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Archive for the ‘Professional development & preparation’ Category

Strategies for Children is working with the early education community to share urgent needs and advocacy strategies to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus. If you are a parent or early educator and would like more information at this time, please contact Amy O’Leary at aoleary@strategiesforchildren.org.

 


 

 

The Washington, D.C.-based think tank New America is pointing to a tough knot that’s challenging the field of early education – and New America is proposing ways to untangle this knot.

This “long-standing thorny knot,” New America says, is composed of three of the field’s “most challenging issues: preparation and education, compensation and status, and diversity and inclusivity.”

These issues are addressed in “Moving Beyond False Choices for Early Childhood Educators—A Compendium,” which is “the culmination of an 18-month blog series that engaged diverse viewpoints.” These viewpoints agree in some areas and dissent in others.

Last week, New America hosted a related event (recorded in the YouTube video above) to discuss these issues.

Among those trying to untie early education’s knot is Albert Wat, a senior policy director at the Alliance for Early Success.

How, Wat asks in the opening essay of the compendium, can the field ask early educators to earn higher education degrees and simultaneously preserve diversity? And, “How do we acknowledge the competencies and diversity of the field’s incumbent workforce and at the same time, build an even stronger profession for the future?” (more…)

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Last week, 350 people (many of them strategically wearing red) came to the Massachusetts State House for Advocacy Day for Early Education & Care and School Age Programs.

 

Caitlin Jones and Leishla Diaz of The Guild of St. Agnes in Worcester

 

The morning started with speeches from legislators and the commissioner of Early Education and Care – as well as remarks from a parent and from another parent who became an early educator.

 

 

Afterwards, attendees went to meet with the legislators. Here’s a recap of what the speakers said. (more…)

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“If we care about equity, we have to build a system that nurtures healthy brain development starting at birth,” Shael Polakow-Suransky, the president of Bank Street College, said last month.

“When we provide babies and toddlers with regular access to a sensitively attuned caregiver, we literally feed the growing brain, helping to build the brain architecture that supports everything in life that follows—our learning, our behavior, and even our health.”

Polakow-Suransky was speaking at an event where Bank Street released a new report: “Investing in the Birth-to-Three Workforce: A New Vision to Strengthen the Foundation for All Learning.”

“We’re at a critical moment in this country where the question is not ‘why invest in early childhood?’ It’s ‘how do we invest in early childhood,’” Sarah Rittling, executive director of the First Five Years Fund, said at the event. (more…)

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Massachusetts has received great news.

The state’s federal Preschool Expansion Grant (PEG) program “had a powerful impact on children’s early academic skills. The program proved effective for all children on average,” Yahoo Finance reports.

The analysis of the PEG grant was conducted by Abt Associates.

Among Abt’s findings, according to a press release:

“PEG improved children’s readiness for kindergarten by providing:

• a sizable positive impact on children’s early literacy and math skills, and

• a smaller positive impact on vocabulary skills.”

“PEG had an even bigger impact on children from homes where English was not the primary language and for children with no prior formal child care experience,” Education Dive adds. (more…)

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“I am a product of early education and care; and my daughter is a product of it as well,” Nikki Burnett told us recently. Burnett’s daughter is currently a student at Howard University.

As for Burnett herself she has come full circle. Born and raised in Massachusetts, in Springfield’s Mason Square neighborhood, Burnett worked for over a decade as a senior administrator at the American Heart Association. Now she’s back in Mason Square working as the executive director of the new Educare Springfield center, which just opened this month and is already at full enrollment.

Educare is an evidence-based national network of 25 early education programs with the sweeping goal of figuring out “the most effective and the most promising ways to work with each individual child and each individual family, and we do that with excitement and passion for the work,” according to Charlotte Brantley, the president and CEO of the Clayton Early Learning, Educare Denver.

Burnett echoes this ambition, explaining, “We may only have 141 children enrolled, but we are beholden to the education of all children.” Educare’s approach is to innovate and share its work on preparing young children to succeed in school. Burnett wants to ensure that all the children whose lives she touches aren’t struggling to catch up in kindergarten – as well as in first, second, and third grade. (more…)

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Clifford Kwong and Amy O’Leary. Photo courtesy of Amy O’Leary

“My mother is the one who tried to scare me around from education,” Clifford Kwong says.

“Every time I showed interest in education, she asked me not to do it.” His mother, who had worked in education for decades, warned that his student loans would be high and his salary would be low.

Her advice: choose business or science.

But as a student at Boston College High School, to fulfill his school’s community service requirement, Kwong chose to work at a child care center in Quincy. “They told me I was a natural,” he says of his time there.

He didn’t think much of this feedback at the time. He was on his way to college at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and he was taking his mother’s advice.

“I tried science,” Kwong says. “At the end of the day it didn’t feel like it was enough. Whereas at the end of a day doing community service, I felt great after working with kids.” (more…)

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When early education and higher education team up, great things can happen.

One example is the Career Pathways Grant program, funding that the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) awards to all of Massachusetts’ community colleges to create more educational and professional development opportunities for early educators.

For instance, at Quinsigamond Community College, “10 students are taking part in a pre-college course focusing on student-based skills and introducing them to early childhood education topics and terminology. After they complete the course in the fall these students will transition over to college level early childhood education courses, where they will receive financial and other support services designed to help them succeed.”

At Mount Wachusett Community College, the grant is being used to “to provide free classes for Early Childhood Education professionals and training to help local childcare facilities.” (more…)

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