Early Education in the News
Fundamental to the American experience is the belief that our children have the opportunity to reach whatever heights to which they aspire. The surest, most effective way to provide them with such an opportunity is to create a pathway to success through early childhood education. Indiana is one of only 10 states without a state-funded preschool program for underserved children. The mayor’s initiative is an important first step, along with the state’s pilot grants, toward addressing Indiana’s early childhood education needs. If we help children succeed in school, they have an opportunity to experience social and economic mobility that may not otherwise be possible.
The state of Kansas has received a $1 million grant — the minimum amount presented to each of 50 states and the District of Columbia — from the Department of Health and Human Services as part of the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program, federal officials announced Monday.
Established by the Affordable Care Act, the program helps fund state home visiting services to women during pregnancy, and to parents with children up to age 5.
Because of inadequate public school capacity, the de Blasio administration has been urging religious schools and community organizations to consider hosting the added programs.
Delgado, like thousands of other child-care providers, receives some funding through subsidized vouchers for low-income families. The budget for child care has stayed flat for years while costs have risen, and early childhood education advocates say circumstances continue to be challenging. This is the first year since the start of the recession that California has had a budgetary surplus. The boost will primarily benefit state child-care centers and providers, as opposed to private ones such as Delgado's. This year, the state has allocated $76.6 billion for K-12 education, including $2.1 billion for the youngest Californians who are eligible for state-funded preschool and child care. Among other initiatives, the budget covers preschool and day-care slots, improving the quality and access to early childhood education and a 5% increase in the reimbursement rate for about 2,000 state-contracted home care providers.
The District’s Briya Public Charter School enrolls parents and young children together in the same school, a novel effort to improve children’s prospects by building the skills of those who are closest to them. It’s an approach that an increasing number of researchers and philanthropists are promoting across the country as experts worry that investments in early childhood education or school improvement can only go so far. Many modern school reforms emerge from the idea that schools can overcome the adversities children experience in their life outside of school. But dual-generation approaches — in which parents are pursuing education in tandem with their children — echo research that shows that amother’s education is one of the strongest predictors of a child’s academic success.
Currently, the sales tax stands at 0.12 percent, which is 12 cents on every $100 spent. The proposed ballot question would boost this to 0.15 percent, or 15 cents on every $100. The increased funding would enable the program to offer and sustain summer programming and respond to demand for full-day and extended-day programming. That would be money well-spent to help 4-year-olds show up for kindergarten prepared to tackle the curriculum put before them.
This preschool program, approved by voters in 2006, provides the most support to low-income families who send their 4-year-olds to preschools with the highest-quality ratings. Catching these children early and ensuring they are up to speed may save taxpayers money in the long run, lowering the chances they might need remediation in higher grades.
Across the city, preschool directors are gearing up for an unusually ambitious expansion. The program was a major campaign promise of Mayor Bill de Blasio, and the clock is ticking for opening day in September. Many centers were still hunting for staff at July job fairs, outfitting classrooms and training teachers. The city aims to offer 33,000 full-day seats in community centers this fall, up from 3,360 last year. District public schools will have 20,400 full-day spots, up from 16,100.
Yet according to at least one measure out this past week, things are not improving. The prospects continue to be bleak for South Carolina’s children who too often grow up in poverty, with few economic opportunities and with public schools that need to be improved. Schools need to be improved. That starts with funding. It starts with an emphasis on improving reading skills. It starts with increased access to early childhood education. The state has made strides in each of these areas over the past year. Gov. Nikki Haley has advocated for more funding for public education, especially in the realm of technology; the state has implemented a program designed to ensure all third-graders are proficient readers; and discussions continue about furthering expanded access to 4-year-old kindergarten.
New research discovers early childhood depression increases the risk that a child will be depressed throughout their formative school years. Washington University researchers discovered children who had depression as preschoolers were 2.5 times more likely to suffer from the condition in elementary and middle school than kids who were not depressed at very young ages. Prior research has shown that depression in preschoolers is often influenced by a caregiver (mother’s) depression.
Ninety percent of a child's critical brain development occurs between birth and age 5. Children in Mississippi are not required to attend school until age 6. The disconnect between those two facts is the No. 1 concern of early-education advocates in Mississippi. Although data show overwhelmingly that early education is crucial to academic success throughout a child's life, Mississippi has been slow to provide the youngest and poorest kids with the tools to achieve.
