How States Can Support the First Decade of Children’s Lives

Sponsored by the National Association of Early Childhood Specialists on October 17th, this 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.

Laura Bornfreund, New America’s Director of Early and Elementary Education Policy, moderates a expert panel that includes:

  • Samantha Aigner-Treworgy, Commissioner, Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care
  • Elliot Regenstein, Partner, Forsight Law and Policy Advisors
  • Brett Walker, P-3 Alignment Specialist, Early Learning Division, Oregon Department of Education

Click here to see the presentation slides, and you can find segments of particular interest at the following video locations:

  • 00.00–2:51: Nicole Madore (Maine Department of Education) provides a welcome based on Maine’s First 10 experience. Laura Bornfreund sets the stage for the presentation and discussion.
  • 2:52–19:32: David Jacobson introduces First 10 Schools and Communities drawing on the experiences of Normal, IL, Omaha, NE, and Cambridge, MA.
  • 19:32–29:09: Commissioner Aigner-Treworgy discusses the context in which First 10 initiatives have emerged in Massachusetts and the implications of First 10 moving forward.
  • 29:44–36:40: David Jacobson shares how Multnomah County, OR promotes culturally-responsive partnerships with families and sets the stage for the panel discussion on the implications of First 10 for state policy.
  • 41:00–1:30.00: Laura Bornfreund, Elliot Regenstein, and Brett Walker discuss the implications of First 10 for state policy, covering topics including state assessment, ESSA and PDG, learning from Oregon’s Kindergarten Partnership and Innovation Fund, and the benefits of the “First 10” frame.

 

Education Week Reviews the All Children Learn and Thrive Study

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Education Week’s Christina Samuels begins her review of the All Children Learn and Thrive study as follows below. I appreciate that she highlights several examples from the study. While the Executive Summary provides the key findings and proposes a theory of action, see the Full Report for numerous case studies and a fuller explanation of the theory of action in the Conclusion. You can click on specific case studies in the table of contents, including ones on Multnomah County, OR, Greater Omaha, NE, the Cherry Park and Earl Boyles Elementary Schools, Normal, IL, and Boston and Cambridge, MA.

From How Schools, Districts, and Communities Are Joining Forces to Bolster Early Learning:

“A common complaint in the early-childhood field is that several different entities exist to support young children and their families, but those organizations often don’t work together.

But in a number of communities across the country, schools, districts, and early-childhood providers have come together to dismantle those organizational silos.

For example, Cherry Park Elementary School in Portland, Ore., a part of the 9,700-student David Douglas district, runs a summer kindergarten transition program to prepare young students for school, supports a home-visiting program, operates a food bank, and offers cooking classes and financial literacy programs.

Another example: the city of Cambridge, Mass., established a birth-to-3rd grade partnership that includes representatives from the 7,000-student Cambridge district, as well as early-childhood and community-health providers. The partnership there includes creating home visiting and play-and-learn groups for infants, toddlers and their parents; working to boost the quality of family child-care providers; and providing coaching in early literacy, math, and science for the district’s prekindergarten and early-elementary teachers.

Those efforts and many more are catalogued in the report “All Children Learn and Thrive: Building First 10 Schools and Communities” by David Jacobson, released earlier this spring. Jacobson, a principal technical adviser for the Education Development Center, said he was particularly interested in capturing work that is blending academic support for the first decade of a child’s life, along with programs that also help parents and caregivers ….”

 

Video Recording: New America Panel on the First 10 Years

In case you missed it, here is the video recording of the April 30 New America panel event on my new study. The study, All Children Learn and Thrive: Building First 10 Schools and Communities, examines partnerships between school districts and communities to improve teaching, learning, and care throughout the first decade of children’s lives.

I provide a 20-minute overview of the First 10 approach and my major findings beginning at the 5:35 time mark. Then Education Week’s Christina Samuels does a great job moderating two panel discussions: the first with Deborah Stipek of Stanford and Kwesi Rollins of the Institute for Educational Leadership and the second with leaders of innovative First 10 projects in Omaha, NE, Multnomah County, OR, and Cambridge, MA.

Panel #1 discusses the implications of First 10 initiatives for building community systems that support young children and their families, how First 10 initiatives can strengthen developmentally appropriate practice, the challenge of sustaining ambitious initiatives, and the role of states in supporting this work.

