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Archive for the ‘Infants and toddlers’ Category

 

“How can we use this? How can we get this in the hands of parents, especially when children are little?”

That’s the question education officials in Burlington, Mass., asked about the book “Make Time for Reading,” — by author and early literacy expert Jean Ciborowski Fahey — in a news story produced by local television station BCAT TV. The story features interviews with Burlington School Committee member Kristin Russo and Burlington Area Chamber of Commerce president Rick Parker.

This book was chosen for its unique qualities and design. The pages alternate. The left hand-pages have tips for parents and caregivers about reading to children. And the right-hand pages feature a story that adults can read to children.

The Burlington School Committee is teaming up with the Burlington Area Chamber of Commerce to distribute the books to families, according to Superintendent of Schools Eric Conti. Parents of new babies will receive the book while at the hospital or in the mail. So far, roughly 1,000 copies have been given to families. The goal is to distribute a total of 1,500.

It’s a great fusion of books, adults, children, and community action around early literacy.

 

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“Superintendent Mark Bedell arrived Friday for his first official day on the job with Kansas City Public Schools and wasted no time making his presence known.

“Before the day was done, Bedell announced his first policy move — a seven-hour pre-kindergarten day at no cost for 1,100 Kansas City children.

“‘This is a great day for Kansas City Public Schools and for the entire Kansas City community,’ Bedell said during the announcement at the Woodland Early Learning Center. ‘We must do everything possible to make sure our children get the preparation they need to succeed in school and achieve their dreams.’

“Expanded early childhood education was a promise Bedell made during his first visits to Kansas City as a candidate for the superintendent’s job.

“‘If money was no object, I would begin educating children at the age of 2,’ Bedell had said then, and repeated Friday afternoon.”

“On his first day leading KC schools, Mark Bedell launches a full-day pre-kindergarten program,” The Kansas City Star, July 1, 2016

 

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The Obama administration has just a released a new report that sums up its point with its title: “High-Quality Early Learning Settings Depend on a High-Quality Workforce: Low Compensation Undermines Quality.” It has been jointly released by the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The report also features wage profiles for each state, including one for Massachusetts that’s posted here.

Wages are “sometimes at or near the Federal poverty line,” the report says, even when early educators “obtain credentials and higher levels of education.” It’s a deeply rooted problem that we blog about often, and one that other research reports have covered. (more…)

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Last year, we blogged about the landmark Institute of Medicine report, “Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth Through Age 8: A Unifying Foundation.” This report is still a hot topic for many in the early education and care field, but at nearly 700 pages, it’s not light reading. Thankfully, the team at New America’s EdCentral Blog is unpacking the report chapter by chapter, most recently they’ve looked at Chapter 4 which could be nicknamed, ‘Babies Are Smarter Than You Think.’

“Many people often make assumptions about what babies are capable of understanding,” EdCentral explains. “For instance, some mistakenly think children are solely concrete thinkers; however, research shows that infants and young children are able to think abstractly.” (more…)

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

What if public policy were based on scientific findings?

It’s a question that Dr. Jack Shonkoff has been asking for years. The head of Harvard’s Center on the Developing Child, Shonkoff has been promoting the “science of early childhood” as a “source of new ideas that could be used to develop more effective policies.”

Earlier this month, the center released a new paper, “From Best Practices to Breakthrough Impacts: A science-based approach to building a more promising future for young children and families”.

The paper calls for investments in research and development “to move beyond the best of what we know now—to apply cutting-edge science and an innovation mindset to the urgent task of creating the better best practices of tomorrow.” (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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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

A recent study shows that home visiting programs can dramatically improve children’s school readiness.

The study report — “Long-Term Academic Outcomes of Participation in the Parent-Child Home Program in King County, WA,” — explains:

“The Parent-Child Home Program (PCHP) is an intensive two-year home-visiting program aimed at increasing school readiness among young children from families who face multiple obstacles to educational and economic success, such as poverty, low literacy, limited education, and language barriers.”

Families enroll “when children are about two years old and receive two 30-minute visits per week for 23 weeks in each year of the program, for a total of 92 visits.”

The home visitor “shares a language and cultural background with the family” and “uses a non-directive approach and a high-quality toy or book, which is left as a gift for the family, to model behaviors for parents that enhance children’s development.” (more…)

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