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“I am all butterflies. Every part of my body is shaking,” Jean Fahey said when she found out she had won the Early Childhood Book Challenge sponsored by OpenIDEO and the Philadelphia-based William Penn Foundation.

OpenIDEO “is part of IDEO, a global design and innovation consultancy” that encourages people to tackle a wide range of social problems.

The Early Childhood Book Challenge asked for creative manuscripts that would “inspire children and their caregivers to read together.”

Specifically, the manuscripts had to:

• “Excite and educate caregivers about the opportunities and importance of reading, singing or talking together”

• support early language development by engaging “young children in their earliest years,” and

• “Reflect the lived experience of families living in urban contexts in the U.S., in communities like Philadelphia”

In response, people from five continents submitted more than 500 manuscripts. (more…)

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“The Brunswick Day Nursery School, and about 3,100 others like it established across the U.S. between 1943 and 1946, made up a public child care system that served between 500,000 and 600,000 kids, more than half of whom were preschoolers.

”If you have never heard of this program, you are not alone. The nation’s brief foray into public child care has been largely forgotten.

”For a three-year period, the U.S. government got into the child care business, albeit uncomfortably and incompletely. All it took to make it happen was a world war and a massive labor shortage.”

“Between 1940 and 1944, women’s labor force participation grew by half. By 1944, about 19 million women were working outside the home, and about 12 percent of them had kids under 10.

“Clearly, something needed to be done. That something ended up involving funds from the Lanham Act, officially known as the Defense Housing and Community Facilities and Services Act of 1940.”

 

“Maine Once Had Public Child Care. What Happened To It?” by Nora Flaherty, Maine Public Radio, June 27, 2019

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What happens when parents are spending $10,000 or more a year for child care?

What happens when early educators and child care workers don’t earn enough to cover their own families’ expenses?

There are no easy answers, but as we blogged last year, the video posted above shines a needed spotlight on these challenges.

Recently at a Boston Foundation event on the early childhood workforce, Marcy Whitebook included the video in her presentation, and noted that it has been one of the most widely shared resources that she and her colleagues at the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment (CSCCE) have produced.

CSCCE produced the video along with the national nonprofit Child Care Aware of America.

For more information, research, and data about child care costs and workforce salaries, check out this Child Care Aware webpage as well as CSCCE’s webpage on compensation and its resources on the high cost of child care.

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Retired Brigadier Generals Jack Hammond and Gary Pappas. Photo courtesy of Mission:Readiness.

 

Retired Brigadier Generals Jack Hammond and Gary Pappas came to Boston earlier this month to talk about the link between child care and the military – and about the findings in a new, related report, “Child Care and National Security: How greater access to high-quality child care in Massachusetts can help improve military readiness.”

The upshot: high-quality child care is a key ingredient in preparing children to become successful adults who could serve in the military. But right now, most of this state’s potential military candidates could not join the armed forces because of poor health, limited educational attainment, and histories of illegal activities.

“If a basic part of the population, 70 percent roughly [in Massachusetts], cannot pass a simple entrance exam,” Pappas says in an NECN interview, “you have a recruiting problem.” (more…)

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“ ‘A child is only 4 once, so each year that passes without families having the ability to put those children in pre-K is a huge lost opportunity,’ said Ann Murtlow, president and CEO of the United Way of Central Indiana, a leading early learning advocate.

“Indiana has taken some small steps to help its neediest families access pre-K, with lawmakers voting this year to open up the state’s $22 million fledgling pre-K program statewide.

“But even with that change, Indiana has barely made a dent in improving early childhood access, advocates say: The income-based voucher program reaches just under 3,000 of what advocates estimate to be 27,000 4-year-olds from low-income families, with a rocky rollout that has left about 1,000 available spots unfilled.

“ ‘We’ve come a long way, but we should make no mistake that we still have a very long way to go,’ Murtlow said.”

“This year, the state program, known as On My Way Pre-K, has grown to serve nearly 3,000 children. But with $22 million in funding, it has room for many more. State officials have run into obstacles trying to expand the program’s reach in rural areas. They’re struggling to keep the application process simple and raise awareness of the opportunity among parents.”

“Most 4-year-olds are left out of Indiana’s preschool expansion,” by Stephanie Wang, Chalkbeat Indiana, June 12, 2019

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“This lack of affordable quality child care is a crisis for American families. In 35 states, families pay more for child care than for mortgages, and in no state does the average cost of infant or toddler care meet the federal definition of affordable. On a per-capita basis, we spend roughly six times less on education for infants and toddlers than we do on K-12. This shortchanges our children exactly when the potential benefit is greatest.

“We know from breakthroughs in neuroscience that children’s brains are growing explosively during the first three years of life — developing more than one million neural connections a second. A child’s early brain architecture shapes all future learning and behavior. This is also the period in our lives when we are most vulnerable to trauma.”

“If we care about equal opportunity in this country, we must provide more funding for infants and toddlers.”

“So where do we start?

Six months of paid parental leave is the first step… The second step is improving compensation for early-childhood educators so that they earn the same as schoolteachers…”

“How to End the Child-Care Crisis: A child’s first 1,000 days are a time to be seized,” by By Shael Polakow-Suransky, president of the Bank Street College of Education, The New York Times, May 24, 2019

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Presentation begins at the 10:40 time mark.

 

California has a brand new plan for early childhood education.

It has arrived in the nick of time, with sweeping changes that will benefit children and families, and with lessons for Massachusetts and other states.

“Few would argue that California’s child care system is in need of major reform,” public radio station KQED reports. “Today, a whopping 77% of children statewide lack access to a licensed child care program, and many of those who teach and care for the state’s youngest are making marginally above minimum wage.

“The system is currently ‘at a crisis level,’ according to Michael Olenick, head of the Los Angeles-based Child Care Resource Center. Yet he’s hopeful that things will improve. Olenick just finished participating in a state Assembly blue-ribbon commission, which released a report on Monday suggesting major improvements to the state’s early childhood education system.”

This report, from the Assembly Blue Ribbon Commission on Early Childhood Education, draws on two years of hearings, meetings, and focus groups. (more…)

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