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Archive for the ‘Early Learning Challenge’ Category

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

On Wednesday, September 16th, 2015, the Massachusetts Legislature’s Joint Committee on Education will hold a hearing for all bills related to early education and care. Among these is “An Act Ensuring High Quality Pre-Kindergarten Education.”

Supported by the “Pre-K for MA” Coalition, which is being led by Strategies for Children (SFC) and Stand for Children Massachusetts, the bill calls on Massachusetts to follow in New Jersey’s footsteps and create high-quality pre-K programs for 3- and 4-year-olds who live in underperforming school districts. The bill was filed by Representative Alice Peisch (D-Wellesley) and Senator Sal DiDomenico (D-Everett).

We see the bill’s targeted, phased-in approach as getting us closer to our ultimate vision of high-quality early education for children in Massachusetts.

This proposed legislation would build on the recent history of progress in Massachusetts: (more…)

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Photo Source: Governor Inslee's Facebook page

Photo Source: Governor Jay Inslee’s Facebook page

“I signed a landmark bill for our state’s littlest learners today. The Early Start Act will help more than 48,000 children get access to quality early learning thanks to historic new levels of funding. This is about creating a continuum of education which starts with our youngest learners, and extends right on through college. Thanks to everyone who helped fight this fight. It doesn’t end here, but today – we celebrate!”

Washington Governor Jay Inslee writing on his Facebook page, July 6, 2015

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“I want to congratulate Gov. Jay Inslee, educators, and other leaders in Washington state on the Early Start Act, which will improve early learning opportunities for over 48,000 children, building on the successes the state’s Race to the Top — Early Learning Challenge grant. It’s a huge step toward a vision for a comprehensive early learning system that will make Washington a leader in doing the right thing for our youngest children. I hope more states will answer President Obama’s call to expand early learning opportunities – and that Congress will support them.”

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, in a statement, July 7, 2015

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“Woooohoooooo! Fantastic news for SO many early learners & ECE professionals throughout our state! Thank you Governor Inslee for remaining focused on our most valuable resource! Advocate, educate, legislate! ♡”

Beka Johnston, commenting on Governor Inslee’s Facebook post, July 7, 2015

 

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Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

The state has a new mental health guide that focuses on young children called “Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Resources and Services: A Guide for Early Education and Care Professionals.”

It’s a road map that’s packed with information as well as phone numbers and Internet links that early educators can use to connect children and their families to a wide array of resources and organizations.

Early education professionals will find “descriptions of services and supports for families with young children, as well as resources that can benefit your program, whether you work in an early education and care center or family child care setting.”

And: “To support staff conversations with families about their children’s social-emotional development, the guide also includes advice on how early childhood professionals can share their concerns with parents.”

The guide is published by the Children’s Behavioral Health Initiative (CBHI), “an interagency initiative of the Commonwealth’s Executive Office of Health and Human Services.” CBHI worked with the state’s Department of Mental Health and its Department of Early Education and Care.

Some of the funding for this project came from the federal Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge grant that was awarded to Massachusetts in 2011.

(more…)

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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Imagine a citywide approach to helping young children prepare for school.

That’s the city New Bedford is striving to be. The city’s public school system is working with local center-based preschool providers, as well as diverse stakeholders including the New Bedford Art Museum, the city’s housing authority, and the United Way of New Bedford to develop school readiness programs.

“We’ve never really had that alignment conversation,” Diane Sullivan said in a recent interview. Sullivan is the supervisor of Early Childhood Special Education for New Bedford Public Schools.

Sullivan helps lead the Birth through Third Grade Alignment Partnership effort, which has been underway in New Bedford since fall 2014. The work is funded by the Department of Early Education and Care, using federal Early Learning Challenge funds.

Taking what Sullivan calls a “good first step,” New Bedford has decided to focus on helping preschool-age children build strong social and emotional skills.  (more…)

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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

A new regional training series starts this month. It’s called “New Start: Supporting Multilingual Children and Immigrant & Refugee Families.”

Sponsored by the Massachusetts Office for Refugees and Immigrants and by the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC), the training series looks at “early learning for these children and meaningful engagement of their parents and communities…” according to an event flier.

The need is considerable. “More than 1 in 4 children in Massachusetts under age 6 live in households that speak a language other than English,” the flier notes.

Presented in partnership with the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA), the series “will equip providers, stakeholders, and other professionals with knowledge on immigration policy, cultural competency, and child development and educational principles in the context of multilingual homes and multicultural environments.”  (more…)

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

This afternoon, Deval Patrick is scheduled to take the traditional “Lone Walk” down the steps of the State House to end his two terms as governor.

As a State House News article explains, “Meant to symbolize the governor rejoining the Commonwealth as a private citizen, the departing governor traditionally walks by himself out the front gates of the State House, which are opened for foreign dignitaries, a visiting U.S. president, and for the governor’s walk.”

“The walk… traditionally takes place the morning of the inauguration, but former Gov. Mitt Romney broke with that tradition in 2007 by doing it the night before to give Patrick the spotlight the next day.”

The article adds: “‘When Governor Patrick was reflecting on his experience with Governor Romney, he felt his inauguration was very special and with the way Governor Romney handled it, he wanted to extend the same courtesy,’ said Patrick administration transition director Brian Gosselin.”

So Patrick is taking the walk today to let Governor-elect Charlie Baker have the spotlight tomorrow during his inauguration.  (more…)

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Somerville has a cool new early childhood website: SomervilleHub.org.

Produced by the Somerville Early Education Steering Committee, the website helps “connect local families with young children to the full range of information and resources they need to raise healthy, active children from birth to age 8,” a press release explains.

The wide range of information and insights include: facts on growth and development; good ideas about free craft activities offered by local businesses; kids’ programs run by local nonprofit organizations such as Eagle Eye Institute; and information on childcare and school options, social services, family events, and local parks.

Somerville’s goal is to provide a central hub for parents “especially in the early childhood years, to help their children develop kindergarten-readiness and then thrive and reach their full potential once enrolled in school.”

In an impressive nod to Somerville’s diversity, the website’s content can be translated into some 80 languages that range from Afrikaans and Albanian to Mongolian and Nepali to Yiddish and Zulu. (more…)

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