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Photo: Micaela Bedell for Strategies for Children

Photo: Micaela Bedell for Strategies for Children

It’s spring, and it’s time for the 14th Annual Early Educators Awards Gala, hosted by the Boston Association for the Education of Young Children.

This year’s gala will be held on Friday, April 3, 2015, from 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. at Lombardo’s in Randolph.

The Mistress of Ceremonies will be Amy O’Leary, the director of our Early Education for All campaign.

The gala celebrates the hard work and accomplishments of early educators. So please nominate an early educator for an award. The deadline for nominations has been extended.

You can nominate someone for one of the following six categories:

- Leadership & Management: for being a strong presence in the field of early education and care; working to improve awareness of the importance of early education; and understanding the policies and procedures that are necessary to support a quality early education program. Continue Reading »

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

What are the nation’s governors saying about early childhood education? The First Five Years Fund (FFYF) has put together a collection of quotes “on the importance of high-quality early education from recent speeches by a wide range of governors.”

FYFF notes, “According to the Education Commission of the States, for the 2014-15 fiscal year, state funding for pre-K increased by $672 million to a total of $6.3 billion. This was the third year in a row that both Republican and Democratic policymakers made significant investments in state-funded pre-K programs.”

One caveat: “While numerous governors used their state of the state addresses and budget announcements to highlight existing and future investments in early learning, the reality is that states cannot do it alone. Increasing federal investments in early childhood education must be a national priority.”

Here’s a sampling (in alphabetical order by state) of some of the governors’ quotes:

“We’ve built better schools, raised test scores, made college more affordable, and put Connecticut on a path toward universal pre-kindergarten.”  Continue Reading »

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Researchers at Duke University have found that two North Carolina preschool programs “significantly reduce the likelihood of special education placement in the third grade,” creating substantial cost-savings for the state, according to an article in the journal Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis.

It’s an exciting outcome for children and for taxpayers.

“Together, North Carolina’s Smart Start and More at Four early childhood programs reduced the odds of third-grade special education placement by 39 percent. Nationwide, special education costs nearly twice as much as regular classroom education,” a Duke University press release explains.

The release adds: “Smart Start, which dates back to the early 1990s, provides child care, health screenings and other services to children ages zero to five across the state. More at Four, created in 2001, provided preschool slots for disadvantaged four-year-olds. The program was rechristened NC Pre-K in 2011 and is now managed by a different state agency.  Continue Reading »

In Quotes

“Are all of Burlington’s children on the path to a healthy and prosperous future? Compelling scientific research into the brain development of infants and young children shows that the early years of a child’s life are critical to developing the skills necessary to become a thriving adult. A lack of household economic resources is the single largest indicator for a host of poor childhood educational and health outcomes…

“By focusing on parent mentoring in combination with a market-driven scholarship approach to early education, we can we can strengthen Burlington’s future by providing our youngest with a healthy start.”

From “Burlington Beginnings: A White Paper on a Comprehensive, Coordinated Sustainable Early Learning Initiative,” January, 2015, a summary of early education plans in Burlington, Vt.

Photo: Micaela Bedell for Strategies for Children

Photo: Micaela Bedell for Strategies for Children

“How come you decided to tackle the issue of early childhood educator pay?”

That’s the question Marcy Whitebook was asked during a recent interview in the online publication Crosscut about her academic research.

Whitebook’s answer was a personal one. She had been both excited and troubled by her experience as an early educator:

“As a recent college graduate, I chose a career as a nursery school teacher. I was enthralled by witnessing and facilitating how young children learned. But it quickly became apparent that there was something amiss — many parents could not find or afford good services, only some teachers had access to education and training, only a handful of programs paid a decent wage and I witnessed one skilled fellow teacher after another leave to pursue a career that offered greater respect and reward.”

Whitebook decided to act. She explains:  Continue Reading »

Photo: Micaela Bedell for Strategies for Children

Photo: Micaela Bedell for Strategies for Children

Elizabeth A. Gilbert has spent years working in early childhood settings, and she says she has seen too many underprepared early educators, adults who themselves have poor literacy skills.

So in 2010, Gilbert and her colleagues set up a program to help early educators build their skills. Today, Gilbert is the coordinator of this effort, the Early Childhood Education Learn at Work program, which is part of the Labor/Management Workplace Education Program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Earlier this month, Gilbert wrote about her program’s work in a Washington Post blog called, “The famous ‘word gap’ doesn’t hurt only the young. It affects many educators, too.”

Gilbert writes that it’s not just children who grapple with the word gap that the Hart-Risley study found. It’s also early educators.  Continue Reading »

“…I can tell you there’s nothing more important than that development of that brain in the first four years of life,” Alabama’s Governor Robert Bentley said earlier this month at the Alabama Governor’s Early Childhood Education Leadership Summit.

Nearly 300 early education leaders attended the summit, which “highlighted the state’s voluntary First Class Pre-K program, home visiting programs, child care centers, and elementary schools and new federal grants for Early Head Start/Child Care Partnerships and Pre-K expansion,” according to a press release.

“Alabama State Superintendent of Education Tommy Bice said the success of K-12 education depended on the success of early childhood education,” a news story in the Montgomery Advertiser explains.

Bice adds: “If the leaders in this state do what’s right for children and rethink some of the things that we are currently doing and do this together, we can make a lot of difference for kids.”  Continue Reading »

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