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Photo: Micaela Bedell for Strategies for Children

 

Census 2020 is coming. So now is the time to make sure all of the nation’s children get counted.

“If we don’t count children, we render their needs invisible and their futures uncertain,” Patrick McCarthy, president and CEO of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, says in a foundation blog post. “A major census undercount will result in overcrowded classrooms, shuttered Head Start programs, understaffed hospital emergency rooms, and more kids without health care.”

How many children could be missed? One million or more.

According to a Los Angeles Times article: “The problem has grown worse over the last four decades, experts said. In 2010, the census failed to count nearly 1 million children younger than 5. Experts warn that it could exceed that number in 2020.”

Casey says an undercount of this size would “short-change child well-being over the next decade by putting at risk hundreds of millions of dollars of federal funding for programs that are critical to family stability and opportunity.” Continue Reading »

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

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Stacey Reese

My name is Stacey Reese and I am currently a lead teacher for Cape Cod Child Development. I have been a preschool teacher for a little over 5 ½ years but have had my hand in educating young children for over 18 years.

So many people spend their whole lives trying to figure out who they are and what they want to do, but I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t want to be a teacher. Being a Head Start teacher is no easy feat. It requires patience, diligence, heart and dedication.

My primary goal as the lead teacher is not only to implement daily curriculums and activities, but to provide a safe, fun, caring learning environment for all my students. Head Start provides comprehensive early education, health, nutrition, and parent involvement services to low income families. The program is inclusive and helps those who otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunities to succeed. Being part of such a wonderful program helps me to be more focused on my own goals.

I learned that being a good teacher means connecting with children on their own level. I have learned to recognize exactly what motivates a child, how to hold their interest, and most importantly, how to make learning fun, which is so important in a Head Start classroom. This takes perseverance, determination, and a huge commitment to my passion.  Continue Reading »

Amy O’Leary speaking at the Massachusetts State House. Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

 

If you’re happy and you know it, as the classic preschool song goes, clap your hands — and be sure to read Amy O’Leary’s first column for Young Children, a publication of NAEYC (the National Association for the Education of Young Children).

Amy — NAEYC’s governing board president and the director of Strategies for Children’s Early Education for All campaign — explains in the column how she has used the strategies that she learned as a preschool teacher to motivate adults — whether they are funders, legislators, or other early educators.

“I led sing-alongs in conference rooms across Boston with executives at large banks and partners at law firms. It was my way of bringing a little bit of the early education world into places that were new to me and intimidating.”

As president, Amy’s attention is on the future. She writes:

“We need to think about what could be and not focus only on what has already been.” Continue Reading »

“If we change the beginning of the story, we change the whole story.”

Nurturing Care for Early Childhood Development website

 

“The new Nurturing Care Framework… is designed to serve as a roadmap for action, helping mobilise a coalition of parents and caregivers, national governments, civil society groups, academics, the United Nations, the private sector, educational institutions and service providers to ensure that every baby gets the best start in life.”

“The Framework describes how a whole-of-government and a whole-of-society approach can promote nurturing care for young children. It outlines guiding principles, strategic actions, and ways of monitoring progress.”

“Nurturing Care for Early Childhood Development: A Framework for Helping Children Survive and Thrive to Transform Health and Human Potential,” The World Health Organization, 2018

TeeAra Dias at a “Wonder of Learning” event held at Boston University / Wheelock College.

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

When TeeAra Dias was 18 and working for Bright Horizons, a corporate child care provider, she asked herself a career question:

“Do I want to live in a birthday bear suit?”

Dias had been dressing up as a bear to provide entertainment at the children’s parties that were held at Bright Horizons.

She knew she had a passion for serving children. A Boston native, she had worked as one of the city’s summer youth employment “Red Shirts” at the Little People’s Playhouse in Roslindale. But was life in the bear suit satisfying enough?

To answer this question, Dias decided to get more education. She continued to work at Bright Horizons and attended Mt. Ida College where she met Eunice Perry, who ran Mt. Ida’s Longfellow Preschool Program.

Perry was “a mentor and really helped me better understand that early education was more than just playing with children, that I was actually a child’s first Continue Reading »

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Your advocacy has paid off!

On Thursday, July 26, 2018, Governor Charlie Baker signed a $41.8 billion state budget for fiscal year 2019. The governor made no vetoes to early education and care line items. This year’s budget is the first in 10 years to surpass the pre-recession, fiscal year 2009 high point of state funding for early education and care.

This year’s budget highlights include $20 million for the early educator salary rate reserve, $10 million for a new early educator workforce development initiative, $5 million for preschool expansion, $30 million for quality improvement, and more.

Please take a minute to thank your legislators and Governor Baker for this historic investment in high-quality early education. 

Visit the Strategies for Children website for full budget details.

What do families, teachers, administrators, and Boston Mayors Tom Menino and Marty Walsh all have in common?

High-quality early education.

This story — of how a big city educates some of its smallest residents — is told in a newly published book, “Children at the Center: Transforming Early Childhood Education in the Boston Public Schools.”

“More than a decade ago,” the book explains, “Boston made a daring bet – that it could build and sustain a high-quality, whole-child focused, intellectually engaging early education program that would significantly lower the city’s persistent achievement gaps by locating that program within its public school system.”

The good news?

“That bet is clearly paying off.”

“Children at the Center” has three expert authors: Betty Bardige, a psychologist and an early childhood author and advocate; Megina Baker, a researcher at Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and a Boston University early childhood education faculty member; and Ben Mardell, a principal investigator at Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Project Zero.  Continue Reading »

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