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Archive for the ‘Family engagement’ Category

Matt Deninger speaks about the Every Student Succeeds Act. Photo: Amy O’Leary for Strategies for Children

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is in the news, and education officials are seeking public comments on how this law should be implemented.

On Wednesday, March 1, 2017, Strategies for Children convened a group of early childhood practitioners, advocates, and policy makers to discuss ESSA. Matthew Deninger from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education was on hand to provide background on the law. He shared details about the evolving Massachusetts plan and spoke about opportunities to support the birth-through-grade-three continuum in the state plan and in local district plans.

Several themes emerged from this discussion:  (more…)

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“The push for high-quality universal pre-K for four-year-olds, now embraced by a growing number of political and thought leaders, is strangely isolated from the movement supporting child care for working mothers. Focusing solely on four-year-old children may make for good politics, but by itself it falls short. Good policy takes into account the science of early childhood brain development, the needs of working mothers with younger children, and provides disadvantaged infants and toddlers with the high-quality child care that has been proven to promote success in school and later on in life.”

“Combining quality child care with preschool promotes social mobility across generations,” by James J. Heckman and J.B. Pritzker, The Hill, February 9, 2017

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What makes communities strong?

“For many families a good place to live is a community that provides for the safety and healthy development of its children,” CEDAC’s executive director, Roger Herzog, says in the video.

The video was produced by Boston-based CEDAC (the Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation) and its affiliate, the Children’s Investment Fund.

“Numerous studies show that high-quality early care and education has a unique capacity to prepare low-income children for future academic and lifetime success,” Herzog adds. “The key phrase is high-quality.”

Nurtury, a state-of-the-art early learning facility in Jamaica Plain, is featured in the video, as is Representative Jeffrey Sanchez (D-Boston), who discusses how important Nurtury was to him and his family when he was a child.

The video also touches on a policy victory, the Early Education and Out-of-School-Time Capital Fund, which provides funds to improve physical early education and out-of-school-time facilities.

To learn

• watch the video

• check out the Children’s Investment Fund website, or

• read about some of the Children’s Investment Fund’s work in a report about building strong pre-K programs

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“So here’s a radical idea: How about we listen to the people who can benefit the most from getting engaged in early education: low-income parents?

“In the fall of 2016, Wilder Foundation researchers did exactly that.”

“When asked ‘which early education program features sticks in your mind as the single most important for you and your family?’ two items rose to the top. The first most important feature parents named was full-day, full-year, multi-year services. The second was quality of care, in terms of a program’s ability to prepare children for kindergarten.

“This is encouraging news, because the same features that parents want are, according to the best available research, also the things that children need to get ready for kindergarten.”

“What kind of early-education help do low-income parents want?” by Sondra Samuels and Barb Fabre, MinnPost, January 30, 2017

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“Turns out one of the most effective ingredients for these early child care programs is interacting with the child. What I mean by interacting is a give-and-take. The term that’s used by the child development specialist is scaffolding, like building a sculpture — in this case of a human being. Staying with the child, taking the child to the next step, challenging the child. In that sense it’s very personalized education.

“It’s very time-intensive education, but it’s education that stays with the child. It also has another effect, which is that it engages, through the enhanced stimulation of the child, the parent. Parents themselves visit the center, so that there is also stimulation of the parent-child relationship that lasts long after the program itself is formally ended at age 5.”

James Heckman, Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago, “How Investing in Preschool Beats the Stock Market, Hands Down,” NPR, December 12, 2016

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

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Jennie Fitzkee

Jennie Fitzkee

 

My name is Jennie Fitzkee. I am an Early Childhood Educator teaching the Full Day, multi-age class preschool class at Groton Community School in Groton, Mass. This my 33rd year of teaching preschool. Lucky me!

“Back in the day,” women were encouraged to become a nurse, secretary, or a teacher. Fortunately, I decided to become a teacher. I made a good career choice! I use the word “career” because teaching young children is far more than a job. It shapes the lives of children and educates parents. That is powerful; both a responsibility and a thrilling challenge. (more…)

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Equipped with big dreams, generous hearts, and strategic funding, the Worcester Child Development Head Start program has been building a STEAM curriculum to immerse preschool-age children in science, technology, engineering, the arts, and math. It’s been a dynamic process that shows how important it is to have partnerships, federal investments, and lots of local action.

Inspired by the STEAM work being done by a Head Start program in Lawrence, Mass., staff in Worcester decided to form a STEAM committee and create their own STEAM rooms.

 

millswanmural

 

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