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Archive for the ‘Pre-kindergarten’ Category

Shamica Dade

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

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My name is Shamica Dade. I am the lead teacher/director at Square One in the Preschool Expansion Grant (PEG) Program on Main Street in Springfield, Mass. I have been in this field for almost 20 years.

Early education and care is the foundation for all future learning. At this stage in life children learn to trust their educators and make connections with peers in a safe and secure setting. It is very important for me to make the children and families in my classroom feel that we are a family, and that we support and lean on each other. That connection and bond allows the parents to feel empowered, which is a skill they will need throughout the education of their child. Children feel loved and important and that they matter. These feelings will help to shape how they see themselves and their role in their education.

For me, every child should feel in charge of their learning, and every parent should feel that they are in a partnership with their children’s teachers. These are the skills and feelings I try to develop in every family that I work with. I learn just as much from each family as they learn from me. (more…)

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“Leading the Way,” is a series featuring the next generation of leaders in the field of early education and care.

Tatiana Roll

Tatiana Roll started her career in education early, teaching her sister and her stuffed animals when she was still a girl.

Teaching, she says, “was just something that was always a part of me.”

At Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania, Roll majored in elementary education with a concentration in early education. She went on to Boston College where she earned a master’s degree in early education.

“I knew in my heart that it’s where I was meant to be. And I just felt so much passion and love for what I was doing every single day. I knew that this was just what I was meant to do,” Roll says.

She taught in pre-K and kindergarten classrooms in New Jersey and Washington, D.C., even teaching in the preschool she attended as a child, the Sundance School in Plainfield N.J.

For Roll, teaching in urban schools has yielded career-shaping insights:

“I knew where in the world I wanted to be, not just geographically but demographically. I knew that being a teacher is so much more than teaching kids to be what they want to be in the world and giving them the tools. Teaching is also a social justice position.” (more…)

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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

 

“The recently passed state budget is one of the best ever for high-quality early education. As advocates, we will be pushing state administrators to get this funding out to families, educators, programs and communities.” – Amy O’Leary, Director of Strategies for Children’s Early Education for All Campaign

As our blog readers know, this year’s FY19 state budget is the first in 10 years to surpass the pre-recession high point (FY09) of state funding for early education and care.

This fall, Strategies for Children (SFC) will be paying close attention to two key items in the budget.

#1 Preschool implementation grants

Since FY16, Massachusetts lawmakers have awarded preschool planning grants to 18 communities that have all completed preschool plans.

Now state leaders have taken a first step toward implementation by awarding grants to turn preschool plans into action. The new FY19 budget includes $5 million for implementation grants — funds that must be spent by the end of the fiscal year (June 30, 2019).

Communities are paying attention – they are busy revisiting their plans and getting ready to apply for this funding. They are sending their thoughts to the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) and asking the department to issue the grant RFR (Request for Response) as soon as possible. (more…)

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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 Sheri Rios and I am the Preschool Director for the Elizabeth Peabody House (EPH) preschool in Somerville, Mass. I have worked for EPH for 18 years.

I have always felt a connection with children, “I get them and they get me.” My very first job, when I was 14, was babysitting, and I have been on that path ever since. I did two years of early childhood education at Somerville High School, and I worked as an assistant at EPH’s Peabody Ames Preschool. I returned to EPH a few years later after I had my first child. I worked my way up from preschool teacher, to lead teacher, and then director.

My childhood was tumultuous, and I lived in foster homes for two years as a teenager because of abuse and neglect. I feel that time in my life has molded me into the parent, educator and director I am today. I was blessed to have my Nana in my life becasue for every horrible thing that would happen, she would make up for it with love and affirmation. I realized that every child needs at least one person in their life who loves them unconditionally. (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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TeeAra Dias at a “Wonder of Learning” event held at Boston University / Wheelock College.

“Leading the Way,” is a series featuring the next generation of leaders in the field of early education and care.

When TeeAra Dias was 18 and working for Bright Horizons, a corporate child care provider, she asked herself a career question:

“Do I want to live in a birthday bear suit?”

Dias had been dressing up as a bear to provide entertainment at the children’s parties that were held at Bright Horizons.

She knew she had a passion for serving children. A Boston native, she had worked as one of the city’s summer youth employment “Red Shirts” at the Little People’s Playhouse in Roslindale. But was life in the bear suit satisfying enough?

To answer this question, Dias decided to get more education. She continued to work at Bright Horizons and attended Mt. Ida College where she met Eunice Perry, who ran Mt. Ida’s Longfellow Preschool Program.

Perry was “a mentor and really helped me better understand that early education was more than just playing with children, that I was actually a child’s first (more…)

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What do families, teachers, administrators, and Boston Mayors Tom Menino and Marty Walsh all have in common?

High-quality early education.

This story — of how a big city educates some of its smallest residents — is told in a newly published book, “Children at the Center: Transforming Early Childhood Education in the Boston Public Schools.”

“More than a decade ago,” the book explains, “Boston made a daring bet – that it could build and sustain a high-quality, whole-child focused, intellectually engaging early education program that would significantly lower the city’s persistent achievement gaps by locating that program within its public school system.”

The good news?

“That bet is clearly paying off.”

“Children at the Center” has three expert authors: Betty Bardige, a psychologist and an early childhood author and advocate; Megina Baker, a researcher at Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and a Boston University early childhood education faculty member; and Ben Mardell, a principal investigator at Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Project Zero.  (more…)

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