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Archive for the ‘Head Start’ Category

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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.

 

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

There isn’t a lot of new state funding for early education and care for fiscal year 2017, but Massachusetts is holding steady, keeping existing funds flowing to provide high-quality learning experiences for young children.

Last week, Governor Charlie Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito announced “$42 million in grant awards” for a number of initiatives to “support the quality and availability of early education and care programs” across the Commonwealth.

“High-quality early education and care programs provide children with a strong foundation for learning, academic success, and positive outcomes overall,” Baker said in a press release.

“We thank our early education providers and agency partners who work hard every day to provide our youngest learners with the tools they need to succeed in school and life,” Polito added. (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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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

On April 27, 2016, the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed a $39.56 billion state budget for fiscal year 2017. The budget will now move to the Senate.

During budget debate in the House, several amendments for early education were filed by representatives and successfully passed, adding an additional $8 million to support high-quality early education and care. The additional funding is targeted to the workforce rate reserve, quality improvement, services for infants and parents, Head Start, Reach Out and Read, and preschool planning.

Massachusetts residents, please take a minute to thank your state representative for prioritizing young children, families, and the early education workforce in FY17. 

For a full listing of line items in the final House budget, visit our website. And visit the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center’s website for additional House budget analysis. 

The Senate Committee on Ways and Means is expected to release its FY17 proposal in mid-May. Stay tuned for updates!

For more information on early education in the state budget, contact Titus DosRemedios at tdosremedios@strategiesforchildren.org, or (617) 330-7387.

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

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My name is Bethany Whitemyer, and I’m the center director of the Bright Horizons in Pembroke. My center is located about 25 miles south of Boston and has programs for infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and Kindergarten Prep. I’m proud to say that our center just received our third term of NAEYC accreditation this spring.

I started my career in early education and care as an Infant Teacher in 1992. I had recently graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, but I really loved working with children. I’ve also been a Lead Teacher, an Assistant Director, and a Field Director at Bright Horizons; as well as a Family Specialist at the Child Care Resource Center in Cambridge. I’ve used almost every employee benefit that Bright Horizons has to offer, including tuition reimbursement which I used when I went back to school for my master’s degree in Education at Lesley; the employee discount, which I used when my own children were younger; and the 401K, which I have been adding to for 20 years. (more…)

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President Obama. Photo: The White House

President Obama. Photo: The White House

President Obama has sent his budget proposal for fiscal year 2017 to Congress. It’s his final budget, and in it he calls for wise investments in early childhood programs.

A White House fact sheet says, “The Budget aims to ensure that children have access to high-quality learning starting at birth by:”

• “Expanding access to quality child care for working families.”

• “Cutting taxes for families paying for child care with a credit of up to $3,000 per child.”

• “Increasing the duration of Head Start programs, while maintaining access to Head Start.”

• “Supporting universal preschool.”

• “Investing in voluntary, evidence-based home visiting.” And,

• Investing “in early learning for children with disabilities.” (more…)

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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

What’s a critical part of building an early childhood system?

Data.

Data show how children are doing. Data help early educators and policymakers see both gaps in access to high-quality programs and places where new policies and public investments are most needed.

Data’s power is also making news in the early education sector.

Recently, the Boston Opportunity Agenda (BOA) released a report card that found, among other things, that during the 2014-2015 school year, “63 percent of incoming kindergarten students were determined to have the necessary early learning skills to succeed and progress.” And “70 percent of kindergarten students met academic benchmarks by the end of last school year,” according to a press release.

BOA is “a public/private partnership among the City of Boston, the Boston Public Schools, the city’s leading public charities and many local foundations;” and its report card tracks “academic performance in traditional public, public charter, and private Catholic schools in Boston.” (more…)

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