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Archive for the ‘Professional development & preparation’ Category

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

 

Last week, Massachusetts’ Attorney General Maura Healey announced a new, $355,000 initiative, the “Trauma-Informed Care for Young Children Grant Program.”

The program will “fund training and capacity building of early education and care providers to address the needs of children experiencing trauma,” according to a press release. Forms of trauma include “violence, separation from a loved one, stress due to poverty or related to the opioid crisis.”

As we’ve blogged before, violence, opioid addiction, and toxic stress are all challenges that early educators find among the children in their classrooms.

“Children who have experienced violence, substance use, and other trauma are especially in need of high quality care,” Healey said in the press release. “This grant will provide funding to strengthen these programs to help our most vulnerable children succeed.”  (more…)

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“It’s like getting the band back together,” Pat Haddad (D-Somerset), Speaker Pro Tempore of the House, said of herself and some her colleagues who gathered at the State House on Tuesday for “Looking Back to Look Forward,” a Strategies for Children celebration of the tenth anniversary of An Act Relative to Early Education and Care, which became law in 2008.

Speaker Pro Tempore Pat Haddad

Sponsored by Haddad and Senator Robert Antonioni (D-Leominster) and signed into law by Governor Deval Patrick, the new legislation was a bright step forward. It officially established Massachusetts’ Universal Pre-K (UPK) program, and outlined the responsibilities of the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) and for its board and commissioner.

“We had to block out some of the people who were naysayers,” Haddad said at the Looking Back event. But now, she explained, more and more legislators understand that building a universal pre-K program is “the right thing to do.”

The Legislature has never been able to fully fund UPK, but it has made progress, investing in scholarships for early educators and leveraging the power of federal preschool grant funds. (more…)

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Boston Mayor Marty Walsh meets with a young learner. Source: City of Boston Mayor’s Office’s Flickr page.

 

Boston has a long history of preschool progress. Starting under the administration of former Mayor Thomas Menino and continuing with Mayor Marty Walsh’s team, city officials have invested in quality, access, and innovation. Now, this work is featured in a new report — “A Focus on Teaching and Learning in Pre-K through 2nd Grade: Lessons from Boston” — from the think tank New America.

New America praises Boston for having a clear and lasting vision for expanding preschool, rather than “a series of priorities that shift every few years based on changes in district leadership.”

Thanks to a dynamic, public-private partnership, funding for this work came from the city and from funders like the Barr Foundation. (more…)

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A Montessori student and Janet Begin

 

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

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Janet Begin was a computer engineer for ten years. She worked at AT&T Bell Labs.

“I always knew I wanted to go into education,” Begin, a Haverhill resident, says. “But I knew I liked computers, and I was good at that, so I started there because it was more profitable than education. That’s the sad reality.”

Eventually her company offered a buyout — and tuition benefits. Begin took both and went back to school. She earned a master’s degree in education from Lesley University. She became a substitute teacher in Haverhill where she lived. And she started looking for a preschool program for her daughter.

“In my search, I found a Montessori school, and basically it changed my world,” Begin said. (more…)

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Amanda Medeiros

My name is Amanda Medeiros, and I work at the Lowell Collaborative Preschool Academy.

I have worked in the field of early education and care for eight years, and I love what I do. I help children learn to express their feelings and learn that it is okay to feel different emotions. I help them grow and become independent. I always support families as well. I am here for the parents just as much as I am for children. It can be hard when parents see their children growing, so I help them adjust and understand that it is all normal.

What I’m most proud of as an early educator is seeing children make progress. I love when I hear a child express themselves, especially when I know that is difficult for them. I see children go from not being able to hold a crayon to writing their name in full. It is very rewarding. (more…)

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Efrain Ponce

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

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My name is Efrain Ponce and I work at the Lowell Collaborative Preschool Academy. I have been in the field of early education for 10 years.

The job that I do is important because we are teaching the foundations of education. Not only are we teaching academics, but we also teach children how to be respectful, good citizens. We help parents by coaching them on what advocating for their child means and how to do it. Personally, I want to make sure that when children and their families leave my classroom, they are prepared for the public school system and know what resources are available to them.

One of my proudest moments was working with a child who was in my care a few years back. He was 4 years old when he came into the program, and I worked with him and his mom for the next year. By the end of the program when it was time for him to graduate, mom thanked me for being a strong male role model for him because he didn’t have one. The child even came back for two more years for after-school care and only wanted to come into my room. This experience made me realize how much of an impact an educator can have on children and their families. (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 Lesley Byrne, and I work as a pre-K teacher in the Lowell Public Schools. I had worked in early childhood education for seven years when, in 1993, the Lowell initiated the first pre-K programs in its schools. I knew this was where I wanted to be, as I have always believed that providing a positive, first-school experience for families can lead to future school success. I was excited to work toward offering these experiences for children and families. 

For a few years, I was involved in The Family Literacy Program, a collaboration between the Lowell Adult Education program and the Early Childhood Education program. Imagine you’re a parent who is new to this country. You don’t understand English or American culture. Now imagine sending your child to a “foreign” school! The Family Literacy Program aimed to support these families. The program offered classes in English as a Second Language to parents of pre-K children. As one of the pre-K teachers at this time, I got to use my skills not only to educate and support the children in my class, but also to work with parents on how to support their child’s learning at home. It was one of the most rewarding experiences of my teaching career.  (more…)

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