Volume 13, Issue 19

Friday, September 19, 2014

Hot Topics

The House of Representatives has passed the Child Care and Development Block Grant of 2014 after nearly 20 years since its last reauthorization. According to the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), “It would make crucial improvements to the program by allowing children to have more sustained access to child care assistance, which helps parents stay and move up in their jobs, while also supporting children’s healthy development by providing greater continuity of care. The updated law seeks to improve the overall quality of child care (especially for infants and toddlers).” CLASP notes, however, that the full goals of the legislation would require funding above the authorized levels. The House and Senate versions are similar but differ in some ways, including regulations on how providers set payments rates and inspection requirements for licensed-exempt providers. Full text of the bill is available here. Clare McCann of the New America Foundation followed the progress of the bill and has details on its highlights. NWLC, CLASP and NAEYC are hosting a conference call on September 22 at 2 pm EST which will discuss the status of the House and Senate CCDBG bills. Click here to register. Congress also approved funding for the Temporary Assitance for Needy Families (TANF) program through a continuing resolution through December 11, 2014. 

Also in federal early childhood news, 32 states have submitted their Intent to Apply for the Department of Education’s Preschool Development and Expansion grants. While states that did not submit this intent can still apply, interest is clearly high among states looking to expand their reach of high-quality pre-K. Two funding sources are available: $80 million in “development grants” for those states with small or no programs and another $160 million in “expansion grants.” Applications must be submitted by October 14.

New on Preschool Matters...Today!

In this week’s edition of The Weekly Wonk, the weekly online magazine of the New America Foundation, experts were asked: Is New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio’s method for expanding Pre-K a model for other cities? NIEER Director Steve Barnett and Policy Research Coordinator Megan Carolan were among those who weighed in. Their responses can be read here. Please visit the original post here to see all responses.

As children, teachers, and families settle into new school years, NIEER/CEELO Assistant Research Professor Shannon Riley-Ayers reflects in a new post on what young children deserve in their educational lives to put them on track for success in their early education career and their learning down the road.

In this blog, NIEER/CEELO Research Coordinator Megan Carolan discusses the research on the lasting impacts of high-quality preschool in the context of a new FastFact from CEELO.


A new report from the Frank Porter Graham (FPG) Institute and Child Trends found that children enrolled in Georgia’s six-week Summer Transition Program for rising kindergarten students show improvement in pre-literacy and school readiness skills.

The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) has released updated Head Start fact sheets on programs, families, and staff in 2012-2013. The fact sheets cover the Head Start, Early Head Start, and Migrant and Seasonal Head Start programs. CLASP has also updated its DataFinder tool with state-specific Head Start and child care data. 

The OECD has released its 2014 review of international education policy, include country-by-country comparisons. The report covers all levels of education and includes a section on early childhood education.

Economist Tim Bartik of the Upjohn Institute for Employment Research of has released a second book on early childhood programs, called From Preschool to Prosperity: The Economic Payoff to Early Childhood Programs. It is available free as a pdf file, for .99 as an e-book, and as a book.

NIEER Activities

W. Steven Barnett and Cynthia E. Lamy reviewed a recent report on preschool charter schools, Seeds of Achievement: AppleTree’s Early Childhood D.C. Charter Schools, by Cara Stillings Candal and published by the Pioneer Institute. The review was undertaken for the Think Twice think tank review project, of the National Education Policy Center. They find that research on AppleTree model has to potential to inform important debates about both practice and policy. They also conclude that this potential is largely unrealized because of limitations of the research conducted to date. Read the full review here

The Kindergarten Early Learning Scale (KELS) was developed as a concise observational assessment for young children. It examines three domains including (1) Math/Science, (2) Social Emotional/Social Studies, and (3) Language and Literacy, with a total of 10 items across the domains. Scores reported for each of the 10 items are based upon observational evidence collected by the teacher over a period of roughly three months. This report outlines how decisions about the content of the instrument were made, based on several criteria, and the value of the instrument. The items assessed represent the development of kindergarten children, are measurable (observable), develop on a continuum (to see growth and development over time), and are critical to present and future learning.

