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Archive for the ‘Family child care’ Category

“Mayor Michelle Wu today announced a $20 million investment in early education through Boston’s Universal Pre-K (UPK) program, a partnership between BPS [Boston Public Schools] and the Office of Early Childhood. This investment builds on Mayor Wu’s commitment to universal, affordable, high-quality early education and care for all infants, toddlers, and children under five.”

“For the second year in a row, Boston UPK will increase the number of seats available to both 3- and 4-year-olds at community-based providers. Specifically, UPK will now offer up to 992 seats at community providers, with up to 627 seats for 4-year-olds and up to 365 seats for 3-year-olds.“

“ ‘The greatest investment we can make in our future is to support and center our young people,’ said Mayor Michelle Wu. ‘With this historic investment in early childhood education, we can kickstart an increase in high-quality Pre-K seats, bring family child care providers into the UPK network, and ensure all of our families have access to free and accessible early childcare and education.’ ”

“Mayor Wu Announces $20 million investment to expand Boston’s universal pre-K program,” Boston Mayor’s Office, July 6, 2022

See also: “Boston to spend $20 million to expand pre-K program,” by Stephanie Ebbert and Adria Watson, The Boston Globe, July 6, 2022

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Here’s an update on two of our Advocacy Network participants.

Stay tuned for more Advocacy Network updates in the coming weeks.


Gloria Valentin head shot

Gloria Valentin

Send Gloria Valentin an email that mentions a family challenge you have to deal with, as I did, and the email you receive back will be a small, electronic packet of sunshine and reassurance.

“I have an optimistic personality,” Valentin says. “I want to bring joy in times when everything is so daunting. I have days, trust me, when I’m like, I’m not feeling it today. But I have that energy and that outlook of just being positive and not allowing things I can’t control to take over my life.”

Valentin has been a family child care provider for 22 years, but she talks about her work as if she just started last month, and she’s got a dozen new things she wants to do.

She began her career as an early educator at a center-based program, then opened up her own business. Today, she’s also involved in advocacy, and she has participated in Strategies for Children’s Speakers Bureau and our Advocacy Network

“The time that we spent together each week, was a time for us to find our voices, to practice public speaking, and to move forward as advocates,” Valentin says of her experience in the Advocacy Network, where she drew inspiration from other advocates who spoke about forming relationships with elected officials and following up with them.

“That really stood out for me, making those connections and being proud of the work I do and sharing it. Family child care is a hidden gem. 

“But the work can be isolating, so I want to make connections and let people in government know that we’re here and that our work is so important. We should be included in conversations about quality child care programs and financial accessibility.”

(more…)

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“All licensed family child-care providers in Boston will receive $3,260 in an effort to stabilize an industry battered by the pandemic, Mayor Michelle Wu announced Tuesday.

“The funding, approved by the City Council last year, comes from the federalAmerican Rescue Plan, on top of pandemic aid the state is already allocating to small businesses.”

“ ‘This is highlighting the need for family child-care providers,’ said Amy O’Leary, executive director of Strategies for Children, an advocacy and policy organization addressing early education. ‘And that amount of money could really help a family child-care provider compared to a large center just because of the scale.’ ”

“The Mayor’s Office of Women’s Advancement has prioritized child care as a critical issue for Boston’s families.

“ ‘Supporting family child care providers in the City of Boston is essential to our economic recovery,’ Alexandra Valdez, the office’s executive director, said in a statement. ‘As a first-time mom, I know that it’s essential to ensure that childcare providers continue to have the resources needed in order to succeed.’ ”

” ‘Empowering early childhood and childcare providers is critical to ensuring an equitable recovery for Boston’s young children and working families,’ Wu said in a statement. ‘As we work to ramp up access to accessible, high-quality childcare, these investments will immediately support our early childcare providers in their critical work to set up all of our children and families for success.’ ”

“Mayor Wu directs grants to Boston family child-care providers,” by Stephanie Ebbert, The Boston Globe, June 1, 2022

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Here’s an update on two of our Advocacy Network participants.

Stay tuned for more Advocacy Network updates in the coming weeks.


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Huong Vu

Huong Vu is a family engagement counselor at Boys and Girls Club of Dorchester – which is one way of saying she does a little bit of everything. She supports families in the Boys and Girls Club as well as families in the community. 

“We offer a free play group, a parent support group, and family engagement events,” she says of programs for families with young children, “and home visits and developmental screening.”

“Most of the families that we work with are low income or immigrants. English is not their first language. We work with families who speak Vietnamese, Spanish, Cape Verdean, and Haitian Creole. And they are not just from Dorchester, they’re from all across Boston.”

It’s work that has given Vu a great perspective on families and that makes her a great participant in Strategy for Children’s Advocacy Network, a year-long advocacy experience for early educators and emerging leaders.

One thing Vu has learned: “I didn’t know that I was already an advocate,” she says. “Every day, when it comes to work, my hope is that I can make small changes in families’ lives. Maybe I can connect them to a food program, or I can refer a child to an intervention program.

(more…)

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Boston Mayor Michelle Wu has created a promising new Office of Early Childhood, and this office has a new leader, Kristin McSwain.

