Roundtable Discussion: Why Does Investing in Young Children Matter?

EDC recently published a short Round Table discussion on early childhood. Topics include the role of pediatricians in supporting social-emotional development, early childhood education in developing countries, and new research by James Heckman. I close out the Round Table with a discussion of community partnerships.

https://go.edc.org/q4ys

A Bright Year for Early Childhood Education (U.S. News)

Sara Mead’s take on some of 2016’s positive developments includes a number of interesting links to new programs and research. She sets up this article from U.S. News and World Report saying,

“But there are also lots of good things happening in our world today. And one reason I’m glad to work in early childhood education is that it kept reminding me of that this year. It’s not just that the kids are cute, or that their incredibly capacity for joy and learning fill me with wonder on an ongoing basis.

To be sure, working in early childhood is still very frustrating: Sometimes the challenges seem overwhelming. There are still too few resources; early childhood workers are paid much too little; too many children remain in childcare settings that are really not good places for them; and as a society we’re still squandering tremendous opportunities to help all of our littlest learners meet their full potential.

Yet, I also see evidence that things are getting better. It’s happening in lots of small ways we barely notice – and also in some big ones. And while they may not always be sexy or dramatic, these small steps are often the way big changes ultimately occur, and offer a path to lasting changes that really improve outcomes for kids and families.”

See the full article here.

Building a Citywide Birth—3rd System: One City’s Plan

We are aware that building a coherent system is more time consuming and less flashy than just adding more slots or more dollars to an existing system. But we have an opportunity to … build a system that coherently knits together our existing resources and thoughtfully brings in new resources to meet the needs of our youngest residents.
–Richard Rossi, City Manager, Cambridge, Massachusetts

This is about as important as it gets, frankly. Achievement gaps do not begin in the fifth grade or the third grade. They begin much earlier. The right way to reduce and eventually eliminate achievement gaps is to start early…I believe whole-heartedly that with this effort to get there, we can make that difference. It is about coherence. The adults have to come together.
–Jeff Young, Superintendent of Schools, Cambridge, MA, speaking to a joint meeting of the City Council and School Committee

On November 16, the City Council and School Committee in Cambridge, MA met to review an ambitious set of recommendations to develop a citywide Birth through Third Grade (Birth—3rd) system.  The recommendations were presented by the City Manager, the Superintendent, and the city’s Early Childhood Task Force with the aim of expanding access to early childhood services and improving quality across the organizations that serve young children and their families. These recommendations are intended to guide a significant financial investment the city will make in improving Birth—3rd services, projected at $1.3 million in the first year, $2.6 million in the second year, and potentially increasing further in subsequent years. Continue reading “Building a Citywide Birth—3rd System: One City’s Plan”