Video: Growing Stronger Pre-K Teachers in San Jose, California

Blog Post
May 2, 2018

As part of New America's ongoing reporting on how communities in California are reforming the way early childhood systems work and the way educators are trained, our partners at HiredPen captured and we produced this video to document the work in San Jose to train teachers to explicitly teach social and emotional skills.

“It’s like we have to be behavior detectives,” Tweety Yates, an expert facilitator from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, tells a group of pre-K and kindergarten teachers in San Jose, California. “It’s not always easy to figure out why a child is doing something. “

Training teachers of young children to be behavior detectives is part of larger efforts in this school district to improve early childhood systems and give young children what they need to succeed in school.  

The effort has focused on supporting social and emotional learning because research shows social-emotional competence enables children to better engage in academic tasks, work with and learn from peers, and dedicate sustained attention to learning.

“Children don’t come to school with an emotional toolbelt,” one participant said. “What you’re feeling has a name to it and that needs to be taught.”

This work includes professional development for teachers and principals, support in engaging families, the establishment of professional learning communities, coaching in early literacy and social-emotional learning strategies, and teacher leader programs.

You can read more in a new report called Extracting Success in Pre-K Teaching: Approaches to Effective Professional Learning Across Five States. It includes Five Lessons for Growing Strong Pre-K Teachers.