CEELO Update

Lori Connors-Tadros and Jana Martella presented at the DASY conference in September. Tools States Can Use for Building Effective Early Intervention and Preschool Special Education Systems addressed how EI/ECSE programs can develop more effective systems that support implementing recommended practices. Tapping Teacher Evaluation: Using Child-Level Data to Improve Teaching for All considered the approaches several states have taken, the challenges and opportunities in linking child and workforce data, and its potential to drive good teaching into every classroom.


Monday, September 22, 2014 -
2:00pm to 3:00pm

The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives have reached a bipartisan agreement on the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Act of 2014. Join an audio conference with the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), and National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) to learn all about the new child care legislation.

Thursday, September 25, 2014 -
1:00pm to 2:00pm

This webinar will highlight America's Hispanic Children: Gaining Ground, Looking Forward, a new report issued by the Child Trends Hispanic Institute with support from the Televisa Foundation. The report provides a comprehensive portrait of Hispanic children across six areas: demographics, economics, family, education, health, and media use. It documents important areas where Hispanic children are gaining ground, especially in education, and examines challenges such as high rates of poverty, some troubling health indicators, and high rates of teen childbearing among the country's 17.5 million Hispanic children and youth. 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014 -
1:00pm to 2:00pm

This webinar will talk about making QRIS work in low-income communities. We will hear from state experts about their experiences with QRIS.

Thursday, October 9, 2014 -
12:30pm to 4:30pm

The National Center for Children in Poverty is celebrating its 25th anniversary with an afternoon celebrating progress made and the path ahead. Panel discussions will also be streamed online, available here

Thursday, October 9, 2014 -
2:00pm to 3:00pm

Join Children Now and speakers from the Center For Youth Wellness and Californians for Safety and Justice for a webinar focusing on how toxic stress impacts California's children, families, and communities. The webinar will focus on defining toxic stress; its connection to health care, public health, and public safety; and next steps to increase prevention and mitigate the impact of toxic stress on children.

The webinar begins at 2pm EST, 11am PST.

Friday, October 10, 2014 -
7:30am to 4:30pm

The Center for Early Education Evaluation at HighScope will hold its Third Annual Conference for Early Childhood Research and Evaluation on the theme "Measuring Program Quality: Translating Research Into Policy and Practice." Registration is now open.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014 - 6:30pm

This forum will explore the benefits of early childhood education and a discussion of how tax resources are allocated in the education system.

Friday, October 17, 2014 -
7:30am to 4:30pm

The South Carolina Early Childhood Research Symposium is a forum for the exchange of ideas among early childhood researchers representing the health, education, safety, policy, economic, and other sectors. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014 - 6:30pm

NIEER Director W. Steven Barnett will be honored at the annual Preschool Advantage Turning Leaves Gala. Every $4,000 raised from sponsors will cover the tuition for a New Jersey child to attend preschool. There are a variety of sponsorship and advertising opportunities, available here

Friday, November 14, 2014 - 8:30am to Saturday, November 15, 2014 - 1:00pm

The conference will focus on "The Power of the Teacher-Child Relationship: Encouraging, Inspiring, Transforming"

Friday, November 21, 2014 - 8:00am to Saturday, November 22, 2014 - 5:00pm

The conference will focus on exploring identities in a changing world (including but not limited to gender, culture, religion, linguistics, ability and environment) as well as supporting equity in research, practice, and policy. 

Thursday, February 5, 2015 -
4:00pm to 5:30pm

This event is part of the New York City Wonder of Learning Serioes. 

Early Education News Roundup

Friday, September 19, 2014
(The Times-Picayune)

In an attempt to improve preschool programs, the state is making significant changes this fall as it implements Act 3, which the Legislature approved in 2012 to revamp early childhood education. Louisiana began focusing on early childhood education under former Gov. Mike Foster, and now ranks 15th nationally for access by 4-year-olds to preschool, according to the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University. In 2002, only 12 percent of 4-year-olds in Louisiana were enrolled in preschool, according to the NIEER. Between 2008 and 2013, that figure hit a high of 33 percent. But it dipped to 30 percent in 2012-13. But the passage of Act 3 was seen as a good sign. "We are encouraged that Louisiana's commitment to quality standards for pre-K has weathered multiple challenges over recent years and remains focused on improving early learning outcomes," NIEER Director Steven Barnett said in May. Additional resources will be needed, though, "if the state is to achieve its goal that all children enter kindergarten ready to learn," he said.

