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Strong Foundations For Our Youngest Children

BUILDing Strong Foundations

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We need to address what research has uncovered: a person’s zip code has greater bearing on health outcomes and life expectancy than do genes. This is about the impact of access - or the lack thereof - to opportunity. It is also about racism. Research studies have repeatedly documented that psychological stress as a result of racial discrimination contributes to racial health disparities, on top of the the ways in which racial discrimination impacts access to high quality programs and services.

Our weekly education news digest is ready for you! Find out what staff at BUILD are reading this week.

Suspension and expulsion of children from early learning settings has been a subject of intense focus recently. It is indeed a topic worthy of discussion – and in need of sensible solutions. As Walter Gilliam’s seminal research on the topic notes, the rate of preschool children being expelled nationally is triple that of children in K-12. In addition, stark racial and gender disparities persist in expulsion rates.

Our weekly education news digest is ready for you! Find out what staff at BUILD are reading this week.

A partnership between the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the BUILD Initiative worked to strengthen collaboration among leaders in museums, libraries, and early childhood systems to increase opportunities for young children and families often identified as high need, particularly those without access to museums and libraries and lacking sufficient early learning and development opportunities.

By Anne Mitchell

President of Early Childhood Research and Co-Founder of the Alliance for Early Childhood Finance

The BUILD Initiative paper, Quality Rating and Improvement Systems: Stakeholder Theories of Change and Models of Practice, by Diane Schilder and Iheoma Iruka with Harriet Dichter and Debi Mathias captures the changing context and the factors influencing QRIS. The recommendations it offers are beyond reproach, with each one providing a concept worthy of its own focus.

By Harriet Dichter
In this blog post, Dichter writes about the latest addition to BUILD’s e-book on the Early Learning Challenge, Rising to the Challenge: Building Effective Systems for Young Children and Families. The prologue, entitled Coming of Age: A Review of Federal Early Childhood Policy 2000-2015, is written by Joan Lombardi, an energizing and intrepid force in our country’s early childhood movement, with co-authors and newly-minted policy researchers Jessica F. Harding, Maia C. Connors and Allison H. Friedman-Krauss.

By Susan G. Hibbard
Executive Director, BUILD Initiative

BUILD turned to Dr. Linda Espinosa and Miriam Calderon to find out the extent to which states’ ELDS reflect the current research and address the learning needs of young dual language learners. They examined 23 states’ ELDS for pre-k-aged children to determine the most common approaches for representing dual language learners across a broad set of criteria. Their report, “State Early Learning and Development Standards/Guidelines, Policies & Related Practices: How responsive are they to the needs of young dual language learners?" includes an individual state profile that summarizes how each state is addressing the needs of young dual language leaners, and concludes with recommendations for how states can be more responsive to the needs of dual language learners in their ELDS and other components of their early childhood system.

By Ruth Trombka
Editor and Writer, BUILD Initiative

In December, the Brookings Institution and the American Enterprise Institute published “Opportunity, Responsibility, and Security: A Consensus Plan for Reducing Poverty and Restoring the American Dream,” a plan to ameliorate one of our country’s most deeply-rooted problems. The plan is distinctive in that it addresses poverty by simultaneously focusing on issues related to family, work, and education. In this blog post Editor and Writer Ruth Trombka examines what this means for early childhood advocates.

By Dana Friedman
Implementing state pre-k policy is extremely challenging for several reasons.  In many communities where the demographics are changing, underlying racism and xenophobia can turn away non-native English speaking parents seeking to register their children for pre-k because they have not brought with them documentation proving residency. I witnessed this firsthand at a Long Island school in one of the eleven underserved districts where The Early Years Institute works to improve school readiness.  

Joan Lombardi
Director of Early Opportunities LLC

Lombardi explores chapter 8 of Rising to the Challenge. In this chapter, Debi Mathias chronicles the history, trends and innovations that have come to characterize this unique way of thinking about quality. In many ways, QRIS was the heart of the Early Learning Challenge as it was one way to assess a primary goal of a program: to increase the number and percentage of low-income and disadvantaged young children enrolled in high-quality early learning programs.  This made the validity of the standards particularly important.

As Thanksgiving approaches, we all look forward to extra days off and the lavish meal that the holiday brings. We also do our best to remind ourselves that we have so much more than time off and a great meal to be thankful for  - including everything from warm winter coats to the comfort of our loved ones. At BUILD, we believe that standing out among our riches are the people and efforts serving young children and families. As they take our field in bold directions, often despite daunting challenges, many inspire us on a personal level. We want to recognize them by sharing them with you here.

By Stacie G. Goffin, Rhian Evans Allvin, Deb Fils, and Albert Wat

During a plenary session of the 2015 QRIS National Learning Network’s national meeting, panelists explored questions critical to advancing early childhood education (ECE), in particular the fragmentation of the field and the variability in the quality of children’s formal early learning experiences. Moving beyond attempts to only solve existing problems, in this guest blog post Stacie G. Goffin, Rhian Evans Allvin, Deb Flis, and Albert Wat answer and pose challenging questions on how to develop the future of the ECE as a professional field of practice.

Joan Lombardi, Ph.D.
Director, Early Opportunities LLC

It seems like just a few years ago that information about young children, families and the people who care for them was confined to writing on index cards or sporadic surveys and always had missing data elements. This hit or miss data collection, while changing, often still leaves policymakers and practitioners without adequate information to make informed decisions.

Charlie Bruner, PhD
Research and Evaluation Partner, BUILD Initiative 
Executive Director, Child and Family Policy Center

The Child and Family Policy Center (CFPC) and Every Child Matters (ECM) just released poll results showing how Iowa voters rank issues by importance for the next presidential candidate to address – and how they view children and their needs.

Debi Mathias
Director, QRIS National Learning Network, BUILD Initiative

You probably have visited an early childhood classroom that has “it” – that energy you feel when you walk in the door, a tangible feeling of excitement. Children are playing, laughing, testing out new ideas, problem solving, all engrossed in an inquiry approach to learning.

Sherri Killins, Ed.D
Director of Systems Alignment and Integration, BUILD Initiative

Released this week, Catherine Scott-Little and Kelly Maxwell’s chapter, Improving Systems of Learning Through the Use of Child Standards and Assessments, focuses on the practices of eight Early Learning Challenge states as part of BUILD’s E-Book, Rising to the Challenge: Building Effective Systems for Young Children and Families.

Joan Lombardi, Ph.D.
Director, Early Opportunities LLC

The importance of assuring linkages between early childhood programs and the early grades of school is a concept that has grown over the years.

Ruth Trombka
Editor and Writer, BUILD Initiative

Reflections on Father’s Day

Joan Lombardi, Ph.D.
Director, Early Opportunities LLC

Science tells us that the adults in children lives, and the relationships the adults form with children, are the cornerstone of healthy and successful child development. While everyone talks about this science, reality does not fit the rhetoric: teachers are underpaid, parents can’t afford child care, and quality suffers.