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Archive for the ‘Cognitive development’ Category

“The State of Alabama spends $475 million on its prison system per year. Governor Robert Bentley wants to spend another $800 million to build four new mega-prisons.

“Imagine what our state could be like if we devoted part of that $1.2 billion to quality early childhood education instead. Wouldn’t it be smarter to ensure that brain development in a child’s first three years is robust? In 25 years, these children will be our state’s innovators and producers.”

“Alabama should invest in brain cells, not more prison cells,” by Jeanne Jackson, president and CEO of The Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham, AL.com, February 23, 2017

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“The push for high-quality universal pre-K for four-year-olds, now embraced by a growing number of political and thought leaders, is strangely isolated from the movement supporting child care for working mothers. Focusing solely on four-year-old children may make for good politics, but by itself it falls short. Good policy takes into account the science of early childhood brain development, the needs of working mothers with younger children, and provides disadvantaged infants and toddlers with the high-quality child care that has been proven to promote success in school and later on in life.”

“Combining quality child care with preschool promotes social mobility across generations,” by James J. Heckman and J.B. Pritzker, The Hill, February 9, 2017

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Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

 

“We know from human history and the latest learning science that success comes from the combination of academic knowledge and the ability to work with others. We need public education to reflect this broader definition of success, and this commission is well positioned to point the way.”
– Walter Isaacson, president and CEO of the Aspen Institute

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From pre-K to 12th grade, having strong social and emotional learning (SEL) skills — such as listening, working well with others, and delaying gratification — is a crucial ingredient for long-term success.

To provide more information and leadership, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has launched a new webpage called Social and Emotional Learning in Massachusetts. (more…)

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Photo: Micaela Bedell for Strategies for Children

Photo: Micaela Bedell for Strategies for Children

The Committee for Economic Development (CED) has posted a series of early education podcasts on its website featuring leaders in business, the nonprofit world, and philanthropy.

CED was founded “in 1942 during World War II by a group of business leaders who were concerned about the future of the global economy…” The organization continues “to bridge the gap between the business community and policy leaders,” in part by focusing on early education.

In one of the series’ podcasts, philanthropist and businessman J.B. Pritzker talks about “The Role of Philanthropy in Early Learning.”

Photo Source: The University of Chicago News Office.

Irving B. Harris. Photo Source: The University of Chicago News Office.

“I ran across a philanthropist named Irving Harris,” Pritzker says, explaining that Harris, a businessman, spent years working to meet the needs of young children and their families. Harris founded the Ounce of Prevention Fund and he “was a catalyst for opening the Erikson Institute, a graduate school that trains teachers in early childhood development…”

Harris, who died in 2004, was, according to a death announcement in the New York Times, “A courageous champion of young children and families, an articulate and uncompromising social critic, a compassionate pragmatist. His convictions inspired the work of four generations of practitioners and researchers in the field of child development and early care and education. He made of his life a quest to repair the world.”  (more…)

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Photo: Carrie Giddings. Source: The Hechinger Report

Photo: Carrie Giddings. Source: The Hechinger Report

A bracing article describes that the United States has become “one of the worst countries in the developed world for children under five.”

Published by the Hechinger Report, the article’s headline declares, “What do we invest in the country’s youngest? Little to nothing.”

Hechinger sounds the refrain of “little to nothing” again and again, pointing out that the country could do better.

In fact, the United States has “provided universal public preschool before, for a few years during World War II. That program ended in 1946.”

And in 1971, “a bipartisan bill that would have created universal daycare” was vetoed by President Richard Nixon.

This has hurt the country. (more…)

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Last year, we blogged about the landmark Institute of Medicine report, “Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth Through Age 8: A Unifying Foundation.” This report is still a hot topic for many in the early education and care field, but at nearly 700 pages, it’s not light reading. Thankfully, the team at New America’s EdCentral Blog is unpacking the report chapter by chapter, most recently they’ve looked at Chapter 4 which could be nicknamed, ‘Babies Are Smarter Than You Think.’

“Many people often make assumptions about what babies are capable of understanding,” EdCentral explains. “For instance, some mistakenly think children are solely concrete thinkers; however, research shows that infants and young children are able to think abstractly.” (more…)

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Photo: Micaela Bedell for Strategies for Children

Photo: Micaela Bedell for Strategies for Children

“Massachusetts public and charter schools suspended kindergarten and pre-kindergarten students 603 times in the 2014-15 school year,” according to an analysis done by public radio station WBUR that was reported on its Learning Lab website.

“Students in their first year of school were sent home for offenses that included hitting, disrupting, disrespecting, throwing things and fighting,” WBUR reports.

This is a drop from last year’s reported numbers, but these numbers still mean that hundreds of children could face lasting educational challenges.

Among the risk factors that led to these suspensions: “Last year, students with disabilities were suspended at more than twice the overall rate: One in 16 was sent home.”

In addition: “Black students are suspended almost four times as often as their white classmates.” (more…)

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