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

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TKMy name is Teddy Kokoros, and for the past 13 years I’ve had the pleasure of working as a preschool and pre-K teacher at the Transportation Children’s Center (TCC) in Boston. I first started working at TCC after completing my associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education at Bay State College’s now defunct Early Childhood Education program. Under the tutelage of my professor Linda Small, I got both the academic knowledge and the field experience via internships that I needed to be a competent early educator.

Initially, after completing my associate’s degree, I transferred to Wheelock College to continue my education but quickly had to drop out to work full-time when my family experienced financial and other hardships. I needed a full-time job to help out. Luckily, TCC, where I had completed an internship, was hiring and gave me a job as a preschool teacher. (more…)

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Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

California has plenty of sunshine, beaches, and cable cars, but not enough children in preschool.

More than 33,000 4-year-olds from low-income families and some 137,000 3-year-olds “are not enrolled in any of the publicly-funded school readiness program for which they are eligible,” according to a new policy brief — Unmet Need for Preschool Services in California: Statewide and Local Analysis — from the American Institutes for Research (AIR).

“California is home to more young children than any other state in the nation, and we are missing an opportunity to reduce achievement gaps when they are best addressed – before children start kindergarten,” Deborah Kong, the president of the advocacy organization Early Edge California, said in a press release. “The high number of unserved children shows state policies and investments must catch up to their unmet needs. Policymakers should consider the children and families behind the statistics in this report, and increase investments in quality early education.” (more…)

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Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

A letter from Massachusetts Fair Share and a statewide, bipartisan group of 136 city councilors, selectmen, and school board officials calls on Massachusetts to lead by investing more funds in early education.

“When it comes to early education, we’re falling behind,” the letter says. “While states like Oklahoma guarantee a year of public preschool for every child, Massachusetts state spending on early education and care has declined by 50% since 2001.”

On its website, Massachusetts Fair Share explains:

“Along with the 60 other groups in the Put MA Kids First coalition, we are calling for increased investments in early learning programs, anchored in a quality workforce. One of the top issues that the field of early education and care has identified is a dramatic drop in the number of early education programs, and alarmingly high turnover of the early educator workforce.” (more…)

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

 

 

“I thought I’d done everything right and had tried to make sure we all knew what to expect when Maya went into kindergarten, but I’m afraid I feel at a loss right now. It seems like she’s gone from one world to a completely new one, and I just don’t feel prepared to help her, after all.”

– Nicole Warren, hypothetical mom of Maya, a fictional kindergarten

As the quote above shows, the transition to kindergarten can be tough for children. But to make the transition easier, the Harvard Family Research Project (HFRP), part of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, has developed an online, interactive kindergarten case study.

It’s a cross between a professional exercise and a mystery novel. Imagine Nancy Drew or Sherlock Holmes solving the case of the struggling kindergartener. (more…)

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Laura Healy for Strategies for Children

Laura Healy for Strategies for Children

 

This past Thursday was Advocacy Day at the State House, and hundreds of passionate early education supporters told their stories about educating young children to members of the state Legislature.

Here are some of the event’s Tweets, quotes, and photos gathered from Twitter, the State House News Service, WWLP, and Advocacy Day participants. To learn more search the hashtag #valueearlyeducators.

Tweets

United Way Mass Bay @UnitedWayMABay
Today is
#earlyed Advocacy Day! We’re proud to support efforts of @EarlyEd4All @EllisMemorial & @NurturyBoston to ensure access & quality.

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Early Education for All @EarlyEd4All
“The story is about you every day…changing the lives of young children” – @MADCAorg on the value of#earlyeducators #investinus

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MA Fair Share @MAFairShare
“If we are serious about pay equity” we should pay those who lay a child’s foundation as much as those who lay a building’s foundation – Sonia Chang-Diaz quote

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MA Fair Share @MAFairShare
@RepAlicePeisch “we need a high quality workforce … But you need to be compensated accordingly” (more…)

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School leaders are expanding their commitment to early education by promoting a new set of policy recommendations. It’s an enhanced allegiance between pre-K and K-12 that promises to yield important progress for children.

“While state chiefs do not have full authority over all early childhood programs, we are crucial leaders in any effort to strengthen early learning opportunities and outcomes,” according to a new policy statement from the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) called, “Equity Starts Early: How Chiefs Will Build High-Quality Early Education.”

CCSSO represents the “public officials who head departments of elementary and secondary education in the states.” (more…)

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

A recent study shows that home visiting programs can dramatically improve children’s school readiness.

The study report — “Long-Term Academic Outcomes of Participation in the Parent-Child Home Program in King County, WA,” — explains:

“The Parent-Child Home Program (PCHP) is an intensive two-year home-visiting program aimed at increasing school readiness among young children from families who face multiple obstacles to educational and economic success, such as poverty, low literacy, limited education, and language barriers.”

Families enroll “when children are about two years old and receive two 30-minute visits per week for 23 weeks in each year of the program, for a total of 92 visits.”

The home visitor “shares a language and cultural background with the family” and “uses a non-directive approach and a high-quality toy or book, which is left as a gift for the family, to model behaviors for parents that enhance children’s development.” (more…)

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