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Archive for the ‘Boston’ Category

The second of a three-part series on summer learning.

 

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

 

Summer is a great time to learn.

But as we blogged last week, summer learning loss — all the things that students forget when they are not in school — can help fuel the achievement gap.

A National Summer Learning Association report says that high-quality programs can address learning loss, but only “about one-third of young people nationally are enrolled in a summer learning program.”

Fortunately, in Massachusetts, cities are closing the summertime gap in creative ways.

Action at the city level is crucial according to a 2016 report on a workshop’s proceedings. Published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, the report notes:  (more…)

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A child scribbles a spiral on a piece of paper. What should a teacher say in response?

One answer: “Lovely.”

Why? To encourage the child to keep drawing, because it’s by doing more drawing that a child gets to explore art and the horizons of his or her talent.

That’s one of the many stories, insights, and ideas that educators will find at the multimedia exhibit “Wonder of Learning,” which is being hosted by the recently merged Boston University Wheelock College of Education & Human Development.

Wonder of Learning shares the Reggio Emilia approach, a philosophy of early learning — named after the Italian town Reggio Emilia — that challenges educators to understand how their “image of a child” affects how they teach and interact with that child.

“It’s necessary that we believe that the child is very intelligent, that the child is strong and beautiful and has very ambitious desires and requests,” Reggio Emilia’s founder, Loris Malaguzzi, said at a 1993 seminar. “This is the image of the child that we need to hold.” (more…)

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Now that more and more people are talking about high-quality preschool programs, it’s important to make sure that they know what high-quality means.

One way to share that message is to educate journalists who write about preschool programs. If they understand more about preschool, they’ll do a better job of informing their audiences.

So, the next time you talk to a journalist, be sure to talk about what quality is — and what it isn’t — and be sure to share resources that illustrate your point.

One resource is a recent New York Times Magazine story about Kejo Kelly, an early educator in Springfield, Mass. As we’ve blogged, this story delves deeply into quality.

Another resource is “The Most Important Year: Pre-kindergarten and the Future of Our Children,” a book by Massachusetts-based writer Suzanne Bouffard.

Bouffard’s book is featured in another useful resource, an article on the Education Writers Association’s website called, “What Reporters Should Look for in Early Learning Settings: Lectures don’t work well for young children. Look instead for child-directed fun.” (more…)

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This is one of a series of blogs featuring first-person accounts from early educators across Massachusetts.

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My name is Susan Irene Rogers, and I work at Commonwealth Children’s Center (CCC) in Boston where I am the executive director. I have been in the early education field for 29 years! I started as a homework tutor at the age of 13.

In addition to working with children at a very young age, I was actually studying to become a firefighter. I was a senior in high school, and I was determined to accomplish both professions! At some point, my mother expressed her concerns regarding my safety as a female firefighter and said she would spend the rest of her life waiting to be informed that her child was fatally harmed. So, I enrolled at Northeastern University to study Early Childhood Education and Sociology. Less than a year later, I returned to NU to study American Sign Language.

The importance of my work as an early educator cannot be measured, but should certainly be valued. I truly love working with children and families and feel honored to experience this time in their lives. Assuring parents, especially first-time parents, that investing in their child’s early education experiences is one of the best choices they could ever make is THE most important part of my job.  (more…)

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“As Boston officials seek to create a universal pre-kindergarten system, they must take into account a host of considerations, and one of the key questions is defining the very recipe for high quality.

“Are schools with hundreds of students up to eighth grade appropriate for 4-year-olds? How will the nurturing environment of small child care centers be reproduced in classrooms with nearly two dozen students? What will be the financial impact on private providers if a big source of revenue is taken? Will going to a private preschool keep families from getting into their favorite public kindergarten class?”

“City officials say the goal is to create a public/private system that would guarantee a free, full day of learning, allow community organizations to maintain their individuality, and have an agreed-upon set of standards for what constitutes a high-quality pre-K education.”

“Early education experts say other ingredients to consider include class and facility size, location, the relationship between teachers and administrators, and culture and language.”

“Boston pre-K programs that make the grade,” by Akilah Johnson, The Boston Globe, March 10, 2017

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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

 

In 2014, the Massachusetts Department of Early Education (EEC) was awarded a federal Preschool Expansion Grant (PEG grant), funds that officials are using to expand high-quality preschool in Boston, Holyoke, Lawrence, Lowell, and Springfield.

Now, a new report says the first year of PEG grant activity has produced strong benefits – with room for targeted improvements.

“While there remains room for growth and consistency as the program continues into its second year of implementation, both children and parents are clearly benefitting from the program,” said Principal Investigator Barbara Goodson.

“The five participating cities are making significant progress toward supporting our goal of helping all children achieve math and reading proficiency by third grade,” Governor Charlie Baker said earlier this month in a press release. (more…)

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Foreground: Representative Claire Cronin (D-Plymouth) speaking to Commissioner Mitchell Chester, Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Background: TeeAra Dias, Preschool Expansion Grant Project Manager, Boston Public Schools.

Foreground: Representative Claire Cronin (D-Plymouth) speaking to Commissioner Mitchell Chester, Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Background: TeeAra Dias, Preschool Expansion Grant Project Manager, Boston Public Schools.

 

“We now know there are more kids in more programs, but clearly not enough, clearly not enough,” Chris Martes, president and CEO of Strategies for Children, told the 100 participants at a meeting that was held last month in downtown Boston for the community teams from across Massachusetts that are focused on expanding preschool opportunities for children and families.

We’re including audio clips and photos from the event in this blog post.

 

Strategies for Children’s Amy O’Leary presents a brief history of state policy for early education and care.

 

Each team had received either federal Preschool Expansion Grant funds to add high-quality preschool seats (5 communities); state-funded preschool planning grants (13 communities); or both. Combined, these communities are Athol, Boston, Brockton, Cape Cod, Fall River, Holyoke, Lawrence, Lowell, New Bedford, North Adams, Pittsfield, Springfield, Somerville, and Worcester. (more…)

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