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Archive for the ‘Family engagement’ Category

“Though parents are often concerned about the effects of too much screen time on young children, it may be the adults who need to set aside their devices.

“Recent research by Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, a psychology professor at Temple University and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute, reveals the detrimental effects of parent screen time on their children’s language development.”

“Language doesn’t just unfold, Hirsh-Pasek explained. The way it really happens is being in an environment of adults involved in conversation. The more exposure, the more language your child will learn. When conversation is a back-and-forth of sounds and expressions, early learning is optimized, even with video chats on services like FaceTime, for instance.

“Not only do text and email alerts that parents turn to look at interrupt early language acquisition, they distract parents from baby’s cues.

“ ‘Look at what baby is looking at. Comment on it,’ said Hirsh-Pasek. ‘The thing we don’t do these days is have quiet attentiveness without the beeps and the sounds. They need to not see us constantly turn away. They need our full attention.’ ”

“Parent distraction can hinder babies’ language skills,” by Kim Doleatto, South Coast Today, April 19, 2018. “Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of columns about early childhood literacy and boosting reading skills.”

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“Leading the Way,” is a series featuring the next generation of leaders in the field of early education and care.

Kretcha Roldan

Kretcha Roldan has spent her career combining social work and education.

That’s what she loved about her job as executive director of AVANCE, a nonprofit organization in Waco, Texas, that runs a two-generation education and personal development program for children and parents.

“I’m a social worker by training and by profession, but I fell in love with that concept: understanding how early education empowers parents to become children’s first teacher,” Roldan says. “It really helps the family to grow.”

Praised by former first lady Laura Bush, AVANCE serves Waco’s low-income, immigrant population.

Children and parents come to school each day. “The parents go to ESL classes or GED classes, and the children come to early childhood education classes. The parents also take parenting skills training.”

“Sometimes parents who have no means think that they cannot teach their children because they do not have the resources. When, honestly, what you need to teach a two-year-old are very basic things to have activity in their brain cells.” So the program helped parents tap their own ingenuity and creativity to use common household items to teach their children about numbers and colors.

“And both parent and child graduate. They both walk in with gowns.” (more…)

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Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. 

 

“We have to change the conversation so that those who are suffering feel freer to talk about their circumstances and receive treatment,” Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito said to a roomful of early educators and staff members from home visiting and early intervention programs who were all there to participate in a groundbreaking training session on the opioid crisis.

This was the first of six training programs that will be held across the state in an effort to reach 600 professionals who work with young children. It’s also a sad but necessary recognition that the opioid crisis takes a toll on infants, some of whom are born addicted to opioids, as well as on toddlers and young children whose parents struggle with addiction.

Massachusetts has been hit hard by this crisis. According to the state’s Opioid epidemic website: (more…)

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Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

 

How can preschools be more accessible to immigrant children?

Four communities — Dearborn, Mich., Atlanta, Ga., King County, Wash., and Houston, Texas — have come up with good answers, according to a new Urban Institute report, “Expanding Preschool Access for Children of Immigrants.”

“Historical barriers to preschool access, including language accessibility, cultural responsiveness, and affordability, have led many immigrant families to miss out on this important experience,” a related article explains.

“But new evidence from four communities shows that policymakers and teachers remain central in expanding preschool access for children of immigrants—and they can be successful in doing so.”

The report points to common themes that emerged across the four locations, including the need to:

• address language barriers

• inform parents about their preschool options

• manage logistics such as scheduling and transportation, and

• expand access by forming partnerships with other organizations and providers such as religious organizations and health care providers

The Urban Institute article makes 10 recommendations, among them: (more…)

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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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