Communities of practice, or CoPs, have been used for many years to share and grow the knowledge and skills of professionals and to solve common problems. In early childhood, we have a unique opportunity to lead our own professional development and to support each other’s practice through CoPs, but it’s often difficult to know how to get started or how to sustain a community once it’s begun. Too often, we wait for someone else to “be in charge” of our learning and offer opportunities in which we can participate.
Kathi Gillaspy, MEd and Megan Vinh, PhD, co-authors of Growing Together: Developing and Sustaining a Community of Practice in Early Childhood, explore the benefits of advancing our own learning through a CoP and offer tips and strategies to lead a community from its inception through its implementation. Through this webinar, we explore strategies to:
- Develop a shared vision and structure for a community of practice.
- Leverage tools to invite members and to build the community among members.
- Build and sustain member engagement, investment, and participation.
- Master facilitation skills.
- Use evaluation to ensure ongoing improvement of members’ experiences.
Real-life examples, checklists, and ideas from existing communities of practice are shared so that you can begin thinking about your own CoP. Take charge of your own learning and ability to solve problems of practice with your peers! Come learn about CoPs and how to use them to promote collaboration and ongoing professional learning.
About the Presenters
Kathi Gillaspy, co-author of Growing Together: Developing and Sustaining a Community of Practice in Early Childhood, is the director of technical assistance at AnLar, a firm that provides research and policy analysis, technical assistance, and communications and IT development in the areas of education, human services, and management. Prior to coming to AnLar, she was an early intervention and early childhood special education provider and program director, as well as a national technical assistance provider in those same areas. She is an expert in early intervention and early childhood special education, long-term systems change, state early childhood systems, and professional development. She has led many communities of practice and currently is co-lead of the Division for Early Childhood’s (DEC) CoP Development Committee.
Megan Vinh, co-author of Growing Together: Developing and Sustaining a Community of Practice in Early Childhood, is an advanced technical assistance specialist at the Frank Porter Graham (FPG) Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is the principal investigator (PI) for the STEM Innovation for Inclusion in Early Education Center and co-PI of the Early Childhood Technical Assistance (ECTA) Center. She has facilitated numerous communities of practice and is a member of the DEC CoP Development committee, which supports the work of facilitators of communities of practice in early childhood.