The New York State Parent Guide-March Webinar

What new parent hasn't wished that a baby came with an instruction manual? While the New York State Council on Children and Families' new Parent Guide is not exactly an owner's manual, it's a close second. The Parent Guide — Starting Life Together: Your Guide for Building a Nurturing, Healthy Relationship with Your Child — offers key parenting tips, before and after your child arrives, up to age five. 

The Parenting Guide focuses on five key parenting behaviors: nurturing, protecting, guiding, communicating and supporting children's curiosity and learning. Expectant mothers can access important advice on exercise, nutrition and other healthy habits during pregnancy. Parents will find information on typical behavior for the age of their child and fun ways to encourage their child's healthy development. Included are valuable resources on safe sleep, use of car seats, breastfeeding and dental care, among others.

The website can be translated into hundreds of known written languages with a click of a button. Offering NY families consistent, research-based parenting & child development information in one spot in many languages!

 Come learn how you can help your friends, clients and neighbors find important information on how to obtain health insurance; locate child care and preschool, parent education and support programs. 


Wednesday, March 22, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Register here

 

 

 

The Aspire Registry February Newsletter

The Aspire Registry team has released their February newsletter. For more than a year now, the Aspire Registry Newsletter has discussed the latest Registry news and events, and highlighted the work of New York professionals in the field of early childhood. The newsletter also provides information about useful resources and tips for early childhood professionals. Each month, the newsletter is distributed to over 25,000 Aspire Registry members, a number that continues to grow.

In this month’s newsletter The Aspire Registry team discusses how early childhood educators can use the Core Body of Knowledge (CBK) to grow and refine their practice. You can access the CBK online here. The Institute currently has a social media series that is exploring the Core Body of Knowledge – you can follow along on our Facebook and Twitter pages as well.

This month the Aspire Registry Team is also working on collecting testimonials to get a sense of how members are using The Aspire Registry and what they think about the system. In addition, the newsletter features a spotlight on Beth Sparks, the Early Childhood Education Coordinator and Jamestown Community College and founder of Chautauqua Lake Child Care Center. She shares why she has devoted her life to young children and one of her favorite moments in the classroom.

To read the newsletter, click here.

Explore the Core Body of Knowledge!

The Institute is kicking off a social media series that will encourage our followers to explore the Core Body of Knowledge: New York State’s Core Competencies for Early Childhood Educators. The Core Body of Knowledge (CBK) outlines the knowledge, dispositions, and skills required to work with young children. It is an essential resource for all early childhood educators, offering a road map for building meaningful relationships with children, families and colleagues, for creating nurturing, stimulating environments, and for developing oneself as a professional in this incredibly important field. This document was also written for professionals who work directly with training organizations, teacher education programs, those involved with policy and advocacy initiative, those involved with professional development systems, and any others working to elevate this field and improve the quality of early childhood education.

This Tuesday, 2/7/17, our “Explore the Core Body of Knowledge Series” will kick off and we will be posting snapshots of the CBK twice a week. Be sure to follow us on our Facebook and Twitter to receive these updates!

The Rise of Play

The Aspire Registry January Newsletter

The Aspire Registry team has released their January newsletter. For more than a year now, the Aspire Registry Newsletter has discussed the latest Registry news and events, and highlighted the work of New York professionals in the field of early childhood. The newsletter also provides information about useful resources and tips for early childhood professionals. Each month, the newsletter is distributed to over 25,000 Aspire Registry members, a number that continues to grow.

In this month’s newsletter The Aspire Registry team discusses the difference between training and professional development. The Aspire Registry team also highlights their Statewide Training Calendar which allows members to find professional development by searching for trainings by topic, age group, or a specific trainer they have liked in the past. Lastly, the newsletter features a spotlight on the Institute’s Outreach and Communications Coordinator, Amy Ludwig! She shares how she realized her passion for early childhood education and her experience as part of the Aspire Registry team.

To read the newsletter, click here.

 

Governor Cuomo Supports QUALITYstarsNY for 2018

A message from Sherry M. Cleary, Executive Director:

Governor Cuomo’s 2018 budget proposal, released yesterday, includes a funding allocation of $5 million for QUALITYstarsNY for the second year in a row. We are grateful to have the support of the Governor’s office and we honor his commitment to high quality early childhood in New York State.

QUALITYstarsNY is New York’s early childhood quality rating and improvement system, designed to ensure that New York’s youngest children have access to high quality care and education across the state. With next year’s support, we will be able to continue to serve 750 early childhood programs and over 34,000 children. The parents of these thousands of children can confidently leave their children every day in the centers, schools, and family homes that participate in QUALITYstarsNY, knowing that their little ones are in the nurturing and stimulating environments that research shows is vital to their healthy development and lifelong success.

