For three years now, the planning team for the Oakland Early Learning Symposium has come together to create meaningful opportunities for early learning professionals to explore best practices and learn in community. This year, we wanted to continue to support best practices, while also recognizing the unique circumstances of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
At the beginning of the 2021-22 school year, preschool teachers and early childhood education (ECE) providers attending our “Let’s Talk Early Learning” informal Zoom event shared that they were seeing more behavioral challenges than usual as children returned to care and school or started in new ECE settings. Given the weight of these challenges, the planning team wanted to provide Oakland early learning professionals with resources and tools in a way that would be both fun and practical.
The planning team chose the topic of “Fostering Early Social-Emotional Learning through Books” for the first symposium event in November. Through a partnership with Tandem, Partners in Early Learning, we provided all symposium attendees with the opportunity to pick up a bag of children’s books, such as Jabari Jumps and Homemade Love, related to social-emotional learning.
We’re thrilled to share Oakland Starting Smart and Strong’s 2022-2025 Strategic Plan!
Over the past six months, we engaged in an assessment of our impact over the last 7 years and defined a strategic roadmap for the next phase of our work. We thank the more than 300 OSSS stakeholders who provided input and ideas on our structure, impact, successes, challenges, and strategic opportunities.
The resulting three-year strategic plan details our vision, mission, values, and newly updated pillars. The plan also outlines five key goals and related strategies to drive our work forward as a critical leader in identifying, seeding, and driving equitable solutions to strengthen the City of Oakland’s early childhood ecosystem.
At the heart of our plan is a push for OSSS and our partners to be bold in our approach to create an early childhood ecosystem that addresses systemic racism and is equitable for all children and families. In this plan, as in everything we do, our collaborative strives to center the leadership and experiences of Oakland families and early childhood practitioners.
Over the past 7 years, Oakland Starting Smart and Strong (OSSS) has built a strong, cross-sector collaborative that advances racial justice, develops and amplifies community-driven solutions, and advocates for changes in policy and resources to create an early childhood ecosystem that effectively serves children 0-5, their families, caregivers, and educators. Our new strategic plan plan builds on our past successes, maps a clear strategic direction forward, and is deeply rooted in our commitment to racial justice and equity.
OSSS and our partners look forward to continuing to partner with Oakland’s parents and caregivers, communities and institutions to ensure all children, families, and early educators thrive in Oakland. Stay tuned for opportunities to put this plan into action!