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SED’s Early Childhood Learning Lab provides training for Boston teachers

New preschool programs call for more professional development

In an ongoing effort to add to preschool programs for students throughout the city — and help new teachers develop “a common language about quality programming for young children” — teachers and administrators from the Boston Public Schools will visit the Early Childhood Learning Lab at the School of Education on Thursday, December 8.

The visit, the second of this semester, is part of a new collaboration between SED and the Boston school system, intended to provide professional development for the 21 new preschool teachers added to the system this year.

“We feel really honored that we can do this,” says Marcia Edson, a curriculum and teaching instructor at SED and the coordinator of the program. “It’s a nice way for teachers to see how development really occurs, both within the teaching environment and in the curriculum.”

The Early Childhood Learning Lab is operated at the University as a training ground for student teachers. There are currently 20 children from the greater Boston area enrolled in the program, and SED student teachers work in the classroom on a rotating basis.

The Boston Public School teachers make three or four visits to the Early Childhood Learning Lab. The visiting teachers observe interactions and watch as teachers introduce new activities and materials into the curriculum. Then they discuss techniques, vocabulary, and materials that can be implemented into their own preschool classrooms.

The professional development program continues into the spring semester to provide an overview of the children’s development. “It’s to see how the classroom evolves over several months,” Edson says, “how the materials change, how the interactions change, and how the children have changed.”

This week’s visitors include teachers from several schools, as well as the language arts director for the school system and the head of the Reading First program.

“Boston is very committed to having a strong academic program for the children,” Edson says. “And they just felt very strongly that this was exactly what they needed.”