(aka) Zero to Three National Center for Infants Toddlers and Families
1255 23rd Street, NW
Washington, DC 20037
Expanding the Circle ---
When our Western Office decided to reach more professionals at the community level using a mentoring strategy, Rosa Arevalo enthusiastically supported the idea. She jumped at the chance to partner with our Regional Manager, Leticia Lara, to implement a community-based "learning circle" model at her agency in Los Angeles. Leticia collaborated with Rosa and her colleague, Viviana Esteves, to define objectives, determine content, and build a discussion format for early childhood topics including early literacy, attachment, caring for children with special needs, and multicultural activities.
To keep all participants engaged and active in their learning, Leticia, Rosa, and Viviana created a safe environment and instilled confidence in each member of the circle. By holding the training at the community center and being culturally responsive to the needs of participants for whom English is a second language, they established a convenient and comfortable forum for sharing experiences and best practices.
The 18 participants were together for eight sessions and "the quality of the interaction was amazing," said Rosa. By providing an effective learning experience for these professionals, the circle indirectly helped improve the lives of the 82 infants and toddlers in their care. Furthermore, both the participants and ZERO TO THREE are looking for opportunities to broaden and increase the impact of the learning circle program. The participants are sharing the model with their colleagues, and our Western Office is actively seeking ways to extend this creative training approach to other community-based early childhood teams.