Laura Delgado is the vice president of curriculum and professional development at Learning Beyond Paper, a leader in providing 100% digital curriculum. Laura is a former early learning teacher, center director and owner. She has a master’s degree in leadership in education and more than 25 years of experience in early childhood learning.
In this podcast, she discusses why curriculum is so important for young learners, particularly babies through pre-kindergarten. She also describes why a curriculum that is easy to use is essential for teachers, many who do their lesson planning on Sunday nights on unpaid time as they ready for the week ahead because they don't have time during their work days.
Laura also describes the challenges of relying on a paper curriculum. She says she's seen child care centers buy curriculum that is on an "approved list," often just to check a box as part of obtaining funding.
"And when I would go into the classrooms, sometimes they couldn't find the curriculum," she says. "Sometimes it would be in a closet, on a shelf gathering dust."
Learning Beyond Paper and Procare Solutions have partnered to offer the Procare Early Learning Powered by Learning Beyond Paper all-digital curriculum offering. The 52-week curriculum is embedded into Procare for easy use with 4,000 lesson plans for infants through pre-kindergarteners. To learn more, visit www.procaresoftware.com/curriculum!
Welcome to the childcare business podcast brought to you by ProCare solutions. This podcast is all about giving childcare , preschool daycare after school and other early education professionals, a fun and upbeat way to learn about strategies and inspiration you can use to thrive. You'll hear from a variety of childcare thought leaders, including educators, owners, and industry experts on ways to innovate, to meet the needs of the children you serve from practical tips for managing operations, to uplifting stories of transformation and triumph. This podcast will be chalk full of insights. You can use to fully realize the potential of your childcare business. Let's jump in,Speaker 2:
Welcome to the childcare business podcast. Um, you know, I think we're in technically like season two now, I'm not quite sure how many episodes we've had, but if you've listened to any of our shows, you know, I'm Ryan Ney , I'm the vice president of sales here at ProCare software. And, you know, the format of our show is we really just try to bring on guests that we have identified and, and interacted with , um, throughout the industry that we think would, you know, be able to provide some really valuable content and , um, you know, talking points and, and expertise in the industry. And , and today is no exception to that. I'm , I'm really excited to talk to our guests today. And so I wanna introduce her. Um, Laura Delgado , uh , is the vice president of curriculum and professional development at learning beyond paper, which is a leading provider of a hundred percent digital curriculum. Uh , Laura is a former early learning teacher. She's a center director, former center director and owner , uh , and she's got a master's degree in leadership in education and more than 25 years of experience in early childhood learning. So if no other reason, when somebody has 25 years of doing something it's worth listening. So we're, we're excited to , um , have you on the show. Good morning, Laura, how are you ?Speaker 3:
Hi, good morning, Ryan. Super excited to be here. Thank you.Speaker 2:
Yeah, we were just talking, you know, sometimes before we start recording, we start talking about, you know, where are you physically at and what, what , what are you gonna do this weekend? Or how was your week? But you were just talking, you just got back from a conference in, in Washington DC, right? What was, what was the conference you were at?Speaker 3:
So the conference was childcare aware actually right across from DC , uh , in Arlington,Speaker 2:
In Arlington. And you're , you're typically located in Florida. So we were talking about like, I'm in the Pacific Northwest. We're talking about how spring is holding back and winter still wants to hold on. It's a little bit cold and rainy up here. And you had to point out that it's cold in Florida too. Like you had a cold snap of 70 degrees .Speaker 3:
<laugh> right . Like pull out our cardigans <laugh> ,Speaker 2:
Which is kind of , uh , we're all ready for that weather here in the Pacific Northwest. So send a little our way , um , for sure. Lauren talk to, if you can, I would love to introduce you to our audience and maybe just get a little idea of, you know, who you are like. So I know we're gonna talk about your role at , at what we call LBP , but learning beyond paper and , and kind of the work you guys are doing now, but can you talk a little bit about your background? I know you originally, you know, got into ECE intentionally talk , talk a little bit about, you know, how that started for you .Speaker 3:
