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Archive for the ‘Dept. of Early Education and Care’ Category

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

 

“The recently passed state budget is one of the best ever for high-quality early education. As advocates, we will be pushing state administrators to get this funding out to families, educators, programs and communities.” – Amy O’Leary, Director of Strategies for Children’s Early Education for All Campaign

As our blog readers know, this year’s FY19 state budget is the first in 10 years to surpass the pre-recession high point (FY09) of state funding for early education and care.

This fall, Strategies for Children (SFC) will be paying close attention to two key items in the budget.

#1 Preschool implementation grants

Since FY16, Massachusetts lawmakers have awarded preschool planning grants to 18 communities that have all completed preschool plans.

Now state leaders have taken a first step toward implementation by awarding grants to turn preschool plans into action. The new FY19 budget includes $5 million for implementation grants — funds that must be spent by the end of the fiscal year (June 30, 2019).

Communities are paying attention – they are busy revisiting their plans and getting ready to apply for this funding. They are sending their thoughts to the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) and asking the department to issue the grant RFR (Request for Response) as soon as possible. (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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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

 

The Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) put its annual report to the Legislature on line in February. It’s a helpful resource for advocates and other sector stakeholders that looks back at how Massachusetts invested in young children in 2017. It highlights the state’s past progress in key areas getting attention in 2018, such as workforce supports and early childhood mental health. The state has done lots of good work that it can be proud of — and it has challenges that require attention and creative solutions.

“The Department of Early Education and Care serves as the entry point of Massachusetts’ birth to 21 education pipeline,” the report says. Guided by its Strategic Plan, EEC is working to make progress in four areas: (more…)

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“Leading the Way,” is a series featuring the next generation of leaders in the field of early education and care.

Ola Friday

Ola Friday grew up with educators. Her mother was a teacher and an assistant principal, and her father was a teacher. Friday knew she wanted to be in education, but when the time came to choose between Teach for America or a policy fellowship, she was excited about policy.

“What we know from early childhood is that you get your greatest return on investment when you invest in the education of our youngest children,” Friday says. “From a policy and analytical perspective, it just makes sense to be invested in this work.”

Friday invested herself into the work. She earned a master’s degree in public policy from the University of California, Berkeley, where she also took classes in the education school. She studied with David Kirp, an emeritus professor of public policy who also writes about early education.

Friday went on to work in New York City, helping to develop and implement QUALITYstarsNY, the city’s first quality rating and improvement system. She moved on to Pennsylvania where she helped overhaul the early childhood education career ladder. And along the way, she earned a Doctor of Education Leadership degree from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education. (more…)

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Yesterday, hundreds of early educators from across the state — many wearing green and snapping cell phone pictures – gathered for a rally at the State House steps for Advocacy Day. An upbeat band, featuring tuba and trombone players, wove through the crowd, filling Beacon Street with music.

 

Leo Delaney

 

“It really is about the workforce,” Leo Delaney said. He’s the president of the board of MADCA (the Massachusetts Association of Early Education and Care), and he was the first speaker. “Without quality staff, you don’t have quality.” (more…)

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Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

 

Early educators wear a lot of hats: they’re educators and advocates, they advise parents, and they help with public problems like the opioid crisis.

They are also woefully underpaid, and this creates, as House Speaker Robert DeLeo has said, an early childhood education (ECE) workforce crisis.

To better define the crisis, Strategies for Children has released a new policy brief – “ECE Workforce Needs: Local Solutions from Preschool Planning” – that’s written by Jenna Knight, an intern at Strategies and a student at Tufts University’s Eliot-Pearson Child Study & Human Development program.

“One thing that stood out for me is how typical these workforce needs are across the state and nation, but the community-generated approaches such as the ones I’ve highlighted come from a strengths-based lens,” Knight says. “Empowering communities to collaborate, identify connections, and use approaches that work for their needs and for families being served is essential to making effective progress, particularly on ECE workforce needs.” (more…)

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Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. 

 

“We have to change the conversation so that those who are suffering feel freer to talk about their circumstances and receive treatment,” Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito said to a roomful of early educators and staff members from home visiting and early intervention programs who were all there to participate in a groundbreaking training session on the opioid crisis.

This was the first of six training programs that will be held across the state in an effort to reach 600 professionals who work with young children. It’s also a sad but necessary recognition that the opioid crisis takes a toll on infants, some of whom are born addicted to opioids, as well as on toddlers and young children whose parents struggle with addiction.

Massachusetts has been hit hard by this crisis. According to the state’s Opioid epidemic website: (more…)

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