What is a Professional Learning Community?
A learning community is different from a traditional training. The format allows learning to “go deeper.” Participants can reflect on and practice new concepts between sessions. Ellen Galinsky, author of Mind in the Making, suggests that learning communities have several characteristics in common:
- Bring new groupings together around common topics.
- Focus on learning from and with each other.
- Share a belief that there is expertise among us all.
- Focus on active learning that is experiential.
- Engages participants in self-reflection and self-discovery.
- Use new media to connect in creative ways.
- Reframe teaching as teaching AND learning together.
- Connect policy to practice.
The Growing Minds program at ReadyKids rotates learning community topics to meet community interest. Some learning communities are open to staff from all early care and learning programs. Topics so far have been The Reggio Emilia Approach and Understanding Children’s Sensory Development. Other Learning Communities are designed for programs participating in Virginia Quality to support their quality improvement goals. Let us know if you have a topic suggestion!
Learning communities meet for several sessions, and may use various forms of social media to stay in touch between sessions. For more information, contact Gail Esterman.
ReadyKids Learning Communities are funded through grants from Virginia Quality (Virginia’s Quality Rating Improvement System) and United Way Thomas Jefferson Area and are open to all early childhood professionals. Early childhood providers that enroll in Virginia Quality are eligible for additional grants, scholarships, and supports.