Early Education in the News
The Head Start program, a triumph for advocates of early intervention in childhood, was a focal point of President Lyndon B. Johnson's War on Poverty and an extension of work by researchers like Dr. Richmond. In the late 1950s, he was chairman of the pediatric department at the State University of New York College of Medicine at Syracuse (now Upstate Medical University) when he and a colleague, Betty Caldwell, began studying the interactions of parents and very young children in poor families.
Why did the United States become the leading economic power of the 20th century? The best short answer is that a ferocious belief that people have the power to transform their own lives gave Americans an unparalleled commitment to education, hard work and economic freedom.
Alabama and North Carolina are the only states to meet all 10 quality benchmarks of the National Institute for Early Education Research. We have the nation's best pre-K, but offer it to just a sliver of eligible children.
Last summer, 26 children in the Caldwell School District got ready to start kindergarten with help from a unique pilot program, United Way of Treasure Valley's kindergarten readiness "boot camp." The test group, all children from schools with high poverty rates, was small. But when they took their first standardized tests last fall, nearly 60 percent scored at or above grade level, compared to 17 percent of their classmates who were not in the program.
The first day of school will find special education preschool teacher Nicole Lulow in her best teaching environment in six years at Hernando Elementary School. Lulow has tapped corporate goodwill and volunteer labor to transform classrooms into a learning suite for 3- and 4-year-olds with autism and other developmental issues.
The state's looming budget cuts have some legislators eyeing a multibillion-dollar pot of money that for years has built playgrounds, fixed tiny teeth, provided preschool for poor kids, funded craft workshops and doled out books and other freebies in Riverside and San Bernardino counties.
Federal and state programs provide free or subsidized preschool and daycare for families who qualify, but many parents either pay for preschool or ignore it. The Great Start Collaborative is a group of organizations looking to promote early childhood education in hope of reaping long-term benefits.
Dozens of siblings mistakenly denied spots in the city's prekindergarten program will be enrolled this fall, but their classes will grow and be staffed by $1.4million worth of extra teaching aides.
Deciding when to send a child to kindergarten can be difficult for parents. Should a gifted child start at age 4 so she doesn't get bored? Should a less precocious child wait until he's 6 so he doesn't fall behind his classmates? There's no clear-cut answer.
Research shows that high-quality pre-kindergarten yields academic benefits for children and economic savings for communities. We know that children who have quality early-learning experiences are less likely to need special education placements, grade retention or remedial services.
Research shows that the earlier a child is exposed to violence, the greater the impact that violence will have on their development. A review of such research compiled in the province over the last 12 years is the basis of a new Justice Canada and Saskatchewan Justice jointly funded study led by Dr. Leslie Tutty. One of the recommendations the study makes is the need for more intervention for preschool-aged children.
After videotaping and carefully analyzing the children's reactions, researchers found that kids watched the TV only in snippets but that it modestly shortened their playtime. TV decreased play's intensity and cut by half the amount of time children focused on a given toy.
Well, the new science of brain development is forging a path that is both illuminating and frightening. It's pushing the frontiers of early childhood practice (that's where parents and child care providers come in) and policy (that's where legislators and business leaders come in). In ways never before understood, we now know that an infant's early circuits of the brain cannot be rewired later in life; optimal flexibility and plasticity of the brain occurs very early, during the first three years of life.
Even among low-income families, mothers with greater social and economic resources were more supportive in parenting their children than those with fewer resources, which in turn influenced the children's cognitive performance. That's the main finding of a new study that considers how economic factors and parenting quality jointly influence children's development.
Finding a preschool that fits parents' needs, budgets, and schedules can be challenging, and parents need to know what to look for to ensure their child is receiving top-quality instruction and care. The National Institute Early for Education Research has compiled a List of Top 10 Pre-K Questions designed to assist parents as they search for the best setting for their children.
One study even put a dollar figure to the savings: for every dollar invested in the preschool program, more than $8 in benefits were returned to society as a whole. Oregon would be crazy to turn down such a payoff.
Interesting, and it raises this fundamental question: Do boys show up for kindergarten less prepared for school work than girls? For the answer, I went to one of the nation's top experts, Steven Barnett, executive director of the National Institute for Early Education at Rutgers University.
Hawaii is on its way now to having a comprehensive early childhood learning program, despite Gov. Linda Lingle's attempt Tuesday to kill the bill -- lawmakers over-rode her veto. The new law creates a State Early Learning Council which, over 10 years, aims to create the states first comprehensive early-education system.
Governor Ruth Ann Minner signed Senate Bill 222 on July 8, establishing the Delaware Stars for Early Success program, a voluntary quality rating and improvement plan to assist families in selecting early childhood services for their children and to improve the quality of early childhood programs in the state. Under Senate Bill 222, sponsored by Senator Patricia Blevins, the Delaware Stars for Early Success is a five-level system that builds on licensing rules, setting increasingly higher standards at each star level in the following areas:
• Qualifications and Professional Development;
• Learning Environment and Curriculum;
• Family and Community Partnerships; and
• Management and Administration.
The huge difference in readiness skills is evident in schools across Northeast Ohio. In many cases, the results mirror what decades of research show: The chance of a child being well-prepared for kindergarten rises right along with the parents' income and education level and the use of high-quality preschool programs.