Then in panel #2, Ms. Samuels talks with Brooke Chilton-Timmons, Cris Lopez Anderson, and Lei-Anne Ellis about their experiences leading First 10 initiatives. Topics include:

  • The role of play-and-learn groups
  • Improving teaching and learning in kindergarten through 3rd grade classrooms
  • Addressing the needs of culturally-specific groups
  • Community-wide quality improvement initiatives
  • Garnering principal buy-in
  • Governing First 10 Community Partnerships

Many thanks to Laura Bornfreund and New America for hosting the panel, to Christina Samuels and the panelists for their participation, and to the Heising-Simons Foundation for supporting this research.

New Study Released Today: All Children Learn and Thrive

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We are pleased to release All Children Learn and Thrive: Building First 10 Schools and Communities.

This study examines First 10 Schools and Communities—coordinated efforts taking place around the country to improve teaching, learning, and care during the first decade of children’s lives.

First 10 Schools and Communities bring together school districts, elementary schools, and early childhood programs to improve the quality of education and care for young children and their families. They work to improve teaching and learning, deepen partnerships with families, and provide comprehensive services for children and families.

Live-Streamed Panel Moderated by Ed Week’s Christina Samuels: The First 10 Years

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The Early and Elementary Education Policy unit at New America is hosting a panel event on the release of my new study, “All Children Learn and Thrive: Building First 10 Schools and Communities.” The live-streamed event will take place in Washington, DC on April 30.

Laura Bornfreund of New America is organizing the event and will introduce the panel, which will be moderated by Christina Samuels of Education Week. Deborah Stipek (Stanford University) and Kwesi Rollins (Institute for Education Leadership) will provide expert commentary on the study. Three leaders from communities described in the report will share their experiences implementing innovative initiatives to improve teaching, learning, and care throughout the first decade of children’s lives:

  • Brooke Chilton-Timmons
    Youth and Families Services Division, SUN Service System, Multnomah County, Oregon
  • Lei-Anne Ellis
    Cambridge Birth–3rd Grade Partnership, Cambridge Public Schools, Massachusetts
  • Criselda Lopez Anderson
    Buffett Early Childhood Institute, Omaha, Nebraska

You can learn more about the event and RSVP here. Hope to see you there.

New Study, New Name: Introducing First 10

The P-3 Learning Hub is changing its name. We are now called First 10.

For the past two years I have been working on a study funded by the Heising-Simons Foundation. The study investigates community initiatives that combine improving teaching and learning in the early grades with strong family partnerships and comprehensive services—all underpinned by a deep commitment to educational equity. The study provided a great opportunity to talk with community leaders in 18 communities throughout the country and conduct site visits to six of them. The innovative work these communities are doing is inspiring.

My experience learning about these communities has convinced me that we need a new name for this powerful combination of strategies. Further, the name needs to communicate the importance of collaboration between school districts, elementary schools, and other early childhood organizations and programs. As I explain here, I follow Arthur Reynolds and Judy Temple in defining early childhood as roughly the first decade of life, and with this in mind I call these important community initiatives First 10 Schools and Communities.

The study will be released on April 30 at a live-streamed panel event at New America in Washington, DC. (I will post the invitation to the event next.)

The report includes 7 key findings regarding First 10 initiatives. Informed by the experiences of the communities I profile in the study, I propose a new theory of action that outlines the roles that First 10 Schools and Communities can play to improve teaching, learning, and care in the first decade of children’s lives.

Moving forward, this website and the related research and technical assistance projects my colleagues and I do will focus on supporting First 10 initiatives. (And by the way, the url you have been using will continue to work, but our primary domain is now first10.org.)

Pianta to Policymakers: Build a System, Include K-5

Early childhood expert and UVA dean, Robert Pianta, in The Hill:

“There is precious little evidence that boosts from pre-k are then followed by boosts in kindergarten, first, and second grades – the kind of cumulative impact that produces lasting increases in academic achievement.

More to the point, focusing so intently on universal pre-K obscures the fact that most pre-K (and K-2) programs still require a lot of improvements when it comes to curriculum, assessment, and effective instruction. And perhaps more importantly, there is abundant evidence that the experiences provided to children across these years are poorly aligned, resulting in repetition of instruction that hold some of our children back.

So let’s stop thinking that pre-k, universal or targeted, is the silver bullet answer.  And for every argument about expanding or improving pre-k, let’s add a focus on strengthening and aligning curricula across the early grades, which spans from pre-K through third grade. Young students need a consistent trajectory of educational experiences that builds on the preceding years—and informs what follows.”

For the full article, see Running on a New Promise for Pre-K.