The office will “advance the administration’s commitment to universal, affordable, high-quality early education and care for all children under five,” by:

• expanding access to early education and childcare programs

• investing in Boston’s early education and care workforce

• accelerating “the creation of a universal pre-K system that stretches across Boston Public Schools (BPS), community-based organizations, and family-based childcare programs”

• expanding high-quality, affordable options for infants and toddlers, and

• serving as “a central point-of-entry for residents looking for information on early education and childcare programming and wraparound services for young children and their families”

Mayor Wu, the mother of two young boys, sums up the vital importance of this work, saying, “Every bit of investment in our children and families to close gaps in early education and care is an investment in our collective future.”

(more…)

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Last night, Amy O’Leary, executive director of Strategies for Children, spoke at the graduation ceremony for the City of Boston Childcare Entrepreneur Fund.

“The Fund offers support to current and aspiring owners of family childcare businesses in Boston. Fund recipients attend business training and receive grant funding for their business.”

Here’s part of what O’Leary said:

“We continue to be inspired by this dedicated and resilient workforce and their commitment to the problem solving, building partnerships and providing high-quality learning experiences under incredible circumstances.

“And YOU – tonight we celebrate you, the graduates of the City of Boston Childcare Entrepreneur Fund.

“You can change the world. All of the skills, gifts and talents you use to support young children can be used where you are sitting right now to lead. 

“The most important piece is that YOU have to BELIEVE.

“WE are the ones we have been waiting for.

“YOU ARE SMART, POWERFUL LEADERS FOR CHILDREN AND FAMILIES!

“We need to believe in ourselves and be willing to think differently about the future.

“It is critical that we find new, innovative, and meaningful ways to support educators and expand access to childcare for Boston families.”

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survey

Photo: Kampus Productions from Pexel

The Boston Opportunity Agenda, a public/private partnership, wants to know what early educators think.

Please, let them know by filling out the MA Early Education Professionals Survey. It is available in eight languages.

“Your responses will improve our understanding of the field and inform critical decisions about early education and care practice, policy, and funding,” the opportunity agenda’s website explains

Here are some frequently asked questions – with answers:

Who should take this survey?
Any early educator, assistant or administrator who has worked or is working in a center or family childcare.”

“What is this survey for?
We asked early childhood educators from centers and family child care, systems, administrators, researchers, funders, policymakers, and advocates about what information is needed right now to help make better decisions about the early education and care field in Massachusetts.”

“How can I be part of the process?
We want all early educators in Centers and FCCs to understand the results and how data can help you and the field. Please share your name, email, and phone number so we can communicate with you. There will also be a space in the survey for you to share what kind of information is important for you to know, as an early educator, business owner, or administrator.”

To learn more, go to the survey’s website or contact Pratima Patil at the Boston Opportunity Agenda. Her email is pratima.patil@boston.gov.

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Photo: Yan Krukov from Pexels

How are early childhood providers doing?

In January, NAEYC (the National Association for the Education of Young Children) conducted a survey of 5,000 early childhood educators to find out.

The good news: “emergency federal and state relief funds have provided critical support for stabilizing child care programs and prevented more widespread permanent program closures,” according to the survey brief, Saved But Not Solved: America’s Economy Needs Congress to Fund Child Care.

The bad news: “severe challenges remain.” That’s because federal relief funds were not meant “to resolve the systemic challenges that have plagued the child care market.”

The informative news: We’ll hear more about the survey from Lauren Hogan, NAEYC’s managing director of Policy and Professional Advancement on Tuesday, March 15, 2022, during our Strategies for Children 9:30 Call.

The survey, which includes the responses of early educators “working across all states and settings—including faith-based programs, family child care homes, and small and large centers,” produced a number of findings, including:

(more…)

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Photo: Ivan Samkov from Pexels

In early education, challenges can sometimes overshadow progress, but today we’re happy to blog about inspiring progress that has been made in the city of Washington, D.C.

The Under 3 DC Coalition, which shines “a spotlight on the need for more public investments to support families with infants and toddlers,” has announced that its efforts have led to an investment of “$75 million that DC will use to begin to publicly fund increases in early childhood educators’ compensation.”

Raising salaries has been an uphill trudge for the field, mostly resulting in small salary increases that lag far behind the earnings of public school teachers doing comparable work. Now, however, the coalition – along with its partners DC Action and Educare DC – have advocated for “a tax increase for individuals with annual incomes above $250,000.”

As Under 3 DC explains, “Building a sustainable workforce by adequate compensation is one of the first steps to create high-quality programs that are accessible to families.” (more…)

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Policymakers need to hear from experts.

That’s why Strategies for Children has created a Speakers’ Bureau, a group of 15 early educators who can talk to the media or testify at the State House.

These early educators were nominated by partner organizations. They represent the racial and geographic diversity of the field as well as the different settings where early educators work. And the early educators participated in a seven-session training program that was held on Zoom and covered:

• knowing your “why”

• Advocacy 101

• equity in early education

• public speaking

• working with legislators

• talking to the media, and

• a session for reflection

Funding was generously provided by the W. Clement & Jessie V. Stone Foundation.

A key goal of the bureau is to unite early educators into an advocacy community. (more…)

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