Photos by: Charles Martin
San Francisco may be accustomed to glitzy galas and opening nights, but Saturday evening at the Children’s Creativity Museum theater was a distinctly different kind of red carpet affair. Preschool educators were in the limelight as First 5 San Francisco and the Teaching Channel debuted a new video series showcasing state-of-the-art teaching in the city’s Preschool for All program.
Proud students and their families participated in honoring their beloved teachers, who were the celebrity movie stars for the evening. Preschool teachers, children, and parents dressed up for the occasion, which was deliberately staged as a red carpet movie premiere to elevate the importance of preschool teachers and the masterful methods by which great teachers motivate young children to learn.
“I’m not accustomed to this kind of fanfare, but it’s really gratifying to see my fellow preschool teachers and our profession being celebrated in this fashion,” said Pacific Primary teacher Brian Silveira, one of the teachers featured in the video series. “I hope that these videos will help build a greater sense of community among early educators across the country, through which we can all learn from one another.”
The Teaching Channel, which produces videos of effective teaching practices to inspire and guide K-12 teachers online and through a weekly PBS program, chose San Francisco as its launching pad for its first foray into preschool, a series of 20 videos entitled, “Best Practices in Early Childhood Education.”
“We’re thrilled to have a new ‘YouTube’-like platform for sharing examples of great teaching, available on-demand and free to teachers, teacher trainers, and anyone else interested in what high-quality preschool looks like,” said Laurel Kloomok, Executive Director of First 5 San Francisco, the department that administers the city’s universal preschool program.
Early education has come into sharp focus as more policymakers and education leaders recognize the critical impact that preschool can have on children’s long-term academic success. From San Francisco Unified School District Superintendent Richard Carranza to President Obama himself, the call for expanding opportunity for all children to attend high-quality preschool has been loud and clear, yet what constitutes “high quality” is seldom understood well, even in the education community.
“Teaching Channel was thrilled to capture best practices in early childhood education in diverse preschools across San Francisco.” said Teaching Channel Education Content Manager Lilly Jones. “Through these videos, we see effective teachers engaging all children in learning. We know that meaningful early childhood experiences lead to academic success throughout the grades and couldn’t have been more happy to capture the magical teaching happening in San Francisco.”
San Francisco’s Preschool for All initiative, which was created when voters approved Proposition H in 2004, has invested $94 million over the last eight years in expanding equal opportunity for 18,000 children to attend high-quality preschool.
A significant part of the investment, now $8 million a year, is dedicated to teacher training and professional development, to insure that preschool teachers are up to date with the latest research-based practices in early education. Independent evaluators have found that Preschool for All features some of the highest levels of quality in the nation for its learning environments and instructional quality.
The videos in the initial series cover topics such as early literacy development, dual language learning, science, social and emotional learning, and mathematics. The first ten videos, and an accompanying video guide, can now be found at www.teachingchannel.org . The Teaching Channel will release the remaining videos in the coming weeks.
San Francisco preschools featured in Saturday nights premier were: 1st Place to Start; GLIDE Family, Youth and Childcare Center; Kai Ming Head Start; Mission Neighborhood Centers; Pacific Primary; and South of Market Child Care.
Funding for the video series was provided by the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, a private family foundation located in San Francisco.