This is the second year that Jumpstart (www.jstart.org) is using Powerful Interactions as the basis of our Adult-Child Interactions training for Jumpstart Corps members, the college students and community volunteers who deliver our research-based language and literacy program to preschoolers in low-income communities. After sharing Powerful Interactions in professional development discussions with our staff, we realized how useful the Be Present – Connect – Extend framework would be for Corps members, especially given that they come to Jumpstart with such a wide range of early childhood knowledge and experience. Even those who have not set foot in an early childhood classroom since they were preschoolers themselves take this framework as a reminder that they need to “quiet the static” in their own minds and connect with individual children in meaningful ways before they can extend children’s learning to achieve Jumpstart’s target language and literacy outcomes…and Mirror Talk provides a good go-to strategy for supporting oral language in so many classroom contexts! On the other end of the experience spectrum, Corps members with more early childhood expertise find that the framework and strategies reflect and supplement their prior experience. In addition to borrowing this framework for supporting positive adult-child interactions, we’ve also adopted the approach of using photographs with thought and speech bubbles to illustrate what children may be thinking during interactions with adults and what adults should be considering as they decide how they will connect and respond to children. Nearly 4,000 Jumpstart Corps members and staff are using the Powerful Interactions approach as a powerful tool in Jumpstart’s work to support kindergarten readiness for children across the country!
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