Haring Center

6. National Center for Quality Teaching and Learning


Responding to the need for professional coaching and training to give early learning teachers the skills to increase their students’ elementary school readiness, in 2010 the U.S. Office of Head Start awarded a five-year, $40 million grant to Haring Center researchers to create the National Center for Quality Teaching and Learning (NCQTL). The grant remains the largest received by the University of Washington College of Education.

Dr. Susan Sandall and Dr. Gail Joseph oversaw a team that took an inclusive approach to improve effective teaching practice, by developing practice-based coaching techniques and other professional development tools for early educators around the country. This process supports teachers’ use of effective teaching practices that lead to positive outcomes for children. With an emphasis in creating a set of products to provide teachers with the strategies to help any child become kindergarten ready regardless of ability, this team focused on four tenants of supporting school readiness for all children:

  1. Engaging Interactions and Environments
  2. Research-Based Curricula and Teaching Practices
  3. Ongoing Child Assessment
  4. Highly Individualized Teaching and Learning

By creating supports that allow teachers to create the most conducive environment for a child to learn from the physical classroom setting and curriculum, to guidance for educators to use to the assessment to create individualized ongoing learning plans, NCQTL distributed more than 40 focused teaching suites that helped every teacher embed learning into all aspects of his or her classroom. The training materials developed by NCQTL have been used by Head Start programs in all 50 states and US territories. Head Start teachers, the young children they teach across the county, and their families have been impacted by the work of NCQTL.

NCQTL also launched EarlyEdU, a free resource that houses online and in-person courses to assist aspiring teachers of young children to earn meaningful degrees in early childhood education. Recognizing the need for high-quality early education teachers is greater than ever, EarlyEdU created these resources due to the lack of higher education institution offering relevant, accessible and affordable course work.

The faculty at NCQTL also developed a number of resources specifically for families who have children with special needs, as well as kindergarten transition materials.