Well, if I can go to the way, way back, I actually have more than 25 years experience. Um, so I know before we got on, we were talking about how I lived in Saudi Arabia for four years. And that was during , uh , when I was in middle school and my friends and I used to babysit when they would have events for the adults, you know, dances, Valentine's dance, things like that . And so my friends and I would babysit and there was a big event coming up and we had asked the community center director to see if we could use the multipurpose room because we had so many requests for babysitting. And so we did that. Um , my mom ended up , uh , staying with us to have, you know, an adult supervision. And again, this is late eighties, early nineties when 12 year olds could babysit six month old babies. And after that event, it was so successful that the community organizer asked my mom if she would open up the first preschool on that base. And it's still there today. And so it's funny because I always say that I followed in my mother's footsteps because she had preschools my , you know, growing up, but it almost is like she followed in my footsteps and then we came full circle. Um, so she opened up the first preschool there and my friends and I would work there after school, you know, when we got out and then over the summer. And when we returned to the states, she started working for different chains and eventually opened up her own preschool. And then after I , uh , graduated high school and college , uh , decided to go that route as well. I actually worked for , uh , fortune 500 company as a trainer , uh , for about six years and then decided my heart just wasn't into it. Children were always calling me , uh , I , I loved still going to visit her preschools and I ended up opening up my own center. So I've that background of being a camp counselor, an assistant teacher , uh , assistant director and everything that entails with that, with that role, we all know that they're doing everything, they're cooking, they're driving the bus, their team curriculum. Uh , and then eventually I sold my centers and went to work for some national chains and then ended up at the office of early learning in Florida. So Florida's department of education, office of early learning. And I was a regional facilitator, which is basically a mentor coach and trainer for south Florida providers. And , um, and that really was an eye opener for me because the challenges that I was having as a teacher and as a center director, I thought they were unique. And when I started working for Florida's office of early learning, going to thousands of preschools, literally across the country , not just Florida, I realized that the challenges that I was having back in the early two thousands and the challenges that my mother was having in the nineties, everybody was having those across the board. And so I was trying to figure out a solution, what can I do to impact the industry , um , to, to make things better? Because ultimately if we make things better for the workers and the teachers that trickles down to higher quality education for children.Speaker 2:
Yeah. That's amazing. I , I wanna double click on a couple of things that you said there. So first of all, I just gotta ask, so you were Saudi Arabia, you, it sounds like it was on a military base. So were you there, you had a parent in the military. Did I hear that? Right?Speaker 3:
Right. So my dad was actually retired military and then worked for McDonald Douglas , uh , for years after. And so we worked on a base, but contracted through McDonald Douglas.Speaker 2:
So what just, this has nothing to do with what the majority of our episode would be about curriculum. But I'm just curious, like, as, as a young person, looking back to your time in Saudi Arabia, what stands out about the culture and lifestyle? Like when you think back to that season of your life, is it something you look back you're like, oh, it's amazing plays . I'd love to go back. What memories do you have? Just curious.Speaker 3:
It was really one of the best times in my life. Um, it, we traveled all over the world, you know, I'm a military brat. Um , my mother's from Argentina, my father's from Mexico, my stepfather's from the us , a lot of traveling , uh , personal and, you know, because of work and I got to live in a lot of different places, but Saudi Arabia was the polar opposite from anything that we've ever experienced , uh , from the culture to the landscape , uh , the people , uh , the way of life , uh , you know, a lot of people would say, oh, but you're a woman, you know, didn't you like the way that they, you know, treated women and it , we just didn't have that experience. You know, that it , it taught me to respect other cultures. Sometimes we don't understand them. Um, but it really, really gave me that sense of tolerance and trying to understand other cultures and other ways of life . Uh , it opened up my, my mind to, to the way other people live. Um, it, it really was just an amazing experience on so many levels. Uh , the education that I got there was amazing. It was, it was an American education, but , um, just amazing professors from around the world. Uh, and then just the experience of being in that type of culture and exploring the desert and seeing camels walk up to your backyard. It was just an amazing experience. And we were also there before, during, and after the first Gulf war. So desert storm, desert shield, desert storm, all of that. Um, so that was another layer to that experience being kind of in a war zone. Um, what was, was interesting as well.Speaker 2:
Yeah. Being able to see that like world event happen from that side of the world, as opposed to, you know, on the us side, I'm sure it was interesting to see, you know , how that was perceived, you know, in Saudi Arabia and, and kind of what the impact was. I always think I'm a big fan of those, you know, experiences when you travel internationally or you have those experiences, it sounds like listening to you talk about it. You know, it's still like formative in your life even today. Like just, you know, what you learned, what you observe the different culture. Um, if nothing else, that's a good thing to, you know, point out to, to anybody listening. Like if you get an opportunity to put yourself in a immersive experience like that, it's invaluable.Speaker 3:
