Dr. Isauro M. Escamilla was first exposed to Learning Stories in the spring of 2017 when he visited New Zealand on an Inspire study tour to learn about the NZ early childhood education systems. Later, in the fall of the same year, Isauro attended the national Learning Stories conference in Auckland, NZ where Margaret Carr was the keynote speaker. In 2019, he was part of a small U.S. delegation participating in a Learning Stories Intensive Study trip facilitated by Wendy Lee and the Educational Leadership Project (ELP) team, where they were invited to attend the launch of the Learning Stories In Practice book and to present at the 2019 Celebrating Learning Stories Conference in Auckland.
Until last year, in addition to Isauro’s primary job as an early childhood educator in a dual language program, he was adjunct faculty at San Francisco State University working with undergraduate students. Currently, besides working as a preschool teacher, Isauro is a student in the Educational Leadership Doctoral program at SFSU (Ed.D in Educational Leadership) and a member of the Governing Board of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). He has written a few articles for Voices of Practitioners, an on-line NAEYC journal of teacher research in early childhood education and has recently joined the executive editorial board of this NAEYC journal.
At the dual language public preschool where Isauro teaches in San Francisco, CA most of the families served are new or first-generation immigrants from Central America and Mexico. In collaboration, the teachers have been writing Learning Stories in Spanish, which are later translated into English. At the school, teachers meet once a month for the last seven years to deepen and broaden their knowledge on how to document children’s learning. In the Learning Stories, teachers try to include:
- an observation with accompanying photographs or short videos,
- an analysis of the observation,
- a plan to extend the children’s learning,
- the families’ perspective on their child’s learning experience,
- and links to specific evaluation tools, which in our case is the DRDP (Desired Results Developmental Profile).
Isauro believes that at the root of writing a story – a learning a story, is a genuine interest in understanding children’s lived experiences and the meaning teachers, families, and children themselves make of those experiences. They are discovering through learning stories that teachers engage minds, touch hearts, and participate in both pedagogical and creative work; humanizing the early childhood profession, paving the way towards innovative modes of observing, analyzing and understanding the complexities of children’s actions. Isauro is interested in exploring Learning Stories as traces of teachers’ professional lives and as sources for professional growth.