Archive for the ‘Family engagement’ Category

Image: Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center


As families with low incomes work hard to make ends meet — paying for food, housing, and child care — one popular, bipartisan policy that helps is the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The credit reduces families’ tax bill or gives families a refund so that they have more cash.

It’s an approach that has had a positive local impact, according to a brief from the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center (MassBudget), “The Reach of the Massachusetts State Earned Income Tax Credit, by City and Town.”

“More than 400,000 tax filers claim the Massachusetts state EITC each year. In Fiscal Year 2019, the state’s Administration currently estimates tax filers will receive a total of $214.1 million in credits,” MassBudget explains.

EITC has been especially important because workers’ wages have been stagnant for several decades. (more…)

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children


Children who are Dual Language Learners (DLLs) are a global group. They come from places like China, Pakistan, Brazil, Bhutan, Nepal, and Mexico. They bring dozens of languages into classrooms — and they create an opportunity for early educators to grow to meet these children’s needs.

Despite this “superdiversity,” “little research to date has focused on effective approaches for multilingual and multicultural early childhood programs and classrooms,” a report — “Growing Superdiversity among Young U.S. Dual Language Learners and Its Implications” — from the Migration Policy Institute explains.

And while there are programs to support Spanish-speaking DLLs, the report adds, “similar provisions for speakers of other, less commonly spoken minority languages are rare, making such services even less accessible for a substantial portion of DLLs and their families.”

“At a time when DLL children are speaking a far more diverse range of languages, many communities across the United States are experiencing classroom superdiversity with little to no guidance on effective practices for promoting their cognitive and socioemotional development.” (more…)

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Worcester, Mass., wants to do more for its children by offering trauma-informed care.

The city’s goal is to look at what scientists call ACES — adverse childhood experiences — and understand their impact on children and how these impacts can cause health problems once children are grown.

“We had been thinking about the vulnerability of our populations in Worcester,” Kim Davenport says of work that was going on around the city. Davenport is the managing director for Birth to 3rd Grade Alignment at Edward Street Child Services.

Among the city entities that were thinking about children was Worcester Hears, a local coalition focused on bringing together “advances in brain science, child development, and best practices to address childhood adversity” to help public school students. (more…)

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Springfield is having a $12 million, early education dream come true, MassLive.com reports.

The city is opening a new Educare early childhood center in its Old Hill neighborhood.

Educare is a high-quality, research-based early education model that works with young children and their families for multiple years. “The Educare program includes longer days for the children and is year-round,” MassLive says.

“The new center will serve 141 children who will be selected from the Head Start program based on factors including income and need. The early childhood program is for children ages just past birth to 5 years old.”

This work isn’t new for Springfield. From parents to early educators to schools superintendent Dan Warwick, the city has made a powerful commitment to educating its youngest children. (more…)

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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

Writer and pediatrician Perri Klass has always been a champion of sharing books with children, but this month in the New York Times she writes about the issue by mixing research with great human warmth and urgency.

Klass draws on a recent study that found that parents who read and write at home with children boost both literacy and lifetime skills. This topic isn’t new for Klass; she’s the national medical director of Reach Out and Read, the organization that distributes books to children through pediatricians’ offices.

The reading and writing study was conducted by University of Washington researchers who found that “Children who read and write at home — whether for assignments or just for fun — are building long-term study and executive function skills,” according to a press release.

Klass turns the research findings into near poetry: (more…)

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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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