Exploring Roles in the ECE Community: Local and State Levels


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“Communities of practice are formed by people who engage in a process of collective learning in a shared domain of human endeavor” (Wenger, 2006, p. 1). The members of this group share a common concern for something that they do and work collaboratively together to enhance their skills and learn how to do their work better. With regard to the early childhood field, communities of practice have the potential to support and sustain quality care and education within a community, as well as “inspire us, make us creative, and produce long-term change” (Helm, 2007, p. 16).

As I conducted my own research on Communities of Practice at my local and state level, I came across three that appealed to me the most. They each have a shared interest with regard to high-quality programming and professional development.

State: Thrive Washington is a leader in unifying and strengthening the state’s developing early learning system. Members work together by rallying providers, funders, and communities to improve the way we all support children and their families. Their vision is for every child in Washington State to be ready to succeed in school and life and their mission is to build community-wide commitment to deliver high-quality early learning environments (Thrive Washington, 2015). I like this CoP because there are many areas they focus on in the early childhood field and they do a great job of bringing providers together to communicate and collaborate with one another. Thrive Washington is the leader in the state with regard to playing an important role in helping every child get to a great start by fostering partnerships at all levels and with organizations.

Local: Pierce County Association for the Education of Young Children (PCAEYC) promotes interest, study and action connecting the well-being of education of young children and their families. Their focus is working for quality programs for children and their families and supporting programs and services that nurture appropriate developmental, cultural, and linguistic practices for all young children and their families (PCAEYC, 2015). Although I am not currently a member of the PCAEYC, I have seen some incredible work from this CoP and hear a great deal about it in the community. The one thing I like most about the PCAEYC is their Leadership Academy that is offered to professionals in the field. Providers get together to develop and practice their leadership skills and network with other professionals to learn about what it means to be a leader within the early childhood community. PCAEYC also offers the “As a Teacher Grows” conference each year which provides workshops for professionals to enhance their knowledge and network with others. This is something that I do attend every year.

Local: Summer Blast is a training that is put on by the Boys and Girls Club each year and invites members of the community and other organizations that provide summer programming. It is a two-day interactive training for youth development professionals and focuses on the need to prevent the summer learning gap among youths and works to promote positive summer programming (Summer Blast, 2015). I find this CoP to be amazing because instead of each of the organizations competing for summer programming, we all get together as one and work together to offer programs to the many children in the community. Our focus is to get children off of the streets and get them involved. I particularly like the focus of preventing summer learning loss and strategically creating programs to tackle this issue. I do have a strong partnership with the local Boys and Girls Club and just had a meeting last week with their director to start planning this training for next summer. It is great that we can collaborate to provide high-quality programming during the summer.

A current job opportunity that I am interested in is a Technical Assistance Coordinator, working with Puget Sound Educational Service District (PSESD). This position is of particular interest to me because it supports the activities of ECEAP, Head Start, and Early Head Start programs and provides technical assistance and professional development to Early learning sites and promote the programs within the community. Since my educational emphasis is teaching adults, I think this would be a great job opportunity to lead and coach early childhood staff and provide trainings for their professional development. With regard to my career, my passion lies with professional and program development.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience working with children ages birth-5 years;
  • Head Start, Early Head Start, ECEAP, or other state-funded pre-k experience;
  • Experience providing professional development;
  • Knowledge of/experience with working with specific populations of children;
  • Experience working with Early Learning data collection tools;
  • BA/BS degree in ECE

Another job opportunity I found on PSESD’s website was an Early Learning Sr. Coordinator, Family Support which provides consultation and technical assistance for staff and families. It provides leadership and partnerships to enhance regional early learning systems, ensure equitable education opportunities, and sustainable child development and academic outcomes. This would be a great opportunity to work closely with families and provide professional development opportunities to staff.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience working with children ages birth-5 years;
  • Head Start, Early Head Start, ECEAP, or other state-funded pre-k experience;
  • Experience working on a cross-discipline team;
  • Experience using multiple data systems
  • BA/BS degree in Social Work, Psychology, Child & Family Studies, or related degree i.e. Early Learning.


Helm, J, (1997). Building communities of practice. YC: Young Children, 62(4), 12-16. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/docview/197641713

Pierce County Association for the Education of Young Children. (2015). What distinguishes us? Retrieved from http://pcaeyc.org/

Puget Sound Educational Service District. (2015). Careers. Technical assistance coordinator-education. Retrieved from https://www.psesd.org/job-openings/technical-assistance-coordinator-education-2/

Puget Sound Educational Service District. (2015). Careers. Early learning sr. coordinator, family support. Retrieved from https://www.psesd.org/job-openings/technical-assistance-coordinator-education-2/

Summer Blast. (2015). Summer conference for youth development professionals. Retrieved from http://www.eventbrite.com/e/summer-blast-tickets-16885464880

Thrive Washington. (2015). About thrive. Retrieved from https://thrivewa.org/about-thrive/

Wenger, E. (2006). Communities of practice: A brief introduction. Retrieved from http://www.ewenger.com/theory/

4 thoughts on “Exploring Roles in the ECE Community: Local and State Levels

  1. It is critical to get to focus on preventing youth loss, Summer Blast is great to have an active summer program and help youth to achieve learning gap and prevent loss. The jobs opportunity you interest in is useful; the Technical Assistance Coordinator is to provide professional development training for early childhood educators because they need continual vocational training. The other job opportunity you are interested in is to provide support to families, and I think this a crucial job because most of the families need help and advice.

  2. Great post! We we can do everything that we put our mind to. Hopefully you will reach one of these job opportunities that you have listed. Walden has helped us learn about different places and things around the world.

  3. Hello,
    I was very interested in the position of Early Learning Sr. Coordinator. I thought this position was very interesting and I like the idea of working with families as well as staff. I think this would be a great opportunity to reach every level in enhancing children lives.


  4. Courtney,

    Our state recently had a position very similar to the Technical Assistance Coordinator position that you described. It is their way of trying to streamline the technical assistance that is offered throughout the state by child care resource and referral trainers. This was something that I was very interested I but it was only to be housed out of Huntington which is three hours from where I live. So sometimes it can be frustrating because there are jobs out there but there may be something that makes it impossible to apply. I wish that I could promote some change in that because there are wonderful professionals who live in other parts of the state.

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