Early Education News Roundup: June 19th Edition

Hi everyone! The articles below cover our top picks for the most important early childhood education reads for this week. Enjoy!

Let Rich and Poor Learn Together – NY Times

Op-Ed: Two researchers applaud the city's pre-K expansion, but say its mix of funding sources and types of pre-K centers has "unintentionally reinforced barriers that keep rich and poor children apart, even in economically mixed neighborhoods."

As Kindergarten Waitlists Clear in Forest Hills, Pre-K Seats Are in Demand – DNAinfo

The kindergarten waitlist drama at two Forest Hills schools has subsided after the city created more seats for nearby students by cutting some planned pre-kindergarten.

De Blasio Signs Law Requiring New School Diversity Reports – Chalkbeat NY

Mayor Bill de Blasio signed a bill into law Tuesday that will require the city to release more detailed information every year about the diversity of its schools, including demographic data related to individual grade levels and programs within schools.

Schools Chancellor Addresses Overcrowding, Other Concerns – siLive

At a Staten Island town hall meeting this week, Chancellor Carmen Fariña said real estate developers should be required to set aside community space that could be used for pre-K, and schools should combat their poor reputations by holding more open houses.

Parents Call on City to Fight School Overcrowding by Doubling New Seats – DNAinfo

Advocates are calling on the city to more than double the number of seats planned for city schools in order to reduce overcrowding, and are pointing out that Mayor Bill de Blasio has set aside less money to do that than his predecessor.

Early Education News Roundup: June 12th Edition

Hi everyone! The articles below cover our top picks for the most important early childhood education reads for this week. Enjoy!

Access to New York’s Top Teachers Still Unequal, State Report Shows – Chalkbeat NY

Schools serving the largest shares of poor and nonwhite students in New York State are more likely to be staffed with teachers who have no experience, according to the state's first comprehensive look at teacher equity in almost a decade.

As City Plans Pre-K Year Two, Most Families get a Top-choice Offer – Chalkbeat NY

Seventy percent of the more than 69,000 families that applied for a seat in the city’s rapidly expanding pre-kindergarten program will receive their top choice program and 12 percent of applicants will get an offer to their second or third choice, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday.

City Responds to Complaints About Childcare Funding – wNYC

In a move to bring more financial stability to the childcare system, the de Blasio administration has agreed to make several changes to Early Learn, the system that serves 36,000 children under age 5, including funding hundreds of programs by actual expenses instead of annual enrollment.

Kindergartens Ringing the Bell for Play Inside the Classroom – NY Times

Concerned that kindergarten has become overly academic in recent years, states around the country are pushing back against the effects of federal testing requirements in the earliest grades.

An Early Review: New York City's Common Core-aligned Curriculum Rollout gets High Marks – Daily News

New York City has taken Common Core implementation seriously, with two-thirds of elementary and middle school principals switching to English or math curricula recommended by the Department of Education, and educators frequently consult EngageNY, the state's popular Common Core curriculum web site, according to a new paper from the Manhattan Institute.

Bill Makes the Grade on Pre-K – Daily News

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Chancellor Carmen Fariña deserve a round of applause for the successful expansion of pre-kindergarten for nearly 70,000 children, and the city should implement the same rollout strategy for its other initiatives, the Daily News writes.

Early Education News Roundup: June 5th Edition

Hi everyone! The articles below cover our top picks for the most important early childhood education reads for this week. Enjoy!

Detente Emerges in Feud between Andrew Cuomo, Bill de Blasio – The Wall Street Journal

An escalating feud between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio appeared to simmer down Monday after the pair made conciliations with Cuomo backing a three-year mayoral control extension and de Blasio voicing gratitude for the governor’s support.

Education Leaders Consider 'Super Zone' to Allow for Greater School Choice – DNAinfo

Local education leaders in the Upper West Side’s District 3 are considering creating a “super zone” of three elementary schools instead of one in part of the district in order to address overcrowding and increase classroom diversity.

