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2017 Gala Award Winners

The 16th Annual Early Educator Awards Gala was held last Friday. It was an evening of dinner, dancing, and awards that was emceed by our own Amy O’Leary, director of Strategies for Children’s Early Education for All Campaign.

“Early education and care is getting a lot of attention at the local, state, and national level. None of the progress we have made for young children and families in Massachusetts would have been possible without the early educators who work across the state,” O’Leary said. “This is a critical time for all of us who are committed to young children and high-quality early childhood education. To succeed, we must all continue to work together. It was an honor to help celebrate this work at the gala.” Continue Reading »

Representative Debbie Dingell (D-Michigan) in yellow. Photo: Strolling Thunder, Zero to Three

What makes members of Congress look good?

Babies!

Last week, the national nonprofit Zero to Three proved this point when it held a first-time-ever event called Strolling Thunder, a gathering of babies and parents from many states who came to Washington, D.C., to meet their Congressional representatives — and to put babies in the spotlight. Continue Reading »

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Too many preschool teachers are paid less than other teachers of young children.

“…on average, a public pre-K teacher with a bachelor’s degree can expect to earn around $12,000 less than a public kindergarten teacher with similar credentials, according to NIEER’s 2015 State of Preschool Yearbook,” a statistic NIEER (the National Institute for Early Education Research) has on its webpage.

And outside of the public school system, in private, community-based preschools, salaries are even lower, so these programs lose teachers to public schools. So the children in private, community settings lose access to skilled teachers just as they’re getting ready to go to elementary school.

Two new policy briefs tackle these issues, documenting “the extent of the compensation parity issue among public pre-K programs and identify programs providing parity…” Continue Reading »

This is one of a series of blogs featuring first-person accounts from early educators across Massachusetts.

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My name is Cecile Tousignant, and in 1975 my husband and I converted a defunct night club into Busy Bees Preschool Center in Fitchburg. In 2006, I retired as proprietor/teaching director and sold the center. Now I’m supporting a bill that has been filed in the State House that could change our profession.

I’m a 1991 M.S. alum of Wheelock College, and I have many post-graduate courses under my belt, the latest ones were about coaching early educators. Though I no longer work in direct service with children and families, I have found my way back into the early childhood classroom as an independent, early childhood consultant, coach, and trainer for public school, center-based and family childcare programs

Advocacy and developing public policy are my passion. Volunteering my time to improve the lives of young children and their families has been a critical way to meet the needs of families and the needs of early care providers as we’ve navigated the ever-changing landscape of the past 40 years.

My diverse work with the Early Childhood Advisory Council of Fitchburg (which evolved from the Chapter 188 Council), the MontachusettAEYC board, the Monty Tech Early Childhood Advisory Committee, Region 2 EPS Sub-Committees and now the MassAEYC Governance Sub-Committee has kept me afloat amid the currents of policy changes that affect families of young children and the early childhood workforce. Continue Reading »

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

 

On Tuesday at the State House, the Massachusetts Senate released “Kids First: A Blueprint for Investing in our Future.” It’s an inspiring $1 billion plan to “make the health, welfare, and education of our youngest residents the Commonwealth’s highest priority.”

“We want to know what public policies and public investments work to help, from prenatal all the way through post-secondary education,” Senate President Stan Rosenberg (D-Amherst) said Tuesday on Boston Public Radio. “We’re trying to shift the paradigm and stop spending money on fixing problems and start spending money on investing where you need to invest in order to prevent the problems.”

Rosenberg launched this effort last year.

MassLive.com reports:

“Broadly, the report focuses on improving access to early education for low-income children, improving the quality of early education, helping students who are learning English or have disabilities become ready for school, and offering related services such as food assistance and health care.” Continue Reading »

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

If we build it, they will come.

That was the attitude in Springfield, Mass., when the city received a federal preschool expansion grant to fund 196 new slots.

Only it turned out that finding children to fill those slots was much harder than expected.

An article in the Atlantic – “Where Are All the Preschoolers?” — tells the story of how tough it can be to find children because there isn’t enough solid data.

“Sally Fuller, the project director of Reading Success by 4th Grade at the Irene E. and George A. Davis Foundation… estimates half of Springfield’s preschool-aged children are not enrolled in programs, and she admits that number could be off by as much as 10 percentage points—which speaks to a major barrier in preschool-expansion efforts. Communities largely don’t have a handle on the exact size of the population they’re trying to serve,” the article says.

Also featured is our own Amy O’Leary, director of our Early Education for All Campaign.  Continue Reading »

This is one of a series of blogs featuring first-person accounts from early educators across Massachusetts.

*     *     *


My name is Wheeler DeAngelis. I am a Teaching Fellow at Lemberg Children’s Center at Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass. My first experience in the field was when I was a high school senior and volunteered for a child development class in a local elementary school, but I’ve been teaching professionally for two years.

I graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2015. I was a member of the Early Childhood Development and Education cohort – which I cannot speak highly enough about. UConn’s program focuses not only on the science of teaching (brain development, milestones, etc.) but also on the art of teaching (classroom management, parent interactions, and co-teaching). What really drew me to the program was the fact that it offers fieldwork and student teaching opportunities with infants and toddlers as well as preschoolers.

I think everyone who teaches young children has, at some point, been at a party where someone asked the same perplexing, astigmatic, exasperating question, “What can you teach babies?” The obvious answer is “EVERYTHING!” but as that rarely seems to satisfy people’s curiosity, I’ve come to rely on an analogy. Continue Reading »

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