RWaxman-Lenz's blog

Come in from the Cold

Submitted by RWaxman-Lenz on Sat, 03/12/2005 - 10:45.

Mary Black: Songs for Ireland.  She invites us in with the warmth of her voice and the liveliness of her song.  How lucky we are to have the Cleveland Museum of Art include in their Festival of Performing Arts the talents of Mary Black, a singer from Dublin.  As she comes on stage, she tells us as that she loves the snow we have here in Cleveland and that last night she took the opportunity to romp in this white world and throw some snowballs.  Now she draws us into her world of melodies and Irish rhythms, playfully sharing her stories of Ireland and blending together Celtic and American folk music.  She sings to us of the sadness of a couple parting as a soldier goes off to war; she weaves a melody around the joy of two lovers; she energizes the audience with the drum beats and riffs of her supporting drummer, guitarist, and keyboard player.

Communities Grow out of Conversations

Submitted by RWaxman-Lenz on Sat, 03/12/2005 - 08:52.

I attended an outstanding meeting of facilitators on Friday, led by Jack Ricciuto, founder and CEO of Smart Meeting Design.  A group of 35 people met to discuss the value of facilitation and ways that it can be marketed and developed.  During the discussion, we surveyed the collective years of facilitation represented in the group to find that it was just over 400 years.  The discussion began with the idea that communities grow out of conversations.  We start with words that build conversations that develop relationships.  The question is often asked in northeast Ohio as to how to construct a regional plan, how to engage a community that values all this region has to offer.  Certainly part of the answer must lie in the possibilities created by Jack's planting the seeds for a Northern Ohio Facilitator Community of Practice. Check out his website at:   

The Bottom Line: Backup Child Care Strengthens Businesses

Submitted by RWaxman-Lenz on Sun, 03/06/2005 - 22:54.

I am a senior-level manager who has a meeting with a major client. One of my staff responsible for the meeting calls in sick. The truth is that her son’s caretaker is out sick. My employee’s child care support breaks down, so I will be left with a dissatisfied client. This scenario is more common than one would think. According to an article in the February issue of CFO magazine, a survey conducted by the National Conference of State Legislatures found that child care problems force 80 percent of employees to miss work. According to the Child Care Action Campaign, U.S. companies have losses of about $3 billion each year resulting from employee child care arrangements breaking down. “On average, working mothers lose eight-and-a-half days per year, and fathers lose five days annually. The result is lower productivity, stalled projects, and higher turnover.�

Libraries Contribute to Youth Development

Submitted by RWaxman-Lenz on Thu, 02/24/2005 - 21:44.

You might not think of a public library as the "in" place to be, but some teenagers do! The Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University of Chicago reports on ideas being developed for new roles that public libraries can play in developing our youth. Here's what they say: "With growing numbers of teenagers visiting libraries to socialize, do homework, and use computers as well as the Internet, libraries have found themselves pressed to address the needs of this group. Although nearly a fourth of library patrons are teenagers, libraries traditionally have devoted less of their space, personnel, and financial resources to services for teens than to any other age group. An evaluation of the Public Libraries as Partners in Youth Development, a nine site demonstration project funded by the Wallace Foundation, suggests that communities should take a closer look at the role that public libraries can play in strengthening the skills of teenagers, building the capacity of libraries as institutions, and connecting libraries more closely to communities. The study suggests that library-based youth programs, especially in low- income communities, can teach teens specific job skills at the same time that they make libraries more visible assets in the community." Click to read New on the Shelf: Teens in the Library

Forum: The Economics of Early Childhood Development

Submitted by RWaxman-Lenz on Thu, 01/20/2005 - 11:26.

A two-part forum on: The Economics of Early Childhood Development

 Awareness: Session; One February 1, 2005, 4:00-6:00PM, Cleveland Museum of Natural History on Wade Oval in University Circle

 Alignment and Action: Session Two, February 14, 9AM to 12PM, Hanna Perkins Center for Child Development in Shaker Heights

Quality Pre-K Programs

Submitted by RWaxman-Lenz on Mon, 12/13/2004 - 21:57.

Providing childcare and pre-K advantages to more children cannot be considered only an issue of increasing the quantity of centers. Quality matters. The National Association of School Boards of Educations (NASBE) recently issued a policy update addressing this issue and the need to focus on the manner in which we assess young children. The Association states that “there is actually a fairly broad consensus today about many issues related to early childhood testing. For example, there is general acknowledgement that issues of technical adequacy are more difficult to address with young children, who have shorter attention spans and go through periods of fluctuating development. Experts also agree that…no single assessment should be used to rank, label children, or exclude youngsters from educational experiences.�

Who Funds a "Free" Preschool Program?

