Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

We’re throwing back and looking forward.

In 2013, we blogged about how social impact blogs could be used to finance early education, explaining:

“Preschools and investment banks seem to be worlds apart, but this month Goldman Sachs announced that it would use a ‘social impact bond,’ to invest in high-quality early childhood programs in Utah and serve some 3,500 children.

“Piloted in the United Kingdom in 2010, social impact bonds loan private money to effective public programs.

“In Utah, Goldman Sachs is working with Chicago investor J.B. Pritzker and the United Way of Salt Lake to offer $7 million in loans to pay for the expansion of preschool programs that enroll at-risk children.”

Read the rest of the blog here. Continue Reading »


Drawing on work done by Harvard’s Center on the Developing Child, this video explains how resilience develops in children.

At just over two-and-a-half minutes long, the video is short enough to be used in talks or shared on social media.

It was posted by the FrameWorks Institute, a nonprofit organization that advances “the nonprofit sector’s communications capacity.”


In Quotes

“Congress is moving forward with a plan that would take critical early learning opportunities from the children who need it the most – delaying their learning by a year and missing an opportunity to chip away at the educational gaps that exist for children from low- and moderate-income families. These children and their families cannot afford to wait for Washington to decide whether or not they get the right start for success.”

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in a U.S. Department of Education fact sheet, August 17, 2015

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

“Is the most precious thing in your life worth more than a poverty wage?” The Nation asks in a recent article called, “How Childcare Actually Causes Poverty in America.”

In other words, many of America’s young children are in preschool settings being taught and cared for by staff members who earn so little that they’re among the working poor.

“Although we see good early childcare as a way to ameliorate poverty, the fact of the matter is, we are generating poverty in the early childhood workforce,” Marcy Whitebook tells the Nation. She is the head of the University of California-Berkeley’s Center for the Study of Child Care Employment.

“Activists are pushing for a $15 hourly base wage for preschool teachers and childcare workers. Many are currently college grads earning poverty wages, which have basically stagnated for nearly twenty years,” the article says. Continue Reading »

Photo: Micaela Bedell for Strategies for Children

Photo: Micaela Bedell for Strategies for Children

NIEER (the National Institute for Early Education Research) is running a series about leadership on its Preschool Matters blog. Here’s a roundup of some of those blog entries and their take on developing strong early education and care leaders.

*     *     *

“Early Childhood Education and leadership in schools,” by Eleanor J. Shirley, Nebraska Department of Education, Office of Early Childhood

Shirley echoes questions that are being asked in the field about leadership. She points to Lea Austin — of the University of California’s Center for the Study of Child Care Employment and also the closing plenary speaker at the BUILD, National QRIS Conference in Baltimore — who asks: Do we have the right leaders in place? Do they represent the diverse perspectives of the populations we serve? Do we have data related to current and potential leadership? What does this imply about our workforce? 

“I would nudge us to hone in on the human agenda when we consider leadership development. My observations are that we, intentionally, or not, use words that are militaristic, competitive, and industrial in tone. We talk about getting people in the pipeline, levers of change, drilling into the data, strategizing and strategic planning, and calibrating, and recalibrating as if it is the only way to facilitate change in adults, children, and families!” Continue Reading »

“We want our next president to make early education a priority.”

From the video, “Iowans Press Candidates on Early Education,” posted by Save the Children on August 5, 2015

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“Save the Children Action Network (SCAN) is running a multi-pronged strategy in the early-voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina designed to convince candidates from both parties that preschool is a winning issue among swing voters.”

“Mark Shriver, SCAN’s president, formed the 501c(4) organization last year to ‘turn up the heat’ on legislators and policymakers.

“‘At Save the Children through the last 12 years, I’d go around the country and talk to people and they all tell me I’m doing God’s work and this is critically important,’ said Shriver, 51, a former Maryland lawmaker and nephew of President John F. Kennedy. ‘But when push comes to shove, they’re not putting their money where their mouth is.’

“‘Too many politicians think of education as ‘nice but not necessary,’ Shriver said in an interview. ‘We’re trying to look at this from purely a political perspective. How do we make early-childhood education a priority and a necessity for the voters who are going to elect the next president of the United States?’”

“Save the Children crusades to make preschool a top-tier campaign issue,” the Washington Post, August 12, 2015

Performance space designed by children in Boston. Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Performance space designed by children in Boston.
Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

What does it mean to be a citizen — for preschool children?

They can’t vote. But they are great talkers bursting with ideas. And as citizens their ideas — about playgrounds, transportation, and how to make communities more fair — should be heard and, ideally, seen, since their thinking could change the world.

Because Ben Mardell believes strongly in these principles, his career has been like a megaphone for very young citizens. A professor of early education at Lesley University, Mardell has worked hard to create opportunities for children to participate in civic life.

One recent example that we blogged about is the Our Boston project, which culminated in an exhibit at Boston’s City Hall the featured children’s models of playgrounds, a language museum, a book bus, and a ferry system.

Now an article in the Atlantic written by early educator Amy Rothschild — “The Citizen Preschooler: What should young children learn about being part of a democracy?” —profiles work being done in Washington, D.C., by Mardell and Project Zero, a research group based at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Continue Reading »


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