QUALITYstarsNY provides an evidence-based standards framework and uses a data tracking system to ensure maximum accountability and the efficient, effective use of public funds. Most importantly, it works. The number of highly rated programs increased by 65% over a three-year period. With the support of New York State and other public and private sources, QUALITYstarsNY is determined to expand the number of participating programs to provide access to excellent care to more children across the state and to protect the extensive investment made in Pre-K. With a target to serve 3,400 center- and school-based programs and 3,200 family providers serving 230,000 children, from birth through five years, within the next five years, additional support is urgently needed for the vital expansion of the program.   

Getting to know the Institute Staff: Meet Kate

Kate Tarrant is the Institute’s Director of Research and Evaluation. A central function of her work is facilitating the NYC Early Childhood Research Network , which funds research projects that examine the early care and education workforce of New York City’s universal prekindergarten programs in partnership with the Foundation for Child Development. We asked Kate to share some of her reflections about her work with us.

What is your current role? In your own words, how would you describe the work you do?

As the Director of Research and Evaluation for the Institute, my work falls into two buckets. First, I facilitate the NYC Early Childhood Research Network. The Research Network is a group of policymakers and early care and education researchers who are currently investigating the implementation of Pre-K for All with a particular focus on the early childhood educators and teaching practices. The research is designed to inform policy about early childhood education at all levels, especially since so much of NYC’s Pre-K is in sites with many different aged children. It’s my job to support their collaboration. The second major category of my work is to bring research and evaluation capacity to the Institute. This takes place in a number of ways. I design and conduct evaluations of some specific projects and then I also work with our other initiatives to do strategic planning about ways that we can track, improve, and showcase our work.

Who do you work most closely with at the Institute? What outside partners/organizations do you work with?

I am fortunate that I get to work closely with a lot of people within the Institute and with outside partners as well. Since I support research and evaluation activities across all of the Institute’s initiatives, I partner with all of the Directors. I am also currently evaluating our New York Public Library professional development project and so I am working closely with Helen Frazier, Director of Early Childhood, who is leading that work. I am lucky to work with many outside partners through the Research Network, including the early childhood leaders at ACS, DOE, and DOHMH, as well as early childhood faculty from the major universities and colleges throughout the metropolitan area.

What motivated you to work in the early childhood field?

I think the early childhood bug bit me when I was in high school and worked at a day camp as a counselor for four-year-old children. Since then, I’ve always wanted to work with children and families. My career in the early childhood field began about 15 years ago at an organization that advocated for young children’s safety, health, and wellbeing. In that role, I saw the importance of connecting research, practice, and policy and how a comprehensive approach to early childhood policy and practice had the potential to level the playing field and support children and families. Since that time, I have been committed to working toward that vision. I stay motivated because I’ve seen a lot of progress in policy and research focused on providing children from families who are economically disadvantaged with access to quality early learning. There are so many smart and dedicated people working hard toward the goal of providing children from birth through age eight with enriching and nurturing childhoods—but there is so much more to do!

If you could learn a new skill today, what would it be?

That’s a hard question. There is so much I’d like to learn. Learning how to play an instrument would be at the top of my list, I love to dance and listen to music, and when my children were babies, singing and listening to music became a huge part of our daily lives. It's therapeutic and inspirational. A close second would be to learn how to speak Spanish fluently.

What brings you joy in your work?

I really enjoy working with and learning from people who are dedicated to young children’s wellbeing. I feel like anyone who is involved in helping young children thrive has an important perspective. With my work, I try to elevate voices from the field to make more responsive early childhood policy.

If you had one piece of advice for a new early childhood teacher, what would it be?

Take care of yourself and have fun. For me, the best way to do that has been through supportive relationships with my colleagues who I can laugh with, vent to, and learn from.

The Aspire Registry December Newsletter

The Aspire Registry team has released their December newsletter. For more than a year now, the Aspire Registry Newsletter has discussed the latest Registry news and events, and highlighted the work of New York professionals in the field of early childhood. The newsletter also provides information about useful resources and tips for early childhood professionals. Each month, the newsletter is distributed to over 25,000 Aspire Registry members, a number that continues to grow.

