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Archive for the ‘Professional development & preparation’ Category

Interns are an important part of our community here at Strategies for Children. They bring fresh eyes and new ideas, and they enable us to extend our reach in the work we do with communities and legislators.

Currently, we have four interns whom we’re happy to introduce: Vivian Terkel-Gat, Annapurna Ayyappan, Marisa Fear, and Casey Peeks. Here’s a little more about each of them.

 

Vivian Terkel-Gat

Vivian Terkel-Gat

I am currently a student in the Graduate Program of Gender, Policy, and Leadership at the University of Massachusetts Boston. I received a master’s degree in Educational Counseling for Early Education from Tel-Aviv University. In Israel, I worked for the Ministry of Education for 15 years as an educational counselor.

As a graduate intern with Strategies for Children, I research local governance models in different states. This research helps inform Strategies’ local Community Readiness initiative as well as its state-level advocacy and policy agenda for high-quality early education.

During my Strategies internship, I have learned about Massachusetts’ complex early education system. I have also learned about how advocacy works on the local and state level: how organizations form coalitions and work together to achieve mutual goals. Amy and Titus welcomed my participation in community meetings and at various events that Strategies has hosted. They also answered my many questions about early education and helped me choose a topic for a policy brief that I wrote. My internship has been an insightful experience. (more…)

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In “other industries across many states, apprenticeships are a well-established and effective way to train workers with ongoing mentorship, on-the-job experiences, and corresponding coursework. The success of this model has encouraged places like Philadelphia to utilize Registered Apprenticeships to train early childhood educators.

“Not only are Registered Apprenticeships about providing indispensable on-the-ground experience for prospective early educators, but they are paid. With many early educators earning near-poverty level wages, the earning while learning element of the Registered Apprenticeship model is crucial. Apprenticeships can also serve as a route to earning a college degree and a pathway for career advancement, further breaking barriers that current and future early educators potentially face.”

“Earning While Learning with Early Educator Apprenticeship Programs,” by Cara Sklar and Julie Brosnan, New America, February 21, 2019

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“As most any couple will tell you, you’re never actually fighting about the dishes. You’re fighting about what doing the dishes says about how you’re valued and respected. In Congress, likewise, and in our early childhood education (ECE) community, we’re often not fighting about the thing we appear to be fighting about. Instead we are grappling with questions about motives and compromises. We’re wrestling with questions about whose voices get to lead, get sidelined, and get dismissed. And we’re confronting questions of control, fear, privilege, power, and trust. Let’s call this the ‘work beneath the work.’

“As a new Congress struggles to find a way forward, and ECE attempts to detangle its ‘thorny knot,’ policymakers, advocates, and influencers are engaging with (or avoiding) that deeper work. But as early childhood advocates who must engage, it is imperative that we assume responsibility for the systems and sequences we design, especially those of us (and I count myself among them) who have, in some way and because of some unearned attributes, benefitted from one or many of these systems.”

“The Work Beneath the Work: What We’re Fighting About When We’re Fighting About Our Profession,” by Lauren Hogan, New America, February 19, 2019

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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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