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Archive for the ‘Massachusetts Cities and Towns’ Category

 

This past Sunday at Lowell High School, 11 Congressional candidates shared a crowded stage at the Kathy Reticker Forum for Children and Families and shared their ideas on family policy.

“We’re asking these candidates today how they’re going to support our most important national asset. Where are they going to put their support?” Pat Nelson, the executive director of the Concord Children’s Center, said at the event. “Will they put it where it’s needed most, where we know it leads to early success, in prenatal care and kindergarten?”

“We know the battle for funding for children is a hard-fought battle, and we want to know how you are going to fight it.” (more…)

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

From Boston to Seattle, cities are leading the way on preschool. Now a new analysis looks at quality and enrollment rates to measure progress — and awards gold, silver, and bronze medals to the most successful cities.

The analysis — “The state of high-quality pre-k in big US cities” — was done by CityHealth, a philanthropic initiative supported by the de Beaumont Foundation and Kaiser Permanente. It was conducted as part of a larger study which rated cities in nine policy areas, including earned sick leave, affordable housing, and food safety.

“Thirty-three out of 40 cities received a medal for high-quality pre-k, including five gold, eight silver, and 20 bronze,” CityHealth explains.

The top-five, gold-medal winners are:

Boston

Charlotte

Nashville (more…)

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Last week — and part of this week — people across the nation celebrated the Week of the Young Child (WOYC).

This annual celebration was launched by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) in 1971.

“The purpose of the Week of the Young Child is to focus public attention on the needs of young children and their families and to recognize the early childhood programs and services that meet those needs,” NAEYC says on its website.

Here’s a roundup of some WOYC events.

 

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Photo: Somerville Public Schools Twitter feed

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“Leading the Way,” is a series featuring the next generation of leaders in the field of early education and care.

Kretcha Roldan

Kretcha Roldan has spent her career combining social work and education.

That’s what she loved about her job as executive director of AVANCE, a nonprofit organization in Waco, Texas, that runs a two-generation education and personal development program for children and parents.

“I’m a social worker by training and by profession, but I fell in love with that concept: understanding how early education empowers parents to become children’s first teacher,” Roldan says. “It really helps the family to grow.”

Praised by former first lady Laura Bush, AVANCE serves Waco’s low-income, immigrant population.

Children and parents come to school each day. “The parents go to ESL classes or GED classes, and the children come to early childhood education classes. The parents also take parenting skills training.”

“Sometimes parents who have no means think that they cannot teach their children because they do not have the resources. When, honestly, what you need to teach a two-year-old are very basic things to have activity in their brain cells.” So the program helped parents tap their own ingenuity and creativity to use common household items to teach their children about numbers and colors.

“And both parent and child graduate. They both walk in with gowns.” (more…)

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Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

 

Early educators wear a lot of hats: they’re educators and advocates, they advise parents, and they help with public problems like the opioid crisis.

They are also woefully underpaid, and this creates, as House Speaker Robert DeLeo has said, an early childhood education (ECE) workforce crisis.

To better define the crisis, Strategies for Children has released a new policy brief – “ECE Workforce Needs: Local Solutions from Preschool Planning” – that’s written by Jenna Knight, an intern at Strategies and a student at Tufts University’s Eliot-Pearson Child Study & Human Development program.

“One thing that stood out for me is how typical these workforce needs are across the state and nation, but the community-generated approaches such as the ones I’ve highlighted come from a strengths-based lens,” Knight says. “Empowering communities to collaborate, identify connections, and use approaches that work for their needs and for families being served is essential to making effective progress, particularly on ECE workforce needs.” (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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“Helena Ferreira, the primary years teacher of English language learners at Provincetown Schools, spent $11,600 last year to enroll her two children in the town-sponsored Wee Care program.

“ ‘I’m a single mom of two kids,’ she said on Friday. ‘It was a difficult decision for me, but it put me at ease to have a place with high-quality child care, safety and education. That program allowed me to continue working.’

“Ferreira started using the program when her now three-year-old daughter, Beatrix, was four months old. Her now one-year-old son, Simon, started at Wee Care when he was six months old. Toddler tuition is $75 per day, with discounts for town residents and employees of the school. Preschool and prekindergarten tuition starts at $45 per day ($35 for a half day) and summer programs are $75 per day.

“These amounts add up, which is why Ferreira hopes town voters will approve three articles at the April 2 Annual Town Meeting that would make child care and preschool free for all infants to five-year-olds. The free tuition would be available only to Provincetown residents or town employees, said Provincetown Schools Superintendent Beth Singer.”

“Universal preschool up for vote at Provincetown Town Meeting,” Wicked Local Wellfleet, March 29, 2018

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