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Archive for the ‘Professional development & preparation’ Category

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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There’s an exciting, new education bill in the State House: the Student Opportunity Act.

It calls for “an unprecedented $1.5 billion new investment in Massachusetts public education,” a fact sheet says.

The bill also notes that K-12 education can benefit from strong preschool programs.

“The proposal — jointly announced by House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo, Senate President Karen E. Spilka, and other legislative leaders — aims to bridge the divide in educational opportunities between poor and affluent systems by directing more money to districts that serve greater concentrations of students living in poverty or those with language barriers,” the Boston Globe reports.

 

(more…)

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“It is with great excitement and deep gratitude that we share NAEYC’s newest position statement, Advancing Equity in Early Childhood Education,” Amy O’Leary and Rhian Evans Allvin write in a blog post from the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

O’Leary is NAEYC’s board president as well as director of Strategies for Children’s Early Education for All Campaign. Evans Allvin is NAEYC’s executive director.

 

Amy O’Leary and Rhian Evans Allvin

 

The new statement is a rallying call and a roadmap of recommendations that “breaks new ground for the field and for NAEYC.”

The statement is one of NAEYC’s five foundational position statements, and it is endorsed by more than 100 leading organizations.

This statement’s core – “All children have the right to equitable learning opportunities that enable them to achieve their full potential as engaged learners and valued members of society” – pours a foundation for achieving a two-part goal to: (more…)

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Congratulations to the University of Massachusetts Boston for receiving a $12.4 million StrongStart Training and Technical Assistance Grant from the state.

The funding from the Department of Early Education and Care will support a wholesale overhaul of the training programs for the 70,000 early educators who work in 9,000 early education and care programs across the state.

The work will be led by the Institute for Early Education Leadership and Innovation (the Leadership Institute), which is housed in UMass Boston’s College of Education and Human Development.

“We’re incredibly excited to partner with EEC to support the state’s early education and out-of-school time workforce. The new StrongStart system places Massachusetts at the cutting edge of innovation in the design and delivery of professional development for providers, educators, and leaders in the field,” Anne Douglass, the Leadership Institute’s founder and executive director, said in a UMass press release.

 

(more…)

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Early education classrooms are bright and fun, but they’re not always open to young children with disabilities.

Massachusetts works hard to meet these children’s needs through its Early Intervention program, but a new paper – “Early Childhood Special Education in Massachusetts,” written by Strategies for Children interns Annapurna Ayyappan and Marisa Fear — points out that there’s room for the state to make improvements.

In 2014, the federal government addressed the problem with a policy statement jointly released by the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that said in part:

“It is the Departments’ position that all young children with disabilities should have access to inclusive high-quality early childhood programs, where they are provided with individualized and appropriate support in meeting high expectations.”

Getting this work done in Massachusetts, Ayyappan and Fear write, is essential:

“Early childhood education has the potential to provide children with the positive experiences that will establish a strong foundation upon which they can grow… Early intervention for children with developmental delays or disabilities targets the brain at a time when its services can have the greatest positive effects.” (more…)

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Jessica Merrill, Titus DosRemedios, Kelly Savarese, Dawn DiStefano, Nicole Penney, Kim Davenport, Grace Cruz, Efrain Ponce Hamlet, Amy O’Leary, Clifford Kwong, Lisa Van Thiel. Photo courtesy of Kim Davenport.

Last week, there was a standing-room-only hearing at the Massachusetts State House where parents, teachers, and advocates called on elected officials to increase access to high-quality, affordable child care, expand preschool, increase educator salaries, and other priorities.

“Right now many parents struggle to access affordable childcare, and they often choose to stay home to avoid expensive daycare,” WWLP.com reports on the issues covered at the hearing, adding:

“Expanding full-day preschool would give parents the option of going back to work on a part-time or full-time basis.”

The multi-generational impact of having more preschool programs for children that would make it easier for parents to go work would be hugely beneficial for Massachusetts. This could be accomplished by a number of bills that were discussed at the hearing including: (more…)

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