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Archive for the ‘Cognitive development’ Category

Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

 

Early literacy tends to get a lot of attention. It’s easy to talk, read, or sing to young children.

But early math deserves equal time.

As we’ve blogged, early math pays off for children. And with some good advice, it’s not hard to play math games that help children build a strong foundation in math.

“Playing math games with children can be a fun, developmentally appropriate way to spark understanding of big mathematical ideas,” Kristen E. Reed and Jessica Mercer Young write in their article, “Play Games, Learn Math! Explore Numbers and Counting with Dot Card and Finger Games.”

“Math games also support children’s mathematical habits of mind—and key school readiness skills, such as problem solving, puzzling, and perseverance.”

Reed is a senior project director and mathematics educator at the Education Development Center (EDC), a nonprofit organization that works to improve the education, health, and economic opportunities. And Young is a research scientist and psychologist specializing in early learning at EDC. The article is the first in a series of articles on early math. (more…)

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Writer and pediatrician Perri Klass has always been a champion of sharing books with children, but this month in the New York Times she writes about the issue by mixing research with great human warmth and urgency.

Klass draws on a recent study that found that parents who read and write at home with children boost both literacy and lifetime skills. This topic isn’t new for Klass; she’s the national medical director of Reach Out and Read, the organization that distributes books to children through pediatricians’ offices.

The reading and writing study was conducted by University of Washington researchers who found that “Children who read and write at home — whether for assignments or just for fun — are building long-term study and executive function skills,” according to a press release.

Klass turns the research findings into near poetry: (more…)

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Screen Shot 2017-09-28 at 10.37.45 AM

Screenshot: Committee on Economic Development website

Pay attention to Louisiana. It has a tax credit program that policymakers should know about.

“Louisiana pioneered its School Readiness Tax Credits in 2007,” according to “Pathways to High-Quality Child Care: The Workforce Investment Credit,” a policy brief published by the Committee for Economic Development, part of The Conference Board, a nonprofit, business-led policy organization.

In part, Louisiana’s tax credit “provides ECE directors and staff with a refundable credit linked to their educational attainment at four levels and work experience in a quality program. The credit amount increases as the credentials rise,” the brief explains.

The tax credit is “not an entitlement.” The only individuals who qualify are those who “voluntarily join the registry, achieve professional development, and have been working for at least six months in a licensed program that participates in the state quality rating system qualify for the credit.”

“The credit is adjusted for inflation annually,” and in 2014, “the value of the credit by qualification level ranged from $1,630 to $3,260 and a total of 3,770 individuals claimed it. The average credit was $2,150…” (more…)

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“The problem is Massachusetts has a significant and persistent achievement gap, evident long before children enter school. Too many children show up for school already behind and too many of them will never catch up.

“As we have stated before, our country’s next greatest investment should be early childhood education.

“After all, the human brain develops more rapidly between birth and age 5 than during any other subsequent period.

“And according to several studies, children who participate in high-quality early childhood programs develop better language skills, score higher in school-readiness tests, and have better social skills and fewer behavioral problems once they enter school than those who do not have the benefit of pre-K services.”

“Early ed for all,” an editorial in the Cape Cod Times, July 16, 2017

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Representative Debbie Dingell (D-Michigan) in yellow. Photo: Strolling Thunder, Zero to Three

What makes members of Congress look good?

Babies!

Last week, the national nonprofit Zero to Three proved this point when it held a first-time-ever event called Strolling Thunder, a gathering of babies and parents from many states who came to Washington, D.C., to meet their Congressional representatives — and to put babies in the spotlight. (more…)

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“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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