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Archive for the ‘Professional development & preparation’ Category

Photo: Micaela Bedell for Strategies for Children

Photo: Micaela Bedell for Strategies for Children

“How come you decided to tackle the issue of early childhood educator pay?”

That’s the question Marcy Whitebook was asked during a recent interview in the online publication Crosscut about her academic research.

Whitebook’s answer was a personal one. She had been both excited and troubled by her experience as an early educator:

“As a recent college graduate, I chose a career as a nursery school teacher. I was enthralled by witnessing and facilitating how young children learned. But it quickly became apparent that there was something amiss — many parents could not find or afford good services, only some teachers had access to education and training, only a handful of programs paid a decent wage and I witnessed one skilled fellow teacher after another leave to pursue a career that offered greater respect and reward.”

Whitebook decided to act. She explains:  (more…)

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Photo: Micaela Bedell for Strategies for Children

Photo: Micaela Bedell for Strategies for Children

Elizabeth A. Gilbert has spent years working in early childhood settings, and she says she has seen too many underprepared early educators, adults who themselves have poor literacy skills.

So in 2010, Gilbert and her colleagues set up a program to help early educators build their skills. Today, Gilbert is the coordinator of this effort, the Early Childhood Education Learn at Work program, which is part of the Labor/Management Workplace Education Program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Earlier this month, Gilbert wrote about her program’s work in a Washington Post blog called, “The famous ‘word gap’ doesn’t hurt only the young. It affects many educators, too.”

Gilbert writes that it’s not just children who grapple with the word gap that the Hart-Risley study found. It’s also early educators.  (more…)

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Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

Federal officials are sounding an alarm: children who are being suspended or expelled from preschool need help.

“Recent data indicate that expulsions and suspensions occur with regularity in preschool settings,” according to a recent letter signed by both U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia M. Burwell and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

Expulsions are “a problematic issue” Burwell and Duncan write, because removing children from preschool programs can have “adverse outcomes across development, health, and education. In addition, stark racial and gender disparities exist in these practices, with young boys of color being suspended and expelled at much higher rates than other children in early learning programs.”

The secretaries add: “These trends warrant immediate attention from the early childhood and education fields.”  (more…)

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Photo: Micaela Bedell for Strategies for Children

Photo: Micaela Bedell for Strategies for Children

What should the certification process be for early childhood teachers?

A process that reflects the specialized work these teachers do. It’s up to policymakers and other stakeholders to ensure that this happens.

“During the first eight years of child development and learning, the educator’s role is different in many ways than the role a teacher plays later in a child’s life. Policies and practices should reflect this reality,” the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) explains on its website.

How are states doing at setting up distinctive certification processes that focus on early education?

Last month, NAEYC released new state profiles that reveal strengths and weaknesses.

“Using each state’s terminology, the profiles provide a snapshot of the certificates/licenses and endorsements for birth through third grade teachers in public schools; the cycle, if any, by which states review their certification policies; and other information noted by the state respondents as appropriate. We did not include academic content-specific or disability-specific certifications and endorsements.”

The Massachusetts profile is posted here(more…)

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Jay Gonzalez, Chair of the Board of the Department of  Early Education and Care

Jay Gonzalez

The Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) is asking the Legislature for an additional $45 million for fiscal year 2016. This investment would position Massachusetts to improve the ways that it helps young children succeed in school and life.

Please contact your elected state officials and let them know that you support this request and the progress it seeks to make.

EEC’s FY 2016 proposal is based on a vision of eventually providing high-quality, affordable programs that are available to every young child in the state. These programs would be staffed with well-qualified and well-trained teachers and providers.

“After a long process of evaluating the state of early education and care in Massachusetts and soliciting feedback from stakeholders and the public, the Board of Early Education and Care developed and approved a comprehensive proposal for systemic reform and investment,” Jay Gonzalez, chair of the Board of the Department of Early Education and Care, said in a statement. “The Board’s vote establishes a multi-year framework for taking our system of early education and care to the next level.”  (more…)

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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Principals can strengthen the pre-K-to-third-Grade pipeline.

Rhian Evans Allvin was reminded of this a number of years ago at a conference. Allvin — executive director of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) — recalls hearing a principal at the conference who “spoke of how he sent out letters to parents of newborns in his district, welcoming them into the learning community and offering a list of available early childhood resources and opportunities.”

Allvin’s experience is part of an article, “Strategies for Aligning Pre-K -3,” in the January/February 2015 edition of Principal Magazine.

The article highlights the release of “Leading Pre-K-3 Learning Communities: Competencies for Effective Principal Practice.”

The guide helps principals “create and support connections between the worlds of birth-to-five and K-12 and… implement developmentally-appropriate teaching and learning practices to ensure successful Pre-K-3 continuums in their schools,” the executive summary explains.

Published by the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP), the full guide can be ordered on the NAESP website(more…)

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Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

During last month’s White House Summit on Early Education, the Obama Administration released a new public policy tool, the “Playbook for Becoming an Early Learning Community.”

The playbook offers communities “strategies for local leaders to develop and expand early education in their communities,” according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It’s part of the president’s national early learning agenda called “Invest in US.”

The playbook should be a helpful resource to local communities — both here in Massachusetts and across the nation — that are working to improve early learning and kindergarten readiness.

As the playbook explains, “An Early Learning Community works together to deliver measurable improvements in the lives of its youngest children. It provides all (more…)

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