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The early childhood system could implode. How can it be improved? | Teachers' Lounge Podcast

Peter Medlin
Early education students in Rockford

On a brand-new Teachers’ Lounge, we’re talking about an education system on the verge of collapse: early childhood. We’re talking with Gretchen Sprinkle and Cicely Fleming from Birth to Five Illinois -- a state-run early childhood initiative.

They just released 39 regional needs assessments that spell out how dire the situation is in every area of the state, along with recommendations on ways to improve it.

Sprinkle is with the DeKalb County region of Birth to Five and Fleming is the state director.

For a long time, in nearly every part of the state, there’s been a chasm between what early childhood services are available and what families need. We’re talking about everything from preschool to daycare, and more.

If you’ve never listened to Teachers’ Lounge before, our show is based on an idea -- we’ve all had teachers in our lives who shaped who we are. And we want to hear about the teachers who inspired you or deserve a spotlight in your community. Every educator we have on this podcast, whether teacher, coach, counselor or professor, is nominated by our listeners.

So, tell us about the person who comes to your mind. Shoot us an email and nominate an educator at teacherslounge@niu.edu and they could be on the podcast! And please subscribe to our Teachers' Lounge newsletter right here where you can stay up to speed on the show and share stories you think we should cover!

Also, Teachers’ Lounge is on the radio! Catch the show as an hour-long radio program every month LIVE on 89-5 FM and streaming at WNIJ.org. We have multiple guests, stories, and exclusive segments. Tune in on the last Friday of the month at noon for future episodes. Our next episode airs on Friday, September 29th at noon and then the next day, September 30th at 6 a.m.


Educators in this episode:

Gretchen Sprinkle & Cicely Fleming

Music: Our show's theme music is from the northern Illinois-based band "Kindoves" and their songs "Popn," "Origins" and "Quiche." You can find more of their music on their Soundcloud page. You can also listen to the episode of WNIJ's own Sessions from Studio A where they were featured.

Teachers! People who know teachers! People with stories about teachers! Send us an email and be part of the show! Also, send us your topic recommendations: teacherslounge@niu.edu

Peter joins WNIJ as a graduate of North Central College. He is a native of Sandwich, Illinois.