Happy Thanksgiving

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children


Three things we’re grateful for:

New America’s report on Massachusetts’ birth-to-third-grade policies

This amusing article about what reading does to your brain and the news that the national nonprofit RIF (Reading is Fundamental) plans to give away collections of “50 high quality children’s picture e-books.” To find out more go to www.billionebookgift.org

* This cool conference video from NAEYC (the National Association for the Education of Young Children) and the power of early educators. Click here to see more NAEYC videos.



Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

The city of Cambridge, Mass., has released its “Early Childhood Task Force Report 2015.” It’s a comprehensive look at how the city can build an early childhood system that improves the lives of its youngest children.

“We should be breaking open bottles of champagne. This is fulfilling hopes and dreams of so many people in Cambridge,” school committee member Fred Fantini said, according to a Wicked Local Cambridge article, which adds:

“The task force [has] developed a three-year-plan to improve early childhood education that would require an intended budget of $190,000 in 2016, $1.3 million in 2017, and $2.3 million in 2018. In the first year of the plan, the money would go towards affordability of early childhood services, program quality, and governance. In 2017 and 2018, family engagement and health care will be included in the budget costs as well.”

In a memo, City Manager Richard C. Rossi explains that the task force did its work with this powerful vision in mind:

“All children in Cambridge receive high quality early education and care from birth through third grade. As a result, all children enter school ready to thrive academically, socially, emotionally and continue to do so through third grade and beyond.” Continue Reading »


“One no-cost activity in which fathers can engage with their children that has been consistently linked with higher student achievement is reading. Based on this premise, the Fathers Reading Every Day (FRED) program was developed to encourage fathers to become active in their children’s early literacy development.

“FRED is a family literacy program designed by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service designed to improve the early literacy development of children, specifically targeted to fathers and other male caregivers. During the FRED program, male participants are given research-based, yet user-friendly, guides that enable them to begin daily reading activities with their children. Since the FRED program began 2002, over 20,000 fathers and children all over the world have participated.”

“Storytime with dad: Why fathers should read with their children,” a Mass Literacy blog post, November 2, 2015



Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Bilingual education has had a bumpy history, but now educators increasingly see the power of this approach. Educating children in both their native language and the language of their new homes helps them thrive.

Seventeen years ago, the opposition against bilingual programs — now more commonly known as dual language programs — was fierce.

“In 1998, Ron Unz, a Silicon Valley millionaire and former gubernatorial candidate, set out to abolish bilingual education in California. Fueled by an anti-immigrant climate, Unz spearheaded a statewide campaign for Proposition 227, a highly controversial state initiative that required schools to teach language-minority students almost entirely in English,” an article in the Atlantic says of the recent policy history. Continue Reading »

Patricia Hnatiuk teaching at Wheelock College.  Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Patricia Hnatiuk teaching at Wheelock College.
Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children


How are colleges and universities doing at training early educators? A new policy brief — “Early Childhood Higher Education: Taking Stock Across the States” — provides answers, pointing to fragmented efforts that need more organization and consistency.

The brief is based on information collected through the Early Childhood Higher Education Inventory, “a research tool for describing the landscape of a state’s early childhood degree program offerings at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels.”

The inventory is administered by the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment (CSCCE) at the University of California at Berkeley. The organization also produced the policy brief.

The brief “highlights findings from inventories conducted in seven states to date —California, Indiana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island — on the extent to which ECE teacher preparation is currently integrated across the birth-to-age-eight continuum, and on variations in field-based practice opportunities for teachers of young children.” Continue Reading »

“On behalf of the nation’s governors, we urge Congress to enhance state early childhood education programs by continuing Preschool Development Grants as part of FY 2016 appropriations.

“Governors understand that early childhood education is a key component of building a literate, knowledgeable and skilled 21st century workforce. Preschool Development Grants, including expansion grants, enable governors to build on their efforts to promote school readiness by accelerating state-focused innovation to improve access and quality in early childhood education. States use the program to better serve our youngest students, including English language learners and early learners with disabilities; improve the professional development of preschool teachers and administrators; and expand access to early education programs to thousands of students.”

A letter from the National Governors Association to Congress, November 10, 2015

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children


Library story times are getting well-deserved media attention for helping young children build early literacy skills and develop social skills.

A recent New York Times article on story time, says:

“Forty strollers were double- and triple-parked on the main floor of the Fort Washington Library in Upper Manhattan. As another one came through the door, Velda Asbury waved toward a spot beside a book stack.

“Officially, Ms. Asbury is a library clerk, checking books in and out. But every Wednesday she doubles as a parking attendant during one of the New York Public Library’s most popular programs: story time.”

The Times explains that story time, like a hot Broadway show, is drawing huge crowds because “more than ever, educators are emphasizing the importance of early literacy in preparing children for school and for developing critical thinking skills. The demand crosses economic lines, with parents at all income levels vying to get in.” Continue Reading »


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