“The Barikbin family sends their toddler to a military child development center in the documentary series The Raising of America. Military child care is considered the highest quality in the nation, available to all military personnel and all of it affordable." Source: http://www.raisingofamerica.org/press-kit#still-photos

“The Barikbin family sends their toddler to a military child development center in the documentary series The Raising of America. Military child care is considered the highest quality in the nation, available to all military personnel and all of it affordable.” Source: http://www.raisingofamerica.org/press-kit#still-photos


Today, we honor our nation’s veterans for their service, and we thank military families for their sacrifices.

We also want to note that the military has excellent child care programs. The documentary series “The Raising of America” highlights these programs in one of its episodes. (The segment about the military beings at 29 minutes and 16 seconds.)

And according to an article from the Future of Children:

“The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) receives wide acclaim for offering accessible, affordable, high-quality child care to military service members and their families. The military sees child care as an essential element of combat readiness and effectiveness, so it places a high premium on the quality of children’s experiences in military child-care facilities, and on assuring families that their children are well cared for.”






Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) is weighing in on preschool with an article about the challenges of creating programs that maximize best outcomes for children.

Called “Preschool is for Real,” the article starts by noting that children and teachers are doing a lot of hard work.

“Imagine yourself as a preschooler. Everything’s an adventure, from pretending you’re a superhero to chasing a butterfly to painting a self-portrait. There is so much to explore, discover and learn at preschool, and it all feels like play—hours and hours of play,” the article says.

“But behind all the fun and games, preschool teachers have one very serious goal: To prepare children for kindergarten and future academic success. To achieve that, they have the daunting task of helping young children learn specific social, emotional, physical, linguistic, cognitive, literacy and math skills, which are defined in state learning guidelines or standards. All this sounds very much like school, although preschool teachers make it all feel like play.” Continue Reading »

“Story time is drawing capacity crowds at public libraries across New York and across the country at a time when, more than ever, educators are emphasizing the importance of early literacy in preparing children for school and for developing critical thinking skills. The demand crosses economic lines, with parents at all income levels vying to get in.”

“Long a library staple, story time has typically been an informal reading to a small group of boys and girls sitting in a circle. Today’s story times involve carefully planned lessons by specially trained librarians that emphasize education as much as entertainment, and often include suggestions for parents and caregivers about how to reinforce what children have learned, library officials said.”

“Long Line at the Library? It’s Story Time Again,” by Winnie Hu, the New York Times, November 1, 2015

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

What formula should Massachusetts use to fund its schools?

A new report from the Foundation Budget Review Commission says that the current formula is outdated and fails to reflect “the actual costs of health insurance and special education.”

“In addition, the added amounts intended to provide services to ELL [English Language Learner] and low-income students are less than needed to fully provide the level of intervention and support needed” to ensure these students achieve academic and social-emotional success.

And while the commission did not have time to take an in-depth look at early education, the report does point to the importance of these programs.

State law established the commission last year and charged it with periodically reviewing the school funding formula. As we’ve blogged, “To set state funding for K-12 public schools, Massachusetts relies on the Chapter 70 Program. Created by the Education Reform Act of 1993, and first implemented in fiscal year 1994, Chapter 70 uses a formula that ‘has two goals: adequacy and fairness,’ according to a 2013 report from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DOE).”

Now, updating this school funding formula is crucial. Continue Reading »

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Early education programs have many community partners. Among the key players are housing authorities. And when education and housing officials join forces, children and families stand to benefit.

“From Massachusetts to California and Florida to Washington State, housing authorities are joining a nationwide movement to promote early reading and put young children on the path to success,” according to the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading’s (GLR) website.

“More than 1,000,000 children from birth to age 8 are housed in the nation’s 3,200 housing authorities, many attending local public schools that are severely underperforming. These children often start school with such a reading deficit that they have little hope of attaining grade-level proficiency by the end of third grade, a key predictor of high school graduation.

“By embracing grade-level reading as an important goal of the supportive services they provide, housing authorities are demonstrating that they can break the cycle of hopelessness. Continue Reading »

“My husband is among about 50 adults who are participating in an Oakland Public Library program to train volunteers to read to low-income three and four year olds in preschool and Head Start classrooms for a half hour each week. He has just completed his 18 hours of mandatory training, plus two observations of storytime conducted by child librarians. Once he presents his assignment to fellow volunteers (which involves two books, several fingerplays and songs as well as ideas about how to handle challenges that might arise with eager and squirmy listeners) he will be cleared to face his assigned preschoolers.

“Some hear about this training and think it is excessive; as a former preschool teacher, I consider this level of preparation appropriate for a volunteer, but far too little for a preschool teacher. Disturbingly, however, my husband’s volunteer training exceeds that of many teachers working with preschool-age children each day across our country…”

“Despite all we have learned about the crucial development in the first years of life and the important role of teachers in facilitating early learning, ECE [early childhood education] jobs offer little premium to those teachers who have earned degrees.”

“It’s time to change how we prepare and support early childhood educators,” by Marcy Whitebook, posted on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation website Impatient Optimists, October 19, 2015

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

The Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) wants to know what you think preschoolers should know about science, technology, and engineering.

EEC is requesting public feedback on its adoption of Pre-Kindergarten Science, Technology and Engineering Standards.

From studying the moon to understanding more about the earth’s rocks, soil, and water, these topics capitalize on children’s natural curiosity and excitement about how the world works – making the preschool years an ideal time to learn these lessons.

We blogged about the standards a couple of years ago when they were in draft stage. As we explained then, the standards cover “biology and the life sciences (plants and animals); earth and space science; and the physical sciences.” Continue Reading »


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