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Archive for the ‘Family engagement’ Category

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

How can preschool programs best serve children who are new to this country or whose first language is not English? A training session is providing answers.

The Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) and the Office of Refugees and Immigrants (ORI) are offering a session called “New Start: Supporting Multilingual Young Children and Immigrant and Refugee Families.”

The next one is this Friday, November 21, 2014, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Tufts University’s Cabot Asean Auditorium – Building M151 at 160 Packard Avenue in Medford. Click here to register.

The training session is run by MIRA and the Multilingual Action Council (MAC) at the Aspire Institute in Wheelock College.

The one-day session addresses a substantial need.

“In Massachusetts more than one in four children under the age of six live in a multi-lingual household, so focusing on meaningfully engaging these families in their children’s development will help to ensure the best outcomes for our young learners,” according to Jennifer Amaya-Thompson, the Head Start State Collaboration Office Director at EEC. (more…)

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reading to

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Family Literacy Month is sponsored by the Massachusetts Family Literacy Consortium. To learn more about how to “raise a reader” and for other information, check out this Department of Early Education and Care web page.

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“We must continue to encourage families to support reading and literacy every day, as education is Massachusetts’ calling card. Teaching children the love of reading is opening the door to their future, and we must all get behind these efforts throughout the year.”

Governor Deval Patrick, in a press release from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, November 7, 2014

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“Teaching children to read and to love reading creates the foundation for future successes in the classroom. I encourage all children and parents to find a subject they love and read everything and anything they can.”

Massachusetts Secretary of Education Matthew Malone, in the November 7th, 2014, press release

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“Through their multigenerational reach, family literacy programs play a critical role in the state’s effort to close academic achievement gaps and strengthen the workforce. By equipping parents with literacy knowledge, family literacy programs empower parents to support their child’s learning and development, which is good for families and our society as a whole.”

Early Education and Care Commissioner Tom Weber, in the November 7th, 2014, press release

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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

This post was originally published on November 25, 2013.

“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: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Today’s post about earned paid sick time was written by guest blogger Nicole Rodriguez, a policy analyst at MassBudget (the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center). Next week on Election Day, voters can weigh in on this issue by voting “Yes” or “No” on Ballot Question 4.

As National Work and Family Month draws to a close, we are reminded that many families are struggling to balance the demands of work and caregiving responsibilities.

Nearly all workers experience family illness, personal health issues, or the need to care for a sick child. Yet many workers lack access to earned paid sick time.

In Massachusetts about 1 in 3 workers don’t have access to earned paid sick time. And those least likely to have it are the lowest wage workers. This is particularly (more…)

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

“Access to preschool programs — and their quality — varies widely across Texas,” according to a Houston Chronicle article, “Broad coalition pushes anew for expanded pre-K.”

These variations play out within and across school districts. Some schools offer full-day programs, others only run for a half a day. So children in programs that are only 10 miles apart can have vastly different experiences.

“Currently, Texas only pays for half day pre-kindergarten for at-risk 4 year-olds. There are no limits on those class sizes. And child-care providers don’t have to have a college degree,” an article on Houston Public Media’s website says.

The Chronicle says that NIEER (the National Institute for Early Education Research) estimates that “52 percent of 4-year-olds in Texas were enrolled in state-funded pre-K programs last year, and another 9 percent attended federal Head Start pre-K. Enrollment in private programs isn’t tracked.”

“According to data from the Texas Education Agency, 690 districts offered full-day pre-K programs – lasting four or more hours – and 347 districts had only half-day classes. (more…)

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

As preschool programs around the country grow, parents need to know how to pick the best program for their children.

Take the case of New York:

“Mayor Bill de Blasio pledged that this year’s free pre-K classes would all be ‘high quality.’ But what does that look like?” Amy Zimmer asks in a DNAinfo NewYork article, “9 Signs of a Good Pre-K Program.” 

DNAinfo New York consulted with experts, “including those who’ve spent years in classrooms teaching 4-year-olds as well as professional development experts responsible for training pre-K teachers…”

Here’s the resulting nine-item list of what to look for. (more…)

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Last spring, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh launched the Universal Pre-Kindergarten Advisory Committee to help the city plan how to double the number of 4-year-olds in high-quality, full-day pre-kindergarten programs by 2018.

Now the committee is inviting Boston parents who have young children to help by filling out a Universal Pre-K survey about “their experiences and hopes” and their opinions about the city’s preschool programs, according to the Boston Public Schools’ Early Childhood website.

Supporting this effort, Thrive in 5 — a partnership between the Mayor’s Office and the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley — is working with other community partners to “conduct a series of stakeholder focus groups across Boston, and offer online surveys to gather input about the strengths and needs of all of the City’s neighborhoods for high-quality pre-kindergarten.”

Please help spread the word by sharing the link to the survey via email and social media. There are thousands of parents who could fill out the survey, and their input could help shape early education in Boston. (more…)

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