Feeds:
Posts
Comments

 

There’s more good news for the emerging early childhood book, I’ll Build You a Bookcase, by Jean Ciborowski Fahey – and for multilingual families.

Last summer, Fahey’s book won the Early Childhood Book Challenge Award, which is sponsored by OpenIDEO and the William Penn Foundation.

Now the book is being published by Lee & Low Books, and the publishing company has chosen an illustrator for the project, Simone Shin.

“The illustrations will play a key role in introducing this book to young children and families, who we hope will pick up and read the book again and again,” Elliot Weinbaum, the Penn Foundation’s program director, says in the release. “Talking and reading with children is how we lay the groundwork for strong readers in the future, even when it seems like they are too young to understand. This book seeks to engage children with its emotionally resonant writing and storyline while giving ideas to adults about how to support early language development.”

That language impact will go far beyond English.

As the press release explains, “25,000 copies of I’ll Build You a Bookcase will be published in five languages for distribution to Philadelphia families: English, Spanish, Mandarin, Vietnamese, and Arabic. Partners including Reach Out and Read and the city’s campaign for grade-level reading, Read by 4th, will distribute the books to families with young children to help build children’s home libraries.”

The book’s translations are crucial for families and for cities — like New Bedford here in Massachusetts — where parents and community leaders want children’s reading to transcend language boundaries.

 

What does it take to expand pre-K? Take a look at Holyoke, Mass.

That’s where officials used a federal Preschool Expansion Grant to enroll children in high-quality early education programs and to reach out to and engage parents.

What made Holyoke successful?

Tune into Episode 51 of the Gateways Podcast to find out. The podcast, which is sponsored by local think tank MassINC, looks at lessons learned and future strategies.

Hosted by Ben Forman, MassINC’s research director, episode 51’s guests were:

• Amy O’Leary, director of Strategies for Children’s Early Education for All Campaign

• Steve Huntley, executive director of the Valley Opportunity Council, and

• Stephen Zrike, Holyoke Public Schools’ receiver and superintendent.

In a LinkedIn post, Tom Weber, the former commissioner of Massachusetts’ Department of Early Education and Care, called the podcast “a thoughtful discussion of an innovative public-partnership model that has delivered strong student outcomes…”

What’s next for Holyoke and other cities that want to expand pre-K?

As we’ve blogged, they could choose to use new Student Opportunity Act funding to invest in high-quality pre-K programs.

The sooner cities act the better, because as Amy explains in the podcast:

“All the research tells us that if we invest earlier and have high-quality programs, we’re going to see benefits for children and families.”

 

How does the organization Raising A Reader Massachusetts close the literacy gap for young children?

By working with a lot of partners: from parents and nonprofits to community leaders and authors, all of whom work to help children love reading.

Now, thanks to three upcoming events, there are even more ways for people to get involved with the organization.

The goal of Raising A Reader is to “end the cycle of low literacy by helping families across Massachusetts develop high impact home reading routines that lay the groundwork for a lifetime of learning, success, and productive, responsible citizenship,” the organization explains on its website.

Raising A Reader teams up with early childhood organizations to teach parents how to use strategies like dialogic reading, where adults engage children in talking about books by asking them questions about pictures as well as about past story events and how the story might relate to something in a child’s life. Continue Reading »

“The new promise of additional funding from the state, as well as an encouragement from the state’s education commissioner, has some school officials and early childhood education advocates hoping free preschool could be the next big push in public education in Massachusetts.

“But funding constraints, even with the passage of the Student Opportunity Act and its $1.5 billion for public schools, as well as logistical challenges could hinder local efforts to invest in prekindergarten programming, at least in the short term.”

“ ‘I don’t see why we can’t do it,’ said Spencer-East Brookfield Superintendent Paul Haughey, one of the school officials in the region who has plans to bring free full-day preschool to his district. ‘But it’s going to have a price tag.’ ”

“Other districts in the region, including Worcester, however, appear less committed, citing a shortage of space for classrooms and limited funding.

“ ‘We’ve discussed it, but at the present point, we have other needs,’ said Worcester Superintendent Maureen Binienda, who added her administration is ‘kind of keeping it on the shelf.’ ”

*

“ ‘It would be quicker for a community’ to take on the challenge of creating or expanding full-day preschool, [Amy O’Leary, director of Strategies for Children’s Early Education for All campaign] said, using annual Chapter 70 funding provided by the state through the Act, instead of relying on federal and state grants.

“At the very least, O’Leary said, the Student Opportunity Act implementation process will give school officials a reason to ‘sit down together and get a better understanding of the needs of students across the full age spectrum … this is an opportunity to take stock of what we’re doing.’ ”

“State funding hike opens door for more public early ed, but challenges remain,” by Scott O’Connell, The Worcester Telegram & Gazette, February 8, 2020

Photo: Rhode Island Governor (and Caped Crusader) Gina Raimondo. Source: Governor Raimondo’s Flickr account.

 

Thanks to the smart use of best practices, Rhode Island is leading the way on special education practices in pre-K.

We recently learned more about Rhode Island’s efforts from Lisa Nugent, the state’s Coordinator of Early Learning.

Rhode Island is a good example of success because it got a late start on building its pre-K system. But this delay enabled Rhode Island to learn from other states and choose effective strategies for serving young children.

Like Massachusetts, Rhode Island has a mixed delivery model. Children can attend programs in schools, centers, and through Head Start.

Across these settings, one of the state’s priorities is providing high-quality special education in early childhood settings through the Itinerant Early Childhood Special Education (IECSE) program. Continue Reading »

 

Here’s what you need to know about the upcoming presidential election schedule.

Massachusetts and 13 other states (as well as American Samoa) will hold their presidential primaries on Tuesday, March 3, 2020.

In Massachusetts, Wednesday, February 12, 2020 is the LAST DAY to register to vote or change your party for the upcoming primary.

One crucial step: Make sure you are registered to vote. Click here to check.

If you are registered – don’t forget to VOTE on March 3.

If you are not registered, click here. It’s easy to register online.

Like to plan ahead? You can see the ballot for the primary here.

For more information about Election 2020 click here.

And be sure to encourage everyone you know to #VOTE.

“When people ask me why it’s difficult to find high-quality early child care, one of the first things I bring up is how quality is too expensive for most parents. As a result, providers often don’t charge enough and parents don’t pay enough to cover the true cost of quality care.

“If they did, early child care educators would be making more than the poverty-level wages many earn. But most parents would also be pushed out of a child care market that’s already difficult to afford. The result is what we see today: a market that allows substandard early child care and education to proliferate. Just ask the experts who rate the majority of child care as fair.

“In this mostly private market, charging less than what high quality truly costs has been the pathway to increasing access to early child care, but it’s a dead end. Without intervention, the tenuous balance between rate-setting for parents and low wages for workers will continue, pushing down quality and the overall supply of early child care.”

 

“High-quality early child care requires fair teacher pay supported through public investment: Sacrificing quality to increase affordability is not the answer,” by Sarah Ann Savage, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, January 30, 2020

%d bloggers like this: