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Archive for the ‘National’ Category

“When it comes to children’s brains, Rahil Briggs describes them as … sticky.

“ ‘Whatever we throw, [it] sticks. That’s why they can learn Spanish in six months when it takes us six years,’ says the New York City based child psychologist, ‘but also why if they’re exposed to community violence, or domestic violence, it really sticks.’

“Briggs works at the Healthy Steps program at the Montefiore Comprehensive Health Care Center in the South Bronx, screening children as young as 6 months for mental health issues.

“That may sound young, too young maybe, but that’s when some experts believe it’s important to catch the first signs that something may be wrong. Many say waiting until kindergarten is too late.”

 

“Screening Mental Health In Kindergarten Is Way Too Late, Experts Say,” NPR, September 9, 2016

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“Research shows that kindergarten mostly is a mathematical wasteland right now for kids. In other words, kids knew that stuff before they walked into the kindergarten door. What are they learning? Almost nothing.”

“Early math is surprisingly important. What kids know in their preschool or entering kindergarten year about mathematics predicts their later school success. In mathematics, sure, that makes sense, but it even predicts later reading success, as well as early literacy skills do.

“Early math is cognitively fundamental. It’s not just about number and shapes. There’s reasoning and thinking embedded in what we do in early mathematics that forms a foundation for years to come.”

Doug Clements, early learning expert at the University of Denver, “Counting the benefits of teaching math to 3-year-olds,” PBS NewsHour, September 6, 2016

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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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Image: New America

Image: New America

 

It’s too late to take technology away from young children. They’re already pros at using cell phones and tablets. So instead of asking if technology should be used in early education, a report from the national think tank New America looks at how best to use technology to promote early literacy.

Children do still need human interactions. Positive relationships with adults help them develop strong language and learning skills. However: “Digital tools can be used to help support these positive interactions,” according to New America’s recent report, “Integrating Technology in Early Literacy: A Snapshot of Community Innovation in Family Engagement.”

“Programs across the country are beginning to use technology to engage families,” the report’s author, Shayna Cook, told us in an email. “Over the past year and a half, we analyzed how early learning and family engagement programs have begun to experiment with innovative tools to reach families and help young children develop early language and literacy skills.” (more…)

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“ ‘We believe that preschool is an integral part of the public school system and public school should be universally available because every child can benefit from it,’ said Josh Wallack, Deputy Chancellor of New York City’s Department of Education. ‘Therefore, preschool should be universal.’ ”

“ ‘Trying to do something this quickly presents a lot of challenges,’ Wallack said. But so far, he said, the push for universal preschool here has proven to be ‘a great example of what a municipal government can do when focused on a really ambitious goal.’ ”

“ ‘I feel like children are learning so much more now,’ said [Lauren] Kendall, who was inspired to leave a communications job at Lehman Brothers, the now-defunct investment bank, and become a teacher after Sept. 11, 2001. When she got her first preschool classroom in 2003 though, she said she had to write her own curriculum and figure out what her kids needed.

“Now, Kendall gets support from the district, including a curriculum that helps her plan classroom activities and personal coaching that helps her understand how to best engage young learners.”

“ ‘What’s perplexing to me is: How come we haven’t moved?’ [Marcy Whitebook] said. ‘There were all these excuses you could make 40 years ago about why we were stuck. But now, there’s no excuse.’ ”

“What it will take to create quality preschool for all,” by Lillian Mongeau, The Hechinger Report, via PBS NewsHour, August 16, 2016

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This past spring at an Educare Learning Network Meeting, one panel focused on getting men involved in early education. The vast majority of early educators are female – as high as 98% according to the recent national report “Transforming the Workforce.”

“Studies find that children achieve more when they have both female and male role models. Yet most teachers, especially in early childhood education, are women,” an Educare article explains.

The issue is important for Educare — a national system of high-quality, comprehensive, early education schools — because Educare is determined to use every tool it can to level the playing field for young children living in poverty.

The panel on men and early education was moderated by Steve White, senior director of school leadership for Sheltering Arms Early Education and Family Centers, which is Educare Atlanta’s parent organization.

“When kids learn nurturing at a young age it makes a difference,” White says in the article. “So how impactful is it for this male teacher to show it? You can’t put a price on it.”  (more…)

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“ ‘How would another teacher handle this situation?’ is one of the hardest questions to answer. It’s also one of the most frequently asked. For teachers working with DLLs [dual language learners], answers to this question are especially rare. There is a national shortage of bilingual teachers, ESL support staff, and other linguistic resources. And since there are not enough teachers and not enough hours dedicated to the 4.5 millions DLLs in the country, observations of other teachers and learning from them often take a backseat.

“Recent videos produced by Teaching At The Beginning, a nonprofit organization that supports educators of young DLLs, are attempting to overcome these limits.”

“Approximately 100 children are featured in the videos. All the children, between 3–5 years old, are shown interacting with one of the three teachers or with one another. Some of the highlights from the videos include Chinese students teaching a monolingual teacher words from their native language, Spanish-speaking students reading and singing “Five Little Monkeys” while using a toy phone, and parents writing letters — in their home languages — to children who later opens them during class time.”

 

From “The Young Dual Language Learner Video Series: A Peek into High-Quality Early Childhood Education for DLLs,” New America’s EdCentral Blog, July 28, 2016

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