Inside the plan to expand universal pre-K in Cambridge

Cambridge plans to offer free preschool to all 4-year-olds in the city starting in the fall of 2024, becoming one of only a few Massachusetts cities to guarantee free access to all eligible kids.

Children who turn 4 by Aug. 31, 2024 are eligible to apply starting this winter. The planned expansion will also reach a limited number of 3-year-olds.

The Cambridge Preschool Program builds beyond the current lottery system for 3- and 4-year-olds offered through the city’s public school system, Department of Human Services Programs, Head Start and community-based programs.

Currently, these programs serve over 700 Cambridge 3- and 4-year-olds. The expansion will increase that capacity to approximately 1,000 slots for 4-year-olds and up to 300 slots for 3-year-olds who meet specific eligibility requirements.

The new universal pre-K program will expand seat capacity by using private child care centers and in-home family child care providers as well as public schools, according to Lisa Grant, the director of the Cambridge Office of Early Childhood.

“It’s about aligning programs and systems within our community within one umbrella — making it more equitably accessible to families,” she said.

Participating centers will be required to use a pre-approved curriculum, such as Montessori, creative

Qatar to introduce pre-kindergarten level to public schools – Doha News

Qatar is set to introduce a pre-kindergarten level within its public kindergarten systems for the first time, an official announcement.

The move is expected to be made starting from the upcoming academic year in August, Maha Al Ruwaili, Assistant Undersecretary for Educational Affairs at the Ministry of Education and Higher Education told state-run Qatar News Agency.

It comes after the ministry picked four schools to test the application of the project, which is distributed to several areas based on specific regulations and criteria, she said.

Preparations have been made for the MoEHE to accept the first group of kids for this initial pilot phase at fourth kindergartens, according to Maryam Al Buainain, director of the MoEHE’s Early Education Department.

Al Manar Model Kindergarten for Boys in Ar-Rayyan, Abu Hanifa Kindergarten for Boys in the Doha Municipality, Kindergarten Zekreet Independent Primary Girls, and Al Khwarizmi Kindergarten for Girls have been named as the four test grounds.

Al Buainain emphasized that the selection of these kindergartens was based on precise criteria for population density, gender, and the proportion of children, which guarantees a positive experience and meets the actual demand during the initial pilot stage.

“Each academic class accommodates 16 students only,

Report finds only 1 in 5 Sonoma children ready for kindergarten

SONOMA – Communities all over the state are reporting impacts on enrollment and test scores for school-age children in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, but Sonoma County has released a sobering, detailed report focusing on kindergarteners there and how they are faring post -pandemic.

Only one in five children in Sonoma County were ready for kindergarten when they entered school last fall, according to a report released Wednesday from the county Department of Human Services (DHS). Many of the educational disparities fall along ethnic, racial and economic lines, the report said.

Kindergarten readiness declined in the county for the sixth consecutive year, according to the report entitled “Road to Early Achievement and Development for Youth,” or READY, which was initiated by the county DHS and the First 5 Sonoma County Commission, a body that allocates county funds for early education.

Overall, only 22 percent of Sonoma County children were ready for kindergarten last fall, down from 31 percent the previous year and 41 percent in 2016.

The county said the decline can be attributed to repeated wildfires, floods and the COVID-19 pandemic, all of which the county describes as “emergencies that have disrupted early-learning programs and taken a toll

Still No Mandatory Kindergarten in California As Gov. Newsom Vetoes Bill, Citing Budgetary Reasons

Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, vetoed legislation Sunday night that would have required children to attend kindergarten — whether through homeschooling or public or private school — before entering first grade at a public school.

As he has with other recent legislative vetoes, Newsom cited the costs associated with providing mandatory kindergarten — about $268 million annually, which he said was not accounted for in the state budget.

Newsom has supported similar legislation in the past. Last year, he signed a package of education bills, including one transitioning the state to universal pre-K starting in the 2025-26 school year. But the state’s Department of Finance opposed the mandatory kindergarten bill, stating it would strain funds by adding up to 20,000 new public school students.

Proponents of mandatory kindergarten say it could help close the academic opportunity gap for students from lower-income families and students of color, as well as helping children develop important social skills before first grade. The bill was introduced after K-12 attendance rates dropped during the pandemic and some students struggled with online learning.

Kindergarten enrollment in California dropped nearly 12% in the 2020-21 academic year compared to the previous year, according to the state Department of

Humble, Texas kindergarten teacher caught giving melatonin gummies to students in special education class

HUMBLE, Texas — A kindergarten teacher in Humble, Texas was caught slipping melatonin gummies to students in a special education class.

A parent of one of the students who was given melatonin told ABC Houston affiliate KTRK the principal called her to tell her what happened.

The mother, who doesn’t want her name used, says her 5-year-old son is nonverbal, and this is her worst nightmare: something happened at school, and her son is unable to communicate.

She said her son’s teacher had called him before asking for advice on how to calm him down.

“She called me a few times asking, ‘What do you do at home? What do you suggest to calm him down?’ He’s very active, and we sometimes have a hard time getting him to focus back on the task at hand,” she said.

The mother said the teacher even asked if her son liked gummies and took gummy vitamins, but she didn’t think much of the comment until now.

