Volume 7, Issue 20

November 14, 2008

Hot Topics

The Augusta Chronicle reports that a movement is afoot to speed the expansion of the state's pre-K program. Legislators and advocates are looking at approaches that, among other things, will address the issue of the more than 8,000 children currently on the program's waiting list. One idea is to tap the state's sizable lottery surplus. Earlier this year, the Southern Education Foundation released a report concluding Georgia's pre-K initiative, the first in the nation intended to provide preschool for all, no longer leads the nation in any vital area whether it's enrollment, quality standards, or per-child expenditures.
With the financial collapse of the early care and education chain ABC Learning, Australians are finding they must deal with the child care equivalent of a bank failure. The fast-growing chain had more than 800 centers serving 120,000 children when it went into receivership, forcing the government and Education Minister Julia Gillard to scramble for solutions to prevent a child care crisis. So far the government has committed $22 million to keep the centers open until year-end. Gillard told The Sydney Morning Herald the government is calling for expressions of interest on the part of those who might be willing to buy the 400 centers deemed non-viable by the receiver. ABC Learning had been under fire by early education experts for providing inadequate program quality while receiving millions in subsidies.
When Chile's President Michelle Bachalet chaired the opening session of last week's international seminar "The Impact of Preschool Education," she did so as a pediatrician and the driving force behind South America's most ambitious public pre-K program. Bachalet has expanded access to public pre-K since taking office in 2006 and advocates providing preschool for all. Unlike many countries that are piling up deficits during the financial crisis, Chile has sizable reserves. Bloomberg News reports Chile's reserves are sufficient to pay all the country's debt four times over.
A study of preschool-age children in child care facilities at a Marine base found that those with a parent deployed overseas for war were more likely to show aggression than other young children in military families who did not have a parent deployed. While children 3 to 5 years old reacted to a parent's deployment with increased aggression, children between 1½ and 3 did not, prompting speculation about the mothers' role as the main attachment figure during this period of children's development. The preponderance of deployed parents was men. The study appears in the November 2008 issue of the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.
Providing teaching coaches for pre-K programs that are mediocre in quality seems like a solution to a problem that's fairly widespread. When the provision of coaches to child care centers in one Midwest city was studied, the findings showed almost two-thirds of the programs did not improve their quality scores. NIEER associate director for research Debra Ackerman studied the effort, surveying the coaches to identify the underlying reasons for why programs did or did not improve. Her findings, along with recommendations for making the provision of coaches more effective, are available in the Fall 2008 issue of Early Childhood Research and Practice.
The United States Department of Agriculture has launched a web-based food pyramid for parents of preschoolers that provides nutritional guidelines and menu guidance for children ages 2 to 5. An interactive feature enables parents to enter a child's gender, age and activity level to get a customized food plan that promotes healthy eating.

Calendar

November 13, 2008 - November 15, 2008
Cambridge, MA – This conference will draw on the latest research, case studies, and presentations from successful leaders and practitioners to discuss successful PK–3 programs.
November 13, 2008 - November 16, 2008
Garden Grove, CA – The theme for the American Montessori Society Fall 2008 conference is Excellence in Action.
November 16, 2008 - November 18, 2008
San Francisco, CA – This conference will focus on broadening access to high-quality education.
December 5, 2008 - December 7, 2008
Los Angeles, CA – This conference will offer participants opportunities to discover the latest research on infants and toddlers and to discuss the history and future of the field with colleagues.
December 8, 2008 - December 10, 2008
Washington, DC – The theme of this year's conference is "Building Partnerships for Effective Change."
December 10, 2008 - December 10, 2008
Washington, DC – This conference will broadcast to hundreds of sites throughout the country.

