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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

“How do we go about the task of simultaneously expanding and improving early education – creating more classrooms for more children – while also shaping and improving what is happening in those classrooms?”

That’s the question Nonie Lesaux and Stephanie Jones ask in the article they’ve published in U.S. News and World Report: “Better Education Starts With Adults: Our treatment of educators and leaders is key to improving early childhood education.”

Lesaux and Jones are both professors at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and as our blog readers know, Lesaux wrote the Strategies for Children report, “Turning the Page: Refocusing Massachusetts for Reading Success.”

Their approach to expanding and improving early education is, as the article’s title states, to start with adults. Continue Reading »

Screenshot of the National Women’s Law Center website

 

The National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) is rolling out a new campaign called “Child Care Now.”

The campaign is based on four crucial facts about high-quality child care:

• it helps parents get and keep jobs

• it gives children a good start in school and life

• many families can’t access or afford this care, and

• many child care providers aren’t earning enough to get by

“Child care is so underfunded that five out of six of the 14.2 million children eligible for federal child care assistance do not receive help,” Helen Blank, the director of Child Care and Early Learning at NWLC, testified last year before the Democratic Women’s Working Group, an organization of members of the U.S. House of Representatives. Continue Reading »

“The problem is Massachusetts has a significant and persistent achievement gap, evident long before children enter school. Too many children show up for school already behind and too many of them will never catch up.

“As we have stated before, our country’s next greatest investment should be early childhood education.

“After all, the human brain develops more rapidly between birth and age 5 than during any other subsequent period.

“And according to several studies, children who participate in high-quality early childhood programs develop better language skills, score higher in school-readiness tests, and have better social skills and fewer behavioral problems once they enter school than those who do not have the benefit of pre-K services.”

“Early ed for all,” an editorial in the Cape Cod Times, July 16, 2017

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

 

What would make the transition from pre-K to kindergarten easier?

Four states are trying to find out, according to a recent report from New America called, “Connecting the Steps: State Strategies to Ease the Transition from Pre-K to Kindergarten.”

The path from pre-K to kindergarten can be “fraught with stress and uncertainty for many children and their parents,” New America says in a policy paper. Kindergarten’s days are often longer, and the curriculum can focus more on academics.

“This transition is significant for parents as well. Contact with teachers is often more formalized and less frequent than in a pre-K classroom. There is often less emphasis on parent-teacher and parent-parent contact than before. This can leave parents feeling out of the loop… and can lead to less parental involvement in the classroom.”

While schools and districts have to ease the transition, “states can actively encourage intentional, local efforts to smooth transitions to kindergarten.”

To show what states can do, Continue Reading »

Screenshot: U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Report

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is making the business case for high-quality early education.

“… America is facing an unprecedented workforce crisis: a large and growing shortage of skilled workers,” the foundation says in a newly released report – “Workforce of Today, Workforce of Tomorrow: The Business Case for High-Quality Childcare.”

“From Wall Street to Main Street, the world of work is changing—and our strategies for developing tomorrow’s workforce must change with it,” the report says.

Katharine B. Stevens, a senior fellow with the American Enterprise Institute who wrote the report, says in a statement, “Achievement gaps are emerging much earlier than we previously understood. The costs of children arriving in kindergarten not ready to learn are enormously high.” Continue Reading »

“We don’t have to talk anymore about the value of early childhood education: everyone agrees it’s critical. We do, however, have to talk about affordability, logistics and policy. With preschool tuition running $10,000-$30,000 per year, the cost of sending one child to preschool can be more than a family’s rent or mortgage. Early childhood education is not just a child development issue, it’s an economic one…”

“To address this issue, the city convened an Early Childhood Task Force in 2014. Its 2015 report articulates the admirable vision that “all children in Cambridge [will] receive high quality early education and care from birth through third grade,” and recommends initial steps toward that goal…”

“To start this process, the council and committee will have a joint roundtable discussion this fall. One of the main tasks of the roundtable should be to set a deadline by which a comprehensive system of early childhood education will be in place. A deadline will force us to answer, sooner rather than later, the questions related to policy, financing, and logistics.

“Some of those questions are: Continue Reading »

Screenshot of the Alliance’s website

 

If you’re an early education advocate and you spend a lot of time “making the case” for high-quality preschool experiences, the Alliance for Early Success wants to help you make that case — and make it airtight.

The alliance unites “state, national, and funding partners” whose goal is to “advance state policies that lead to improved health, learning, and economic outcomes for young children, starting at birth and continuing through age eight.” 

To help advocates, the Alliance has a resource page on its website with an olive-green tab marked “Making the Case.”

Click on the olive-green arrow, and you’ll find a database full of advocacy resources, including websites, fact sheets, and infographics as well as #bthru8 images that can be posted on Twitter. Continue Reading »

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