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“The Children’s Museum of Greater Fall River and BayCoast Bank organized the Early Childhood Summit, designed to come up with ideas to emphasize the importance of what a child learns before age 5 and to lobby for more money and resources for pre-kindergarten programs.

“ ‘The purpose is to educate our business leaders and our legislative leaders on the importance of early childhood education,’ said Jo-Anne Sbrega, the executive director of the Children’s Museum.”

“Summit emphasizes importance of early childhood education,” by Kevin P. O’Connor, Herald News Staff Reporter, March 15, 2019

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh met a child care need last month at the third annual African-American Veterans Appreciation Brunch. Mayor’s Office Photo by Isabel Leon, posted on Mayor Walsh’s Flickr page.

 

Boston continues to lead the way on early childhood policy. Knowing that local, accurate, early childhood data is essential for program planning but often nonexistent, city officials are taking proactive steps to collect this data through the annual city census. Boston is asking parents to fill out a survey to explain their child care arrangements and challenges, as well as their family needs relating to language and disabilities.

The answers “will help inform a policy that works for all.”

The survey website provides more context, adding:

“For the first time ever, the City of Boston has added an optional survey to its annual citywide census. We’re hoping to better understand how people and households across Boston relate to language and disability. We also want to learn about how families access and experience care for their children ages five and under.”

Boston will be the first community in Massachusetts to collect child care information in its municipal census. Continue Reading »

Our Interns

Interns are an important part of our community here at Strategies for Children. They bring fresh eyes and new ideas, and they enable us to extend our reach in the work we do with communities and legislators.

Currently, we have four interns whom we’re happy to introduce: Vivian Terkel-Gat, Annapurna Ayyappan, Marisa Fear, and Casey Peeks. Here’s a little more about each of them.

 

Vivian Terkel-Gat

Vivian Terkel-Gat

I am currently a student in the Graduate Program of Gender, Policy, and Leadership at the University of Massachusetts Boston. I received a master’s degree in Educational Counseling for Early Education from Tel-Aviv University. In Israel, I worked for the Ministry of Education for 15 years as an educational counselor.

As a graduate intern with Strategies for Children, I research local governance models in different states. This research helps inform Strategies’ local Community Readiness initiative as well as its state-level advocacy and policy agenda for high-quality early education.

During my Strategies internship, I have learned about Massachusetts’ complex early education system. I have also learned about how advocacy works on the local and state level: how organizations form coalitions and work together to achieve mutual goals. Amy and Titus welcomed my participation in community meetings and at various events that Strategies has hosted. They also answered my many questions about early education and helped me choose a topic for a policy brief that I wrote. My internship has been an insightful experience. Continue Reading »

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney at PHLpreK’s second anniversary. Photo: Samantha Madera for the City of Philadelphia.

 

“PHLpreK has transformed the lives of my students, and it’s all thanks to the city’s sweetened drink tax. In 2016, leaders in Philadelphia united behind a bold approach to provide new opportunities to its most vulnerable and underprivileged kids to break the cycle of poverty, injustice, and inequity.

“The tax has generated $137 million in revenue, which has already had a significant impact.

“More than 2,000 new pre-K seats have been created, per the city’s count — with several thousand more on the way — and nearly half of these new seats have the highest quality ratings as identified by Pennsylvania’s Keystone Stars program. More than 200 new teachers have been hired at early childcare centers, two-thirds of which are owned by women and minorities.”

“Soda tax-funded preK will drive Philadelphia’s future,” an opinion piece by Meyata McMichael, a PHLPreK instructor, The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 13, 2019

Advocacy Day. Source: The Twitter page of MADCA. The Massachusetts Association of Early Education and Care.

 

Yesterday, more than 250 early educators, advocates, and parents came to the Massachusetts State House to meet and to ask their legislators to support early education and care.

“This should be one of our top priorities,” House Speaker Robert DeLeo (D-Winthrop) said at the event.

“What you do is of critical importance,” Representative Alice Peisch (D-Wellesley) said. The state budget process, Peisch noted, is an enormous competition among worthy causes for a limited pool of resources. “It’s really important that you come in and advocate.”

Senate President Karen Spilka (D-Ashland) tweeted: “Amazing turnout of early educators and advocates this AM for Early Education Advocacy Day. Nothing is more important than building resiliency in our youngest children and our #earlyeducators are doing the work every day. Thank you!” A former social worker, Spilka stressed the importance of giving early educators the tools they need to address the effects of trauma in children’s and families’ lives. Continue Reading »

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

 

Here at Strategies for Children, we want to say thank you to Tom Weber. He has announced that he will step down as commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) in June.

“We are grateful for Tom Weber’s commitment as Commissioner of Early Education and Care. During his six years as commissioner, he led EEC out of its historic fiscal low point, which was caused by the effects of the Great Recession,” Chris Martes, Strategies’ president and CEO, says in a statement.

“Since 2013, Massachusetts has made steady progress on early education, and thanks to Commissioner Weber’s leadership, the early education and care field is in a much stronger position, both fiscally and programmatically. We have seen increased public investments in the early education workforce, in program quality, and in preschool expansion during his tenure. He is a tireless advocate for young children and families, and we wish him all the best in his future endeavors.” Continue Reading »

 

“There is no debate that the earlier children get access to education, the better they perform over the long run.”
– David Hopkinson, a Portland parent

“When you do early childhood education, you are helping set up a kid up for their career in education, so that they are going to be much more successful down the road. And that ends up saving money.”
– Portland Mayor Ethan Strimling

“Portland votes to expand Pre-K education,” News Center Maine, March 6, 2019

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