Early Education News Roundup

November 14, 2008
The Herald, Sierra Vista, AZ
The presentation described a state that does not necessarily provide quality birth through age 5 educational opportunities for children attending daycare, or resources for stay-at-home parents. [Junior program officer for education Joyce] Medina said "early childhood education is generally underappreciated in America," and, even in instances where resources might be available to parents, "families that could benefit the most from early learning resources tend to have the least access to them."
November 13, 2008
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
State prekindergarten programs reserved for low-income students are squeezing out thousands of middle class families unable to afford early education, according to a national study released Wednesday. The study by the Washington-based advocacy group Pre-K Now shows that 700,000 middle-income families in 20 states are feeling the "pre-k pinch" as the economy spirals toward a recession.
November 12, 2008
The Washington Times
Access to books can have a critical impact on the future of low-income children. Ms. Neuman's studies of 100,000 school-age children nationwide found that access to books - and not poverty - is the critical variable affecting learning to read.
November 12, 2008
The Record, Hackensack, NJ
The School Funding Reform Act, which the state Legislature passed in January, expands public preschools beyond New Jersey's 31 Abbott districts to any school district serving low-income children. Under the expansion, eligible districts with low-income students will receive $7,000 to $13,000 per pupil to implement the program.
November 10, 2008
The Buffalo News
The day care scene is a microcosm of what's happening in some places in the City of Buffalo, as educators and community leaders search for new and effective ways to fight child poverty here. Right now, these efforts focus on education — specifically, on literacy skills. And increasingly, they focus on pupils in the earliest grades or — better yet — on youngsters not yet in school.
November 9, 2008
The Miami Herald
The basic requirement to teach at a reputable early childcare center is the Florida Child Care Professional Credential. Referred to as the FCCPC, it consists of a minimum of 120 hours of early childhood instruction, 480 contact hours with children, ages birth through age 8, and at least two methods of formal assessment that offers two areas of certification. While the FCCPC will allow you to work with young children, a movement is underfoot for instructors to get more education.
November 5, 2008
South Bergenite, Rutherford, NJ
Even though some towns only have a few students who meet the requirements and none of the South Bergenite towns currently offers a comparable program for the general student body, a new state mandate requires school districts to provide full-day pre-kindergarten classes for economically disadvantaged students. In order to meet the state's new requirement, several of the towns in the South Bergenite area are turning to the South Bergen Jointure Commission (SBJC).
November 5, 2008
WTVF, Nashville, TN
Despite these tough economic times, Gov. Phil Bredesen feels pre-kindergarten education could use state dollars. Law enforcement and education leaders said spending the money could mean saving money and futures later.
November 5, 2008
The Oregonian
Portland voters overwhelmingly renewed a five-year property tax levy that pays for grants to nonprofit organizations that provide early-childhood education, after-school care and mentoring programs. "I think Portland voters have proven that although these are tough times and concerns about jobs and mortgage payments are on people's minds, I think they recognize a good long-term investment in the city's kids," said City Commissioner Dan Saltzman, who spearheaded the levy and leads a committee that approves the grants.
November 3, 2008
Rome-News Tribune, Rome, GA
A movement to expand Georgia's preschool program and boost its funding is growing, attracting support from lawmakers, child-care providers, children's advocates and even curious attorneys. The proposals largely revolve around clearing up a state waiting list that now numbers more than 8,000 children; expanding the program to include three-year-olds in addition to four-year-olds; and raising the funding to help private providers, in particular, keep offering the services.
November 3, 2008
Daily News, Los Angeles, CA
Preschoolers with a parent away at war were more likely to show aggression than other young children in military families, according to the first published research on how the very young react to wartime deployment. Children, 3 to 5 years old, with a deployed parent scored an average of five points higher for behavior problems on two questionnaires widely used in child psychology than did the children whose Marine-parents weren't deployed.
November 3, 2008
KCRA, Modesto, CA
As families look to save money during a belt-tightening economy, some preschools in the area said they are seeing record-low attendance numbers. A down economy means preschool has become a luxury that's being put on hold by some parents, forcing some schools to offer deals to make programs more affordable.
November 2, 2008
Daily Record, Parsippany, NJ
A study by the National Institute for Early Education Research found that children who attended [New Jersey's Abbott] preschool program showed substantial gains in language, literacy and math. In addition, recent New Jersey state test scores suggest the gains from preschool extend through primary grades.

Resources

This report presents findings on young children's preparedness for school, as based on reports by their parents from the School Readiness Survey of the 2007 National Household Education Surveys Program.

This RAND research brief provides a summary of research conducted to assess the validity of Colorado's Qualistar Early Learning Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS).

This report from the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the University of Georgia quantifies the short-term economic impact of the early care and education industry in the state of Georgia and also provides a summary of current research on the long-term benefits of early education.
This video from Pre-K Now follows five preschool children, tracking their development and highlighting the importance of high-quality pre-K education.