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“The need for daycare during the coronavirus emergency is hard to overstate.

Almost 80% of American healthcare workers are female: A significant majority of nurses, respiratory therapists, physicians assistants, and doctors under 35 are women. Close to 30% of healthcare workers in California have children under 14. Most are the primary caregiver in their families. If even a fraction were forced to stay home, it could exacerbate the extreme staffing shortages many hospitals now predict.”

“Childcare providers need supplies, coronavirus guidance as daycare system suffers,” by Sonja Sharp, The Los Angeles Times, March 26, 2020

 

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“The Council for Professional Recognition, the international nonprofit organization that oversees the Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential™, is calling for responsible closures of early childhood centers along with appropriate funding for early childhood educators severely disrupted by the global coronavirus.

“ ‘We advocate for financial assistance for early childhood educators and childcare workers who are losing their income due to program closures. We also appreciate all who continue to serve in support of parents who are emergency responders and essential personnel. K–12 teachers are rightfully still receiving their paychecks during school closures and we call on governments and employers to do all they can to support early childhood education in a similar way. This should apply to all early educators, whether they are in center based, family childcare or home visiting settings,’ says Valora Washington, Ph.D., CEO of the Council.”

“Call for Equitable Treatment of Early Childhood Education,” opinion piece in the Washington, D.C., Patch, March 20, 2020

 

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“I want to thank all our hard-working, dedicated, early childhood education professionals — and especially my employees. My entire team has been positive and willing to help out our first-responders and other vital workers during the pandemic.

“They have been flexible, understanding, creative, and full of grace in a time of scared parents, uncertain futures, and shifting legislative rules and responsibilities. They are taking care of the babies and young children of people who are vital to us getting through this mess, and are having to do it knowing they may be exposed by the next inevitable sniffle or cough.

“Early childhood professionals all deserve so much credit and recognition.”

— Sarah Hall, Kenosha, Wisc., Letter to the Editor of the Kenosha Times, March 25, 2020

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Friends and colleagues,

We hope you are all staying healthy at this time of crisis.

Yesterday, Governor Charlie Baker announced that child care programs in Massachusetts will close on Monday, March 23, 2020.

However, Exempt Emergency Child Care Programs will be available regionally to provide care for emergency workers and others. Check the Department of Early Education and Care’s website for guidance documents.

The governor also said that, “Child care providers would continue to receive child care subsidy payments from the state in order to ensure that the programs will be able to reopen once the crisis is over.”

Strategies for Children has been working with the early education and care community to collect and share programs’ urgent needs and to consider advocacy strategies for supporting early education and care providers right now — with an eye on the potential long-term effects of the coronavirus.

If you are an early educator or program director please complete this online form to let us know your short- and long-term needs. If you would like more information, reply to this email or contact Amy O’Leary at aoleary@strategiesforchildren.org.

Here are additional links and resources: (more…)

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In addition to hand washing, an important defense against the coronavirus is information. Here’s a list of links to information from nonprofit and government sources.

 


 

Earlier this week, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker declared a state of emergency in response to the virus.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is working closely with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to provide updated information about the novel coronavirus outbreak.

 


 

Zero to Three has tips for how to talk to children about the virus.

 


 

Child Care Aware of America is committed to providing news and the latest information to help prepare families, child care providers and policymakers.

 


 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has posted a wide range of virus information.

 

The CDC also has a list of frequently asked questions about the virus and children.

 

Here’s the CDC’s guidance for workplaces, schools, and homes.

 


 

Take good care of yourself and each other.

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“Two divides thwart the best efforts of American educators to improve outcomes for low-income children and their families.

“The first is the gap between early-childhood and K-12 education. The second is between K-12 education and health and social services. Typically these institutions operate in silos. Yet decades of research confirm that to best learn and thrive, children need early-childhood and elementary education to be aligned so that each year builds upon the last, and they need health and social services to be coordinated to maximize their positive impact.

“Over the past decade, I’ve had the opportunity to research and work with communities that are attempting to bridge these divides.”

“Despite working independently, these communities have diagnosed similar challenges to improving supports for children and families. In response, they are converging on a common set of innovative structures and strategies.”

 

“Four Strategies for Getting the First 10 Years of a Child’s Life Right,” by David Jacobson, Education Week, February 4, 2020

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Karen Fabian teaching a yoga class for children. Photo courtesy of Karen Fabian

 

“I began to practice yoga for the first time ever in 1999. And after taking my first teacher training in 2002, I knew I wanted to teach full time,” Karen Fabian says. So she shifted out of her corporate career in health care administration, and started teaching in 2003.

“Over time, I started my own brand, Bare Bones Yoga. And I’ve been doing that ever since.”

These days, Fabian’s work includes teaching yoga to preschoolers, which she’s been doing for 13 years. She ran a program at the South Boston Neighborhood House for two years. And she currently teaches at two programs in Boston’s Charlestown neighborhood that are part of Partners Healthcare system.

It’s easy to stereotype yoga as a silent practice done in a quiet room. But that’s not the way Fabian teaches it.

She engages children on multiple levels, mixing yoga poses with language and literacy. It’s familiar territory for Fabian: her mother was a preschool teacher for 35 years.

“Toddlers and four-year-olds, they really like Tree pose,” Fabian says of her youngest yoga students. “Kids, as young as two-and-a-half will do downward dog; it’s a universal pose that kids of all ages will do, even little ones.” (more…)

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Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

 

The opioid crisis has hit people across Massachusetts – including families in early education and care settings.

To help the early education and care field address this crisis, Carol Nolan has convened small meetings of staff from different state agencies to share information about opioids and about helping families. Nolan is the associate commissioner for Strategic Partnerships for the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care.

“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 last year at the first event. (more…)

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Retired Brigadier Generals Jack Hammond and Gary Pappas. Photo courtesy of Mission:Readiness.

 

Retired Brigadier Generals Jack Hammond and Gary Pappas came to Boston earlier this month to talk about the link between child care and the military – and about the findings in a new, related report, “Child Care and National Security: How greater access to high-quality child care in Massachusetts can help improve military readiness.”

The upshot: high-quality child care is a key ingredient in preparing children to become successful adults who could serve in the military. But right now, most of this state’s potential military candidates could not join the armed forces because of poor health, limited educational attainment, and histories of illegal activities.

“If a basic part of the population, 70 percent roughly [in Massachusetts], cannot pass a simple entrance exam,” Pappas says in an NECN interview, “you have a recruiting problem.” (more…)

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