The Early Link Podcast, brought to you by Children's Institute based in Portland, Oregon, highlights national, regional, and local voices working in the field of early care and education. Written, hosted, and produced by Rafael Otto.
Nurturing Child Development Through Inclusive Stories: A Conversation with JaNay Brown-Wood
On this episode of the Early Link Podcast, host Rafael Otto sits down with JaNay Brown-Wood, an award-winning children’s author, poet, educator and scholar. She writes about stories that celebrate diversity, inclusivity, self-esteem, and learning.
JaNay’s first children’s book, “Imani’s Moon,” was published in 2014 and won the NAESP Children’s Book of the Year Award, and was featured on Stephen Colbert’s “The Late Show,” and Storytime with the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
During this episode, JaNay shares how her personal experiences and passion for child development and supporting children, led her to write children’s books with an emphasis on diversity, representation, and inclusivity. She also talks about the importance of engaging young children in language and how this sets the foundation for building early literacy skills. JaNay shares her creative storytelling process and offers words of wisdom to listeners about pursuing their creative dreams. Finally, she talks about infant development and her hopes and dreams for young children.
Becoming Optimistic Leaders for Children with Judy Jablon
On this episode of the Early Link Podcast, Rafael Otto speaks with Judy Jablon, founder and executive director of Leading for Children. Judy discusses her initial leap into the early learning field after working with young children at Bank Street College in New York City, an experience that piqued her curiosity and led her to a career in teaching. She shares her experiences working with educators, being a curious learner, and the importance of being leaders for children. She also talks about her book, The Five Commitments of Optimistic Leaders, and shares how early childhood educators can embrace optimistic leadership. Finally, Judy talks about how an intentional focus on equity is vital in working with adults and educators.
Judy Jablon has spent more than 35 years in early childhood education, working in the classroom, and teaching at Bank Street College. Her work has focused on helping educators use their collective wisdom to support and extend learning in young children. Judy is the author of many publications and videos, including The Five Commitments of Optimistic Leaders for Children, Powerful Interactions, and Coaching with Powerful Interactions.
Taking Action to Improve Social Emotional Services for Young Children: The Power of Data and Metrics
Welcome to The Early Link Podcast. This is a special production created with our colleagues at the Oregon Pediatric Improvement Partnership (OPIP). OPIP is a public private partnership seeking to create a meaningful, long-term collaboration of stakeholders invested in child health care quality, with the common purpose of improving the health of all children and youth in Oregon. This episode explores recent developments in the health sector here in Oregon meant to improve the care for children ages zero to five. One of those developments is a social emotional health metric. This is a tool designed to shift attention to social emotional health services for children from birth to age 5 and help Oregon's Medicaid system focus on prevention and investment in young children, and the health aspects of kindergarten readiness. The other development is a data set known as health complexity data, which pulls together information about a child's medical and social conditions to better understand how systems can meet their needs. If that sounds complex, stay tuned as we break things down. In this episode, we've talked with people in the field who have gotten started using the data to help reshape community level systems so that children and families can get what they need. And some of the most exciting work is taking place where the needs are greatest. That's Douglas County, located in southern Oregon and it covers more than 5,000 square miles, from the Oregon coast reaching inland toward eastern Oregon. The data shows that Douglas County has the most socially complex children in the state, and leaders and community members have pulled together to help the systems evolve to better meet the needs of those children. We wanted to thank our guests: Taylor Dombek, the director of integrated clinical services at Umpqua Health Alliance, Colleen Reuland, the director of the Oregon Pediatric Improvement Partnership, James Lytle and Karra Crane, two parents from Douglas County, Alison Hinson, a counselor with Juniper Tree Counseling in Roseburg, and Robin Hill-Dunbar from The Ford Family Foundation. The development of the social emotional health metric began in 2018 with a partnership between the Oregon Pediatric Improvement Partnership, known to many as OPIP, Children's Institute, and the Oregon Health Authority.
Bridging Gaps and Nurturing Community through Early Learning in Philomath
In this episode of the Early Link podcast, Rafael Otto joins Abby Couture and Sunny Bennett, principal and preschool teacher at Clemens Elementary in Philomath. Abby and Sunny discuss their stories of getting started in education as well as the moments they began to realize many children were missing out on early learning experiences. They go on to describe the educational environment in Philomath, where they partner with LBCC and Strengthening Rural Families to provide more opportunities for toddlers and pre-k students. Their preschool program incorporates a unique placement within the primary school, naturally connecting young students to their early elementary progression.
Abby and Sunny also share their positive experience as part of Children's Institute's Early Learning Academy, highlighting the inspiring sense of community, information sharing, and resource recommendations it provided. Participating in the academy empowered them and encouraged Philomath to engage community partners, improve practices, and foster connections among stakeholders. Sunny expressed how each meeting left her feeling empowered and ready to take on the next challenge, always leaving with a positive feeling. As Philomath's early learning journey continues, the two dream of ensuring preschool access for all students in their community. They hope to create a supportive environment where families can thrive and stay connected from the earliest years onward.
The Detour, Ep. 20: Talking About Success with Kids
In partnership with Oregon Humanities, we interviewed students in second, fifth, and sixth grades from Vose Elementary and Yoncalla Elementary to see what they think about success and where their ideas of success come from.
In this episode of The Detour, we captured wit, wisdom, jokes, and meaningful conversation with some incredible young peopls. Their messages are clear, thought-provoking, and chock-full of wisdom and wit.
"You don't have to be the best at it to do it, but as long as you like it, you should probably keep doing it."
More about The Detour
Each month, host Adam Davis and guests explore tough questions about how we live together. Conversations on The Detour connect ideas and personal experiences without looking for easy solutions. Here we find the path to understanding often takes unexpected turns. The Detour is produced by Oregon Humanities.
Toward Human Centered Education: An Interview with Ulcca Joshi Hansen
In this episode of the Early Link Podcast, Rafael Otto talks to Ulcca Joshi Hansen, interim executive director and chief program officer at Grantmakers for Education, about the need for transformational change in the education system.
They discuss the importance of equity and access, the role of philanthropy in creating long-term infrastructure investment, and rethinking traditional assumptions about the public school system. Joshi Hansen also shares her thoughts on the cultural discontent and dominant worldview in education, and how returning to our humanity can lead to positive change for all.
She also talks about the principals laid out in her book, “The Future of Smart: How Our Education System Needs to Change to Help All Young People Thrive,” which explores how we can build an education system to nurture the unique abilities of each child and build a foundation for a more just and equitable future.