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Archive for the ‘Dept. of Early Education and Care’ Category

 

Yesterday, Governor Charlie Baker announced that public and private schools would be closed for the rest of the school year.

He also announced that the state’s child care closures would remain “in place until June 29, 2020, and may be extended as needed.”

“We know that the lack of child care for many families has created an unanticipated burden and it’s hard to look after young children and balance the demands of working at home under the same roof, but maintaining this structure is the best way to keep our kids and our providers safe from the spread of this insidious disease,” Baker said, according to the State House News Service. “In the coming months, we’ll be working toward slowly restoring child care capacity for both family child care and center-based programs once it can be done safely.”

Department of Early Education and Care Commissioner Samantha Aigner-Treworgy also spoke, thanking providers for their hard work. (She appears at the 27:39 timestamp in the video above.)

“The providers across the commonwealth have stepped up to serve our essential workers, and their commitment to children and families has really been the backbone of the essential workforce as we navigate this complicated time,” the commissioner said. (more…)

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Samantha Aigner-Treworgy

 

On Wednesday,Samantha Aigner-Treworgy, commissioner of the Department of Early Education and Care, spoke at a virtual town hall meeting. Here are some excerpts of what she said. A recording of the meeting is posted here.

 

For the duration of the closure, we know that you are working to try to support your staff, your families, and yourselves, and sustain that work. And we are doing as much as we can to help with whatever is in our power to make sure that you have the resources you need to be able to endure this difficult and challenging time.”

“I want to assure you that all of the federal funding that is available to small businesses is available to for-profit, nonprofit, and family child care providers.”

“We also know that in addition to being a valuable educational resource for families and children, child care in this moment is also a critical resource for the economy, even the baseline economy that we have running right now.”

“We are building on the wonderful relationship that DESE [the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education] has with WGBH to try to think about what kind of resources might be available to families.”

“The commitment I can make to you now is when the governor decides to reopen schools and child care, we will be thoughtful and supportive.”

 

Register here for another virtual town hall meeting with the commissioner that will be held on Thursday, April 16, 2020, at 3 p.m.

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EEC Commissioner Samantha Aigner-Treworgy.

 

Samantha Aigner-Treworgy, the commissioner of Massachusetts’ Department of Early Education and Care (EEC), is using a critical tool to tackle the coronavirus crisis: communications.

This week and next, EEC’s communications will open even more because the commissioner is hosting three virtual town hall meetings. To attend, click on one of the dates below to register in advance.

Wednesday, April 8, 3:30-4:30 p.m.

Thursday, April 9, 10-11 a.m.

Thursday, April 16, 3-4 p.m.

These events will be recorded, so even if you can’t log in at the scheduled time, you will receive an email with a link to the recording.

“We know right now everyone has more questions than answers, and there are many urgent decisions needed to support your staff, your families, and your communities,” Commissioner Sam said in a recent email. (more…)

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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. (more…)

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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. (more…)

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“We are gearing up for Advocacy Day on March 5, but advocacy can happen all throughout the year, and can take many forms,” Amy O’Leary says.

That’s the advice Amy shared yesterday during Advocacy 101, a webinar sponsored by Strategies for Children. A video of the webinar is posted here.

Called “If Not Us, Then Who?”, the webinar is the first installment in what will be a series put together by Amy, Strategies’ director of the Early Education for All Campaign, and Titus DosRemedios, our director of research and policy.

Advocacy, Amy says in the webinar, has many faces. It can mean testifying at the State House or talking to your Uber driver. It can mean being out front or working behind the scenes.

One strategy? Speak up where you feel comfortable. (more…)

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Amy O’Leary and Commissioner Samantha Aigner-Treworgy

 

What a year it has been at Strategies for Children! Here are some of our highlights:

• Looking back to look forward

In December of 2018, we gathered at the State House to celebrate the tenth anniversary of An Act Relative to Early Education and Care, which became law in 2008. “It’s like getting the band back together,” Pat Haddad (D-Somerset), Speaker Pro Tempore of the House, said of the many colleagues who joined us. At the event, Amy O’Leary moderated, and we heard from a lineup of speakers including Haddad, House Speaker Robert DeLeo (D-Winthrop), other state officials, and local early education program directors. Many of the speakers remarked that though they have had different roles over the last ten years, their commitment to high-quality early education for all remains strong.

It was also a year of transition at the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC). In June we thanked Commissioner Tom Weber for his six successful years of leadership. We then welcomed new EEC Commissioner Samantha Aigner-Treworgy back to Massachusetts with a “meet-and-greet” co-hosted by the early education field. We look forward to working with Commissioner Sam on a shared vision for her department’s future. (more…)

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“We’re all affected by the barriers to affordable, quality child care,” Arthur Buckland, the interim director of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute, said earlier this month at a panel discussion on child care policy.

The event was a great overview of the current state of early education and care in Massachusetts, with insights on policy, advocacy, parents’ needs, and business benefits.

“The panel explored efforts to strengthen access to affordable care at the local and state level, how the lack of child care impacts the Commonwealth’s workforce, economy, and family security, and the importance of building a talent pipeline,” the institute says on its website.

The moderator of the panel was Lauren Birchfield Kennedy, co-founder of Neighborhood Villages, a nonprofit organization that works “to improve access to affordable, high-quality child care and early education.”

The panel speakers were: (more…)

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

 

Please spread the word: The Massachusetts Partnership for Infants and Toddlers (MPIT) is releasing its family survey.

The partnership wants to hear from families about what they need and want to support their infants, toddlers, and preschool-age children.

As we’ve blogged, the partnership is a collaboration of organizations, facilitated by Strategies for Children, and we hope the family survey will “improve infants’ and toddlers’ access to high-quality programs and services and create more positive experiences that meet families’ needs and expectations.”

The English version of the survey is here.

And the Spanish version is posted here.

Please share the survey links, or, post a flyer about the survey in a location in your program where families will see it. They can scan the QR code with their smart phone to go directly to the survey. (more…)

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EEC Commissioner Samantha Aigner-Treworgy wants to hear your thoughts about early education and care. Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

 

“We want to hear from you!”

That’s the message from the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) which is hosting a Community Learning Tour, a series of community meetings across the state.

The goal: “help us create a road map for EEC’s work in the years to come!”

The first session is today at 3 p.m. in EEC’s Taunton office, at 1 Washington St., Suite 20.

EEC Commissioner Sam Aigner-Treworgy wants your input to help her department craft “a plan for Massachusetts in which all children develop as lifelong learners and contributing members of the community, and all families are supported in their essential work as parents and caregivers.”

Your feedback will help EEC craft policies that best meet the needs of the early education field and the needs of the children and families it serves.

Here’s the schedule for the upcoming sessions:

Metro Boston: October 29, 2019 5:30 to 7:30 PM at EEC’s Quincy Office
Northeast: November 13, 2019 5:30 to 7:30 PM at EEC’s Lawrence Office
Western: November 14, 2019 4:00 to 6:00 PM at the Community Foundation of Western MA
Central: November 18, 2019 5:30 to 7:30 PM at EEC’s Worcester Office
Boston: November 19, 2019 2:00 to 4:00 PM at EEC’s Boston Office

Can’t come to the learning sessions?

Fill out the Strategic Plan Discovery Survey. In addition to answering questions, you can upload any information you want EEC to have, including important research, feedback, or planning documents.

Please share this information with your personal and social media networks. It’s a great chance to help Massachusetts build an increasingly stronger system of early education and care.

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