Roundup: This Week in Early Learning

In our weekly roundup, here are three highlights from around the web on Early Learning:

Detroit News: Detroit to bulk up early childhood education in 2018

“A $50 million initiative to improve early childhood education services in Detroit will kick into high gear in the next 12 months as leaders focus efforts on addressing the city’s massive shortage of spots for children while expanding existing centers.

“There are 55,000 children younger than 5 in Detroit and the city needs 23,000 additional licensed child care seats to ensure every child has a quality, early care experience, according to leaders with the Hope Starts Here Initiative.

“The initiative is a 10-year plan funded by two Michigan foundations and has the support of Mayor Mike Duggan and Detroit Public Schools Community District Superintendent Nikolai Vitti. Its goals are to create stronger connections between early childhood, health and education; improve early childhood services; and support the financial stability of those programs.”

Science Blog: Brain Food: How Hunger Impacts Education

We all know it’s hard to focus when you’re hungry. Researchers at the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education are working across several fields to figure out why that is, how much it matters in the classroom and what we can do to make sure all children are well-fed and ready to learn.

“’There is pretty solid evidence that children who are hungry are not able to focus, so they have a low attention span, behavioral issues, discipline issues in the school,’ said Sibylle Kranz, an associate professor of kinesiology and a registered dietitian nutritionist in the Curry School. ‘Having children who are well-fed and not hungry makes a difference in their individual performance, and also how much they are contributing to or disrupting the classroom situation.’”

“However, finding the most efficient and effective ways to help get children the nutrients they need involves parsing through complex and interconnected issues like poverty, accessibility and nutrition. Ongoing projects across several fields within the Curry School – including developmental psychology, policy and health and wellness – are exploring the many pathways between food and learning outcomes in school-age children.”

The piece describes “three ways researchers are diving in.”

The Conversation: For baby’s brain to benefit, read the right books at the right time

“A summary report by Child Trends, for instance, suggests 55 percent of three- to five-year-old children were read to every day in 2007. According to the U.S. Department of Education, 83 percent of three- to five-year-old children were read to three or more times per week by a family member in 2012.”

“What this ever-present advice to read with infants doesn’t necessarily make clear, though, is that what’s on the pages may be just as important as the book-reading experience itself. Are all books created equal when it comes to early shared-book reading? Does it matter what you pick to read? And are the best books for babies different than the best books for toddlers?”


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