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Archive for the ‘Infants and toddlers’ Category

“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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“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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