In this article, an early childhood coach and her mentor coach tell one story of their year of joint reflective work together. They follow the topic of outdoor play in birth-to-three and early childhood family-based care programs as it surfaced at the beginning of the year. This inquiry expanded into the coach’s burgeoning understanding of the meaning of experience for very young children, which became a parallel process in the coach’s work with practitioners. Together, the coach and mentor coach describe the ways in which they created a more authentic and meaningful way to think about outdoor time and environments for young children and how Bank Street’s developmental-interaction approach could inform the coach's practice with early care practitioners.
Virginia Casper is a developmental psychologist and teacher educator. She served in instructional, administrative, and clinical roles in the Bank Street Graduate School of Education for over 30 years. As an early childhood educator, she has specialized in infant, toddler, and family development and published widely in Zero-to-Three and other related publications. Virginia also spent 10 years working internationally in education doing capacity-building work in China, Bulgaria, Bangladesh, Liberia and South Africa, specializing in community-based research and learning. She is also a co-author of Gay-Parents/Straight Schools: Building Communication and Trust (with Steven Schultz), and a textbook on early childhood education (with Rachel Theilheimer) entitled Early Childhood Education: Learning Together.
Rebecca Newman is a School Social Worker at the New York Center for Child Development. Blending her background in Early Childhood Education and Social Work, Rebecca brings a developmental perspective and passion for mental health to caregivers, families and communities in service to young children. Before becoming a social worker, Rebecca served as an early childhood teacher in a variety of settings including Reggio Emilia and Montessori.