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“ ‘A child is only 4 once, so each year that passes without families having the ability to put those children in pre-K is a huge lost opportunity,’ said Ann Murtlow, president and CEO of the United Way of Central Indiana, a leading early learning advocate.

“Indiana has taken some small steps to help its neediest families access pre-K, with lawmakers voting this year to open up the state’s $22 million fledgling pre-K program statewide.

“But even with that change, Indiana has barely made a dent in improving early childhood access, advocates say: The income-based voucher program reaches just under 3,000 of what advocates estimate to be 27,000 4-year-olds from low-income families, with a rocky rollout that has left about 1,000 available spots unfilled.

“ ‘We’ve come a long way, but we should make no mistake that we still have a very long way to go,’ Murtlow said.”

“This year, the state program, known as On My Way Pre-K, has grown to serve nearly 3,000 children. But with $22 million in funding, it has room for many more. State officials have run into obstacles trying to expand the program’s reach in rural areas. They’re struggling to keep the application process simple and raise awareness of the opportunity among parents.”

“Most 4-year-olds are left out of Indiana’s preschool expansion,” by Stephanie Wang, Chalkbeat Indiana, June 12, 2019

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“This lack of affordable quality child care is a crisis for American families. In 35 states, families pay more for child care than for mortgages, and in no state does the average cost of infant or toddler care meet the federal definition of affordable. On a per-capita basis, we spend roughly six times less on education for infants and toddlers than we do on K-12. This shortchanges our children exactly when the potential benefit is greatest.

“We know from breakthroughs in neuroscience that children’s brains are growing explosively during the first three years of life — developing more than one million neural connections a second. A child’s early brain architecture shapes all future learning and behavior. This is also the period in our lives when we are most vulnerable to trauma.”

“If we care about equal opportunity in this country, we must provide more funding for infants and toddlers.”

“So where do we start?

Six months of paid parental leave is the first step… The second step is improving compensation for early-childhood educators so that they earn the same as schoolteachers…”

“How to End the Child-Care Crisis: A child’s first 1,000 days are a time to be seized,” by By Shael Polakow-Suransky, president of the Bank Street College of Education, The New York Times, May 24, 2019

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Photo source: University of Massachusetts Boston News

 

On May 18, 2019, The Institute for Early Education Leadership and Innovation (Leadership Institute) at UMass Boston hosted the sixth annual Leadership Forum on Early Education Research, Policy, and Practice.

The day-long forum featured presentations by early educators graduating from the Leadership Institute.

Here are some of the things they said about the lessons they have learned.


Early educators enrolled in “Leadership in Early Care and Education: Lessons Learned”

Anne Boursiquot:

“I have learned how important it is to be an advocate in our communities for children and families. It is important that early educators get involved in civic engagement and communicate to politicians about policy and improving and upgrading the standards of ECE. It takes many levels of participants to reach all the goals that we have in our own communities and on a larger scale.”

 

Joelle Houlder:

“There are many ways to get to the same place. It is important to accept people for who they are, where they are, and also grasp the mindset that in order to lead, you must also follow.”

 

Shenchieh Li:

“In order to find a position that will fit my personal values in an early education, it is important for me to organize my strengths to serve my work well. If we focus on being inclusive of positive opinions and strategies, we will be on a path of creating meaningful change.” (more…)

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“Perry significantly increased participants’ education, health, full-time employment and reduced incidence of anti-social behavior and crime.”

“Children of Perry participants excel in various life domains — despite growing up in neighborhoods that are similar or worse off than neighborhoods of the control group.”

“Fadeout is a myth — success isn’t a measure of IQ or academic achievement in elementary school, but long-term beneficial outcomes like schooling, employment, health and life achievement over time.”

 

Perry Preschool: Intergenerational Effects Webinar, research results from Professor James J. Heckman’s newest analysis of the Perry Preschool participants, May 13, 2019

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Amy O’Leary

“Two of the questions that almost always come up are, ‘How did you go from being a preschool teacher to a director to a lobbyist?’ and ‘How did you get involved in policy and advocacy?’ ”

“I often respond first with, ‘I believe in learning by doing. So far I have been able to use the same skills I needed to captivate 5-year-olds at circle time to engage with legislators at the state house.’ I want early educators to believe that they are leaders and can do anything.”

“As I share my story, I am also thinking about LEAP—the Leadership Empowerment Action Project—which helped to provide an incredible foundation in advocacy and policy to me and to early educators across Massachusetts and the country.”

 

“From Our President. On the Journey to Leadership and Empowerment,” by Amy O’Leary, director of the Early Education for All Campaign at Strategies for Children and president of the NAEYC Governing Board, Young Children, May 2019

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“Here we are growing a team at Zion Education Center with teachers with certificates to teach… and I couldn’t speak the language. And that’s why I went back and obtained my doctorate in instructional management and educational leadership, because I felt that in order for me to grow my team, grow my staff, and to better serve the families within our community, which are low-income, economically disadvantaged families, I needed to know what was happening at every level — local, county, state, federal — that would invest in our kids.

“And so having that team, a great team, in place, [with the] same mission, and same focus to shape the lives of those children and pull them out of poverty, pull their families out of poverty, through early childhood education with a diverse workforce — both caucasian and African-American females, some with Asian descent, and, yes, we have some male representation, too — we needed our workforce to look like, or my team to look like the children that we serve. And that’s how we best identify with them.”

 

April Torrence, founder and executive director of the Zion Education Center, at New America’s event, Exploring Diversity in the Early Care & Education Workforce, May 2, 2019

Torrence was part of a panel discussion that also included:

Maria Martinez, teacher, Greenbelt Children’s Center, Greenbelt, Md.

Maria Potts, co-manager and teacher, Kids World Child Care, Fairfax, Va., and,

Danny Vasquez, lead teacher, ACCA Child Development Center, Annandale, Va.

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Source: Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care

 

“The Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) is excited to announce the launch of Massachusetts StrongStart, an integrated system for supporting early educators and programs in providing high quality early education and care for young children.”

“Massachusetts StrongStart resources will include:

• Professional Development Centers that will provide training, technical assistance, career advising and coaching.

• Early Childhood Support Organizations that will provide targeted training and coaching to programs on higher quality standards.

• An Online Professional Development System that offers training, an educator registry, and a credentialing process.

“StrongStart will also support educator core knowledge and competencies, and program improvement through an interim Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) and the next generation of QRIS: StrongStart to Program Quality.”

“As EEC rolls out Massachusetts StrongStart, we ask for your assistance in spreading the word. Please share this email with your programs, partners and peers, and encourage them to subscribe to EEC’s mailing list for future updates.”

The Department of Early Education and Care, April 25, 2019

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