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Archive for the ‘Pre-kindergarten’ Category

A series featuring communities that have a plan to expand preschool.

Literacy and music

Holyoke is one of five Massachusetts communities implementing the federal Preschool Expansion Grant. This high-quality model funds four preschool classrooms for 76 of Holyoke’s children. The city also has an ambitious preschool expansion plan: Holyoke wants to have a universal Pre-K program that would serve 300 more children, have an additional 19 more classrooms, and add 65 more teachers with bachelor’s degrees by the year 2020. Holyoke is ready for new public investments in early education.

The Staff at the Valley Opportunity Council’s (VOC) Preschool Expansion Grant (PEG) Program in Holyoke works hard to create an interest based curriculum that engages our youngest learners in exciting and educational interactive activities.

A hands-on approach to learning provides children with the tools and techniques to guide their own investigation and exploration. Our teachers become support systems for expanding the learning process and give autonomy to the children. We engage expansion of literacy skills by using “big words” and providing definitions for concepts that children are learning. No word is too big, no question is too small. No matter the topic we explore it all! (more…)

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What do we know about preschool?

To find answers, researchers in different disciplines from a number of universities and from the think tank Brookings set up a task force to review the evidence “on the impact of state-funded pre-kindergarten programs.”

The result is a new report, “The Current State of Scientific Knowledge on Pre-Kindergarten Effects,” released by Brookings and Duke University. Videos of related panel discussions are available here.

This effort produced “one, clear, strong message,” NPR reports. “Kids who attend public preschool programs are better prepared for kindergarten than kids who don’t.”

“This timely report can guide states and local communities, including several here in Massachusetts, as they continue to expand access to high-quality preschool,” Titus DosRemedios, director of research and policy at Strategies for Children, says.

Included in the report is a six-part consensus statement that says: (more…)

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Next month, Harvard’s Graduate School of Education is hosting a two-day program on the Science of Early Learning and Adversity.

Participants will learn about the “leadership and organizational strategies that support the design and implementation of strong early learning environments — those that buffer stress, reduce challenging behaviors, and promote development.”

“…working with expert facilitators and colleagues, participants will develop a strategic plan for leadership related to stress and classroom management in the early learning environments they lead.”

This event will be on June 22 and June 23, 2017, and it is open to “early education directors and administrators across the mixed delivery system,” as well as to coaches and leaders of early education service organizations. Tuition is $199. (more…)

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“More Burlington youngsters would get access to improved daytime health and education under a new program announced Thursday by Mayor Miro Weinberger.

“The mayor proposed that $500,000 be set aside annually to expand the capacity of existing, high quality early-learning facilities.”

“‘By investing in our youngest children today, we will reap a better educated, healthier and more just tomorrow,’ he said.”

“Several other community leaders voiced support for the city’s new Early Learning Initiative, including Vermont Agency of Education Secretary Rebecca Holcombe.

“Citing recent studies that link differences in cognitive development to income, Holcombe praised the initiative as an inspiration for the entire state.

“‘When we don’t pay attention to early care and learning, we are literally manufacturing inequity at the level of the brain.’”

“Pre-K education in Burlington gets big boost,” May 18, 2017, The Burlington Free Press

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

On Tuesday, the Senate Committee on Ways and Means released its state budget proposal for fiscal year 2018. It’s a $40.3 billion budget proposal that would make critical investments in high-quality early education and care.

In her cover letter for the budget, Senator Karen Spilka (D-Ashland), the chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, writes:

“We can sustain our common wealth by focusing on the fundamentals: education, health and wellbeing, and housing.

“Education has always been Massachusetts’ lodestar, from the origination of our Constitution to the birth of public education under the guidance of former Senate President and Franklin native Horace Mann.” (more…)

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“A Seattle organization is trying to help moms get their work done and get time with their kids. Women’s Business Incubator is a co-working space that has drop-in childcare with a preschool teacher.”

“The coworking space features a room where the little ones and moms can work and play side-by-side. There are additional rooms away from the kids where moms can focus on work while the kids spend time in a classroom or outside with a teacher.

“The program is significantly cheaper than traditional childcare and the group encourages members to network. They offer resources for moms who are trying to reenter the workforce after having children.

“The Incubator has only been open for a few months and they would like to expand. The goal is to put locations in other parts of Seattle and add hours giving more women the flexibility they desperately need to nurture their children and the dreams.”

“Seattle preschool allows moms and kids to work side-by-side,” KING5 News, May 11, 2017

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This is one of a series of blogs featuring first-person accounts from early educators across Massachusetts.

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My name is Cecile Tousignant, and in 1975 my husband and I converted a defunct night club into Busy Bees Preschool Center in Fitchburg. In 2006, I retired as proprietor/teaching director and sold the center. Now I’m supporting a bill that has been filed in the State House that could change our profession.

I’m a 1991 M.S. alum of Wheelock College, and I have many post-graduate courses under my belt, the latest ones were about coaching early educators. Though I no longer work in direct service with children and families, I have found my way back into the early childhood classroom as an independent, early childhood consultant, coach, and trainer for public school, center-based and family childcare programs

Advocacy and developing public policy are my passion. Volunteering my time to improve the lives of young children and their families has been a critical way to meet the needs of families and the needs of early care providers as we’ve navigated the ever-changing landscape of the past 40 years.

My diverse work with the Early Childhood Advisory Council of Fitchburg (which evolved from the Chapter 188 Council), the MontachusettAEYC board, the Monty Tech Early Childhood Advisory Committee, Region 2 EPS Sub-Committees and now the MassAEYC Governance Sub-Committee has kept me afloat amid the currents of policy changes that affect families of young children and the early childhood workforce. (more…)

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