By Katrina Schwartz
The first Breakout Angie Sutherland designed was in response to a teacher’s request for an activity to help her students improve their teamwork skills. The teacher was concerned that her students didn’t communicate well when they collaborated on projects and that they gave up too easily when an academic task became challenging. Sutherland immediately thought of Breakouts, activities based on the popular escape room experience where groups of people working together under time pressure solve a series of puzzles. As a technology integrationist for Batavia Public Schools, a district outside Chicago, Sutherland was excited to give the strategy a try.
“The growth for students when doing something like that goes beyond the curriculum,” Sutherland said. “I think it’s so important for us to encourage kids to have that productive struggle and how to handle that once you’ve encountered it. And this particular activity has so much value in helping kids overcome some fears for taking risks and failure.”
Source: Building Teamwork and Perseverance in Early Elementary Students with Breakouts | MindShift | KQED News
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced today that the California Department of Education (CDE) was awarded a federal Preschool Development Birth Through Five Initial Grant Award for $10,620,000 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families. It was one of 45 states/territories that received the grant award.
These grants help states analyze and enhance their early learning and care systems to maximize the availability of high-quality early learning and care options for low-income and disadvantaged families. It will also help California improve the quality of early childhood care by streamlining administrative and funding systems.
“This grant helps streamline access to early education through more effective and efficient operations,” said Thurmond. “That in turn will help us take a step towards meeting the crucial goal of expanding these programs and reducing the achievement gap.”
Source: Nearly $11 Million Early Childhood Education Grant – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)
By Kristin Schumacher
For the fifth year in a row, funding for California’s subsidized child care and development system has increased. This system provides critical child care and early learning opportunities for a limited number of children from low- and moderate-income families, but state funding was cut dramatically during and after the Great Recession, while federal funding for subsidized child care remained relatively flat. This meant that fewer children and families received subsidized care than prior to the onset of the Great Recession. However, state policymakers have incrementally reinvested in these programs and services beginning with the 2014-15 state fiscal year, and bipartisan support for subsidized child care at the federal level has resulted in newly available federal funds, as well. Due to these investments, after adjusting for inflation, overall funding for California’s subsidized child care and development system in the 2018-19 fiscal year is $3.887 billion, 15% greater than in 2017-18 ($3.375 billion), and nearly even with funding levels in 2007-08, prior to the onset of the Great Recession (see chart).
Source: Dollars for Child Care and Preschool in 2018-19 Near Pre-Recession Levels With Boost From One-Time Funding – California Budget & Policy Center
By Daily Republic Staff
Legislation that would allow all 4-year-olds to attend transitional kindergarten passed the Senate Education Committee on Wednesday.
“I strongly believe that universal early childhood education is an investment in our future that will pay dividends for years to come,” Sen. Bill Dodd, who authored Senate Bill 837, said in a statement released Wednesday. “It is absolutely essential for economic vitality and social mobility. California must step up our investment in the next generation.”
The existing transitional kindergarten program is available to children who turn 5 shortly after the first semester of a school year.
Source: Dodd’s universal preschool bill clears Education Committee
By Daily Republic Staff
A Reading is Fundamental $10,000 grant has been received for The Read for Success summer reading program.
First 5 Solano and Solano County Office of Education received the grant, which will be used at the Pre-K academies in the county’s seven cities, targeting children who have never had a prior preschool experience or who are considered high-risk.
The funds were part of a matching grant program. First 5 Solano and the Solano County Office of Education each added $5,000 for a total of $20,000 for the reading program.
Source: Grant will provide pre-kindergarten children with summer reading
By Daily Republic Staff
The Solano County Child Care and Development Planning Council will host a community meeting on Child Care and Early Education from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Mary Bird Early Education Center, 420 E. Tabor Ave.
Guest speakers include Solano County Superintendent of Schools Lisette Estrella-Henderson and Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, who will discuss his transitional kindergarten expansion bill.
The meeting will include a public hearing on the state of early care and education in Solano County and updates on local, state and federal policies affecting the field.
Source: Community meeting set to discuss Solano child care, early education
By Michael Morris
The children-crafted decorations were hung in the McBride Senior Center with care, in hopes that St. Nicholas would soon be there.
The eager children weren’t nestled or snug in their beds, they were there for breakfast dressed in white, green and red.
Families spilled into the local senior center as the aroma of pancakes and sausage circulated through the air Saturday morning.
For recreation coordinator Penny Hernandez, the opportunity to host the annual event for families is accented by the volunteer efforts of her own family. With much-appreciated assistance from her husband Joe Hernandez in the kitchen, Penny was able to host the North Pole native for the sixth straight year.
