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Archive for the ‘Pre-kindergarten’ Category

Screenshot: The Ounce’s website

 

Like most states, Massachusetts has limited data on its birth-to-5 early education and care system, making it difficult for us to answer basic questions such as “Where are all the 4-year-olds?”

Elliot Regenstein wants to change that. He’s the plain-spoken author of “An Unofficial Guide to the Why and How of State Early Childhood Data Systems,” which was just released by The Ounce, a national nonprofit that advocates for children.

“This is not one of those policy papers that earnestly describes how the world is supposed to be—this guide is a zealous exploration of how the world actually is,” Regenstein, the director of policy and advocacy at The Ounce, writes.

The unofficial guide is one of a series of “policy conversations” that The Ounce is sharing to “rethink education.” The policy conversations cover “innovative ideas about how we can bridge the early education and K–12 systems, improving the quality and outcomes of both.”

How can data help this effort?  (more…)

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Screenshot: Urban Institute website

 

Where are preschool-age children?

The Urban Institute, a nonprofit think tank, is providing answers with its new interactive data map — a great tool for advocates.

“Our interactive tool shows 10 important characteristics of 3- to 5-year-olds. It displays the characteristics by whether the children are enrolled in early education, whether their families are low income, or whether their parents are immigrants,” the institute says on its website.

“Understanding the characteristics of preschool-age children in our states and communities is an important first step for supporting children’s healthy development and school readiness.” (more…)

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This summer, the nonprofit Advocates for Children of New Jersey released a policy brief on its federal preschool development grants.

It’s an upbeat story – but one with an unknown ending. New Jersey has successfully expanded preschool programs. But it’s not clear what will happen to this growth once federal funding runs out.

The state made preschool history thanks to two New Jersey Supreme Court rulings that required officials to “provide quality preschool in 31 low‐income towns so that young children had the best opportunity to succeed in kindergarten and beyond,” the brief explains.

This investment paid off. “Three studies by the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) found that children who attended the state‐funded preschools showed significant progress in language, literacy, math and science and were substantially less likely to repeat grades.”

But after a small amount of additional expansion, progress on pre-K stalled.  (more…)

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“Rotting wood and rusted bolts at the Rainbow Child Development Center’s old play area have been replaced by brand-new playsets, thanks to the generosity of donors and a six-figure government grant.”*

“‘We know you have to have healthy, happy children for them to thrive academically,’ said the center’s executive director, Joyce Rowell, who explained the Rainbow Center has adopted a range of new programs and activities aimed at instilling healthy living habits in its students and their families. ‘It’s a whole mindset we’re trying to work on together.’”

“Unlike many private preschool centers, however, the Rainbow Center cannot rely on its clients to pay for those initiatives. It primarily serves low-income and single-parent families living in some of the area’s poorest neighborhoods, as well as students under the care of the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families, and derives around 85 percent of its funding from the state.”

“Worcester early education center serving at-risk students unveils new playspaces,” by Scott O’Connell, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, September 8, 2017

 


*Massachusetts’ Early Education and Out of School Time Capital Fund Program

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Worcester delegation to All-America City event: Erin Dobson, Tim Garvin, Patrick Lowe, Kim Davenport, Joanne Gravell, Amy O’Leary, Sally Fuller, Chris O’Keefe, and Steven Zrike.

Patrick Lowe used to send some his emails in the middle of the night. As a busy medical school student, this was sometimes the only time he had to work on Worcester’s application for an All-America City award.

Bestowed by the National Civic League and the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, the award recognized communities that helped “more young children from low-income families achieve grade-level reading proficiency and early school success.”

Kim Davenport, meanwhile, worked during the day, reading Lowe’s emails and working with him to submit a convincing application for the award. Davenport, the managing director of Birth to 3rd Grade Alignment at Edward Street Child Services, was steeped in the work of pooling resources from across the city to help young children succeed.

Worcester had won the award five times before. But not since 2000. (more…)

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Massachusetts has just announced the release of $4.1 million in facilities grants. Typically, these funds help early education and after school programs repair, renovate, and expand their buildings. This round of funding will focus on early education and care facilities that serve low-income children.

“Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito made the announcement at the Worcester Community Action Council’s (WCAC) early education program in Webster, the site of one of the facilities funded by the 2017 grant awards,” according to a press release from the state’s Executive Office of Education.

“Facility improvements like these, coupled with an already announced 6 percent rate increase for early education providers, ensure that more children have access to high-quality environments and staff that will improve their learning experience,” Governor Charlie Baker added. (more…)

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Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

 

A new report –“Quality for Whom?”– from the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) points to two converging trends:

1) the number of immigrant children in the United States is growing in many states as is the number of children whose parents do not speak English, and

2) States have been working hard to increase the quality of early programs using Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS)

That’s why, the report notes, QRIS efforts should embrace the needs of culturally and linguistically diverse families (CLDs) and of diverse early childhood staff.

“It is critical for stakeholders to address equity issues in early childhood for several reasons,” one of the report’s authors, Julie Sugarman, told us. “First, because children from an immigrant background make up a quarter of all children ages 0 to 5 and immigrants make up 18 percent of the early childhood workforce — a significant share of the field.  (more…)

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