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Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

 

How can preschools be more accessible to immigrant children?

Four communities — Dearborn, Mich., Atlanta, Ga., King County, Wash., and Houston, Texas — have come up with good answers, according to a new Urban Institute report, “Expanding Preschool Access for Children of Immigrants.”

“Historical barriers to preschool access, including language accessibility, cultural responsiveness, and affordability, have led many immigrant families to miss out on this important experience,” a related article explains.

“But new evidence from four communities shows that policymakers and teachers remain central in expanding preschool access for children of immigrants—and they can be successful in doing so.”

The report points to common themes that emerged across the four locations, including the need to:

• address language barriers

• inform parents about their preschool options

• manage logistics such as scheduling and transportation, and

• expand access by forming partnerships with other organizations and providers such as religious organizations and health care providers

The Urban Institute article makes 10 recommendations, among them: Continue Reading »

“Helena Ferreira, the primary years teacher of English language learners at Provincetown Schools, spent $11,600 last year to enroll her two children in the town-sponsored Wee Care program.

“ ‘I’m a single mom of two kids,’ she said on Friday. ‘It was a difficult decision for me, but it put me at ease to have a place with high-quality child care, safety and education. That program allowed me to continue working.’

“Ferreira started using the program when her now three-year-old daughter, Beatrix, was four months old. Her now one-year-old son, Simon, started at Wee Care when he was six months old. Toddler tuition is $75 per day, with discounts for town residents and employees of the school. Preschool and prekindergarten tuition starts at $45 per day ($35 for a half day) and summer programs are $75 per day.

“These amounts add up, which is why Ferreira hopes town voters will approve three articles at the April 2 Annual Town Meeting that would make child care and preschool free for all infants to five-year-olds. The free tuition would be available only to Provincetown residents or town employees, said Provincetown Schools Superintendent Beth Singer.”

“Universal preschool up for vote at Provincetown Town Meeting,” Wicked Local Wellfleet, March 29, 2018

This is the debut of “Leading the Way,” a series featuring the next generation of leaders in the field of early education and care.

 

Michele Dambrosio

Justin Pasquariello

For Justin Pasquariello and Michele Dambrosio, leading the way in early education means making substantial investments in people.

Last year, Pasquariello became the executive director of the East Boston Social Centers (EBSC), a 100-year-old nonprofit, multiservice agency that runs a number of programs, including an early learning program, that’s run by Dambrosio the early learning administrator.

The two administrators run their early learning program with the supports found in a school system, providing transportation for children and a career ladder for staff. And they’re leading the way on public policy, talking about the next big policy steps for early education.

“We really need a paradigm shift in the United States, and we’ve done it in the past” Pasquariello says, noting that years ago the country expanded the definition of public education to include high school, and, eventually, kindergarten. It’s time now, he says, to do what other nations have done and recognize “the need for high-quality universal free (or at least affordable-to-all) early learning.” Continue Reading »

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

 

There’s great budget news for children and families.

Last week, Congress officially passed a $1.3 trillion spending bill that dramatically increases funding for early education and care.

In total the bill’s provisions add up to “an increase of more than $3 BILLION for child care and early learning,” according to an email from the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC).

The funding includes a $2.37 billion increase for the Child Care and Development Block Grant and a $610 million increase for Head Start, as well as “new funding for other key early learning and after-school programs.”

NWLC says it’s “the single largest increase in child care funding in history.”

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren said of this budget win, “It was a challenge to find affordable child care for my own kids – and it’s even harder for parents today. Which is why I fought tooth and nail to nearly double child care funding in this year’s federal budget.” Continue Reading »

Source: Jennifer Garner’s Instagram.

 

I was reminded of the magic of #Headstart and #EarlyHeadstart on today’s visit to #Educare in Washington D.C with @savethechildren. 75% of the families at this preschool/pre-K/daycare have household incomes at or below $9000 year! In Metropolitan D.C.! In these bright, cheerful, happily chaotic classrooms you’d never know– kids were too busy learning and growing, not to mention showing me the ropes. #quiethandsup #helpyourneighbor#brownnosebetty #investinkids#willtraveltoreadtokids

Actress Jennifer Garner, Instagram, March 13, 2018

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

 

This is the year that the federal education law ESSA – the Every Student Succeed Act — could have a big, positive impact on early education.

ESSA calls on states and school districts to boost children’s learning by expanding high-quality early education.

“On its face, this is very promising,” Harvard Graduate School of Education professors Nonie Lesaux and Stephanie M. Jones write in a recent article on WBUR’s Edify website.

But first schools have to resolve the tension between two goals: one, providing rigorous academics and two, promoting social-emotional skills.

“Often, in the field, these two goals are viewed as in opposition to each other, and frequently one is chosen over the other.” To move beyond “this false dichotomy” educators and policymakers can “refine — even redefine — what is meant by high-quality early education.” Continue Reading »

Image: Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center

 

As families with low incomes work hard to make ends meet — paying for food, housing, and child care — one popular, bipartisan policy that helps is the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The credit reduces families’ tax bill or gives families a refund so that they have more cash.

It’s an approach that has had a positive local impact, according to a brief from the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center (MassBudget), “The Reach of the Massachusetts State Earned Income Tax Credit, by City and Town.”

“More than 400,000 tax filers claim the Massachusetts state EITC each year. In Fiscal Year 2019, the state’s Administration currently estimates tax filers will receive a total of $214.1 million in credits,” MassBudget explains.

EITC has been especially important because workers’ wages have been stagnant for several decades. Continue Reading »

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