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Archive for the ‘Pre-kindergarten’ Category

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

From Alaska to Maine, states all have their own early education policies – and these policies are changing all the time. To help advocates keep up, the Ounce of Prevention Fund has released its latest state-level policy update.

It’s “a snapshot of early childhood care and education budget and policy changes in states during the 2017 legislative sessions as of September 2017.” The policy update also doubles as a playbook of good ideas that states can borrow from each other.

A national nonprofit, the Ounce, “gives children in poverty the best chance for success in school and in life by advocating for and providing the highest quality care and education from birth to age five.”

Among the policy update’s key themes:

“The groundswell of support and acknowledgment of the importance of a child’s social-emotional development continues.” And a majority of states have “strong leadership, burgeoning champions and increased interest in supporting high-quality early learning and development.” (more…)

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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

 

What’s the cost of not having universal pre-K?

The Center for American Progress has an $83 billion answer.

“Based on research that quantifies long-term economic outcomes in states that have high-quality preschool, this analysis concludes the United States would expect to see a net benefit of more than $83.3 billion for each one-year cohort of 4-year-olds,” the center says in its article, “The Cost of Inaction on Universal Preschool.”

“In other words, every year that policymakers delay a universal preschool investment, the United States loses billions of dollars that come from preschool’s economic benefits—such as less frequent grade retention and a reduced need for special education.”

That would be a huge savings for taxpayers.

Early education also has substantial economic benefits for children themselves: (more…)

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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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“There’s only one way out of Greater Cleveland’s daunting poverty problem.

“Sure, there are worthwhile glimpses of an escape route in ‘Say Yes to Education,’ the latest of dozens of efforts in this community’s 50-year search for a solution.

“But evolving brain science, statistics and common sense all say the same thing: Most kids who start behind, stay behind.

“If you don’t rescue them early in life, most don’t get rescued at all. And if you don’t rescue them at all, poverty’s death grip on this community will strengthen its hold for yet another generation. And it will draw Cuyahoga County’s demise as an important center of business and commerce nearer still.

“As I’ve suggested dozens of times, the wisest investment in this community’s future is quality preschool and parental counseling for every needy 3-year-old and 4-year-old.”

“Cleveland mayoral campaign should be more about early education for kids, less about dirt bike tracks: Brent Larkin,” Cleveland.com, October 26, 2017

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Writer and pediatrician Perri Klass has always been a champion of sharing books with children, but this month in the New York Times she writes about the issue by mixing research with great human warmth and urgency.

Klass draws on a recent study that found that parents who read and write at home with children boost both literacy and lifetime skills. This topic isn’t new for Klass; she’s the national medical director of Reach Out and Read, the organization that distributes books to children through pediatricians’ offices.

The reading and writing study was conducted by University of Washington researchers who found that “Children who read and write at home — whether for assignments or just for fun — are building long-term study and executive function skills,” according to a press release.

Klass turns the research findings into near poetry: (more…)

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“With 80 percent of brain development happening in the first three years of a child’s life and state data showing that early childhood education can eliminate the achievement gap for low-income children, Doña Ana County has stopped waiting on Santa Fe for a plan to ramp up early childhood education, and is creating a model that has the potential to work in the rest of New Mexico.

“ ‘What we’re trying to do is solve the problem in Doña Ana County, but I do believe that by doing this work, we’re going to affect how New Mexico looks at the situation,’ said Frank Lopez, executive director of Ngage New Mexico. The education nonprofit organized a coalition of early childhood educators, child well-being nonprofits and community members that has the ambitious goal to guarantee universal access to early childhood education in the county.”

“Doña Ana County maps out plan for early childhood education,” NMPolitics.net, October 18, 2017

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Photo: Screenshot of GEEARS report cover.

 

What does it mean to be school ready?

Different stakeholders have different answers – and that can lead to fractured efforts to help young children.

Georgia, however, has come up with a framework for school readiness that should help unite the actions of families, schools, and communities.

“The framework articulates not only the central components of school readiness but also the roles various stakeholders play in promoting it.”

This is an important step forward because many states have struggled to define school readiness.

To develop the framework, the nonprofit organization GEEARS: Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students worked with state leaders to form a committee that solicited feedback from experts and from stakeholders across the state.  (more…)

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