September is synonymous with “back to school,” but in the 4-year-old class at our Escalera Head Start, Lead Teacher Katherine Beltran and Assistant Teacher Saptashikha Chowdhury have been actively preparing their students for September since June. That’s because all of their students will be entering kindergarten this fall.
It’s a big transition, Ms. Katherine notes, and the children may have a lot of apprehensions about being in a new school with new teachers, classmates, routines, and expectations.
Ms. Katherine and her staff began by introducing the children to one of the classic stories of metamorphosis — that of the caterpillar turning into a butterfly — but with a twist: They had the students act out the transformation themselves, starting by scrunching up into a ball to represent the egg, wiggling like a caterpillar, crouching down to mimic the chrysalis stage, and culminating in the butterfly yoga pose, which the children had already learned.
Five Things to Know about the Salary Parity Deal for Early Childhood Educators
By Tanya Krien and Marie Mason, Vice Presidents of Early Childhood Education
Earlier this month, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Council Speaker Corey Johnson announced a plan to raise pay for early childhood teachers. The tentative deal ensures that certified teachers who work in community-based organizations (CBOs) will earn the same starting salary as their Department of Education colleagues who teach in public schools. The increases will happen incrementally, with full parity being achieved by 2021. Hundreds of NYC early childhood teachers could see their pay increase by as much as $20,000 under this deal. While we, like most professionals who work in the field of early childhood education, have been rejoicing the news and consider it long overdue, the deal is mired in details (as are most) and involves considerations that have not been widely covered. Below are five details about the agreement, explained from an early childhood educator point of view.
Autumn is such a special time in New York City—especially for children. With the fall foliage, turning of the weather, and spirit of renewal and new beginnings, The Child Center of NY’s early childhood education and youth development programs approach the season as we do most things — with education, fun, and a commitment to connecting the two. Continue reading →
A new school year is a time of adapting to new environments and routines, which can be both challenging and exciting for young children. Every family member has a vital role in fostering a smooth transition into the school setting, helping little ones feel motivated to learn in a safe environment. Continue reading →
When a family enrolls a preschooler in a Child Center of NY Head Start program, parents must complete a home inventory that includes the statement, “You see 10 books in the home environment”—and parents answer either “yes” or “no.” More often than not, the answer is “no.”
“Most of the families in our program don’t own books,” explains Marie Mason, Education Director of The Child Center’s Ficalora Family Foundation Head Start Center in Woodside. “Poverty is an issue for the majority of them, and many parents may not be able to read English—or even their native language—and so are unable to read to their children.”
As common sense tells us and research confirms, early exposure to books is key to instilling a lifelong love of reading, and it helps provide a strong foundation for success in school. That’s why our Head Start programs keep classrooms stocked with reading materials. “Our center often provides kids with their first exposure to a collection of books,” says Mason. Teachers read often to the students, who love to listen—but they get really excited when someone new reads to them. Continue reading →
Each day at The Child Center of NY, we work with children and families who have the courage to make a new start, and we see the strength and the resourcefulness they summon to succeed. These families want what all families want: a healthy home life, opportunities for their children, safe community spaces, and the chance to work and provide for their loved ones.
But their path isn’t easy. Some have to choose between medical bills and rent, between staying home with no income or leaving their children in unsafe care, between paying for the car or paying for an apartment. Some of the decisions are unexpected to those who don’t live this reality every day— like the calculating that goes into how often a parent can afford to change a child’s diaper—and they are choices no one should have to make.
One mother, who had to turn down three job offers because she lacked reliable transportation, described the quandary many families face: “It reminds me of the cycle of poverty that so many people go through. You’re trying to get out, and it only takes one thing to go wrong, like a broken-down car, and you’re all the way back to the beginning again.”