Archive for the ‘Family child care’ Category

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

In an increasingly bilingual world, Quinsigamond Community College (QCC) has an innovative program for training multilingual early educators.

For five years, QCC’s Dual Language Program has offered courses that are taught in English and Spanish to family childcare providers. Classes are offered during the day and at night to give students scheduling flexibility.

Connecting family child care providers to higher education is crucial work because these early educators are typically working on their own in their homes — where they may not have easy access to colleagues or to the onsite college classes that some center-based providers offer.

The goal of the dual language program “is to impart early childhood content first in the student’s native language with a gradual increase of English proficiency over the four course sequence,” QCC’s website explains.

According to Charlene Mara, QCC’s Early Childhood Education program manager, “It’s important to remember who the childcare providers are servicing. They are servicing many English-speaking children, so it’s very important to be proficient in English, as well as their native language.” (more…)

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children


What if child care were perfect?

It would be fun for kids, high-quality, easy for parents to afford, and readily available.

Child care providers would be highly-skilled and well paid.

And the country would feel the difference as more and more young children thrived.

Perfect is, of course, hard to come by, but Child Care Aware of America is pushing for vast improvements with a new policy agenda, “Igniting Possibilities, Promoting Innovation” — a blueprint that can be used by federal, state, and local leaders. (more…)

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“We cycled through one child care arrangement after another. And every transition sent me into a near-panic. Every time it represented a failure. One night, after I’d put the kids to bed, my 78-year-old Aunt Bee called long-distance from Oklahoma to just see how I was doing. And I said sure, I’m find, I’m doing okay, I’m fine.

“And in the middle of a sentence, I just started to cry. And once I started, I could not stop. I was failing. I was failing my kids. I was failing my family. I was failing my teaching. I was doing laundry at 11 o’clock at night and class preps after midnight. And I felt like I was always behind. And then I said something that shocked me when I said it. I told Aunt Bee I was going to quit my job. My beloved teaching job. It’s like it just fell out of my mouth.

“Aunt Bee’s waiting on the other end long-distance. She waits for me to quit crying, waits for me to blow my nose and get a drink of water. And then she very matter-of-factly said, ‘I can’t get there tomorrow, but I can come on Thursday.’ And she arrived with seven suitcases and a Pekinese named Buddy and stayed for 16 years.”

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) speaking at the National Women’s Law Center 45th Annual Gala, October 18, 2017

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“We don’t have to talk anymore about the value of early childhood education: everyone agrees it’s critical. We do, however, have to talk about affordability, logistics and policy. With preschool tuition running $10,000-$30,000 per year, the cost of sending one child to preschool can be more than a family’s rent or mortgage. Early childhood education is not just a child development issue, it’s an economic one…”

“To address this issue, the city convened an Early Childhood Task Force in 2014. Its 2015 report articulates the admirable vision that “all children in Cambridge [will] receive high quality early education and care from birth through third grade,” and recommends initial steps toward that goal…”

“To start this process, the council and committee will have a joint roundtable discussion this fall. One of the main tasks of the roundtable should be to set a deadline by which a comprehensive system of early childhood education will be in place. A deadline will force us to answer, sooner rather than later, the questions related to policy, financing, and logistics.

“Some of those questions are: (more…)

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Policy is changing for K-12 schools.

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Chris Martes, president and CEO of Strategies for Children. Photo: Alyssa Haywoode

Here in Massachusetts, districts and schools are unpacking newly released MCAS and PARCC scores and deciphering what these scores mean for learning and accountability. At the same time, Massachusetts is developing a next-generation MCAS that will be administered in the spring.

On the federal level, the “No Child Left Behind” law was reauthorized as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA); and state officials are working on our plan for this new law.

All of this is activity is important, but K-12 can’t achieve the success we all want without integrating early learning.

Learning begins at birth; the research on this point is clear. Children need a strong early learning foundation and a range of supportive efforts that stretch through their first eight years, from birth to third grade.

Despite the proven power of early learning, there are very few government mandates to provide these early learning supports. This absence does, however, (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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“I am a huge advocate for investment in family child care, for so many reasons. First, as I discussed earlier, when you raise the quality of family child care, you reach many of our youngest, poorest children, those in the greatest need. Second, because family child care is such a good option for working families, when you expand the supply of care, you make it possible for low-income parents to enter and succeed in the workforce. And finally, through building family child care businesses, you raise the incomes of providers, many of whom are parents themselves, and help them build better lives for their own families.”

Jessica Sager, co-founder and executive director of All Our Kin, in an interview featured on New America’s EdCentral blog, April 27, 2016

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