MEDIA RELEASE: Report Released on Maine’s State and Local Initiatives to Improve Outcomes for Children

On June 24, New America released a report describing efforts to expand and improve early education in Maine: Building Systems in Tandem – Maine’s State and Local Initiatives to Improve Outcomes for Children by David Jacobson. Find the report here.

The report describes the efforts of 13 Maine schools who, in collaboration with partners within their communities, have crafted and begun to implement First 10 plans designed to better support children and their families from birth through the first 10 years of children’s lives by attending to all domains of development, wrap around supports, parenting skills, and transitions across early learning experiences.

Maine DOE sought the help of the report author, David Jacobson, through a Preschool Expansion Grant obtained in 2014.  Jacobson leads the First 10 initiative at Education Development Center.  A list of the 13 Maine school communities and a summary of the project can be found here.

Simultaneously, while the 13 communities were developing their plans, a team composed of specialists from Maine DOE, Maine DHHS, and CDS formed to learn more about First 10 Schools and Communities, other national models, and strategies in which state level administration can engage to support this work at the local level.  Findings from Maine’s work in this area are included in this report along with next steps.

The State Team members from Maine DOE, Maine DHHS, and CDS continue to meet to explore how to expand on this work.  Questions may be directed to Lee Anne Larsen, Maine DOE Early Learning Team Coordinator, at leeann.larsen@maine.gov.

Pre-K for ME Curriculum Training

The Early Learning Team at the Maine Department of Education is pleased to host this free training for public Pre-K teachers, ed techs and administrators. Together with four Pre-K teachers from RSU 57, we’ll provide a two-day training for those interested in implementing the newly developed, whole-child, comprehensive curriculum, Pre-K for ME. Access to curriculum units is free and available now on our website at: https://www.maine.gov/doe/learning/earlychildhood/PreK4ME

This two-day training will be held in-person at the Massabesic Training Center in Waterboro, Maine on August 3rd and 4th. All necessary precautions will take place regarding the health and well-being of our participants. We will also offer remote attendance through a Zoom conference link, provided after registration. Please note that the in-person setting may change pending guidance from the CDC, Governor Mills and registration results.

Attendance by school administrators is highly encouraged in order to support the ongoing needs of your teachers, as well as to gain a better understanding of the science behind the curriculum, best practices in a Pre-K setting, and the six comprehensive units of study that the curriculum offers.

Registration is available now through the end of July at: http://events.egov.com/eventreg/ME/event.htm?name=prekformecurriculumtraining

Any questions should be directed to Nicole Madore, Early Childhood Specialist nicole.madore@maine.gov

Early Child Care and Public Preschool Providers Caring for Children Birth-5 – No Cost Professional Development Training

Maine Resilience Building Network (MRBN) will once again offer free professional learning opportunities focused on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) and resilience building. MRBN offered this training in the fall of 2019 and is now offering 6 more sessions virtually between April 21-June 2, 2020. This learning opportunity is funded through the Preschool Development Grant, a collaboration between Maine Departments of Education and Health and Human Services.  These new sessions are open for Pre-K and child care educators, as well as other staff working with this population, to strengthen their role in supporting children and families.

Strong Kids, Strong Families, Strong Communities: The Impact of ACEs and Resilience Building will bring together childcare and public Pre-K professionals to learn about Adverse Childhood Experiences research, early brain development science, the effects of toxic stress on social emotional learning and protective factors including positive relationships.   This training will provide an understanding of how adverse experiences at a young age can affect a person’s emotional and behavioral development. Participants will also hear suggestions for how to support the individual and family and learn classroom strategies including the practices of mindfulness, compassion and co-regulation.

In the fall of 2019, the training was offered in 12 sites across the state to early childhood educators working with children up through Pre-K. Through the evaluation, participants shared that they learned strategies to build stronger connections and relationships with children and families, to be more compassionate and less judgmental, and to be better prepared for stressful situations.  They felt they had a better understanding and awareness of where children are “coming from” and to think about what happened to the child as opposed to what is wrong with the child.  One participant commented that “All professionals who work with children should attend.”

Registration is required

Date/Time Registration Link
April 23, 2020   6-8pm https://maineresilience.org/event-3790527
April 28, 2020   9-11am https://maineresilience.org/event-3799333
May 4, 2020   2-4pm https://maineresilience.org/event-3799347
May 12, 2020   9-11am https://maineresilience.org/event-3799366
May 21, 2020   6-8pm https://maineresilience.org/event-3799397
June 2, 2020    6-8pm https://maineresilience.org/event-3799412

For more information, contact Karen Bergeron, PDG Director, Maine Department of Education

Karen.j.bergeron@maine.gov  207-446-3754 or Info@maineresilience.org

Calling All Teachers of Social Studies Content PK-12!

With the emphasis on teaching about Maine Native Americans as part of the revised Maine Learning Results for Social Studies, Joe Schmidt, Social Studies Specialist at Maine Department of Education, continues to gather data from educators in the field in order to best support their efforts.

If you are a teacher of social studies content in grades pk-12, please complete this brief, anonymous survey no later than the end of the day on Thursday, February 20. Please share with others in your school as necessary.

Take Survey!

State Collaboration Helps Improve Early Childhood Programs in Maine

Through an ongoing partnership between the Maine Department of Education (DOE) and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the Office of Child and Family Services (OCFS), a subset of DHHS has been working to proactively plan for an anticipated $550 million increase in federal funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) program.

Through knowledge gleaned from the needs assessment and strategic plan of the Preschool Development Grant (PDG), a grant program administered by the Maine DOE in 2019. OCFS has been able to do advanced planning and implementation work to best meet the specific needs of Maine children and families. In addition to using information from the PDG program, OCFS also worked with other state level partners such as the Children’s Cabinet, and the Bipartisan Policy Center.

“I want to extend a well-deserved congratulations to our partners at DHHS for the amazing work they do,” said Maine Education Commissioner Pender Makin. “This is a testament to how vital our partnerships are with other state agencies and with our schools as we work to improve and expand Maine’s early childhood education programs.”

For more information about the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) program, including information about the implementation plan, visit the OCFS website.