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National Head Start Association Leadership Institute January 29, 2009 Presentation by Joan Lombardi, Ph.D. Early Childhood Development: At the dawn of a new era
Why this is such an important time • A transforming moment for the nation and the world • The economic crisis is having a serious impact on children and families • Early childhood has more visibility than ever • Important reforms pending- health, education and child care • The potential for recovery and growth
Lets talk about…….. • Where we have been • The new era in early childhood • Ringing in the next generation of Head Start But first how are the children….
Source: National Center for Children in Poverty. (2006). Basic Facts About Low-Income Children: Birth to Age 18.
Children’sDevelopment 0 Age A Child’s Developmental Trajectory Can Be Modified With Appropriate Interventions Risk Factors Optimal Impaired Protective Factors Slide by Ed Schor, Md
Looking back on policy….. • Three trains Head Start 1965 Child Care grows in the 70’s, CCDBG 1990 Preschool emerges in the 80’s • State prek expansion Lasting Effects of Preschool (l979), Perry Preschool Data (mid 80’s), Readiness Goal (l989) • Brain decade- mid 90’s Early Head Start l995, significant Federalinvestments in child care and Head Start
Early childhood at the turn of the century • Federal funding flattens, and state prek grows • Tracks start to come together in the late 90’s and early 2000– unifiers, system building Governance Quality Rating Systems Early Learning Guidelines Prek and Head Start into Child Care • Focus on accountability
More recently • About mid decade 0-3 issues again emerge driven by science and advocacy • 2008 The election shines a light on early childhood • New era of early childhood dawning
Characteristics of a new era • High quality programs for children prenatal to age five • Continuity with quality early primary • Common infrastructure across all early childhood programs
Early Childhood Development System A sample format Across programs and connected to other systems Governance And Financing Programs Guided by Program Standards and Early Learning and Development Guidelines Programs To consumers, public and private sector Engagement & Outreach Children Ready for Success Monitoring standards and ongoing technical support Monitoring and Improvement Health, Nutrition, Mental Health, Disability Services Parenting and Family Support Comprehensive Services Professional Development Core competencies Access to Training and Higher Education J Lombardi, Adapted from the Early Childhood Systems Working Group
Ringing in The Next Generation of Head Start Investing in Early Childhood Helps America Recover and Grow!
1. Raise Head Start’s visibility in the recovery and document results • How many more children? • How many new jobs? • How many better jobs? • How much of a contribution to goods and services in the community/state? • How many parents helped to find and prepare for new jobs? • How many volunteers? • How many lives changed…… Head Start Helps America Recover and Grow!
2. Promote Head Start as a concept of comprehensive services We must assure that young children from low income families have access to more intensive and comprehensive services. Head Start partnerships with child care and prek are essential to this vision. This means staying active at the state policy level.
State Early Childhood Development System Early Learning Health, Mental Health and Nutrition Family Support Special Needs/ Early Intervention Early Childhood Systems Working Group
3. Reinforce the principle that equality for low income children means starting early Early Head Start should grow and serve as the model for state investments in prenatial-3. Again, this means staying very active in state decisions about infant and toddler services for low income children.
4. Step up efforts to work with parents Head Start should continue to play a central role in supporting the parent child relationship and in promoting their continued involvement in the education of their children 0-8.
Need a new dialogue about how best to support families beyond parent information • Look for opportunities to build social networks of support • Promote family literacy • Prepare parents for working with the school • Get the word out about successes, particularly with fathers
5. Focus on results and innovation • Looking back on practice over the years - Socialization - Debate over direct instruction vs play - Developmentally appropriate practice - Basic skills - Outcomes All of the above! Balance, individualization, intensity
Refocus on outcomes for low income children • Build in time for rich experiences • Promote dispositions and approaches to learning Joy Persistence Curiosity Order Language and literacy skills • Build in coaching and continuous assessment to improve practice
6. Play a role in moving from program to community-wide strategies • Connecting programs across the community • Developing community wide information systems • Looking beyond program outcomes to community wide outcomes
7. Build leadership in early childhood • Emerging leaders • Leaders who can mentor • Leaders who can span borders • Leaders who can talk research, policy, practice • Leaders who reflect the languages and the cultures of the children and families • Leaders who set round tables • Leaders who work for the concept of a Head Start for low income children
8. Encourage the voice of those most affected by poverty • In the health care debate • In the education reform debate • In the child care debate • In the welfare debate • At the local, state and federal level
Stay healthy my friends and remember … Be the change….