Thursday, September 18, 2014
(CharlotteObserver.com [Op-Ed])

“On the whole, children in NC Pre-K exceed normal expectations for the rate of developmental growth, both while in the program and afterward in kindergarten,” said Ellen Peisner-Feinberg, director of FPG’s National Pre-K and Early Learning Evaluation Center and lead author of the report. “But one of our key conclusions was that those children who enter the pre-k program with lower levels of English proficiency make gains at an even greater rate than the other students.”

As important is the institute’s finding that NC Pre-K, designed at its 2001 inception to be a high-quality program, is paying off for all groups. “Children are progressing at an even greater rate during their participation in NC Pre-K than expected for normal developmental growth,” Peisner-Feinberg said. “Our research found growth in language and literacy skills, math skills, general knowledge, and social skills.” Further, the research shows that children enrolled in the state’s pre-k program continued to make gains even after leaving it. At the end of third grade, children from low-income families who had attended pre-k had higher reading and math scores on the N.C. end-of-grade (EOG) tests than similar children who had not attended the state’s program, she said.


Thursday, September 18, 2014
(Deseret News National)

In a rare bipartisan compromise, the House of Representatives passed a reauthorization of the Child Care and Development Block Grant program Monday. The Senate passed its version in March, and the compromise means President Barack Obama will see the final bill before the end of the session. The new legislation offers vouchers to low-income families that will allow them to obtain child care from their choice of providers, including faith-based organizations, according to a statement released by the Education & the Workforce Committee.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

"What we know is that if kids have access to high-quality pre-K, then they're already off to a beautiful start," Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. told the children and more than 200 advocates and providers who packed the square. "Quite frankly, it's the difference between reading at a third-grade level and not. That's a big indicator for us for future success of a child."

The rally was sponsored by Pre-K for PA, a group that seeks to increase state funding for more early-childhood education. The state makes early-childhood education available to less than 20 percent of the state's 3- and 4-year-olds, rally organizers said.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014
(Web Newswire)

A recent report argues that a Washington, D.C., charter pre-school is particularly successful. The report then seeks to leverage that contention as strong support for a recommendation to open many more charter pre-schools nationwide, as an optional way to expand access to early education. W. Steven Barnett and Cynthia E. Lamy, both of the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) at Rutgers University, reviewed Seeds of Achievement: AppleTree’s Early Childhood D.C. Charter Schools, by Cara Stillings Candal and published by the Pioneer Institute. The review was undertaken for the Think Twice think tank review project, of the National Education Policy Center, which has published the review today. NEPC is housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education. “While the AppleTree model may well be as effective as the Pioneer authors suggest, this report lacks rigorous evidence regarding the model’s development, implementation, cost and effectiveness,” write Barnett and Lamy in their review.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014
(The Huffington Post [Op-Ed])

As with any transformative creation, both our railroad system and Head Start have faced challenges and opportunities and responded with innovation. The railroads have seen the addition of new modes of transportation -- automobiles and trucks led to the development of the nation's highway system, and airports were built to accommodate air traffic. . .

Tremendous innovation has occurred during the 49 years since Head Start burst on the scene, designed to open wide the opportunity for low-income and at-risk children, the opportunity to change their life trajectory and to let them reach for the American Dream. Head Start's unique design was based on research that asserted in order to be able and ready to learn, children must be healthy and nourished, able to see, hear, chew their food, and respect each other. 

The designers of Head Start also advanced a then radical idea - now confirmed byUniversity of Chicago research - that high parent involvement was an important element of future success.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014
(The Gilmer Mirror)

In a shift for a state that has shunned other federal education initiatives like Common Core and Race to the Top, Texas will participate in a signature Obama administration program focused on early childhood education. “One way to begin closing the achievement gap in Texas is to better prepare children who are entering our public schools,” Williams, a Republican appointee of Gov.Rick Perry,said in a statementwhen the Texas Education Agency announced last week that it would apply for its share of $160 million in total federal funds earmarked to help states expand preschool programs.

