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State of American Pre-K: New Report Shows 1.5 Million Kids (and 1 in 20 3-Year-Olds) Enrolled

The 74 Million – Carolyn Phenicie

“One and a half million American children were enrolled in state-funded preschool programs in the 2015–16 school year, a new high, the annual State of Preschool Yearbook found. The District of Columbia was again the top-ranked jurisdiction for enrollment of 3- and 4-year-olds in state-funded preschool programs and for total spending on those programs, according to the report from the National Institute for Early Education Research, which is affiliated with Rutgers University. D.C. in 2008 passed a landmark law guaranteeing universal preschool to students in the city. Most attend programs run out of district and charter schools, where rigorous standards mean the youngest learners are taught by trained educators and programs are funded at high levels.”(more)

6 steps to strengthen early STEM learning

E-School News – Laura Ascione

“Although STEM education is inarguably essential in today’s economy, it is not always seamlessly incorporated into early childhood education–and the barriers to inclusion are more pervasive than many educators might realize. “Just as the industrial revolution made it necessary for all children to learn to read, the technology revolution has made it critical for all children to understand STEM,” according to the report. After a 2013 STEM workshop targeted to early childhood educators, those who attended said they were excited by evidence-based STEM education practices and tools, but many also noted various barriers to implementation, including feeling limited by existing school structures and policies; the misapplication of new education standards; disconnects between preschool and elementary school practices; and an underprepared workforce.”(more)

Reading with children starting in infancy gives lasting literacy boost

Science Daily – Staff Writer

“New research at the 2017 Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting shows that reading books with a child beginning in early infancy can boost vocabulary and reading skills four years later, before the start of elementary school. The abstract, “Early Reading Matters: Long-term Impacts of Shared Bookreading with Infants and Toddlers on Language and Literacy Outcomes,” will be presented on Monday, May 8, at the Moscone West Convention Center in San Francisco.”(more)

What the Science Says About How Preschool Benefits Children

KQED News Mind/Shift – Claudio Sanchez

“Some of the nation’s top researchers who’ve spent their careers studying early childhood education recently got together in Washington with one goal in mind: to cut through the fog of studies and the endless debates over the benefits of pre-school. And they came away with one clear, strong message: Kids who attend public preschool programs are better prepared for kindergarten than kids who don’t.”(more)

Colleges offer experiential learning opportunity for students through Jumpstart partnership

Education Dive – Tara García Mathewson

“Students who enroll in the four-year program from high school have little time to build up this real-world experience, but an early language and literacy program, Jumpstart, can get them into preschool classrooms right away. Jumpstart works in low-income urban early childhood centers across 14 states and the District of Columbia, helping prepare 4-year-olds for kindergarten. The vast majority of its nearly 4,000 volunteers are college students. And each year, they get about 300 hours of hands-on experience in the classroom and another 40 hours of additional training specific to language and literacy in early childhood education.”(more)

Can Quality Pre-K and Career Training For Parents Break Cycle of Poverty?

KQED News Mind/Shift – Eric Westervelt

“What makes a high-quality learning program effective not just for the child but the whole family? What else, besides a well-run pre-K, is essential to help families break out of intergenerational poverty? These are some of the key questions that an approach called “two-generation” programs are working to answer. There are many of these “two-gen” programs across the U.S. And while they differ in emphasis and detail, at their core they intentionally focus on ways to help both the child and parent. Usually this happens through targeted education and career training and other vital support such as health services, mentoring, and transportation.”(more)