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Archive for the ‘Pre-K to 3’ Category

 

A new policy roadmap charts a course for how states can help children thrive in their first three years of life.

The Prenatal-to-3 State Policy Roadmap 2020 was just released by the Prenatal-to-3 Policy Impact Center at the University of Texas at Austin.

The roadmap is “a guide state leaders can use to develop and implement the most effective policies to strengthen their state’s prenatal-to-3 (PN-3) system of care,” the roadmap’s executive summary explains.

“The science of the developing child is clear: Infants and toddlers need loving, stimulating, stable, and secure care environments with limited exposure to adversity. However, to date states have lacked clear guidance on how to effectively promote the environments in which children thrive.”

The roadmap calls on states to:

• prioritize science-based policy goals to promote infants’ and toddlers’ optimal health and development

• adopt and implement effective policies and strategies to improve prenatal-to-3 goals and outcomes

• monitor the progress being made toward adoption & implementation of effective solutions, and

track outcomes to measure impact on optimal health and development of infants and toddlers

The roadmap says states should have 11 effective policies and strategies in place.

The policies are: (more…)

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Stephen Zrike on Facebook Live

 

“Superintendents, principals, and city leaders have to think really differently about how we use our assets to serve kids in different ways.”

— Stephen Zrike, Superintendent of the Salem Public Schools

 

Last month, when the city of Salem, Mass., found out that it was in the “red” – meaning there had been more than 8 cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 residents over two weeks – Salem announced that all the grades in all its schools would start the school year by openly virtually.

This action prioritized safety – and it created a crisis for working parents for whom school is also child care.

So Salem Public Schools (SPS) came up with a creative solution: work with local partner organizations to run “Hub Extensions in our school buildings for groups of 13 students. These Hub Extensions will be licensed by The Department of Early Education and Care and those enrolled would be eligible for vouchers,” SPS says on its website.

That way instead of going empty and unused, school buildings would provide child care space for families and students who have the greatest needs.

“These Hubs will support remote learning during school-day hours and provide after school enrichment activities during afterschool time. All SPS cleaning and safety protocols will be followed.”

The community partners include the Salem YMCA, The Boys and Girls Club of Greater Salem, and Camp Fire North Shore, a local afterschool program. (more…)

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Report screenshot

 

Even before they are born children face systemic inequalities.

A new report digs into this national problem.

“More than half of the 74 million children in the United States are children of color, and they are served by learning systems that are gravely inequitable. The COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on the health, economic wellbeing, and education of young children, only exacerbate existing inequalities,” according to the report, “Start with Equity: From the Early Years to the Early Grades.”

Released by The Children’s Equity Project, at Arizona State University, and the Bipartisan Policy Center, the report is, according to its website, “an actionable policy roadmap for states and the federal government—as well as for candidates at all levels of government vying for office—to take meaningful steps to remedy these inequities in early learning and education systems.”

These themes are also explored in a related webinar series. Links to recordings of the first two webinars, which took place earlier this month, are available on the report website. The next two webinars will be on Tuesday, July 28, 2020, and Thursday, August 6, 2020.

The report and webinars draw on two meetings of “more than 70 experts from universities, think tanks and organizations.” These experts focused on three policy areas where inequities persist: (more…)

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Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

 

One of the most powerful ways to help children succeed is through evidence-based family engagement efforts.

The challenge is how to do this work well, which is why a newly released state resource — “Strengthening Partnerships: A Framework for Prenatal through Young Adulthood Family Engagement in Massachusetts – is so important.

As this framework explains:

“Family engagement is crucial for healthy growth of children and youth in all domains of health and development.”

To help children achieve this healthy growth, the framework points to five guidelines:

• “Each family is unique, and all families represent diverse structures.”

• “Acknowledging and accepting the need to engage all families is essential for successful engagement of diverse families and includes recognizing the strengths that come from their diverse backgrounds.”

• “Building a respectful, trusting, and reciprocal relationship is a shared responsibility of families, practitioners, organizations, and systems.”

• “Families are their child’s first and best advocate,” and

• “Family engagement must be equitable.” (more…)

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

 

Welcome to the pandemic version of Grade Level Reading Week 2020.

