Volume 4, Issue 15

September 9, 2005

Hot Topics

The Texas Education Agency's task force for addressing the needs of preschool-age children has its hands full figuring out how many of the approximately 250,000 evacuees from Hurricane Katrina are preschool-age and how the preschool system there can address their needs. "Right now we don't even know the number of children we are dealing with," says Jason Sabo, vice president of United Way of Texas and a member of the task force. As he headed off to a task force meeting, Sabo said among the issues on the task force plate are:

  • The difference in the birth date for kindergarten eligibility between Louisiana and Texas that could result in Louisiana children being placed in age-inappropriate programs.

  • Opting for short-term solutions that may find space for preschoolers but in the longer term be inappropriate, either in terms of quality or type of program.

  • Stretching the social services network to the breaking point, especially in cities like Houston and San Antonio where pressure from evacuees is greatest. Homelessness makes children eligible for many preschool programs, but policymakers never envisioned homelessness on this scale.


"We should avoid going down a road for short-term gain that in the longer term is hard to back away from and doesn't serve the kids very well," Sabo says.

A government-funded study just released in the United Kingdom says children are being denied the chance to develop at school through imaginative play because they spend so much time learning to read and write. Conducted by the University of Plymouth and made public by the British Economic and Social Research Council, the study received immediate backing from parent's groups concerned that children are being pushed into formal education at too young an age. Observers for the study made 71 visits to groups of 4- and 5-year-olds.
An article in the September issue of Archive of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine says that when young children were engaged in pretend shopping, those whose parents smoke were about four times more likely to purchase fake cigarettes and those whose parents drink alcohol were three times more likely to purchase fake wine and beer than children whose parents don't smoke or drink. The study, conducted by researchers at the Dartmouth Medical School at Dartmouth College, concluded that children's observation of parental habits can have a major influence in the choices children make. Lead researcher Madeline A. Dalton said additional research should be conducted to see if childhood observations affect future use of tobacco and alcohol.
New grade-by-grade curricula for math and English Language Arts spell out what students in New York State should know and be able to do as a result of skilled instruction in those two subject areas in every grade, from pre-K to 12. The state’s 90-page revised core curriculum adds a literacy strand for pre-K through grade 8. The math and ELA curricula can be downloaded by going to www.nysut.org/standards.

Calendar

September 23, 2005


San Antonio, TX - Learn how to excel in staff management and communication at this one-day seminar.
September 28, 2005 - October 1, 2005
Brisbane, Australia - This conference will explore creative and inventive approaches to early childhood education.
October 13, 2005 - October 16, 2005
Portland, OR - This conference explores a wide range of important issues facing those who work with young children with special needs and their families.
October 16, 2005 - October 18, 2005
Orlando, FL – This conference will provide participants with hundreds of seminars, forums, and workshops lead by education experts.
November 1, 2005 - November 2, 2005
Framingham, MA – Join teachers, superintendents, and other educational leaders from across the nation for this annual conference aimed at providing important tools and strategies for improving student learning.
November 4, 2005 - November 6, 2005
Washington, DC – This conference is considered the premiere training event for professionals who focus on early care, health, and education.

Early Education News Roundup

September 7, 2005
Today's Sunbeam, Salem, NJ
There may be pros and cons to enrolling children in pre-kindergarten programs.
September 6, 2005
The Vancouver Sun
A quarter of kindergarten-age children heading to their first day of class today have not been adequately prepared to learn and have a higher chance of dropping out of school before graduation, according to B.C. Education Minister Shirley Bond.
September 5, 2005
The Register-Guard, Eugene, OR
Leaders in education, social services, politics and business are calling for what is often viewed as the best hope for ensuring that all children are ready for school: universal access to high-quality preschool.
September 2, 2005
Knoxville News Sentinel
Tennessee's prekindergarten program has been taking baby steps for a decade.
August 28, 2005
Statesman Journal, Salem, OR
Other states are expanding classes to children of all incomes, but Oregon struggles to finance programs designed for the poor. Members of a broad group of political, philanthropic and business leaders hopes to change that.
August 26, 2005
The Houston Chronicle
There's a growing national interest in early education as a way to prepare children for the classroom.
August 26, 2005
The Wilmington Journal
A new report states the educational achievement gap is increasingly becoming a threat to America's economic and social growth.

Resources

In this policy brief, authors Ron Haskins and Cecilia Rouse explore disparities in school test scores between racial groups and note that these disparities arise before children even reach kindergarten. To reduce these disparities, the authors suggest preschool and parent education programs as remedies.
This report from the Education Commission of the States describes current state policies for full-day kindergarten and identifies four key areas – definitional clarity, universal access, adequate funding and quality – where states need to strengthen these policies.
This book, by Diane E. Paynter, Elena Bodrova, and Jane K. Doty, offers teachers a practical framework for helping students overcome "the vocabulary gap" by facilitating students' understanding of the importance of a strong vocabulary for their success in reading and writing.
Child care providers can promote physical development through activities, lesson plans and a variety of other tools available at Fit Source, an interactive website recently launched by the National Child Care Information Center (NCCIC), a service of the Child Care Bureau.
This recently released technical assistance CD-ROM includes video clips, PowerPoint presentations, handouts and electronic links and is particularly useful for training staff, learning what states are doing to support early learning, and finding print and online resources. A complimentary copy of the CD-ROM can be ordered from the Child Care Bureau website.