Early Childhood Education News Roundup

Farm-to-school bill would put healthy food in student lunches

Here’s what you might have missed from around the web:

Detroit News: Mandatory Kindergarten Debate Resurfaces

“Legislation has been introduced to make kindergarten mandatory in Michigan, with a lawmaker saying children need to be better prepared for the state’s third-grade retention law that takes effect next school year.”

“An estimated 95 percent of Michigan children already attend kindergarten, dividing education experts on whether a law is necessary.”

“But several involved in the education of young children agree any push to mandate kindergarten should include more access or even a mandate for preschool.”

Chronicle of Social Change: Connecting Home Visiting, Early Care and Education Will Benefit Families

“Early care and education for young children and home visiting for parents are difficult to coordinate, in part because multiple funders are involved — often with different administrative oversight mechanisms, housed in various agencies. As a result, these services and supports often operate in silos, which means families may need to provide the same information multiple times and may receive duplicative screenings for services.”

“But worse than that, the two systems miss opportunities to collaborate to better serve families and children. States, cities or counties can take steps to build coordination. We will outline a few of the most significant ones here.”

The post continues: “We acknowledge the fundamental differences between the home visiting and early care and education fields: one supports children’s development by working directly with the child, the other provides this support through interactions with parents. These differences —coupled with the fields’ unique governing structures, with different regulations and funding sources — shape differing professional cultures.”

“But the striking commonalities between these fields suggest that greater cooperation could strengthen both fields and improve family and child outcomes.”

Winona (MN) Daily News: Farm-to-school bill would put local, healthy food in student lunches across Minnesota

“A bipartisan bill that would provide school districts across the state with a reimbursement for feeding students healthy, local foods through farm-to-school initiatives was introduced in the Minnesota Legislature…”

“Sen. Mike Goggin, R-Red Wing, and Rep. Todd Lippert, DFL-Northfield, are the chief authors of the bill, which would also provide technical assistance to growers seeking to sell to schools.”

The post continues: “According to a 2017 study, more than 1.6 million Minnesotans lack access to healthy food. Farm to School programs provide children with more opportunities to eat locally grown, healthy foods, which promote growth, nutrition and positive lifelong eating habits.”

“Farm to School initiatives support growers and the broader local economy as well. Farmers participating in these programs gain access to new, stable markets to supplement their incomes and help them maintain their livelihoods. Increased demand for the processors and distributors required to run Farm to School programs provides an economic boost for local communities. In fact, according to the National Farm to School Network, every dollar invested in farm to school programs generates $2.16 to the local economy.”

University of Melbourne: More Maternal and Child Health Nurse Visits Help Mothers and Babies Thrive

“In Victoria, maternal and child health nurses see families at home soon after the birth of their baby, and then for nine clinic visits between the ages of two weeks and three-and-a-half years.”

“They conduct a range of important physical health checks, but they also offer invaluable help with everything from sleeping to behaviour. And, of course, feeding.”

“For parents, particularly mothers facing difficult circumstances, their support can be especially valuable.”

“A recent trial found that increasing the number of visits for women facing adversity (in all its forms) receive from maternal and child health nurses up to 25 (between 20 weeks gestation and two years), and focusing on important areas of child development as well as the parent taking care of themselves, significantly improves parenting and maternal mental health.”

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