BOSTON, June 6, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- The Saul Zaentz Early Education Initiative at the Harvard Graduate School of Education today announced the 2018 winners of its inaugural Zaentz Early Education Innovation Challenge. The Zaentz Early Education Innovation Challenge recognizes promising new ideas and strategic approaches that have the potential to transform the quality of early education and drive lasting change and improvement.
On June 4, 2018, 15 finalists pitched their ideas in front of a live audience and panel of judges. Serving on the panel of judges were: Ron Haskins, Senior Fellow and Co-Director of the Center on Children and Families at the Brookings Institution; Junlei Li, Professor of Psychology and Human Development and Co-Director of the Fred Rogers Center at Saint Vincent College; Mariela Páez, Associate Professor at the Lynch School of Education at Boston College; Meredith Rowe, Associate Professor of Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education; and Lisa van der Pool, Vice President at InkHouse, a public relations firm just outside of Boston, Mass. Watch a recording of the finalists' pitches here.
"The Saul Zaentz Early Education Initiative strives to be a leading connector for innovation and entrepreneurship in the field of early education," said the co-directors of the Saul Zaentz Early Education Initiative at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Nonie Lesaux and Stephanie Jones. "We are so thankful to all of our finalists and to everyone who shared their work with us. Through the Innovation Challenge, our vision is to seed the field of early education with new ideas, fresh thinking, and strategic approaches that drive widespread transformation and improvement in the quality of early education, increasing opportunities and positive outcomes for all children. We are excited to present the winners of our first ever Zaentz Early Education Innovation Challenge, whose cutting-edge ideas have the potential to make that vision a reality."
A first, second, and third place winner was selected within each of the tracks:
- Seeds of Learning: The New Britain Infant/Toddler Early Childhood Business Incubator —An alternative business model for sustainable, affordable high-quality infant and toddler care for women in poverty.
- Pin Your Park: An Offtrail Lesson Planning Guide for Educators — An online tool designed to empower educators to bring children of every age to their local parks and green spaces.
- Building Single Points of Entry that Serve Families and Communities — Designing and building an integrated, online Single Point of Entry (SPE) system that provides families and caregivers with a portal to all child care options and related services in their location.
- ESCALERAS — A training model that improves the quality of child care in low-income, underserved communities by bringing family, friend and neighbor child care providers who are English-learners into the mainstream early care and education profession.
- Louisiana Early Childhood Leaders Fellowship — A leadership academy for child care directors.
- The Beautiful Stuff Project — Bringing quality play experiences to all early childhood classrooms with easy-to-use, low cost treasure boxes full of small collectible and reusable items.
- Leading Men Fellowship Program — Recruiting young men of color to implement evidence-based literacy interventions to help more children become kindergarten-ready and address the systemic shortage of high-quality and diverse early childhood educators.
- Leveraging Text Messages to Support Early Childhood Development and Parental Resilience — Delivering caregivers bite-sized and developmentally-targeted text messages drawn from research-based curricula as well as curated content for children from prenatal to five years old.
- STE(A)M Truck — A growing fleet of mobile innovation labs filled with tools and talent that helps eliminate inequities in learning opportunities that are often predicted by zip code.
For more information on the Zaentz Early Education Innovation Challenge, please visit the FAQ.
About The Saul Zaentz Early Education Initiative
The Saul Zaentz Early Education Initiative at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) is a major investment to drive transformation in U.S. early childhood education. The Initiative promotes the knowledge, professional learning and collective action necessary to cultivate optimal early learning environments and experiences. The Saul Zaentz Early Education Initiative is supported by a $35.5 million gift from the Saul Zaentz Charitable Foundation, one of the largest gifts ever given to a university for advancing early childhood education.
SOURCE Saul Zaentz Early Education Initiative