Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children
Last week, NIEER — the National Institute for Early Education Research — wrapped up a two-week blog forum on the importance of play in early childhood education.
In these blog posts, experts consider the tension that can arise between academics and play. NIEER’s inaugural post explains, “Concerns about whether preschool and kindergarten have become too stressful and regimented are met head on with concerns that they are academically weak and fail to cognitively challenge children.”
The posts are meant to be “valuable resources as parents, teachers, and policymakers strive to ensure play has its place in pre-K.”
In addition to the blogs, NIEER has posted a recommended reading list “to keep the conversation going.”
What the Blogs Say
In a blog post titled “Play, Mathematics, and False Dichotomies,” University of Denver professors Douglas H. Clements and Julie Sarama write, “Let’s stop the cycle of ‘abuse’—or at least confusion—that stems from false dichotomies in early education. ‘Play vs. academics’ is arguably the main one. Of course children should play. But this does not mean they should not learn, and even play, with mathematics.” (more…)
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Hillary Clinton has spent decades pounding the podium on behalf of children. Now the Washington Post’s Wonkblog has asked her and other notable figures to share their favorite graphs of the year and explain why they chose them. Clinton’s choice highlights the power of adult interactions with children.
Why ask for a favorite graph? Wonkblog essentially says it’s joining the crowd: “Time has its ‘Person of the Year.’ Amazon has its books of the year. Pretty Much Amazing has its mixtapes of the year.” For Wonkblog, the subject is graphs that illustrate important issues in public policy.
Clinton’s favorite graph is titled “Percentage of Children, Ages Birth through Two, Who Had A Family Member Read, Sing, or Tell Them Stories Everyday in the Past Week, by Poverty Level: 2011/12.”
“We want to help all parents give their kids a good start in school and in life. That’s what this graph is all about,” Clinton writes. (more…)
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Posted in Achievement gap, Business and economy, Cognitive development, Cost and affordability, Dept. of Early Education and Care, Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education, Early educators, Early Learning Challenge, Federal, Head Start, Infants and toddlers, MA governor, MA Legislature, MA state budget, National, Pre-kindergarten, Strategies for Children on November 13, 2013 |
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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children
Today is a big day for children and families in Massachusetts and across the country. Strategies for Children applauds Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Congressman George Miller (D-CA), and Congressman Richard Hanna (R-NY) for their bi-partisan leadership in introducing the Strong Start for America’s Children Act. This legislation builds on the progress that we have made in Massachusetts under the leadership of Governor Patrick and our state legislators to ensure that our children have the foundation they need to be successful in school and in life.
Over the past decade, the commonwealth has led the country as we put into place a system of high-quality early education for all children, beginning at birth. Yet significant achievement gaps still exist. Too many children show up for school already behind, and too many will never catch up. Experts agree that high-quality early education has a lifetime impact on young learners in terms of greater academic readiness and improved social skills.
The research is clear. High-quality early childhood education programs are a sound investment. That’s why we’re making sure Members of Congress hear us loud and clear as they move forward with the budget and now this new opportunity — the Strong Start for America’s Children bill. Please email your Members of Congress in support of the bill now.
The bill has three main parts:
- Grants to states to expand high-quality preschool, building on their current state-funded preschool delivery system (there are also grants for states that do not yet invest in or need to raise the quality of their standards for preschool);
- Grants to create Early Head Start/child care partnerships to improve the quality of and expand access to high-quality child care for infants and toddlers; and
- A call for the expansion of the voluntary home visiting program for infants and toddlers.
Please help us give this bill a solid start by asking your Members of Congress to co-sponsor it. The introduction of this historic early learning bill provides an opportunity that we can’t afford to miss. At the same time, as the federal budget is negotiated between the House and Senate, we must fight hard to undo the harsh effects of the sequester and to increase investments in early learning.
Stay tuned for more information and more opportunities for action.
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In Providence, R.I., educators, parents and community leaders have long understood that the city’s children would benefit from high-quality universal pre-k.
However, the community only has limited resources for serving all three- and four-year olds, so to get to the goal of UPK, the city has to take smaller, creative steps and engage in innovative thinking. Kids Bridge is one example.
“The vision is universal pre-school,” Terri Adelman told the Providence Journal. Adelman is the executive director of Inspiring Minds, the nonprofit program that runs Kids Bridge along with the Providence schools. Unfortunately, there are only enough seats for one-third of the children who are eligible for free preschool programs. That’s why supplemental programs such as Kids Bridge are important.
Before they get to kindergarten, children enroll in Kids Bridge during the summer.The four-week program runs in five schools, and it “empowers children with little or no pre-school experience to rapidly catch up academically and socially,” according to the Kids Bridge website. (more…)
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Christopher Martes, interim superintendent of the Wrentham Public Schools, and Carolyn Lyons, president and CEO of Strategies for Children, submitted an op-ed to CommonWealth Magazine recently. The op-ed was published online yesterday, October 23. Here’s a sample of their commentary:
“Last month’s release of 2013 MCAS results generated some good news. Concealed in the results, however, is a hidden story that is cause for concern: 43 percent of the state’s third graders are not proficient readers – compared to 39 percent last year. Among children from low-income families, a shocking 65 percent lag in reading. Disturbingly, these scores have remained stagnant for more than a decade.
“The numbers are especially troubling in our 26 Gateway Cities – the large and midsize cities that serve as economic engines. In these cities, an average of 58 percent of third graders are not able to read proficiently, including 72 percent of children in Chelsea and 87 percent in Holyoke. In Boston, 68 percent of third graders are not proficient readers.
“Behind the statistics are too many children that show up for school already behind and too many that never catch up.”
Continue reading the full article at CommonWealth Magazine online.
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