- Innovations: The Comprehensive Toddler Curriculum
- Early Childhood News Director's Choice Award
- Innovations: The Comprehensive Infant Curriculum
- Early Childhood News Director's Choice Award
- Innovations: Infant/Toddler Child Development
- Distinguished Achievement Award
Toddler Curriculum, The Comprehensive Infant Curriculum: A Self-Directed Teacher's Guide, The Comprehensive Toddler Curriculum: A Self Directed Teacher's Guide, and The Comprehensive Infant and Toddler Curriculum, Trainer's Guide. The texts are designed to be used as a pre-service model, an in-service model or an annual all-day training plan. Focusing on the development of children from birth to age three, the first book offers teacher an in-depth guide to the underlying ages and stages, theories, and best practices of the early childhood field. The self-directed manuals offer 40-plus hours of instruction on such topics as: developmental tasks; using forms to document events, progress and interactions; using anecdotal observations; creating supportive learning environments; supporting emerging literacy; and developing activities and experiences that address the needs of infants and toddlers.”
—Curriculum Review Magazine
Praise for The Comprehensive Preschool Curriculum:
“This resource is so wonderful... this (is) a very easy and appealing curriculum to use...The topics covered in this curriculum are right on for children 3 to 5 years old. It covers all the interests and issues facing preschool children in a fun and interactive way. This resource will pave the way for children to transition easily into more formal education. Bravo!”
—Jody Martin, Educational Consultant
“Comprehensive is such an apt word to describe the latest volume in the Innovations curriculum series. Blending child development theory with knowledge about best practices in classroom learning environments, observation and assessment, and parent partnerships, The Comprehensive Preschool Curriculum is an indispensable guide for preschool teachers to plan meaningful learning experiences for young children. The book will also serve as a terrific text for early childhood curriculum courses in preservice teacher education programs.”
Q: What makes Innovations different from other early childhood education programs?
Innovations isn’t an early childhood program. It is an educational consulting firm. So, to answer the question, what makes Innovations different, the relationships we form with clients makes us different. We work with them over time offering consistent, comprehensive services that fit unique and changing needs. Innovations also supports programs who use the many books I have published in their programs and program operations.
Q: Why are interactive environments so important to young children’s learning experience?
To quote T. Berry Brazelton, “Nothing good happens to children outside of warm, reciprocal relationships.” Dr. Brazelton understands that the quality of the relationship predicts so many of young children’s educational and life outcomes. Early brain development, emotional development, language development, physical development, social development, and cognitive development are all influenced by initial and ongoing relationships. This makes ensuring that families and teachers know how to initiate and sustain positive, reciprocal relationships is really job one. Everything else builds on that firm, strong foundation. One component of Innovations’ mission is to support teachers and programs in developing and maintaining such relationships.
Q: You’ve been working in the field of early childhood education for more than twenty years. How has the landscape of education changed over that time? What challenges do our children face now and in the future?
The biggest challenge to young children today is the pace of childhood. Life for little ones is so hectic for so many children.
The biggest challenge for teachers is the aggressive increase in qualifications that is not supported by parallel increases in compensation. We are asked to know more and to do more every day. Persevering in this educational/employment situation is getting harder and harder.
The biggest challenge for teacher educators is finding ways to help teachers gain the knowledge and skills they need to cope in this stage of dynamic and systematic change. Technology has changed the way educational experiences are delivered but learning is still predominantly the purview of the individual. Supporting teachers in training to become lifelong learners is a challenging, often lonely job.
Q: How has the field of education evolved over the years? How have standards impacted teaching methods? How have teachers adapted to these changes?
The biggest challenge for teachers today is the aggressive increase in qualifications that is not supported by parallel increases in compensation or clear career pathways. We are asked to know more and to do more every day. Finding committed people to persevere in this educational/employment situation is getting harder and harder. Nevertheless, early childhood teachers are enrolling in college in unprecedented numbers as they work to improve their preparedness and increase their educational credentials.
The biggest challenge for teacher educators is finding ways to help teachers gain the knowledge and skills they need to cope in this stage of dynamic and systematic change. Technology has changed the way educational experiences are delivered but learning is still predominantly the purview of the individual. Supporting teachers in training to become lifelong learners should be at the heart of all of our educational experiences.
Standards have always been a part of education and reflected in the teaching strategies we use with adults. The new ingredient is measuring teaching competence by children’s educational progress as if nothing happened to the child before he or she encountered a particular teacher and nothing will happen after that encounter. This, of course, doesn’t reflect the ecological nature of children’s learning and experience and discounts the dynamic role of development in learning. Of course, effective teachers matter to children, particularly at risk children. On the other hand, a year is a very short time in a child’s life and we have to work hard to keep one year’s experience from predicting a child’s future.
The following Professional Development opportunities are offered by Kay Albrecht:
- How to Use the Innovations Series: This introductory workshop helps teachers learn the basics of the Innovations program. Participants are required to purchase curriculum books prior to workshop.
- Using the Innovations Series Specialized Workshops: Specialized Workshops focus on either infant, toddler, preschool, or pre-k components of the Innovations program.
- Using the Innovations Series: Introductory Workshop for Directors and Principals: This introductory workshop on the Innovations series is specifically targeted toward Directors and Principals.
- Using the Innovations Series: Improving Professional Development, Part I: This seminar introduces appropriate adult teaching and learning strategies and supports professional development specialists in planning, implementing, and evaluating the effectiveness of their offerings.
- Using the Innovations Series: Improving Professional Development, Part II: This advanced workshop is for directors, administrators, and education specialists focuses on individualized and aggregated professional development for teachers working with children from birth to age 6. It includes coaching, mentoring, and supervising teachers and assessing professional development needs. This strengths based approach is designed to increase teaching competence through real time connections between managers and their teachers. Participants are required to purchase curriculum and training books prior to workshop.
- Innovations Teachers' Institute: An institute format introduces teachers to the Innovations Series, how to use it in the classroom, designing and using curricula, observation and assessment, child development, best practices, parent involvement and participation, teaching roles and strategies, environment, and teacher-child interactions. The institute format is designed to get teachers to be able to use the curricula independently and systematically with early learning standards and accountability measures. Participants are required to purchase curriculum books prior to workshop.
- Innovations Train the Trainer - Part 1: Introduction to training teachers to use and implement the Innovations series. Participants must have or purchase the Innovations curricula books for age groups served.
- Innovations Train the Trainer—Advanced
Designed for organizations that adopt Innovations and want to build in house capacity to provide ongoing support for teachers in curriculum planning, observation and assessment, family partnerships, environment, child development, interactions, coaching and mentoring teachers, and professional development planning. This workshop provides in-depth consideration of how to use the components of curriculum to support program quality.
- The Right Fit: Recruiting, Selecting, and Orienting Staff
This workshop focuses on how to recruit, select, and orient teaching staff in an increasingly difficult environment. The techniques and strategies are effective for creating a continuous recruitment plan, involving current staff in selection, and insuring phased orientation of new hires. Participants are required to purchase The Right Fit: Recruiting, Selecting, and Orienting Staff.
6 hours; 50 participants maximum
- Managing Infant and Toddler Programs
This workshop focuses on leadership, management, and administration of infant and toddler programs. It includes providing creating structural supports for teacher quality and strategies for program operation that support relationship building between children, their families, and the teacher and program.
Kay is also available as a keynote speaker.
Introduction to the Innovations Preschool Curriculum: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WuIBa9gvB7
Introduction to the Innovations series: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ndkfY-QB5KE
Introduction to the Innovations Toddler Curriculum: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2CdOWn3xJ8