Early Education and Care
The Berkshire Readiness Center supports educator development beginning at the early childhood level. It promotes on-going excellence in teaching strategies and practice, tailored for young children, birth through age seven, so that children experience success prior to arriving at kindergarten. A key issue in ensuring that early educators receive appropriate professional development and credentials is creating quality, affordable and convenient paths to degrees. The Berkshire Readiness Center is working with early childhood education providers to address the educational needs of their staff.
The Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) has been awarded an early learning challenge grant. EEC is working with its partners at other participating state agencies and private sector organizations to implement action on the state's high quality plans for: High Quality Programs, Early Learning and Development Standards, Comprehensive Assessment Systems, Family and Community Engagement, Workforce Development, Kindergarten Entry Assessment, Early Learning Data Systems, and Birth to Third Grade Alignment.
Early Childhood Degree Completion Program. MCLA has launched an Early Childhood degree completion program. Students who have earned an associates degree in early childhood education can work toward a bachelor's degree by completing a sequence of interdisciplinary classes in 8-week blocks.
Early Childhood Think Tank. The United Way has joined with the Berkshire Readiness Center to form the Early Childhood Think Tank. A group of early childhood professionals meets on a regular basis to develop strategies for supporting the early childhood system in Berkshire County. The Think Tank has developed a strategic plan and continues to work on developing literacy programs, support professional development for early educators and developing consistent standards for kindergarten entry assessment.
•Through the Reach Out and Read program, pediatricians offices throughout the county give out a free book to children at their annual physical examination. In November 2012, Berkshire County was awarded the distinction of being name a Bookend County through Reach Out and Read. This designation indicates that every pediatric practice in the County has a Reach Out and Read program.