“We noticed on three different occasions when he came home he was completely lethargic, stumbling to get off the bus. It’s a breach of trust,” she said.

SEE ALSO: Substitute teacher arrested 1 year after mom

Contract With Woke Kindergarten Terminated at East Bay School Following Controversy

Long after the Hayward Unified School District entered into a $250,000 contract with a for-profit, anti-racist teacher training program called Woke Kindergarten, a school board member and a teacher at the school raised objections to it, and the story launched into the national conservative media morass.

It’s been two years since Hayward’s Glassbrook Elementary School began a contract for teacher training sessions with Woke Kindergarten — a Brooklyn-based for-profit company specializing in anti-racist and “abolitionist” trainings and classes for students, educators, and organizations. Teachers at the school lauded the move, saying that the student body — which is largely non-white, and about two-thirds English learners — did not respond well to traditional academics, and teachers needed new tools.

The name Woke Kindergarten implies that it’s about teaching “woke”-ness to small children, which is a bit misleading. While the organization does offer videos and classroom materials for kids, it’s not clear how many actual classes it has taught directly to kids since its founding — and the Hayward contract was for teacher trainings only.

This all blew up about two weeks ago after a teacher became a whistleblower of sorts about the program, raising the question to the Chronicle of whether

Kindergarten Screening Information for the 2023-24 School Year

stock photo of kindergarten students

The William Floyd School District is excited to welcome incoming kindergartners for the 2023-2024 school year! The district will be holding Kindergarten Screening beginning on Monday, June 26 through Thursday, June 29 and on Monday, July 31 through Thursday, August 3. Appointments are between the hours of 8:15 am and 3:15 pm.

All Kindergarten Screening appointments for the district, regardless of where students will attend, will be held at Tangier Smith Elementary School. All incoming kindergartners, including students that participate in the UPK program, will be screened this summer. This screening is not appropriate for students attending Tangier Smith; students going to all buildings should attend!

Families should contact Lourdes Rivera at (631) 874-1518 to make an appointment for their child. Ms. Rivera is bilingual and able to assist Spanish-speaking families with appointments and other information as well. Appointments will last approximately 45 minutes to an hour. Please be prepared to stay and wait for your child.

Please click here for a flyer containing the information!

Kindergarten to be made free for all Queensland families from 2024 in $645 million budget announcement

Kindergarten will be free in Queensland from next year as part of a budget measure the state government says will save some families about $4,600.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk hopes it will “give every little Queenslander the best start in life” and support parents returning to the workforce.

It will cost the state budget $645 million in total, and bring the investment in kindergarten to $2 billion over four years.

About 14,000 Queensland families are currently eligible for free kindergarten.

The new scheme is expected to help another 50,000 children attend kindy for free, with costs for each student covered for up to 15 hours a week for government-approved educational programs.

The state government says free kindergarten would save eligible families more than $4,000 per year, with the total amount a family will save depending on where and how they attend kindy.

“There are currently around 8,000 children who are eligible to attend a kindy but don’t, and

Gov. Whitmer launches new education-focused state department

Lansing — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has created a new state department focused on promoting pre-kindergarten access and higher education in Michigan, shaking up the existing state education department that she does not control.

Whitmer’s office said Wednesday the new Michigan Department of Lifelong Education, Achievement and Potential, or MiLEAP, will feature offices governing early childhood education, higher education and “education partnerships.”

The new department will lead statewide efforts to ensure that all young children “enter kindergarten with the tools and ability to succeed in school” and that “every Michigander has the skill certificate or degree they need to advance,” according to an executive order the governor signed Tuesday.

The plan marks a significant shift in direction for state government as the Michigan Department of Education has traditionally been the lead agency on education-related policies and programs.

Nikki Snyder, a Republican member of the elected State Board of Education, which oversees the state Education Department, said she was already contacting attorneys to see if the move is legal. But the state’s superintendent of public instruction, Michael Rice, acknowledged Wednesday that Whitmer has the legal authority to reorganize the Michigan Department of Education.

Michigan Gov.  Gretchen Whitmer is shaking up education programs across state government in creating a new state agency called the Michigan Department of Lifelong Education, Achievement and Potential, or MiLEAP.

“For too long, we have thought of education as

Thrive at Five: Philly schools urge parents to enroll children in kindergarten

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The School District of Philadelphia hopes parents will begin enrolling students in their kindergarten classes sooner rather than later.

A new campaign to bolster enrollment and increase early registration for kindergarteners for the upcoming school year kicked off Monday.

Superintendent Tony B. Watlington, Sr., joined staff and teachers at Ellwood School to announce their “Thrive At Five” campaign.

Children must be five years old by September 1 to start kindergarten in the fall.

The program encourages parents to complete their early kindergarten registrations for the 2024-2025 school year.

Zaida Alfaro talks about her experiences as an educator with the district. Alfaro has been a teacher and administrator for 33 years, and spent the past six years as a principal at Elwood School. She says kindergarten is vital for her incoming first-time students.

“As a teacher and administrator, I have always considered Kindergarten to be paramount in our students’ early development for many reasons,” said Alfaro.

“It gives them an opportunity to begin to lay the fundamentals of cognitive, social and emotional skills.”