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Archive for the ‘Massachusetts Cities and Towns’ Category

The second of a three-part series on summer learning.

 

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

 

Summer is a great time to learn.

But as we blogged last week, summer learning loss — all the things that students forget when they are not in school — can help fuel the achievement gap.

A National Summer Learning Association report says that high-quality programs can address learning loss, but only “about one-third of young people nationally are enrolled in a summer learning program.”

Fortunately, in Massachusetts, cities are closing the summertime gap in creative ways.

Action at the city level is crucial according to a 2016 report on a workshop’s proceedings. Published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, the report notes:  (more…)

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

The first of a three-part series on summer learning.

It’s summer! The perfect time for kids to eat hot dogs, swim, and, forget big chunks of what they learned in school – especially math.

It’s a problem that parents, teachers, academics, and think tanks have pointed to; and this spring, the Herald-Tribune reported on summer learning loss – also known as “summer slide” – noting:

“While school is out, kids can lose up to two to three months of the skills they learned in the classroom that year.

“And while summer slide disproportionately affects low-income families who can’t afford high-quality summer camps that build on the reading and math skills learned in the classroom, all kids are at risk.”

Back in 1906, William White found the same problem when he conducted a very small study. A math teacher at the State Normal School, in New Paltz, New York, White tested the math skills of 15 fourth and eighth grade students in June and then tested them again in September. (more…)

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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

(more…)

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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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