Stacey Grant sits down (virtually) with Director of Workforce and Professional Development at First Up, Caroline Campana. First Up is a non-profit organization that ensures all kids from birth through age 8 can receive a quality early childhood education. 

Stacey and Caroline discuss topics surrounding virtual learning, what parents can do to help, and what’s going to change once schools open.

What Life’s Going to Look Like When Schools Open

Through First Up, where she has been working for nine years, Caroline provides teachers the opportunity to build career pathways to higher education. She said in the interview, “A qualified teacher can really provide a quality education to a young child.”

Caroline has been a tremendous advocate for the field. Through coaching and technical assistance, she is helping create a higher standard in early childhood education.

Changes in the Work Day

Once students transitioned to at-home schooling, First Up was quick in adapting to the remote workplace in order to help both teachers and their students. An online platform was swiftly created. On their website, they provide information for parents on how to teach their children from home and how to support their teachers. As well as a 4-6 day online training in which they have trained over 18,000 teachers in Pennsylvania.

What Future Schooling Might Look Like

When asked about the future of education and what teaching might look like when students start returning to school, Caroline expressed concern about young learning if a teacher wears a mask. Young children might not be able to fully understand language and emotion that they learn through facial expressions.

This is where First Up, the lead organization in supporting this field across the state, can play a pivotal role. In being innovative and “being two steps ahead,” Caroline and her staff can help students become successful and confident learners while adapting to a new normal in the classroom.

How Can People Help this Industry?

Caroline asks people to give back. By advocating or sitting on the Board of Education, there are a lot of different roles you can play that can help make a difference. Caroline wants to ensure this field survives the pandemic by coaching, advocating, and providing support once teachers are back in the classroom. We hope you enjoy the full interview, which you can listen to or watch below. Or listen on Spotify or Apple Podcast.


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