Mississippi leaders develop a new quality framework for early childhood education


When Mississippi disbanded its Quality Rating and Improvement System in 2016, it left a void that destabilized and fragmented the field, with stakeholders working in independent silos and with minimal collaboration.  To address the void, advocates began vying to design and implement quality support programs and models. One such model for building and implementing cross-sector best practices is The Essential Practices of Educare.

In 2019, the Kellogg Foundation invited education leaders to visit Educare New Orleans, a WKKF grantee, to learn more about the successful outcomes of The Essential Practices. Following this meeting, leaders began an early childhood quality improvement effort focused on several targeted communities which eventually became statewide.

With the support of WKKF, Mississippi developed its own unique Essential Practices learning model as part of a statewide effort to change educator conversation and best practices around quality early childhood education.

Why This Matters

The training team developed a set of core principles for increasing educator engagement and building critical best practices for educator training success, including essential listening, learning and cross-pollinating; trainer diversity; equal access to training; and meeting educators where they are. 

“I think what’s unique about The Essential Practices of Educare is the fact that it’s a base – a foundation that a lot of people need,” says one educator. “It’s not so profound that people can’t understand it. It’s a very relatable [professional development] that people can engage and understand on their level. It gives them opportunities to really talk about what they’re doing and how they can change, or how they can redirect what they’re doing to make it better.”

Since implementing The Essential Practices model, Mississippi has seen an increase in engagement around ideas of “quality” from educators, administrators, families and community-based organizations. 

The training team is working on expanding access to The Essential Practices of Educare model in Mississippi, enabling them to follow up training with technical assistance and ensure participants feel supported as they apply their learnings to their daily teaching practice.

Learn more about The Essential Practices of Educare and its network of learning hubs for building and implementing models to advance high-quality early-childhood learning. 

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