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Archive for the ‘Strategies for Children’ Category

 

On Tuesday, September 10, 2019, Geoffrey Canada, president of the Harlem Children’s Zone, was the Stone Social Impact Forum speaker at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate.

In the audience were Amy O’Leary, the director of Strategies for Children’s Early Education for All Campaign, and Titus DosRemedios, Strategies’ director of research and policy.

Amy asked Canada about investing in early education. Here’s an edited version of their exchange.

Amy: “What is it going to take for us to change our priorities and invest more earlier to get the bigger outcome later?”

Canada: “The science on this is really clear, [but] we’ve got science that is not driving policy, and I think this is going to be another one of these movements. It’s one of the reasons that we are trying to advocate for comprehensive, cradle to career [approaches], which does not mean pre-K to career. It means cradle to career.

“The science on this stuff is really clear, what happens to those young brains when kids are six months, one year. And if you’re in communities where people don’t know how to stimulate those brains appropriately, that’s going to put that kid at a disadvantage. So the question is: What is it going to take? It’s going to take us not giving up. (more…)

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“ ‘It was clear that the PEG program did what it was designed to do — support 48 of the highest quality preschool classrooms in the state,’ said Amy O’Leary, director of the Early Education for All Campaign for Strategies for Children.

“The grant supported educator compensation and professional development, comprehensive services and family engagement, and full-day/full-year programming for children from very low-income families, O’Leary said.

“ ‘We are all familiar with national research on the benefits of high-quality early education and only a handful of local evaluations have been conducted in this state,’ O’Leary said. ‘The PEG evaluation is the most comprehensive and most promising. It sheds light on how to continue to build high-quality preschool programming here in Massachusetts.’ ”

 

“Study finds success in Springfield preschool program,” by Carolyn Robbins, MassLive.com, August 15, 2019

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Photo: Kate Samp For Strategies for Children

 

Here’s some good news.

Holyoke, Lawrence, and Northampton have received state funded Commonwealth Preschool Partnership Initiative (CPPI) grants that they can use to expand their preschool programs.

These towns join the first cohort of grantees: Boston, Lowell, New Bedford, North Adams, Somerville, and Springfield.

Here’s some bad news.

This fiscal year, Massachusetts has only allocated $5 million for CPPI grants. And that’s not enough to make up for the fact that federally funded Preschool Expansion Grants (PEG grants) have expired.

“Sadly, the budget did not include our primary ask of $25 million for preschool expansion,” Titus DosRemedios, Strategies for Children’s director of research and policy, writes in an Alliance for Early Success blog post. “This amount would have replaced expiring federal Preschool Expansion Grant (PEG) funds ($15 million), sustained current state-funded preschool expansion grantees ($5 million), and expanded preschool in new communities ($5 million).” (more…)

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Samantha Aigner-Treworgy

 

On Tuesday, early educators from across the state attended a meet-and-greet with the new commissioner of the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC), Samantha Aigner-Treworgy – although, as she explained to one attendee, she goes by Sam.

 

Joel Cox, Partners for Community, and Aigner-Treworgy

 

“Thank you all for being here and for the very, very warm welcome home,” Aigner-Treworgy, a Massachusetts native, said at the event, which was held at the downtown Boston law firm Goulston & Storrs. (more…)

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode

The blog is going on vacation. Enjoy the final days of summer.

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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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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

 

“In 2017, Raya Kirby of North Adams discussed the difficulty of affording care for her newborn while working as a master’s level clinical social worker. Raya had to return to work 12 weeks after giving birth in order to support her family, but this was difficult given that the cost of childcare was ‘astronomical’ and there was a long waitlist for child care vouchers.”

Jill Ashton shared this story a few weeks ago at the State House hearing on early education and care.  Ashton is the executive director of the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women, an independent state agency that gathers information on women and makes policy recommendations.

Two other stories that Ashton shared at the hearing are:

“In 2018, Ana Saravia of Barnstable spoke to the Commission about her struggle in trying to afford childcare as a single mother of four children, one of whom is autistic. She was forced to relocate due to financial constraints, which were compounded by the high costs of childcare.”

And: (more…)

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