Learning Communities

The Pennsylvania Head Start Association sponsors an opportunity called Learning Communities (LC) for Head Start and Early Head Start staff to come together around key content areas and share ideas, build knowledge and skills, problem solve and innovate in a safe and trusting environment. The key content areas include:

· Education & Coaching

· Health & Nutrition

· Disabilities, Mental Health & Wellness

· Family Engagement & ERSEA

· EHS/Home Visiting

These learning experiences will occur virtually and will provide an interactive, engaged, and committed community of learners to share and learn together. Each LC is facilitated by a Content Area Expert. A Content Area Expert is someone who is working in a Head Start and/or Early Head Start program and is a leader and well respected among their peers.

What is a Learning Community?

A learning community (or community of practice) is a group of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do, and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly. The key elements are the domain, the community, and the practice.

In a Learning Community, participants have an opportunity to share ideas, develop a common understanding, and build knowledge around specific topics. Strong LCs foster interactions between participants focused on important pieces of practice. An LC works best when participants focus on policies, procedures, and guidance regarding how things get done.

The Learning Community provides a safe, secure and supportive space for participants to share resources and ideas, explore and question their understandings, solve challenges, and form common commitments for action and improvement.


Interested in Facilitating an Upcoming Learning Community?

Each Learning Community Facilitator will be chosen for their leadership skills, knowledge, and communication skills. The facilitators are essential to the successful implementation of Learning Communities (LC). With them, they bring direct service experience, management competencies, and practical knowledge of the daily operations of Head Start and Early Head Start programs. Not only does the facilitator have knowledge and experience in their specific content area but must also be able to facilitate and lead a meeting with a group of people with diverse points of view.

Learning Community Facilitator Roles and Responsibilities:

  • Attend all 3 Learning Communities
  • Help to develop the agenda prior to each Learning Communities
  • Strong leadership
  • Knowledgeable and supportive of group learning
  • Facilitate and lead the meeting
    • Welcome individuals to the meeting
    • Create a community of learners where people feel safe to share successes and challenges
    • Set ground reviews and review housekeeping reminders
    • Promote continuous learning
    • Encourage participants to think in new and creative ways
    • Promote participation from all individuals
  • The PHSA Office will act as the communication center where follow up communication, follow up information, and resources are sent. This will allow streamlined communication and follow up without duplication.
  • After each meeting, the CAE and PHSA staff will meet to debrief about the meeting and plan for the next LC. A draft agenda will be started at this time.

PHSA is currently seeking a Learning Community Facilitator for:

1. Health/Nutrition
2. Mental Health/Disabilities
3. Education
4. EHS/Home Visiting

Learning Community Facilitator Application