Absolutely. And I try to pass that on to my daughter. You know, I say study, you know, that that's really important, but go out there and see the world for yourself and live those experiences because there's nothing like meeting someone who doesn't speak the same language and trying to figure out, you know, what you're trying to say or different foods or things like that. So really super, and I do believe that it all ties back to also my mission with early learning, because, you know, it's important to me to add that diversity into the classroom and to , you know, children are born just so open and like sponges and wanting to understand different things around them, not just other cultures or other people, but, you know, we have such an opportunity to really develop empathetic citizens of the world.Speaker 2:
Yeah. I like that because that's a great, like segue a little bit into the work that you're doing now. Cause I going back to kind of your career path and story of, you know, working for the state of Florida and being able to go, you know, you were talking about challenges that you and your mom experienced, like firsthand as teachers in an actual preschool and you wanted to go try to help impact those. Can you, can you articulate, like, what were some of those key challenges that you experienced and that you kept seeing, like being repeated from school to school and then maybe talk about how that transitioned into, you know, what you're doing with learning beyond paper. Now,Speaker 3:
The number one challenge that again, I thought was unique to, to, to my program or my mother's program was staffing. Staffing has always been a challenge , um, finding qualified , uh, caregivers, early educators, teachers , um, and retaining those, those, those staff members. Um, that was the biggest challenge. Um, you know, there were times that I would hire somebody on a Friday and they wouldn't show up on a Monday or they'd come in on a Monday and leave for lunch and never come back or they look amazing on their resume. But we , when you put 'em in front of 10, two year olds, they don't know what to do. Um, and so staffing has always been a challenge. And what's interesting is, and this is something that I talk about a lot. We've been on the conference circuit for the last year, going to different conferences across the country and staffing, you know, is being blamed right now. The staffing crisis is being blamed on COVID and the quarantine, and, you know, what's happening right now in the world. But I try to remind everyone as many times as I can, as much as possible that we've had a St a staffing crisis since the eighties , um, in childcare . So it's nothing new. It's definitely amplified and it's worse now. Uh , but there's always been a staffing crisis . I remember my mom having to, you know, I'm just gonna hire this person because I need a body. I need to meet that ratio. Um , but as soon as I find someone , uh , that's more qualified, you know, I'm gonna have to let this person go. Um, and so that was one of the things that, you know, one of the pain points that I had as a director, as an owner , um, when, you know, when I had my centers, the other pain point was curriculum, we're implementing a , um, a quality per curriculum , um, finding teachers that had the capacity to do that, because you can spend a hundred thousand dollars on an amazing curriculum, but if you don't have the staff that has the capacity , um, and the ability to implement that curriculum, it's useless.Speaker 2:
Yeah. So, and that's where I wanna spend, you know , obviously it's where, what your wheelhouse is and what you guys are focused on. So I you're exactly right on the first point about staffing. I mean, I, I don't know if there's been a guess we've had on the show and I don't know if there's a customer that we talk to in the industry right now that on some level doesn't bring up the staffing challenge, but I do love how you, you know, kind of explain like this isn't new, it's been amplified and there's a light that's being shown on it now around the challenges it's created. And I think that's the silver lining, I think, because the attention it's getting and trying to provide and recruit high quality , talented individuals into the industry and the need for them, it's, it's creating a focus of how do we do that as an industry? How do we go bring the right people into the industry and make it attractive to them and keep 'em ? Um, so I , I wanna talk about state of Florida. How did you end up at learning beyond paper then? And can you talk to me about what your role is? And then we're gonna talk a little bit about some of the specifics around what you guys do.Speaker 3:
Yeah. I , um, actually met our CEO , Peter Smith through a previous , uh , job that I had. Um, and we hit it off. And I, when I was working at the office of early learning, one of the dreams that I had, and I thought it was, you know, a dream that I would never fulfill because it's very expensive to create a curriculum is I wanted to develop a curriculum that was meaningful and intentional for teachers. And , um, so I had kind of a skeleton, you know, an outline of what, what I wanted it to be. And I wanted it to be online, fully digital. I wanted it to be steam based 21st century. And when I met Peter , um, he was actually working on something similar. And so we kind of put our minds together and, and it grew from there. And it , it was , it's just been an amazing, an amazing experience. Um, you know, when I worked for the office of early learning, I was part of the curriculum review team. So we had to review , um, curriculum from different publishers to see if we would approve them to be on the approved list in Florida, their