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New Reporter Joins Early Years Blog

I'm excited to introduce myself as the newest Early Years blogger. I'll be working with Christina Samuels, Education Week's early-education reporter, to keep you up to date on news and policy developments for the country's youngest learners.

This is an exciting time in early education. Cities and states across the country are rapidly expanding their public preschool programs and extending existing kindergarten services. Federal funding for infant home visiting is growing as well, as are Early Head Start services for toddlers.

Lillian-little_1.jpgBut there is still a vast unmet need for early-childhood care and education for many children under the age of 5 whose parents cannot afford expensive private care. And even families who don't qualify for publicly funded programs struggle with both affordability and access in an insufficiently developed private system.

(Photo: Me, age 3, in my first-ever school photo.)

I do not have an adorable young child at home who has piqued my interest in the subject of early-childhood education. Instead, my interest comes from two years as a 7th grade teacher and several more covering San Francisco Bay Area school districts. With every attempt to find the root of a particular problem at a particular grade level, I have found that the experts point to the previous grade level, the previous school experience. Following those pointers to their logical end, we should all be paying far closer attention to how children are spending the years before they enter the traditional public school system.

I was lucky enough to spend nearly two years covering early education for EdSource Today, California's premier education news website, so I am coming to you up-to-speed on the major trends and top issues in the field. I look forward to joining the Early Years conversation and bringing you the latest on the country's youngest students.

As I get started, I welcome your feedback, story tips and topic suggestions. You can email me at [email protected] or tweet at me: @lrmongeau.

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