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Archive for the ‘Research’ Category

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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Screenshot of NPR website

 

High-quality early education packs a powerful financial punch.

“You can think of having a better kindergarten teacher as being worth something like $300,000 for a classroom of students,” Harvard economist Raj Chetty said earlier this month in an episode of NPR’s Hidden Brain podcast.

In other words, a classroom of kids with a high-quality kindergarten teacher will earn $300,000 more than a classroom without a highly skilled teacher. What makes a good kindergarten teacher? Chetty says this isn’t fully known, but strong teachers have key skills such as the ability to manage a classroom, to help children focus, and to inspire them. (more…)

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Screenshot of “Ideas and Innovations in Early Childhood Education” website

 

There’s a new early education organization in town called, “Ideas and Innovations In Early Childhood Education.”

Founded by early educator Theodore Kokoros, it’s a local think tank that’s funneling the voices of early educators and parents of young children into the public debate.

“While early childhood education and care is getting more attention from politicians and the media,” the organization’s website explains, “too often those shaping policy and discussions related to early childhood education and care are not the people who are more directly involved with the work. This think tank’s goal is to share the research and perspectives of people who work directly with young children.”

The think tank’s website features articles on a range of topics, including teaching practices, proposed legislation, research trends, literature reviews, brain science, and other early education-related news. (more…)

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A new study published in PLOS ONE by researchers from New York University “examined the long-term impacts of an early childhood program called the Chicago School Readiness Project (CSRP) and found evidence suggesting that the program positively affected children’s executive function and academic achievement during adolescence.”

“ ‘Although we did not find large impacts on all of the outcomes assessed, the positive results for executive function and academic achievement were certainly encouraging,’ said lead author and Research Assistant Professor, Tyler Watts. ‘We think these results suggest that high-quality programs can produce important effects on key long-term outcomes.’ ”

“ ‘Many recent early childhood interventions have found that effects fade in the years immediately following the end of the program,’ Watts explained. ‘Unfortunately, most of these studies have not continued to follow-up with participants past elementary school. Our results suggest that if we expect early programs to produce long-lasting results, then we should keep looking at outcomes at least into adolescence.’ ”

“NYU Study Uncovers Connections Between Early Childhood Programs and Teenage Outcomes,” New York University, July 16, 2018

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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: 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: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

 

A guest blog by Chris Martes, president and CEO of Strategies for Children.

We’re keeping an eye on early education trends, and we think there are six important things to watch for in 2018.

• FY19 state budget advocacy

Will the Governor and the Legislature continue their support for the early childhood education workforce? We hope so. Massachusetts has made important progress.

• Dear Massachusetts Legislature: Please expand preschool.

Last year, the Senate Ways and Means committee included $15 million for expansion, but this allocation did not make it into the final budget.

We are continuing to advocate for a bill that would invest in expansion in a small but powerful way. “An Act ensuring high quality early education,” H.2874 filed by Representative Alice Peisch (D-Wellesley) and S.240 filed by Senator Sal DiDomenico (D-Everett) would award preschool expansion grants to high-needs communities that are ready to go with comprehensive implementation plans. (more…)

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