boxes and boxes and boxes of books and binders , um, to go through the vetting process, do they meet the Florida standards? Do they meet, you know, early learning standards? And , um, and you know, I've been in the industry for over 25 years with a master's degree. And I didn't even know where to start. I had all these books and binders in front of me, and now I'm thinking, you know, a 20 year old that is just coming into the, into the classroom and they're handed these books and binders, how are they supposed to implement this curriculum? And a lot of times childcare centers will buy curriculum that is on the approved list, just to meet that need to check off the box because they're getting some type of a grant or some kind of funding. And when I would go into the classrooms, I sometimes they couldn't find the curriculum. Sometimes it would be in a closet , um, on a shelf gathering dust . I , they didn't, even when I asked them, you know, show me, you know, how you do your lesson planning. They were kind of just winging it, but they had these , these boxes there, they just didn't know how to implement it. And so one of the things that I wanted to do is really support teachers in a way that no other company has done or is doing. Um , there's no other curriculum right now that is supporting teachers. The way that learning beyond does from the beginning, we've been very intentional with , um, who is part of this journey with us , um, down from our content team that creates our activities all the way to our sales team. Everyone had to have had some type of experience in the classroom, in the preschool setting, cuz it's one thing to learn about childcare in a college classroom, which is great education university. Education is great, but to actually be in front of those ten two year olds by yourself is a completely different experience. And so when we hire people, we want to make sure that they understand what the childcare center director and teacher goes through in order for our curriculum to be intentional and relevant and really help solve those problems and challenges that they're going through . Um , so even our CEO , Peter Smith , he owns preschool centers. Um, you know, everybody has been involved at some point in their career , uh , in, in an early learning setting. Um, our commitment is to provide high quality equitable 21st century, early learning experiences and opportunities for children. But like I said before, you cannot do that. If you don't have the teachers or the staff that have the tools and capacity to be able to implement and deliver those lessons. So what I wanted to set out to do, and what we wanted to do at learning beyond is the teachers where they are. And I call it scaffolding teachers while they're scaffolding the children. And so in real time, when the teachers have those tablets in front of them and they have our lessons, it's not only telling them step by step , what they should do or what they can do for the activity to meet the, the , the objective. Um, but it's giving them the why behind it. Why is it important for the child to measure out their own ingredients? Right. Well, because it develops self-help skills and independence. So the why is right there. Um, if the child doesn't have the language and the vocabulary to be able to answer an open ended question right there in front of them, it says if the child does not have the language in vocabulary, then model the answer. So if you ask, how did it feel to you when we added water and the child doesn't have that language in vocabulary, then say, does it , did it feel sticky? Did it feel dry? So we're , we're teaching teachers how to speak to children, how to ask those open-ended questions because it's one experience to, for example, make Plato and it's a different experience for the child to make Plato . And then have the teacher ask , how did it feel? What was the first ingredient? What do you think was going to happen when we added the water? That's where the learning is happening, making the play dos fun. And there are some, you know, there's learning going on, but when the teacher engages in those open-ended questions with intent and with an objective and goal in mind, that's where the learning happens. That's where the child goes from point a to point B with their learning and understanding.Speaker 2:
Yeah, that's amazing. I wanna like the , I wanna break that into two buckets there, a little bit of what you just talked about, like building curriculum design for students, and then also building curriculum design for teachers, which I think is a unique perspective that we don't hear a lot, but just in terms of the curriculum itself, I , you know, I , I've heard a lot talking about , um, you know, like developmental progression and why that's important. Can you just talk like from LBP standpoint, how was the curriculum that you guys use developed? So what ages does it cover? And was it built around like, like science, was it built with like educators and a lot of research and feedback? I'm just curious, like, how does that get built? And then maybe like, even, and this is for my own edification, like how do other schools and other maybe curriculum companies , um, develop curriculum, like, like what is the main thing that you see in the industry? Like when you're talking to a school, you mentioned a lot of these schools maybe have bought something just to check a box, but they're not really using it. So I'm curious, is that a pretty typical scenario where schools would you say are just winging it? So I know there's a lot there. So first question is how was your curriculum developed? What kind of research went into it? And then , um, you know, what, what do you see as a typical environment for schools that aren't doing a great job with curriculum?Speaker 3:
