Archive for the ‘Pre-kindergarten’ Category

Mayor Marty Walsh. Photo: City of Boston Mayor's Office Flickr page

Mayor Marty Walsh. Source: City of Boston Mayor’s Office Flickr page

“The impact of prekindergarten on a student’s education is undeniable. It has a major impact on academic, social, and emotional development. BPS data shows that children who go to K1 outperform their peers in subsequent years—regardless of race or poverty. Research also shows us that early children programs with trained teachers, as well as smaller teacher-to-student ratios, result in higher MCAS achievement. On a broader scale, pre-kindergarten has led to improved behavior, both inside and outside the classroom, as well as the prevention of illegal and criminal behavior and success in the overall labor market and economy.

“We know families face challenges in sending their children to pre-kindergarten, whether it being an affordability, quality, or accessibility issue. That’s why we formed the Universal Pre-Kindergarten Advisory Committee. They are taking a close look on strategies to increase access to full-day pre-kindergarten, with a certified teacher, in a Boston Public School or community-based program.”

“Mayor Walsh: The Importance of Early Education,” by Mayor Martin Walsh, Jamaica Plain News, September 22, 2016

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Is universal pre-K worth the cost?

Yes, according to the national nonprofit Child Trends.

While research has found benefits in pre-K programs that focus on at-risk children, Child Trends has found new evidence about the benefits of universal pre-K programs that serve all children.

These findings are featured in a working paper released by Timothy Bartik at the Upjohn Institute, Jonathan A. Belford of Child Trends, Will T. Gormley of Georgetown University’s Center for Research on Children in the United States, and Sara Anderson from West Virginia University.

The focus of their analysis is Oklahoma. That’s where the Tulsa Public Schools’ universal pre-K program produces benefits — such as increased earnings and reduced crime — that “outweigh program costs by almost 2-to-1. That is, for every $1 spent on TPS universal pre-K, there is a societal gain of $1.89,” a Child Trends blog post explains(more…)

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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Preschool expulsions are a troubling reality for too many young children, particularly African-American boys.

To learn more about the possible role of teachers’ bias in these expulsions, Yale University researchers recruited 135 study participants from “the exhibit hall at a large annual conference of early care and education professionals…”

The study looked at implicit bias, which “refers to the automatic and unconscious stereotypes that drive people to behave and make decisions in certain ways,” according to the study’s research brief.

Children’s behavior also matters, however, “implicit biases about sex and race may influence how those behaviors are perceived and how they are addressed, creating a vicious cycle over time exacerbating inequalities.”

Among the findings: “Preschool teachers and staff show signs of implicit bias in administering discipline, but the race of the teacher plays a big role in the outcome,” a Yale news release explains(more…)

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“In 2013, the year before New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio took office, there were about 20,000 free, full-day pre-K seats available to children. Three years later, the city’s preschool landscape looks vastly different. For the 2016-2017 school year, the city had free, full-day seats for more than 70,000 students.

“Now New York is trying to share what it has learned from this expansion with cities across the country.

“On Thursday, New York will host a daylong learning lab with leaders from 12 other cities, including Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago and Seattle. During the event, early learning leaders plan to discuss topics like family outreach and sustainable quality programming, and share insights and challenges from their own cities’ initiatives.

“The leaders hope to create a unified network dedicated to sharing best practices for pre-K implementation. The long-term goal of the event, Pre-K for All, is to promote access to free, high-quality preschool across the country.”

“These Cities Want The Country To Focus More On Access To Preschool,” by Rebecca Klein, the Huffington Post, October 6, 2016

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Image: Screenshot

Image: Screenshot from Final Rule Fact Sheet

The Obama administration is making child care better and safer.

Thanks to a newly announced rule, some “370,000 child care settings across the country that participate in the federal child care program… will benefit from new health and safety requirements, staff training requirements, and criminal background checks for staff,” federal officials explain in a press release.

The new rules spring from bipartisan legislation that President Obama signed into law in 2014.

“Many parents rely on child care programs, and it is important that their children are cared for in safe learning environments with qualified providers,” according to U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia M. Burwell. (more…)

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Average cost of child care across the states. Screenshot: New America's website

Average cost of child care across the states. Image: New America’s website

What’s the state of child care in today’s America, which is no longer the land of the “Leave it to Beaver” breadwinner-homemaker family?

To find out, the newly released Care Report and the accompanying Care Index look at all 50 states and the district of Columbia to assess three categories: cost, quality, and availability.

The bad news: “no single state does well in all three categories. Instead, families, providers, and policymakers in every state make difficult compromises that often shape family decisions and can determine the course of children’s futures.”

That’s a problem in today’s America where “in a majority of families with children under 18, all parents work for pay outside the home. That means, on any given day, about 12 million children under the age of five will need a safe place to go and someone loving to care for them.”

The report and the index were produced by the think tank New America and by Care.com, the website that links families to care providers, in conjunction with other organizations. (more…)

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“Pre-schoolers might be tiny, but they get suspended and expelled in big numbers.

“Now, a new study suggests that even for teachers who want to shift that dynamic, real change only happens with real training.

The study, from Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College of Education, looked at what happened in Nashville and Tampa when teachers there learned about a new preschool discipline approach called the Pyramid Model.

“They found that teachers who got 13 weeks of in-person and email feedback about their use of the new model changed their practices more — and reported better behavior among their students — than teachers who knew about the model but weren’t getting one-on-one support.”

“Want to reduce suspensions and expulsions in pre-K? Find a coach,” by Grace Tatter, Chalkbeat Tennessee, September 28, 2016

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