We think with the right support, teachers can build the skills and mindsets that they need to have high-quality interactions with children to promote healthy development and learning. The Lab catalyzes innovation in teacher practice through key partnerships and consulting with communities. From 2015-2019, we worked with school districts and their early childhood partners in California as part of a 10-year place-based initiative in Oakland, San Jose and Fresno, funded by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. Today, our work continues in San Jose with Franklin-McKinley School District and Educare California at Silicon Valley. 

Our professional development innovations are tailored to the needs of each community. We offer a menu of services including collaboration with community teams to design professional development models and adaptations, development of customized tools and measures for rapid cycle learning, and support for the implementation of ongoing testing and learning efforts. The Lab also shares insights, tools and innovation processes developed through these initiatives with the broader early childhood field.

Below is a snapshot of our work with communities across California.

Teaching Trauma Informed Practices to Build Children’s Resilience in Oakland

Oakland Starting Smart and Strong Initiative

One in four preschoolers across the nation have experienced trauma, which research shows can obstruct children’s ability to develop and learn. In Oakland, we supported Oakland Unified School District and City of Oakland Head Start to co-create and refine a professional development model to teach early childhood educators trauma-informed practices that help children build resiliency. Read more.

Co-creating a Teaching Model to Boost Children’s Social Emotional Skills in San Jose

Many children start kindergarten without the critical social emotional skills they need in school and in life. In San Jose, we worked with teachers and administrators in Franklin McKinley Unified School District preschool and Transitional Kindergarten classrooms, along with Santa Clara County Office of Education Head Start and California State Preschool classrooms, to customize a sustainable teaching model that embeds social emotional learning throughout the school day. Read more.

Equipping Teachers and Caregivers to Support Dual Language Learners in Fresno

In Fresno Unified School District, one out of every three children is a dual language learner. To support the unique needs of these children, we worked with Fresno Unified School District, Central Valley Children’s Services Network, Lighthouse for Children and partner organizations as needed as they develop personalized oral language learning and family engagement strategies. Read more.