Early Learning

April 2021

The early years of school matter for all of us, because they lay the foundation for later learning. This issue examines what all educators can learn from early childhood, how to align early childhood and K-12 professional learning, what principals should learn about pre-K, and how to build equity from the early years on.


The Learning Professional

Published Date

In This Issue


Investing in early learning benefits us all

Connecting the dots from early childhood through high school is vital.

Shared vision leads to quality across the early grades

When teachers and leaders work together across grades, they can learn from one another and plan strategically.

Shifting mindsets about educating young children 

As teacher candidates understand more about teaching and learning in the early years, they experience four key shifts in their pedagogical thinking.

Coaches shape early learning and beyond

The success of early learning coaches offers valuable lessons for professional learning across grade levels and settings.

Texas district learns the building blocks of pre-K

A partnership provides San Antonio’s East Central ISD support for curriculum implementation and early educator professional learning.

Early learning and K-12 go hand in hand: A conversation with Iheoma Iruka 

K-12 and early childhood learning systems can learn a lot from one another, says the founding director of the Equity Research Action Coalition.

Discipline needs an overhaul 

The way we discipline young children, and children of color in particular, is a nationwide problem. It’s time to change policies and practices.

Nashville has a blueprint to address early literacy 

A citywide initiative involving a coalition of community partners draws on local talent, expertise, and opportunities for collaboration.

All in on early learning

Elementary school leaders need professional learning to support young learners, infographic shows.

ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: Bilingual program builds a bridge to equity

An international school in Bogotá, Colombia looks to professional learning to achieve early literacy success across languages.

ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: A path to early literacy 

Missouri district teachers and coaches focus on phonemic awareness


How principals implement change effectively 

Draft and implement a plan of action based on theory and research using a tool from Learning Forward’s book The Learning Principal.

Through the lens

How this issue’s articles embody the Standards for Professional Learning.


Nested coaching links learning from coach to teacher to leader 

Nested coaching creates a tightly woven learning community to impact student outcomes.

Even coaches need coaches 

Support for new coaches encourages success, deepens learning, and helps boost morale in the face of a steep learning curve.

Video coaching puts a new lens on learning 

Video-based professional learning allows teachers to set goals, reflect, and improve on what they need at that moment.


Investing in principals offers big returns for students and schools 

A new report commissioned by The Wallace Foundation updates the evidence base about school leadership.

Data points 

The latest on new teacher study groups, mentoring, turnover among pre-K teachers, and more.


Sharron Helmke

Coaches corner

The keys to coaching outside your expertise

Angela M. Ward

Equity in focus

Why we tell our children's stories 

Denise Glyn Borders and Wendy Robinson

From where we sit

Signs of hope, actions for change 

Frederick Brown

Call to action

How can we support leaders of color? 


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