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Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

 

A new report –“Quality for Whom?”– from the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) points to two converging trends:

1) the number of immigrant children in the United States is growing in many states as is the number of children whose parents do not speak English, and

2) States have been working hard to increase the quality of early programs using Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS)

That’s why, the report notes, QRIS efforts should embrace the needs of culturally and linguistically diverse families (CLDs) and of diverse early childhood staff.

“It is critical for stakeholders to address equity issues in early childhood for several reasons,” one of the report’s authors, Julie Sugarman, told us. “First, because children from an immigrant background make up a quarter of all children ages 0 to 5 and immigrants make up 18 percent of the early childhood workforce — a significant share of the field.  Continue Reading »

“It began when my husband Phil and I started looking for a preschool for our children. We visited programs, talked to preschool teachers, and tried to imagine our kids sitting at tiny tables, making friends, and climbing on outdoor play structures.

“We started to see how complex – and at times heartbreaking – the quest for finding a quality preschool can be. I asked our preschool director if she ever had to turn children away because their parents couldn’t afford to pay for it. Sure, she told me, every year for the last 28 years. I asked if there were children this year who couldn’t afford it. She said there were five.

“Of course I couldn’t sleep at night knowing this, so I wrote a check for those five children to go to preschool. Phil already knew the answer, but he still asked if I intended to keep doing this. Probably, I said.

“Phil suggested that we go big, and we created Taly Foundation.”

“Invest in young children now: Pre-K programs help parents and build workforce of future,” by Jill Dixon, CommonWealth Magazine, August 22, 2017

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Strategies for Children has updated its statewide kindergarten maps and charts. The latest data show 95 percent of kindergarten students enrolled in full-day programs, up from only 29 percent in 2000, and continuing the long-term trend towards full-day.

This school year, 56 districts charge tuition for full-day kindergarten, down from 77 in 2009-2010 school year.

However not all kindergarten trends are positive. A new survey by Strategies for Children shows that program quality may be declining for districts that previously received Kindergarten Quality grants from the state.

Kindergarten grants were great for Massachusetts. School districts used the funds to plan growth and expand high-quality programs, which helped the state achieve near-universal full-day kindergarten. But in fiscal year 2017, kindergarten grants were cut from the state budgetContinue Reading »

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

The Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) wants your feedback.

EEC is revising the Massachusetts Quality Rating and Improvement System (MA QRIS). And the department wants to know what you think of its draft document.

Massachusetts’ QRIS system looks at quality in five areas:

  1. Curriculum and Learning
  2. Safe, Healthy Indoor and Outdoor Environments
  3. Workforce Development and Professional Qualifications
  4. Family and Community Engagement
  5. Leadership, Administration and Management

QRIS work is also going on nationally, as Debi Mathias, director of the QRIS National Learning Network with the BUILD Initiative, noted in a panel discussion last year. And these efforts are having a positive impact on children. Continue Reading »

Summer Vacation

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

 

Enjoy the final days of summer. The blog is going on vacation. We’ll be back in September.

“Early education teachers are the foundation of our regional education continuum, and their willingness to commit to furthering their own education will assure our youngest children receive high quality, highly engaged early education experiences.”

Jake Eberwein, Dean of Graduate and Continuing Education, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, “BCC, MCLA work together on early education degree offerings,” August 6, 2017

This is a guest blog by Strategies for Children intern Kathryn Zimmerman. Kathryn is entering her senior year at Boston College, and she expects to graduate in May, 2018, with a major in Applied Psychology and Human Development and a minor in Sociology.

I have greatly enjoyed my eight months at Strategies for Children (SFC). After being connected to Strategies through my instructor and research boss Kyle DeMeo Cook, I was nervous and excited when I started as an intern last January. I had never worked for a non-profit or for such a small organization. However, I quickly realized that I loved the culture and environment at Strategies. The staff is in this field because they care about and enjoy doing this work. Since there are only a few employees, everyone was very welcoming and took the time to get to know me. I felt like I was an integral part of the team; doing important work for children, their families, and the state.

During my time at Strategies, I learned important lessons. To accomplish anything in this field, you have to be creative and willing to share ideas, even if they get turned down. This field is still new, so there’s no formulaic way of solving problems. Thus, the people who are truly good at this work understand the field and find creative ways to introduce new programs or advocate at the state level. I like to think that while I was here, I started to develop my own voice and share my own thoughts and ideas. Continue Reading »

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