From Cars to Early Care and Education: Getting the Data We Need to Make the Best Decisions

Nancy Jost 2014By: Nancy Jost, Early Childhood Coordinator for West Central Initiative

Remember the last time you bought a car? I’m guessing you started by thinking about what is best for you and your family. Perhaps you thought about a large vehicle for hauling the soccer team to tournaments, or a small, efficient car for taking the family on road trips. After listing your priorities, maybe you searched for online reviews of vehicles that met your needs. You likely read consumer reviews and picked up an auto magazine.

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Macy’s Story: Early Education at Age 2 Makes the Difference

Macy started her child care program at age two, with no previous early learning experience. Since then, she’s blossomed. She is now the star student of her program and completely ready for kindergarten. An Early Learning Scholarship allowed her to start the program at a young age, since she lives in a Transformation Zone in Minnesota. Her family’s daily life would be completely different without it. It’s allowed her mother to work and go back to school, two things that would not be possible without the scholarship. Watch how her scholarships, combined with a high-quality program, have made all the difference for Macy.

 

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Army Generals Urge Minnesota Legislature to Support Parent Aware

A group of high ranking military generals residing in Minnesota sent a letter to legislators encouraging them to invest in Parent Aware, Minnesota’s quality rating system for all early learning programs. Their letter states: 

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County by County, Here’s What Child Care Looks Like Across Minnesota

preschool-girl-learning-1251296We must close gaps first by supporting early learning programs already in place to reach our most at risk children. Child Care is an essential and large piece of this puzzle, providing quality early learning opportunities across Minnesota that focus on getting the whole child ready to succeed.

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April Policy Hour Focuses on Compliance with Federal Requirements

MN Policy Hour March 2016The April edition of Minnesota’s Future Policy Hour featured leaders from the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) discussing Minnesota’s response to the federal reauthorization of the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) program. In order to comply with federal changes to the program, the state must make changes to current law.

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Modest Investment in Parent Aware Yields Big Benefits for Kids

Ericca_Maas_Bio_PhotoBy: Ericca Maas, Executive Director of Parent Aware for School Readiness

When it comes to early learning, I’ve never met an early educator who didn’t want the best for the kids they serve. They have the will, but they don’t always know the way. Naturally, even highly skilled and experienced early educators simply can’t find time to continually track the latest child development research, so they don’t know precisely which best practices to use, and how best to use them. That’s why Minnesota needs to invest in making the Parent Aware Ratings as strong as possible.

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The Wisest Choices Minnesota Can Make for Early Learning

BarbaraYates-HeadshotBy: Barbara Yates, President and CEO of Think Small

We’ve heard it before.

If everything is your priority, then nothing is your priority.

Show me your budget, and I’ll tell you what you value.

But, it’s true. Budgets are important. It’s how we know if elected officials are putting their money where their mouth is. It’s how we know what will get done, and what won’t.

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Make a Difference During Week of the Young Child 2016

WYOC 2016The Week of the Young Child is an annual celebration sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) celebrating early learning, young children, their teachers and families.  We are thrilled to be a part of the annual event, with a focus on advocacy efforts and opportunities during the Week of the Young Child, April 11-15, 2016.

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Parent Aware is the Backbone of Early Learning in Minnesota

PA Eval ImageMinnesota is grappling with a tough question: How do we best improve the early learning landscape in our state?

It’s important to note that this question presumes an acceptance of the importance of early learning opportunities. We are fortunate to be having this conversation, and it’s an enormous opportunity to make a difference for our state, economy, and future.

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Federal Education Policy Trends Examined at Policy Hour

March 2016 Policy HourOur March 1, 2016 Policy Hour featured Dan Solomon, Field Representative to Senator Al Franken. While congress has been rather unproductive as of late, Solomon shared some bright spots and opportunities for national progress, especially related to our youngest learners. Senator Franken’s membership on the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee provides him with a way to address many issues that impact children and families.

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