News Round-Up

There have been a number of exciting Birth-Third developments in Massachusetts in the last month or so. I will occasionally do a news round-up to highlight pieces that I think will be of special interest to the Birth-Third community. I will also flag relevant summaries from Eye on Early Education, the blog published by Strategies for Children.

ROUND-UP

Boston’s prekindergarten results are getting much attention nationally. Recently a large delegation from Seattle visited, including the mayor, city council members, and a representative from the Gates Foundation. National Public Radio did a story on the visit, and Jason Sachs, the early childhood director at the Boston Public Schools, shared potential lessons for Seattle, including not only program components but staffing and compensation recommendations as well.

The Massachusetts Business and Education Alliance has released a vision for education in Massachusetts entitled, The New Opportunity to Lead. The report, profiled on the front page of Education Week, includes recommendations for improving early education and care (see chapter 6). Eye on Early Education’s summary is here.

The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center outlines three possible ways to fund expanding access to preschool in a recent report, Building a Foundation for Success. The Eye on Early Education summary is here.

I’ll be joining representatives of some of the first five EEC alignment partnerships at three regional ESE kindergarten networking meetings at the end of May. We’ll share some of the themes, patterns, and lessons learned that are emerging from the work thus far. District kindergarten coordinators will get the announcement soon. I’ll share the dates as soon as they are announced.

Next week I’ll report on today’s Turnaround with Wraparound Showcase in Worcester and the implications for Birth-Third efforts. Then after April vacation we’ll dig into Lowell’s quality improvement pilot projects in two neighborhoods and its emerging school readiness agenda.

High-Quality Early Education and Care Bring Health Benefits 30 Years Later

From the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute:

Long-term Health Benefits for FPG’s Abecedarian Kids

With substantial implications for health care and prevention policy, FPG is reporting today that children who received high-quality early care and education in FPG’s Abecedarian Project from birth until age 5 enjoy better physical health in their mid-30s than peers who did not attend the childcare-based program.

The findings appear today in Science and are the result of FPG’s collaboration with Nobel laureate James J. Heckman. Not only did FPG and Heckman’s colleagues determine that people who had received high-quality early care and education in the 1970s through the project are healthier now—significant measures also indicate better health lies ahead for them . . . [more]

 

Early Childhood Links of Interest

Teaching Children to Calm Themselves, a most-emailed article from the New York Times.

Finland’s Approach to Child Care and Preschool Programs, a post from Strategies for Children’s Eye on Early Education. The more exemplars we have for motivation and advocacy, the better. See the linked Washington Post interview as well.