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Guest Post: ECMHSP’s Journey to Implementing the Planned Language Approach (PLA)

Written by Consuellis Hawkins-Crudup, ECMHSP School Readiness Manager.


ECMHSP’s presentation at the 2020 NMSHSA National Conference, which took place March 6-11, in San Diego, California.

On October 18, 2019, I was invited to present the ECMHSP Journey to Implementing the Planned Language Approach (PLA) model at the OHS School Readiness Institute in Washington, DC, because we were the only grantee in the country consistently using the model.  PLA provides Head Start programs research-based strategies to use with children who speak English and dual language learners.  After the presentation, Jennifer Amaya-Thompson from the Administration for Children and Families, approached me and shared excitement for the work being done at ECMHSP to support the language and literacy development for all children and families.  Jennifer told me to stay tuned because she would like to highlight ECMHSP at a national level regarding the great work being done for migrant and seasonal families.

On March 9, 2020, Sheila and I presented the ECMHSP Journey to Implementing PLA Model at the National Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Association National Conference in San Diego, California.  Jennifer Amaya-Thompson requested Deborah Mazzeo from the National Center on Early Childhood Development Teaching and Learning (NCECDTL) participate in our session.  At the end of the session, Deborah connected with us and expressed her interest with the PLA presentation.  After talking with us, Deborah asked us if we would be willing to share the ECMHSP PLA approach with other programs during a national webinar.  Without hesitation, our response was “Absolutely!”

In preparation for the webinar, we had planning calls in May and June with co-presenters Deborah Mazzeo, Karen Nemeth (well-known author and presenter of dual language learning resources), and Jan Greenberg, Senior Education Specialist at NCECDTL and former ECMHSP employee.  As we started learning how to present on a national webinar, they made us feel comfortable throughout the entire process.  Each presenter acknowledged ECMHSP’s commitment to helping staff and families know how critically important a strong home language is to the school and life success of dual language learners.  Most importantly, each presenter emphasized how ECMHSP was able to integrate PLA into our system and service areas.

PLA Series Webinar

On July 16th, the day of the webinar, we were totally ecstatic and anxious.  We felt like news anchors getting ready to report a story with sound and background checks.  In reality, we were reporting ECMHSP’s story to implementing PLA!  It was an honor to represent ECMHSP at the national level and display all the amazing work staff is doing to implement language and literacy services for all children.  We are Head Start strong!

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