Submitted by RWaxman-Lenz on Sun, 12/12/2004 - 17:38.

Suppose you wanted to expand the reach of preschool to low-income families not able to pay for these benefits. To whom would you turn? A recent article in the Washington Post tells of the Freddie Mac Foundation providing a $450,000 grant for a free preschool program in Alexandria, Virginia. The program, Child and Family Network Centers, enrolls over 170 children whose families earn too much to qualify for Head Start, but not enough to pay for a private preschool. The founder of this program, Barbara Mason, states, "I think every city's going to need a program like ours because there are always going to be kids that fall through the cracks." She started the center twenty years ago in response to the large discrepancy she saw between "the kids coming out of the projects and their middle-class peers." The $2.3 million budget of the center comes from three sources: one-third is from city, state, and federal funds, one-third from foundations, and one-third from fund raising.Â

Learning from Baltimore's Education Project

Submitted by RWaxman-Lenz on Tue, 12/07/2004 - 12:35.

"Strong Schools = Strong Communities" emphasized a workshop held at the Enterprise Foundation Annual Network Conference in October. Lessons learned from the Baltimore Education Project are relevant to education issues faced in Cleveland. "Intervene with the youngest ages possible," urge the practitioners of this initiative. "Because standardized testing usually begins in the very early years of formal public education..., it is important to equip students with the skills, tools, attitudes, and behaviors that will make them successful at learning before they arrive in First Grade." The list of lessons also speaks to a long-term approach and establishing formal partnerships among community stakeholders.  To learn more about the Baltimore Education Initiative process, click here.

Childcare Center Consultations Strengthen NEO Community

Submitted by RWaxman-Lenz on Wed, 12/01/2004 - 16:57.

I had the chance yesterday to meet with the Hanna Perkins Center director, Tom Barrett, and several staff members of the Shaker Heights facility. This is one of several institutions strengthening the fabric of our community. The Center includes four integrated branches: a therapeutic preschool with programming for children from toddlerhood through kindergarten, a psychotherapy clinic, a research center, and a training program for early childhood educators and care givers. It’s exciting to talk with these professionals who seek to utilize their knowledge to reach a broad base of our region’s children with programs that show such a depth of understanding for how children develop.

Childcare Programs Benefit Businesses?

Submitted by RWaxman-Lenz on Fri, 11/26/2004 - 00:32.

How can Northeast Ohio attract and retain educated and skilled employees?  How can businesses in Northeast Ohio gain an increased pool of qualified workers?  A survey conducted by Starting Point, northeast Ohio's child care resource and referral agency, examines family friendly policies in northeast Ohio businesses and institutions.  Read the 2002 Northeast Ohio Work and Family Survey to learn about the results of their work.  Here are some highlights from the executive summary:

Analysis and Research Show: Early Childhood Development Linked to Regional Economic Development

Submitted by RWaxman-Lenz on Tue, 11/23/2004 - 18:29.

The National Child Care Information Center website contains a wealth of information for NEO about the economic impact of child care. In recent years, researchers and policy-makers have begun to recognize the important contributions the child care sector makes to the regional economy in both the short and long term. Across the country, states and localities are using regional economic analysis to measure the economic contributions of the child care sector. Click here to find a sample of publications and organizations that have information about the economic impact of child care on state, local, regional, and national economies.

Fresh Perspective on Childcare Necessary

Submitted by RWaxman-Lenz on Mon, 11/22/2004 - 23:05.

Highlighting the need for a fresh perspective on childcare, Elizabeth Aldred states, "The availability and affordability of high-quality childcare is an economic development issue, an educational issue, and a human services issue. It has both immediate and long-term impacts on schools and employers, as well as on families and the communities in which they live. And if we continue to ignore its importance, we will pay the economic and educational price." Read this article, Childcare solutions require collaboration, by Elizabeth Aldred.

Consider this for NEO: Life Way After Head Start

Submitted by RWaxman-Lenz on Mon, 11/22/2004 - 14:53.

In considering child development opportunities in NEO, the NYTimes offered this insight:

Life Way After Head Start - By DAVID L. KIRP - Published: November 21, 2004

The power of education to level the playing field has long been an American article of faith. Education is the ''balance wheel of the social machinery,'' argued Horace Mann, the first great advocate of public schooling. ''It prevents being poor.'' But that belief has been undermined by research findings -- seized on ever since by skeptics -- that federal programs like Head Start, designed to benefit poor children, actually have little long-term impact.

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