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Archive for the ‘Facilities’ Category

“The country is finally having a serious conversation about how best to care for children during their first five years before they enter school. What is missing from that conversation, however, is an acknowledgement of the abysmal conditions of many of our child care facilities and a commitment to fixing the problem. Parents should be able to leave their children in child care with the understanding that they are in safe and healthy learning environments that support their development — and this is just not happening.

“Luckily for these families, some states are starting to recognize the link between quality of facilities and quality of care.”

 

“Child care is infrastructure. We should treat it that way,” an opinion piece by Linda K. Smith, Roll Call, March 25, 2019

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Tasheena M. Davis and her son Noah

 

Earlier this week, officials in Springfield, Mass., broke ground on Educare Springfield, a new early education facility.

How important is this kind of progress? One answer comes from Tasheena M. Davis, a parent who spoke at the ground breaking. Here’s a printed version of what she said: (more…)

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Governor Charlie Baker (directly in front of Curious George) announces new facilities grants at the Crispus Attucks Children’s Center in Dorchester.

 

This summer, Massachusetts awarded $4 million in grants to help early education and after-school programs improve their physical spaces. The money comes from the Early Education and Care and Out of School Time (EEOST) Capital Fund, which was created by the state Legislature.

As we’ve blogged before, engaging classrooms, lively safe playgrounds, and well-designed bathrooms are some of the key features that create nurturing environments for young children.

But programs often can’t afford the costs of badly needed construction and renovations. That’s why these capital improvement funds are so important.

In a statement, Governor Charlie Baker said, “Renovating and repairing facilities helps achieve our goal of improving the quality of early education and care.” (more…)

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Childern

 

“Massachusetts Early Education and Out-of-School Time Leaders Celebrate Passage of Critical Funding to Benefit Low-Income Children: Housing Bond Bill signed today by Governor Baker includes reauthorization of successful capital fund for early education facilities construction and renovation”

“The Commonwealth needs an improved and expanded supply of facilities to meet the demands of families across the state who are looking for convenient, high-quality centers for their children,” said Michael K. Durkin, President and CEO at United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley.

Chris Martes, CEO and President of Strategies for Children added, “What a great day for children, families and programs across the Commonwealth. Facilities are a critical – and often overlooked – element to quality early education and afterschool centers. We have seen such dramatic results and positive outcomes for children from the Early Education and Out-of-School Time Capital Fund know that there is a long list of programs that could use funding.”

Bill Eddy, Executive Director of MADCA, the MA Association for Early Education and Care which represents early education and school age providers who serve low income families across the state, said, “This is an exciting renewal of the Early Education and Out of School Time Facilities Fund with $45m over the next five years to continue to improve the facilities and playgrounds where our youngest children are educated and cared for every day. These facility improvement funds create state-of-the-art spaces designed for young children and allow providers to expand facilities creating additional access to early education for low income children and their families, which also expands our workforce by creating new teaching positions. We are grateful that the Legislature included this once again and we applaud Governor Baker for signing this comprehensive bill with this Early Education Facilities Fund included.”

“EEOST is unique in the country for providing a large-scale public source of funding for facilities,” noted Theresa Jordan, Director of Children’s Facilities Finance for the Children’s Investment Fund. “The reauthorization of an additional five years places Massachusetts further ahead as a national leader in the provision of high-quality early education and care.”

United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley news release, May 31, 2018

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

 

Early education is making local news thanks to Backyard Cambridge, a podcast launched last year by two Cambridge residents “to strengthen local news and civic engagement.”

This month the podcast covers universal pre-K.

As the story points out, finding the right pre-K program can be like walking into an overcrowded mall with no directory. There are private programs and public programs; vouchers and full-pay options; and child care centers, family child care, and school-based programs.

Money also matters. Parents who can spend more of their income on child care can also afford to hire nannies. Cambridge’s public schools offer “junior kindergarten,” for 4-year-olds, but only for half of the ones who live in the city.

Why should anyone care? (more…)

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Massachusetts has just announced the release of $4.1 million in facilities grants. Typically, these funds help early education and after school programs repair, renovate, and expand their buildings. This round of funding will focus on early education and care facilities that serve low-income children.

“Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito made the announcement at the Worcester Community Action Council’s (WCAC) early education program in Webster, the site of one of the facilities funded by the 2017 grant awards,” according to a press release from the state’s Executive Office of Education.

“Facility improvements like these, coupled with an already announced 6 percent rate increase for early education providers, ensure that more children have access to high-quality environments and staff that will improve their learning experience,” Governor Charlie Baker added. (more…)

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

 

It’s summer and NAEYC’s publication, Young Child, has a compelling and seasonally appropriate article about the history of outdoor play.

Written by Joe L. Frost, an emeritus professor at the University of Texas at Austin, and John A. Sutterby, a professor at the University of Texas at San Antonio, the article starts with this poetic quote from Frost’s 2012 article “Evolution of American Playgrounds:”

“Good play environments have magical qualities that transcend the here and now, the humdrum, and the typical. They have flow qualities — qualities that take the child to other places and other times. They are permeated with awe and wonder, both in rarity and in imaginative qualities. Bad play environments are stark and immutable, controlled by adults, lacking resiliency and enchantment. Few dreams can be spun there, and few instincts can be played out. The wonders of nature, the delights of creating are all but lost for children restricted to such places.”

Simply put, the authors say in their Young Child article, outdoor play isn’t a luxury it’s a necessity.

“As history scholars, we know that our current efforts are grounded in a movement that began almost two centuries ago.” (more…)

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