that all interests in the early childhood community are represented and the project design refelects the true needs of the individual community.
During the following fall , teams continue to work through their project and receive consultation and feed back from colleagues and institute staff through regularly scheduled follow up sessions. It is expected that projects will be fully implemented by the end of the school year. Among the expectations for teams is that they will present their proposed projects to other members of the local early childhood community including local school district administration, local Head Start and preschool directors as a means of cultivating more community innput and particiaption Participants make elect to earn Professional Development Credits (PDCs) through the Department of Education or graduate credit through the University of Rhode Island.