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Archive for the ‘Infants and toddlers’ Category

Efrain Ponce

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

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My name is Efrain Ponce and I work at the Lowell Collaborative Preschool Academy. I have been in the field of early education for 10 years.

The job that I do is important because we are teaching the foundations of education. Not only are we teaching academics, but we also teach children how to be respectful, good citizens. We help parents by coaching them on what advocating for their child means and how to do it. Personally, I want to make sure that when children and their families leave my classroom, they are prepared for the public school system and know what resources are available to them.

One of my proudest moments was working with a child who was in my care a few years back. He was 4 years old when he came into the program, and I worked with him and his mom for the next year. By the end of the program when it was time for him to graduate, mom thanked me for being a strong male role model for him because he didn’t have one. The child even came back for two more years for after-school care and only wanted to come into my room. This experience made me realize how much of an impact an educator can have on children and their families. (more…)

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“If we change the beginning of the story, we change the whole story.”

Nurturing Care for Early Childhood Development website

 

“The new Nurturing Care Framework… is designed to serve as a roadmap for action, helping mobilise a coalition of parents and caregivers, national governments, civil society groups, academics, the United Nations, the private sector, educational institutions and service providers to ensure that every baby gets the best start in life.”

“The Framework describes how a whole-of-government and a whole-of-society approach can promote nurturing care for young children. It outlines guiding principles, strategic actions, and ways of monitoring progress.”

“Nurturing Care for Early Childhood Development: A Framework for Helping Children Survive and Thrive to Transform Health and Human Potential,” The World Health Organization, 2018

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Screenshot from “Honoring Dr. T. Berry Brazelton (1918 – 2018): A Celebration”

In March, the world lost an early childhood champion who helped the public appreciate the power of investing well and often in the lives of very young children.

“Dr. T. Berry Brazelton, America’s most celebrated baby doctor since Benjamin Spock and the pediatrician who revolutionized our understanding of how children develop psychologically, died on Tuesday at his home in Barnstable, Mass., on Cape Cod. He was 99,” the New York Times reported, adding:

“Before Dr. Brazelton began practicing medicine in the early 1950s, the conventional wisdom about babies and child rearing was unsparingly authoritarian.”

Brazelton “rejected such beliefs and practices as being senseless, if not barbaric.

“ ‘He put the baby at the center of the universe,’ Dr. Barry Lester, a pediatrician and director of the Center for the Study of Children at Risk at Brown University, said…”

Born in Waco, Texas, and a graduate of Princeton University and Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, Brazelton has said that he was not close to his father.

“ ‘I’m sure he loved me,’ Dr. Brazelton later reflected, ‘but I never really knew him.’ His father’s remoteness, he added, ‘fueled my ambitions’ to better understand early father-child bonding,” the Boston Globe reported. (more…)

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“Though parents are often concerned about the effects of too much screen time on young children, it may be the adults who need to set aside their devices.

“Recent research by Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, a psychology professor at Temple University and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute, reveals the detrimental effects of parent screen time on their children’s language development.”

“Language doesn’t just unfold, Hirsh-Pasek explained. The way it really happens is being in an environment of adults involved in conversation. The more exposure, the more language your child will learn. When conversation is a back-and-forth of sounds and expressions, early learning is optimized, even with video chats on services like FaceTime, for instance.

“Not only do text and email alerts that parents turn to look at interrupt early language acquisition, they distract parents from baby’s cues.

“ ‘Look at what baby is looking at. Comment on it,’ said Hirsh-Pasek. ‘The thing we don’t do these days is have quiet attentiveness without the beeps and the sounds. They need to not see us constantly turn away. They need our full attention.’ ”

“Parent distraction can hinder babies’ language skills,” by Kim Doleatto, South Coast Today, April 19, 2018. “Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of columns about early childhood literacy and boosting reading skills.”

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

 

Leaders in Ontario, Canada’s second-largest province, are talking a giant step forward: calling for a $2.2 billion plan to create full-day, fully licensed child care for “preschool children from the age of two-and-a-half until they are eligible to start kindergarten, beginning in 2020.”

Families would save some $17,000 per child.

“We listened to parents, educators and child care providers across the province, and they’ve told us this move is the right one to make,” Kathleen Wynne, the premier of Ontario said. “This investment will make life more affordable for families and allow more parents to make the choice to go back to work, knowing their child is safe and cared for.”

Currently in Ontario, “kids are eligible for junior kindergarten in the calendar year they turn four, and senior kindergarten the year they turn five,” the news magazine Maclean’s reports, adding: (more…)

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Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. 

 

“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 to a roomful of early educators and staff members from home visiting and early intervention programs who were all there to participate in a groundbreaking training session on the opioid crisis.

This was the first of six training programs that will be held across the state in an effort to reach 600 professionals who work with young children. It’s also a sad but necessary recognition that the opioid crisis takes a toll on infants, some of whom are born addicted to opioids, as well as on toddlers and young children whose parents struggle with addiction.

Massachusetts has been hit hard by this crisis. According to the state’s Opioid epidemic website: (more…)

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

 

What if child care were perfect?

It would be fun for kids, high-quality, easy for parents to afford, and readily available.

Child care providers would be highly-skilled and well paid.

And the country would feel the difference as more and more young children thrived.

Perfect is, of course, hard to come by, but Child Care Aware of America is pushing for vast improvements with a new policy agenda, “Igniting Possibilities, Promoting Innovation” — a blueprint that can be used by federal, state, and local leaders. (more…)

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