“Talking, reading, and singing to your baby are the easiest ways to help them grow up smarter, happier and with a brighter future to look forward to. In fact 80 percent of a child’s brain is developed by the age of three, and your words are a very influential part of that development. Even before your child can talk back, your words help their brain grow.”
Archive for the ‘Infants and toddlers’ Category
Babies who babble are actually rehearsing, according to a new study. As early as seven months, those vocalizing babies are practicing the movements they will need to start forming words, Patricia Kuhl explained recently in an interview on NPR.
Kuhl is the co-direcor of the University of Washington’s Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences.
To do this research, Kuhl and her research team used a magnetoencephalography, a brain scanner also called MEG. Babies sat in the brain scanner, which “resembles an egg-shaped vintage hair dryer and is completely safe for infants,” according to a University of Washington news release, which adds, “The Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences was the first in the world to use such a tool to study babies while they engaged in a task.” (more…)
Parents know that early education and child care are expensive. But for a refresher on just how expensive, the Boston Globe recently featured a 50-state map of child care costs across the nation. As the Globe explains, Massachusetts is among the least affordable states with an annual cost of $12,176 for 4-year-olds and $16,430 for infants. Compared to “the state median income for married couples, Massachusetts is the fourth least-affordable state for center-based infant care in the country.”
A recent report from Child Care Aware of America, the data source for the Globe’s map, explains just how high these costs are across the country.
“The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services considers 10 percent of family income for child care as a benchmark for affordable care,” according to Child Care Aware’s “Parents and the High Cost of Child Care 2013 Report.” (more…)
Posted in Achievement gap, Boston, Cognitive development, Demographics, Developmentally appropriate practice, Health, Infants and toddlers, Language development, Literacy, MA governor, MA Legislature, MA state budget, National, Pre-kindergarten, Reading proficiency, Strategies for Children on July 23, 2014 | 2 Comments »
Yesterday, The Annie E. Casey Foundation released the 25th edition of its KIDS COUNT Data Book, a statistical look at children’s well-being.
The report shows that, “Children have a greater opportunity to thrive and succeed in Massachusetts than in any other state,” according to the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center (MassBudget), the home of KIDS COUNT here in the commonwealth.
This is exciting news for Massachusetts, but it comes with an important caveat: There is still much more work to do.
The Massachusetts KIDS COUNT data profile reports that 15 percent of the state’s children lived in poverty in 2012. And despite being first in the nation in education and fourth grade reading, 53 percent of this state’s fourth graders cannot read proficiently. Thirty percent of children have parents who don’t have secure jobs. And while an impressive 99 percent of Massachusetts’s children have health insurance, it’s also true that this state’s children are as likely to abuse drugs and alcohol as children across the country.
MassBudget released the new data yesterday at an event hosted by Nurtury (formerly Associated Early Care and Education) in its brand new Learning Lab in Jamaica Plain where Governor Deval Patrick spoke, along with state legislators, local leaders, and Chris Martes, Strategies for Children’s new president and CEO. (more…)
Don’t settle for just commuting on the T’s buses and trains. If you’re traveling with a child, use the trip to help build that child’s brain.
“When you ride the T this summer, you may see this ‘I am a Brain Builder’ ad highlighting teachable moments for parents and children while they ride public transit,” according to the Brain Building on the T website.
That ad is part of a campaign that was launched on Monday by the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) and United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley – both leaders of the state’s Brain Building in Progress effort.
Brain Building in Progress is a public/private partnership “to raise awareness of the critical importance of fostering the cognitive, social, and emotional development of young children by emphasizing its future impact on the economic prosperity of everyone in Massachusetts.”
Commuters can see the brain building ads on Orange and Red Line trains as well as on several bus routes. They are scheduled to run through the summer. (more…)
Posted in Curriculum, Dept. of Early Education and Care, Early Learning Challenge, Family child care, Infants and toddlers, Literacy, Multimedia, Pre-K to 3, Pre-kindergarten, Standards and curriculum on June 24, 2014 | 1 Comment »
We’re happy to welcome a new early education blog to town: The Birth Through Third Grade Learning Hub.