Well , um, learning beyond paper is, like I said, 21st century, early learning. Um, it's steam based . Uh , so a lot of math and science along with language literacy, social, emotional , um, a couple of things that set us apart is that we are birth through pre-K four. Um, that's a differentiator as well because some curriculum that's out there is either infant, toddler or preschool, but we have that thread from infants all the way up to pre-K four. Um, and then the , we have a , a , a focus on math and science. Uh , I , I would really like to get into that , uh , you know , after we discuss this, but, you know, we feel in , in it's interesting because in this country we don't really focus on math until the later years until elementary school and studies have shown that infants are capable of learning math. So , uh , I'll unpack that <laugh> a little bit later. Um, but so I'll , you know, really important to, to explain that as well, our <inaudible> is set out in a developmental progression. So we developed it in that developmental progression. And what that means is we are not just a collection of activities, our lessons build upon , uh , for example, counting. All right . So let's talk about early math a little bit. So counting a child, counting 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, if the teacher is not able to really understand where that child is developmentally with early math and counting that child might just be counting for memory because maybe the parents have been counting with them, but is there meaningful counting there? Do they understand that two is one less than three and one more than two, one more than one? Sorry. Um, do they understand that, you know, are they learning the , that growing number? Um, so, so in order for children to learn how to count, there's a prerequisite there, which is sorting. And a lot of people don't understand that that is the foundation to early math and counting is sorting. So for example, if you have a bin full of , um, different colored blocks and you ask even a two year old or a three year old , depending on where they are developmentally, how many yellow blocks are there in order for them to count the yellow blocks, they first need to sort out the colors. They need to find all the yellows, which is a technique, right? And so after they sort those yellow blocks, then they count how many there are. But in order for the child to know how to sort out blocks there's other foundational , um, development that that needs to happen. And so that's where you can expose young children infants to those early math concepts with intentionality. So what, what we recommend is for example, in an infant room, if you think about exposing babies intentionally to certain things that are related to math, you can set up , uh , a shelf or an area by color. So let's say , uh , this week, everything in the block center is going to be yellow, right? Because a six month old, you know, you can't, you can talk to them and say, this is yellow. This is, you know, this is the yellow square, this is yellow ball. So they're starting to understand those likenesses , um , or maybe next week, everything in the block center is going to be a square, so different colors, but all squares and cubes and things like that. And so studies show that we are actually born with natural mathematical abilities versus language and literacy. So if we're put in a room by ourselves, we don't develop language. Language is we have to see it modeled. We have to hear it. You know, we have to , we have to see how our, you know, the mouths move and, and things like that. But math, if you give a young baby or a toddler, a choice of a plate with two Cheerios or a plate with a mound of Cheerios, they usually go to the more so we're born with that lesson more mm-hmm , <affirmative> , you know, the lesson more capacity , um, or understanding, but we don't really do much with that in preschool. Uh , we're starting to, we're definitely starting to, but not when I was in preschool. Um, and so if we build on that intentionally, so the center example, if I'm gonna , you know, if I'm going to start exposing children to, you know, those different early math concepts, and I'm intentional with it this week, everything's going to be yellow in the block center next week, everything's going to be blue. You're setting that foundation for children to start recognizing the differences in colors that child progresses through the toddler years, the twos, the threes. Now I'm building on that, right? So now, you know, they understand yellow and the differences between yellow and red, they understand that a cube is different than, than a , a cylinder or, or , um , a ball. And you're, you're giving them the foundation to sorting. So that's how that developmental progression goes. That's how you scaffold them , um, you know , to the next level. So when you get to the question of how many yellow cubes are in that bin, that child now has that foundation of understanding, you know, what the color yellow is, what does, what is a cube where , um , and now they can, you know, sort that out and, and, and count them, which leads to the elementary age, which now we're going to do multiple sorts. We're going to add, we're going to subtract. We're going to do, you know , algebra and things like that. So it it's, that's how our curriculum is set apart. That it's not, it's not just a collection of activities, they build upon each other. So if somebody can chooses, they might be skipping a crucial step that will lead to a crack in that foundation.Speaker 2:
