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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

A new report published by the Society for Research in Child Development — “Multilingual Children: Beyond Myths and Toward Best Practices” — focuses on “the strength of being multilingual and its benefit for children’s later outcomes and well-being.”

Endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the report draws on more than 100 studies. “The qualitative review concludes that multilingualism is an advantage to be nurtured and maintained rather than a risk factor to be eradicated early in a child’s life,” Education Week explains in a recent review of the report.

In the Education Week piece, Allyssa McCabe, a lead author and a psychology professor at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, debunks two myths covered in the report. (more…)

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Photo: Micaela Bedell for Strategies for Children

Photo: Micaela Bedell for Strategies for Children

Babies need love, diapers, caring adults, and sound public policies that carry them from their first day of life to age eight.

So it’s welcome news that the Institute of Medicine (IOM)– the health arm of the National Academy of Sciences — is conducting a study called “The Science of Children Birth to Age 8: Deepening and Broadening the Foundation for Success.”

The research will look at how the science of children’s development, health and learning can be used to better train child care providers and educators, so that they can create a seamless birth-to-eight pipeline.

This will be a “consensus study,” which is the “result of an IOM consensus committee’s deliberations in regard to a specific request from the study’s sponsor. After discussing the issue of concern, the committee addresses those issues in a consensus report.”

The researchers will consider “instructional practices, preparation and professional development, and family engagement across diverse contexts (e.g., rural/urban) and populations (e.g., special education, immigrant, dual language learners, sub-threshold children),” according to the study’s website. (more…)

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Photo: Micaela Bedell for Strategies for Children

Photo: Micaela Bedell for Strategies for Children

Gateway Cities – the onetime mill and manufacturing towns that helped fuel the economy in Massachusetts – fell on hard times when the industrial era faded.

“Our economic strategy for the past several years has been centered on creating only highly-skilled, high-paying jobs in high-profile cities,” Suffolk Construction CEO John Fish said at a recent Gateway Cities event hosted by the local nonprofit think tank MassINC. “The result has been limited growth throughout the rest of the commonwealth, and a middle class that has been cast aside.”

Now these 26 cities – from Brockton, Lawrence and Lowell to New Bedford, Westfield and Worcester — are making a comeback.

Refusing to be branded as “underperforming,” the Gateway Cites are using a new report to “articulate a vision for effective 21st-century learning systems,” as Mayor Kimberley Driscoll of Salem and Mayor Lisa Wong of Fitchburg explain in the report. Called “The Gateway Cities Vision for Dynamic Community-Wide Learning Systems,” it was released earlier this month by MassINC. (more…)

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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

“The time is now to redesign this country’s approach to language and literacy instruction, and governors who choose to can lead the charge,” according to the National Governors Association (NGA) report, “A Governor’s Guide to Early Literacy: Getting all Students Reading by Third Grade.

Acknowledging the fact that only one-third of America’s fourth graders are reading proficiently, the report points out that America’s governors can help address this challenge. They can build a bridge between knowledge and action, connecting what researchers know to what policymakers do.

What the Research Says

To provide the research background on the literacy issue, the report points to three widely accepted research findings:

1.  “Starting at kindergarten is too late.” Because literacy skills start developing at birth and because achievement gaps show up early, infants, toddlers and preschoolers need effective, high-quality early education and care programs that introduce early literacy concepts.
(more…)

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Photo: United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley

Photo: United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley

More than 200 people came to the Boston Children’s Museum last Thursday night to attend “Conversation with the Boston Mayoral Candidates – Early Childhood and Education: Closing the Achievement and Opportunity Gaps.”  Strategies for Children, Boston Children’s Museum, Thrive in 5 and United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley cosponsored the event along with 31 other organizations.

Both candidates – City Councilor John Connolly and State Representative Marty Walsh — participated, each on stage separately. Candidates answered questions posed by the night’s moderator, WBZ political reporter Jon Keller, and from the audience, which included early educators, providers, pediatricians, college students, professors of higher education, teachers, advocates, and citizens.

As Carolyn Lyons, the president and CEO of Strategies for Children, explained to the audience in her introduction, the forum builds on the momentum that has been fueled by early education proposals from Governor Deval Patrick and other governors,  the Massachusetts legislature and President Obama’s bold proposal to expand preschool programs nationally.

The candidates were asked to come prepared to articulate their vision for Boston’s children and families and discuss what they would do for children and families should they become mayor. They responded by (more…)

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Mayor Logo

This Thursday, October 24, from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m., the Boston Children’s Museum hosts a Conversation with the Boston Mayoral Candidates. Jon Keller, WBZ-TV News’ Political Analyst will moderate the conversation.

