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Louisiana's Early Learners (2021)

Louisiana Public Square



Genre: Panel

Place Covered: Louisiana

Copyright Holder: Louisiana Educational Television Authority

Date Issued: 2021-05-26

Duration: 00:56:50

Subjects: Filmed panel discussions | Early childhood education | Early childhood development | Child Care | COVID-19 pandemic


  • Courtney, Beth Host
  • Erwin, Barry Host
  • Johnson, Ben Producer
  • James, Stephanie Interviewee
  • James, Charles Interviewee
  • David, Catherine Panelist
  • Moore, Chris Panelist
  • Hamilton, Tiffany Panelist
  • McPherson, Sydney Interviewee
  • Bradford, Santrice Panelist
  • Garner-Jones, Marissa Panelist
  • Watson, Kamille Panelist
  • DiCarlo, Cynthia Panelist
  • Sonnier, Libbie Panelist
  • Procopio, Steven Panelist
  • Lansing, Bob Panelist


This episode of the series “Louisiana Public Square” from May 26, 2021, features Barry Erwin leading a discussion with panelists on Louisiana’s early childhood education system. The first segment focuses on the perspectives of parents. It includes an interview with Stephanie James and Charles James, who discuss the difficulties of educating their children at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. The panelists are parents Catherine David, Chris Moore, and Tiffany Hamilton. They discuss: their experience of educating their children during the pandemic; their experiences with finding childcare; their concerns about the pandemic’s impact on their child’s development; and the high cost of childcare. The second segment focuses on the perspectives of early childhood educators. It includes an interview with Syndney McPherson, a pre-k special education teacher. The panelists are: Santrice Bradford, a paraprofessional at the Baton Rouge Center; Marissa Garner-Jones, a pre-k teacher at Baker Heights Elementary School; and Kamille Watson, the assistant director and curriculum coordinator at the Early Learning Center in Baton Rouge. They discuss: the work of early learning centers; the most important components of educating young children; why they decided to work with young children; the biggest challenges in teaching children with diverse learning levels; the need for more compensation; the lack of respect for early childhood teachers; and the importance of parental involvement. The third segment focuses on early childcare education policy. It includes an interview with Dr. Cynthia DiCarlo, the executive director of the LSU Early Childcare Education Institute. The panelists are: Dr. DiCarlo; Dr. Libbie Sonnier, the executive director of the Louisiana Policy Institute for Children; Dr. Steven Procopio, the policy director for the Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana (PAR); and Bob Lansing, the director of Central Academy and Childcare. They discuss: the challenge of turning research into policy; the need for sustainable investment for both childcare and early childhood education; the difficulty in recruiting teachers; the cost of childcare; the availability of childcare during the COVID-19 pandemic; and the need for more state funding. Hosts: Beth Courtney and Barry Erwin