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This is one of a series of blogs featuring first-person accounts from early educators across Massachusetts.

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My name is Wheeler DeAngelis. I am a Teaching Fellow at Lemberg Children’s Center at Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass. My first experience in the field was when I was a high school senior and volunteered for a child development class in a local elementary school, but I’ve been teaching professionally for two years.

I graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2015. I was a member of the Early Childhood Development and Education cohort – which I cannot speak highly enough about. UConn’s program focuses not only on the science of teaching (brain development, milestones, etc.) but also on the art of teaching (classroom management, parent interactions, and co-teaching). What really drew me to the program was the fact that it offers fieldwork and student teaching opportunities with infants and toddlers as well as preschoolers.

I think everyone who teaches young children has, at some point, been at a party where someone asked the same perplexing, astigmatic, exasperating question, “What can you teach babies?” The obvious answer is “EVERYTHING!” but as that rarely seems to satisfy people’s curiosity, I’ve come to rely on an analogy. Continue Reading »

Photo: Courtesy of MassAEYC

Last month, the Massachusetts Association for the Education of Young Children (MassAEYC) held its 13thAnnual Spring Conference for early educators and administrators in Westford, Mass. More than 300 people attended.

The very popular keynote speaker was Richard Cohen who is known online for his list “Top Ten Signs You’re an Early Childhood Educator.” The first two items are:

#10 You find yourself humming “The Wheels on the Bus” in the shower

#9 Every time you turn around, someone tells you that you have a piece of glitter on your face

An early educator for 30 years, Cohen is a professional speaker and a professor of Early Care and Learning at St. Louis Community College in Ferguson, Miss. A short version of his presentation is posted here. A longer version is here.

Tom Weber, commissioner of the Department of Early Education and Care also spoke at the conference.  Continue Reading »

Photo: Greater Lawrence Community Action Council’s Facebook page

Monday at the State House was Advocacy Day for early education and care and school-age programs. The message for this year was best summarized in a hashtag: #ValueEarlyEducators.

“About 200 early education supporters rallied outside the State House Monday, thanking lawmakers for their efforts to boost the salaries of early educators but urging them to do more to help young learners and workers whose wages place them on the edge of poverty,” according to the State House News Service.

The event was organized by MADCA, the Massachusetts Association of Early Education and Care, along with the Put MA Kids First coalition. Continue Reading »

A Lectio Institute. Photo: Alyssa Haywoode

We’re excited to share news from our former Strategies for Children colleague Kelly Kulsrud.

As we blogged last year, Kelly left Strategies to become a co-founder and executive director of Lectio, an organization that maximizes the impact of literacy programs for children by helping stakeholders design more effective literacy programs. Now, Lectio is planning to celebrate its work and call for more progress.

Since last year, Lectio has been tackling a key problem. As its website explains:

“Despite great promise and tireless efforts, most children’s literacy programs, instruction, and services produce only negligible effects.”

The solution: Lectio runs institutes to help literacy programs assess their impact.

“We guide stakeholders through a comprehensive analysis of their literacy programs and services, focusing on their goals, design, desired outcomes, and resource allocation.” Continue Reading »

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

The blog will be back next week.

“A new paper, published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, investigates how pre-K affects kids’ access to healthcare. The results suggest that universal pre-K programs are improving the odds that kids who need treatment for vision, hearing, or asthma issues get the help they need.”

“For example, the fact that the group of kids is 1% more likely to get hearing treatment overall means that hearing-impaired kids are actually 63% more likely to get treatment. For vision-impaired kids, the bump is 45%.”

“So why is pre-K changing health outcomes? The researchers suggest that putting kids in pre-K simply creates more opportunities for their health problems to get noticed, since early-childhood teachers are often trained to spot them.”

“Universal pre-K improves kids’ health in a hidden, powerful way, according to a new study,” Business Insider, April 12, 2017

Photo: Michele McDonald for Strategies for Children

More than 120 early education professionals and experts have signed an open letter that urges state lawmakers to increase their investment in early education.

“As Massachusetts legislators consider the state budget and investments in early education, we would like to highlight the widespread agreement among experts and researchers in the field about the effectiveness of such investments,” the letter says.

It goes on to point out that while: “Quality early childhood education can reduce the achievement gap.”

And: “Investing in quality early childhood education pays off.”

It is also unfortunately true that: “There are a number of pressing problems that undermine early education in Massachusetts.”

Among those who have signed the letter are professionals and experts we’ve blogged about before, including Anne Douglass of the University of Massachusetts Boston; preschool teacher Teddy Kokoros; and Jack Shonkoff of Harvard’s Center on the Developing Child.  Continue Reading »

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