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Archive for the ‘Infants and toddlers’ Category

14359821987_be01fd4731_mYesterday, 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…)

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Photo: Courtesy of Brain Building in Progress

Illustration: Courtesy of Brain Building in Progress

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…)

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

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…)

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Photo: Courtesy of the City of Boston

Photo: Courtesy of the City of Boston

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

Click here for the Facebook Pictures!

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…)

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GOV Forum logoIn 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…)

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

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

- assessments

- infants and toddlers

- play

(more…)

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

“I’d like to welcome our commissioner who has come… We are thrilled to see so many of our Wheelock alums… Mayor Clare Higgins is back by popular demand!” said Wheelock College President Jackie Jenkins-Scott as she welcomed all the participants who came to her school for the “Ninth Annual Community Dialogue on Early Education and Care: Our Children’s Future — Time for a New Plan.”

Higgins, the former mayor of Northampton, attended last year’s dialogue; and this year she was joined by advocates, educators, and policy analysts who spoke to an audience of 200 about how best to bring high-quality early education and care to more of Massachusetts’ children.

The goal for the day was reinforced throughout the three-hour event: 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. (more…)

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Want to help keep early childhood education and third-grade reading proficiency high up on policymakers’ agendas? Save the date and attend these upcoming early childhood events: help create a new public policy action brief; and ask 2014’s gubernatorial candidates how their leadership will benefit children.

* * * * *

9th Annual Wheelock Community Dialogue on Early Education and CareOur Children’s Future – Time for a New Plan!

Thursday, May 29, 2014, 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Wheelock College, 43 Hawes Street, Brookline, MA 02446

This event will be “an interactive strategic working session that builds on outcomes from previous Dialogues. Participants will work together to produce a new public policy action brief to be circulated widely among stakeholders in Massachusetts, including the new governor, legislature, funders and the statewide early education and care community. Plan to attend and collaborate to create the action agenda and move it forward for all young children in the commonwealth!” Click here to register.

The keynote speakers will be:

• Marie St. Fleur, President and CEO of the Bessie Tartt Wilson Initiative for Children, and,

• Claire Higgins, Community Action Executive Director, serving Franklin, Hampshire, Western Hampden, and North Quabbin regions

(more…)

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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation has made an exciting investment in family engagement: $13.7 million in grants to 30 organizations that will develop and implement what the foundation calls “transformative family engagement programs in the field of early childhood education.”

The grant funding is meant to ensure that parents are “at the table” when key decisions are made about their children’s preschool years.

Kellogg received more than 1,130 applications for this grant, the highest number in its 83-year history.

“This was an eye-opening moment for us. We knew there was a need and a value around the issue of family engagement, but we didn’t realize the extent of the shared value around families’ desire to more deeply engage in their children’s education,” said La June Montgomery Tabron, president and CEO of the Kellogg Foundation. (more…)

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Mary Reed Photo: Courtesy of MADCA

Mary Reed
Photo: Courtesy of MADCA

Next week, on Monday, May 5th, Mary Reed will be awarded a well-deserved Lifetime Achievement in Early Education Award from the Massachusetts Association of Early Education & Care (MADCA), a trade association for child care providers that was founded in 1972. The event begins at 7 p.m. It is part of MADCA’s annual Administration and Management Conference.

“Reed has spent more than 40 years in the early education field, growing up working with her mother, Bessie Tartt Wilson, who opened the first black-owned day care center in Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood,” MADCA explains in a press release.

Reed’s career grew beyond early education. She became the first black woman to head the Boston YWCA; and she served as vice president of Goodwill Industries.

In 2002, as MADCA explains, “Reed founded the Bessie Tartt Wilson Initiative for Children (BTWIC) in honor of her mother and developed it into one of the most effective advocacy organizations on behalf of early education and care in Massachusetts.” (more…)

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