Yeah, that's amazing. Cuz it , a lot of times, you know, myself included might think, you know, you hear curriculum and you think of higher education. And, but now, you know, realizing that based on, you know, what, what you in, in the space know to be true, those developmental stages start at birth. So, so what about like for a school that says, oh, you know what, we didn't have this type of curriculum in place in our infant room, but we wanna get started. Is it something that's still like that you could pick up as, you know, two year olds and three year olds and still receive the benefit from it and, and kids will, will catch up and, and progress naturally. Is that a fair statement?Speaker 3:
Absolutely. Because in every single activity we actually have learning supports. So , um, we give teachers tips on how to differentiate instruction, how to observe and almost assess a child to see, are they at the level of this activity or do we need to take a step back , um, and scaffold them up? Um, so it does , um , take into account different learning , um, learning styles, developmentally, you know, where they are developmentally and go from there. So they don't have to start the CU . Um , they can start it at any time . They can start the curriculum at any time of the year using that same method , um, observing and getting to know their children where they are developmentally.Speaker 2:
Yeah. And I would imagine that this, and I would love to see if you guys have any like feedback fr on this from your schools or just whether it's observations or actual like studies being done. But I would imagine having the right curriculum also impacts, and that's the other bucket I was talking about earlier, the teachers like, and things like morale and culture, like as a teacher, if I'm having to go try to figure out my own lesson plans all day and get creative, like for a certain amount of time, I might be able to do that. But I would imagine that gets like difficult. Do , does this impact, do you guys see the impact that it has on teachers? Is that part of like your value positioning in terms of like how it impacts staff in the classroom?Speaker 3:
Yes. A hundred percent. We've received so much feedback, you know, when we've done pilots , uh , of on the curriculum , uh , before we launched and you know, our, like I said, our , our focus is those high quality , early learning , um , opportunities for children. But also we wanted to hear from teachers, right? So, you know, children did have the learning gains. You know, we, we based our curriculum on different research and studies. And then again, the feedback from , uh , the results from, from the pilots that we did showed that children that were , um, that were following the learning beyond curriculum, did have those learning gains were achieving and meeting those early learning , um , standards from the state and getting ready for kindergarten. Um, but the teachers centers were retaining their teachers because teachers were no longer having to lesson plan on Sunday night on their couch, not getting paid, trying to get ready for the next week because there's no time during the day. There's no planning time. If there is planning time, a lot of times it gets mixed because , um , people are calling out or their staffing shortages. So there isn't time for the teacher to leave the classroom. Um , so paid planning time is really something that is a luxury right now. Um, and so the feedback that we're getting from owners and directors is that teachers really, really appreciate the, it's almost an appreciation for the curriculum for this new tool, because it's saving them time. It's saving directors and owners money, you know, planning time, money, three to five hours minimum. I mean, if you multiply that times' an hourly wage, that's, you know, thousands of dollars a year. So the curriculum pays for itself. The other thing is we've actually, and this was the first conference that we ever went to. Um, it was last year and we felt like we were going out. We were, we were putting our baby out in the world and we didn't want any, anybody to say anything bad about our baby. You know? So we , we went to our first conference in Orlando last year. And one of the very first comments that we got was, wow, this is exactly what my teachers need, because they don't want to go through books and paper anymore. They want everything right now. You know, I want it right now, right. When I , when I click on it and it really made us feel like, okay, what we set out to do is actually meeting the needs and the challenges , um, that the directors are having right now, you know, we have up to five generations in the workforce, but the majority are these new digital natives are coming into the workforce. They live on their phone, they live on an iPad. They're technologically inclined and they're teaching and caring for digital natives, right? So our phones and iPads might even be obsolete by the time these two and three year olds are in the classroom teaching the , the next generation. And so we are definitely trying to shake up the industry, be intentional, be relevant, and really be , um, specific with the needs that we're trying to meet , uh , with , with these new digital natives, 21st century. Um, and, and really being , uh , mindful of what the teachers are going through while meeting the , the needs of the children.Speaker 2:
Yeah. And that's a really, really good point. Like when we look at, you know, kind of your philosophy and your delivery tools, learning beyond paper is a hundred percent digital delivery. Correct. So traditionally curriculum, you know, was, you know , big booklets, you would order the curriculum, correct me if I'm wrong, cuz I'm, I'm new to this you'reSpeaker 3:
