COLLABORATIVE TEACHER PROJECT
A mentoring program for early childhood educators
The Collaborative Teacher Project (CTP) was created in 2015 with the belief that every child deserves a high-quality education, no matter their zip code. Since its inception, we have partnered with nine Title I LAUSD schools where up to 96% of the children qualify for free lunch and fall beneath HUD very low-income levels. While Los Angeles is rich in diversity, a great disparity exists between the early education offered in middle and upper socio-economic communities and those in less advantaged communities. In classrooms where creative experiences and engaging intellectual challenges take precedence over scripted instruction, worksheets, and inappropriate lesson plans, children develop the confidence, dispositions, and skills needed for school and life success. CTP classrooms are designed to nurture curiosity, flexibility, creative thinking, and democratic values that provide children with the best preparation for academic success and responsible citizenry.
We begin by connecting master early childhood mentors with public Transitional Kindergarten and Kindergarten teachers who often lack the resources or exposure to more creative, child-centered approaches. With the help of teachers, parents, administrators and community volunteers, we physically transform drab, outdated, and often dilapidated classrooms into inspiring spaces of learning for children. With the addition of new furniture, fixtures, and learning materials, CTP classrooms are designed to engage children’s curiosity and wonder, facilitate positive social engagement and provide ease of access to learning tools and materials.
Well designed early childhood classrooms are integral to childhood cognitive, emotional, and social development, but this is not enough. During the months that follow, CTP mentors work side by side with teachers in their classrooms – mentoring, modeling and inspiring deeply reflective teaching practices. Our weekly mentoring visits provide intensive support for teachers, designed to assist them in recognizing the competencies of children and the vital role teachers play in fostering critical, collaborative, and creative thinking.
The Collaborative Teacher Project also includes:
Visits to other model programs
Professional development meetings with the administrators, teachers and instructional aides
Parent meeting support, as needed
Pre- and post-assessments to evaluate professional growth and to measure student outcomes