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Archive for the ‘Cognitive development’ Category

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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Chad d'Entremont, executive director of the Rennie Center. Photo: Rennie Center for Education Research & Policy

Chad d’Entremont, executive director of the Rennie Center. Photo: Rennie Center for Education Research & Policy

 

“Cognitive and non-cognitive skills are inextricably linked,” Harvard’s Nonie Lesaux said during a panel discussion at the Condition of Education event hosted by the Rennie Center for Education Research and Policy.

There’s a growing consensus in education that children can’t develop strong cognitive skills without non-cognitive “soft skills” such as focus, persistence, and getting along with others. Indeed, the two categories of skills may be more linked than we realize.


 

Last week, the Rennie Center released the findings of its 2016 “Condition of Education in the Commonwealth” report at an event in Boston’s Omni Parker House Hotel. This year’s report focused on social-emotional learning, a hot topic among educators, parents, and researchers. The topic was so hot that #COE2016 was trending on Twitter during the event.

Covering education trends from birth to college and beyond, Rennie’s work includes a focus on high-quality early education. (more…)

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“Fundamentally in Lawrence, we believe in this idea of mirroring the suburban experience, and we do that through high-quality academics; high-quality enrichment; the idea that hard work matters; teaching kids to be self advocates for their own learning; and then the last one is this idea of critical thinking, having kids, by the time they leave us, be able to encounter a novel situation [and] use their knowledge base to figure out how to deal with that situation.”

“It may not always show up on the test, but… it shows up in life.”

Jeff Riley, Superintendent/Receiver of the Lawrence Public Schools, speaking in a MassINC video, November, 2015

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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

 

Three things we’re grateful for:

New America’s report on Massachusetts’ birth-to-third-grade policies

This amusing article about what reading does to your brain and the news that the national nonprofit RIF (Reading is Fundamental) plans to give away collections of “50 high quality children’s picture e-books.” To find out more go to www.billionebookgift.org

* This cool conference video from NAEYC (the National Association for the Education of Young Children) and the power of early educators. Click here to see more NAEYC videos.

 

 

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

 

Library story times are getting well-deserved media attention for helping young children build early literacy skills and develop social skills.

A recent New York Times article on story time, says:

“Forty strollers were double- and triple-parked on the main floor of the Fort Washington Library in Upper Manhattan. As another one came through the door, Velda Asbury waved toward a spot beside a book stack.

“Officially, Ms. Asbury is a library clerk, checking books in and out. But every Wednesday she doubles as a parking attendant during one of the New York Public Library’s most popular programs: story time.”

The Times explains that story time, like a hot Broadway show, is drawing huge crowds because “more than ever, educators are emphasizing the importance of early literacy in preparing children for school and for developing critical thinking skills. The demand crosses economic lines, with parents at all income levels vying to get in.” (more…)

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