Early Education in the News
Among other things, 76 percent of the children who joined [Jacksonville Mayor John] Peyton's book club in 2004 as 4-year-olds were able to recognize at least 75 percent of alphabet letters by the time they entered kindergarten, according to a report by the Jacksonville Early Literacy Partnership. In addition to the book club, which has reached around 26,000 children, the partnership also began rating child care centers and providing early childhood readiness coaches and other curriculum help.
Public, pre-kindergarten education is a hotly debated issue between members of Idaho's House and Senate, but it's a decision that would be best-resolved at the local level. [Local school districts] should be able to adopt or reject such ideas based on their unique needs and the wishes of local parents.
Universal free prekindergarten may prove to be a good idea and a financial boon for cash-strapped households. But to the people who've been in the trenches operating some of the city's preschools, the past couple of months have brought heartache and upheaval.
Statewide, $75 million was included in the state budget this year for Pre-K Counts, an effort pushed by Gov. Ed Rendell. It's the state's first program aimed at providing public preschool for pupils from moderate-income families, local early child care experts said.
As the number of children found to have autism has soared nationally, districts across the region are struggling to provide appropriate support services, which typically involve individualized instruction, and to manage the escalating costs.
Early education helps with the reduction in grade repetition, public assistance and delinquency/crime and increases in learning productivity, the likelihood of graduation, secondary education, wages and tax revenues. As people reach adulthood in Alabama, the cost savings of providing early education for children who live below the federal poverty line is $11,178 per child while its $2,625 per child for those who live above the federal poverty line.
In a room furnished with small plastic chairs in bright colors and stocked with baskets of crayons, puzzles, blocks and picture books, Westview's littlest learners recently practiced basic social skills, such as waiting their turn and being polite, while also learning numbers and letters.
This fall, the Lisbon school district was among 16 Eastern Iowa districts receiving a portion of the $15 million set aside by the state Legislature to provide free preschool for 4-year-olds.
A yet-to-be published study of preschool sites in four states shows that giving prekindergarten teachers access to mentors and to immediate data on children's pre-reading skills can have a positive effect on student performance, regardless of the teachers' own education levels. The findings, in a study conducted by the Children's Learning Institute at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, may add to the debate over the role of a formal college education for preschool teachers.
In what pre-K supporters are calling a "trickle-up" effect, three federal plans have been offered that call for tying preschool education to the No Child Left Behind Act, which primarily focuses on K-12 schools. On top of those three bills, other proposals on Capitol Hill also aim to improve early-childhood education, either by providing college-loan forgiveness for preschool teachers or creating professional-development programs.
As more Hispanics make Texas their home, dual-language programs are becoming increasingly popular in schools statewide. School officials attribute the increase to a shortage of bilingual teachers and a mandate from the state that requires districts with at least 20 non-English-speaking students to offer bilingual classes.
Researchers have been studying family interventions that prevent young high-risk children from following in the footsteps of their older siblings. Now a new study shows that a non-medical early family intervention that improves caregiving also results in important changes in children's biological response to stress.
When Betsy Hata, the director of admissions for Punahou School, starts noticing parents and their children testing out her office sofa, she knows that her kindergarten admissions process is in full swing. To these parents, it's important for their children to know the sofa and be comfortable with the admissions office's surroundings, because minimizing the unfamiliar for their unpredictable 4-year-olds may increase their chances for a good testing experience.
Here's another tale of low-income, disadvantaged children who were helped by a good preschool project: In 1998, the New Jersey Supreme Court ordered pre-kindergarten sessions to be offered in the state's poorest districts "as expeditiously as possible." After eight years, New Jersey has found that children who received the early training made significant gains in language, literacy and math, according to the National Institute for Early Education Research, a project of Pew Charitable Trusts.
With Hispanic students less likely to graduate from high school than blacks or whites, educators are looking to bilingual and multicultural early education programs as one way to narrow the gap.
New Jersey was among the top-performing states in a national test of math and reading given to fourth- and eighth-graders this year. Both Gov. Jon S. Corzine and Education Commissioner Lucille Davy credited full-day preschool in urban districts and a focus on early literacy for setting the foundation for children to improve and succeed.
The emotional debate over Idaho prekindergarten shows no sign of relenting — and it threatens to overshadow common-sense solutions.
Child well-being can be seen as a puzzle, with each piece contributing to the overall picture. These pieces are intertwined and affect one another. For example, a child who receives a high-quality early education is more likely to be successful in school, graduate high school and attend college.
Gov. Kathleen Sebelius on Monday said getting more funding for pre-kindergarten learning is one of her top priorities for the next legislative session. A recent survey involving 5,000 children found that half the state's 5-year-olds aren't ready for kindergarten, Sebelius said.
As part of legislation that established Indiana's long-overdue investment in full-day kindergarten last spring, a preschool pilot program was created, but not funded.