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Archive for the ‘Early educators’ Category

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

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JennieMy name is Jennie Antunes, and I have worked in the early education field for 30 years. This past October marked my 29th year with NorthStar Learning Centers in New Bedford, Mass. I am presently a lead teacher in one of our toddler/preschool classrooms. I also have the responsibility of acting as designated administrator when the center director is out of the building.

Through the help of a scholarship program, I earned my bachelor’s degree in 2014. Even though I had been doing this work for so long, there was so much more I wanted to learn to strengthen my teaching. I take great pride in my accomplishments, proving to myself that I could work full time as well as attend school full time.

However, early educators’ pay continues to be a challenge. The goal to have teachers become better educated to better serve children and their families is fantastic and important. Guiding the development and learning of young minds is incredibly difficult and highly skilled work.  (more…)

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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

“What does it take to get preschool right?” NPR asks in this article.

Answers can be found in a new report from The Learning Policy Institute (LPI) called, “The Road to High-Quality Early Learning: Lessons from the States.”

The institute “conducts and communicates independent, high-quality research to improve education policy and practice.”

“Although many studies show that high-quality preschool returns $7 to $10 for every dollar invested, the research shows that it is not so easy to create high-quality preschool at scale, and not all programs reap these benefits,” Linda Darling-Hammond, president and CEO of the LPI says in a press release. “This study looks deeply at how governments can design and implement programs that pay off for their children and their state.”

NPR says the report “helps balance the preschool debate by highlighting a handful of states that appear to be getting pre-K right: Michigan, West Virginia, Washington and North Carolina.” (more…)

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Image: Center for the Study of Child Care Employment

Image: Center for the Study of Child Care Employment

 

A new publication — the “Early Childhood Workforce Index 2016” — presents a familiar good news/bad news scenario about early educators.

The good news: “Early educators play a central role in the environments in which millions of babies, toddlers, and preschoolers develop and learn.” The country relies on educators’ “ knowledge and skills to provide high-quality early care and education to our increasingly diverse population of children and families.”

But here’s the bad news: “our system of preparing, supporting, and rewarding early educators in the United States remains largely ineffective, inefficient, and inequitable, posing multiple obstacles to teachers’ efforts to nurture children’s optimal development and learning, as well as risks to their own well-being.”

The index was just released by Marcy Whitebook and her colleagues at the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment at the University of California, Berkeley’s Institute for Research on Labor and Employment. (more…)

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

The Massachusetts FY17 state budget eliminates funding for full-day kindergarten grants, an important program that supports kindergarten quality and districts’ transition from half- to full-day programs. Now local officials are responding to the news.

“More than $18 million has been slashed from a state program to expand full-day kindergarten, which could put a new strain on school districts’ already cash-strapped coffers,” the Gloucester Times reports.

“If unchanged, the cuts essentially gut funding for a full-day kindergarten program, forcing communities that depend on the money to trim their own budgets or otherwise make up the costs.

“School administrators are lobbying to restore the funding.

“Tom Scott, executive director of the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents, said the cuts will hurt, especially because many school districts have been expecting that money to cover full-time kindergarten costs for the coming year.” (more…)

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Video Source: Tom Bedard’s Blog

 

A terrific article on the MenTeach website profiles preschool teacher Tom Bedard, a.k.a. “a sort of preschool MacGyver (that classic television character who made extraordinary things out of ordinary objects).”

“I go through the hardware stores and think, ‘Huh! What can I use this for?’” Bedard, a 65 year-old resident of St. Paul, Minn., says in the article. “I’m known for my sand and water tables. I build in and around the tables to make them unique spaces for the kids to play and learn.

One water table is “a wondrous contraption” that’s actually “two tables fashioned into one long one and stacked with accessories like swimming noodles and coffee filters.”

As he approached retirement, Bedard reflected on his career in early education.

“I thought I would get a science degree,” Bedard says. “But, my first semester, calculus and physics didn’t go so well. I started taking psychology classes instead and really liked them.” (more…)

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

The Legislature has approved a $39.1 billion budget for FY17, one that will have a mixed impact on high-quality early education. Governor Baker now has 10 days to review the budget and make potential vetoes before signing it into law.

MassLive.com reports that the budget addresses “an estimated $750 million drop in revenues compared to what lawmakers originally proposed. The budget represents growth of just 2.6 percent compared to the 2016 budget.”

There are no new taxes or fees.

“The bill makes $260 million in spending cuts. It directs the administration to cut another $100 million through ‘procurement efficiencies,’ essentially coming up with places to trim spending across executive branch departments.”

The Boston Globe adds that the budget “avoids dramatic cuts by relying on a series of financial maneuvers to close a big gap in expected tax revenue for the fiscal year that begins Friday.” (more…)

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Board 1

Amy O’Leary with Danielle Scanlon, Erin Vickstrom, Susan Norquist, Kristen Kelley, and Kristy Walley

 

Earlier this week, students from Quinsigamond Community College’s (QCC) Leadership in Early Education and Care program testified before the Board of the Department of Early Education and Care.

Accompanied by Amy O’Leary, director of our Early Education for All Campaign, the students share their experiences in the leadership program.

As we blogged a few weeks ago, QCC’s program “trains ‘students who are already working in early childhood centers’ as directors, supervisors as well as students who aspire to be leaders.”

“The courses are paid for by the Educator and Provider Support Grant, which is funded by the Department of Early Education and Care.” And students who already have bachelor’s degrees can apply the 15 credits that they earn in this program toward a master’s degree in early childhood leadership at Worcester State University. (more…)

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