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Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

 

The American Public Health Association has adopted new policy statements, including this one on preschool:

 

“Support for universal preschool — With more than 60 percent of American 4-year-olds not having access to publicly funded preschool programs and knowing that education is a key social determinant of health, calls for federal, state and local government to implement a voluntary, universal and publicly funded preschool programs based on sliding fee scales for all preschool-age children regardless of citizenship status. Urges governments and preschools to ensures high-quality preschool standards, and calls on federal, state and local officials to make sure preschool teachers and staff are prepared to work with children and are paid livable wages. Calls on state and local school districts to create and implement anti-racist, culturally relevant and trauma-informed approaches in preschool. Encourages collaborations between health professionals, community health centers and preschool programs to support wrap-around services such as immunizations and health screenings.”

 

The association “champions the health of all people and all communities,” and these policy statements are summaries of full statements that will be posted on line next year.

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“A new paper, published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, investigates how pre-K affects kids’ access to healthcare. The results suggest that universal pre-K programs are improving the odds that kids who need treatment for vision, hearing, or asthma issues get the help they need.”

“For example, the fact that the group of kids is 1% more likely to get hearing treatment overall means that hearing-impaired kids are actually 63% more likely to get treatment. For vision-impaired kids, the bump is 45%.”

“So why is pre-K changing health outcomes? The researchers suggest that putting kids in pre-K simply creates more opportunities for their health problems to get noticed, since early-childhood teachers are often trained to spot them.”

“Universal pre-K improves kids’ health in a hidden, powerful way, according to a new study,” Business Insider, April 12, 2017

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A series featuring communities that have a plan to expand preschool.

Literacy is a significant part of the Rainbow Child Development Center’s curriculum. Through partnerships like Edward Street Child Services’ Book Buddy program, children regularly receive books so that they can build their home libraries.

Worcester holds the triple distinction of being the second largest city in New England, a leading Gateway City, and the leading refugee resettlement community, welcoming 300-500 new families each year. All these factors drive this unique, richly diverse city.

Worcester also faces challenges. Each year, more than one-third of kindergarten students enter Worcester Public Schools with no formal preschool experience. In 2017, that percentage grew to 37 percent, or 751 students. A staggering 22 percent of Worcester’s population is below the poverty level compared to a state average of 15.6 percent, and among youth under age 18, 30 percent live in poverty.

These statistics mean that the city has work to do.

“To be a truly great city, Worcester must have healthy children, engaged families, and the very highest standards in our early learning system,” noted Kim Davenport, managing director of Birth to 3rd Grade Alignment at Edward Street Child Services.  (more…)

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Why does the Alliance of Massachusetts YMCAs care if a child eats an apple?

Because the alliance is trying to change the world. Instead of couches and chips, the alliance is working to expose children to more fresh food and physical activity.

One goal is to protect kids from obesity and developing obesity-related diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.

But this effort may well do a lot more. As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention points out, healthier students are better learners. Better learners are more likely to graduate from high school. And “Better-educated individuals live longer, healthier lives than those with less education, and their children are more likely to thrive,” according to a policy brief from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

In other words, kids who habitually eat apples and ride bikes could be laying a foundation for decades of success – for themselves and their descendants.

What’s the Alliance of Massachusetts YMCA’s doing with this information?

Bringing it to the preschool arena. (more…)

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Image: Screenshot

Image: Screenshot from Final Rule Fact Sheet

The Obama administration is making child care better and safer.

Thanks to a newly announced rule, some “370,000 child care settings across the country that participate in the federal child care program… will benefit from new health and safety requirements, staff training requirements, and criminal background checks for staff,” federal officials explain in a press release.

The new rules spring from bipartisan legislation that President Obama signed into law in 2014.

“Many parents rely on child care programs, and it is important that their children are cared for in safe learning environments with qualified providers,” according to U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia M. Burwell. (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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Screen Shot 2016-07-12 at 9.32.09 AMHow do children get to kindergarten? They might take a bus or walk with a parent.

But for policymakers the more pressing question is: How do children get from birth to kindergarten?

Have they been read to? Have they been hungry? Have they been homeless or learned to live with toothaches? Have their parents struggled with depression or addiction?

The answers are crucial and can affect whether or not a child is kindergarten-ready. The Annenberg Institute for School Reform tackles this challenge in the latest issue of VUE, its Voices in Urban Education magazine.

Part of Brown University, Annenberg is “a national policy-research and reform support organization that promotes quality education for all children, especially in urban communities.”

The guest editor for this issue is Michael Grady, the Annenberg Institute’s deputy director and an assistant professor of practice in the Urban Education Policy master’s program at Brown University.

Grady sets the stage in the lead article writing:

“With widespread support for the expansion of early education programs, there is an increased need for collaboration across systems to support the critical transition from pre-K to elementary school in order to ensure positive educational outcomes for all.” (more…)

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