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Tasheena M. Davis and her son Noah

 

Earlier this week, officials in Springfield, Mass., broke ground on Educare Springfield, a new early education facility.

How important is this kind of progress? One answer comes from Tasheena M. Davis, a parent who spoke at the ground breaking. Here’s a printed version of what she said: Continue Reading »

 

How hard is it to get from preschool to kindergarten?

According to Nobel Prize-winning economist James Heckman, many children find themselves moving from one silo to the next.

“Too often government officials design programs for children as if they lived their lives in silos, as if each stage of a child’s life were independent of the other, unconnected to what came before or what lies ahead.”

A new report — Transitions and Alignment: From Preschool to Kindergarten — released by the Education Commission of the States shares this Heckman quote and looks at how some policymakers and educators are replacing silos with more promising pathways that help children travel safely from infancy to adulthood.

“If this transition does not go well,” the report says, “children can be turned off to learning and school at an early age.”

The report points to two strategies for promoting children’s success: Continue Reading »

Photo: Amy O’Leary for Strategies for Children

 

On Monday, civic partners gathered in the city of Springfield and broke ground on what will be a $14 million Educare Center, a school that will open next year and provide “a full-day and full-year program for up to 141 children from birth to age five each year,” MassLive.com reports.

As we’ve blogged, Springfield’s educators and philanthropists have called this Educare project a “dream come true,” one that promises to provide the city’s children with increased access to a high-quality early education program.

Educare “began in Chicago in 2000,” public radio station WAMC reports. It’s a research-based model that has four core features: “data utilization, embedded professional development, high-quality teaching practices, and intensive family engagement,” according to Educare’s website.

“Among the innovations at Educare,” WAMC adds, “is the placement of teachers Continue Reading »

Governor Charlie Baker (directly in front of Curious George) announces new facilities grants at the Crispus Attucks Children’s Center in Dorchester.

 

This summer, Massachusetts awarded $4 million in grants to help early education and after-school programs improve their physical spaces. The money comes from the Early Education and Care and Out of School Time (EEOST) Capital Fund, which was created by the state Legislature.

As we’ve blogged before, engaging classrooms, lively safe playgrounds, and well-designed bathrooms are some of the key features that create nurturing environments for young children.

But programs often can’t afford the costs of badly needed construction and renovations. That’s why these capital improvement funds are so important.

In a statement, Governor Charlie Baker said, “Renovating and repairing facilities helps achieve our goal of improving the quality of early education and care.” Continue Reading »

Mary Frances Kroyak and her sons.

 

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

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My name is Mary Frances Kroyak. The children call me Miss Fran. I work for Cape Cod Child Development in West Yarmouth, Mass. I have been teaching for three years.

As a teacher, I know that children’s brains develop at the fastest rate from birth to age five. Because of this, children not only need to learn ABC’s and 1-2-3’s, but also what their feelings are and how to deal with them. Children need to learn how to socialize and react when working and playing with their peers in a group. Learning these lessons early will help them throughout their lives.

Professionally, I am most proud of the relationships I develop with the children. I love when they come up to me and tell me about their day or something they found amazing that they have learned. One of my favorite things to do is sit at circle time and ask them what they learned this week. For instance, I was doing a unit on crabs. This one little boy drew a blue crab. I told him it looked like an Atlantic blue crab. I showed him pictures of them online. I also asked him if he knew where the Atlantic Ocean is. He said “No.” I asked hm if he knew where the beach he went to with mommy was (we live on Cape Cod). He told me, Yes, he remembered. I told him that was the Atlantic Ocean. He smiled with an expression of surprise and exclaimed “No Way! I swam with the blue crabs? Cool!!” Continue Reading »

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and a Canadian child. Source: Prime Minister Trudeau’s Flickr page.

 

“Accessible, inclusive, high quality early learning and child care is critical to giving children the best start in life. The Government has made historical investments of $7.5 billion over 11 years to provide quality, affordable child care across the country. By 2020, up to approximately 40,000 children may benefit from quality new subsidized child care spaces across Canada. This will support parents in the hard work they do for their families by giving them peace of mind with the knowledge that their children are getting the care they need and deserve.”

The quote above comes from “Canada’s First Poverty Reduction Strategy,” a plan developed by Jean-Yves Duclos, Canada’s minister of Families, Children and Social Development. Duclos’ work drew on the input of thousands of Canadians that was gathered “through roundtables and town halls, in person and online, via conversations and conferences.” Continue Reading »

Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

 

Read all about preschool in several articles in the recent issue of Boston Magazine.

The theme for this issue is education, with a special look at early education.

One article – “Whatever Happened to Universal Pre-K in Boston?” – looks at what “universal” has meant under Boston Mayor Marty Walsh.

As the article explains, universal preschool does not, in Boston, mean more preschool spots; it means more quality.

“In fact,” the article says, “when you tally up Boston’s public school classrooms, charters, parochials, and community-based programs, plus federal Head Start, there has been more than enough free or subsidized pre-K to go around for Boston’s 6,000 four-year-olds since Walsh first set foot in City Hall. It’s just that not all of it was created equal. ‘Most of the country wants to get universal access,’ says Rahn Dorsey, the city’s chief of education, ‘but access without quality doesn’t close the achievement gap.’ ” Continue Reading »

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