Learning Hub blogger David Jacobson travels around Massachusetts visiting the homes, centers, and classrooms where young children learn.
The impetus for the blog? For several years, it has been clear to Jacobson that communities were implementing new programs and practices without knowing what their neighbors were doing. The blog is a way to share these experiences among cities and towns.
Specifically, the blog “tracks, profiles, and analyzes Birth-Third initiatives with the aim of promoting learning, exchange, and knowledge-building across communities.”
Jacobson works at Cambridge Education, an educational consulting company, in two roles, as Professional Excellence Director and Early Years Lead.
His blog entries offer compelling, first-hand accounts, including this one from “The Boston K1DS Project: Implementing a New Curriculum in Community-Based Preschools” (more…)
Posted in Boston, Curriculum, Developmentally appropriate practice, Early educators, Facilities, Family engagement, Health, Infants and toddlers, Play, Pre-K to 3, Pre-kindergarten, Research, Science & math on June 17, 2014 | 1 Comment »
Here’s an exciting birth announcement from The City of Boston, the Boston Housing Authority, and Nurtury (formerly known as Associated Early Care and Education):
It’s a brand new building!
The Nurtury Learning Lab at Bromley-Heath
Serving children ages 0 to 8
20,000 square feet of classroom space
14,000 square feet of outdoor learning and play areas
LEED Gold Certification
The new building had its ribbon cutting ceremony on Monday. And Boston Mayor Marty Walsh helped out with the ceremonial scissors.
“The Nurtury Learning Lab, located at the Boston Housing Authority’s (BHA) Bromley-Heath public housing development in Jamaica Plain, will anchor a campus of services for children and families,” according to a press release. The building “integrates early education, family and community learning opportunities and support, and professional development activities for early educators throughout Boston and eastern Massachusetts.” (more…)
Posted in Assessments, Early educators, Election, English language learners, Family engagement, Full-day kindergarten, Funding, Health, Infants and toddlers, K-12, MA governor, MA Legislature, MA state budget, Pre-kindergarten, Professional development & preparation, QRIS, Reading proficiency, Research, Strategies for Children on June 10, 2014 | Leave a Comment »
In a forum at UMass Boston on Saturday, eight of the candidates in the Massachusetts race for governor made news by agreeing that the commonwealth should improve the quality of preschool programs and expand access to them.
This consensus adds to the growing political support for early education and care both here in Massachusetts and nationally. Ten years ago, research on the benefits of high-quality pre-k were not widely understood, nor part of the public discourse. Today, policymakers and candidates understand that these programs are essential first steps in educating children and preparing them to succeed in the state’s high-tech economy.
Sponsored by Strategies for Children and more than two dozen other organizations (see program agenda for full sponsor list), the “Early Childhood and Education: Closing the Achievement and Opportunity Gaps – 2014 Gubernatorial Candidates Forum” gave candidates the opportunity to share their vision for educating the state’s youngest children. It was a chance to hear how the next governor of Massachusetts might reshape the landscape of early education and care. (more…)
Posted in Achievement gap, Assessments, Dept. of Early Education and Care, Early educators, Election, English language learners, Family child care, Family engagement, Funding, Infants and toddlers, MA governor, MA Legislature, MA state budget, Play, Pre-K to 3, Pre-kindergarten, Professional development & preparation on June 9, 2014 | Leave a Comment »
As we wrote last week in Part One of this blog, the Ninth Annual Wheelock Community Dialogue on Early Education and Care called on the field to: unite; develop an agenda; and tell a compelling story that will inspire policymakers — especially the next governor of Massachusetts — to commit to a grand plan for improving the commonwealth’s early education and care system.
Interactive Dialogue Groups
After the keynote speakers, the audience broke into smaller interactive dialogue groups that covered a range of topics, including:
- family engagement
- infants and toddlers