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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

 

Early educators now have access to this year’s version of the “Massachusetts Infant & Early Childhood Mental Health Professional Development Resource Guide 2018,” a listing of hundreds of training programs that can be downloaded here.

(The guide can be downloaded as a booklet or as a spreadsheet. If you download the spreadsheet, be sure to click on the tabs at the bottom of the spreadsheet so that you can see all the training sessions. You might have to scroll left or right — using the arrows in the lower left corner — to access all the tabs.)

The resource guide includes training programs for “para- professionals and professionals with a variety of educational backgrounds… from trainings for individuals with associates degrees to offerings geared towards advanced-practice clinicians with masters and/or doctoral degrees.”

Training session topics include: Continue Reading »

“When it comes to early childhood education, the United States needs to step up. Many developed nations now have more than 90% enrollment in pre-K programs, surpassing the US with just 66% enrollment for 4-year-olds. Rising superpowers are making significant commitments to expand access to early education over the next few years, with China promising to have pre-K for every 4-year-old and most 3-year-olds by 2020.”

“The National Institute for Early Education Research began collecting data on state-funded preschool programs in 2002. Fifteen years later, the institute’s State of Preschool 2017 report released this week shows that even though many elected officials claim to support early education, actual enrollment of 4-year-olds has grown only slightly since the Great Recession of 2007-2009.”

“US is falling behind other nations in providing pre-K schooling,” CNN, by April 18, 2018

“Leading the Way,” is a series featuring the next generation of leaders in the field of early education and care.

Kretcha Roldan

Kretcha Roldan has spent her career combining social work and education.

That’s what she loved about her job as executive director of AVANCE, a nonprofit organization in Waco, Texas, that runs a two-generation education and personal development program for children and parents.

“I’m a social worker by training and by profession, but I fell in love with that concept: understanding how early education empowers parents to become children’s first teacher,” Roldan says. “It really helps the family to grow.”

Praised by former first lady Laura Bush, AVANCE serves Waco’s low-income, immigrant population.

Children and parents come to school each day. “The parents go to ESL classes or GED classes, and the children come to early childhood education classes. The parents also take parenting skills training.”

“Sometimes parents who have no means think that they cannot teach their children because they do not have the resources. When, honestly, what you need to teach a two-year-old are very basic things to have activity in their brain cells.” So the program helped parents tap their own ingenuity and creativity to use common household items to teach their children about numbers and colors.

“And both parent and child graduate. They both walk in with gowns.” Continue Reading »

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

 

Leaders in Ontario, Canada’s second-largest province, are talking a giant step forward: calling for a $2.2 billion plan to create full-day, fully licensed child care for “preschool children from the age of two-and-a-half until they are eligible to start kindergarten, beginning in 2020.”

Families would save some $17,000 per child.

“We listened to parents, educators and child care providers across the province, and they’ve told us this move is the right one to make,” Kathleen Wynne, the premier of Ontario said. “This investment will make life more affordable for families and allow more parents to make the choice to go back to work, knowing their child is safe and cared for.”

Currently in Ontario, “kids are eligible for junior kindergarten in the calendar year they turn four, and senior kindergarten the year they turn five,” the news magazine Maclean’s reports, adding: Continue Reading »

“Under the leadership of Speaker Robert A. DeLeo, Massachusetts has prioritized the field of early education and care (EEC), investing in both access and quality. This budget continues these historic investments, including another $20 million rate reserve for early educators, which will help to raise salaries allowing education providers to recruit and retain high quality staff. This includes $18 million to cover a 5% rate increase for center-based EEC providers, as well as an increase to the add-on rate for Department of Children and Families (DCF) children. Lastly, we create a new $8.5M EEC workforce development initiative to coordinate professional development and higher education opportunities for early educators in conjunction with Massachusetts community colleges. Overall, this funding ensures Massachusetts’s youngest residents receive the best possible care from experienced teachers during their most formative years.”

Massachusetts House Ways and Means Chair Jeffrey Sánchez, in a letter to House members that accompanied the House Ways and Means fiscal year 2019 state budget, April 11, 2018

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Yesterday, the Massachusetts House Ways and Means committee released its state budget proposal for fiscal year 2019. This budget makes strategic new investments in early educators and in high-quality early education and care, including:

  • a $20 million rate reserve for early educators, enabling programs to support teacher compensation, recruitment, and retention
  • a new $8.5 million EEC workforce development initiative, and
  • increases for Access Management and Head Start

Overall, the budget totals $41 billion, representing a 3.1 percent increase over current fiscal year 2018 appropriations. (These numbers could change if, as MassLive.com reports, voters approve several ballot questions that could impact state revenues.)

In his letter to House members, House Ways and Means Chair Jeffrey Sánchez said:

Continue Reading »

Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

 

Early educators wear a lot of hats: they’re educators and advocates, they advise parents, and they help with public problems like the opioid crisis.

They are also woefully underpaid, and this creates, as House Speaker Robert DeLeo has said, an early childhood education (ECE) workforce crisis.

To better define the crisis, Strategies for Children has released a new policy brief – “ECE Workforce Needs: Local Solutions from Preschool Planning” – that’s written by Jenna Knight, an intern at Strategies and a student at Tufts University’s Eliot-Pearson Child Study & Human Development program.

“One thing that stood out for me is how typical these workforce needs are across the state and nation, but the community-generated approaches such as the ones I’ve highlighted come from a strengths-based lens,” Knight says. “Empowering communities to collaborate, identify connections, and use approaches that work for their needs and for families being served is essential to making effective progress, particularly on ECE workforce needs.” Continue Reading »

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