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“Now is the time to have a very strong, successful launch and expansion of early childhood education,” Greg Canfield, Alabama’s Secretary of Commerce, says in “Starting at Zero,” a new video from the Saul Zaentz Charitable Foundation.

The video includes current and former governors, a philanthropist, a businessman, and academics from Stanford University and Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education, home of the Saul Zaentz Early Education Initiative.

“For every 10 children in the U.S., six have access to some early education before kindergarten,” Harvard’s Nonie Lesaux says in the video. However, “Only two of those six are in a setting that we would consider high-quality.” 

Among the video’s other key points:

• education is economic development

• the inter-generational impact of early childhood education helps children and their parents move ahead

• the social and emotional skills that early childhood education fosters are especially important given that people often have less face-to-face contact, and

• new governors are in a unique position to become early education champions

Check out the video and share it on your social media networks.

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

 

Early education is making local news thanks to Backyard Cambridge, a podcast launched last year by two Cambridge residents “to strengthen local news and civic engagement.”

This month the podcast covers universal pre-K.

As the story points out, finding the right pre-K program can be like walking into an overcrowded mall with no directory. There are private programs and public programs; vouchers and full-pay options; and child care centers, family child care, and school-based programs.

Money also matters. Parents who can spend more of their income on child care can also afford to hire nannies. Cambridge’s public schools offer “junior kindergarten,” for 4-year-olds, but only for half of the ones who live in the city.

Why should anyone care? (more…)

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Last week, early education leaders from around the country met at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education (HGSE) for “The Leading Edge of Early Childhood Education: Expansion and Improvement for Impact.” The goal: to discuss “the delivery of high-quality early learning at scale and its benefit to children and society.”

Now, a video of the full, seven-hour meeting is available on line, thanks to its host, HGSE’s Saul Zaentz Early Education Initiative.

The meeting was kicked off by HGSE Professor Nonie Lesaux who explained that early education’s landscape has four pillars:

– the persistence of the economic opportunity gap

– the developmental force of the early childhood years

– the promise of high-quality early learning experiences, and

– the challenge of making good on the potential and promise for ALL children

Citing Sean Reardon, an education professor at Stanford University, Lesaux said the challenge today is building “equality of quality at scale.” In other words, every young child should have access to great preschool programs. (more…)

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Georgia continues to break ground on early childhood education.

Some of this work is being done at the Rollins Center for Language and Literacy, a program of the Atlanta Speech School.

On its website, “Read Right from the Start on the Cox Campus,” Rollins provides free courses and online resources for early educators. Among these are two compelling videos about how to effectively use language with young children.

One video — “The Promise” — features children explaining how adults and early educators can use their words to help children learn.

“We need you to give our voices power,” one child says. Others advise:

“Talk to us.”

“Sing to us.” (more…)

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“If you want to increase the quality of early education and care, you need a consistent, highly skilled, well-paid workforce to deliver on that promise.”

Marie St. Fleur, former Massachusetts State Representative, in the video “Key to Quality Early Education and Care is Quality Workforce,” posted by Wheelock College, August 1, 2017

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Mid-summer is here with its long days and slower pace, so why not kick back and watch some videos on our revamped YouTube channel.

It’s a “greatest hits” collection of 50 videos that have been featured in the blog – all compiled by our media-savvy intern Nicolette Forsey.

These videos are great for advocates who want to learn more or use videos to educate policymakers and the public.

Looking for an overview? Wheelock College recently posted a video on the importance of early education and care featuring state leaders such as Tom Weber, commissioner of the Department of Early Education and Care, and Carlos Sanchez, commissioner of the Department of Higher Education.

Need a quick hit? The First Five Years Fund’s PowerPoint-style video, “Early Learning Matters,” is one minute and 53 seconds worth of big-picture preschool advocacy. (more…)

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Congratulations to Kansas City for winning an “All-America City” award for its “Turn the Page KC” reading program.

The Kansas City Star reports:

“‘We whooped and hollered,’ said Turn the Page KC Executive Director Mike English, describing the moment at the award ceremony in Denver on Friday when Kansas City was the first winner named.”

“The number of agencies collaborating in the effort are numerous, including school districts and charter schools, the Kansas City and Mid-Continent public libraries, Lead to Read, the United WayLiteracy Lab, the Local Investment Commission and others that marshaled hundreds of professionals and volunteers to the cause,” the Star adds.

And when we asked Mike about the award, he added, “The All-America City Award not only validates that our 3rd grade reading initiative is on the right track, but also provides fresh energy and excitement to our cause.”

“‘We applaud the big-tent coalitions in these award-winning communities,’ Ralph Smith, the managing director of the national Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, said in a written statement. ‘They put a stake in the ground around third-grade reading and made some big bets to improve the odds for early school success,’” the Star notes.  (more…)

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