“Wow, I don’t know how you do it.” When early learning and care providers talk about work, they often encounter responses like these from their family and friends. The Good2Know Network is a powerful network of people who know exactly how these educators do it. This network of San Mateo County-based early learning and care professionals provides useful information and a forum for idea exchange. Online communities breed innovation, collaboration, and confidence; so Good2Know built one for the childcare professionals who are learning every day!
Karen Alden, Executive Director of the Good2Know Network, started this project because she wanted to create a tool that would meaningfully support the early care and education workforce. “They’re already so busy, and they work so hard,” she says. “I wanted to create something that doesn’t add anything to their plate.” As she started thinking about connecting folks to local information, resources, sources, articles, they pulled together a focus group of 70 people to get a sense of what would make the biggest impact.
“What I found out was that these [educators and daycare professionals] were doing a whole lot of extra work, googling questions about a behavior or looking into a request from a parent after the workday,” and even then they had to discern whether the information they found was valid. Alden started with the idea of a curated resource library, to locate helpful, verified sources. Now, the Good2Know Network puts out weekly articles. They are short reads chock full of verified resources that make information digestible and learning more easy.
Every Friday, Good2Know Network updates its blog, G2K Info Hub, with events, tips and tools, local news, and research updates–all written and selected to be helpful and interesting to local early childhood teachers and care providers. ECE professionals in San Mateo County are invited to add their own observations, ideas, and questions to the Good2Know Network community via Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. This unites the county’s dedicated providers, and ultimately, the children of San Mateo County.
The blog includes incredible resources and cultivates meaningful reflection on childcare practices. From creative math activities to do with preschoolers using natural materials to ways to introduce inclusivity in your teaching with even your youngest students, spending time with these materials is like picking the brain of a close mentor.
The resource library is getting more advanced every day. They’re even launching a new website in September! “We really want something that works,” Alden explains. The organization collects feedback from surveys every 6 months, and the response rate is high. High engagement is consistent: people are reading the materials and their feedback is foundational. “People really get so much more out of this when they subscribe to the newsletter. Every Friday it comes straight to their inbox and they don’t have to go looking for it.” She adds, “We do not get a lot of unsubscribes. I am proud of that.”
Good 2 Know takes some of the weight of the world off the shoulders of early care professionals, but there is more to do. “To see big changes, it’s going to have to come from the government,” Alden says. Good2Know just implemented a new tool that allows site visitors to send letters to their legislators when childcare is on the session agenda. “I want to help them become advocates.” By building an entirely free community that asks nothing of its members, she has created a reliable support network for the workers who provide the essential services of caring for our county’s children.
“In all my research, I just kept coming back to the fact that it’s all about those first 5 years. It’s hard to stomach that even by kindergarten, some kids are already behind. We have to do something about that.” By supplying providers with high quality, local information, empowering them as policy advocates, and fostering a reliable community, the Good2Know Network hopes to pave the way toward better child care in San Mateo County.