Source: Santa Claus stops for pancake breakfast in Vacaville
Attendance Works is pleased to announce the release of its chronic absence reports for early childhood programs in partnership with ChildPlus and with COPA, two leading data management systems for Head Start and other early childhood programs.
Both online systems translate attendance data into charts that provide a clear picture of the level of chronic absence. This data will help Head Start agencies set strategies and target resources to address attendance challenges. Each chart links back to individual children. The online services make otherwise hard-to find information readily available, so professionals can spend time addressing rather than defining their attendance challenges.
Source: New preschool chronic absence reports from Child Plus and COPA – Attendance Works Attendance Works
By Doug Ford
Last week I reviewed some important points made by Peter D. Salins in his book “The Smart Society: Strengthening America’s Greatest Resource, its People.” He identified the “Megagap,” between the performance levels of the mainstream of American students and the “disadvantaged American youngsters of all ethnic groups” as the biggest problem in American education
Salins argued that we have followed strategies for closing the Megagap that didn’t work for more than six decades. He pointed out that our inadequate graduation levels from high school and college are a direct result of lack of effort to enable disadvantaged students to overcome their cultural literacy deficit before they start first grade and in the early years of elementary school.
Then he shows several examples of what has been demonstrated to work: well-designed and supported preschool programs. “Although a growing volume of empirically solid research confirms the cultural deficit hypothesis, this finding has been largely ignored or rejected by the American educational establishment.”… “This has led to a nationwide profusion of ineffective or inefficient preschools, undermining the rationale and broad-based public support for significantly expanding the preschool enterprise.”
Source: Doug Ford: Understanding importance of preschool education
On June 27, Governor Brown signed the 2017-18 state budget bill. This year’s budget agreement includes a number of improvements over earlier proposals, though the overall scope of state investments remains constrained by uncertainty about potential federal policy changes. The 2017-18 budget package:
- Expands the California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC) to well over 1 million additional families by expanding the credit to the self-employed and increasing the income eligibility limits.
- Reflects an agreement between the Governor and legislative leaders over how to spend Proposition 56 tobacco tax revenues for Medi-Cal, with this funding going to supplemental payments for Medi-Cal providers and also to covering ordinary spending growth in the program.
Source: First Look: Enacted Budget Includes a Number of Improvements, Reflects Ongoing Uncertainty About Federal Commitments – California Budget & Policy Center
By Louis Freedberg and Susan Frey
Despite continuing efforts to expand learning time for young children, large numbers of low-income California children still lack access to full-day programs in state-supported preschool, according to a new EdSource report.
The report, titled “Expanding Early Learning Time: Accessing Full Day Preschool and Kindergarten in California,” points to compelling research that shows that attending high-quality, full-day preschool is associated with improved learning outcomes for students. A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, for example, found that full-day preschool attendance contributed to greater school readiness on four measures: social-emotional development, language development, math performance and physical health.
Source: California still has a way to go in offering ‘full-day’ preschool | EdSource
By Nick Sestanovich
Preschool is an important milestone in every person’s life. It is when children take their first steps into the world of education. However, it can be a lot of work just to get started. Thankfully, as they have in the past, the Benicia Moms Group will be hosting an Early Education Fair to let parents know what to expect. According to Brittainy Sapien, a vice president of administration for Benicia Moms Group, the group first hosted a Preschool Fair in 2013 under the guidance of member Ann Brooner. It was also held in 2014 and 2015 but was canceled in 2016 due to a lack of resources and intesrest. “When we did not host the fair in 2016, we had heard a lot of feedback that people had missed the fair, so we knew that it was an important thing to bring back to the community,” Sapien said. With the help of Benicia Unified School District and First 5 Solano, the Early Education Fair is back to provide information on preschool and kindergarten. Parents can have questions about preschool answered, meet with community resources and learn about activities and childcare for kids ages 5 and under. Benicia Unified representatives will also be on hand to talk about kindergarten preparedness.
Source: Benicia Moms Group’s Early Education Fair returns
By Daily Republic Staff
The Solano County Office of Education will host a class called “From Scribble to Script: Developmental Writing in Preschool” on Feb. 4.
Participants will discuss developmental writing as it’s presented in the state’s Preschool Learning Foundation and Desired Results Developmental Profile 2015.
Strategies to facilitate development at each stage of writing will be shared.
Source: Workshop set to examine developmental writing in preschoolers
By Times Herald Staff
A rating system designed to monitor and improve the early education of Solano County children is now in effect.
