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Samantha Aigner-Treworgy

 

On Wednesday,Samantha Aigner-Treworgy, commissioner of the Department of Early Education and Care, spoke at a virtual town hall meeting. Here are some excerpts of what she said. A recording of the meeting is posted here.

 

For the duration of the closure, we know that you are working to try to support your staff, your families, and yourselves, and sustain that work. And we are doing as much as we can to help with whatever is in our power to make sure that you have the resources you need to be able to endure this difficult and challenging time.”

“I want to assure you that all of the federal funding that is available to small businesses is available to for-profit, nonprofit, and family child care providers.”

“We also know that in addition to being a valuable educational resource for families and children, child care in this moment is also a critical resource for the economy, even the baseline economy that we have running right now.”

“We are building on the wonderful relationship that DESE [the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education] has with WGBH to try to think about what kind of resources might be available to families.”

“The commitment I can make to you now is when the governor decides to reopen schools and child care, we will be thoughtful and supportive.”

 

Register here for another virtual town hall meeting with the commissioner that will be held on Thursday, April 16, 2020, at 3 p.m.

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

 

As we cope with the coronavirus pandemic, we have heard your requests for more information about financial assistance.

So if you are a child care provider in Massachusetts, please fill out this short Strategies for Children financial assistance survey so that we can direct you to appropriate support services.

The survey asks for basic information about your child care business, and it asks what kind of state, federal, and philanthropic opportunities you would like to learn more about.

So far, we’ve learned a lot from previous responses to this survey, including: Continue Reading »

EEC Commissioner Samantha Aigner-Treworgy.

 

Samantha Aigner-Treworgy, the commissioner of Massachusetts’ Department of Early Education and Care (EEC), is using a critical tool to tackle the coronavirus crisis: communications.

This week and next, EEC’s communications will open even more because the commissioner is hosting three virtual town hall meetings. To attend, click on one of the dates below to register in advance.

Wednesday, April 8, 3:30-4:30 p.m.

Thursday, April 9, 10-11 a.m.

Thursday, April 16, 3-4 p.m.

These events will be recorded, so even if you can’t log in at the scheduled time, you will receive an email with a link to the recording.

“We know right now everyone has more questions than answers, and there are many urgent decisions needed to support your staff, your families, and your communities,” Commissioner Sam said in a recent email. Continue Reading »

“The 2008 recession led to significant decreases in budgets for state pre-K programs. Prior to 2008, state pre-K funding had been increasing each year. However, from 2010 through 2013, state spending declined by as much as $548 million per year. When funding fell, so did enrollment and funding per child, meaning more children and families missed out on the educational and financial benefits of high-quality preschool. With most state pre-K programs targeted to children from low-income families, this decline fell primarily on the children who most benefit from the additional support provided by a year of preschool prior to entering kindergarten. While several states have been investing in early learning programs in recent years, past recessions indicate that these programs are likely at risk due to state budget shortfalls, making it more important than ever for the federal government to provide funding to support access to high-quality early education.”

 

“Congress Needs To Ensure Educational Equity in the Wake of the Coronavirus Pandemic,” by Viviann Anguiano, Marcella Bombardieri, Neil Campbell, Antoinette Flores, Steven Jessen-Howard, Laura Jimenez, and Simon Workman, the Center for American Progress, April 2, 2020

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

 

Here at Strategies for Children, we have been inspired by the early education and care community’s collaborative spirt.

We are in this together.

People at the local, state and national level are all fighting for children, families, educators, providers and the early education and care system.

To contribute to this effort we have created a new page on our website that we will update frequently with information and resources.

We also want to update you on what has been happening so far:

On Friday, March 27th, 2020, the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Stimulus (CARES) Act was signed into law. This legislation will provide critical help for the early childhood education sector, including these highlights reported by NAEYC: Continue Reading »

 

To ward off the devastation of the coronavirus, Vermont is making a historic investment in early education and care.

“The state has promised a massive bailout to Vermont’s child care providers to stabilize the sector amid the coronavirus pandemic,” VTDigger reported last week, adding:

“In guidance issued last night, the Department for Children and Families assured child care facilities that the state will cover the lost tuition they would have received from families if they hadn’t shut their doors to slow the spread of COVID-19.”

Aly Richards, CEO of the nonprofit organization Let’s Grow Kids, told VTDigger:

“That will put us first in the country in supporting the early childhood education field to be able to literally reopen at the end of this. Otherwise it would have been a real question, for probably every single program in Vermont.”

To keep early childhood providers up to date on this new policy and its implications, Let’s Grow Kids has posted a list of information and resources that explains the details and links to more information.

Included on this list are ways that essential employees can find emergency child care, a link to use to file for unemployment benefits, and information on how EEC programs can apply for financial support.

The goal is to provide real-time support. Continue Reading »

“The need for daycare during the coronavirus emergency is hard to overstate.

Almost 80% of American healthcare workers are female: A significant majority of nurses, respiratory therapists, physicians assistants, and doctors under 35 are women. Close to 30% of healthcare workers in California have children under 14. Most are the primary caregiver in their families. If even a fraction were forced to stay home, it could exacerbate the extreme staffing shortages many hospitals now predict.”

“Childcare providers need supplies, coronavirus guidance as daycare system suffers,” by Sonja Sharp, The Los Angeles Times, March 26, 2020

 

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“The Council for Professional Recognition, the international nonprofit organization that oversees the Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential™, is calling for responsible closures of early childhood centers along with appropriate funding for early childhood educators severely disrupted by the global coronavirus.

“ ‘We advocate for financial assistance for early childhood educators and childcare workers who are losing their income due to program closures. We also appreciate all who continue to serve in support of parents who are emergency responders and essential personnel. K–12 teachers are rightfully still receiving their paychecks during school closures and we call on governments and employers to do all they can to support early childhood education in a similar way. This should apply to all early educators, whether they are in center based, family childcare or home visiting settings,’ says Valora Washington, Ph.D., CEO of the Council.”

“Call for Equitable Treatment of Early Childhood Education,” opinion piece in the Washington, D.C., Patch, March 20, 2020

 

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“I want to thank all our hard-working, dedicated, early childhood education professionals — and especially my employees. My entire team has been positive and willing to help out our first-responders and other vital workers during the pandemic.

“They have been flexible, understanding, creative, and full of grace in a time of scared parents, uncertain futures, and shifting legislative rules and responsibilities. They are taking care of the babies and young children of people who are vital to us getting through this mess, and are having to do it knowing they may be exposed by the next inevitable sniffle or cough.

“Early childhood professionals all deserve so much credit and recognition.”

— Sarah Hall, Kenosha, Wisc., Letter to the Editor of the Kenosha Times, March 25, 2020

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