Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Amy O’Leary and Commissioner Samantha Aigner-Treworgy

 

What a year it has been at Strategies for Children! Here are some of our highlights:

• Looking back to look forward

In December of 2018, we gathered at the State House to celebrate the tenth anniversary of An Act Relative to Early Education and Care, which became law in 2008. “It’s like getting the band back together,” Pat Haddad (D-Somerset), Speaker Pro Tempore of the House, said of the many colleagues who joined us. At the event, Amy O’Leary moderated, and we heard from a lineup of speakers including Haddad, House Speaker Robert DeLeo (D-Winthrop), other state officials, and local early education program directors. Many of the speakers remarked that though they have had different roles over the last ten years, their commitment to high-quality early education for all remains strong.

It was also a year of transition at the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC). In June we thanked Commissioner Tom Weber for his six successful years of leadership. We then welcomed new EEC Commissioner Samantha Aigner-Treworgy back to Massachusetts with a “meet-and-greet” co-hosted by the early education field. We look forward to working with Commissioner Sam on a shared vision for her department’s future. Continue Reading »

 

We join our early education colleagues in Massachusetts and across the country in remembering Betty Bardige, who passed away last month.

Betty was a fierce advocate for children and families. She was a developmental psychologist and an expert on early language development. She was a long-time resident of Cambridge, Mass., who served for nearly two decades on the board of the Cambridge Community Foundation. And she was a co-author of the book “Children at the Center,” which tells the story of Boston Public Schools’ preschool program.

As her website makes clear, Betty wanted every child to start school with a “wealth of words.”

In her book, “Talk to Me, Baby!: How You Can Support Young Children’s Language Development,” Betty reminds of us how much power word wealth can have, writing: Continue Reading »

“ ‘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

 

“We’re all affected by the barriers to affordable, quality child care,” Arthur Buckland, the interim director of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute, said earlier this month at a panel discussion on child care policy.

The event was a great overview of the current state of early education and care in Massachusetts, with insights on policy, advocacy, parents’ needs, and business benefits.

“The panel explored efforts to strengthen access to affordable care at the local and state level, how the lack of child care impacts the Commonwealth’s workforce, economy, and family security, and the importance of building a talent pipeline,” the institute says on its website.

The moderator of the panel was Lauren Birchfield Kennedy, co-founder of Neighborhood Villages, a nonprofit organization that works “to improve access to affordable, high-quality child care and early education.”

The panel speakers were: Continue Reading »

 


Last month, Governor Charlie Baker signed the Student Opportunity Act into law – enacting a $1.5 billion investment in K-12 schools across the state that provides a badly needed update to the state’s school funding formula.

In addition — as we explain in this month’s Early Education for All update — the new law requires school districts to close the achievement gap through proven interventions. Several options are listed in the law, including “expanding early education and pre-kindergarten programming” by working with community-based organizations. Continue Reading »

“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

 

Amy O’Leary just turned 50! And she’s celebrating her milestone birthday by raising money for early education and care!

Anyone who is interested in celebrating with Amy can join her by donating to the “$50 for 50 Years” fundraising campaign. The money will support the advocacy work of NAEYC, the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

As readers of this blog know, Amy is the director of Strategies for Children’s Education for All campaign, and she’s the president of NAEYC’s Governing Board.

Not surprisingly, Amy spent her actual birthday in Nashville, Tenn., at the opening session of the NAEYC’s annual conference.

“What better way to celebrate,” O’Leary says, “than with 9,000 early childhood educators at a national conference?!?”

That’s where she kicked off the fundraising campaign “to support NAEYC – this incredible organization that is now and forever in my heart. I want to give back to a place that has given me and so many others so much.”

“We can celebrate and make a difference. I know how every dollar counts when we are waging this battle to support and elevate the profession and demand high-quality early learning for every child.”

Please donate. And please help Amy spread the word about this campaign by sharing it through your personal and social media networks.

And as Amy says: “WAHOO! THANK YOU for your support!”

%d bloggers like this: