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Archive for the ‘Pre-kindergarten’ Category

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How can researchers talk so that policymakers will listen?

Child Trends has a new brief – as well as a webinar – that covers the best ways to share research with elected officials and other policy leaders.

“We’ve seen here at Child Trends… a real growth in what we at the federal level call evidence-based policymaking. It’s really a movement,” Elizabeth Jordan, a Child Trends senior policy analyst, explains in the webinar.

“It’s really a way for policymakers and advocates on both sides of the aisle to find consensus,” “We all want to do what we know works for vulnerable children and their families.”

How can research have more of an impact on policy? Child Trends points to several examples, including how research on home visiting programs showed ““Rigorous evidence of the short- and long-term positive outcomes for children and families who participated…”

The result: the administration created a new federal home visiting program.”

So, what should researchers and advocates know about reaching policymakers? (more…)

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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Ivanka Trump could be a champion for child care – and for lower child care costs.

That’s the argument that former Boston Globe columnist Joanna Weiss makes in a recent Globe opinion piece.

Weiss also asks a key question: Who should take care of very young children?

The answer is complicated. Obviously, parents play the most vital role. But what should happen when both parents work? And how does the country cope with the fact that many of the families who most need child care struggle to afford it?

Weiss says Ivanka Trump could help forge an answer.

“As the president’s daughter chats up bigwigs and members of Congress [to support working women], here’s hoping she’ll bring up the most fundamental challenge for working families: the impossible economics of child care.”

Last year, another Globe opinion piece took on the high cost of child care, noting: (more…)

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“The push for high-quality universal pre-K for four-year-olds, now embraced by a growing number of political and thought leaders, is strangely isolated from the movement supporting child care for working mothers. Focusing solely on four-year-old children may make for good politics, but by itself it falls short. Good policy takes into account the science of early childhood brain development, the needs of working mothers with younger children, and provides disadvantaged infants and toddlers with the high-quality child care that has been proven to promote success in school and later on in life.”

“Combining quality child care with preschool promotes social mobility across generations,” by James J. Heckman and J.B. Pritzker, The Hill, February 9, 2017

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Photo: Michele McDonald for Strategies for Children

Photo: Michele McDonald for Strategies for Children

 

The Early Childhood Educators Scholarship Program is getting a makeover. The program’s scholarships help early childhood and after-school educators earn college degrees – either an associate or a bachelor’s.

The scholarship launched 10 years ago. It was added to the Massachusetts state budget thanks to the efforts of legislative leaders and advocates, including Strategies for Children. At the time, data showed that only 30 percent of center-based early educators held a BA or higher degree.

The scholarship is greatly appreciated by teachers. As Jennie Antunes, an early educator and scholarship recipient from New Bedford, told us:

“Even though I had been doing this work for so long, there was so much more I wanted to learn to strengthen my teaching. I take great pride in my accomplishments, proving to myself that I could work full time as well as attend school full time.” (more…)

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Why does the Alliance of Massachusetts YMCAs care if a child eats an apple?

Because the alliance is trying to change the world. Instead of couches and chips, the alliance is working to expose children to more fresh food and physical activity.

One goal is to protect kids from obesity and developing obesity-related diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.

But this effort may well do a lot more. As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention points out, healthier students are better learners. Better learners are more likely to graduate from high school. And “Better-educated individuals live longer, healthier lives than those with less education, and their children are more likely to thrive,” according to a policy brief from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

In other words, kids who habitually eat apples and ride bikes could be laying a foundation for decades of success – for themselves and their descendants.

What’s the Alliance of Massachusetts YMCA’s doing with this information?

Bringing it to the preschool arena. (more…)

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Source: Representative Alice Peisch’s Twitter page

There’s promising news for early educators in the House’s budget proposal. The developing budget would give early educators a much-needed salary increase.

The Boston Globe reports: “‘We’re at a tipping point,’ said DeLeo, citing the many underpaid and unqualified workers who tend to the state’s youngest students. ‘It’s a workforce which, quite frankly, I believe is in crisis.’”

“There are about 90,000 early childhood teachers in the state, who earn a median annual salary of around $25,000 — just $700 above the federal poverty level for a family of four.”

In addition, House Speaker Robert DeLeo (D-Winthrop) “plans to file a bill to expand professional development for early educators to bolster a system he described as ‘in crisis,’” according to the State House News Service.

DeLeo points to a troubling paradox, WWLP reports. While more pre-school teachers are needed in classrooms, “fewer people are pursuing careers in education.” (more…)

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What makes communities strong?

“For many families a good place to live is a community that provides for the safety and healthy development of its children,” CEDAC’s executive director, Roger Herzog, says in the video.

The video was produced by Boston-based CEDAC (the Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation) and its affiliate, the Children’s Investment Fund.

“Numerous studies show that high-quality early care and education has a unique capacity to prepare low-income children for future academic and lifetime success,” Herzog adds. “The key phrase is high-quality.”

Nurtury, a state-of-the-art early learning facility in Jamaica Plain, is featured in the video, as is Representative Jeffrey Sanchez (D-Boston), who discusses how important Nurtury was to him and his family when he was a child.

The video also touches on a policy victory, the Early Education and Out-of-School-Time Capital Fund, which provides funds to improve physical early education and out-of-school-time facilities.

To learn

• watch the video

• check out the Children’s Investment Fund website, or

• read about some of the Children’s Investment Fund’s work in a report about building strong pre-K programs

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