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“ ‘A child is only 4 once, so each year that passes without families having the ability to put those children in pre-K is a huge lost opportunity,’ said Ann Murtlow, president and CEO of the United Way of Central Indiana, a leading early learning advocate.

“Indiana has taken some small steps to help its neediest families access pre-K, with lawmakers voting this year to open up the state’s $22 million fledgling pre-K program statewide.

“But even with that change, Indiana has barely made a dent in improving early childhood access, advocates say: The income-based voucher program reaches just under 3,000 of what advocates estimate to be 27,000 4-year-olds from low-income families, with a rocky rollout that has left about 1,000 available spots unfilled.

“ ‘We’ve come a long way, but we should make no mistake that we still have a very long way to go,’ Murtlow said.”

“This year, the state program, known as On My Way Pre-K, has grown to serve nearly 3,000 children. But with $22 million in funding, it has room for many more. State officials have run into obstacles trying to expand the program’s reach in rural areas. They’re struggling to keep the application process simple and raise awareness of the opportunity among parents.”

“Most 4-year-olds are left out of Indiana’s preschool expansion,” by Stephanie Wang, Chalkbeat Indiana, June 12, 2019

Why change an organization’s name?

To better share its impact.

That’s why the Parent-Child Home Program has changed its name to ParentChild+.

“People often focused on only one aspect of what we do, early literacy. But our staff, participating families, and program communities know we are so much more,” Sarah Walzer, CEO of ParentChild,+ says of the name change, which was made in April.

The bigger picture is that the organization “uses education to break the cycle of poverty for low-income families. We engage early in life and help toddlers, their parents, and their family child care providers access a path to possibility,” according to its website.

Walzer notes, “Our wonderful network of partners across the country and around the world have engaged with tens of thousands of children and families, working together to transform their lives.” Continue Reading »

 

Child/adult interactions are special and powerful – and don’t get the attention that they deserve.

Junlei Li is working to change that with Simple Interactions, an initiative that seeks to “encourage, enrich, and empower human interactions around children and their helpers.”

As we’ve blogged, Li was the co-director of the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media at Saint Vincent College. Now he’s the Saul Zaentz senior lecturer in early childhood education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE).

Li “developed the ‘Simple Interactions’ approach to help identify what ordinary people do extraordinarily well with children in everyday moments and made that the basis for promoting positive system change,” his HGSE website says.

These child/adult interactions can occur in a range of settings, from early childhood and K-12 classrooms to afterschool programs and pediatric hospitals.

Li draws inspiration for his work from Fred Rogers, the famous children’s television show host of “Mister Rogers Neighborhood,” who left an indelible mark on generations of young viewers. Continue Reading »

“This lack of affordable quality child care is a crisis for American families. In 35 states, families pay more for child care than for mortgages, and in no state does the average cost of infant or toddler care meet the federal definition of affordable. On a per-capita basis, we spend roughly six times less on education for infants and toddlers than we do on K-12. This shortchanges our children exactly when the potential benefit is greatest.

“We know from breakthroughs in neuroscience that children’s brains are growing explosively during the first three years of life — developing more than one million neural connections a second. A child’s early brain architecture shapes all future learning and behavior. This is also the period in our lives when we are most vulnerable to trauma.”

“If we care about equal opportunity in this country, we must provide more funding for infants and toddlers.”

“So where do we start?

Six months of paid parental leave is the first step… The second step is improving compensation for early-childhood educators so that they earn the same as schoolteachers…”

“How to End the Child-Care Crisis: A child’s first 1,000 days are a time to be seized,” by By Shael Polakow-Suransky, president of the Bank Street College of Education, The New York Times, May 24, 2019

 

Preschool programs are often in classrooms, except when they’re not.

In Worcester, Mass., children enrolled in Head Start go beyond the classroom to the Worcester Art Museum, where they make art, and where that art is part of an exhibit — “World of Provocation: Making Learning Visible” – that closes tomorrow. Continue Reading »

The search for a new commissioner of early education and care for Massachusetts is nearly complete.

Two final candidates have been chosen, and their interviews can be seen live on YouTube tomorrow at noon. More information is available here.

“This is an opportunity for the public to hear from the candidates and learn about their experience, qualifications, and interest in leading the important work of the department and its mission to support the best outcomes for Massachusetts’ children at a particularly pivotal moment in time for the agency and the field,” Nonie Lesaux, chair of the Early Education and Care Board, says in a press release.

Tom Weber, the current commissioner, announced in March that he would be stepping down. The Board then launched a national search to find a new commissioner.

The two finalists are Samantha Aigner-Treworgy from Chicago and Cliff Chuang of Boston. Continue Reading »

Photo source: University of Massachusetts Boston News

 

On May 18, 2019, The Institute for Early Education Leadership and Innovation (Leadership Institute) at UMass Boston hosted the sixth annual Leadership Forum on Early Education Research, Policy, and Practice.

The day-long forum featured presentations by early educators graduating from the Leadership Institute.

Here are some of the things they said about the lessons they have learned.


Early educators enrolled in “Leadership in Early Care and Education: Lessons Learned”

Anne Boursiquot:

“I have learned how important it is to be an advocate in our communities for children and families. It is important that early educators get involved in civic engagement and communicate to politicians about policy and improving and upgrading the standards of ECE. It takes many levels of participants to reach all the goals that we have in our own communities and on a larger scale.”

 

Joelle Houlder:

“There are many ways to get to the same place. It is important to accept people for who they are, where they are, and also grasp the mindset that in order to lead, you must also follow.”

 

Shenchieh Li:

“In order to find a position that will fit my personal values in an early education, it is important for me to organize my strengths to serve my work well. If we focus on being inclusive of positive opinions and strategies, we will be on a path of creating meaningful change.” Continue Reading »

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