Early Ed Leadership & Innovation

We train frontline early educators and child care business owners in entrepreneurial leadership, and research ways to support them at scale

April 12, 2022
by IEELI
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New Study Finds What Drives Wage Gaps Among Early Educators in Massachusetts

A new study found that teachers’ educational attainment and current teaching positions explained wage gaps among a statewide representative sample of ECE center educators in Massachusetts. The study also found that center educators who self-identified as Black earned higher hourly wages than their White, Hispanic/Latinx, and other-race counterparts with similar characteristics. Hispanic/Latinx educators earned wages comparable with their White counterparts.

“Teachers with a bachelor’s or higher degrees earned higher wages than those with lower educational attainment, and being a lead teacher instead of an assistant teacher was also associated with higher wages,” said study author Anne Douglass, PhD, Professor of Early Care and Education at UMass Boston and the founding executive director of the Institute for Early Education Leadership and Innovation. “The strong association between educational attainment and hourly wages underscores the importance of implementing intentional strategies to create equitable opportunities for pursuing higher education degrees for all early educators.”

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April 11, 2022
by IEELI
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Harnessing creativity

Kelly Cavallini has been working in family child care for 29 years and she wouldn’t have it any other way. She briefly worked as a center director for a large chain but found that she missed the more intimate work with children and families that running a family childcare allowed her to do. 

But when Cavallini enrolled in Leading for Change, the 14-week professional development program offered through the Massachusetts StrongStart Professional Development Centers, she realized there was an important aspect missing from her work in family child care: co-workers. 

Because family child care owners often work on their own they “don’t have anyone validating” what they’re doing, said Cavallini, who works out of her home in Springfield. “You’re skipping around the house and your little ducklings are following you, and we are doing amazing work but on one sees it!” 

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April 11, 2022
by IEELI
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Building an anti-stress toolkit for families

After 39 years as an ECE provider, you’d think Marcia Gadson-Harris would have little desire—or need—for more professional development training. And yet, last October she completed Leading for Change, the 14-week professional development program offered through the Massachusetts StrongStart Professional Development Centers that trains program administrators, educators, and family child care providers on how to lead for change and quality improvement in their practice, program, or in the field. 

The Vision Board Marcia Gadson-Harris created during Leading for Change.

For Gadson, the question of whether she would participate in the training was never in doubt. “I’m an avid learner,” she says. “I take lots and lots of training and there’s no such thing as too much training. You can never stop learning. That’s what life is all about.” 

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March 16, 2022
by IEELI
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From preschool teacher to PhD holder

Just as Becky DelVecchio launched her research project for her doctoral thesis, the world shut down due to COVID-19. 

She had originally planned to do an ethnographic study on the psychologically restorative benefits of nature play for children and families by embedding in a nature program to study the lived experiences of children, educators and families as they move through the program. That became impossible when COVID-19 health and safety restrictions forced the closure of ECE programs across the state. For months after reopening, most programs prohibited visitors to their centers and schools. 

She instead adapted her project to a mixed-methods study, which included a quantitative  online survey directed at caregivers of 3-4-year-olds in Greater Boston, followed by qualitative interviews with a sample of the respondents. 

DelVecchio was pleased to receive 173 completed surveys, given the pressures parents were under, especially in the early days of the pandemic. “I was really thankful and just continue to be thankful to all the families who contributed to my research,” she said. 

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March 7, 2022
by IEELI
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UMass Boston-based researcher team to create program to estimate cost of providing quality early care and education for children in MA

Program will estimate costs needed for Common Start legislation (H. 605 / S. 362)

A UMass Boston-based interdisciplinary team of researchers has launched a new research project that will build a cost simulator to inform policy recommendations around universal child care. The simulator will model the amount of funding required by the Common Start legislation to provide affordable, high-quality early care and education for families in Massachusetts. The team has expertise in economics, early education, and public policy and will include researchers from the Institute for Early Education Leadership and Innovation at UMass Boston, the Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy at UMass Boston, and the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University. The project is being funded by the Commonwealth Children’s Fund, which invests in public policy and other initiatives that support children in Massachusetts from birth to age five. Continue Reading →

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February 25, 2022
by IEELI
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New Study Finds That Early Educators Trained in Leading for Change Develop Entrepreneurial Mindset and Lead for Change in the Workplace

A study published in the International Journal of Child Care and Education Policy found that early educators who participated in a relational-entrepreneurial leadership development program were likely to lead for change in curriculum improvement, family engagement, and relationship building after completing their training. It is one of the first empirical studies to examine whether relational-entrepreneurial leadership development training increases early educators’ capacity to lead for change and it contributes new knowledge to the emerging literature on early educator leadership development. Findings from the study, which was designed and authored by researchers at the Institute for Early Education Leadership and Innovation at UMass Boston, are relevant to current debate among early educators, parents, and policymakers about how to make affordable, high quality early care and education accessible to all families. Continue Reading →
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February 18, 2022
by IEELI
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Media: Want better child care? Invest in entrepreneurial training for child care workers

In an oped for The Conversation, Professor Anne Douglass writes about the impact of entrepreneurial leadership training on the childcare and early education workforce: When directors and administrators of early learning centers are trained in entrepreneurial leadership, innovation becomes a bigger part of what they do. They build relationships that value “curiosity, questions, and reflections about current practices,” according to a 2021 federal report. Staff members contribute ideas to improve teaching practices, enhance program quality, implement strategies for improving workplace culture, promote equity and welcome feedback from parents.

Read the full oped, “Want better child care? Invest in entrepreneurial training for child care workers,” online at The Conversation.

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February 16, 2022
by IEELI
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Advancing scholarship in early ed leadership: Amanda Wiehe Lopes

Dr. Amanda Lopes

For the Early Ed Leadership Institute’s Amanda Wiehe Lopes, earning a Ph.D. in Early Childhood Education and Care capped a personal, educational, and professional journey that began when she was a teenager ignoring advice from the adults in her life to become a teacher. 

“I thought of teachers as people who wore khakis and had a lot of rules,” recalls Wiehe Lopes, who successfully defended her dissertation in July, 2021. “That was my experience growing up and I just didn’t see myself in that role. I hated khakis, I hated rules —and still do.” 

Instead, Wiehe Lopes wanted to be an artist. So she studied drama and performance art and eventually taught theater to mostly pre-school age children at the Seattle Children’s Theatre Drama School. 

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November 23, 2021
by IEELI
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Testimony in support of bill to provide affordable and accessible high quality early education and care

On Tuesday, November 23, 2021, the Joint Committee on Education of the Massachusetts Legislature heard testimony about H.605 and S.362: An Act providing affordable and accessible high quality early education and care to promote child development and well-being and support the economy in the Commonwealth. Anne Douglass, PhD, Professor of Early Care and Education at UMass Boston and the founding executive director of the Institute for Early Education Leadership and Innovation submitted the following written testimony in support of the bill.

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November 23, 2021
by IEELI
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Media: A Fresh Take on “Diversity”: Doctoral Researcher at UMass Boston is Shaking Up Early Education

Doctoral candidate and Early Ed Leadership Institute research assistant Yujin Lee.

UMass Boston newsroom reporter Gray Milkowski interviewed Yujin Lee, a doctoral candidate and research assistant at the Institute for Early Education Leadership and Innovation about her innovative and ground breaking research on culturally and linguistically diversity among children in Head Start: Continue Reading →

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