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Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Photo source: Mayor Emanuel’s Instagram page.

 

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has a new preschool plan “to make free full-day preschool available to all Chicago 4-year-olds within four years,” the Chicago Tribune reports.

Chicago joins New York and other cities in pressing forward.

“Early education is a necessity for every child, not a luxury for some children,” Emanuel said in a press release. “Universal full-day pre-kindergarten ensures that every child in Chicago, regardless of their family’s resources, gets the great start that all children deserve.”

Emanuel says the program will close the achievement gap and have a generational impact on the city, helping children grow into better educated citizens.

The first step: Continue Reading »

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

 

On Monday, the Massachusetts Legislature announced the six conference committee members who will negotiate differences between House and Senate proposals for the fiscal year 2019 state budget.

Budget Conference Committee:

House Ways and Means Chairman Jeffrey Sánchez
Representative Stephen Kulik
Representative Todd Smola

Senate Ways and Means Chairwoman Karen Spilka
Senator Joan Lovely
Senator Vinny deMacedo

Now is the time for advocacy! Please take a moment to ask the conference committee to invest in early educators.

Millions of dollars are at stake in this year’s budget, including $28.5 million for the early education and care workforce. Please take action to ensure the maximum possible investment in the commonwealth’s young children, families, and early educators. Continue Reading »

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Childern

 

“Massachusetts Early Education and Out-of-School Time Leaders Celebrate Passage of Critical Funding to Benefit Low-Income Children: Housing Bond Bill signed today by Governor Baker includes reauthorization of successful capital fund for early education facilities construction and renovation”

“The Commonwealth needs an improved and expanded supply of facilities to meet the demands of families across the state who are looking for convenient, high-quality centers for their children,” said Michael K. Durkin, President and CEO at United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley.

Chris Martes, CEO and President of Strategies for Children added, “What a great day for children, families and programs across the Commonwealth. Facilities are a critical – and often overlooked – element to quality early education and afterschool centers. We have seen such dramatic results and positive outcomes for children from the Early Education and Out-of-School Time Capital Fund know that there is a long list of programs that could use funding.”

Bill Eddy, Executive Director of MADCA, the MA Association for Early Education and Care which represents early education and school age providers who serve low income families across the state, said, “This is an exciting renewal of the Early Education and Out of School Time Facilities Fund with $45m over the next five years to continue to improve the facilities and playgrounds where our youngest children are educated and cared for every day. These facility improvement funds create state-of-the-art spaces designed for young children and allow providers to expand facilities creating additional access to early education for low income children and their families, which also expands our workforce by creating new teaching positions. We are grateful that the Legislature included this once again and we applaud Governor Baker for signing this comprehensive bill with this Early Education Facilities Fund included.”

“EEOST is unique in the country for providing a large-scale public source of funding for facilities,” noted Theresa Jordan, Director of Children’s Facilities Finance for the Children’s Investment Fund. “The reauthorization of an additional five years places Massachusetts further ahead as a national leader in the provision of high-quality early education and care.”

United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley news release, May 31, 2018

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

From Boston to Seattle, cities are leading the way on preschool. Now a new analysis looks at quality and enrollment rates to measure progress — and awards gold, silver, and bronze medals to the most successful cities.

The analysis — “The state of high-quality pre-k in big US cities” — was done by CityHealth, a philanthropic initiative supported by the de Beaumont Foundation and Kaiser Permanente. It was conducted as part of a larger study which rated cities in nine policy areas, including earned sick leave, affordable housing, and food safety.

“Thirty-three out of 40 cities received a medal for high-quality pre-k, including five gold, eight silver, and 20 bronze,” CityHealth explains.

The top-five, gold-medal winners are:

Boston

Charlotte

Nashville Continue Reading »

Shiroma Herath and her family with Representative Jim McGovern (D-Mass).

 

Shiroma Herath decided to go to this month’s Strolling Thunder event to share her experiences grappling with the high cost of child care.

As we blogged earlier this month, Strolling Thunder drew families from across the country who came to talk to Congress about the concerns of babies and families.

Herath attended, along with her husband and her baby, and spoke to Representative Jim McGovern (D-Massachusetts); Nikki Hurt and Andrew Zack from Senator Ed Markey’s office; and Julia Frederick a staff person from Senator Elizabeth Warren’s office.

 

 

“I came from Sri Lanka to the United States three years ago as a green card holder with my husband,” Herath says of her family’s story. Three months after they arrived, the couple had their baby at UMass Memorial Medical Center. Continue Reading »

Screenshot: Harvard Center for the Developing Child

 

“In this interactive feature, you will learn how the choices we make can help children and the community as a whole become more resilient in the face of serious challenges. Negative events can occur at any moment, and it’s your job to choose positive events to counteract these negatives. View Key Concepts: Resilience to learn more about the science of resilience.

“Choose carefully—you only have 20 ‘Resilience Bucks’ to spend.”

Harvard Center on the Developing Child

Screenshot from “Honoring Dr. T. Berry Brazelton (1918 – 2018): A Celebration”

In March, the world lost an early childhood champion who helped the public appreciate the power of investing well and often in the lives of very young children.

“Dr. T. Berry Brazelton, America’s most celebrated baby doctor since Benjamin Spock and the pediatrician who revolutionized our understanding of how children develop psychologically, died on Tuesday at his home in Barnstable, Mass., on Cape Cod. He was 99,” the New York Times reported, adding:

“Before Dr. Brazelton began practicing medicine in the early 1950s, the conventional wisdom about babies and child rearing was unsparingly authoritarian.”

Brazelton “rejected such beliefs and practices as being senseless, if not barbaric.

“ ‘He put the baby at the center of the universe,’ Dr. Barry Lester, a pediatrician and director of the Center for the Study of Children at Risk at Brown University, said…”

Born in Waco, Texas, and a graduate of Princeton University and Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, Brazelton has said that he was not close to his father.

“ ‘I’m sure he loved me,’ Dr. Brazelton later reflected, ‘but I never really knew him.’ His father’s remoteness, he added, ‘fueled my ambitions’ to better understand early father-child bonding,” the Boston Globe reported. Continue Reading »

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