Early Education in the News
McCain wants reforms that would make programs like Head Start more efficient, and although he has called for a spending freeze, he has said that "federal dollars could broaden access to high-quality" preschool programs. Obama proposes $10 billion a year in new spending to broaden preschool programs.
In 2000, eight years after voters approved a state lottery system that would, in part, pay for pre-K, the program in Clarke County grew from 54 students to almost 700. Today, nearly 900 students have a seat in a pre-K class. [Ann] Benedek can tell right away which students have attended pre-K. Two months into the year, some are writing poetry and compound sentences.
The bulk of the funding will be spent on teacher salaries and benefits, but a portion of the grant has been set aside to develop preschool playgrounds. June Inhern, special education coordinator, said playgrounds can help develop cognitive, language, social and motor skills with the end result being readiness to tackle reading, math and writing skills.
The latest US import is the pre-school tutor, paid to teach our three-year-olds the three Rs long before they've even set foot through a school gate. For £50 per subject per month, children as young as two attend for 15 minutes twice a week, learning skills such as letter recognition, counting and basic addition.
Although 70 percent of preschool age children in Massachusetts are already enrolled in some form of early education program — including 55 percent of Worcester 3- and 4-year-olds — far too few children attend high-quality early education programs. Research clearly indicates that without a strong commitment to improving program quality, many of the benefits we associate with early education may never be realized.
When the Mississippi Economic Council came through Meridian Thursday to talk about improving our state's economy, the bulk of their presentation was less about dollars and cents and more about providing a good education for our children.
The U.S. Department of Education recently awarded the grant to the Riverside County of Education for an early literacy program meant to strengthen the skills of more than 200 toddlers from low-income families over the next three years. Tony Garcia, a coordinator of early childhood education programs with the office, said such skills are important because the expectations for kindergarten students have changed.
About 30 volunteers each month will read a book to one or two classrooms full of students, and each student will get a copy of the book of the month to take home. Hampton is focusing on pre-kindergarten children because research found that children who have books at home, who are familiar with just turning pages and the basic idea of reading left to right, have better success learning to read, said Debbie Russell, a program administrator with Hampton Healthy Families Partnership.
While Wisconsin's early childhood programs appear to have ratio and group size standards in a reasonable range, research suggests that it makes sense to focus on strengthening standards for programs serving children from disadvantaged backgrounds. Because the brain develops at an astonishing rate during the first five years of life, a curriculum that provides the kind of stimulation that promotes healthy brain development is an important ingredient in a strong early learning program.
The preschool, which is referred to as the "L," is West Virginia's first auditory-oral preschool for the hearing impaired. With the help of Cochlear Implants, these children are taught to hear noises for the first time.
Offered through the Roseville Adult School, the weekly sensory enrichment class is based on occupational therapy research that shows children do better in school when exposed to a variety of sensory experiences. That's the theory behind a new parent education program aimed at helping boost preschool-aged children's motor skills and coordination through fun activities that stress movement, sensation and play.
The South, having dragged behind the rest of the nation in education for decades, is actually leading the country on one critically important piece of the education continuum. That piece is the offering of state-funded pre-kindergarten to 3- and 4-year-old children.
[Geoffrey] Canada's idea: Instead of offering discrete programs to ameliorate certain aspects of poverty, he would do it all. He would create a safety net so tightly knit and widely spread that not only would it prevent an entire community of kids from falling through, it would actually propel them out of poverty. In fact, the net would be a continuous series of integrated interventions beginning with pre-natal parenting classes and intensive early childhood programs up to college.
The movement toward pre-K may prove to be a wise investment because it reduces the costs of students who are poorly prepared for school. But if pre-K programs become universal in Maine, a 14th year of public education will essentially have been added to the state and local tab without a comprehensive discussion on the issue.
Pre-K programs seem to be a good cause, and there are far worse ways to spend taxpayer dollars than on than education. But lawmakers must proceed cautiously in determining whether to boost spending.
The Early Care and Education programs at Piedmont Technical College and at eight other technical colleges have received accreditation through the NAEYC, an organization dedicated to improving the well-being of all young children, with particular focus on the quality of educational and developmental services for all children from birth through age 8. NAEYC has granted accreditation to only 51 associate degree programs nationwide since 2006.
Many working parents rely on state subsidized child care to meet their needs, but in 2007 the statewide waiting list for subsidized care rose from 17,000 in January to 46,000 by October. Under these conditions, working parents sometimes make the tough decision to turn to unregulated child care.
An early-childhood curriculum that aims to help youngsters control their impulses, recall and use what they've learned, and adjust when circumstances change—skills known as executive function—has been getting attention in the research world of late. But researchers aren't coming to the same conclusions about the effectiveness of the program, called Tools of the Mind, at preparing children for school.
The North Dakota Commission on Education Improvement is pondering whether to fund a preschool program. The commission also discussed whether a state preschool program should be open to all children or just to at-risk populations.
The state is among those that despite a poor economy is still investing additional dollars in preschool, according to a recent report by Pre-K Now, a Washington D.C-based advocacy organization. The Michigan Legislature has invested $5 million more in pre-k for fiscal year 2009, increasing funding for the state's Great Start Readiness Program to $103.5 million, the report said.