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Shelby Holt

 

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

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My name is Shelby Holt and I work as a K2 Teacher & Grade Level Leader at Match Community Day Public Charter School in Hyde Park, Mass. I studied early childhood education at university; however, I’ve been in the field since I was 16!

After my father’s encouragement to discover a fitting career path during high school (maybe so I’d remain a bit more focused on my studies!!), I found my first internship at a Head Start program in Framingham, Mass. Since then I’ve remained passionate about early childhood education: I’ve been teaching and leading in Massachusetts, New York, and London since 2008. (And being a big sister — I’d like to think that I’ve been an early childhood educator since 1990.)

I feel an adrenaline rush each morning when my alarm goes off. As I drive to school I make a myriad of decisions for how the classroom will feel and look that day. Every job is important, but being an early childhood educator means that I get to help all the children in my class prepare to be successful in the future. I’m sure anyone reading this can recall a particular moment from their time in kindergarten. So much of it is magically formative. I remind myself that each day I could cause a breakthrough memory in a little heart. (more…)

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As we blogged this summer, the Boston University Wheelock College of Education & Human Development is hosting a terrific exhibit called “The Wonder of Learning: The Hundred Languages of Children.”

The exhibit is a dynamic professional development experience, a multimedia immersion in the Reggio Emilia approach to early learning that was developed in Northern Italy. Reggio sees children as crucial partners in their own education. Reggio also focuses on using the world — nature, neighborhoods, art, and artistic materials — to engage children.

At the heart of the exhibit is an effort to share innovations in early education to ensure that as many children as possible have teachers who are well-versed in Reggio’s creative, instructional strategies.

Early educators from across the region and the world have been attending the exhibit and participating in related workshops and events. (more…)

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and a Canadian child. Source: Prime Minister Trudeau’s Flickr page.

 

“Accessible, inclusive, high quality early learning and child care is critical to giving children the best start in life. The Government has made historical investments of $7.5 billion over 11 years to provide quality, affordable child care across the country. By 2020, up to approximately 40,000 children may benefit from quality new subsidized child care spaces across Canada. This will support parents in the hard work they do for their families by giving them peace of mind with the knowledge that their children are getting the care they need and deserve.”

The quote above comes from “Canada’s First Poverty Reduction Strategy,” a plan developed by Jean-Yves Duclos, Canada’s minister of Families, Children and Social Development. Duclos’ work drew on the input of thousands of Canadians that was gathered “through roundtables and town halls, in person and online, via conversations and conferences.” (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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“High quality professional development for teachers working with young children is difficult to find and often too expensive for teachers to access. In hosting the Wonder of Learning, we’re making a commitment to the teachers of our region. We look forward to welcoming teachers here to learn, share, and grow professionally.”

Wheelock College President David Chard on the significance of “Wonder of Learning: The Hundred Languages of Children.”

 

“From intensive professional development seminars and in-classroom observations, to a multimedia showcase of the world-renowned schools of Reggio Emilia, Italy, the Wonder of Learning Boston 2018 is committed to inspiring and empowering all teachers to provide the highest quality programs for our youngest learners.”

Kelly Pellagrini, Board Member of the Boston Area Reggio Inspired Network

Wonder of Learning is “a traveling exhibit for educators, which includes workshops, hands-on learning opportunities, policy discussions, and family engagement, from June through November of 2018.Based on the Reggio Emilia early education framework, the event highlights best practices in early education and expects to draw 20,000 educators from across New England.”

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“When it comes to early childhood education, the United States needs to step up. Many developed nations now have more than 90% enrollment in pre-K programs, surpassing the US with just 66% enrollment for 4-year-olds. Rising superpowers are making significant commitments to expand access to early education over the next few years, with China promising to have pre-K for every 4-year-old and most 3-year-olds by 2020.”

“The National Institute for Early Education Research began collecting data on state-funded preschool programs in 2002. Fifteen years later, the institute’s State of Preschool 2017 report released this week shows that even though many elected officials claim to support early education, actual enrollment of 4-year-olds has grown only slightly since the Great Recession of 2007-2009.”

“US is falling behind other nations in providing pre-K schooling,” CNN, by April 18, 2018

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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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