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“Right now, we are all feeling concern, anxiety, and confusion about the spread of the coronavirus. It’s entirely understandable. This is an unprecedented situation, both in the nature of the public health challenge and in the steps we are taking to protect our residents.

“That’s why I wanted to address the people of Boston, and anyone else who needs some reassurance right now. We must remember: we are not powerless—and you are not alone.”

“We are doing everything we can right now to stop and slow the spread of this virus to prevent our health care systems from being overwhelmed. But we can’t do it alone. We need everyone’s help in this effort.

“Every single one of us has a crucial responsibility to protect the people we share our city with, especially the most vulnerable. The actions all of us take now will save lives. So remember:

• Keep washing with soap and sanitizing your hands throughout the day.

• Keep wiping down surfaces with disinfectant.

• Keep covering your coughs and sneezes.

• And above all, avoid crowds, maintain a distance of at least six feet from other people, and stay home as much as possible.

“We need everyone to limit their contact with each other right now. This is the social distancing that we are learning to practice together as a city. It’s a proven method to prevent the rapid spread of the coronavirus and protect those most at risk from it.”

“These are not ordinary times in our city. But there is nothing ordinary about Boston. Bostonians are resilient, forged in hard times, and committed to a higher purpose. There’s nothing we can’t do when we stand together. We possess the strength and spirit to get through any challenge we face. We are Boston Strong. And with vigilance and patience, with empathy and love, we will get through this, together.”

 

— Boston Mayor Marty Walsh’s letter to his constituents, March 18, 2020

 

Friends and colleagues,

We hope you are all staying healthy at this time of crisis.

Yesterday, Governor Charlie Baker announced that child care programs in Massachusetts will close on Monday, March 23, 2020.

However, Exempt Emergency Child Care Programs will be available regionally to provide care for emergency workers and others. Check the Department of Early Education and Care’s website for guidance documents.

The governor also said that, “Child care providers would continue to receive child care subsidy payments from the state in order to ensure that the programs will be able to reopen once the crisis is over.”

Strategies for Children has been working with the early education and care community to collect and share programs’ urgent needs and to consider advocacy strategies for supporting early education and care providers right now — with an eye on the potential long-term effects of the coronavirus.

If you are an early educator or program director please complete this online form to let us know your short- and long-term needs. If you would like more information, reply to this email or contact Amy O’Leary at aoleary@strategiesforchildren.org.

Here are additional links and resources: Continue Reading »

Strategies for Children is working with the early education community to share urgent needs and advocacy strategies to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus. If you are a parent or early educator and would like more information at this time, please contact Amy O’Leary at aoleary@strategiesforchildren.org.

 


 

 

The Washington, D.C.-based think tank New America is pointing to a tough knot that’s challenging the field of early education – and New America is proposing ways to untangle this knot.

This “long-standing thorny knot,” New America says, is composed of three of the field’s “most challenging issues: preparation and education, compensation and status, and diversity and inclusivity.”

These issues are addressed in “Moving Beyond False Choices for Early Childhood Educators—A Compendium,” which is “the culmination of an 18-month blog series that engaged diverse viewpoints.” These viewpoints agree in some areas and dissent in others.

Last week, New America hosted a related event (recorded in the YouTube video above) to discuss these issues.

Among those trying to untie early education’s knot is Albert Wat, a senior policy director at the Alliance for Early Success.

How, Wat asks in the opening essay of the compendium, can the field ask early educators to earn higher education degrees and simultaneously preserve diversity? And, “How do we acknowledge the competencies and diversity of the field’s incumbent workforce and at the same time, build an even stronger profession for the future?” Continue Reading »

In addition to hand washing, an important defense against the coronavirus is information. Here’s a list of links to information from nonprofit and government sources.

 


 

Earlier this week, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker declared a state of emergency in response to the virus.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is working closely with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to provide updated information about the novel coronavirus outbreak.

 


 

Zero to Three has tips for how to talk to children about the virus.

 


 

Child Care Aware of America is committed to providing news and the latest information to help prepare families, child care providers and policymakers.

 


 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has posted a wide range of virus information.

 

The CDC also has a list of frequently asked questions about the virus and children.

 

Here’s the CDC’s guidance for workplaces, schools, and homes.

 


 

Take good care of yourself and each other.

 

To chart a course for the future, the Department of Early Education and Care has a new strategic plan. Please check it out, so you can keep up with the department and its work.

“We cannot separate children and family outcomes,” EEC Commissioner Samantha Aigner-Treworgy said on Tuesday at the EEC Board meeting where the plan was presented.

“We hold children and families in a single breath,” the commissioner added, explaining that child outcomes along with educational outcomes, social opportunities, and economic outcomes are all braided parts of overall family success.

The commissioner noted that EEC’s work benefits the state’s workforce in two ways: by preparing children for future success as workers, and by investing in the existing workforce of early education and care providers.

“And we know that quality matters across all of that.”

The board voted unanimously to approve the plan. Continue Reading »

 

Last week, 350 people (many of them strategically wearing red) came to the Massachusetts State House for Advocacy Day for Early Education & Care and School Age Programs.

 

Caitlin Jones and Leishla Diaz of The Guild of St. Agnes in Worcester

 

The morning started with speeches from legislators and the commissioner of Early Education and Care – as well as remarks from a parent and from another parent who became an early educator.

 

 

Afterwards, attendees went to meet with the legislators. Here’s a recap of what the speakers said. Continue Reading »

 

 

“As a constituent, I am grateful for the services offered,” Nairobi Woodberry, a Framingham mother of three, said yesterday at Advocacy Day 2020 about the early education and care support she has received, including a booklet with information about Framingham’s public parks and school contact information as well as advice on how to look for quality early education and care programs. Woodberry is also part of the ParentChild Plus+ program, which provides home visiting and other services to families.

Woodberry, who was previously homeless, now works as a school bus driver.

 

 

 

Early educators attended Advocacy Day and spoke about the importance of being paid higher wages so that they can stay in the field — and support their own families.

 

Sign: “Thank you for supporting high-quality early education.”

 

Photos: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children
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