While some observers may have brushed it off as mere pandering to the liberal base – and women in particular – before midterm elections, the excitement around these statements is well warranted. Obama’s bear hug of policies like paid family leave and universal child care represents a break with a long, tortured past. The United States very nearly had universal child care. In 1971, both houses of Congress passed the Comprehensive Child Development Act, which would have provided child care at a sliding scale to every child that needed it, the first step toward a universal system. . .
For Florida’s 1 million children growing up in poverty, kindergarten — and even pre-K — is too late to start giving them the help many will need to grow into capable, productive adults. But the message has been slow to reach parents and caregivers — those who can take greatest advantage of that precious and short window. In Florida, where one in four children lives below the federal poverty line and one in nine lives in extreme poverty, child-welfare advocates say few options are available to low-income parents who need quality child care or help in knowing what to do on their own.
Preschoolers with special needs benefit from going to school with children who have strong language skills, according to a new study. Classmates with higher-level language abilities promote language growth in children with disabilities, researchers found. On the other hand, development of language could be delayed if their classmates have weak language skills, they said.
Four prominent Northeast Pennsylvania business and civic leaders recently wrote an op-ed for this publication detailing the many benefits high-quality early learning has for communities — benefits ranging from a stronger, more competitive job market to a decrease in the anti-social behaviors that often fuel social problems and higher crime rates. I have seen children come into our center’s Head Start program who already are woefully behind most of their peers in their learning skills at the age of just 3 or 4. These children often face challenges that are beyond their control and, despite the best efforts of their parents or guardians, lack the resources needed to gain ground during this critical time in their academic, social and emotional development.
High-quality early learning programs like Head Start make a difference in helping these children catch up to their peers and keep up, and it’s a difference that carries over through the rest of their education. I know because I have witnessed it many times.
Preschool sign-ups are well underway, and with a few weeks until the start of school, educators say the earlier you sign your child up, the better. Last school year in Smith County, only 36.8 percent of four-year-olds were enrolled in preschool.
Despite dropping fees for the first time in two years, the Sacramento City Unified School District still has about 650 openings for its free state preschool and Head Start programs for low-income families. California previously required that most families pay fees for half-day state-funded preschool, which serves children ages 3 and 4.
Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard’s plan to spend $50 million for preschool for the city’s poorest children will tackle two issues: making sure 1,300 more children can afford to enroll and growing the number quality of centers in the city.
“Our vision is for every child in Indianapolis to have access to a voluntary, high-quality early childhood education that prepares him or her for a successful academic career and success in life,” according to the mayor’s proposal.
The city will invest $25 million in tax dollars, and expects to raise an additional $25 million in matching and philanthropic support, to support the plan. The first scholarships are expected to be awarded to students in 2015-16.
SEATTLE has a ripe opportunity this fall to join the city-driven universal preschool movement, so long as forward progress doesn’t get entangled in local labor politics.
The Seattle Preschool Program will be on the ballot in November. A four-year, $14.5 million-a-year property-tax levy would pay for high-quality instruction for 3- and 4-year-olds. It would have a sliding fee scale to draw in a broad socioeconomic cross-section of the city’s children, and instruction would be based on tested models elsewhere in the county.
Research in Tulsa, Okla., Boston and elsewhere have shown that high-quality instruction for the prekindergarten set provides an academic rocket boost. Mayor Ed Murray believes the city’s plan could ultimately reduce poverty and crime while raising graduation rates.
Detroit has been chosen as one of five cities across the country to pilot a first-of-its-kind national model to bring innovation, quality and impact to children through Head Start and Early Head Start programming. Thrive by Five Detroit, a collaboration comprising Development Centers, Focus: HOPE, Southwest Solutions and Starfish Family Services, will not only serve children but their entire family. Pregnant women may enroll in the program, ensuring their children get the earliest start and caseworkers will help families achieve their goals related to housing, education and employment.
Both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives are working on legislature to try to make child care more affordable.
According to the 2013 Child Care Aware report, the highest cost for American families is now their child care. In the past, it was housing, but according to the report, the majority of the country is now paying more to send their child to a facility for care than they are for housing. Nationwide, the average cost for childcare is $12,000. In Pennsylvania, it costs, on average, $10,319 to get infant care.