“With many high-quality pre-K programs already established in our communities, this federal grant opportunity allows an avenue to enhance and build upon that success,” Williams added. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014
(New York Times)

The poverty rate declined last year for the first time since 2006, the Census Bureau reported on Tuesday. But at the same time, it said, there was no statistically significant change in the number of poor people or in income for the typical American household.

The report showed significant improvements for children. The poverty rate for children under 18 declined last year for the first time since 2000, the bureau said, and the number of children in poverty fell by 1.4 million, to 14.7 million.

Over all, the bureau said, 14.5 percent of Americans were living in poverty last year, down from 15 percent in 2012.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014
(Fox44 Baton Rouge)

The Louisiana Department of Education and the Department of Children and Family Services today outlined proposed policies and strategies to complete the unification of Louisiana's early childhood system by the fall 2015 deadline required by Act 3 of the 2012 legislative session.

Through Early Childhood Care and Education Networks, early childhood education providers - child care, Head Start, and pre-kindergarten - in parishes statewide have collaborated for two years to set unified expectations for teachers and providers; coordinate enrollment processes; and train educators.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014
(Billings Gazette)

Gov. Steve Bullock’s plan to expand access to preschool will cost an estimated $37 million over the next two years, officials said Tuesday. The cost estimate is among the new details released about the proposal, which is expected to be one of the governor’s major policy initiatives for the 2015 Legislature. The proposal, to be included in Bullock’s November budget, will establish a grant pipeline for school districts interested in creating or expanding a local pre-kindergarten program for 4-year-olds, said education policy adviser Shannon O’Brien.

Monday, September 15, 2014
(Times Ledger)

Mayor Bill de Blasio came to Queens last week on a whirlwind tour of the five boroughs to usher in his pre-K program for 51,500 children. He and his entourage visited the Home Sweet Home pre-K center in Fresh Meadows, which has been in need of programs for its growing population of 4-year-olds. It’s far too early to see what kind of impact the pre-K classes will have on school testing, graduation rates and applications to the city’s select high schools, where black and Hispanic students are underrepresented. But based on early childhood education research, the greater availability of pre-K for most of the city’s kids should provide vital preparation for the many years of school that follow and introduce the youngest New Yorkers to the wonders of learning.

Monday, September 15, 2014
(Education Week)

A majority of states—thirty-two in all—are interested in the U.S. Department of Education's new Preschool Development Grant program, which is aimed at helping states beef up and expand their early childhood offerings. States had until late last week to submit an "intent to apply" with the department.

Monday, September 15, 2014
(Politico Pro)

Under the bill, called the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act, low-income families receive assistance from the program mostly in the form of the vouchers, which they can use at a child care facility of their choice, including religious institutions.

The early childhood world has changed in big ways since the child care law was last reauthorized in 1996: State-funded pre-K programs for low-income families have risen to popularity, and a new body of research suggests that early education — including child care — is crucial to brain development.

The bill focuses on common sense updates, not ambitious early-education investments that have been floated by Democrats. It would make modest-but-overdue changes: Adding mandatory background checks for child care center staff, better health and safety requirements and more information for parents about their child care options, for example.

Monday, September 15, 2014
(Las Vegas Sun)

The application process is underway for parents to receive part of a $1 million grant to send their children to preschool programs in Las Vegas.

For the fourth consecutive year, Windsong Trust, a private foundation for children’s education, awarded the grant to United Way of Southern Nevada. It will provide 250 scholarships for preschoolers and cover training and professional development fees for 135 teachers.

Monday, September 15, 2014

A new survey of early childhood education teachers shows that mindfulness is linked with alleviating lasting physical and emotional effects of childhood adversity.

The findings are especially important because adults who were abused or neglected as children typically experience poorer health, according to Robert Whitaker, professor of public health and pediatrics at Temple University.

