Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

Keeping Current During the Summer


Without the pressure of classroom planning and the daily routine of the school day, summer is a great time to continue professional development goals. The Office of Early Childhood at DC Public Schools recently facilitated their second annual summer Professional Development series. This two week program provided a variety of workshops for early childhood educators and support staff from Pre-K and Kindergarten classrooms in DCPS to continue professional development goals throughout the summer.

Sessions were developed and facilitated by both DCPS early childhood coaches and experts from the community, with a range of topics including STEM, writing, managing difficult behaviors, and working effectively with other adults in the early childhood classroom.

Teachers explore different materials for building structures. 

There was a great representation of inquiry science themed sessions! Peggy Ashbrook, Science Author and friend of the National Air and Space Museum, developed and facilitated “Ramps and Pathways: Physical Science and Engineering for Children from Pre-K to Grade 2. This session combined science and engineering in an exploration of physics through ramps and pathways.

DC Early Childhood Education Teacher Leaders Brittany Oliver, Jason Harris and Nicole Nesper developed “Using Blocks to Promote STEM Inquiry”. During this three hour session teachers learned about the inquiry process through the building structures. In addition to hands-on block-building experiences, this session focused on the importance of documentation in the inquiry process, for both teachers and students alike. Example documentation panels were displayed to inspire teachers to get creative in ways they record student activity in the classroom. The Teacher Leader group also emphasized the impact of incorporating extension activities that widen classroom learning, such as inviting parents to come speak to students about jobs related to the subject they are learning about, and field trips to inform their classroom experiences.

In all of these inquiry themed sessions, teachers had opportunities to move through Open and Focused Exploration and Reflect on their experiences, just as their students would in the classroom. They became hands-on, building structures and ramps and exploring materials individually and collaboratively. 

What ways has your school district continued keeping current over the summer?