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Honoring Creative and Supportive Educators

News for 06.01.17
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By Jennie Chien, M.A.,ECSE, Director of Inclusive Early Childhood Education

Last Month, we celebrated the nearly 40-plus team members serving at the Learning Links inclusive preschools in Burlingame and Mountain View for Educator Appreciation Month. I’m honored to work with them, and thinks it’s important to recognize their extraordinary impact on the children in our community and highlight what makes this team exceptional.

Every day these teachers exercise their awareness, expertise, creativity and kindness to create inclusive environments where students with special needs and typically-developing students can learn and play side-by-side. These amazing teachers collaborate with each other, families and professionals from the school district to cultivate this ideal environment for each student. They incorporate developmentally appropriate, language-rich, play-based learning experiences suitable for all children regardless of ability, temperament, culture, or socioeconomic background.

At Learning Links, teachers approach early childhood education with a unique perspective grounded in flexibility, creativity and communication. They understand that this flexible inclusive approach generates the opportunity to serve children and their families. As a result, I’ve seen their proactive and creative efforts change students’ lives. For example, students might not thrive in a typical preschool environment. Then, they attend Learning Links where teachers are equipped to recognize the diverse needs of children and they really thrive.

The teachers at our preschools often can provide more opportunities for peer-social interaction and customized learning than typical school settings. We have lots of small-group activities, so students can move throughout the day, find greater enjoyment in the school experience, and get more direct teaching. At Burlingame, we also offer smaller classes for students who prefer less stimulation.

The hard work of the Learning Links team has helped create a partnership with the local school district. Lately, we’ve watched Learning Links thrive as families have connected with us through school district referrals. It’s also encouraging to see the school district incorporate an integrative teaching approach, which is similar to our more fully inclusive environment. I’m proud to see that Gatepath and the Learning Links team have helped contribute to a growing awareness of inclusive education.

With the broader community seeing the value of an inclusive learning environment, combined with an exceptional team of teachers, interest continues to grow as well as the wait list for both schools. As we look to the future, we know there is a growing need and desire for services, so we’re just starting a conversation about expanding Learning Links with the goal of serving more people, especially children in the two and three age range. Keep your eyes open for future updates.

To the teachers, thank you for your creativity and kindness in serving students and their families. You are sincerely appreciated and valued.

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Learn more about our preschools in Mountain View and Burlingame! We're growing if you would like to join us check out our openings.