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“I just visited with early childhood professionals in Nova Scotia, Canada. They showed me their new Early Learning Framework for the education of young children. It is a stellar example of what early childhood education could be if a country did it right, and a painful example for someone coming from a country where we do it so wrong.

“Here are some basic facts about the Nova Scotia Early Learning Framework, and then I’ll contrast these facts with how we do things in early childhood education in the United States.

“Basic Fact #1: Who wrote this framework?

“The Nova Scotia Framework (similar to those of other Canadian provinces) was written by a broad network of early childhood professionals. These educators know how young children develop and learn, and they share common principles and values about child development.

“Contrast #1:

“Learning standards for young children in the United States have not been written by early childhood educators. Too often, they’ve been written by people who do not have knowledge of the learning and developmental needs of young children. Teachers often say they don’t have a voice in writing learning standards.”

 

To read more click on: “Early childhood education expert: I saw a brilliant way to teach kids. Unfortunately it wasn’t in the United States.” The Washington Post, October 31, 2017

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

 

Inequality between children from low-income families and those from high-income families starts early – and creates a daunting achievement gap.

“…children’s earliest learning experiences and outcomes” vary considerably “based on their parents’ incomes and education,” Sara Mead writes in “Education Inequality Starts Early,” a U.S. News and World Report article.

Mead focuses on children’s earliest years, a topic she says is missing from recent debates about inequality.

The seeds of educational inequality are sadly familiar. Middle class children are more likely to be read to, and according to the well-known Hart-Risley study, they hear 30 million more words than their lower-income peers.

“As a result, by the time they enter kindergarten, children from the lowest socioeconomic backgrounds are already far behind their peers in the highest quartile of socioeconomic status on measures of early reading and math skills,” Mead writes.

The good news: (more…)

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Want to expand your thinking about early childhood education?

 

Then take a look at how it’s handled in other countries.

England, for instance, established universal preschool for 3-year-olds back in 2004.

And, as we’ve blogged, Germany took a bold step forward in 2013 when it decided that every 1-year-old had a legal right to a spot in a public day care facility.

In Norway, at age one, children “start attending a neighborhood barnehage (kindergarten) for schooling spent largely outdoors. By the time kids enter free primary school at age six, they are remarkably self-sufficient, confident, and good-natured,” according to an article on the Moyers and Company website.

“In fact, Norwegian kids, who are well acquainted in early childhood with many different adults and children, know how to get along with grown ups and look after one another.” (more…)

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“In 2013, Germany declared that every child over the age of 1 has the legal right to a space in a public daycare facility. This past fall, while America’s election unfolded, Germany’s highest court took this mandate one step further: It ruled that parents may sue for lost wages if they can’t find a place for their child in a public daycare center. This decision came in response to three mothers who filed a lawsuit declaring that authorities neglected to create the necessary daycare slots required by the 2013 ruling. Because the mothers couldn’t find a child-care center with any openings in their hometown of Leipzig, their lawyers argued that they were unable to return to work after giving birth, resulting in a loss of earnings. Chief Justice Ulrich Herrmann ruled in the mothers’ favor on October 20. (Stay-at-home parents, by contrast, wouldn’t have damages to recoup because a lack of child-care availability hasn’t resulted in a loss of wages.)

“This law may seem crazy to Americans, but it follows as a natural development from Germany’s long history of offering governmental support for families, and its more recent history of encouraging mothers’ paid employment.”

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

We usually blog about the policy side of preschool. So, we were struck by “The Preschool Podcast: For Leaders in Early Childhood Education,” which strikes a powerful personal note in its recent podcast, “Impact of High-Quality Pre-K Programs.”

Don’t be fooled by the plain name. In this episode, lawyer Liz Huntley recalls her own harrowing history and her very personal reasons for supporting early education.

“I’m passionate about it because I’m actually a product of it. I grew up in a situation that no child should have ever survived. And if it hadn’t been for early childhood I certainly would not be a successful lawyer today.”

“Both my parents were drug dealers,” Huntley says. She lived with her mother, father, and four siblings in a housing project in Huntsville, Alabama. Huntley and her siblings were the product of her mother’s relationships with four different men.  (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: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

This month in the Washington Post, Jared Bernstein makes a strong case for battling social inequality by investing in high-quality early education and care.

Bernstein was Vice President Biden’s chief economist, and he is currently a senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

The title of his article is: “The biggest public policy mistake we’re continuing to make, year after year.” The article’s tagline adds: “By not investing in quality early childhood education, we’re leaving vulnerable kids behind and lots of future benefits on the table.”

Bernstein’s reasoning:

“It is widely agreed that while we do not seek equal outcomes in America, we do aspire to equal opportunity, at least in theory,” he writes in the Post. “We have, however, never come close to that ideal, particularly as regards minorities and those with few resources. A great way to correct that is to invest more national resources in early childhood education.” (more…)

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