Welcome to the relaunch of Strategies for Children’s blog! We’re excited to change the blog’s name from Eye on Early Education to Eye on Early Childhood because it reflects our emerging approach of looking at children’s lives more holistically.
We’re changing because we know we can’t just focus on early education and care. We have to focus on, well, early everything: early education, early health care, early community interactions, early access to healthy food and to the kind of early family stability that helps children thrive.
This new version of the blog has deep roots in the blog’s early days. In 2010, Margaret Blood and Irene Sege were figuring out how to tell more stories about early education and care. Blood was the founder of Strategies for Children. Sege was the communications director and a former writer for The Boston Globe.
“Strategies was looking for a way to amplify what we were doing,” Sege recalls, “and we wanted to share other issues that were important to us. A blog was the perfect vehicle for that.”
Blood and Sege named that blog Eye on Early Education. The first post ran on June 8, 2010, promising to cover “developments in research, policy and practice that inform the twin goals of ensuring that all children in Massachusetts have access to high-quality early education and are proficient readers by the end of third grade.”
The blog’s audience was policymakers and the public.
“Margaret really wanted to leverage Irene’s ability to write human interest stories,” Amy O’Leary explains. Today O’Leary is Strategies’ executive director. In 2010, she was the director of Strategies’ Early Education for All campaign. “One of our challenges as an organization was how wonky we were. Irene helped us find another voice. She was the one who started asking the question we still ask in interviews: What’s your favorite children’s book?”
Sege launched other practices that have become blog traditions: covering the state budget, reporting on insights from local leaders, and highlighting progress in other states. Sege also recruited photojournalism students from Boston University who compiled a collection of photographs of young children in local early education and care settings.
“I told them,” Sege says of the young photographers, “that it’s not just taking pictures of cute kids. It’s about the stories we’re trying to tell, about the connection between teachers and kids. It’s about drawing people in with text and photos. And I think that really spoke to the professionalism of what we were trying to do.”
O’Leary adds, “The blog became an incredible, historical documentation of the movement. You would Google anything and our blog would be the first or second hit.”
In 2013, when Sege became a senior media relations specialist at the Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, she handed the blog over to Alyssa Haywoode, another former Boston Globe writer. Two new blog series were added: “Voices from the Field” and “Leading the Way.”
In the years since, Strategies and the blog have continued to shift and grow. During the pandemic, Strategies launched the 9:30 Call, an early way to connect early educators across the state to each other and to policymakers who were racing against this global emergency to keep children and providers safe.
The blog kept up, posting about how children, families, and early educators coped during the pandemic’s first months. We featured important state programs like the C3 Stabilization Grants that helped early childhood programs persist. The blog has also covered the two cohorts of Strategies’ Advocacy Network, a program that immerses early educators in advocacy training and opportunities. In all these blogs, a common theme echoed: early educators were strong, resilient, and determined to do all they could for children and parents.
Now, we’re excited to relaunch the blog. We’re looking forward to telling new stories about key efforts like The Early Childhood Agenda, which is working to build a stronger early childhood system in Massachusetts. And we hope you’ll keep reading as we step into the newest phase of early childhood advocacy—and keep our “Eye on Early Childhood.”