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Archive for the ‘Language development’ 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 Lesley Byrne, and I work as a pre-K teacher in the Lowell Public Schools. I had worked in early childhood education for seven years when, in 1993, the Lowell initiated the first pre-K programs in its schools. I knew this was where I wanted to be, as I have always believed that providing a positive, first-school experience for families can lead to future school success. I was excited to work toward offering these experiences for children and families. 

For a few years, I was involved in The Family Literacy Program, a collaboration between the Lowell Adult Education program and the Early Childhood Education program. Imagine you’re a parent who is new to this country. You don’t understand English or American culture. Now imagine sending your child to a “foreign” school! The Family Literacy Program aimed to support these families. The program offered classes in English as a Second Language to parents of pre-K children. As one of the pre-K teachers at this time, I got to use my skills not only to educate and support the children in my class, but also to work with parents on how to support their child’s learning at home. It was one of the most rewarding experiences of my teaching career.  (more…)

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Melissa Perry

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

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My name is Melissa Perry. I currently reside in Salem, Mass., and I am newly employed at the Salem YMCA. I’ve been in early childcare education for just a little over 12 years.

To ensure any level of job satisfaction, this field requires a love of children. The most important benefit of being a childcare worker is the satisfaction of knowing I am providing quality care in the preschool setting where children can learn and practice the language and skills they will need to develop and grow.

I am proud to be a part of a group of individuals who do what they do because they love the job and the students, not because of the desire for a dollar. I am proud to be in a position where I am a mentor for those who need it, or a much-needed, positive authority figure to help guide the way. I like being part of something that people can’t possibly understand until they set foot in a classroom and teach. (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

 

Children who are Dual Language Learners (DLLs) are a global group. They come from places like China, Pakistan, Brazil, Bhutan, Nepal, and Mexico. They bring dozens of languages into classrooms — and they create an opportunity for early educators to grow to meet these children’s needs.

Despite this “superdiversity,” “little research to date has focused on effective approaches for multilingual and multicultural early childhood programs and classrooms,” a report — “Growing Superdiversity among Young U.S. Dual Language Learners and Its Implications” — from the Migration Policy Institute explains.

And while there are programs to support Spanish-speaking DLLs, the report adds, “similar provisions for speakers of other, less commonly spoken minority languages are rare, making such services even less accessible for a substantial portion of DLLs and their families.”

“At a time when DLL children are speaking a far more diverse range of languages, many communities across the United States are experiencing classroom superdiversity with little to no guidance on effective practices for promoting their cognitive and socioemotional development.” (more…)

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Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

 

A new report –“Quality for Whom?”– from the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) points to two converging trends:

1) the number of immigrant children in the United States is growing in many states as is the number of children whose parents do not speak English, and

2) States have been working hard to increase the quality of early programs using Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS)

That’s why, the report notes, QRIS efforts should embrace the needs of culturally and linguistically diverse families (CLDs) and of diverse early childhood staff.

“It is critical for stakeholders to address equity issues in early childhood for several reasons,” one of the report’s authors, Julie Sugarman, told us. “First, because children from an immigrant background make up a quarter of all children ages 0 to 5 and immigrants make up 18 percent of the early childhood workforce — a significant share of the field.  (more…)

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Image: New America

Image: New America

 

It’s too late to take technology away from young children. They’re already pros at using cell phones and tablets. So instead of asking if technology should be used in early education, a report from the national think tank New America looks at how best to use technology to promote early literacy.

Children do still need human interactions. Positive relationships with adults help them develop strong language and learning skills. However: “Digital tools can be used to help support these positive interactions,” according to New America’s recent report, “Integrating Technology in Early Literacy: A Snapshot of Community Innovation in Family Engagement.”

“Programs across the country are beginning to use technology to engage families,” the report’s author, Shayna Cook, told us in an email. “Over the past year and a half, we analyzed how early learning and family engagement programs have begun to experiment with innovative tools to reach families and help young children develop early language and literacy skills.” (more…)

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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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