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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

“What does it take to get preschool right?” NPR asks in this article.

Answers can be found in a new report from The Learning Policy Institute (LPI) called, “The Road to High-Quality Early Learning: Lessons from the States.”

The institute “conducts and communicates independent, high-quality research to improve education policy and practice.”

“Although many studies show that high-quality preschool returns $7 to $10 for every dollar invested, the research shows that it is not so easy to create high-quality preschool at scale, and not all programs reap these benefits,” Linda Darling-Hammond, president and CEO of the LPI says in a press release. “This study looks deeply at how governments can design and implement programs that pay off for their children and their state.”

NPR says the report “helps balance the preschool debate by highlighting a handful of states that appear to be getting pre-K right: Michigan, West Virginia, Washington and North Carolina.” (more…)

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Image: Center for the Study of Child Care Employment

Image: Center for the Study of Child Care Employment

 

A new publication — the “Early Childhood Workforce Index 2016” — presents a familiar good news/bad news scenario about early educators.

The good news: “Early educators play a central role in the environments in which millions of babies, toddlers, and preschoolers develop and learn.” The country relies on educators’ “ knowledge and skills to provide high-quality early care and education to our increasingly diverse population of children and families.”

But here’s the bad news: “our system of preparing, supporting, and rewarding early educators in the United States remains largely ineffective, inefficient, and inequitable, posing multiple obstacles to teachers’ efforts to nurture children’s optimal development and learning, as well as risks to their own well-being.”

The index was just released by Marcy Whitebook and her colleagues at the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment at the University of California, Berkeley’s Institute for Research on Labor and Employment. (more…)

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Amy O’Leary with Danielle Scanlon, Erin Vickstrom, Susan Norquist, Kristen Kelley, and Kristy Walley

 

Earlier this week, students from Quinsigamond Community College’s (QCC) Leadership in Early Education and Care program testified before the Board of the Department of Early Education and Care.

Accompanied by Amy O’Leary, director of our Early Education for All Campaign, the students share their experiences in the leadership program.

As we blogged a few weeks ago, QCC’s program “trains ‘students who are already working in early childhood centers’ as directors, supervisors as well as students who aspire to be leaders.”

“The courses are paid for by the Educator and Provider Support Grant, which is funded by the Department of Early Education and Care.” And students who already have bachelor’s degrees can apply the 15 credits that they earn in this program toward a master’s degree in early childhood leadership at Worcester State University. (more…)

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The Obama administration has just a released a new report that sums up its point with its title: “High-Quality Early Learning Settings Depend on a High-Quality Workforce: Low Compensation Undermines Quality.” It has been jointly released by the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The report also features wage profiles for each state, including one for Massachusetts that’s posted here.

Wages are “sometimes at or near the Federal poverty line,” the report says, even when early educators “obtain credentials and higher levels of education.” It’s a deeply rooted problem that we blog about often, and one that other research reports have covered. (more…)

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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

How do you pay for preschool when there’s a shortage of state and federal funding? This is a question many local communities are wrestling with today, including several here in Massachusetts.

Across the country, local communities are reaching into their own pockets to “create programs tailored to suit the needs of their residents,” New America’s EdCentral blog explains.

This local action is crucial because “Nationwide, only four out of ten four-year-olds attend preschool each year, despite the widely accepted array of benefits an early start to education can provide a child.”

The blog reviews a new report from the American Institutes for Research (AIR) that looks at pre-K in 10 cities, including Boston as well as Denver, Los Angeles (LAUP), New York City, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington, D.C., and West Sacramento.

Upon reviewing these local pre-K models, the report’s authors suggest “ten questions that any city or community working to expand pre-K opportunities for its residents should consider.” (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 Denise Galford-Koeppel. I graduated from Wellesley College with a degree in Psychology, focused on developmental psychology. I wanted to understand the developing child first hand, so after I graduated I worked as an early childhood educator at the Wellesley Community Children’s Center (WCCC) while completing a master’s degree from Wheelock College.

I learned more about development and families from my mentors at WCCC than I did in school, and I have continued relationships with them to this day through roles there as a parent, board member, substitute teacher, and now consultant.

After teaching at WCCC, I worked in the lab of a national research study called the NICHD* Study of Early Child Care (Early Childhood Research Network) that looked at the effects of childcare on child development. There, I met young children who enjoyed the lab activities; and I was drawn to children who developed differently, the ones who did not stack blocks or who had difficulty interacting with a caregiver. This inspired me to become a developmental specialist in early intervention. I have loved that work since 1994. (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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SusanHi my name is Susan Norquist, and I am an education coach for the Little Sprouts Early Learning Center located in Brighton. I received my bachelor’s degree in counseling from Lyndon State College, and I am currently working on my master’s in education. I have worked for over 30 years in the social services field, half of those in early education.

I am currently enrolled in the Leadership Certificate Program offered by Quinsigamond Community College and Worcester State University. This program has been amazing. It has unleashed the leader in me and inspired me to share my passion for educating young children with others.

I can think of no other profession I would rather work in. Working with young children is a dream job. Where else can you walk into a room and get tons of hugs and unconditional love from charming, inquisitive children. As an education coach, I am able to work with teachers to enhance the development of their students. I assist them in setting goals for their students and for their own growth.  (more…)

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