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Big News for 2019. Big Plans for 2020!

It’s been a stellar year at Early Learning Nation!

We’ve created fresh, science-fueled content every week, spanning remarkable Early Learning community building efforts, policy, research and even food. We’ve interviewed influencers who have created communities from 0-global. We launched the Progress Rating Tool (PRT) with a cool explainer video.

And more: we doubled our website visits, increased our Facebook following by 30% and more than doubled our Twitter followers.  Are you following our social accounts? And we took the ELN Studio on the road to NAEYC – Nashville and to the Society for Research in Child Development – Baltimore. The latest, 24 interviews just went live on our ELN YouTube channel. Have you subscribed to ELN on YouTube?

You’ve shown us via your social shares and discussion what stories resonated most with you and we’ve provided a recap here of the Top 10. Before you dive in, please accept our thanks for being part of our gathering place for #brainbuilding communities. We’re so excited about what’s to come in 2020.

Drumroll please: Here are the ten most popular Early Learning Nation articles for this year!

10. Kyle Zimmer Builds Community of Educators on Frontlines of Economic and Educational Justice

One of our new series, Community Cultivators, hit home with a lot of you, and Kyle Zimmer lead the way, in so many ways. Best line: “I’m not a teacher. That’s not my gift. But I know that teachers have one of the most important jobs on the planet.”

9. Counting Out Loud: Why the Census Is an Early Childhood Issue

We’re policy nerds in the extreme here at ELN, and we love work that translates the complicated world of public policy into everyday understanding. The 2020 US Census is critical for ensuring early childhood programs get the resources they need, and We Count Kids is helping families understand it, and participate in it. Best line: “Hearing from someone you trust matters. So does being heard.”

8. Little Peepers Forest Preschool: Learning the World Just Outside the Doorway

We’ll admit it: when we first heard about all-outdoor preschools, we were not entirely convinced. But Little Peepers, and other schools and communities like it, have absolutely won us over! Best line: “With forest schools and other outdoor-based programs, play is the education and nature the lead teacher.”

7. Synchronized Movement: The Story Behind a Prizewinning Video on Preschool Behavior

Not only are we policy nerds, but we’re science nerds, BIG TIME. What happens when a marine biologist switches to studying neuroplasticity in children? Naturally, she writes, narrates and illustrates an award-winning video. Best line: “[Behaviorial] insights help us move beyond inaccurate and, ultimately, damaging preconceived notions about kids being ‘good’ or ‘bad.’”

6. When Teaching Sex Education and Consent, How Young is Too Young?

In the era of #MeToo, a lot of parents and caregivers are struggling with how to explain consent to young children– what language to use, how old the children should be, and more. This article delves into those complications and offers great advice. Best line: “It’s not about sex, it’s about seeking permission to do something.”

5. Early Childhood Alliance Onondaga: A Master Class in Cross-Sector Coalition Building

When it comes to the intersection of research, public policy and community organizing (one of our sweet spots here at ELN), look no further than this brilliant how-to in creating a successful early childhood development that utilizes resources from all kinds of communities. Best line: “Although creating lasting, systemic change is expensive, doing nothing is far more costly.” 

4. David Brooks’ Weavers: Geniuses at Connecting & Building Community

Good community-building is not actually “building,” in reality. It’s discovering, and strengthening, the relationships that already exist, and making new connections across and within them. New York Times columnist David Brooks is on a mission to highlight the people and organizations doing just that with his organization, Weave. Best line: “Weave’s focus is emotional and moral rather than legislative; […] politics is downstream from culture.”

3. Let’s Create An Early Learning Community

🎉🎉🎉 If we could get away with describing this project entirely with emoji, we would. One of our most exciting announcements this year was the launch of the Digital Progress Rating Tool, a partnership with Center for the Study of Social Policy and the National League of Cities. In this piece, CSSP Senior Associate Cailin O’Connor explains just what makes an early learning community. Also! Don’t miss our ELN Studio interviews with O’Connor — How Communities Become Early Learning Communities and Measuring Up – How to Track the Metrics & Data of Early Learning Communities.

2. A New Approach to Managing Tantrums and Helping Children Learn Self-Control

When we published this new column from Bezos Family Foundation Chief Science Officer Ellen Galinsky, we thought it might be interesting for a lot of people– any new advice for managing tantrums would surely be resonant with many people in our community. Little did we know how much it would blow up! Best line: “Self-control begins with control from the outside in.”

1. Today’s Preschoolers, Tomorrow’s Jobs: New Trends in Early Education

It may seem like a stretch (or even uncomfortable) to some to link early childhood development to meeting future labor market needs, but a new Omidyar Network report on the (very) big picture of early learning was one of the more fascinating reads about these “megatrends.” This piece broke down those trends into bite-sized chunks. Best line: “Let’s build the future of our children and families together. Let’s move from scarcity to possibility.”

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