Early Childhood Education News Roundup

Early childhood education news from around the web? Get yours here!

Here’s what you might have missed from around the web:

Philadelphia Inquirer: Educating homeless parents on the importance of early childhood education

“For the last year, [People’s Emergency Center] has been working to foster the development of children up to age 5 who are experiencing homelessness in Philadelphia’s emergency and transitional homeless system. It’s called BELL, for Building Early Links for Learning, funded for nearly $1.5 million by Vanguard Strong Start for Kids, a charitable initiative of the Vanguard Group, an asset management firm, and its employees. The idea is to get young children who are living in shelters into early childhood education programs such as Early Head Start.”

“’The homeless housing system forever focuses on the parent,’ says Joe Willard, a PEC vice president who co-developed BELL. ‘PEC asks, ‘What about the children?’ Lots of research shows how kids in Head Start and early learning programs do better in school. It’s important to put these kids in shelters on the development track.’”

“Before BELL, there wasn’t a program that focused specifically on ensuring that homeless families with infants and toddlers were connecting to early child care, says Karen Pollack, vice president of programs with the Maternity Care Coalition, a regional nonprofit that helps pregnant women and young children. The coalition runs an Early Head Start program in South Philadelphia, as well as ones in Norristown and Pottstown.”

“’If we’re not effectively responding to those children at that stage, it can have lifelong consequences,’ Pollack says.”

APM Reports: Hard Words — Why aren’t kids being taught to read?

“Scientific research has shown how children learn to read and how they should be taught. But many educators don’t know the science and, in some cases, actively resist it. As a result, millions of kids are being set up to fail.”

“Research shows that children who don’t learn to read by the end of third grade are likely to remain poor readers for the rest of their lives, and they’re likely to fall behind in other academic areas, too. People who struggle with reading are more likely to drop out of high school, to end up in the criminal justice system, and to live in poverty. But as a nation, we’ve come to accept a high percentage of kids not reading well. More than 60 percent of American fourth-graders are not proficient readers, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, and it’s been that way since testing began in the 1990s.”

The post continues: “The basic assumption that underlies typical reading instruction in many schools is that learning to read is a natural process, much like learning to talk. But decades of scientific research has revealed that reading doesn’t come naturally. The human brain isn’t wired to read. Kids must be explicitly taught how to connect sounds with letters — phonics.”

US News & World Report: Setting Preschoolers on an Active Path

“Physical activity is closely linked to development of a child’s mental skills — ones essential to academic success and navigating challenges they’ll face throughout life.”

“Studies show that boosts in thinking ability, or executive function, often follow bouts of activity. But only one-third of children are physically active every day. Less than half the time they spend in school activities — like physical education, team practices and even games — includes movement that qualifies as physical activity. This shortfall means that their physical health, as well as their mental skills, may suffer.”

“Some problems can begin during the preschool years if youngsters don’t get the activity they need for motor skill development.”

Aspen Times: Quality counts in early education

Tamara Tormohlen, executive director of Aspen Community Foundation, writes: “Early-childhood education advocates often think of the field as a three-legged stool: capacity, cost and quality. To really have an effective and responsive early-childhood education system, you have to address all three.”

“In this column and in our work at Aspen Community Foundation, we’ve focused a lot on capacity, on increasing the availability of early childhood education as a way to give our children the best chance at success in life. And, we’ve highlighted the various programs that address the cost of child care, especially for low-income families.”

“But increasing the number of child care slots for children ages 0 to 5 and providing financial subsidies are not enough. We must also continue to guarantee that these child care spaces are high-quality to ensure that children develop the necessary language, social skills and brain structure to maximize their ability to learn.”

The Missourian: Tykes and Technology — Washington Parents as Teachers Helps Young Families Find a Balance and What Works

“Given the option of putting together a digital puzzle on a tablet or a traditional wooden inset puzzle, which would a young child choose?”

“It may depend on the age of the child, but parent educators with the Washington Parents as Teachers (PAT) program said generally speaking they have observed that children ages 5 and younger tend to gravitate to the hands-on traditional toys.”

The post continues: “Parents as Teachers is a free parent education program for families with children prenatal to kindergarten age that supports parents in being their children’s first and best teacher by helping children reach their fullest potential. Trained and qualified parent educators provide home- or center-based visits which consist of providing families with age-appropriate activities, information on topics such as potty training, discipline, sleep and anything that parents need to support them in raising their children.”

“Parents as Teachers also provides developmental screenings, facilitates ‘Group Connections’ events and shares community resources for families.”

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