By Mark Sustic
Appreciation and deep respect to VTAEYC for launching the Exchange. This is the evolution of the Early Learning and Development Exchange, an effort the Turrell Fund started in late 2019 to focus on the impact of major topic areas on children\’s early learning and development.
It’s a major undertaking — essential and important, and a worthy leadership reach for an organization that has demonstrated its abilities and passion for Vermont’s young children and the adults who surround them for 50 years.
Exchanging information is important. What others say and write and do helps make our understanding more complete, more coherent. And this helps create conversations. We look for things that make sense, things that match up with our own thinking. If it’s a book or an article or a web site or video or a film, we can share it with others who might not have gotten to it on their own. Then we can talk about it. We can appreciate and learn by exchanging information, and it can become a regular habit, filling in what’s missing in the urgency of all that surrounds us in our daily work.
Talking about the information is also important. Person to person interactions help us make up our minds and can lead us to action. Others appreciate understanding what’s happening, because like us, they care about young children and their future. With that focus as a guide, it is clear that others actually like to know what we have to share, to say, to do. We can provide information, exchange it with others, talk about it and explore the forces that are changing the world and how they are affecting all of us, especially young children and those of us who care for and about them.
We really do need to do this now. The future is close, it\’s closer than we sometimes realize, and early educators everywhere are the authors of that future. Doing nothing about the effects of climate change, social equity, scope of learning and development on young children is a choice. But that\’s a choice we can anticipate regretting.
Mark Sustic is a board member of the Turrell Fund, the founder of Young Traditions Vermont, a longtime early childhood education leader in Vermont, and a member of VTAEYC.