Volume 7, Issue 12

June 27, 2008

Hot Topics

Oklahoma's state-funded preschool for all program boosts children's skills dramatically, whether they are from disadvantaged families or middle-income families, concludes a long-awaited study from Georgetown University's Public Policy Institute and Center for Research on Children in the United States. William T. Gormley and colleagues measured the skills of 3,500 incoming kindergartners in Tulsa, finding that those who had been enrolled in the state's preschool for all program had better reading, math and writing skills than those who spent time in federally funded Head Start programs or attended no public preschool program.



Tulsa's state-funded pre-K program boosted children's pre-reading skills nine months ahead of other kids', pre-writing skills eight months ahead and pre-math skills five months. "These findings from a large and rigorous study provide strong evidence that preschool education for all has positive impacts for all children, including those in poverty," says NIEER Director Steve Barnett. The study also found that Head Start boosted children's skills but to a lesser extent. The new findings appear in today's edition of the journal Science. To read Greg Toppo's article about the study in USA Today, go to http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/2008-06-26-preschool-universal_N.htm.
In a move signaling increased interest in pre-K at the national level, legislation authored by Hawaii Congresswoman Mazie Hirono got the nod from the House Education and Labor Committee this week. H.R. 3289 would establish a federal-state partnership to expand high-quality early education and provide incentives for states to ensure their pre-K programs meet children's developmental and educational needs. In congratulating Chairman George Miller and his committee, Pre-K Now Executive Director Libby Doggett noted the bipartisan support for the Providing Resources Early for Kids Act (the PRE-K Act).
The first state to offer preschool to all has fallen behind other leading states, says a new report from the Southern Education Foundation. Using data from NIEER's The State of Preschool 2007 yearbook, author Steve Suitts makes the case that Georgia's promise of providing preschool for all has not been fulfilled. "While it remains highly regarded, Georgia Pre-K no longer leads the nation in any vital area: enrollment, high-quality standards or per-child expenditure," says the report, Time to Lead Again: The Promise of Georgia Pre-K.
Preliminary findings from the first large study of how the sex ratio in pre-K classes influences girls' and boys' development suggests boys receive a boost when there's a majority of girls in the class but that girls don't appear to get a boost when either sex is in the majority. Lead researcher Arlen Moller of Gettysburg College and colleagues analyzed data from 800 children in 70 preschool classes in Rochester, New York. Girls made generally good progress regardless of sex ratios. Boys developed more slowly than girls where there was a surplus of boys but in majority-girl classrooms they developed at the same rate as girls. Moller says it's too early to draw firm conclusions but that caution should be exercised when considering segregating the sexes in pre-K. The paper, which is slated to appear in Early Childhood Research Quarterly, is summarized online in Science News.
A University of Michigan study concludes that children with sleep-related breathing disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) are more likely to have anxiety, which is in turn often associated with hyperactivity. OSA is most common in preschool-aged children. Information on this and other issues related to children's sleep, is available at a web site developed by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

Calendar

June 30, 2008 - July 2, 2008
Austin, TX – This conference will feature sessions that will enlighten, equip, and engage conference attendees.
July 8, 2008 - July 11, 2008
San Diego, CA – This conference provides a new approach to developing leaders in the field of child care resource and referral.
July 9, 2008 - July 10, 2008
Washington, DC – The theme for this year's conference for the Partnership for America's Economic Success is "Using the Economic Message in Tough Economic Times."
July 17, 2008 - July 19, 2008
Chicago, IL – At this conference, attendees will learn the latest in early education practice.
August 6, 2008 - August 8, 2008
Quebec, Canada – This conference aims to enrich the possibilities of children's right to be educated in a culture of peace.
October 3, 2008 - October 4, 2008
Kansas City, MO – This conference focuses on key issues affecting the learning disabilities field.

Early Education News Roundup

June 27, 2008
The Courier-Journal, Louisville, KY
Kentucky is the fourth state -- joining Florida, New York and Ohio -- to establish Seniors4Kids. [First lady Jane] Beshear hopes that the efforts of seniors involved in Seniors4Kids will not only increase enrollment in pre-kindergarten programs, but also benefit the students in the long run.
June 26, 2008
The Record, Stockton, CA
Many of the teachers who educate San Joaquin County's youngest students are working to earn specialized degrees that policymakers hope will help improve the quality of publicly funded early-childhood education.
June 26, 2008
Irish Examiner, Cork, Ireland
A shortage of pre-school education facilities in poorer communities could be affecting the ability of children in those areas to complete school and defeat the generational cycle of poverty, experts have warned.
June 26, 2008
USA Today
An ambitious public pre-kindergarten program in Oklahoma boosts kids' skills dramatically, a long-awaited study finds, for the first time offering across-the-board evidence that universal preschool, open to all children, benefits both low-income and middle-class kids.
June 25, 2008
The Morning Call, Allentown, PA
Our crime prevention arsenal has one extraordinarily powerful and proven effective tool. Quality pre-kindergarten programs for kids at risk have staggering crime prevention benefits by intercepting at-risk children before they become hard-wired by a culture of crime.
June 24, 2008
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Georgia, the first state to offer universal voluntary pre-kindergarten, has now fallen behind other states in educational programs for 4-year-olds, according to a report to be issued today.
June 24, 2008
Democrat and Chronicle, Rochester, NY
The larger issue is the need to support low-income families in need of child care. It's that crucial care that's needed to help make other initiatives successful such as getting more families to take advantage of universal prekindergarten and getting more parents off welfare and into jobs. But without so-called wraparound care, those worthy efforts are doomed to fail.
June 24, 2008
The Reporter-Herald, Loveland, CO
State legislators recently passed funding to add more than 6,000 slots in the Colorado Preschool program statewide, including 45 in the Thompson School District's Integrated Early Childhood program.
June 23, 2008
The State, Columbia, SC
In the Abbeville County case, scheduled to be argued on Wednesday, the justices are being asked to apply the language of the state constitution, which guarantees an adequate public education for every child, to pre-kindergarten.

Resources

This article discusses how young children with disabilities can be aided in their social skills development by an intervention in which teachers help kids by using digital technology. For instance, they can help guide children in the use of digital cameras and the development of child-created stories using Power Point to aid social story-telling.
This report from Pre-K Now examines policymaker's support for preschool education programs, particularly in tight fiscal times.
The National Conference of State Legislatures' searchable database allows users to track legislation related to early childhood education and care from the 2008 session.