Right standpoint .Speaker 2:
But yeah. So if I was like, you know , a decade ago or 20 years ago, or maybe even some schools still do this, you pick your curriculum and then that curriculum provider ships, you like a huge box of materials and there's a binder that goes in the class and that's how teachers would access it. But LBP learning beyond paper, all digital delivery. Is that correct?Speaker 3:
Yes, that is correct. Um, the , the wonderful thing about that as well is that when you are a center on a budget and this is your small business and you spend 30 to $50,000 on a paper based binder based curriculum, and in order for you to get the next edit addition , you're pretty much gonna pay another 30,000 to 50,000. When the new addition comes out three to five years later, education is ever changing and it changes on a daily basis. Research comes out on a daily basis. So if it's already published, how can that change on a diet ? Right? You have to wait until the new edition comes out. Um, we have made a promise to our users that we want to be learning partners with them . Um, many of them have our personal cell phones . They'll text us and say, Hey, I did this activity. It was great, but it would be wonderful if you could add something like this. Um , and we do it, you know, we do focus groups. We, again, we don't want another curriculum company. We want to be useful. We wanna meet those needs and we wanna be intentional with what we do. Um, and so we're able to make those changes, you know, by a click of a mouse stroke of a key, we make those changes. So if, if , uh , the national association for education of young children comes out with a new position statement tomorrow, we can add it to our curriculum. Other publishers can't do that on paper.Speaker 2:
Yeah. Quick turn . Which, which kind of leads to like how this whole partnership between learning beyond paper and ProCare came about, you know, when you're talking about the digital natives and what we've seen in terms of like, you know, the , the demographics of the parents whose kids are in early childhood environments, they don't use pen and paper. They don't write checks. They expect everything to be, you know, available to them on their phones and tablets. And it's really our wheelhouse as well, Laura , in terms of, you know, the technology we design and deliver to help providers, you know, run their businesses. Can you talk, cuz I know that you've been , uh , leading the charge with our product team on, you know, how can we, as two separate companies come together to provide value to early educators into the centers that use ProCare and use LBP . Can you talk a little bit, if you , if , if a childcare owner is using ProCare as a platform to run their business, like how does this integration and partnership work and, and what are the benefits to them? Like how does that play out?Speaker 3:
I mean, the benefits are just tremendous. Um, I was an early user of ProCare 20 years ago when I had my center and I wish, I wish I had something like this that was happening now. It's incredible. Um, because people don't want to log into five different platforms and, you know, again, the paper based curriculum. Um , so this really, truly is a 21st century solution. Um , you know, ProCare early learning, powered by beyond, and then all the features that ProCare offers their , uh , childcare centers with , uh , on the management side of the business. Um, it is just incredible. It's, it's going to save a lot of time. A lot of money , uh , parents are , are going to be very happy. They can see what their children are doing on a daily basis, what their, you know, daily reports and communicating pro care , um , teachers like that they can do everything right in that ProCare app. Um, owners , directors can see what's happening in the classroom in real time . Um, so it's, it really is a tremendous , uh , uh , partnership. We're super excited to be part of it. Um, and again, everything that we do is intentional. So this to me is a perfect partnership because you all have been the leaders , uh , with, with supporting childcare centers in a different way. So now with curriculum, it's, it's almost full, full scale there.Speaker 2:
Yeah. And it's just, you know, from our perspective, you know, it's obviously adding just another piece of, you know, integration. You, you hit the nail on the head and when we talk with schools and, and our customers, it's always about, if we can bring in more resources into one central, you know, repository or, you know, software platform, it just means less administrative work and less administrative work means you've got more time with families, more time with your teachers as a school owner or administrator, you know, more time to focus on the things that you wanna focus on. And so for schools that say, you know, look, we wanna have a quality curriculum. We wanna have something that's, you know, research based and thought out and does all the things that you mentioned earlier, Laura, and we just want it to be available without us having to log into separate systems. Like that was something that we heard a lot from our customers and, and we, that's why we've partnered with you guys. And that's why this whole ProCare early learning and, you know, learning beyond paper partnership happened is so that, you know, our, our mutual customers can benefit in one place. And so, yeah, it's been a lot of fun. I mean, it's, it's early days, but I know for me and my team, even being able to tell our customers that we have one extra thing that we can, you know, help you with has been, you know, the , the response early on has been amazing. So we're excited, really excited.Speaker 3:
