Early Education in the News
Experiments conducted at Vanderbilt University, described in the May/June issue of Child Development, offer some hints about toddlers. They showed that 24-month-olds are more apt to use information relayed by video if they consider the person on the screen to be someone they can talk to. Without that, the children seemed unable to act on what they had seen and heard.
To best educate our children, we need to make that investment as early as possible - in a child's formative years, when tax dollars pay the highest dividends by getting children ready for school. Overwhelming research shows it's the best investment of education dollars we can make.
There has been little or no improvement in turnover in recent years, says Steve Barnett, director of the National Institute for Early Education Research, a New Brunswick, N.J., nonprofit.
Although there is still playtime and finger painting, kindergarten is not all fun and games. Ellen Frede, co-director of National Institute for Early Education Research, said there is much debate over how much and in what manner young students should be taught.
A retooled state-funded early childhood education system in Ohio should benefit all children, regardless of family wealth, a state panel recommended on Friday. The School Readiness Solutions Group, which wrapped up 14 months of work on a report containing 10 recommendations, also had considered a less costly system that would have reached just the neediest in an effort to have an impact on an obvious symptom of the cycle of poverty.
Advocates for early childhood education told a legislative task force on Thursday that eager-to-learn 3-year-old kids in the state are falling behind their counterparts elsewhere because Idaho doesn't give them a chance to attend publicly funded preschool. Both groups also touted a proposal to extend kindergarten to a full day, while making its completion mandatory.
Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, wants the state to spend up to $7 million to train a team of specialists to give parents, preschools and day-care centers the tools they need to make sure children are ready for kindergarten. The specialists would reach out to all families and help those who are disadvantaged due to income or limited English skills understand how to access available services, including Head Start preschool programs.
Come this fall, several new early-education programs will be in place throughout Vermont, thanks to a unique collaborative of philanthropists, education experts, and private foundations. Advocates say the problem isn't that the current system isn't unsustainable, but that it's unaffordable for many parents, and wages are too low to attract providers into the field.
Pennsylvania is getting better at readying its children for school, but still has too little high-quality child care available, according to a study released Thursday by a child advocacy group. The Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children report praised the state for having more children in pre-kindergarten and full-day kindergarten than it did last year, and also more enrolled in Head Start and high-quality child-care programs.
Looking at Florida's Voluntary Prekindergarten Program (VPK) one year after its launch, one is left wondering how far off the mark the program really is. I say "wonder" because at present, there is no scientifically sound plan to measure its educational benefits to the children who attend.
As pre-kindergarten becomes ever more popular here and nationwide, public schools continue to see more and more 4-year-olds stepping bravely into the world of language centers, recess and art time. [Oklahoma] is one of the few states where pre-kindergarten is made available to all students regardless of income and where the budget is part of the common-education funding stream.
Despite representing a large and rapidly growing segment of the nation's population, Hispanic children are least likely to participate in preschool, studies show.
School boards alone no longer would control where publicly funded 4-year-old kindergarten is offered in Wisconsin under a voucher program proposed by Wisconsin Child Care Administrators Association. The association wants legislators to support a "family options program" that would allow "any high-quality program that meets a specific set of standards" to provide kindergarten for 4-year-olds and collect the state money, said Beverly Anderson, president of the association.
Romney states that the value of universal preschool is unproven. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Montana is one of three states that has received a $50,000 grant from the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices to develop programs to help make sure children are ready for school. Gov. Brian Schweitzer said the money would be used in Montana to start an early childhood education program he's calling "Best Beginnings."
Denver Public Schools leaders on Wednesday unveiled a policy for teaching English to children who are native Spanish speakers, creating the district's first guidelines for the instruction of more than 20 percent of its students. The new language allocation policy recommends the number of minutes per school day that students are to be taught in their native language and in English, starting with 30 minutes of English daily for those in half-day preschool and kindergarten classrooms.
The vast majority of child care providers are older women, but the number of Latinas who care for younger children is nearly twice that who teach K-12 students. Many workers leave the early care and education field because of notoriously low pay: often $9 to $11 an hour -- what many parking lot attendants earn.
Kindergarten teachers have long said they see huge differences between students who have attended preschool and those who haven't. The preschool kids are already ahead on the first day of school, teachers say.
While most of Montana's children are reveling in the last half of summer vacation, their teachers and education leaders are considering whether to begin school at age 3. They're feeling pressure from a national movement promoting pre-kindergarten as a cost-effective way of boosting academic and social performance in later years.
Despite the clear connection between early experience and success in school, there has been an almost complete separation between the early-care community and school systems, on both the state and local level, across the country. Last month, Maryland became the first (and so far, only) state to overcome this divide.