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“Sometimes, this sexism is overt. A recent New York Times article about early childhood workers struggling to make ends meet quoted a child care worker who was told… [by] a state legislator that, ‘You don’t get into this for money, you’re paid in love.’ Other advocates have told me of policymakers who believe that early childhood educators don’t need more money because they aren’t ‘breadwinners’ – a perception that data disputes.”

“Confront Sexism in Child Care: We need to talk about how sexism contributes to a lack of prestige and low pay for ‘women’s work,’” by Sara Mead, U.S. News & World Report, November 17, 2016

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

“Expulsion is a punishment no preschooler should have to experience,” Kate Abbott writes in a recent Preschool Matters blog posted by NIEER (the National Institute for Early Education Research).

Abbott, the director of Early Education at the Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union, points to four “evidence-based points” that policymakers and early educators should keep in mind as the nation expands preschool:

• “Children who exhibit challenging behavior have the best chance of learning appropriate social skills when they are identified early and provided with effective interventions.”

• “Children who are not able to access interventions before age 8 are much more resistant to change.”

• “Schools and early education programs that are proactive and systemic in addressing the academic, behavioral and social emotional needs of students have greater success.”

• “A wealth of research exists identifying effective strategies for supporting students with challenging behavior at both a class and individual level.”

Continue Reading »

Happy Thanksgiving!

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode

Enjoy the holiday.

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

 

Many organizations are keeping an eye on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the federal K-12 education law that replaces No Child Left Behind.

But CEELO (the Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes) is looking explicitly at how states’ early education programs can help enhance ESSA.

CEELO is one of “22 Comprehensive Centers funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Elementary and Secondary Education,” and its goal is to “strengthen the capacity of State Education Agencies (SEAs) to lead sustained improvements in early learning opportunities and outcomes” by promoting “innovation and accountability.”

A good starting point for learning more about ESSA is the list of resources that CEELO has on its website. Continue Reading »

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

 

“In Florida, a coalition of parents known as ‘the recess moms’ has been fighting to pass legislation guaranteeing the state’s elementary-school students at least 20 minutes of daily free play. Similar legislation recently passed in New Jersey, only to be vetoed by the governor, who deemed it ‘stupid.’ ”

“The benefits of recess might seem obvious—time to run around helps kids stay fit. But a large body of research suggests that it also boosts cognition. Many studies have found that regular exercise improves mental function and academic performance. [3] And an analysis of studies that focused specifically on recess found positive associations between physical activity and the ability to concentrate in class. [4]

“Perhaps most important, recess allows children to design their own games, to test their abilities, to role-play, and to mediate their own conflicts—activities that are key to developing social skills and navigating complicated situations. [8] Preliminary results from an ongoing study in Texas suggest that elementary-school children who are given four 15-minute recesses a day are significantly more empathetic toward their peers than are kids who don’t get recess. [9]

“Why Kids Need Recess: And why it’s endangered,” The Atlantic, December, 2016

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

“While early education was certainly not the main story coming out of Tuesday’s election, a handful of cities and states cast votes that could have a significant impact on the future of education access for young children,” Aaron Loewenberg writes on New America’s EdCentral blog.

And in its weekly news roundup, NIEER (the National Institute for Early Education Research) reports that voters gave both a thumbs-up to some proposals, and a thumbs-down to others.

In two cases, voters rejected tax increases:

“In Missouri more than 60% of voters rejected a proposed increase in the cigarette tax to expand early childhood education beyond the current 3% of Missouri 4-year-olds enrolled in state-funded pre-K,” NIEER notes. “In Oregon, roughly 60% opposed Measure 97 to increase specific corporation taxes to boost funding for public early education, K-12, healthcare and senior services.”

But Cincinnati said yes to a tax hike.

“…by a margin of 62 percent to 32 percent, voters approved a property tax increase expected to raise $48 million a year for five years. Of the $48 million, $15 million will go towards the Preschool Promise initiative, which advocates claim will enable 6,000 students (about 80 percent of three- and four-year-olds) to access pre-K each year over the next five years,” New America says. Continue Reading »

Photo courtesy of WGBH

Photo courtesy of WGBH

“Want to help create a new parenting app?”

First 8 Labs at WGBH wants to know because on November 18th and 19th, the lab will host “The First 8 Years: A Public Media Hackathon,” at WGBH’s home, 1 Guest Street in Boston’s Brighton neighborhood.

Parents, teachers, and healthcare professionals are invited to join designers and coders to “brainstorm and build media solutions that promote healthy child development.”

The event promises “a weekend of creative problem solving.” Participants will get to work in teams to brainstorm ideas, collaborate on solutions, and prototype new designs.

First 8 Labs, a research development unit, started in 2014 to help parents, caregivers and educators who “struggle with how to integrate technology and media into their children’s lives amidst concerns that uninterrupted passive screen time can be detrimental to a child’s development.”

Since then, First 8 Labs has developed a number of apps. Now it’s time to grow.

As First 8 Labs explains on its blog, photographers and videographers will record the events, because, “A big component of our hackathon is documenting the process from start to finish.”

The event is free, and meals and snacks will be provided.

To learn more, check out the First 8 Labs blog.

To see the schedule and register for this fun, 21st century event, click here.

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