Early Education Spotlight: Kris Larson’s Family Child Care

By: Marie Huey

Early Education Spotlight is an ongoing series that showcases the great work happening in quality child care and preschool settings across Minnesota.

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Children play and learn in Larson’s outdoor garden.

Kris Larson’s Family Child Care program in White Bear Lake takes full advantage of learning opportunities in the great outdoors. The children read, eat, and do art projects outside whenever possible. They thrive in the outdoors, and it gives them the space they need to move their bodies and explore. And this year, their outdoor curriculum received a big bump. Continue reading Early Education Spotlight: Kris Larson’s Family Child Care

Word Pedometers Brought to Minneapolis to Help Close Word Gap

By: Maya Fanjul-Debnam

Minnesota is heralding in an innovative program to help close the word gap. The word gap–a 30 million word deficit between children from low income families and their more well-off peers– is evident by age 3. In order for it to be reversed, children need both parents and caregivers to speak, sing and read to them often.

This new approach to early literacy, originated by the LENA Research Foundation, is designed to make a tangible change to those stats by encouraging parents to be more intentional about building vocabulary-enhancing interactions into their parenting.  Continue reading Word Pedometers Brought to Minneapolis to Help Close Word Gap

Voters Agree: Early Education is a Top Priority

By: Maya Fanjul-Debnam

In this current political climate, tensions are running high between parties, and it appears as if there’s nothing we can agree on. Nothing that is, except early care and education.

A recent national poll conducted by the First Five Years Fund found that 90 percent of voters agree that Congress and the next president should work to make quality early education accessible to low and middle-income families. As highlighted in the First Five Years Fund study:

“There is overwhelming support—with little opposition—for a federal plan that helps states and local communities provide better access to quality early childhood education. Nearly three quarters of the electorate support this plan: 73% favor and only 24% oppose. 54% of Republicans, 70% of Independents, 91% of Democrats voice support. A majority of key swing voter groups also favor investing more in early childhood education from birth to age five.”

Continue reading Voters Agree: Early Education is a Top Priority

Early Education Spotlight: Aldrich Memorial Nursery School

By: Marie Huey

Early Education Spotlight is an ongoing series that showcases the great work happening in high-quality early learning settings across Minnesota. The first installment features Aldrich Memorial Nursery School and its director, Kevin Ewing.

Director Kevin Ewing brings a unique perspective to his position as Director of Aldrich Memorial Nursery School in Rochester, Minnesota. In past roles as both a teacher and principal for Rochester Public Schools, he saw the importance of providing children with a good social and educational foundation to prepare them for success at school. Through this lens, Ewing operates Aldrich, a non-profit preschool serving children ages two to five. It started in 1944 as a program connected with the Mayo Clinic in a downtown building near the hospital, but it now operates independently. Continue reading Early Education Spotlight: Aldrich Memorial Nursery School