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Archive for the ‘Pre-kindergarten’ Category

“The problem is Massachusetts has a significant and persistent achievement gap, evident long before children enter school. Too many children show up for school already behind and too many of them will never catch up.

“As we have stated before, our country’s next greatest investment should be early childhood education.

“After all, the human brain develops more rapidly between birth and age 5 than during any other subsequent period.

“And according to several studies, children who participate in high-quality early childhood programs develop better language skills, score higher in school-readiness tests, and have better social skills and fewer behavioral problems once they enter school than those who do not have the benefit of pre-K services.”

“Early ed for all,” an editorial in the Cape Cod Times, July 16, 2017

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

 

What would make the transition from pre-K to kindergarten easier?

Four states are trying to find out, according to a recent report from New America called, “Connecting the Steps: State Strategies to Ease the Transition from Pre-K to Kindergarten.”

The path from pre-K to kindergarten can be “fraught with stress and uncertainty for many children and their parents,” New America says in a policy paper. Kindergarten’s days are often longer, and the curriculum can focus more on academics.

“This transition is significant for parents as well. Contact with teachers is often more formalized and less frequent than in a pre-K classroom. There is often less emphasis on parent-teacher and parent-parent contact than before. This can leave parents feeling out of the loop… and can lead to less parental involvement in the classroom.”

While schools and districts have to ease the transition, “states can actively encourage intentional, local efforts to smooth transitions to kindergarten.”

To show what states can do, (more…)

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Screenshot: U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Report

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is making the business case for high-quality early education.

“… America is facing an unprecedented workforce crisis: a large and growing shortage of skilled workers,” the foundation says in a newly released report – “Workforce of Today, Workforce of Tomorrow: The Business Case for High-Quality Childcare.”

“From Wall Street to Main Street, the world of work is changing—and our strategies for developing tomorrow’s workforce must change with it,” the report says.

Katharine B. Stevens, a senior fellow with the American Enterprise Institute who wrote the report, says in a statement, “Achievement gaps are emerging much earlier than we previously understood. The costs of children arriving in kindergarten not ready to learn are enormously high.” (more…)

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“We don’t have to talk anymore about the value of early childhood education: everyone agrees it’s critical. We do, however, have to talk about affordability, logistics and policy. With preschool tuition running $10,000-$30,000 per year, the cost of sending one child to preschool can be more than a family’s rent or mortgage. Early childhood education is not just a child development issue, it’s an economic one…”

“To address this issue, the city convened an Early Childhood Task Force in 2014. Its 2015 report articulates the admirable vision that “all children in Cambridge [will] receive high quality early education and care from birth through third grade,” and recommends initial steps toward that goal…”

“To start this process, the council and committee will have a joint roundtable discussion this fall. One of the main tasks of the roundtable should be to set a deadline by which a comprehensive system of early childhood education will be in place. A deadline will force us to answer, sooner rather than later, the questions related to policy, financing, and logistics.

“Some of those questions are: (more…)

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

 

On Friday, July 7, 2017, the Massachusetts Legislature passed the state’s fiscal year 2018 budget. The budget calls for $40.2 billion in spending, according to MassLive.com. That’s an increase of $1 billion over last year.

 

Funding highlights for early education and care include:

 

• $15 million for a workforce rate reserve

 

• $200,000 for preschool planning grants, and

 

• $1 million for Reach Out and Read

 

Total FY’18 funding for early education will be higher than FY’17 levels, but still several million dollars lower than the budgets that the House and Senate approved just a few months ago. 

 

The next step in the budget process: The FY’18 budget awaits Governor Charlie Baker’s signature. 

 

Please contact Governor Baker and urge him to sign the budget into law, preserving investments in high-quality early education. 

 

Show your support for the early education workforce: email the Governor now or call his office at: 617.725.4005.

 

For more information visit the Strategies for Children state budget webpage, or contact Titus DosRemedios at tdosremedios@strategiesforchildren.org.

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Our own Titus DosRemedios, Strategies for Children’s director of research and policy, was interviewed by the Toronto-based Preschool Podcast. Here are some excerpts of what Titus said:

 

“We have started to look at data on our early education and care workforce, and it’s kind of shocking how low the salaries are, how high the turnover is — the average salary is about $25,000 in the field for an early education and care teacher, turnover rate is about 30 percent. So we’re paying these borderline poverty wages for teachers that we’re expecting will be able to close the achievement gap and help children get ready to succeed in school. So there’s a mismatch between what our vision and hope is for the system and the level of investment there is in the teachers…”

 

“Access we thought was pretty good. And we actually spent many years pushing on quality because we thought that was the missing piece… But in recent years, we’ve started to uncover that in many parts of the state access is actually not that great. We have what we call Gateway Cities in Massachusetts… And what you find is that many children, high percentages of children in these small urban cities are coming to kindergarten without having any form or preschool whatsoever…”

 

“The secret to third-grade reading scores is not to get a new curriculum in third grade. It’s to work from birth all the way through age 8 or 9 and think about that entire continuum: working with families, infant-toddler programs, preschool programs, home-visiting programs, and, of course, the early elementary grades…”

 

“Data-driven early childhood education advocacy,” The Preschool Podcast, June 27, 2017

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Wheelock College has just posted a video from its 2016 Community Dialogue that highlights the importance of early education.

As we’ve blogged before, this event engages early educators, policymakers, and elected officials in a conversation about the strengths and challenges of the field.

Among those featured in the video is Carlos Santiago, commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, who says:

“We have certainly come to realize the importance of the success of students in early education as they come to our doors in higher education.”

Be sure to check it out.

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