Early Education in the News
If you're also willing to turn off the set, then TV-at-your-whim can be a terrific parenting tool. In his new book "Anytime Playdate," Dade Hayes argues that the preschool TV landscape, the subject of much hand-wringing, does offer some serious teaching and parenting tools.
Alabama's new education budget will allow the state's pre-kindergarten program for 4-year-olds to add more than 1,000 students across the state.
Pennsylvania this year introduced the Pre-K Counts program that provides schooling for 3- and 4-year-olds from families whose income can be as much as three times the national poverty level. Both Pre-K Counts and its federal counterpart, Head Start, provide youngsters with a play-learning atmosphere that introduces education and socialization.
Students who took part in a Henry County preschool program earned higher test scores than their peers, according to a report presented to the school board by Dr. Dawn Holley, elementary curriculum specialist. Among 2007-08 kindergartners, 82 percent of those who participated in the state-funded Virginia Preschool Initiative (VPI) as 4-year-olds made the fall PALS kindergarten benchmark, Holley said.
Because Rhode Island policy makers recognized the importance of early education to the development of foundational cognitive and social skills, policy makers wisely chose to invest state funds to provide Head Start to 400 children who would otherwise be on a waiting list. If state funds are not available, these 400 children will miss a powerful opportunity: to enter kindergarten ready to learn and succeed.
The jury is still out on whether obesity programs for toddlers work or are even desirable. Because such programs are so new, their effectiveness hasn't been well-documented and the limited research that exists is mixed. Experts also caution that children need a balanced diet and should be able to eat unlimited amounts of nutritious foods, like vegetables. Children up to about the age of 5 need a higher percentage of fat in their diet than do adults, so following professionals' nutrition advice is critical for parents who want to manage their children's weight.
Federal law requires school districts to serve children with disabilities beginning at age 3. Most of those in Volusia attended classes for part of the day and school officials assumed -- as the state allowed -- that they were exposed to typically developing children at home or in other settings once they left school. The state changed that rule in 2006-07 as it set the goal of having 76 percent of pre-K children with disabilities educated with typically developing peers by the 2010-11 school year.
The school has some sensory equipment in its pre-kindergarten and kindergarten classrooms, but an entire room dedicated to sensory integration is the first of its kind in the Tupelo Public School District. The classroom provides just the right challenges for students depending on their circumstances, [special education teacher Ellen] Hill said, which could include autism, Down syndrome and cerebral palsy.
The Reggio [Emilia] schools have infant and toddler programs, and preschools for older children. Teachers focus on children's competence, and their ability to be small but vital educational researchers. The schedule is loose enough to follow the children's leads, and the schools are architecturally appealing, meant to inspire learning.
The primary benefit [of changing the kindergarten cutoff date] is better elementary math and reading scores that persist as far as eighth grade, researchers said, because some students would be a year older when taking those tests. But it also may increase the so-called "achievement gap" between poor students and their more affluent peers whose birthdays fall in this three-month gap, mostly because higher-income families would be able to afford a better preschool education than low-income families.
An investment in early childhood education is an investment in the future success of the entire community. That was the message conveyed at a recent Business Leaders Summit on Early Childhood Education held in King of Prussia.
Instead of memorization, Building Blocks teachers encourage pupils to find the reasons behind shapes and numbers, and teach math throughout the day instead of during one class period, [Professor Douglas] Clements said. The teachers also emphasize counting throughout life, such as observing the number of stop signs on the way home from school.
The latest analysis of a long-running early-childhood-education program for children of low-income families in Chicago suggests economic payoffs from such services that continue well into adulthood.
Middle Tennessee parents are being notified their children won't attend state-funded pre-kindergarten this fall, their registrations canceled in the wake of an abrupt freeze on a planned $25 million program expansion.
Each year, the state spends hundreds of millions of dollars on preschool and child-care programs in North Carolina. And each year, very little assessment takes place showing exactly what taxpayers are getting for their dollar.
But recent advances in psychology and brain science are now suggesting that a child's ability to inhibit distracting thoughts and stay focused may be a fundamental cognitive skill, one that plays a big part in academic success from preschool on. EF comprises not only effortful control and cognitive focus but also working memory and mental flexibility—the ability to adjust to change, to think outside the box.
Some parents may have to pay for their child to attend a public preschool next year. If families aren't enrolled in the federally-funded free and or reduced-price meal program, they may be asked to pay at least $450 monthly for their child to attend prekindergarten classes funded through the state's Cecil J. Picard LA 4 preschool program.
In spite of the growing need, Indiana remains among early childhood education's dirty dozen – 12 states that dedicate no state money to preschool programs. [Indiana] falls behind, if one is to accept sound research that the most important brain development happens before the age of 5 and that every dollar invested in high-quality pre-kindergarten saves taxpayers up to $7.
Across the nation, Head Start programs are facing troubles related to a budget crunch: high staff turnover, reduced hours, staff cuts. The [National Head Start Association] report found that half the programs studied now worry about teacher salaries so low staff would likely leave and 62 percent plan to reduce hours or days of operation.
The Michigan School Readiness Program, a grant which has funded the launch of several Lansing preschools, requires those schools to build age-appropriate playgrounds. The new play places are smaller in size and surrounded by mulch that squishes underfoot, thanks to a synthetic shock-absorbent subsurface intended to help reduce injuries.