Volume 8, Issue 19

August 14, 2009

Hot Topics

Just when it looked like the Illinois State School Board's $123 million cut to state pre-K might stick, Governor Pat Quinn restored $85 million to pre-K. That still amounts to a cut, but it's nowhere near the 32 percent reduction early education would have had to absorb had the board's decision stood.
The essay in the Annie E. Casey Foundation's 20th annual Kids Count report on children's health and wellbeing documents major shortcomings in the national data system that the report says are undermining efforts to identify and assist America's vulnerable children. KIDS COUNT calls on the government to overhaul its methods of measuring poverty and to buttress the 2010 census so it can fully count children and minorities.
An article in the August 1 issue of Newsweek reports that Chilean president Michelle Bachelet's pre-K campaign has resulted in a preschool construction effort that's averaging 2.5 new schools per day and at last count had increased the number of preschools in the country six fold.

An article in the August issue of Social Science & Medicine says that young children are better prepared for kindergarten when living in neighborhoods with relatively equal proportions of affluent and disadvantaged kids. Researchers at the University of British Columbia studied existing early childhood development data from more than 37,000 kindergarten children in more than 400 communities. Both affluent kids and poorer kids did better when in the mixed communities.

Calendar

September 16, 2009 - September 18, 2009
Scottsdale, AZ – The annual NACCRRA conference provides participants with the opportunity to expand their skills while networking with colleagues from around the country.
October 1, 2009


Piscataway, NJ – Join educators, supervisors, and administrators at the first annual conference for prekindergarten and kindergarten from the Rutgers Graduate School of Education, New Jersey Department of Education, and the Center for Effective School Practices.
October 24, 2009 - October 27, 2009
Atlanta, GA – Join early childhood educators, administrators and other professionals in education, policymakers, researchers, and child development experts for the National Black Child Development Institute's 39th annual conference.
November 13, 2009


New York, NY – The theme for this one-day conference is "Building Empathy & Resilience: The Role of the Early Childhood Educator."

Early Education News Roundup

August 13, 2009
The Morning Sun, Pittsburg, KS
According to an analysis of the benefits of all-day kindergarten, the [Kansas State Department of Education] reported that the full-day class "allows time for in-depth exploration of experiences." Other benefits, according to KSDE, include:

• Provides teaching and learning continuity.
• Decreases time spent in transitions.
• Provides more time for one-to-one interaction and child initiated activity.

August 13, 2009
The Record, Hackensack, NJ
With state and local budgets tight and incomes down in many New Jersey households, the notion of expanding publicly funded pre-K might not, at first blush, seem like a top priority. But the closer one looks at the pre-K program New Jersey has built, the more sense it makes to invest in it in good times and bad.
August 12, 2009
Contra Costa Times
But thanks to First 5 Contra Costa's new pilot preschool scholarship program, Preschool Makes a Difference, Stevenson's daughter and 20 other disadvantaged 3- and 4-year-olds, have been taken off that waiting list and have begun attending preschool for the first time. The two-year $400,000 pilot program was instituted to ensure that low-income children enter kindergarten ready to do their best.
August 11, 2009
Detroit Free Press
Kindergarten teachers across Michigan were largely united in their concerns that too many students are showing up unprepared for school, according to the results of a survey released today by the Early Childhood Investment Corporation. Teachers ranked "not participating in a preschool program at age 4" as a main factor contributing to students starting school academically behind.
August 11, 2009
The Morning Call, Allentown, PA
Last week's stopgap budget may mean 77,000 state workers are again getting paid, but child care center directors across the region say the budget impasse has left them scrambling to stay open without the state subsidies they are due.
August 10, 2009
Los Angeles Business Journal
The Rand Corp.'s California Preschool Study finds the achievement gap is evident as early as kindergarten entry, with many students coming to school without the basic social and early literacy skills they need to succeed. The persistence of these educational achievement gaps "imposes on the United States the economic equivalent of a permanent national recession," according to a new McKinsey & Co. study on the economic impact of the achievement gap in America's schools.
August 9, 2009
The Anderson Independent Mail, Anderson, SC
But the report also exposes the urgency of early-education needs in South Carolina, which ranks 39th overall in preparing children for school. [W]e should continue and expand pre-kindergarten programs funded through First Steps and public schools, so that every child has the chance to begin school prepared to learn.
August 6, 2009
Daily Progress, Charlottesville, VA
A new education report shows how early childhood experiences, such as pre-kindergarten education, better prepare Charlottesville and Albemarle County students for kindergarten and result in tangible achievement differences.
August 6, 2009
The Wesleyan Connection, Middletown, CT
Anna Shusterman, assistant professor of psychology, recently received a five-year, $716,227 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study "The role of language in children's acquisition of number concepts." ... She also will be studying deaf and hard-of-hearing children of the same ages who are learning English to try to determine how language delays affect children's learning of number concepts.
August 5, 2009
Green Bay Press-Gazette
One of the most promising proposals moving through Congress is the creation of an Early Education Challenge Fund. The main purpose of the Challenge Fund is to provide grants to states to help them build comprehensive, high-quality early learning systems for children from birth to age 5.
August 5, 2009
Tulsa World
A $15 million grant to create three groundbreaking early childhood education centers in Tulsa has been approved, Gov. Brad Henry announced Wednesday. The grant will come from $100 million in federal stimulus money designated for an education fund to be allocated at the governor's discretion.
August 5, 2009
The Bismarck Tribune
Educators, child-care providers and parents gathered in Bismarck Tuesday to talk about early childhood education. The first pre-kindergarten summit was at the Heritage Center.
August 5, 2009
The Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville, FL
Quality and quantity of parents' conversations with their children play a role in how much children learn in their early years, according to findings in a 1995 study by two university professors, which is routinely cited by education experts stressing the need for quality early-learning. Early-learning experts stress the importance of picking quality child-care providers to help increase the achievement of all children.

Resources

Twenty years after the original Preschool in Three Cultures, lead author Joseph Tobin revisits his original research in this book with new collaborators, Yeh Hsueh and Mayumi Karasawa. The authors used video to capture a typical day at new schools in each country, compared those to videos taken for the original book, and discovered "how two decades ... have affected the way these three cultures educate and care for their youngest pupils."
This report from Pre-K Now, a campaign of the Pew Center on the States, discusses the partnerships that exist between state-funded preschool education programs and community-based providers, such as Head Start and child care centers. The authors provide recommendations for successfully implementing these partnerships.
This paper from NIEER Scientific Advisory Board member Eugene Garcia and Bryant Jensen, published by the Society for Research in Child Development, provides recommendations to the federal government to promote effective preschool education experiences for Hispanic children, including recruiting more Spanish-speaking teachers and expanding access to dual-language programs.
This RAND policy brief examines existing research on federal and state level early childhood education programs. Finding gaps in both access and quality, the authors make recommendations for federal policy to improve preschool education services.

This book reviews the research on mathematics education in preschool, examines the extent to which critical math skills are incorporated in pre-K curricula, and make suggestions for improving the quality of mathematical learning in preschool programs.
The authors of this study examined the influence that the policies and characteristics of preschools have on the physical activity of children during the preschool day. The article can be found in the February 2, 2009, issue of Pediatrics.