“We want our next president to make early education a priority.”
From the video, “Iowans Press Candidates on Early Education,” posted by Save the Children on August 5, 2015
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“Save the Children Action Network (SCAN) is running a multi-pronged strategy in the early-voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina designed to convince candidates from both parties that preschool is a winning issue among swing voters.”
“Mark Shriver, SCAN’s president, formed the 501c(4) organization last year to ‘turn up the heat’ on legislators and policymakers.
“‘At Save the Children through the last 12 years, I’d go around the country and talk to people and they all tell me I’m doing God’s work and this is critically important,’ said Shriver, 51, a former Maryland lawmaker and nephew of President John F. Kennedy. ‘But when push comes to shove, they’re not putting their money where their mouth is.’
“‘Too many politicians think of education as ‘nice but not necessary,’ Shriver said in an interview. ‘We’re trying to look at this from purely a political perspective. How do we make early-childhood education a priority and a necessity for the voters who are going to elect the next president of the United States?’”
“Save the Children crusades to make preschool a top-tier campaign issue,” the Washington Post, August 12, 2015
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Performance space designed by children in Boston.
Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children
What does it mean to be a citizen — for preschool children?
They can’t vote. But they are great talkers bursting with ideas. And as citizens their ideas — about playgrounds, transportation, and how to make communities more fair — should be heard and, ideally, seen, since their thinking could change the world.
Because Ben Mardell believes strongly in these principles, his career has been like a megaphone for very young citizens. A professor of early education at Lesley University, Mardell has worked hard to create opportunities for children to participate in civic life.
One recent example that we blogged about is the Our Boston project, which culminated in an exhibit at Boston’s City Hall the featured children’s models of playgrounds, a language museum, a book bus, and a ferry system.
Now an article in the Atlantic written by early educator Amy Rothschild — “The Citizen Preschooler: What should young children learn about being part of a democracy?” —profiles work being done in Washington, D.C., by Mardell and Project Zero, a research group based at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Continue Reading »
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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children
On Wednesday, September 16th, 2015, the Massachusetts Legislature’s Joint Committee on Education will hold a hearing for all bills related to early education and care. Among these is “An Act Ensuring High Quality Pre-Kindergarten Education.”
Supported by the “Pre-K for MA” Coalition, which is being led by Strategies for Children (SFC) and Stand for Children Massachusetts, the bill calls on Massachusetts to follow in New Jersey’s footsteps and create high-quality pre-K programs for 3- and 4-year-olds who live in underperforming school districts. The bill was filed by Representative Alice Peisch (D-Wellesley) and Senator Sal DiDomenico (D-Everett).
We see the bill’s targeted, phased-in approach as getting us closer to our ultimate vision of high-quality early education for children in Massachusetts.
This proposed legislation would build on the recent history of progress in Massachusetts: Continue Reading »
Posted in Curriculum, Dept. of Early Education and Care, Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education, Early Learning Challenge, Family engagement, Funding, MA Legislature, MA state budget, Pre-kindergarten, QRIS, Standards and curriculum, Strategies for Children | Leave a Comment »
Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children
Fall is coming and it’s going to be a busy season for early education and care advocates. There’ll be hearings on important legislation and the crucial work of drafting the budget for fiscal year 2017.
To make the advocacy case, try this useful tool: the 2013 policy brief “Investing in Our Future: The Evidence Base on Preschool Education.”
As we blogged earlier this week, the brief is a “review of the current science and evidence base on early childhood education.” Yesterday, we looked at the impact on children’s academic skills and on their socio-emotional development.
In today’s blog, we’ll look at what the brief says about early education’s quality, its long-term outcomes, and its effect on diverse subgroups.
“Children show larger gains in higher-quality preschool programs,” the brief says, summing up the research. “Higher-quality preschool programs have larger impacts on children’s development while children are enrolled in the program and are more likely to create gains that are sustained after the child leaves preschool.”
“The most important aspects of quality in preschool education are stimulating and supportive interactions between teachers and children and effective use of curricula.” Continue Reading »
Posted in Boston, Cognitive development, Curriculum, Demographics, Developmentally appropriate practice, Early educators, English language learners, Funding, Head Start, Language development, Literacy, MA Legislature, Pre-kindergarten, Professional development & preparation, QRIS, Research | Leave a Comment »
“Preschool is founded on play; experts say it’s how children learn best. But not all play is the same.
“How, then, should parents decide what school is right for their child? They can readily compare cost and location, but quality is tougher to discern…”
“Jane Lannak, director of the Early Childhood Learning Lab at Boston University and a clinical associate professor, said children need to develop a love of learning as they play, and to feel respected and part of the classroom community.
“One good way to foster those ideals is to help them follow their interests, she said. Parents should look for a program with structure in which children make some choices about what activities they do.”
From “How to pick the right preschool for your child,” by Jennette Barnes, the Boston Globe, July 30, 2015
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