“Previous research has shown that childhood traumas worsen adult health through changes in how the body responds to stress,” says Whitaker, who led the new study in Preventative Medicine. He adds that some people might adopt poor health behaviors, like smoking, to cope with stress.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Kindergarten is the foundation for learning the new standards that will follow students for the rest of their education. The push is part of an effort to strengthen the U.S. education system in the face of growing global competition and to make sure students are prepared for careers when they graduate. But critics argue the tougher academics are rigid, pushing children too far, and when they are not developmentally appropriate. . . 

"I don't think it's a necessarily a bad turn we've taken," Shannon Ayers, an assistant research professor at National Institute for Early Education Research. "What we're finding, folks are kind of clinging to this false dichotomy," Ayers said "... You can be academic rigorously but also be developmentally appropriate." Both Ayers and McLaughlin emphasize the importance of play -- organic learning.

Friday, September 12, 2014
(IndyStar [Op-Ed])

If the great majority of our children are well equipped to thrive in the 21st century economy, then it’s likely our state and nation will thrive as well. The reverse also is true: If they struggle, we’ll all struggle. Invest in our children for the sake of economic gain? That may sound crass to some, but it’s an important answer as to why this city (and eventually the state) needs to ensure that every child has access to high-quality preschool programs. Based on decades of research, the return on that investment almost certainly will be rich, and long lasting.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

When U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan visited Chattanooga Tuesday as part of his back-to-school bus tour through the South, he talked about something he encounters often: Waiting lists to get kids into prekindergarten classes. He said federal grant money is available to boost the number of prekindergarten classes around the country. Duncan said that every dollar spent on prekindergarten education shows a $7 return on investment, because early education reduces such problems as crime and teen pregnancy.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014
(Indy Star)

Through it all, it’s important to remember that many people really do like the idea of having more kids in preschool and more cops on the street. These aren’t pie-in-the-sky ideas.

I have to believe that, by now, most Hoosiers understand that education is a route out of poverty and the earlier a kid starts school, the better. Having a preschool program will benefit not only those 1,300 or so families a year who qualify for it, but the entire city as we build the foundation for a more educated, economically mobile population.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014
(Seattle Times)

The campaigns behind competing Seattle ballot measures for prekindergarten education raked in more than $100,000 in contributions last month, with one plan receiving the lion’s share of the money.

Labor unions backing Initiative 107 — which will appear on the ballot as Proposition 1A — easily outspent private citizens in favor of Proposition 1B, which was created by Mayor Ed Murray and the City Council.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Many studies have shown the value of a preschool education.  The debate in Hawaii is over who should provide it. Supporters of the Ballot 4 amendment believe that there are advantages in using public funds to help students pay for private preschool.  They say it's a better education and in the long run, it's cheaper.  Also, they say the amendment would provide choice for parents.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014
(Education Week)

States applying for the newest federal early-learning grant competition will be more likely to clinch the federal funds if the proposals include a strong parent-engagement component, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said Tuesday. "Parents' voices have to be heard on this," he said. "Having parents talk about the need, talk about the demand, it's imperative."

Tuesday, September 9, 2014
(Catalyst Chicago)

As New York City rolls out an ambitious plan to offer free full-day prekindergarten for tens of thousands of 4-year-olds this fall, community activists and union members in Chicago say it’s time for universal early childhood education and child care in the Windy City. Calling their campaign “Bright Future Chicago,” the groups say the city needs to find creative ways to finance the expansion of existing preschool and daycare programs – and extending the hours – so that parents can work full-time while their children under 5 years old are in a safe learning environment.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014
(KSAT 12)

 A full-day prekindergarten program for 4-year-olds living in the City of San Antonio returned positive results after its inaugural year, according to a statement issued by the city Tuesday. According to the city, the results of a recent study show students in Pre-K 4 SA met or exceeded the ability of children their same age around the country. The first-year performance study was conducted by Edvance Research Inc. and the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER), in affiliation with Rutgers University in New Jersey.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Seven in 10 Americans say they favor using federal money to make sure high-quality preschool education programs are available for every child in America. Twenty-eight percent oppose the idea. Such schooling has great potential benefits for children, instilling academic and social skills at a young age that can aid them throughout their school years. That may be one reason for Americans' widespread support for the proposal.

