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There’s more good news for the emerging early childhood book, I’ll Build You a Bookcase, by Jean Ciborowski Fahey – and for multilingual families.

Last summer, Fahey’s book won the Early Childhood Book Challenge Award, which is sponsored by OpenIDEO and the William Penn Foundation.

Now the book is being published by Lee & Low Books, and the publishing company has chosen an illustrator for the project, Simone Shin.

“The illustrations will play a key role in introducing this book to young children and families, who we hope will pick up and read the book again and again,” Elliot Weinbaum, the Penn Foundation’s program director, says in the release. “Talking and reading with children is how we lay the groundwork for strong readers in the future, even when it seems like they are too young to understand. This book seeks to engage children with its emotionally resonant writing and storyline while giving ideas to adults about how to support early language development.”

That language impact will go far beyond English.

As the press release explains, “25,000 copies of I’ll Build You a Bookcase will be published in five languages for distribution to Philadelphia families: English, Spanish, Mandarin, Vietnamese, and Arabic. Partners including Reach Out and Read and the city’s campaign for grade-level reading, Read by 4th, will distribute the books to families with young children to help build children’s home libraries.”

The book’s translations are crucial for families and for cities — like New Bedford here in Massachusetts — where parents and community leaders want children’s reading to transcend language boundaries.

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“The new promise of additional funding from the state, as well as an encouragement from the state’s education commissioner, has some school officials and early childhood education advocates hoping free preschool could be the next big push in public education in Massachusetts.

“But funding constraints, even with the passage of the Student Opportunity Act and its $1.5 billion for public schools, as well as logistical challenges could hinder local efforts to invest in prekindergarten programming, at least in the short term.”

“ ‘I don’t see why we can’t do it,’ said Spencer-East Brookfield Superintendent Paul Haughey, one of the school officials in the region who has plans to bring free full-day preschool to his district. ‘But it’s going to have a price tag.’ ”

“Other districts in the region, including Worcester, however, appear less committed, citing a shortage of space for classrooms and limited funding.

“ ‘We’ve discussed it, but at the present point, we have other needs,’ said Worcester Superintendent Maureen Binienda, who added her administration is ‘kind of keeping it on the shelf.’ ”

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“ ‘It would be quicker for a community’ to take on the challenge of creating or expanding full-day preschool, [Amy O’Leary, director of Strategies for Children’s Early Education for All campaign] said, using annual Chapter 70 funding provided by the state through the Act, instead of relying on federal and state grants.

“At the very least, O’Leary said, the Student Opportunity Act implementation process will give school officials a reason to ‘sit down together and get a better understanding of the needs of students across the full age spectrum … this is an opportunity to take stock of what we’re doing.’ ”

“State funding hike opens door for more public early ed, but challenges remain,” by Scott O’Connell, The Worcester Telegram & Gazette, February 8, 2020

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Last night, WBUR and Neighborhood Villages hosted “Childcare And The Future Of The American Dream,” a panel discussion featuring:

Nathaniel Hendren, Professor of Economics at Harvard University and Founding Co-Director of Opportunity Insights

Linda Smith, Director of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Early Childhood Development Initiative, and

Michelle Sanchez, Principal of the Epiphany Early Learning Center (more…)

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“ ‘Parents are usually seen as adults in the service of children, but we forget to acknowledge that they are also individuals with their own hopes and dreams,’ says Valentina Helo-Villegas, who directs the parent coaching program at The Primary School.

“At The Primary School, every family is assigned a coach who checks in with them regularly.”

“These coaches play a critical role as the main liaison between the teachers, parents and the school. For teachers, they provide an additional lens into the lives of students, and help them understand how home dynamics may impact a child’s engagement in the classroom.”

“Want to Support Early Childhood Education? Start With the Parents,” by Tony Wan, EdSurge, December 5, 2019

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“In 1962, 58 African-American 3- and 4-year-olds, all from poor families and likely candidates for failure in school, enrolled in Perry Preschool in Ypsilanti, Mich. This was a novel venture, and parents clamored to sign their children up.”

“By now, many of the children whose parents signed up decades ago have had children of their own. And scholars have begun asking whether advantages conferred on one generation are passed on to the next.

“The answer is a resounding yes. Public investments can break the cycle of poverty.

“The Perry preschoolers’ offspring are more likely to have graduated from high school, gone to college and found jobs, and less likely to have a criminal record than their peers whose parents lacked the same opportunity. As for Head Start, more of the second generation graduate from high school and enroll in college, and fewer become pregnant as teenagers or go to prison.”

“How to Break the Poverty Cycle,” by David L. Kirp, The New York Times, November 27, 2019

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In 2013, the Massachusetts Legislature approved a bond bill that included the new Early Education and Out of School Time (EEOST) Capital Fund. The fund provides grants to programs that want to repair or renovate their spaces — everything from fixing roofs to adding more classroom space.

 

“Along with many others, I helped to advocate for the reauthorization of the bond bill in 2018 which included the EEOST Capital Fund. It has been absolutely AMAZING to see the transformation of the programs that have received the funding. The difference is not just in the physical space — it can also be seen and felt in the classroom practices and from positive feedback from educators, administrators, and families. I am so encouraged by the number of programs that are applying for the funds and hope that we will secure annual bond allocations of the full $9 million that was authorized for the EEOST Capital Fund.”

“Working Together To Invest In High-Quality Early Education And Care,” by Amy O’Leary, Insites, a blog published by the Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation, November 12, 2019

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The East Boston Social Centers recently interviewed Representative Adrian Madaro (D-Boston). Here’s an excerpt.

“As an undergraduate, you majored in child development. What would ideal system of early childhood supports look like and how can organizations like the Social Centers help get there?”

“We know that everything starts young. Children’s brains are developing, they’re formulating thoughts and learning from day one so it’s important that we invest as early as possible in the development of children and that’s exactly what the Social Centers does. The earlier you invest in a young person, the positive outcomes that can come from that increase dramatically. The sooner we can intervene and the sooner we can start to get at those children, the better for the long term.”

And here’s a relevant personal note from Madaro’s bio:

“Adrian and his wife Ariel met as undergraduate students at Tufts University in a child development class taught by the same professor who would officiate their wedding seven years later.”

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