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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

The Massachusetts Association for the Education of Young Children (MassAEYC) is holding its 11th annual spring conference — “Children: A Link to Our Future” — on March 27th and 28th, 2015.

The event will be held at the Westford Regency Inn & Conference Center, located at 219 Littleton Road, in Westford, Mass. And registration has been extended until tomorrow.

The conference’s keynote speaker will be Lisa Murphy, an early childhood specialist and the founder and CEO of Ooey Gooey, Inc., a company that provides workshops and training sessions.

Murphy’s topic is “Many Kinds of Smart! Understanding the Theory of Multiple Intelligences.”

“Think you are good at your job because you love children?” the conference brochure asks in its description of Murphy’s presentation. “What about the ones that challenge you?”

Using these questions as a framework, Murphy “puts her own spin on Howard Gardner’s classic theory.”

“By providing easy to implement, yet possibly challenging, ‘comfort zone stretchers,’ Lisa challenges teachers to make sure they are celebrating all of the children in the classroom, not just the ones they like.” Continue Reading »

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

National data show that different groups of children enroll in preschool at different rates. For example, children who are Hispanic, immigrants or dual language learners (DLLs) are less likely to participate in center-based early education and care programs than white non-Hispanic children, according to NIEER (the National Institute for Early Education Research).

Because this difference can trigger achievement gaps, NIEER is also proposing ways to enroll more children in center-based care.

How important are formal preschool programs for children? A recent study from the University of California Center Sacramento found “a predominance of positive effects for children in immigrant families attending formal prekindergarten care on both academic and socioemotional school readiness measures.”

And as we’ve blogged before, early education programs can meet the needs of young dual language learners.

Immigrant and DLL Demographics

NIEER and CEELO (the Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes) held a webinar on the needs of immigrant and DLL children late last year, and NIEER covered the issue last month in a Preschool Matters blog written by Milagros Nores, NIEER’s Associate Director of Research. Continue Reading »

 

Educators in West Michigan are tackling third grade reading proficiency by pooling their resources to form the Reading Now Network Initiative. And a recently conducted field team study suggests that intensive efforts are paying off.

Reading proficiency is also getting attention from Michigan’s Republican Governor Rick Snyder, who has called for new efforts to boost reading outcomes.

West Michigan’s Efforts

Launched last year, Reading Now is “the collective effort of superintendents, school boards, [and] local and intermediate school districts throughout West Michigan to improve early literacy and, ultimately, student achievement across all grade levels,” according to a fact sheetContinue Reading »

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Federally funded home visiting programs have gotten a vote of confidence from a recent report.

Unfortunately, funding for this important program is being held up in Congress.

“The federal Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting, or MIECHV, program has supported high-risk families in communities across the country through intensive home visiting services since 2010,” according to the report, “An Investment in Our Future: How Federal Home Visiting Funding Provides Critical Support for Parents and Children.”

Released by CLASP (the Center for Law and Social Policy) and the Center for American Progress, the report is based on interviews with officials from 20 states and two tribal organizations.

Support from the States

The program has widespread local support, as a recent op-ed in the Salt Lake Tribune shows:

“Sometimes it can be easy to forget there are such pressing needs in Utah… Our business community, economy, and government regularly receive national recognition for their well-deserved successes,” writes Kirk L. Jowers, the University of Utah’s Director of the Hinckley Institute of Politics.  Continue Reading »

“Singing—much like rhyming—is a special form of language that improves children’s memory, and teaches them rhythm and melody. Brain research has shown that when children are sung to, both the left and right sides of their brains are activated, strengthening their neural connections. Singing can also teach children new vocabulary words.

“But children don’t get the same benefits from listening to a CD or musical video. According to Sally Goddard Blythe, director of the Institute for Neuro-Physiological Psychology, the benefits to brain development occurs best when a parent or caregiver sings directly to, and with, a young child.”

“Even Singing Off Key Can Bring a Smile to Children’s Faces,” a blog post on the website Too Small to Fail, March 11, 2015

(And parents, don’t just sing to your child, think about how they can participate in the song.)

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Next month, join NAEYC (the National Association for the Education of Young Children) for its “Week of the Young Child 2015: Celebrating Our Youngest Learners,” from April 12th to the 18th, 2015.

First established in 1971, the purpose of this annual celebration is to “focus public attention on the needs of young children and their families” and “to recognize the early childhood programs and services that meet those needs.”

Each day of the Week of the Young Child (WOYC) has a different theme:

Music Monday highlights the educational power of songs by inviting children and families to sing along with “Thingamajig,” a tune sung by Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band.

Taco Tuesday emphasizes the fun of cooking healthy meals together for good nutrition and to show how cooking can be used to connect math, literacy, and science skills.  Continue Reading »

 

Seattle is starting a universal preschool program — and getting implementation advice from Boston.

As the city explains on its website, “On November 4, 2014, Seattle voters approved Proposition 1B (Ordinance 124509), which will fund the four-year demonstration phase of the Seattle Preschool Program, and build toward serving 2,000 children in 100 classrooms by 2018.”

We blogged about it here.

Fourteen classes are expected to start in the fall.

Last year, “a high-level delegation from Seattle, including the mayor, school board members, a representative from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and City Council President Tim Burgess, toured the Boston system,” NPR reported.

“‘They’ve done an amazing job here,’ Burgess said. ‘We want to replicate that in Seattle.’”

This year, “Jason Sachs, the Director of Early Childhood Education with Boston Public Schools, gave a presentation to Seattle City Council’s education committee,” according to public radio station KPLU, which adds: “the City is getting a lot of advice from Boston. That city, which is home to world renowned universities, is also considered a national leader in early childhood education since it launched its preschool program in 2005.”  Continue Reading »

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