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EARLY CHILDHOOD NEWS

Interesting studies and ideas emerge in early childhood education.  We share our favorites with you here and on our blog.  We encourage you to send us interesting articles or issues to share with the community:

 

2-18-10  Talk Trumps TV for Child Development. A recent study coming out of University of Rochester is no surprise to us on language development in toddlers adn infants.  Talking to them, listening to them, and reading to them are among tips cited to aid in language development in young children.  Of course, as a parent, I can't imagine not being interested in my child nor can I imagine plunking them in front of a television every day.

Switch off the TV and start talking to your infants and toddlers. They'll learn to speak sooner and better, according to Lucia French, who studies language and cognitive development in young children at the University of Rochester.

 

2-2-10  Race to the top? Part I  Intriguing post from SF Chronicle about Obama's Race to the Top program in education.  Dr. Taylor focuses on the achievement pressur placed on children in America today, specifically citing the recent documentary, Race to Nowhere.

Race to the Top is the name given to President Obama's education-reform program that is supposed to change the education system in America. But what it should be called is Race to Nowhere, which happens to be the name of a powerful new documentary by Vicki Abeles that explores, as the film's subtitle states, the dark side of America's achievement culture.

 

1-24-10 Silcon Valley Reads Puts Focus on Healthy eating.  While focused primarily on the K - 8 child, the Silicon Valley Reads program is looking at a focus on reading not just for our mental development but to make us more aware of taking on challenges such as obesity.  It is never too early to introduce your young child to the value of healthy eating and an active lifestyle through play.  Children need not spend their days watching television and playing video games if we don't hand them the keys to these endeavors nor do they need to fall in love with hot dogs and potato chips if we implement healthy eating from day one.

Silicon Valley Reads 2010 offers proof that reading is good for both body and soul—so good, in fact, that the program is expanding its audience this year to children who aren't yet readers.

This year's Silicon Valley Reads focuses on healthy foods and why they're important, with Michael Pollan's "In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto" as the 2010 selection for the annual community reading program.

 

12-20-09  Effective study and teaching of young minds regardless of background.  While learning across early age groups vary widely, a preschool in New York has developed effective ways of working with young children by understanding how to connect to them in their learning. Recent studies demonstrate that children can learn complex concepts such as division at a younger age than previously thought.  If you really work with and talk to a child and find those teachable moment, I think most parents will tell you that of course that early learning can occur.

The teaching of basic academic skills, until now largely the realm of tradition and guesswork, is giving way to approaches based on cognitive science. In several cities, including Boston, Washington and Nashville, schools have been experimenting with new curriculums to improve math skills in preschoolers.

 

12-12-09 Opportunities to help Early Childhood learning through federal Early Learning Challenge Fund.  Out of Washington State, lawmakers are positioning to compete for $1 billion in federal grants focused on developing more programs in early childhood education. "Research shows that while 85 percent of the brain’s core structure (size, core, growth, and much of its hard wiring) is developed by age 4, less than 9 percent of public investments in education and development are made by that time (Early Learning Left Out: Closing the Investment Gap for American’s Youngest Children. 2005)."

League of Education Voters Foundation released a new report outlining the importance of pre-kindergarten education and how lawmakers in Olympia should ensure funding so all children in Washington are on an equal playing field before entering the school system.

 

11-26-09 Early Childhood Education Reaps Rewards From Canada, article briefly discussed the Pascal Report.  Whether they are just learning shapes and colors in their toddler years or multiplying at four, the value of early education is the continued exporation by children of the world.  Best quote from the article: "If you think education is expensive, try ignorance." - Derek Bok

After reading this story, it seems appropriate to quote Derek Bok (U. S. legal scholar, educator, innovator and Harvard president): "If you think education is expensive, try ignorance."

 

11_22_09 Early Childhood Mathematics and Development:  Post on developmental appropriate activities in the area of math and science for preschoolers.

Teaching early mathematics concepts to young children can truly benefit them as life long learners. In the developmental continuum the early childhood years (ages birth through six) are an essential time period for acquiring a foundation for many educational concepts. This article focuses on the importance of early learning in the area of math.

 

11_18_09 Early Ed Can Get Schools out of Catch Up Business: Notes from speech by U.S. Secretary of Education Duncan stressing the importnace of every child having strong early education base so that when they enter Kindergarten they are not already so far behind.

In a wide-ranging speech that emphasized the importance of "raising the bar" on the quality of early learning environments, Duncan said that early childhood advocates now face two challenges. One, he said, is the need for better transitions and "follow through" between pre-K and the K-12 years. The other is what he sees as a necessary shift in thinking about how to measure quality -- moving from "inputs" like teacher qualifications and child-to-staff ratios to "outcomes" that indicate whether children are developing and learning well.