City begins setting ‘rigorous, but reasonable’ targets for Renewal schools – Chalkbeat NY

The city is beginning to set specific goals for the 94 schools in its turnaround program, and is giving schools some choice as to how their success will be measured over the next two years.

Brooklyn is Flooding the City with Charter School Applications – New York Post

In eight central Brooklyn school districts, 40 percent of all kindergarten-eligible students tried to get into charter schools for next school year, according to a new report by the pro-charter group Families for Excellent Schools. The 82 central Brooklyn charter schools accounted for 24 percent of all students in public schools, up from 8 percent five years ago, the report also said.

Harlem Students Cultivate Emotional Intelligence, Lead Each Other in Meditation – NY1

Students meditate daily at a Harlem elementary school that has adopted a program to teach students emotional intelligence skills, which also includes lessons about managing emotions and conversations about handling conflict.

Early Education News Roundup: May 29th Edition

Hello all! The articles below cover our top picks for the most imperative early childhood education reads for this week. Enjoy!

City Cuts Pre-K Classes in Forest Hills to Make Room for Kindergarten Seats – DNAinfo

City officials responded to parents' concerns at P.S. 144 and P.S. 196 in Queens, cutting some pre-K seats to make room for more kindergarteners at the crowded, in-demand schools.

New education commissioner on Common Core and evaluations – Capital New York

After visiting an Albany elementary school Wednesday, newly-elected state education commissioner MaryEllen Elia said she was in favor of the Common Core standards and test-based teacher evaluations, but added that feedback from educators is crucial to implementing such changes.

De Blasio Defends Parent Input under City’s Mayoral Control Structure – Chalkbeat NY

Mayor Bill de Blasio was back in Albany Wednesday to pressure lawmakers to renew the law that grants the mayor control over New York City education policy, which expires at the end of June. De Blasio said the current structure has allowed the city to implement its most important education initiatives, from the expansion of pre-kindergarten to the transfer of more power to superintendents.

New OCFS Regulation for Day Care Centers

Have you read the new OCFS regulations? There is a new regulation for Day Care Centers effective June 1, 2015!

418-1.13 Staff Qualifications

(k) All staff with plans of study, including plans of study permitted through a waiver request must register in New York’s training registry for early childhood professionals. Progress on plans of study will be monitored by the Office through the New York Registry.

Essentially, if you have a current approved plan of study, you will have to create a profile in Aspire, New York’s workforce registry for early childhood professionals. This affects both teachers and directors!

Keeping track of your own professional development experiences, your employment history, and your educational achievements is an important professional responsibility. Your professional profile will include information about your study plan and will allow OCFS to track your progress as required in the new regulations.

If you are a program director, an Aspire organization account is an invaluable resource for managing education and professional development records for teachers who work in your program. We encourage you to support teachers in your program to create individual profiles in Aspire. As a director, you will be able to use Aspire to track progress made on plans of study for teachers you manage.

Log on to Aspire today to create your profile before June 1st!

Early Education News Roundup: May 22nd Edition

Hello all! The articles below cover our top picks for the most important early childhood education reads for this week. Enjoy!

Parents, Education Workers Express Concerns about NYC Schools at 'Fight for their Future' Forum – Daily News

Parents and educators of city students voice their concerns at an education forum over class sizes, providing resources to children with special needs, charter schools, and other issues.

Regents Wrestle with Teacher Evaluation Law – wNYC

State education officials unveiled recommendations for a new teacher evaluation system that was discussed by the state’s Board of Regents on Monday, providing some clarity but easing few concerns about the bitterly contested policy.

State Assembly Votes to Extend Mayoral Control of City Schools by 3 Years – Daily News

The state Assembly approved Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposal for a three-year extension of mayoral control of New York City schools in a 98-39 vote Monday, but state Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan said reforms to the law are still needed.

East Harlem Nursery that Paved the Way for Pre-K Turns 50 – DNAinfo

The East Harlem Block Nursery, which helped bring pre-kindergarten classes to the city during the Civil Rights movement, is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

Early Education News Roundup: May 15th Edition

Happy Friday everyone! The articles below cover our top picks for the most important early childhood education reads for this week. Enjoy!

