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Archive for the ‘Infants and toddlers’ Category

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

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My name is Wheeler DeAngelis. I am a Teaching Fellow at Lemberg Children’s Center at Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass. My first experience in the field was when I was a high school senior and volunteered for a child development class in a local elementary school, but I’ve been teaching professionally for two years.

I graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2015. I was a member of the Early Childhood Development and Education cohort – which I cannot speak highly enough about. UConn’s program focuses not only on the science of teaching (brain development, milestones, etc.) but also on the art of teaching (classroom management, parent interactions, and co-teaching). What really drew me to the program was the fact that it offers fieldwork and student teaching opportunities with infants and toddlers as well as preschoolers.

I think everyone who teaches young children has, at some point, been at a party where someone asked the same perplexing, astigmatic, exasperating question, “What can you teach babies?” The obvious answer is “EVERYTHING!” but as that rarely seems to satisfy people’s curiosity, I’ve come to rely on an analogy. (more…)

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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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My name is Kristen Allen, and I am a preschool teacher at the Goddard School in Bellingham. I have been in the field since 1985, when my work-study job at UMASS/Boston was in the campus child care center. At the time, I was studying geography, and I hoped to teach high school environmental science and spend my summers leading canoe trips. After that first exposure to toddlers, though, I was hooked!

I have worked in almost every aspect of the field — in classrooms; running my own licensed family child care program when my children were young; training women to operate their own licensed family child care businesses; managing a home-visiting program for young mothers; providing mentoring, coaching, and training to early childhood professionals at workshops and conferences nationwide; coordinating USDA child and adult care food programs; and working on early childhood policy issues. (more…)

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“The State of Alabama spends $475 million on its prison system per year. Governor Robert Bentley wants to spend another $800 million to build four new mega-prisons.

“Imagine what our state could be like if we devoted part of that $1.2 billion to quality early childhood education instead. Wouldn’t it be smarter to ensure that brain development in a child’s first three years is robust? In 25 years, these children will be our state’s innovators and producers.”

“Alabama should invest in brain cells, not more prison cells,” by Jeanne Jackson, president and CEO of The Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham, AL.com, February 23, 2017

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“In 2013, Germany declared that every child over the age of 1 has the legal right to a space in a public daycare facility. This past fall, while America’s election unfolded, Germany’s highest court took this mandate one step further: It ruled that parents may sue for lost wages if they can’t find a place for their child in a public daycare center. This decision came in response to three mothers who filed a lawsuit declaring that authorities neglected to create the necessary daycare slots required by the 2013 ruling. Because the mothers couldn’t find a child-care center with any openings in their hometown of Leipzig, their lawyers argued that they were unable to return to work after giving birth, resulting in a loss of earnings. Chief Justice Ulrich Herrmann ruled in the mothers’ favor on October 20. (Stay-at-home parents, by contrast, wouldn’t have damages to recoup because a lack of child-care availability hasn’t resulted in a loss of wages.)

“This law may seem crazy to Americans, but it follows as a natural development from Germany’s long history of offering governmental support for families, and its more recent history of encouraging mothers’ paid employment.”

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Photo Source: U.S. Department of Education

Photo Source: U.S. Department of Education

Message from Libby Doggett, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and Early Learning, U.S. Department of Education, December 21, 2016

“I want to take this opportunity between the Thanksgiving and the New Year holidays — and near the end of my term at ED — to say THANKS. I myself am so thankful for each of you and the work you do every day to improve the lives of our nation’s youngest children and their families. Sometime this work is very rewarding. Funding falls in place and the implementors take off with few mistakes or problems. Other times this work can be frustrating: elected officials don’t see the value of programs for young children or refuse to find the funding in tight state or local budgets. Other times, those working to put programs in place hit one bump after another. But each of you trudge on through the good and bad times because we all know that we must fight for every child. If we miss helping an infant, the next year she is a toddler, then a three year old, and soon enters kindergarten behind her peers. The first five years fly by quickly, and we know the loss of opportunity may be irreversible if we don’t act.”

To read more, click here.

 

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“There’s a reason why the researchers focus exclusively on methods to improve what they call ‘relationship-based care practices’ in infant and toddler care. There’s a great deal of research that illustrates the importance of warm, supportive relationships between caregivers and young children. Receiving sensitive, responsive caregiving is linked to positive cognitive and behavioral outcomes later in life, including for babies deemed at-risk based on early neurodevelopmental screening.”

“When pre-K for three- and four-year-olds is discussed, it’s taken as a given that students should have a consistent teacher throughout the year with whom they can build a warm, supportive relationship in order to enhance their learning. Science increasingly tells us this is also true for infants and toddlers. While infant and toddler care doesn’t generate the same amount of debate as pre-K it’s time to follow the research and move towards practices that will strengthen the very first stages of the birth to third grade continuum.”

“When It Comes to Infant-Toddler Care and Development, It’s All About the Relationships,” by Aaron Loewenberg, New America’s EdCentral blog, November 7, 2016

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Average cost of child care across the states. Screenshot: New America's website

Average cost of child care across the states. Image: New America’s website

What’s the state of child care in today’s America, which is no longer the land of the “Leave it to Beaver” breadwinner-homemaker family?

To find out, the newly released Care Report and the accompanying Care Index look at all 50 states and the district of Columbia to assess three categories: cost, quality, and availability.

The bad news: “no single state does well in all three categories. Instead, families, providers, and policymakers in every state make difficult compromises that often shape family decisions and can determine the course of children’s futures.”

That’s a problem in today’s America where “in a majority of families with children under 18, all parents work for pay outside the home. That means, on any given day, about 12 million children under the age of five will need a safe place to go and someone loving to care for them.”

The report and the index were produced by the think tank New America and by Care.com, the website that links families to care providers, in conjunction with other organizations. (more…)

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