Volume 8, Issue 5

February 27, 2009

Hot Topics

Line-by-line details are not yet available but the new budget released yesterday by the White House shows increased funding levels for the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Education (DOE). Among the ECE funding highlights at HHS are expansions of Early Head Start, Head Start and creation of a Nurse Home Visitation program to support first-time mothers. Among the funding highlights at the DOE are new incentives and supports for states to build comprehensive, coordinated high-quality Zero to Five systems.
A new brief from researchers in the UK provides findings through age 11 from the Effective Preschool and Primary Education (EPPE) project. Preschool quality and effectiveness remained statistically significant predictors of educational attainment and social/behavioral outcomes through sixth grade. Kids gained the most benefit from having attended high-quality preschool but medium quality provision also led to better math and social/behavioral outcomes in sixth grade than low-quality pre-K or none.
A new study from the Bessie Tartt Wilson Children's Foundation by Valora Washington and colleagues documents problems in early care and education as a result of the Massachusetts voucher system. Among the problems: Reimbursement is slow, voucher administration occupies two days a week of one person’s time at the average center and providers in the voucher study lost revenues 30 days a year by providing free services for kids whose vouchers had been terminated.
An article in the January 28 issue of Scientific American discusses the role of play from a variety of perspectives including its role in evolution, socialization, cognitive development and physical development of the brain. In telling the story, author Melinda Wenner cites key studies conducted over the last 40 years.

Calendar

March 10, 2009 - March 14, 2009
Washington, DC – Join with more than 600 participants from across the nation at NACCRRA's Policy Symposium to explore the latest developments in child care resource and referral.
April 9, 2009 - April 10, 2009
San Diego, CA – Join early childhood professionals from across the country at the two-day training institute that will include both physical activity and instructional-based lessons.
May 5, 2009 - May 8, 2009
Greensboro, NC – The National Smart Start Conference is devoted to exchanging ideas about early education systems and strategies.
July 20, 2009 - July 25, 2009
Cork, Ireland – The theme for the IFDCO’s Conference is "Celebrating Quality Family Childcare."

Early Education News Roundup

February 27, 2009
Air Force Link
Young military children who thought the first day of school was imminent may not have to worry about reading, writing and arithmetic until next year because of a change in entrance age requirements. The new rule, which goes into effect this fall with the start of the 2009-2010 school year, requires that students reach the pre-established age by Sept. 1. Students must be 4 years old to enroll in prekindergarten or the Defense Department's Sure Start program.
February 26, 2009
The Record, Bergen County, NJ
It's true that a preschool classroom can be noisy or messy, even at times chaotic. But it can also be a refuge, a safe haven, a place where imagination soars and the more mundane and sometimes harsh world becomes a little easier to cope with. It's hard to imagine a better way to spend those education dollars. Funding for preschool is seed money that will grow and bear fruit for a lifetime.
February 23, 2009
The Post and Courier, Charleston, SC
If the resolution passes, the nine-member committee would be required to submit a report to the General Assembly by 2010. South Carolina First Steps, a state agency devoted to increasing school readiness, would spearhead the effort.
February 20, 2009
Duluth News Tribune
The earliest years of Minnesota's youngest citizens are the foundations of their lives and the future of our state's economy. Early childhood care and education is an important economic development issue for Minnesota since it is the basis of the skilled work force of the future. Even in tough times we need to support our youngest children.
February 20, 2009
The DeSoto Times, Hernando, MS
Members of the Mississippi House of Representatives killed a bill recently that would have allowed school districts to use existing funds to offer voluntary early childhood education classes.
February 18, 2009
The Grand Rapids Press, Grand Rapids, MI
Congress should not cut literacy funding for kindergarten through third-grade students by $1 billion. Nationally, only one-third of fourth graders are proficient in reading. A decision on the Reading First program must be based on more than a questionable impact study. Other studies show positive findings and states such as Michigan say they can see measurable improvements in student performance.
February 18, 2009
The Boston Globe
The average full-day kindergarten fee has jumped by $282 per student to $2,682 in the last four years as state funding for kindergarten took hits during budget crises. Fewer school systems are making the move to add classes, and a growing percentage of families are being asked to pay for the extra time in school - and to pay higher fees than in the past, according to educators and state data.
February 16, 2009
The Gazette, Gaithersburg, MD
Tom Hucker hopes Maryland can become "shovel ready" for universal pre-kindergarten. The House Ways and Means Committee will hear testimony Tuesday on a bill introduced by Hucker that would require the state Department of Education to begin discussions with superintendents and school boards across the state about how to bring universal, public pre-kindergarten to Maryland.
February 14, 2009
The Marion Star, Marion, OH
Advocates of publicly funded pre-K point to studies that suggest students who spend significant time in pre-K are likelier than their peers to behave in school, graduate from high school and be productive citizens.

Resources

Noted Canadian authority on aggression Richard Tremblay and colleagues have published a new brief on aggression, the various forms it takes, its manifestations at certain ages, the consequences of not controlling it, and preschool education's ability to prevent youth violence.
The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) has an online video available that illustrates and discusses developmentally appropriate practices. The 53-minute video takes viewers into the classroom where teachers and children interact and provides discussions by experts on the practices observed. The video's release follows the recently released third print edition of Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood Programs.