A New Day for Early Learning in Wyoming
Author: Julie Eastes
Recently, I watched the sun come up in one of my favorite places in Wyoming. The elements of a perfect sunrise all came together at that moment. It was warm, still, and the sky was cloudless-rare for March. The mountains reflected on the water like a mirror as the sun moved slowly over the canyon. It was like watching living art. A sunrise welcomes the day and invites us to start again. Each day is a chance for a new beginning. When everything comes together, it can be breathtaking. The new Wyoming Early Learning Standards are also the chance for a new start. Infusing what we know about early learning from research and the expertise of Wyoming voices, the new standards are a new beginning, a new day.
The development of the updated standards document is influenced by Wyoming stories, Wyoming families, Wyoming educators, and Wyoming leaders in early childhood. Their thoughts and reflections give insight into the process.
“It has been an honor to be a part of the update team for the Wyoming Early Learning Standards. Coming together with other early childhood professionals that have a passion for teaching was so exciting! We spent time collaborating and learning from one another to build this tool not just for teachers but for the children we serve as well.
My hope with this tool is to make early childhood teachers feel empowered. I want them to find confidence in their teaching, learn new skills, collaborate with one another, and find joy in what they do. I want them to be able to use this tool to create a classroom environment that is safe, inclusive, fun, and inviting to every student and parent that steps into it. I am excited to use some of the ideas in the Wyoming Early Learning Standards in my own classroom and look forward to sharing it with you all!”
Standards Update Team
“I love how involved the process of updating the standards was. Being part of the development team was a great opportunity. I was able to learn and collaborate with various Early Childhood educators, leaders, and advocates around the state. During this time, we had rich discussions on the essential parts of this document and how to best use standards as a tool to empower educators. I think the most exciting part of working on this team was seeing the need for educators to have a voice and giving them a tool that helps encourage their passion for teaching. This document not only empowers educators but equity is embedded throughout the document which empowers children and their families as well. “
“I have already started discussions with Early Childhood leaders and educators in my areas. I am hoping for each area I serve to create their own document of how each standard looks in their program/area. This will hopefully help educators generate and share ideas. As they use the standards and this document, I hope they will feel empowered to make it their own and fit the children and families they serve. Not only can this document help educators collaborate, but I also hope that it will create a cohesive vision of Early Childhood in our state, where educators can focus on developmentally appropriate practice and equity for children while building on their strengths.”
Wyoming Early Childhood Professional Learning Collaborative, Lander
“I think this new tool will help elevate early childhood education across our state; it provides educators, caretakers, and parents with the language to see that the things we do in everyday life can be profound learning opportunities for young children.”
Wyoming Early Childhood Professional Learning Collaborative, Sheridan
“This document was created by a group of extremely passionate educators from around the state of Wyoming. We collaborated on ideas, worked together, and created something that gives teachers across the reins.”
The Neighborhood School, Cheyenne.
“These standards unify us, all of us who have an impact on young children by creating a vision of what each child is capable of and how we can help them get there.”
Forward Footsteps Childcare, Green River
I believe the Wyoming Early Learning Standards will empower educators by placing significant value on their work and expertise. As families, educators, and caregivers interact with young children in our early childhood spaces, I hope that they will embrace this new vision. Each time we reflect on our work with a new, collective purpose, it feels like the beginning of a new day!