Yeah, we are too . <laugh>Speaker 2:
What is it ? So what is it like moving forward for learning beyond paper and, you know, in the industry and in curriculum, like you mentioned that it's ongoing, how does what's what's next for you guys? Is it just a continuing to kind of refine the curriculum, continue to update the lessons? Are there plans like to extend it to different age groups or different, you know, focuses or is it really right now, our wheelhouse is birthed to four and we're gonna keep kind of making improvements to that area.Speaker 3:
We , uh , we have different things in the work. So right now we're working on full Spanish translation. So , um, that should be released , uh, sometime in the next school year 22, 23 , um, providers will be able to have the full curriculum in both English and in Spanish. Um, we have gotten requests for school, age curriculum because a lot of centers do have those after school programs and camp programs during the summer and early learning does go through , uh , age eight, which is third grade. So that is definitely on our roadmap is to do , um , the school age , um , uh , curriculum as well. And, you know, there are other things that we would like to add going down the road right now, we are , um , going through our professional development. We're developing that I'm , I'm working on a lot of different , uh , best it's based on best practice. So our professional development is not on learning beyond paper per se. It's about best practice. So it doesn't matter what curriculum you're using. If you attend our professional development sessions, you're going to learn about what equity means in the preschool classroom , um, how to set the stage for learning , uh , when you're setting up your environment , um, you know, intentional interactions between teacher and children. Um, so yeah, there there's a lot, there's a lot that we have , uh , planned , uh , the first one being that Spanish translation. So we're really excited about that.Speaker 2:
That's gonna be huge. We, we hear that so often around, you know, in , especially obviously in areas where there's a lot of, you know, Spanish speaking , you know, families that need to be able to teach. Are you guys well , I'm just curious in terms of how you do that practically from a translation standpoint, are you using like Google type tools to do the translation or are you literally like somebody like yourself is taking all of the content and translating it into Spanish ?Speaker 3:
Yes. Um, there , Google translate is great. It gets you out of a bind, but it , it , sometimes it translates to literally, and you can get into trouble because with Spanish language, there's so many dialects, so many variations that some words can offend in other countries. Um, some words have different meanings. Um, there are a lot of nuances in the language, so we cannot use a translation app. Um, so yeah, we know we have people that are literally taking it ed by sentence and translating it. And then we are taking that , um , that translation and sending it to other native Spanish speakers to look at cultural awareness, cultural sensitivity, relevant. It's very, very , um , specific when you're translating into Spanish.Speaker 2:
Yeah. That's gonna be, that's gonna be a nice upgrade. We're excited about that one. What , what about, so if people, I know we're running short on time, and so I want, you know, main thing we obviously wanna do is like, introduce like the ProCare world to the fact like this, this new partnership and, you know, ProCare early learning, powered by, you know, learning beyond paper, all of the benefits of the curriculum that you, you know, talked about. We just obviously want to get the word out. If, if people listening to the , this episode want to learn more about LBP , want to learn more, maybe Laura talk to you or reach out to your team. Can you talk a little bit about how the industry can find you and how they could reach out if they've got questions?Speaker 3:
Absolutely. So our , um, they can reach us firstname.lastname@example.org . Um, they can reach email@example.com . Uh , we're on social media, we're on LinkedIn, you know, all the different platforms there. Uh , we're definitely open to conversations and we would love to , to meet anybody out there. That's interested in learning beyond.Speaker 2:
Yeah, love it. And you know , last thing I'll say both for ProCare and learning to be on paper, we're gonna be at, you know, now that conferences are back in person, we've, I've been to one a couple weeks ago. I know you've been to a few of your team. I saw Karen down in Austin a few weeks ago. Um, so come visit us at the booth that we have. So anybody that's listening, you know, get out to the conferences is so like energizing to get back around the people in this industry. And I know you guys are gonna be attending a lot of those over the, the course of the year as well. And so that's another great place where people can find us. Um, so Laura really appreciate your time. It was extremely insightful. I think it's gonna be valuable content. So appreciate you joining our show.Speaker 3:
Thank you, Ryan. I'm very excited for, for what's to come with this new partnership.Speaker 2:
Same take care.Speaker 1:
Thank you for listening to this episode of the childcare business podcast, to get more insights on ways to succeed in your childcare business, make sure to hit subscribe in your podcast app . So you never miss an episode. And if you want even more childcare business tips, tricks and strategies, head over to our resource firstname.lastname@example.org until next time.