De Blasio honors NYC teachers working in struggling public schools for Teacher Appreciation Week – Daily News

Mayor Bill de Blasio wrote a "letter of appreciation" to the 3,500 city teachers working at the schools in the city's Renewal turnaround program.

Path to Pre-K, Year Two – Daily News

Officials say outreach to the city's homeless families about pre-kindergarten is working, and more than half of eligible four-year-olds applied for a seat by the initial April deadline.

Parents Furious that City Has No Fix for Forest Hills Kindergarten Crisis – DNAinfo

Parents frustrations are boiling over in Forest Hills, where dozens of families zoned for P.S. 196 and P.S. 144 have been told their kindergarteners will have to attend other schools due to overcrowding.

New York City Pushes Pre-K Math With ‘Building Blocks’ Curriculum – The Wall Street Journal

The city is about to begin a push for pre-kindergarten classrooms to adopt a math curriculum called “Building Blocks,’’ one of the ways the city is working to ensure the new programs are high quality.

Study: City Pre-K Program can be Model, with Tweaks – Capital New York

A study of New York City's implementation of prekindergarten after nearly one year lauded the expansion as being "off to a running start," though concludes that the city can do more to find ways to racially and socioeconomically integrate its programs.

4 Pre-K Centers to Open in Central and Southeast Queens This Fall – DNAinfo

The city is set to open four new pre-kindergarten centers this fall that will provide 270 full-day seats for 4-year-olds in central and southeast Queens.

Early Education News Roundup: May 8th Edition

Happy Friday everyone! The articles below cover our top picks for the most important early childhood education reads for this week. Enjoy!

EXCLUSIVE: Struggling, Underfunded Schools Get Extra $33M in Bill de Blasio’s Proposed Budget – Daily News

The mayor's final budget for 2016 will provide budget increases of up to 20 percent for 130 "struggling" or "underfunded" schools, with most of the new funding going to schools in the city's Renewal turnaround program.

City Solicits Proposals for Half-day Pre-K Seats – Capital New York

City Hall is now soliciting proposals for half-day pre-K.

Now Aiming for 200 Community Schools, City Unveils a Plan to get there – Chalkbeat NY

The de Blasio administration is looking to expand the “community school” model to more than 200 city schools by 2017, a plan that extends much further beyond the 128 schools the city has already committed to transform into service hubs with extra social services and wellness programs.

Redesigned Oversight Process Uncovered New York Head Start Problems – Education Week

The host of problems that were uncovered at New York City’s Head Start centers during a federal inspection last year were discovered after the Office of Head Start implemented a new oversight policy.

Pre-K Expansion will be Pricier than Expected, Budget Shows – Chalkbeat NY

High demand for pre-kindergarten and the steep cost of securing private pre-K space in areas with overcrowded public schools forced the mayor to increase spending in his 2016 executive budget by tens of millions of dollars.

Unplug for Screen-Free Week

For the second year in a row, Informal Family Child Care (IFCC) and Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood have partnered together to celebrate Screen Free Week — which takes place every year from May 4 – 10th.  The goal is to unplug from our digital gadgets and spend free time playing, reading, daydreaming, creating, exploring, and connecting with family and friends.

Young children learn best by interacting with people and exploring the world using their developing senses. The use of media and technology to engage, entertain and occupy children is a reality in many child care environments and can be challenging to manage. In the latest edition of Connections in Early Learning, we explored the impact of technology and screen time on children, and offered strategies for reducing this time.

The following information is excerpted from Facing the Screen Dilemma: Young Children, Technology and Early Education – a guide published by The Committee for a Commercial Free Childhood (CCFC) about the use, impact and reduction of screen time for young children. 

