Early Learning Nation

The Gathering Place for #Brainbuilding Communities

September 2021, Issue #14
There were lots of tears of happiness and relief last week as parents walked kids to PS 187 near ELN headquarters in NYC. Watching as masked-up kids ran squealing—with arms outstretched—to hug much-missed friends was enough to make the worst cynic weep. What’s next as we face another “new normal”? Breathe, lower your shoulders, unclench, walk outdoors. And, of course, dive in to the most recent articles from ELN. Splash!
Elliot Haspel’s new monthly column, “Elliot’s Provocations” has launched on ELN!
The early childhood and K-12 education policy expert’s first column, “Seizing the Reconciliation Opportunity,” explores the early learning dimensions of the $3.5 trillion spending bill currently before Congress. “The prospects for the reconciliation package are rather uncertain, and if ever there was a time to get behind the car and push, it’s now,” Haspel writes. And on Friday, don't miss his October column, which will explore Canada’s nationally supported but locally run national child care system.
Eastside Baby Corner: Working for a World Where All Children Are Safe, Healthy and Have What They Need.
Thanks to community and business support, Eastside Baby Corner in Issaquah, Wash., has grown into a mature organization with a fulltime staff of 18 and hundreds of volunteers. Not surprisingly, the Covid-related need for goods and services has skyrocketed. K.C. Compton reports.  
Child Tax Credit Dramatically Cuts Child Poverty; Can It Become Permanent?
Congress is currently focused on a legislative package that may or may not end up making the Child Tax Credit (CTC) expansion permanent. Republicans stand in united opposition, but even some moderate Democrats haven’t fully gotten on board. A permanent expansion of the CTC “would be a landmark movement to reduce child poverty,” Chuck Marr, senior director of federal tax policy at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, told writer Bryce Covert. It would be a “major social contract step forward.”
Winter is Coming: Keep the Wonder Alive with Mini Adventures Close to Home
Watch a sunset, make paint from a green leaf’s chlorophyll, create a scavenger hunt, take a 30-foot hike. Wonder can be unexpected. As Peter Walsh, education director for Seatuck Environmental Association in Long Island, says, “Maybe no one had noticed before how gorgeous those beetle’s wings are, but once a child really sees them, they will never forget that iridescence.”
Grandmothers: Keeping Civilization Going Since the Beginning of Time
The Covid-19 pandemic has been a catastrophe that helped reveal some of the deepest fissures in the isolated nuclear family, upending the American archetype for family life—the “Ozzie and Harriet/Homer and Marge” model—and creating an almost unimaginable level of stress for working parents. We can’t go back to being foragers, but we can take a few pages from our prehistory to create more social, workable models for the future. Writer K.C. Compton speaks with anthropologist Dr. Kristen Hawkes for this illuminating article.
Ellie Krieger’s 5 Food Tips for Children and Families
Fatigued by pandemic shopping, prepping, cooking and clean up? Top chef Ellie Krieger—best-selling author, popular television host, registered dietitian and nutritionist—is here to help, bringing with her a deep decades-long crusade to help America learn to love healthy food. “Food can open doors to relationships and to understanding people better. It is a very natural portal to community,” she says in this Community Cultivators interview with Mark Swartz. Read all the Community Cultivators columns.
5 Questions for the Governor
Our partner—The Hunt Institute—created another inspiring interview this month, featuring Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, who discusses big investments, innovative collaborations, the Badger Bounceback agenda and the influence of his time as an educator. Governor Evers said, “Throughout my career, it’s been clear to me that investing in our kids is the best investment our state can make, and it will pay dividends for our state’s future and our economy.” Read all of the 5 Questions for the Governor columns.
Top Takeaways
While we’re still not taking our Early Learning Nation Studio on the road, we’re covering virtual events from the field. Check out Mark Swartz’s Top Takeaways in September: the Hunt Institute Webinar: Home Visiting Programs and the Pandemic; the Capita Webinar: Should We Have A Constitutional Amendment for Children?; and the Multnomah County Event: Preschool Victory Research Report Release. Surf the Top Takeaway archives.
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Early Learning Nation is an independent, nonprofit magazine devoted to early learning. Original content—local + national news, features, interviews—focuses on brain building and community building with early learning professionals, parents, policymakers, scientists and community leaders.

Early Learning Nation is an initiative of the Bezos Family Foundation.
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