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Archive for the ‘Pre-kindergarten’ Category

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

 

In 1999, the Barr Foundation started investing in early education. Since then, Barr has generously distributed early education grants totaling more than $47 million to a number of organizations including Strategies for Children.

In 2020, Barr will sunset its giving in this sector, but as it does so, the foundation is reflecting on two decades of work, and it has posted a group of legacy early education webpages that documents its efforts.

Kimberly Haskins, Barr’s senior program officer for Cross-Program Initiatives, says:

“It is essential to invest in high-quality, developmentally appropriate learning experiences for children. To improve the experience for all children for years to come, we also need to invest in research, policy and public education. Strategies for Children and organizations that help support effective systems are critical for the longer term healthy development of children and families.” (more…)

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“The nonprofit arm of the world’s largest business federation is sounding a stern warning: The skills gap feeding an unprecedented labor shortage will only worsen if companies don’t directly provide child care solutions.

“The need to educate the next generation of employees is growing exponentially as more parents enter the workforce, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation told executives during a yearlong road show across the U.S.—from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to Grand Rapids, Michigan, to Austin, Texas.”

“As much as companies might cringe at the thought of mixing business with early childhood education, mounting evidence shows that to stay competitive they must stop expecting cash-strapped state governments to fill day care gaps, said Abby Hills, director of communications for the foundation’s Center for Education and Workforce.”

“Child Care Is Corporate America’s Business,” by Jennifer Oldham, Slate, May 7, 2018

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

 

On Thursday, May 10, 2018, Senate Ways and Means Chair Karen Spilka released a $41.42 billion budget proposal for fiscal year 2019.

The Senate budget is slightly higher than Governor Baker’s proposal and slightly lower than the House budget.

For early education and care, the Senate budget invests $5 million in preschool expansion, increases funds for child care resource and referral agencies, and level funds most other programs. Unlike the House, the Senate budget does not include a rate reserve for early educator salaries.

The Senate budget’s executive summary states: “Skills learned in early childhood directly impact future academic achievement and personal and economic success. The Committee’s budget invests in kids beginning at birth and seeks to remove barriers to access and quality care.”

Additional reporting on the Senate budget and its implications can be found at MassLive and The Boston Globe.

The Senate will debate amendments to the budget on May 22. Visit Strategies for Children’s website for a complete list of early education line items.

Stay tuned for more information on amendments and advocacy opportunities.

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Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

 

The National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) has released its annual yearbook — a comprehensive look at publicly-funded preschool programs — and found a mix of progress and stagnation: There are more preschool spots, but states aren’t investing enough in program quality. This year’s assessment also includes a special report on Dual Language Learners.

“Recent changes in federal policy – including the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) – make it clear that progress in early education depends more than ever on the states,” NIEER Senior Co-Director Steven Barnett said.

Looking at the 2016-2017 academic year, the Yearbook notes that:

• across the country “state-funded preschool program enrollment exceeded 1.5 million children” or “33 percent of 4-year-olds and 5 percent of 3-year-olds”

• state funding for preschool rose two percent to some $7.6 billion, an increase of nearly $155 million (adjusted for inflation) since 2015-2016

• state funding per child was $5,008, a slight decline from 2015-16 adjusted for inflation

• 3 state-funded preschool programs met all 10 new quality standards benchmarks

• 10 programs met fewer than half, and

• 7 states do not invest any state dollars in preschool

In its assessment of state policies for Dual Language Learners, NIEER reduces its findings to two words: “Needs Improvement.”  (more…)

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“High quality professional development for teachers working with young children is difficult to find and often too expensive for teachers to access. In hosting the Wonder of Learning, we’re making a commitment to the teachers of our region. We look forward to welcoming teachers here to learn, share, and grow professionally.”

Wheelock College President David Chard on the significance of “Wonder of Learning: The Hundred Languages of Children.”

 

“From intensive professional development seminars and in-classroom observations, to a multimedia showcase of the world-renowned schools of Reggio Emilia, Italy, the Wonder of Learning Boston 2018 is committed to inspiring and empowering all teachers to provide the highest quality programs for our youngest learners.”

Kelly Pellagrini, Board Member of the Boston Area Reggio Inspired Network

Wonder of Learning is “a traveling exhibit for educators, which includes workshops, hands-on learning opportunities, policy discussions, and family engagement, from June through November of 2018.Based on the Reggio Emilia early education framework, the event highlights best practices in early education and expects to draw 20,000 educators from across New England.”

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Last week — and part of this week — people across the nation celebrated the Week of the Young Child (WOYC).

This annual celebration was launched by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) in 1971.

“The purpose of the Week of the Young Child is to focus public attention on the needs of young children and their families and to recognize the early childhood programs and services that meet those needs,” NAEYC says on its website.

Here’s a roundup of some WOYC events.

 

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Photo: Somerville Public Schools Twitter feed

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Yesterday, hundreds of early educators from across the state — many wearing green and snapping cell phone pictures – gathered for a rally at the State House steps for Advocacy Day. An upbeat band, featuring tuba and trombone players, wove through the crowd, filling Beacon Street with music.

 

Leo Delaney

 

“It really is about the workforce,” Leo Delaney said. He’s the president of the board of MADCA (the Massachusetts Association of Early Education and Care), and he was the first speaker. “Without quality staff, you don’t have quality.” (more…)

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