Many education experts view pre-K education as especially important for economically disadvantaged children, whose parents may not be able to afford quality preschool programs. Poorer and minority children often lag behind other students in academic achievement, and early education is seen as a way to close these gaps -- perhaps preventing them from emerging in the first place. The potential of closing the achievement gap is one of the motivating factors behind the Obama administration's push to expand federal funding for universal access to preschool. Reflecting that push, the question wording specifically referred to "using federal money" to pay for an increase in pre-K programs.

Monday, September 8, 2014

You already know that she's the cutest person in the room, but did you also know that she's the fastest learner? Your toddler's motor, language, and cognitive abilities are all in hyperdrive. "Kids advance more at this age than at any other time," says Parentsadvisor Jenn Berman, Psy.D., author of Superbaby: 12 Ways to Give Your Child a Head Start in the First 3 Years. "Each action your child masters is a significant breakthrough." Prepare to be amazed by these milestones, and learn how to take them to the next level.

Monday, September 8, 2014
(The Washington Times)

An overwhelming 70 percent of voters favor using federal funds  to provide universal preschool education, according to a new Gallup poll released Monday. The poll found that just 28 percent opposed the idea. The survey boosts the call by President Obamas and liberal Democrats for universal access to preschool education  for 4-year-olds prior to entering kindergarten. The expansion of free Pre-K education has become a campaign issue in some races this year, including the race for Maryland governor between Democratic Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown and Republican Larry Hogan.

Monday, September 8, 2014
(Rolla Daily News (Missouri))

The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education announced that the state plans to apply for a federal grant for needed funds for pre-K education.

The U.S. Department of Education Preschool Development Grant would provide the state with up to $17.5 million per year to expand high-quality preschool for 4-year olds in targeted high-needs communities.

The grant is renewable for up to four years and would allow Missouri to expand its early childhood education program.

Monday, September 8, 2014
(Charleston Gazette)

West Virginia is looking to upgrade its system for evaluating childcare programs.

The state Department of Health and Human Resources hopes to increase public awareness about childcare centers and revise evaluation standards – changes that will require funding and new legislation.

At the top of the wish list: A state-sponsored website where parents could see childcare program ratings. It would work much like a five-star rating system for hotels, restaurants and movies.

“With the consumer awareness piece, families could make more informed decisions about where they place their children,” said Jessica Dianellos, a DHHR early childhood education specialist, during a legislative interim meeting Monday. “It informs them about the care they’re choosing.”

West Virginia is one of only seven states that hasn’t fully implemented a quality rating and improvement system for day care centers and other early childhood education programs.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

When Alabama's governor takes the oath of office in January, old problems will dictate much of the agenda for his new term. The National Institute for Early Education Research gives First Class its top ratings on learning standards, teacher education requirements, class sizes and other benchmarks. Bentley said he will ask the Legislature for another $10 million increase next year. He said the state should gradually expand it be available to all 4-year-olds statewide. "Every child would have a foundation upon which they could build," Bentley said. The governor said statistics show the value of First Class. All of its children, for example, have gone on to become grade-level readers in third grade. Moreover, pre-k narrows the achievement gap: Low-income children who experience pre-k are less likely to struggle later. "It is the most important thing we can do in education," the governor said.

Sunday, September 7, 2014
(The Pitt News)

During a four-minute interview on the popular news program, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto brought his city’s ambitions to national attention. The main topic of discussion: education. In the interview, Peduto spoke of a national interest in “universal education for 4-year-olds,” purporting that the country would benefit from the creation of a public system for preschool education. If given the chance, Peduto said Pittsburgh could “run with the ball” towards being one of the cities to lead the way with this new policy. The overall goal — universal preschool education — is admirable, as it has the potential to bring benefits. After all, science has supported the old saying that the brain being similar to a sponge in our youth. Effective education during this sensitive time of life is essential as it sets the tone for one’s entire educational career. But that’s the unanswered question: how do we effectively educate young kids?