Archive for the ‘Developmentally appropriate practice’ Category

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

What if children started getting ready for kindergarten a few years before they were old enough to go?

Turns out, the children and their parents are better off, as David Jacobson writes in a new Kappan magazine article, “A powerful convergence: Community schools and early childhood education.” Jacobson is a principal researcher and technical assistance adviser at the Education Development Center here in Massachusetts, as we’ve blogged before. He is also the author of The P-3 Learning Hub blog.

What is a community school? It’s a place where school leaders work with community organizations, health care providers, and others to give students an education — and connect them a full range of services, from afterschool programs to dental care. These schools can become “centers of the community” that “are open to everyone – all day, every day, evenings and weekends,” according to the Coalition for Community Schools.

Community schools are also having a huge impact on early education, as Jacobson explains in his Kappan article:  (more…)

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children


The American Public Health Association has adopted new policy statements, including this one on preschool:


“Support for universal preschool — With more than 60 percent of American 4-year-olds not having access to publicly funded preschool programs and knowing that education is a key social determinant of health, calls for federal, state and local government to implement a voluntary, universal and publicly funded preschool programs based on sliding fee scales for all preschool-age children regardless of citizenship status. Urges governments and preschools to ensures high-quality preschool standards, and calls on federal, state and local officials to make sure preschool teachers and staff are prepared to work with children and are paid livable wages. Calls on state and local school districts to create and implement anti-racist, culturally relevant and trauma-informed approaches in preschool. Encourages collaborations between health professionals, community health centers and preschool programs to support wrap-around services such as immunizations and health screenings.”


The association “champions the health of all people and all communities,” and these policy statements are summaries of full statements that will be posted on line next year.

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Photo: Screenshot of GEEARS report cover.


What does it mean to be school ready?

Different stakeholders have different answers – and that can lead to fractured efforts to help young children.

Georgia, however, has come up with a framework for school readiness that should help unite the actions of families, schools, and communities.

“The framework articulates not only the central components of school readiness but also the roles various stakeholders play in promoting it.”

This is an important step forward because many states have struggled to define school readiness.

To develop the framework, the nonprofit organization GEEARS: Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students worked with state leaders to form a committee that solicited feedback from experts and from stakeholders across the state.  (more…)

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Wheelock College has just posted a video from its 2016 Community Dialogue that highlights the importance of early education.

As we’ve blogged before, this event engages early educators, policymakers, and elected officials in a conversation about the strengths and challenges of the field.

Among those featured in the video is Carlos Santiago, commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, who says:

“We have certainly come to realize the importance of the success of students in early education as they come to our doors in higher education.”

Be sure to check it out.

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How can parents change their children’s lives?

One answer is to go back to basics – specifically, the Boston Basics – “five fun, simple, and powerful ways that every family can give every child a great start in life.”

The five Boston Basics are:

• maximize love, manage stress

• talk, sing, and point

• count, group, and compare

• explore through movement and play, and

• read and discuss stories

These basics are backed by evidence and “encompass much of what experts find is important for children from birth to age three,” the Boston Basics website says. (more…)

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A series featuring communities that have a plan to expand preschool.

Children in one of our PEG classrooms. Eligibility requirements for PEG ensure that children in the program have not received previous educational opportunities and, presumably, would have started Kindergarten with no preschool experience

Lawrence is one of five Massachusetts communities implementing the federal Preschool Expansion Grant. This high-quality model funds 10 preschool classrooms for 130 of Lawrence’s children. The community also has a three-year strategic plan for further preschool expansion. Beyond serving more children, the plan includes cataloguing all local early education programs, engaging families in program planning, and creating a data sharing platform to help programs and agencies collaborate to serve children and families.

In Lawrence, the key components of school readiness for our 1,500 preschool and kindergarten children include connecting with families positively and early on; collaborating with community agencies in order to support children and teachers, as well as building systems for transitioning into the public schools; and supporting the whole child as well as the whole family so that we can improve stability for our families. (more…)

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What do we know about preschool?

To find answers, researchers in different disciplines from a number of universities and from the think tank Brookings set up a task force to review the evidence “on the impact of state-funded pre-kindergarten programs.”

The result is a new report, “The Current State of Scientific Knowledge on Pre-Kindergarten Effects,” released by Brookings and Duke University. Videos of related panel discussions are available here.

This effort produced “one, clear, strong message,” NPR reports. “Kids who attend public preschool programs are better prepared for kindergarten than kids who don’t.”

“This timely report can guide states and local communities, including several here in Massachusetts, as they continue to expand access to high-quality preschool,” Titus DosRemedios, director of research and policy at Strategies for Children, says.

Included in the report is a six-part consensus statement that says: (more…)

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