Early Childhood Programs


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Early Childhood

Starting Early

Established in 1996 with the goal of preventing or reducing emotional and behavioral problems in young children, TVC’s Early Childhood Programs have provided training and technical assistance to parents and staff associated with childcare, Head Start, pre-k programs throughout Tennessee. The Early Childhood Programs have also included state and national research activities aimed at identifying effective strategies for working with young children with challenging behaviors.

Major programs during the 1996-2011 period have included:

  • The Early Childhood Consulting Program (1996-2010)
  • The Early Childhood Intervention Study (1997-2007)
  • The NationalCenter on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning
    (CSEFEL): Part I (2001-2006)
  • The Center for Evidence-Based Practice: Young Children with Challenging Behavior (2002-2007)
  • Nashville Supports Early Education Staff/SEES (2003-2005)
  • Better Together: The School Readiness Collaborative (2008-2010)

Since July 1, 2010, the primary mission of TVC’s Early Childhood Programs has been to assist in sustaining and expanding the Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning (CSEFEL)/ Tennessee Partnership Initiative (CSEFEL/Team TN). CSEFEL has been funded by the U.S Office of Head Start and the U.S. Office of Child Care since 2001 to implement an extensive early childhood professional development national initiative based on the CSEFEL Pyramid Model. Tennessee is one of 11 states selected by CSEFEL via competitive proposal processes to implement this initiative on a statewide basis. The CSEFEL/Team TN partnership is designed not only to produce meaningful progress toward ensuring access to quality training for early childhood staff and families throughout the state but also to provide effective demonstration of a model for integrated, cross-agency collaboration applicable across many professional development systems.

CSEFEL/Team TN Leadership Group

Established in August, 2007, the CSEFEL/Team TN Leadership Group is currently composed of 12 senior officials representing statewide systems whose job responsibilities include the development and management of workforce capacity building for programs serving young children and their families. In addition to the time, experience, skills and collaborative resources provided by the Leadership Group and their agencies, direct funding support has been provided as follows:

  • DOE/Youth Violence and Drug Use Prevention: $87,396 (FY 10); $87,396 (FY 11)
  • DOE/Tennessee’s Early Intervention Systems (TEIS): $100,200/ (FY 10); $100,200 (FY 11)
  • DOE/Head Start Collaborative Office: $3,332 (FY 10)
  • DHS/TSU/TN’s Early Childhood Training Alliance (TECTA): $25,000 (FY 10); $20,000 (FY 11)
  • DHS/Child Care Resource & Referral System (CCR&R): $40,000 materials purchase* (FY 10)
  • DMH: Mental Health Consultant-Coaching Project: $190,000 (FY 11)
  • DOE/Early Childhood Comprehensive Services (ECCS): $35,000 (FY 11)

Each direct grant has been administered by Tennessee Voices for Children on behalf of the CSEFEL/TN Leadership Group.

Training and Coaching Cadres

Nationally recognized CSEFEL senior faculty members conducted the statewide Train the Trainer Institute I, November, 2008 (189 participants); the statewide Train the Trainer Institute II, February, 2009 (175 participants); and the statewide Top of the Pyramid (TOP) Training Institute, November, 2009 (124 participants). 164 of these participants became eligible initial members of the CSEFEL/Team TN Training Cadre and 18 became eligible initial members of the Coaching Cadre. Subsequent statewide training events have included the CSEFEL/Team TN Leadership Conference, April 29-May 1, 2009 (34 demonstration site administrators, 16 external technical assistance coaches and six Leadership Group members); CSEFEL/Team TN/TEIS (Tennessee’s Early Intervention System) Training Institute, April, 2010 (92 participants from TEIS/Early Intervention Resource Agencies and TEIS district offices); CSEFEL/Team TN Coach’s Retreat, June, 2010 (28 participants); and CSEFEL/Team TN/CCR&R System Targeted Technical Assistance Institute,

September, 2010 (128 participants). During the period from June 1-December 31, 2009, the CSEFEL/Team TN Training Cadre conducted 196 regional training events for practitioners/administrators/family members (2.0 hrs to 2 days) with 3,428 total participants. Confirmed total numbers of training events and participants during the January 1-December 31, 2010 period are scheduled to be reported by March 15, 2011.

A new Mental Health Consultant-Coaching Project funded by the TN Department of Mental Health (DMH) was launched for the period from October 1, 2010-June 30, 2011. Primary outcomes include: 1) Continued development and expansion of the statewide CSEFEL/Team TN Coaching Cadre; 2) Adaptation and pilot implementation of CSEFEL/Team TN Preschool Modules for use in K-1 school settings in collaboration with Project B.A.S.I.C., a school-based, mental health early intervention and prevention service funded by DMH currently working with children from kindergarten through third grade in 47 schools in 39 counties across the state.

Target Populations

The primary target population is a statewide training and coaching cadre of early childhood educators, technical assistance providers and administrators affiliated with public school and community-based voluntary pre-K programs, early childhood special education programs, Head Start and Early Head Start programs, child care centers, family-based provider services and Institutions of Higher Education (IHE). The secondary target population is composed of teachers, child care providers, specialty program staff and family members associated with these childcare and early childhood education systems. The tertiary target population is composed of children birth to 5 years and their families served by these childcare and early childhood education systems.

Demonstration Sites

Six Team TN demonstration sites were developed during the March-June, 2009 period and became fully operational during the July-December, 2009 period. Regions/sponsoring agencies/locations/target classrooms/groups by program type are: East TN: Holston United Methodist Homes, Greeneville (Infant/Toddler=2); Children’s Home/Chambliss Center, Chattanooga (Head Start=2, Pre-K=2); Middle TN: Mid-Cumberland Head Start, Woodbury (Head Start=1, Pre-K=1); Fannie Battle Day Home, Nashville (Infant/Toddler=1); West TN: Dyersburg Primary School, Dyersburg (Pre-K=5, EC Spec Ed=1); Shelby County Government Head Start/Porter-Leath Head Start, Memphis (Early Head Start=2; Head Start=4). Three additional Tennessee’s Early Intervention System (TEIS) demonstration sites were announced October 15, 2010. They are: EmoryValleyEarlyLearningCenter, Oak Ridge; Knox County ARC-Sunshine Early Intervention, Knoxville; Signal Centers Chattanooga Children’s Program, Chattanooga.

Institutions of Higher Education

The CSEFEL/Team TN partnership has placed special emphasis on infusion of the Pyramid Model in two- and four-year institutions of higher education (IHE). Several community college faculty from across the state are continuing work on infusion of Pyramid Model content into ECED 2010, 2015, 2040, and 2130 (courses used for the Child Development Associate credential preparation) and ECED 2060, The Exceptional Child. Sample course syllabi have been developed for the each of the CDA-related ECED courses identified above. The week-long Pyramid Model institute introduced by NashvilleStateCommunity College in July, 2009 was repeated in June, 2010. NashvilleStateCommunity College is currently conducting a full 14-week, three credit hour, Pyramid Model course, Spring Semester, 2011. The establishment of multiple “implementation sites” across the state through external members of the CSEFEL/Team TN Coaching Cadre is also linked to the expansion of quality practicum, student teaching and intern placement sites for two- and four-year IHE.


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