In this month’s newsletter The Aspire Registry team shares a year in review reflecting on their many accomplishments! One highlight is that the number of Aspire members continue to grow which means many early childhood professionals are taking charge of their career growth and professional development using the tools available in the registry. Additionally the Aspire Registry team discusses their Facebook page where they interact with their members and post all things related to early childhood topics every weekday! They include a link to their Facebook page in the newsletter. Lastly, the newsletter features a spotlight on Rebeca Filion who is the director at Champlain Children’s Learning Center, Inc. She shares how she thought she would move on to teach elementary school and what led her to stay in child care.

To read the newsletter, click here

Authentic Assessment: A Critical Tool for Early Childhood Educators

Elisa A. Hartwig

Authentic assessment is a powerful tool for early childhood educators to analyze information gathered during everyday classroom activities and routines in order to understand each unique child’s development. Consistent and comprehensive reflection on observation notes, photos, artistic creations, emergent writing, and dictations provides teachers with meaningful insight about each child and about the group as a whole. With this insight, teachers can plan activities and experiences that are responsive to children’s interests and needs. Teachers can share their understanding of each child’s growth with his or her family, while also gaining important insight from them in return.

A robust, on-going authentic assessment practice can also help early childhood educators to make sure that they aren’t mistakenly seeing children for something they’re not. Authentic assessment is even more powerful because it can reduce unintended, or implicit, biases. Implicit biases are automatic, subconscious ways that we read the environment and predict behavior. Specifically, implicit biases can affect teachers’ expectations of and interactions with the young children in their classrooms.

In a recent study by Walter Gilliam at the Yale Child Study Center, preschool teachers were shown to erroneously expect challenging behavior from Black boys, even when no behavior challenges were present. This suggests that preschool teachers may hold differential expectations of challenging behavior based on the race of the child. The study also demonstrated that preschool teachers who were not of the same race/ethnicity as the child were more likely to perceive severely problematic behavior as typical or expected.

Gilliam became interested in preschool teachers’ biases following data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights showing that Black and Latino male preschoolers are suspended and expelled disproportionately – nearly four times as often as their White peers. Unnecessary suspensions and expulsions deny our youngest residents the right to educational opportunities and put them at a disadvantage for further success and well-being. The Institute applauds the New York State Education Department’s commitment to eliminating these practices in all early childhood settings by the 2017-2018 school year.  The Institute also acknowledges New York City’s Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina’s strong stance against suspensions and expulsions for young children up through 2nd grade.

Using authentic assessment to ground teachers’ understanding of children’s development in a collection of evidence that strives for objectivity and that is visible and accessible by others can help early childhood teachers to reduce implicit biases. The Institute’s Authentic Assessment Specialists guide teachers to record observations only of what they see and hear, thereby eliminating assumptions and interpretations about what a child might be thinking, feeling, or intending to do. Authentic assessment practice guides teachers to see children in a strengths-based way, rather than in terms of potential deficits or challenging behaviors. It allows children to be different – in fact, authentic assessment leads teachers’ to embody the Core Value of the New York State Core Body of Knowledge: “Every human being is a unique individual, with diverse modes of learning and expression as well as interests and strengths.”

Increasingly, kindergarten teachers are taking an interest in authentic assessment as an alternative to tests that can be anxiety-inducing and developmentally inappropriate for young children. Lindsey Desmond, a veteran kindergarten teacher in Manhattan, explains: “It’s a different frame for student achievement that focuses not on what the child didn’t get, but on her strengths, on what she can do and does know. It also gives a more interdisciplinary approach and so can be integrated into your practice more naturally, and it’s more culturally relevant as well because you can more easily utilize the child’s frame of reference in lesson-planning. Authentic assessment is culturally responsive because children can demonstrate how they apply concepts within their own cultural schemas rather than in a predetermined way.”

The Aspire Registry November Newsletter

aspirenovemberThe Aspire Registry team has released their November newsletter. For more than a year now, the Aspire Registry Newsletter has discussed the latest Registry news and events, and highlighted the work of New York professionals in the field of early childhood. The newsletter also provides information about useful resources and tips for early childhood professionals. Each month, the newsletter is distributed to over 24,000 Aspire Registry members, a number that continues to grow.

In this month’s newsletter, the first article discusses the benefits of being a member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). The Aspire Registry team also announces that they recently received the Elijah McCoy Award by the City University of New York’s Office of the Senior University Dean for Academic Affairs. The award recognizes the team’s use of creativity and innovation to develop new or improved processes, methods, systems, services, or programs. Lastly, the newsletter features a spotlight on Stefanie Straker, a QUALITYstarsNY Quality Improvement Specialist.

To read the newsletter, click here.