This past month Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary Arne Duncan, Jennifer Garner, Alma Powell, and Laurie Berkner spoke about why we need our early learning policies to begin at birth. Click here to watch the Virtual Baby Rally.
GROW AMERICA STRONGER WITH QUALITY EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION
Quality family education, home visiting, Early Head Start, childcare, early learning for infants and toddlers, Head Start and public and private preschool programs—all are essential resources to help parents create better education, health and economic outcomes for their children and our country. Click here to read more.
For information regarding Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge states and the FY11 Scopes of Work, please click here.
Delaware, through its progress in Early Learning Challenge grant implementation, has made marked progress by increasing the number of top tier, high quality programs in STARS and by serving more children with high needs through those programs. Click here to read Delaware's Annual Progress Report.
* Would you like to learn more about Delaware's Early Learning Program? Click here!
"Promise Neighborhoods is a federal place-based initiative intended to turn neighborhoods of concentrated poverty into neighborhoods of opportunity."
Youth Policy Institute
The Los Angeles Promise Neighorhood has multiple projects including "Cradle-to-College-and Career Support", a new model for collaboration, andintegrating wrap-around services for prenatal and ealry childhood development. Click here to read more!
"I3 is a federal initiative intended to improve student achievement, decrease dropout rates, and increase college enrollment and completion rates."
St. Vrain Valley Schools
The District’s grant plan focuses on expanding programs for at risk students in seven schools, including extending the school year at four elementary schools, targeting math students at risk of failing at two middle schools and fully implementing the STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) academy at Skyline High School.
The Arts in Early Learning: From the Classroom to the State of the Union
Click here to read how President Obama's universal pre-k initiative is impacting educators.
The Office of Early Learning is in collaborative efforts with many government and non-government agencies. Here we highlight early learning work at our agency partners.
Institute of Museum and Library Services
Did you know that the Institute of Museum and Library Services has more than 140,000 museums and libraries in this country? Each of these museums and libraries can help in the nation's efforts around early learning. Click here to read more.
The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP)-funded Center for IDEA Early Childhood Data Systems (DaSy), Early Childhood Outcomes (ECO) Center, and Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (ETCA) will be hosting a national meeting at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC on September 15-17, 2013. The “Improving Data, Improving Outcomes” meeting combines issues related to the measurement and use of child and family outcomes data and issues related to the development of coordinated early childhood data systems and the inclusion of early childhood data in longitudinal data systems in order to make data driven decisions to improve services and systems to produce better outcomes. Additional information on the meeting, including registration, is available here.
National Center for Special Education Research
The report describes what has been learned from research grants on early intervention and early childhood education funded by the Institute's National Center for Education Research and National Center for Special Education Research, and published in peer-reviewed outlets through June 2010. This synthesis describes contributions to the knowledge base produced by IES-funded research across four focal areas: early childood classroom environments and general instructional practices, educational practices designed to impact children's academic and social outcomes, measuring young children's skills and learning, and professional development for early educators. Click here to access the report.
Department of Education Invites Districts to Apply for $120 Million in Race to the Top Funds to Support Classroom-Level Reform Efforts
"The Race to the Top-District competition is an opportunity for trailblazing districts across the country to implement models of personalized learning so that every child graduates college and career ready," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. "The program is designed to support teachers and school leaders in their use of innovation strategies as we seek to build a stronger future for America's students." Click here to read more.
Open enrollment for healthcare coverage begins Oct. 1, 2013. Stay informed and visit healthcare.gov!
By Anni Krummel Reinking
Q: How did you begin your career in early learning?
Rhian: I started in the mid 1990s with a push from a friend to work for Children Action Alliance, which is a state based child advocacy organization. In my position, I became involved in the reauthorization of Arizona's 'Success by Six' initiative, which included home visiting, family literacy support, and health start. After starting in the 1990s, I never looked back. I knew my life’s work was to advocate for children.
Q: Why is early learning important for our communities and nation?
Rhian: I have experienced firsthand that high quality early childhood education is a benefit to more than my children and my family. In working with community and state partners, I have seen the positive changes for working families and children. It allows families to work, which builds our economy in the short term and it prepares children for school success which has long term societal and economic benefits. Through high quality child care, Head Start and Early Head Start, prekindergarten, and early intervention, we can support parents and optimize experiences for children. If we do this piece well, everything we care about will fall into place—reading at grade level, increased graduation rates, reduced special education placements, and more high school graduates ready for college and success as adults. It is a domino effect. If we miss this opportunity we spend our time and more public dollars to close gaps that we know how to prevent.
Q: What, if any, barriers do you see in the early learning field?
Rhian: We have made progress but we still have a long way to go. The parents do not have adequate options. Only one in 6 eligible children receives child care assistance; less than five percent of eligible babies and toddlers can receive Early Head Start, and far too many eligible children can enroll in Head Start or state-funded prekindergarten. Also, the early childhood workforce, including K-3rd grade—is 2 million strong. Overall, this is an incredibly committed workforce but with subpar wages it is difficult to attract and retain good teachers and staff. There are still too few supports s for higher education and ongoing professional development.
Q: How does the President’s Initiative play a role in early learning?
Rhian: To have President Obama value the role of early learning enough to speak about it in the State of the Union address and place it prominantly in his budget agenda speaks volumes to where we are headed as a nation. In particular, the President’s initiative is important because it recognizes a continuum of development and learning that starts at birth, moving through the toddler and preschool years.
Q: How do you see the (NAEYC) being part of the national movement regarding early learning?
NAEYC has rich history at the national, state and local levels. First, through accreditation, we have standards for the quality of child care centers and schools. NAEYC accredited programs are recognized as the mark of quality for children from birth through kindergarten. We have standards for early childhood teachers and other professionals working with children from birth through age 8. These standards are used not only by programs and institutions, but are incorporated in state QRIS, prekindergarten, higher education and K-3 federal, state and local policies.
One of the best ways to get things done is through partnerships and NAEYC is committed to partnerships both at the state and national levels. We are the largest professional organization in the early childhood field. It allows us to convene not only our state and local affiliate leaders and members, but also a wide swath of the early childhood practitioners, research experts, faculty and system administrators to discuss key issues and to advocate. They lend a credible and trusted voice to the national conversation.
Anni Krummel Reinking is an intern in the Office of Early Learning, an early childhood special education teacher, and a doctorate student at Illinois State University.
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