Archive for the ‘Professional development & preparation’ Category

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children


Children who are Dual Language Learners (DLLs) are a global group. They come from places like China, Pakistan, Brazil, Bhutan, Nepal, and Mexico. They bring dozens of languages into classrooms — and they create an opportunity for early educators to grow to meet these children’s needs.

Despite this “superdiversity,” “little research to date has focused on effective approaches for multilingual and multicultural early childhood programs and classrooms,” a report — “Growing Superdiversity among Young U.S. Dual Language Learners and Its Implications” — from the Migration Policy Institute explains.

And while there are programs to support Spanish-speaking DLLs, the report adds, “similar provisions for speakers of other, less commonly spoken minority languages are rare, making such services even less accessible for a substantial portion of DLLs and their families.”

“At a time when DLL children are speaking a far more diverse range of languages, many communities across the United States are experiencing classroom superdiversity with little to no guidance on effective practices for promoting their cognitive and socioemotional development.” (more…)

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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

In an increasingly bilingual world, Quinsigamond Community College (QCC) has an innovative program for training multilingual early educators.

For five years, QCC’s Dual Language Program has offered courses that are taught in English and Spanish to family childcare providers. Classes are offered during the day and at night to give students scheduling flexibility.

Connecting family child care providers to higher education is crucial work because these early educators are typically working on their own in their homes — where they may not have easy access to colleagues or to the onsite college classes that some center-based providers offer.

The goal of the dual language program “is to impart early childhood content first in the student’s native language with a gradual increase of English proficiency over the four course sequence,” QCC’s website explains.

According to Charlene Mara, QCC’s Early Childhood Education program manager, “It’s important to remember who the childcare providers are servicing. They are servicing many English-speaking children, so it’s very important to be proficient in English, as well as their native language.” (more…)

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Springfield is having a $12 million, early education dream come true, MassLive.com reports.

The city is opening a new Educare early childhood center in its Old Hill neighborhood.

Educare is a high-quality, research-based early education model that works with young children and their families for multiple years. “The Educare program includes longer days for the children and is year-round,” MassLive says.

“The new center will serve 141 children who will be selected from the Head Start program based on factors including income and need. The early childhood program is for children ages just past birth to 5 years old.”

This work isn’t new for Springfield. From parents to early educators to schools superintendent Dan Warwick, the city has made a powerful commitment to educating its youngest children. (more…)

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children


What if child care were perfect?

It would be fun for kids, high-quality, easy for parents to afford, and readily available.

Child care providers would be highly-skilled and well paid.

And the country would feel the difference as more and more young children thrived.

Perfect is, of course, hard to come by, but Child Care Aware of America is pushing for vast improvements with a new policy agenda, “Igniting Possibilities, Promoting Innovation” — a blueprint that can be used by federal, state, and local leaders. (more…)

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This week we are focusing on the early education workforce, and we wanted to share a new resource from the think tank New America.

In December, New America released “Transforming the Early Education Workforce: A Multimedia Guidebook.”

Using video, text, a questionnaire, and other tools, the guidebook builds on the landmark 2015 workforce report released by the National Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council.

“Each state, community, and program is starting at different place,” New America explains. “Without guidance, taking on this work can feel overwhelming. (more…)

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children


“Why Are Our Most Important Teachers Paid the Least?” journalist Jeneen Interlandi asks in the title of a recent New York Times Magazine article.

The article tells the story of Kejo Kelly, an early educator in Springfield, Mass., who is devoted to her work despite earning a low salary, weathering personal tragedies, and covering for absent colleagues.

“The community Kelly taught in was low-income by all the standard metrics,” the article says. “Many of her students came from single-parent households — some from teenage mothers, at least one from foster care — and nearly all of them qualified for state-funded child care vouchers.”

Teachers at Kelly’s preschool program earn some $10 per hour, and staff turnover is high. The preschool can afford to “cover basics like food and art supplies but not enough to pay for on-site behavioral specialists or occupational therapists.” That’s why:

“Kelly kept her own fractured vigil — taking note of which students couldn’t control their emotions, or sit still for the life of them, or engage with others in a meaningful way — and giving those students whatever extra attention could be spared. She sometimes imagined the classroom as a bubble, inside which her students were temporarily spared from the hazards of everyday life. Her job, as she saw it, was to hold that bubble open for the ones who couldn’t always hold it open themselves.” (more…)

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children


Do you have exciting ideas about early education that need funding?

If so, consider sending them to the inaugural Zaentz Early Education Innovation Challenge.

Sponsored by the Harvard Graduate School of Education, the Zaentz challenge is “calling for individuals or teams to submit new ideas, fresh thinking, and strategic approaches that drive lasting change in early education.”

Projects that are accepted will receive up to $15,000 in implementation funding.

Why now? Because “there is tremendous interest and excitement along with expansion in access in many cities and towns across the nation.”

“We are seeking ideas and approaches that promote positive outcomes at multiple levels of the early education system, including the home, classroom, program and networks, and/or policy.” (more…)

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