From the very start, the Early Learning Community (ELC) was a collaborative venture that would not have existed without extensive interaction between many special individuals. As a group, the authors are grateful to one another for committing time, knowledge, and skills over several years to work in the ELC and contribute to this book in different ways. We take responsibility for the views expressed which are not associated with any setting or agency that participated in the ELC but are solely the provenance of the authors.
For each of us, there are significant mentors, namely Dr. Christine O’Hanlon, the late Doctors, Harriet Cuffaro and Van Burd, each of whom had a profound impact on the development of our critical thinking about early childhood education, and so influenced the shape of the ELC. Colleagues must be recognized, namely Dr. Emilie Kudela and Beth Elberson, who emphasized the importance of collaboration between the college and local preschool agencies involved in early childhood teacher education programs. Media staff and graduate students played a vital role in supporting teacher candidates’ use of technology. These individuals include Dawn Van Hall, Hailey Ruoff, Justin Stewart, Loren Leonard, Steven Marstall, Bryant Withers, Kristen Jones and Matt Jones. Professionals in the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, namely Glen Clarke and Amy Henderson-Harr, were pivotal in helping the authors clarify goals and procedures in the grant submission process and ensuring all requirements were itemized. Joe Ziegler, at the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (NYSOCFS) was a strong advocate of the ELC and faithfully attended each of our ELC professional development conferences. John Beecher in the Finance Office provided thorough oversight in making sure grant funds were spent well and grant progress reports were submitted to the State in a timely manner.
We would like to show our appreciation to the many extraordinary administrators and educators in varied preschool agencies who participated in the ELC. There are too many to name individually, but we would like to convey here what an honor it was to work with all administrators and educators in preschool settings in Cortland County. Those administrators and educators showed enormous courage in their willingness to participate in the ELC. They graciously opened their classroom doors to us, and agreed to investigate their own teaching challenges in support of improving early childhood teaching approaches. The goal now, is to align educators’ practice during Practicum, with teacher education Standards, to benefit teacher candidates’ professional preparation.
Thank you to all early childhood teacher candidates who participated in the ELC, and worked in teams of educators and in field placement classrooms during Practicum. Teacher candidates’ ability to form enquiring professional relationships with senior educators, together with the extra work they completed in the ELC, was often remarkable.
We owe enormous gratitude to our families who have supported us through this long and eventful journey. We thank them for giving us time and encouragement to see the venture through. John Bridge generously provided us with constructive and scholarly feedback. Martin Tucker must be acknowledged for the highly creative work he did in producing visuals to illustrate chapters in the book. Many thanks also to Bob Nichols, Ed Triana, and Antonio Triana for the constant patience and understanding they showed throughout the ELC project.
Thank you to our peer reviewers, Dr. Jeanne Galbraith and Diane Richards for their constructive feedback.
Finally, thank you to our editor, Nancy Oliveri, who worked to improve the clarity and flow of this book, and to Allison Brown and her team for their support and expertise through the editing process.