To retain Boston’s status as an economic leader and hub of innovation in the years ahead, the next Mayor must improve educational outcomes for the city’s children. The achievement gap is evident long before children enter school, and we will not succeed in closing it unless we target resources to improve early learning and healthy child development.

Join us for a conversation with the two candidates running for Mayor and hear more about their vision for children and families in Boston.

This event is sponsored by: Boston Children’s Museum, Strategies for Children, Thrive in 5, and United Way of MA Bay and Merrimack Valley.

Co-sponsors to date include:  ABCD ● Associated Early Care and Education ● BOSTnet  ● Boston After School and Beyond ● Boston Association for the Education of Young Children ● Boston Children’s Hospital  ● Boston Opportunity Agenda ● Boys and Girls Club of Dorchester ● Catholic Charities of Boston  ● Cradles to Crayons ● The Children’s Trust ● Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative ● Ellis Memorial & Eldredge House, Inc ● Families First Parenting Programs ● Family Nurturing Center of Massachusetts   ● Family Service of Greater Boston ● Friends of the Children – Boston ● Generations Incorporated ● Horizons for Homeless Children ● Jumpstart ● MA Afterschool Partnership ● MA Association for Early Education and Care ● Massachusetts Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics ● MA Kids Count ● MA Head Start Association ● Raising A Reader MA ● Reach Out and Read ● Room to Grow ● United South End Settlements ● Wheelock College

For more information, please contact tdosremedios@strategiesforchildren.org

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Photo: Strategies for Children

Photo: Strategies for Children

Here are some recent tweets from the early education Twittersphere. Follow us @EarlyEd4All.

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U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan points to research on first grade dropouts.

Arne Duncan ‏@arneduncan

Serious about reducing dropout rates? We can’t wait until high school – it starts in 1st grade or earlier: http://bit.ly/1ebI6P9

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Materials from ReadyNation’s August 5th webinar on STEM, early education and business are now online.

Early Edge CA ‏@EarlyEdgeCA

#STEM #earlyed webinar recording and presentations from @Ready_Nation are now online! http://www.readynation.org/webinar080513    #ECE

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(more…)

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Photo: Strategies for Children

Photo: Strategies for Children

Here are some recent tweets from the early education Twittersphere. Follow us @EarlyEd4All 

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California organizations urge Congress to meet the needs of dual language learners.

Early Edge CA ‏@EarlyEdgeCA 27 orgs & researchers sent Congress this letter on Dual Language Learner standards as part of an #earlyed plan http://bit.ly/1aZcnEs  @NCLR

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Classroom assessment advice for infant and toddler teachers from Head Start.

 Office of Head Start ‏@HeadStartgov Use these 3 methods for recording infant & toddler observations to inform your assessments: http://1.usa.gov/14d2PQa

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(more…)

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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

It was inspiring to hear President Obama call for universal preschool in his State of the Union address. Now, his 2014 federal budget proposal for a national expansion of preschool could create early education and care programs that give more of the country’s children the early start they need to achieve lifelong success.

“A zip code should never predetermine the quality of any child’s educational opportunities,” the White House said in a statement. Sadly, zip codes do matter when they define high concentrations of poverty. As the White House notes, “studies show that children from low-income families are less likely to have access to high-quality early education, and less likely to enter school prepared for success.”

As part of the national Early Learning Day of Action, Eye On Early Education joins advocates in states across the country in answering the question – What would the president’s bold $75 billion proposal mean if it became law? Here’s what we think the historic proposal would lead to:

In the short term:

- High-quality programs — with strong curriculum and well-trained teachers — that promote child’s growth and development.

- Increased access to early education programs that would eliminate the long waiting lists of families seeking placements for their children. (more…)

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Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

Preschool classrooms are growing more multilingual. Many young children in early education settings can be found speaking English, Spanish, Russian, Mandarin, and other languages. Some are born in the United States. Many others come to the country from Mexico and Asia, the Middle East and Central and South America.

From 1990 to 2008, the number of young children with immigrant parents doubled, according to a report from the Urban Institute.

As they grow, dual language learners face academic risks. They can have lower scores on cognitive and language assessments. And they can fall behind in their academic work before the end of elementary school, according to a report from the National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition.

Individual children’s outcomes are commonly assessed, but there are fewer assessments of educational settings – even though children’s progress is “inextricably linked” with their daily learning environments, Harvard Graduate School of Education professor Nonie Lesaux writes in “Turning the Page: Refocusing Massachusetts for Reading Success,” a Strategies for Children report

What’s also needed, Lesaux notes, is “a better understanding of the quality of the learning environments and relationships we provide for our children, and the impact on their outcomes.” (more…)

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