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Archive for the ‘Early Learning Challenge’ Category

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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Faculty and graduates of UMass Boston's early education bachelor’s degree program.  Anne Douglass is third from the right.

Faculty and graduates of UMass Boston’s early education bachelor’s degree program. Photo: Courtesy of the University of Massachusetts Boston.

It’s not just Massachusetts preschool programs that are growing and improving. There’s also exciting growth in the higher education programs that train and prepare early educators.

In Massachusetts, it’s clear that these two educational systems — preschool and higher education —should develop in concert with each other, so that early educators are always learning the newest concepts and strategies for teaching young children.

Some of the seeds for this growth were planted when UMass Boston was asked to develop an accessible, affordable way to train early educators, according to UMass Boston’s Anne Douglass, an early childhood education professor and the program director of the Bachelor’s and Post Master’s Certificate Programs in Early Education and Care. (more…)

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

This summer federal officials announced that states could apply for preschool development grants: a $250 million federal program that will help “states to build, develop, and expand voluntary, high-quality preschool programs for children from low- and moderate-income families.”

Now an impressive 32 states (as of Monday) have declared their interest in the program, which is being jointly run by the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services.

“These grants would lay the groundwork to ensure that more states are ready to participate in the Preschool for All formula grant initiative proposed by the Administration,” according to the Department of Education.

Hawaii, Mississippi, Nevada, and New Hampshire are among the nine states applying for the program’s “development grants,” funding for states with little or no public preschool infrastructure. (more…)

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Photo: Micaela Bedell for Strategies for Children

Photo: Micaela Bedell for Strategies for Children

This blog was originally published on July 24, 2013.

Libraries and museums can engage, teach and delight children. But too often these institutions are not part of the policy conversation about early education.

A new report – “Growing Young Minds: How Museums and Libraries Create Lifelong Learners” – calls for tapping and investing in more of the strengths and knowledge of these vibrant institutions.

“Libraries and museums can play a stronger role in early learning for all children,” the report says. “As our nation commits to early learning as a national priority essential to our economic and civic future, it is time to become more intentional about deploying these vital community resources to this challenge.”

The report comes from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading.

The nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums have 10 key strengths, according to the report, among them:

– Museums and libraries provide high-quality, easily accessed early education programs that engage and support parents in being their children’s first teachers. (more…)

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