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Archive for the ‘Science & math’ Category

Photo: Micaela Bedell for Strategies for Children

Photo: Micaela Bedell for Strategies for Children

This blog was originally published on July 24, 2013.

Libraries and museums can engage, teach and delight children. But too often these institutions are not part of the policy conversation about early education.

A new report – “Growing Young Minds: How Museums and Libraries Create Lifelong Learners” – calls for tapping and investing in more of the strengths and knowledge of these vibrant institutions.

“Libraries and museums can play a stronger role in early learning for all children,” the report says. “As our nation commits to early learning as a national priority essential to our economic and civic future, it is time to become more intentional about deploying these vital community resources to this challenge.”

The report comes from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading.

The nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums have 10 key strengths, according to the report, among them:

- Museums and libraries provide high-quality, easily accessed early education programs that engage and support parents in being their children’s first teachers. (more…)

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Photo: Courtesy of the City of Boston

Photo: Courtesy of the City of Boston

Here’s an exciting birth announcement from The City of Boston, the Boston Housing Authority, and Nurtury (formerly known as Associated Early Care and Education):

It’s a brand new building!

The Nurtury Learning Lab at Bromley-Heath

Serving children ages 0 to 8

20,000 square feet of classroom space

14,000 square feet of outdoor learning and play areas

LEED Gold Certification

Click here for the Facebook Pictures!

The new building had its ribbon cutting ceremony on Monday. And Boston Mayor Marty Walsh helped out with the ceremonial scissors.

“The Nurtury Learning Lab, located at the Boston Housing Authority’s (BHA) Bromley-Heath public housing development in Jamaica Plain, will anchor a campus of services for children and families,” according to a press release. The building “integrates early education, family and community learning opportunities and support, and professional development activities for early educators throughout Boston and eastern Massachusetts.” (more…)

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Last December, Liz Simons wrote an opinion piece about early education for the San Jose Mercury News called “Kids and Math: Teaching it early, at home and in school, is critical.”

“Surprisingly few people know how important it is to teach little kids math,” Simons wrote, “but the math a child knows upon starting kindergarten is one of the strongest predictors of later school success – at least as predictive as literacy and more than social-emotional skills.”

Simons is the president of the Heising-Simons Foundation, which is dedicated to sustainable, research-based solutions in education, environment, science, and policy. The foundation “promotes the development of math skills and interest in math in young children (preschool to grade 3).” Two of the foundation’s reports on early math are available here.

Simons’ piece is also posted as “Give Them Math” on the website of Too Small to Fail, a nonprofit organization that encourages parents and businesses to take actions to support the health and well-being of children ages 0 to 5.

Teaching math in early education settings should be fun.  As Simons wrote, “children delight in purposeful, playful mathematics instruction.”

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Need help engaging an infant, toddler or preschool-aged child? Check out “Resources for Early Learning,” a website produced by the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care and the WGBH Educational Foundation, with support from federal Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge funds. 

“This site provides exciting, engaging media-rich learning opportunities for educators, parents, and caregivers of children. From detailed lesson plans to simple, everyday activities, you will find everything you need to help your children succeed,” the website explains.

The goal is to empower adults — parents and early education and care providers — by giving them the “skills, training, knowledge, and understanding needed to help young children grow and learn.” The website was developed by a team of experts, educators, and parents.

 The site has three main sections:

In the section for educators, there is a nine-unit curriculum for children ages 3 to 5 that uses a media-based approach to cover STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) as well as English Language Arts. The curriculum includes activities and recommended books to read out loud. This approach is designed to help children develop academic and social and emotional skills. Educators will also find a search feature that finds activities. And there’s a link to a range of best practices in professional development.

(more…)

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

What elements of high-quality pre-K programs help children achieve lasting academic success? The Robin Hood Foundation — along with two family foundations, the Heising-Simons Foundation and the Overdeck Family Foundation — has financed a study to find out. The effort is part of the Robin Hood Foundation’s “poverty-fighting mission.”

Robin Hood’s research should yield new insights about how specific aspects of program quality contribute most to children’s positive outcomes.

Michael Weinstein, the chief program officer at Robin Hood, and a former New York Times journalist, told the Times, “He was interested in the promise of early childhood education to fight poverty, but unsatisfied by the existing research, which did not provide clear guidance as to which programs were the most cost effective.”

“We pride ourselves, correctly or not, in having an evidentiary basis for making the grants we do,” Weinstein told the Times. He described Robin Hood’s approach as “one of ‘relentless benefit-cost calculations.’”

“The study involving the children in Brooklyn, who attend Public School 221 in Crown Heights, will gauge whether a certain math curriculum can create lasting improvement in students’ math and language skills, as well as their likelihood to (more…)

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“The field of early math teaching has evolved to provide many examples of research-based instruction that should please people who advocate play for young children… But effective (and playful) math, as well as effective literacy teaching, requires considerable skill – more than is needed to hand out ditto sheets. Teachers need to understand math themselves, and they need to know how to assess children’s understandings in different domains of math, and determine appropriate activities and scaffolding to bring them to the next level.”

Deborah Stipek, Stanford University professor of education, writing for “Preschool Matters…Today!,” a blog of NIEER (the National Institute for Early Education Research), March 18, 2014

 

 

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Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

“Young children are not ready for mathematic education.” That’s the first of nine misconceptions described in an article published in the Australian Journal of Early Childhood.

“In the turn of the 21st century, the early childhood education field in the United States has begun to take a big step forward in promoting early childhood mathematics education,” write authors Joon Sun Lee, a Hunter College education professor, and Herbert P. Ginsburg, a professor at Columbia University’s Teachers College.

They hope to add to this momentum by dismantling myths about young children and math.

The other eight misconceptions are:

• Mathematics is for some bright kids who have “mathematics genes.”

• Teaching simple numbers and shapes is enough.

• Language and literacy are more important than mathematics.

• Teachers should provide an enriched physical environment, then step back and let children play.

• Math should not be taught as a stand-alone subject.

• Math assessments are irrelevant when it comes to young children.

• Children learn mathematics only by interacting with concrete objects, and

• Computers are inappropriate tools for math instruction.

(more…)

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