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Mayor Marty Walsh. Photo: City of Boston Mayor's Office Flickr page

Mayor Marty Walsh. Source: City of Boston Mayor’s Office Flickr page

“The impact of prekindergarten on a student’s education is undeniable. It has a major impact on academic, social, and emotional development. BPS data shows that children who go to K1 outperform their peers in subsequent years—regardless of race or poverty. Research also shows us that early children programs with trained teachers, as well as smaller teacher-to-student ratios, result in higher MCAS achievement. On a broader scale, pre-kindergarten has led to improved behavior, both inside and outside the classroom, as well as the prevention of illegal and criminal behavior and success in the overall labor market and economy.

“We know families face challenges in sending their children to pre-kindergarten, whether it being an affordability, quality, or accessibility issue. That’s why we formed the Universal Pre-Kindergarten Advisory Committee. They are taking a close look on strategies to increase access to full-day pre-kindergarten, with a certified teacher, in a Boston Public School or community-based program.”

“Mayor Walsh: The Importance of Early Education,” by Mayor Martin Walsh, Jamaica Plain News, September 22, 2016

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Boston Public Schools preschool teacher Mary Bolt watches Jason DePina Jr., 5, draw a picture of Batman for his book about superheroes in the classroom’s writing section. Photo by Lillian Mongeau/Hechinger Report

Boston Public Schools preschool teacher Mary Bolt watches Jason DePina Jr., 5, draw a picture of Batman for his book about superheroes in the classroom’s writing section. Photo by Lillian Mongeau/Hechinger Report

A new article in the Atlantic (courtesy of the Hechinger Report) — “What Boston’s Preschools Get Right” — looks at how Boston is building high-quality programs — and how some cities are pushing ahead on pre-K even though state and federal governments are lagging behind.

At Dorchester’s Russell Elementary School, a day in a pre-K classroom “could be a primer on what high-quality preschool is supposed to look like,” the article says. “Children had free time to play with friends in a stimulating environment, received literacy instruction that pushed beyond comprehension to critical thinking and communication, and were introduced to complex mathematics concepts in age-appropriate ways. All three practices have been shown to go beyond increasing what children know to actually improving how well they learn in kindergarten and beyond.” (more…)

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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

How do you pay for preschool when there’s a shortage of state and federal funding? This is a question many local communities are wrestling with today, including several here in Massachusetts.

Across the country, local communities are reaching into their own pockets to “create programs tailored to suit the needs of their residents,” New America’s EdCentral blog explains.

This local action is crucial because “Nationwide, only four out of ten four-year-olds attend preschool each year, despite the widely accepted array of benefits an early start to education can provide a child.”

The blog reviews a new report from the American Institutes for Research (AIR) that looks at pre-K in 10 cities, including Boston as well as Denver, Los Angeles (LAUP), New York City, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington, D.C., and West Sacramento.

Upon reviewing these local pre-K models, the report’s authors suggest “ten questions that any city or community working to expand pre-K opportunities for its residents should consider.” (more…)

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Preschool has gotten attention from the Boston Globe in the last few weeks. Three articles look at preschool’s impact on children, families, and the economy.

Here’s a look at the articles.

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“Long-delayed preschool report advises further study,” June 4, 2016

Globe reporter Stephanie Ebbert writes about the delayed release of a report on universal preschool commissioned by Boston’s Mayor Marty Walsh.

“Two years after Mayor Martin J. Walsh named an advisory panel to come up with a citywide action plan for universal preschool, the committee on Friday released a report scant on details and devoid of cost estimates, calling for further study,” the article says. (more…)

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Looking for businesses that boost the economy? Consider early education and care programs. They’re part of Boston’s thriving small business community, but they face tough challenges. That’s the focus of a new article on WBUR’s Cognoscenti website written by Mayor Marty Walsh and Marie St. Fleur, president and CEO of the Bessie Tartt Wilson Initiative for Children.

It’s great when General Electric moves to town, but just as important, the article says, “was Melissa Phillips’s decision to open Little Brown Bear Academy in Roxbury. Phillips and her two assistants offer early education and care to 10 boys and girls, providing healthy meals and snacks, a robust learning curriculum and a nurturing environment. These services have a lasting impact by preparing children to succeed when they step foot into the classroom. (more…)

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An Enormous Rainbow envisioned by children at the Richard Murphy School in Dorchester

An Enormous Rainbow over Boston envisioned by children at the Richard Murphy School in Dorchester

Back in January, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh sent a letter to children in the Boston Public Schools’ kindergarten program.

“As Bostonians you have the right to share your opinions about our city,” Walsh wrote. “I hear you are learning about structures as part of the construction unit. I have a question for you: What suggestions do you have about constructions in our city to make Boston a fairer and more interesting place for children?”

Walsh advised the children to take their time answering and to consult with each other as well as with their teachers and their parents. “Write your ideas,” the mayor said, and “make a model” of them.  (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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TKMy name is Teddy Kokoros, and for the past 13 years I’ve had the pleasure of working as a preschool and pre-K teacher at the Transportation Children’s Center (TCC) in Boston. I first started working at TCC after completing my associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education at Bay State College’s now defunct Early Childhood Education program. Under the tutelage of my professor Linda Small, I got both the academic knowledge and the field experience via internships that I needed to be a competent early educator.

Initially, after completing my associate’s degree, I transferred to Wheelock College to continue my education but quickly had to drop out to work full-time when my family experienced financial and other hardships. I needed a full-time job to help out. Luckily, TCC, where I had completed an internship, was hiring and gave me a job as a preschool teacher. (more…)

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