The program, known as the Solano Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS), was created by The Solano County Office of Education, First 5 Solano and additional community partners, according to a news release.
The system assists pre-kindergarten care providers with implementing standards of quality and informing parents of the elements and outcomes of quality education.
This is achieved through on-site coaching, technical assistance, professional development and observation.
The Solano QRIS also enables providers to offer program incentives and ongoing support to families.
Source: Pre-K education rating system enacted in Solano County
By Elissa Nadworny
Is preschool worth it? Policymakers, parents, researchers and us, at NPR Ed, have spent a lot of time thinking about this question.
We know that most pre-kindergarten programs do a good job of improving ‘ specific skills like phonics and counting, as well as broader social and emotional behaviors, by the time students enter kindergarten. Just this week, a study looking at more than 20,000 students in a state-funded preschool program in Virginia found that kids made large improvements in their alphabet recognition skills.
So the next big question to follow is, of course, Do these benefits last? New research out of North Carolina says yes, they do. The study found that early childhood programs in that state resulted in higher test scores, a lower chance of being held back in a grade, and a fewer number of children with special education placements. Those gains lasted up through the fifth grade.
Source: A Lesson For Preschools: When It’s Done Right, The Benefits Last : NPR Ed : NPR
By Amy Maginnis-Honey
There were traffic jams but no crashes Wednesday at the ninth annual trike-a-thon at T.C. McDaniel Early Learning Center.
The event raises money for the school’s motor lab while supporting motor development in preschoolers with all ability levels.
The youngsters, ages 2 to 5, were cheered on by parents and staff at the center as they launched laps under an arch of balloons. There were pompoms for those who wanted to take cheering an extra step.
Some participants opted to ride in wagons pulled by staff and family.
Source: Preschoolers apply pedal power at Fairfield trike-a-thon
By Richard Bammer
Fairfield Mayor Harry Price said the opening of a newly refurbished city school means the surrounding East Tabor Avenue neighborhood will be “going from despair to hope.”
His remarks came moments before Fairfield-Suisun Unified leaders cut the symbolic ribbon to open the Mary Bird Early Childhood Education Center, where, beginning today, the first day of the new academic year in the county’s largest school district, nearly 100 preschoolers, ages 3 to 4, almost half of them with special needs, will file through the freshly painted doorways and into six classrooms.
Source: Fairfield-Suisun school leaders open Mary Bird preschool
By Daily Republic Staff
Officials with the Vacaville School District have announced a new integrated preschool opportunity for youngsters.
The Integrated Preschool Program will bring preschoolers with and without disabilities together to learn, according to the district.
Classes are intended to help children experience different developmental, social and behavioral models from other children, the district said. The blended environment emphasizes compassion, understanding and positive perceptions of diversity and disability.
Source: New school year brings new program to Vacaville schools
By Richard Bammer
A new Vacaville Unified program will bring together preschoolers with and without disabilities to learn together, district officials have announced.
Integrated Preschool Program classes, to be offered at Hemlock Elementary and the Irene Larsen Preschool Center, are intended “to help children experience different developmental, social and behavioral models from other children,” Rae Ann Quinata, an assistant in the district’s public information office, wrote in a press release.
The blended environment, in two-hour per day classroom settings, emphasizes compassion, understanding and positive perceptions of diversity and disability, she added.
In the written statement, Kuljeet Nijjar, a district special education preschool coordinator, said the program will provide “greater compassion and a more positive perception of children with disabilities.”
Source: New Vacaville school program to pair preschoolers with and without disabilities
By John Fensterwald
Advocates for expanding early childhood education and for better preparing low-income high school students for state universities wrested substantial money in the compromise state budget, announced Thursday, that legislative leaders and Gov. Jerry Brown have negotiated. The Legislature will vote next week on the $122 billion plan for the fiscal year starting July 1.
Although less than they wanted, members of the Legislative Women’s Caucus got a down payment on a half-billion dollar increase for child care and state-funded preschools over the next four years. By 2019-20, that will include ramping up to an additional 8,877 slots for full-day state preschool and increases in reimbursement rates for child-care providers to reflect increases in the state minimum wage. The first 2,969 preschool slots will open up in March 2017.
“This is going to be the biggest appropriation in a decade,” Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, D-Bell Gardens,vice chairwoman of the Women’s Caucus, told the Los Angeles Times, referring to the increased costs in future years. “We’re trying to be progressive and think about the future.”
Source: Gov. Brown agrees to add money for child care, preschool in budget | EdSource