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Archive for the ‘Language development’ Category

Photo: Micaela Bedell for Strategies for Children

 

What’s better than a half day or preschool?

A full day.

That’s the result of a study from the University of Colorado Boulder.

A university news story explains:

“The results show that doubling the time that kids spend in prekindergarten classes could have big benefits for their learning. The research team, led by CU Boulder’s Allison Atteberry, found that the extra school hours improved how children performed in assessments of vocabulary, literacy, math and more.

“It’s not clear whether the positive effects will be sustained as the students continue their education—the researchers only looked at kids’ progress over their pre-K year.

“But the study, published in the journal Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, adds to a growing body of evidence suggesting that experiences early on in life may have huge implications for a child’s academic growth. That’s likely because of how quickly children’s brains evolve, Atteberry said.

“ ‘Even a month in the life of a young child may represent a huge period in their development,’ said Atteberry, an assistant professor in the CU Boulder School of Education. ‘At the same time, this is a period when families are making very different choices about childcare and have different resources to make those choices.’ ” (more…)

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“I am all butterflies. Every part of my body is shaking,” Jean Fahey said when she found out she had won the Early Childhood Book Challenge sponsored by OpenIDEO and the Philadelphia-based William Penn Foundation.

OpenIDEO “is part of IDEO, a global design and innovation consultancy” that encourages people to tackle a wide range of social problems.

The Early Childhood Book Challenge asked for creative manuscripts that would “inspire children and their caregivers to read together.”

Specifically, the manuscripts had to:

• “Excite and educate caregivers about the opportunities and importance of reading, singing or talking together”

• support early language development by engaging “young children in their earliest years,” and

• “Reflect the lived experience of families living in urban contexts in the U.S., in communities like Philadelphia”

In response, people from five continents submitted more than 500 manuscripts. (more…)

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This is one of a series of blogs featuring first-person accounts from early educators across Massachusetts.

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My name is Lesley Byrne, and I work as a pre-K teacher in the Lowell Public Schools. I had worked in early childhood education for seven years when, in 1993, the Lowell initiated the first pre-K programs in its schools. I knew this was where I wanted to be, as I have always believed that providing a positive, first-school experience for families can lead to future school success. I was excited to work toward offering these experiences for children and families. 

For a few years, I was involved in The Family Literacy Program, a collaboration between the Lowell Adult Education program and the Early Childhood Education program. Imagine you’re a parent who is new to this country. You don’t understand English or American culture. Now imagine sending your child to a “foreign” school! The Family Literacy Program aimed to support these families. The program offered classes in English as a Second Language to parents of pre-K children. As one of the pre-K teachers at this time, I got to use my skills not only to educate and support the children in my class, but also to work with parents on how to support their child’s learning at home. It was one of the most rewarding experiences of my teaching career.  (more…)

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Melissa Perry

This is one of a series of blogs featuring first-person accounts from early educators across Massachusetts.

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My name is Melissa Perry. I currently reside in Salem, Mass., and I am newly employed at the Salem YMCA. I’ve been in early childcare education for just a little over 12 years.

To ensure any level of job satisfaction, this field requires a love of children. The most important benefit of being a childcare worker is the satisfaction of knowing I am providing quality care in the preschool setting where children can learn and practice the language and skills they will need to develop and grow.

I am proud to be a part of a group of individuals who do what they do because they love the job and the students, not because of the desire for a dollar. I am proud to be in a position where I am a mentor for those who need it, or a much-needed, positive authority figure to help guide the way. I like being part of something that people can’t possibly understand until they set foot in a classroom and teach. (more…)

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“Though parents are often concerned about the effects of too much screen time on young children, it may be the adults who need to set aside their devices.

“Recent research by Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, a psychology professor at Temple University and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute, reveals the detrimental effects of parent screen time on their children’s language development.”

“Language doesn’t just unfold, Hirsh-Pasek explained. The way it really happens is being in an environment of adults involved in conversation. The more exposure, the more language your child will learn. When conversation is a back-and-forth of sounds and expressions, early learning is optimized, even with video chats on services like FaceTime, for instance.

“Not only do text and email alerts that parents turn to look at interrupt early language acquisition, they distract parents from baby’s cues.

“ ‘Look at what baby is looking at. Comment on it,’ said Hirsh-Pasek. ‘The thing we don’t do these days is have quiet attentiveness without the beeps and the sounds. They need to not see us constantly turn away. They need our full attention.’ ”

“Parent distraction can hinder babies’ language skills,” by Kim Doleatto, South Coast Today, April 19, 2018. “Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of columns about early childhood literacy and boosting reading skills.”

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

 

Children who are Dual Language Learners (DLLs) are a global group. They come from places like China, Pakistan, Brazil, Bhutan, Nepal, and Mexico. They bring dozens of languages into classrooms — and they create an opportunity for early educators to grow to meet these children’s needs.

Despite this “superdiversity,” “little research to date has focused on effective approaches for multilingual and multicultural early childhood programs and classrooms,” a report — “Growing Superdiversity among Young U.S. Dual Language Learners and Its Implications” — from the Migration Policy Institute explains.

And while there are programs to support Spanish-speaking DLLs, the report adds, “similar provisions for speakers of other, less commonly spoken minority languages are rare, making such services even less accessible for a substantial portion of DLLs and their families.”

“At a time when DLL children are speaking a far more diverse range of languages, many communities across the United States are experiencing classroom superdiversity with little to no guidance on effective practices for promoting their cognitive and socioemotional development.” (more…)

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Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

 

A new report –“Quality for Whom?”– from the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) points to two converging trends:

1) the number of immigrant children in the United States is growing in many states as is the number of children whose parents do not speak English, and

2) States have been working hard to increase the quality of early programs using Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS)

That’s why, the report notes, QRIS efforts should embrace the needs of culturally and linguistically diverse families (CLDs) and of diverse early childhood staff.

“It is critical for stakeholders to address equity issues in early childhood for several reasons,” one of the report’s authors, Julie Sugarman, told us. “First, because children from an immigrant background make up a quarter of all children ages 0 to 5 and immigrants make up 18 percent of the early childhood workforce — a significant share of the field.  (more…)

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