fbpx What’s Promising Locally Heading into 2024 | Edward Street

What’s Promising Locally Heading into 2024

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Happy almost New Year! With the new year comes new opportunities and excitement for early education and care. We’ve compiled a list of things you should stay tuned for in the local community in 2024.

Welcoming new educators and mentors to the field

Project Flourish welcomed their 6th cohort of group childcare educators in late November, and will be continuing their apprenticeship through 2024. Nicole Dwyer joined the program as a new instructor bringing her experience at Little Hands Academy.

The United Way of Central MA provided additional funds to support the 2nd family childcare cohort at Project Flourish. This program pairs up newly licensed family childcare educators who speak Spanish or Portuguese with experienced educators as their mentors. 

Leslie Baker, the Workforce Development Coordinator at Seven Hills Foundation, who directs Project Flourish spoke about the program and how it affects our community of educators, “Our program provides Spanish instruction to prepare these newer educators to earn the Child Development Associate credential,” She added, “The model adds a critical business training component to the CDA curriculum to best prepare these entrepreneurs for a successful business experience.”

Project Flourish also welcomed new faces to their staff. Joining them in late 2023 was Belmari Cruz as the new Coordinator of Mentor and Coaching Services. She will bring her experience in early childhood roles to mentor and coach group childcare mentors and family childcare coaches.

In early 2024, Luz Nunez will join the team as the next Workforce Success Specialist. Her role will be to give apprentices in the program ongoing support so that they can reach their professional goals, problem solve, and complete the program.

Legislation we’re hoping to see passed

Looking ahead to next year, we are hopeful that Common Start-related legislation will be passed. These bills include H.489 and S.301: An Act providing affordable and accessible high quality early education and care to promote development and well-being and support the economy in the Commonwealth.

The next step is for us to encourage the Joint Education Committee to report on these bills favorably by February. Stay tuned in January for advocacy opportunities to get this over to the finish line.

students smiling for camera

Plans turning into action

Worcester Public Schools is slated to launch a new strategic plan in January of 2024. “The strategic plan is comprehensive, realistic, and creates the foundations for broad and meaningful family and community engagement. It recognizes that the work of education is not just the charge of those employed by the schools, but is the work of each and every one of us,” said Jennifer Davis Carey, Executive Director of the Worcester Education Collaborative (WEC) and Vice Chair of the Strategic Plan Steering Committee. Edward Street’s Eve Gilmore and Kim Davenport participated on the task force. 

This plan will aim to provide equitable, high quality education, effective communication with families, and continuous growth for school community members, with a commitment to focus on preparing young children for entry to kindergarten. 

“I am most excited about the new strategic plan,” added Davis Carey. “It lays out a path for meeting a bold promise for our children to cultivate their gifts from the youngest ages.”

As referenced in our most recent "Equity From The Start" piece, the city of Worcester is currently developing its Early Childhood Plan with leadership from the City Manager Eric Bautista, Mayor Joseph Petty, and the Chamber of Commerce. They are currently working on architecting a plan with input from the local community.

The next convening will take place on January 24th from 4pm-6pm at the Guild of St. Agnes on Mill Street, where the community group will discuss components of the early education and care portion of the plan. 

Additionally, there are several exciting new project-based learning opportunities through Woo-Labs for children in 2024, including:

  • Hanover Fellows working with the YWCA Woo-Labs Programs and collaborating with the Mass Audubon Society will lead children in researching and publishing books about Massachusetts native birds.
  • In partnership with the Claremont Academy Community Service Club, Hanover Fellow Isa Kelly will lead students in Main IDEA’s art club in designing and creating a bulletin board that will showcase and advertise upcoming activities for the Community Service Club.
  • Students at the Boys and Girls Club will be guided by Hanover Fellow Devin Boss in writing and performing their own skits, as well working on their problem-solving skills.

adults taking a picture

Mark your calendars for Day of Play 2024!

Are you ready to play in 2024? The 13th Annual Day of Play Family Festival is officially happening on Saturday, September 14th at Elm Park! We can’t wait to see everyone there and unite once again in the power of play.

Sign up for the Day of Play newsletter to receive updates throughout the year on activities in the community. Plus, as Day of Play 2024 approaches, you can check the Day of Play Family Festival website for more information about performers, activities, and how to get involved.

The new year is the perfect time to renew our commitment to the community and early education and care. Stay tuned to our blogs to learn more in 2024!

Edward Street proudly supports high quality early learning and care. Donate today so children, families, and businesses can thrive, and follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn.