The planning team for the Oakland Early Learning Symposium faced the challenge of 2020-21 similarly to everyone else, by moving one step at a time and doing our best to respond to the needs of those we serve. The result was a series of four online events over the 2020-2021 school year entitled, “Navigating the New Now: Child Care During COVID-19.
As one event participant shared, “You really capture a feeling in all of these events. I have not attended in person but virtually you all have created timely content, had engaging speakers, honored the land, just created such a wonderful meeting space. I truly know in my heart that whatever next year looks like virtual/in person or both, that it will be great.”
The symposium navigated the “new now” by focusing Part I on how to reopen child care safely in August 2020. Two other events followed, and we finished in May 2021 with Part IV, entitled “Celebrate and Reflect.” Throughout, the planning team sought to provide the most recent data, information, support, and on the ground perspectives to the Oakland early learning community during a very difficult year. The result is that over 95% of participants were satisfied or very satisfied with this year’s symposium events. You can find detailed information about each of those events on our symposium webpage, including the event recordings and resource sheets packed full of information. Make sure you check out the tribute videos from local elected officials and leaders, shown at our last event (at the bottom of this post).
A particular challenge for the planning team was how to provide ways for Oakland early learning professionals to support and share with each other virtually in a spirit of community, similar to the 2019 in-person event. The result was the birth of “Let’s Talk Early Learning,” a drop-in informal Zoom gathering for all early learning professionals. Led by Oakland Unified School District preschool teachers Annette Wright, Jacquetta Wallace, and Nini Humphrey, it was a safe and welcoming space to share with each other. The capstone was an amazingly informative event about COVID-19 safety in child care centers from UCSF medical professionals hosted by Let’s Talk in March. If you want information about upcoming Let's Talk Early Learning events, please join our symposium participant google group by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
As we face a new school year, with its own unique challenges, we want to hear from you! What is your vision for the 2021-22 Oakland Early Learning Symposium? What type of resources and support are you looking for this year? Take our quick survey to let the planning team know!