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

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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JD Chesloff

We caught up with JD Chesloff, who just completed a 10-year term on the Board of Early Education and Care (EEC), and asked him about what he’s seen over the last decade.

As readers of this blog know, JD’s career includes working at Strategies for Children and in the State House. He was also chair of EEC’s Board, and he is currently the executive director of the Massachusetts Business Roundtable.

What has he seen as an EEC board member?

“The organization has matured over the last 10 years. It started out as a fledgling idea of having all of the early childhood activity in one place.”

“It’s grown up over that time and now it’s a clearly equal member at the education table with K-12 and higher education.”

JD praises the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) and its focus on ensuring that children and families have access to high-quality programs. The department has also wrestled with serving all children, making universal access part of its vision in a 5-Year Strategic Plan.

What was the most personally satisfying part of JD’s time on the Board? (more…)

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Here’s some great news: The Baker-Polito administration and the Massachusetts Legislature have just announced that early education will get an additional 2 percent rate increase.

This increase “is in addition to the 6 percent rate hike that all state-subsidized early education and care programs received earlier this year – worth $28.6 million – which was the largest rate hike in more than a decade,” according to a press release.

“The Board of Early Education and Care voted yesterday afternoon to approve the additional 2 percent rate increase, retroactive to July 1, 2017.” The increase will go to the daily reimbursement rate for center-based child care programs and for family child care systems. “The funding for the additional 2 percent rate increase was made possible through an increase in the fiscal year 2018 state budget.”

Governor Charlie Baker said of the increase, “This is a significant investment in rate increases that will help improve the quality of early education and care programs for thousands of families in every zip code.” (more…)

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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

The Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) wants your feedback.

EEC is revising the Massachusetts Quality Rating and Improvement System (MA QRIS). And the department wants to know what you think of its draft document.

Massachusetts’ QRIS system looks at quality in five areas:

  1. Curriculum and Learning
  2. Safe, Healthy Indoor and Outdoor Environments
  3. Workforce Development and Professional Qualifications
  4. Family and Community Engagement
  5. Leadership, Administration and Management

QRIS work is also going on nationally, as Debi Mathias, director of the QRIS National Learning Network with the BUILD Initiative, noted in a panel discussion last year. And these efforts are having a positive impact on children. (more…)

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This is a guest blog by Strategies for Children intern Kathryn Zimmerman. Kathryn is entering her senior year at Boston College, and she expects to graduate in May, 2018, with a major in Applied Psychology and Human Development and a minor in Sociology.

I have greatly enjoyed my eight months at Strategies for Children (SFC). After being connected to Strategies through my instructor and research boss Kyle DeMeo Cook, I was nervous and excited when I started as an intern last January. I had never worked for a non-profit or for such a small organization. However, I quickly realized that I loved the culture and environment at Strategies. The staff is in this field because they care about and enjoy doing this work. Since there are only a few employees, everyone was very welcoming and took the time to get to know me. I felt like I was an integral part of the team; doing important work for children, their families, and the state.

During my time at Strategies, I learned important lessons. To accomplish anything in this field, you have to be creative and willing to share ideas, even if they get turned down. This field is still new, so there’s no formulaic way of solving problems. Thus, the people who are truly good at this work understand the field and find creative ways to introduce new programs or advocate at the state level. I like to think that while I was here, I started to develop my own voice and share my own thoughts and ideas. (more…)

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Mid-summer is here with its long days and slower pace, so why not kick back and watch some videos on our revamped YouTube channel.

It’s a “greatest hits” collection of 50 videos that have been featured in the blog – all compiled by our media-savvy intern Nicolette Forsey.

These videos are great for advocates who want to learn more or use videos to educate policymakers and the public.

Looking for an overview? Wheelock College recently posted a video on the importance of early education and care featuring state leaders such as Tom Weber, commissioner of the Department of Early Education and Care, and Carlos Sanchez, commissioner of the Department of Higher Education.

Need a quick hit? The First Five Years Fund’s PowerPoint-style video, “Early Learning Matters,” is one minute and 53 seconds worth of big-picture preschool advocacy. (more…)

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