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Archive for the ‘Infants and toddlers’ 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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Karen Fabian teaching a yoga class for children. Photo courtesy of Karen Fabian

 

“I began to practice yoga for the first time ever in 1999. And after taking my first teacher training in 2002, I knew I wanted to teach full time,” Karen Fabian says. So she shifted out of her corporate career in health care administration, and started teaching in 2003.

“Over time, I started my own brand, Bare Bones Yoga. And I’ve been doing that ever since.”

These days, Fabian’s work includes teaching yoga to preschoolers, which she’s been doing for 13 years. She ran a program at the South Boston Neighborhood House for two years. And she currently teaches at two programs in Boston’s Charlestown neighborhood that are part of Partners Healthcare system.

It’s easy to stereotype yoga as a silent practice done in a quiet room. But that’s not the way Fabian teaches it.

She engages children on multiple levels, mixing yoga poses with language and literacy. It’s familiar territory for Fabian: her mother was a preschool teacher for 35 years.

“Toddlers and four-year-olds, they really like Tree pose,” Fabian says of her youngest yoga students. “Kids, as young as two-and-a-half will do downward dog; it’s a universal pose that kids of all ages will do, even little ones.” (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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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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Mayor Marty Walsh helps launch the Child Care Entrepreneur Fund Pilot. Photo: John Wilcox. Source: City of Boston Mayor’s Office Flickr page.

 

What makes child care work?

Mayor Marty Walsh decided to find out by asking the city of Boston.

“In 2019, we added an optional survey to the annual citywide census related to early education and care. We wanted to better understand how families access and experience care for their children ages five and under,” Walsh says in a new report on the results of the survey called, “Making Childcare Work: Results from a Survey on childcare arrangements and challenges.”

“The survey, conducted by the Mayor’s Office of Women’s Advancement, found that more than one-quarter of stay-at-home parents, the vast majority of them women, couldn’t work” because they lacked child care, the Boston Globe reports. “Nearly 60 percent of those parents cited cost as the biggest obstacle. Parents of children under 2 had the hardest time finding available slots.”

The report’s other key findings: (more…)

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Photo credits: Kate Samp and Micaela Bedell for Strategies for Children

 

Although they frequently get lots of “likes” on Facebook, infants and toddlers still don’t get the public policy attention that they deserve.

Thanks, however, to a new initiative — the Massachusetts Partnership for Infants and Toddlers (MPIT) – very young children should get more policy respect.

The story of MPIT began earlier this year when Strategies for Children and the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and the Merrimack Valley, along with a group of nonprofit partners, state agency representatives, and philanthropic funders, applied for a planning grant from the Pritzker Children’s Initiative.

Pritzker planned to award planning grants of $100,000 and actions grants of $1 to $3 million to states that submitted “winning proposals focused on expanding needed state and community services for children prenatal to age three and their families.”

Our goal was to use the Pritzker funding to create a statewide effort that would “result in a new (first-of-its-kind) state plan for infants and toddlers” as well as a new coalition focused on infants and toddlers. (more…)

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Why change an organization’s name?

To better share its impact.

That’s why the Parent-Child Home Program has changed its name to ParentChild+.

“People often focused on only one aspect of what we do, early literacy. But our staff, participating families, and program communities know we are so much more,” Sarah Walzer, CEO of ParentChild,+ says of the name change, which was made in April.

The bigger picture is that the organization “uses education to break the cycle of poverty for low-income families. We engage early in life and help toddlers, their parents, and their family child care providers access a path to possibility,” according to its website.

Walzer notes, “Our wonderful network of partners across the country and around the world have engaged with tens of thousands of children and families, working together to transform their lives.” (more…)

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Presentation begins at the 10:40 time mark.

 

California has a brand new plan for early childhood education.

It has arrived in the nick of time, with sweeping changes that will benefit children and families, and with lessons for Massachusetts and other states.

“Few would argue that California’s child care system is in need of major reform,” public radio station KQED reports. “Today, a whopping 77% of children statewide lack access to a licensed child care program, and many of those who teach and care for the state’s youngest are making marginally above minimum wage.

“The system is currently ‘at a crisis level,’ according to Michael Olenick, head of the Los Angeles-based Child Care Resource Center. Yet he’s hopeful that things will improve. Olenick just finished participating in a state Assembly blue-ribbon commission, which released a report on Monday suggesting major improvements to the state’s early childhood education system.”

This report, from the Assembly Blue Ribbon Commission on Early Childhood Education, draws on two years of hearings, meetings, and focus groups. (more…)

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Moms, dads, toddlers, and babies from all 50 states came to the Washington, D.C., this week for Strolling Thunder.

During this annual event, families meet with members of Congress to talk about making child care more affordable, expanding paid family leave, and increasing funding for health care and early education.

“As parents, we must advocate, communicate and collaborate with all agencies serving and caring for our babies,” said Anna Akins, a Strolling Thunder parent from Louisiana, says in a press release from Zero to Three, the national nonprofit that organizes the event, which is part of the Think Babies campaign. “Our babies’ lives are depending on our voices. Let us continue to speak up and out about the importance of all things that help our babies thrive.” (more…)

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