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Archive for the ‘Family engagement’ Category

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

 

Jessie Colbert wanted to address a silent epidemic: postpartum depression (PPD).

PPD and peripartum depression (which covers a range of emotional health challenges that occur before and after birth) can affect mothers – and sometimes fathers — and Colbert says not enough people are talking about it.

“The shame and the stigma and the silence perpetuates the problem both individually and in terms of our addressing it better as a public health issue,” Colbert said in a recent New England Weekend podcast. (more…)

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“I am a product of early education and care; and my daughter is a product of it as well,” Nikki Burnett told us recently. Burnett’s daughter is currently a student at Howard University.

As for Burnett herself she has come full circle. Born and raised in Massachusetts, in Springfield’s Mason Square neighborhood, Burnett worked for over a decade as a senior administrator at the American Heart Association. Now she’s back in Mason Square working as the executive director of the new Educare Springfield center, which just opened this month and is already at full enrollment.

Educare is an evidence-based national network of 25 early education programs with the sweeping goal of figuring out “the most effective and the most promising ways to work with each individual child and each individual family, and we do that with excitement and passion for the work,” according to Charlotte Brantley, the president and CEO of the Clayton Early Learning, Educare Denver.

Burnett echoes this ambition, explaining, “We may only have 141 children enrolled, but we are beholden to the education of all children.” Educare’s approach is to innovate and share its work on preparing young children to succeed in school. Burnett wants to ensure that all the children whose lives she touches aren’t struggling to catch up in kindergarten – as well as in first, second, and third grade. (more…)

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

 

Across the country, K-12 schools are spreading their wings by working in the early education space. It’s an approach that promises to help more young children succeed as they transition into elementary school.

One example in the suburbs of Omaha, Neb., is Belleaire Elementary School, where providing a good education includes working with families before children are old enough to go to school.

“Belleaire is one of 10 schools in the Omaha metropolitan area that are rethinking the scope of early childhood education,” an EdSurge article says. “Traditionally, early childhood education focuses on serving children before they reach kindergarten. But more recently, researchers have begun to think about early childhood education as encompassing the first eight years—years that are critical for neural development and where early interventions can have a profound impact in later years.”

This is all part of Omaha’s Superintendents’ Early Childhood Plan, a $2.5 million per year initiative that’s funded by a tax measure. (more…)

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Parents and caregivers can’t always know what to expect from their children. But thanks to a terrific video called “1, 2, 3 Grow,” they can learn more early childhood’s milestones.

The video features doctors and parents discussing milestones in four areas: movement, social relationships, communication, and thinking.

The goal is to give parents and caregivers a sense of what to expect – and what to ask pediatricians about – as their children grow.

The videos were produced by University of Massachusetts Medical School’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center and by members of the Massachusetts Act Early state team. (more…)

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One tool that early childhood advocates use well is storytelling.

Stories about parents, children, educators, and programs help the public see the power of early learning.

Here at Strategies for Children, we share the stories of early educators and leaders in the field to show how public policy affects real people. Stories also illustrate how important it is to make meaningful public investments in young children. That’s why we also share stories with elected officials. Our goal is to give stories about constituents to all of Massachusetts’ 200 state legislators.

To enhance our storytelling work, we are asking for your help. Do you know parents who are willing to share their stories about finding affordable, high-quality child care? If you do, please contact us! We are currently collaborating with advocates and researchers to collect and publish these stories. So email any parent story tips to eyeonearlyeducation@gmail.com. (more…)

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“ ‘Parents are usually seen as adults in the service of children, but we forget to acknowledge that they are also individuals with their own hopes and dreams,’ says Valentina Helo-Villegas, who directs the parent coaching program at The Primary School.

“At The Primary School, every family is assigned a coach who checks in with them regularly.”

“These coaches play a critical role as the main liaison between the teachers, parents and the school. For teachers, they provide an additional lens into the lives of students, and help them understand how home dynamics may impact a child’s engagement in the classroom.”

“Want to Support Early Childhood Education? Start With the Parents,” by Tony Wan, EdSurge, December 5, 2019

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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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Click on this image for more of David Jacobson’s First 10 slides.

 

“This is a school that engages and supports families years before their children enter kindergarten. The principal introduces herself as the principal of a birth-through-fifth-grade school, and here’s how she sums up Sandoz’s mindset: ‘From the moment you walk in that door all the way through our fifth grade classroom, from our home visiting families of our youngest children in the neighborhood — they all learn here.’ ”

“Sandoz does this through home visiting of children ages zero to three, through parent-child interaction groups with young children and their families, and by connecting these families to health and social services.”

— David Jacobson, principal researcher and technical advisor at the Education Development Center and director of the First 10 initiative, speaking in a webinar sponsored by the National Association of Early Childhood Specialists, October 17, 2019

The webinar explores “the implications for state policy of the recent study, ‘All Children Learn and Thrive: Building First 10 Schools and Communities.’ This report looks at innovative schools and communities that combine alignment across early childhood and elementary education and care (children’s first 10 years) with family engagement and social services.”

The webinar also featured:

Laura Bornfreund, New America’s Director of Early and Elementary Education Policy, who moderated an expert panel that included:

Samantha Aigner-Treworgy, Commissioner, Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care

Elliot Regenstein, Partner, Forsight Law and Policy Advisors, and

Brett Walker, P-3 Alignment Specialist, Early Learning Division, Oregon Department of Education

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Children in five cities are going to be exposed to a lot more words.

That’s because Bloomberg Philanthropies has awarded these cities — Birmingham, Ala., Detroit, Mich., Hartford, Conn., Louisville, Ky., and Virginia Beach, Va. — a combined $12 million over three years to replicate Providence Talks.

Providence Talks – “the first-ever Grand Prize Winner of the Bloomberg Philanthropies Mayors Challenge,” according to a Bloomberg press release – is a language-rich early education initiative that equips children with recording devices that track the words children hear and use each day.

The initiative has had “promising results, helping thousands of young children increase their language development. Today, we’re glad to help five new cities adapt the program and work to achieve similar progress,” Michael Bloomberg, the founder of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies and the 108th Mayor of New York City, says in the press release. (more…)

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During the summer months, young children who are homeless benefit from high-quality pre-K programs.

“Universal pre-K has been a gift to many Boston families,” the Boston Herald reports. “But for homeless and poor families, the end of the school year can be a burden that poses a difficult hardship.”

Without summertime pre-K, these children may not have anywhere to go during the day.

Fortunately, the local nonprofit Horizons for Homeless Children offers summertime opportunities.

The Herald tells the story of how one young mother, Itzamarie Torres, and her two sons, have relied on Horizons, saying of Torres:

“The 23-year-old single mom was pregnant and living in a shelter with her toddler son. It was a scary time, but she soon found housing, got a job, moved into an apartment and is now earning her GED at Roxbury Community College.

“She’s grateful for Horizons for Homeless Children, a nonprofit that runs three year-round early education centers in Roxbury, Dorchester and Jamaica Plain, and the stability it gives to her sons, Ayden, 4, and Adrian, 2.

“ ‘It’s wonderful. As a single mom, it’s very helpful,’ said Torres, who is happy the center is open in the summer. ‘I wouldn’t be able to work or go to school or do the things that I am doing now to further myself because I wouldn’t have anybody to watch them.’ ” (more…)

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