The Committee for a Commercial Free Childhood (CCFC) works for the rights of children to grow up—and the freedom for parents to raise them—without being undermined by commercial interests. We advocate for policies to protect children from harmful marketing and promote commercial-free time and space for kids about the use, impact and reduction of screen time for young children. 

Smartphones, tablets, e-books, and more – the explosion of new screen devices offers both possibilities and challenges for families today.  When should children be introduced to screens?  How much time should they spend with screens?  Is screen time helpful or harmful to children’s brain development?  Does content matter?  There’s not much research about new technologies and children—but there are some things we do know.

In order to thrive, young children need healthy food, shelter, and plenty of positive interactions with the people who love them.  They benefit from being talked to, read to, and played with and learn best from hands-on, creative play.  They also need time outside and with nature.  These early experiences build important life skills like creativity, compassion, curiosity, and problem solving.


  • The more time our youngest children spend with screens, the less time they spend interacting with caring adults and in hands-on, creative play—2 activities proven to be important for learning.
  • Too much screen time is linked to learning, attention, and social problems, childhood obesity and sleep disturbances. It also exposes kids to lots of harmful advertising.
  • Screen media can be habit-forming. Young children who spend more time with screens have a harder time turning them off when they get older.
  • Even a little exposure to violent, sexualized, stereotyped, or commercialized content can be harmful to children.


  • Make sure that children have plenty of time for hands-on, creative and active play. They also often love helping with everyday activities, including gardening, baking, and folding laundry.
  • If you choose to use screens with your children, set rules early on about when, where, what, and how much.   Screen activities with obvious end-points can help a lot with time limits.
  • Remove televisions and other devices from children’s bedrooms.
  • Turn off screens when they are not in use. Parents talk less to children when background television is on and it interrupts the kind of play essential for learning.
  • Take stock of your own screen time—remember that you are your child’s most powerful role model.


  • The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends avoiding screen time for children under 2 and suggests limiting screen time for children 2 and older to no more than 1-2 hours per day.
  • For preschoolers, watching just 20 minutes of a fast-moving cartoon show can have a negative impact on attention, the ability to delay gratification, self-control, and problem solving.
  • Electronic books in which screen images respond to touch are less likely than traditional books to bring about the kind of adult-child interactions that promote literacy.

Early Education News Roundup: May 1st Edition

Happy Friday to all! This week, there is a lot happening in New York in relation to Pre-K news! The articles below cover our top picks for the most important reads for this week. Happy read!

With Pre-K Applications Almost Due, Parents’ Phones Keep Ringing – Chalkbeat NY

Fariña gave the city’s pre-K outreach workers a pep talk Thursday as they called parents and urged them to enroll in the program before Friday night’s application deadline. The city is just 5,000 students shy of its 70,000-student enrollment goal by Sept.

Forest Hills Parents Launch Petition Demanding Fix to Kindergarten Crisis – DNAinfo

A group of Queens parents started a petition aimed at the education department after their children were put on the waiting list for their local kindergarten program.

Dozens Wait-listed After New Corona School Cuts 4 Kindergarten Classes – DNAinfo

Queens' P.S. 330 cut kindergarten classes because of "space constraints," leaving local families on waitlists.

Nearly 69,000 Families Applied to City Pre-K Programs in First Round of Admissions – Daily News

More than 68,000 families have applied for full-day pre-K seats for next fall, approaching the de Blasio administration's enrollment goal.

City’s Pre-K Implementer on Year 2 Challenges – Capital New York

Deputy Chancellor Josh Wallack: This year's challenges will be ensuring the continued expansion goes smoothly and improving quality of the programs.

Sunset Park Schools Have No Kindergarten Waitlists This Year, DOE Says – DNAinfo

Sunset Park used to have long kindergarten waitlists, but there were none this year, in part because of a rezoning effort and adding seats.

Wanted: One Thousand More Pre-K Teachers – wNYC

In looking to hire 1,000 pre-kindergarten teachers to serve an additional 17,000 four-year-olds this fall, the city has sought after prospective teachers by recruiting at local universities, holding webinars and organizing panel discussions.