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Archive for the ‘Philanthropy’ Category

 

“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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Boston Mayor Marty Walsh confers with a future 4-year-old. (Mayor’s Office Photo by John Wilcox)

 

Earlier this month, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh promised to invest $15 million in expanding the city’s preschool programs.

This week, a Boston Globe editorial – “Boston’s path to universal preschool offers lessons for other cities” — weighs in, pointing to Boston’s pre-K strengths.

Among the strategies that other cities could borrow from Boston:

• expanding preschool through a mixed delivery system, “a combination of public school classrooms and community-based centers with funding from the city, state, federal government, and even foundations,” as well as

• increasing starting teacher salaries from $35,000 to $53,000 to lower teachers’ attrition rates

Statewide, the need for more preschool spots is considerable, the Globe says, citing some of our data:

“Only about a quarter of preschool age children in Massachusetts have publicly financed early education and care, according to advocacy group Strategies for Children.”

Boston’s investment is particularly important now because federal Preschool Expansion Grants are ending, and at the state level, the House Ways and Means Committee’s proposed budget does not include funding for Commonwealth Preschool Partnership Initiative — although a budget amendment would include $15 million for the partnership.

Please read the editorial to learn more — and be sure to add your comments!

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Boston Mayor Marty Walsh meets with a young learner. Source: City of Boston Mayor’s Office’s Flickr page.

 

Boston has a long history of preschool progress. Starting under the administration of former Mayor Thomas Menino and continuing with Mayor Marty Walsh’s team, city officials have invested in quality, access, and innovation. Now, this work is featured in a new report — “A Focus on Teaching and Learning in Pre-K through 2nd Grade: Lessons from Boston” — from the think tank New America.

New America praises Boston for having a clear and lasting vision for expanding preschool, rather than “a series of priorities that shift every few years based on changes in district leadership.”

Thanks to a dynamic, public-private partnership, funding for this work came from the city and from funders like the Barr Foundation. (more…)

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Photo: Amy O’Leary for Strategies for Children

 

On Monday, civic partners gathered in the city of Springfield and broke ground on what will be a $14 million Educare Center, a school that will open next year and provide “a full-day and full-year program for up to 141 children from birth to age five each year,” MassLive.com reports.

As we’ve blogged, Springfield’s educators and philanthropists have called this Educare project a “dream come true,” one that promises to provide the city’s children with increased access to a high-quality early education program.

Educare “began in Chicago in 2000,” public radio station WAMC reports. It’s a research-based model that has four core features: “data utilization, embedded professional development, high-quality teaching practices, and intensive family engagement,” according to Educare’s website.

“Among the innovations at Educare,” WAMC adds, “is the placement of teachers (more…)

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Photo: Micaela Bedell for Strategies for Children

 

Census 2020 is coming. So now is the time to make sure all of the nation’s children get counted.

“If we don’t count children, we render their needs invisible and their futures uncertain,” Patrick McCarthy, president and CEO of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, says in a foundation blog post. “A major census undercount will result in overcrowded classrooms, shuttered Head Start programs, understaffed hospital emergency rooms, and more kids without health care.”

How many children could be missed? One million or more.

According to a Los Angeles Times article: “The problem has grown worse over the last four decades, experts said. In 2010, the census failed to count nearly 1 million children younger than 5. Experts warn that it could exceed that number in 2020.”

Casey says an undercount of this size would “short-change child well-being over the next decade by putting at risk hundreds of millions of dollars of federal funding for programs that are critical to family stability and opportunity.” (more…)

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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

Springfield is having a $12 million, early education dream come true, MassLive.com reports.

The city is opening a new Educare early childhood center in its Old Hill neighborhood.

Educare is a high-quality, research-based early education model that works with young children and their families for multiple years. “The Educare program includes longer days for the children and is year-round,” MassLive says.

“The new center will serve 141 children who will be selected from the Head Start program based on factors including income and need. The early childhood program is for children ages just past birth to 5 years old.”

This work isn’t new for Springfield. From parents to early educators to schools superintendent Dan Warwick, the city has made a powerful commitment to educating its youngest children. (more…)

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