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Three ways to help end the disconnect between pre-k and early elementary education

The Hechinger Report – Alyssa Auck

“In the world of early learning policy, the disconnect between pre-K and K-3 policy is a popular topic of discussion. Birth to age 8 represents a critically important window of opportunity to develop a child’s full potential and to shape key academic, social, emotional and cognitive skills. A child’s experiences during these years can set them up for future success, or for failure, thereby exacerbating the achievement gap. Pre-K quality and accessibility have received much attention over the past 15 to 20 years and state and federal policymakers continue to allocate resources and prescribe policies geared toward ensuring high-quality pre-K experiences. While these efforts have provided a strong foundation for student success, it is important to simultaneously focus on improving the quality of the K-3 years. Without giving due attention to the quality of K-3, we are missing an opportunity to continue the positive momentum created by improved pre-K experiences.”(more)

Is Your Child Kindergarten Ready?

The Huffington Post – Stephanie Dua and Keith Meacham

“School starts back up in a few short weeks, and the youngest students will embark on an entirely new adventure – kindergarten. As they stock up on newly-sharpened pencils and colorful lunchboxes, many parents are wondering, “is my child really ready for this first big educational step, and what does it mean to be kindergarten-ready anyway?” According to the National Center for Education Statistics, students enter kindergarten at very different skills levels, which is natural given that children may be coming from a variety of early childhood experiences, ranging from highly-skills-focused pre-K programs, play-based preschools, Head Start, or no preschool at all. An average kindergarten class may have children with a five-year range of reading ability, from children who don’t recognize letters or letter sounds to those who can read short books. This range makes the kindergarten teacher’s job particularly challenging. But it’s also perfectly normal.”(more)

Researchers develop preschool STEM education curriculum

E-School News – Staff Writer

“In an effort to address the national need to guide more students to careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) researchers are developing curriculum which introduces STEM principles during the formative preschool years. “The ability to apply STEM concepts to solve a variety of problems is key for students’ future success as well as the nation’s competitiveness in the global economy,” said Martha Cyr, principal investigator of Seeds of STEM: The Development of an Innovative Pre-Kindergarten STEM Curriculum; and executive director of The STEM Education Center at WPI.”(more)

What parents need to know about California’s childcare and preschool rating system

Ed Surge – Jeremy Hay

In 2014, California launched the Quality Rating and Improvement System – QRIS – in part to help parents quickly assess the quality of childcare centers and preschools. Another goal of the rating system is to identify ways childcare providers can do a better job delivering high quality care by giving them training and tools to improve their programs. Here are answers to some common questions about the system. You can also read more about the QRIS system, particularly how it affected one childcare provider in Contra Costa County, here.”(more)

New Duke study: Early attention skills most consistent predictor of academic success

The Atlanta Journal Constitution – Maureen Downey

A new Duke University study suggests problems paying attention in school in early childhood can foreshadow academic challenges later, including graduating from high school. Such students are 40 percent less likely to graduate, according to the study. The study also found likability — as reported by peers — has a small impact on academic performance. The study confirms what many teachers have pointed out on the blog: Patterns are set early. Teachers often say they can predict in fifth grade which students will fail to finish high school. The study found young students with early attention difficulties had lower grades and reading achievement scores than their peers by fifth grade. The gap persists, culminating in lower graduation rates.”(more)

Trump and Clinton Supporters Can Unite on One Thing: The Importance of Early Education

Education World – Nicole Gorman

“Respective supporters of the presumptive Republican and Democratic presidential candidates might have very little in common this election year, but there is one thing they can agree on. According to a recently released poll from the First Five Years Fund (FFYF), both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton supporters agree that investing in early education is a solution to the country’s problems. “Key voter groups want the federal government to help states and local communities improve access to quality early childhood education–this includes 85 percent of Hispanics, 79 percent of suburban women, 65 percent of moderate/liberal Republicans, and 58 percent of Republican women,” said FFYF in a statement.”(more)