“GLR WEEK 2020 has been transformed into series of events and activities featuring the work, priorities and progress of two dozen states and communities in the GLR Network,” the Campaign for Grade Level Reading explains on its website.

And it’s all online.

Among the online webinars are:

Reaching and Supporting Parents Through 211
A Fishbowl Conversation for United Ways with Leaders in Delaware, Texas, and Utah
Wednesday, July 15, 2020, 12:30 p.m. ET

The Role of Shared Services and Staffed Family Childcare Networks
A Fishbowl Conversation with Leaders in Colorado, Hawaii, Nebraska, and Oregon
Thursday, July 16, 2020, 3:00 p.m. ET

Measuring & Addressing Learning Loss with Innovative Diagnostic Tools
California & South Carolina Respond
Friday, July 17, 2020, 3 p.m. ET

To register for these events, click here.

Check out this interactive map to learn about other related virtual events around the country.

And finally, please tweet about the event using the hashtag #GLRWeek.

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How does the organization Raising A Reader Massachusetts close the literacy gap for young children?

By working with a lot of partners: from parents and nonprofits to community leaders and authors, all of whom work to help children love reading.

Now, thanks to three upcoming events, there are even more ways for people to get involved with the organization.

The goal of Raising A Reader is to “end the cycle of low literacy by helping families across Massachusetts develop high impact home reading routines that lay the groundwork for a lifetime of learning, success, and productive, responsible citizenship,” the organization explains on its website.

Raising A Reader teams up with early childhood organizations to teach parents how to use strategies like dialogic reading, where adults engage children in talking about books by asking them questions about pictures as well as about past story events and how the story might relate to something in a child’s life. (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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Sally Fuller

Contrary to what you may have heard, Sally Fuller has not completely retired.

Strategies for Children is excited to announce that Fuller, a long-time colleague and friend, has joined our board.

“I have such tremendous respect for what Strategies has done and continues to do,” Fuller told us recently.

As we’ve blogged before, Fuller worked for the Irene E. & George A. Davis Foundation, where she started in 2005 as the project direct for Cherish Every Child, the foundation’s early childhood initiative.

“The Davis family cares deeply about education. That’s their overarching commitment,” Fuller explains. “They knew Margaret Blood,” the founder of Strategies for Children, “and they brought Margaret to Springfield to work with them.”

The Davis Foundation came to sum up its intentions in a single question, Fuller says: “How can we work together to put children at the center of the community’s agenda?”

“That’s how the Cherish Every Child initiative was started at the foundation, and they needed someone to work full time, so that’s why I went there.”

Fuller, the foundation, and community partners across Springfield worked on expanding early education opportunities and on ensuring that more of the city’s children could read proficiently by the third grade.

“We know from a childhood development standpoint how critical that was,” Fuller says of herself and John Davis (a senior director at the foundation), who had looked at the data and seen that only one third of Springfield’s children could read at grade level by the end of third grade. “We started to do this before it became fashionable. The National Campaign for Grade Level Reading started a year after we did. So, I can very honestly say that we were building the plane as we were flying it.” (more…)

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The path from birth to third grade ought to be an easy, exciting journey for children.

That’s the message that David Jacobson shared last week at “The First 10 Years: School and Community Initiatives to Improve Teaching, Learning, and Care,” an event hosted by the Washington, D.C., think tank, New America.

“…kindergarten needs to build on the learning and care that children experience in pre-kindergarten. And children need for the programs and services that they experience each year to be coordinated, meaning coordination between education, health, and social services,” Jacobson said at the event. 

Children need “alignment across the years; meaning that every year, we are building on and taking advantage of what children learned the previous year.” (more…)

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

 

Cities like Somerville work hard to boost children’s outcomes by making sure that preschool educators communicate with elementary school teachers.

Now a new research study points to some of the benefits of this approach.

The study – “Who benefits? Head start directors’ views of coordination with elementary schools to support the transition to kindergarten” – analyzes interviews of 16 Head Start directors.

The study found “numerous ways in which Head Start directors coordinate with elementary schools to share information about individual children and program practices,” according to the abstract.

This analysis “revealed that coordination may benefit children indirectly through both improved teaching practices, increased alignment and parent supports. Findings indicate the need for additional research to explore indirect links between coordination and children’s success.” (more…)

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