Bloom Early Education: Educa Supports Our Entire Community
Bloom Early Education is an accredited early learning service based in Edmonds, Washington.
Owner Miriam Dressler has worked in the education field for over thirty years as a teacher, director, adult educator, ECE consultant and trainer.
Bloom aims to provide the highest quality childcare possible by empowering their community, providing teachers and families with training workshops, free resources and tools they can use every day.
Bloom started using Educa in 2015 as a way to share learning updates and resources. They use the Teacher Portfolio feature as a professional development tool, encouraging staff to keep a record of their own learning as teachers.
“Teachers actually like to use it, they don’t roll their eyes at it. As the owner of Bloom, I’m not the primary user. I needed my staff to feel like this was something easy and fun for them to use.” says Miriam.
Bloom has developed their own special curriculum, a combination of play based and emergent curriculums, designed to encourage self-regulation and set children up for elementary school success.
“We were looking for an ePortfolio that would make our program stand out and nothing on the market met our needs,” says Miriam.
“I’ve used tools like Teaching Strategies Gold in the past and I didn’t want to go down that road again. Parents didn’t engage with it, and we didn’t want to be forced to use a curriculum that wasn’t ours."
When the team at Bloom saw how easy it was to add their own curriculum to Educa, and that it had teacher portfolios too, they decided to try the program.
"The interface is easy to navigate. I’m not a savvy computer person so I knew if I could find my way around, it would work for most people,” says Miriam.
SUPPORTING TEACHERS & INVOLVING FAMILIES
“The teacher portfolio feature in Educa is an amazing development tool for staff, it is one of our favorite features,” says Miriam.
Bloom runs professional development classes for teachers that revolve around helping teachers to build a portfolio using Educa as a professional development tool.
At Bloom Early Education, family involvement isn’t optional.
“We are serious about getting the entire family involved, rather than just dropping off their child and leaving,” says Miriam.
“Before children can enroll, families must agree to a set amount of volunteer hours. It’s a different concept, and it’s exciting to see parents really getting on board.”
It is a different concept, but it isn’t a new one. Research has proven many times over that family involvement leads to positive educational outcomes.
“Educa was a natural choice for us as it is far more interactive for families. I like that parents can log in and invite their extended family to join their child’s profile, parents can upload things and contribute to the child’s portfolio which is a really unique feature. Many of our students have family in other countries, so this is a wonderful way to keep in touch."
The team at Bloom Early Education hosts development workshops for parents three times a year.
SUPPORTING LEARNING AT HOME
“One of the children had some challenging behaviors. We were able share a video with the parents using Educa to demonstrate what was happening, and we were also able to share tools and resources with them using Educa too so that they could handle it at home in the same way we handle it at school,” says Miriam.
“The teacher was able to communicate with parents in person, and then have all of that documentation recorded in Educa so the parents could access it easily.”
Being able to give families easy access to this type of support and making it easier for them to reinforce learning at home has been valuable to the families and the children.
“Our goal is to set children up from elementary school success – we want to make sure their social and emotional development is in place, as well as building emergent literacy and numeracy skills so that when they get into school they have a strong foundation.”
SUPPORTING BUSINESS OWNERS
“When we are showing parents through, we always show them Educa, it gives them an insight into what we are all about,” says Miriam.
“Sometimes that can be the deciding factor for families who are thinking about enrolling.”Educa has also lifted the quality of learning observations and reflections.
“Teachers are taking more care, because they are now linking to developmental milestones in Educa, and they know families will read them. It’s not just ‘oh we had so much fun today,’ we’re really talking about developmental achievements and challenges.”
Make sure you check out the Bloom website to learn more about their training options and access their free resources such as this handy PDF: A family’s guide to quality Childcare.
Thanks to the team at Bloom Early Education for sharing their story with us.