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OPINION: The case for investing in high-quality early learning

The Hechinger Report – Lillian Lowery

“Imagine a preschool classroom where every child is engaged in positive social, emotional and developmental learning activities. Children would be smiling and happy, enjoying the interaction with their teacher and each other — whether they’re delighting in story time or constructing towering cities with colorful building blocks. Where parents are vigorously engaged in their child’s education while simultaneously seeking opportunities to better their own lives.”(more)

Less plastic, more trees: New effort seeks to reinvent preschool playgrounds and capture kids’ imaginations

Chalk Beat – Ann Schimke

“The idea is to create outdoor spaces that capture kids’ imagination, connect them with nature and keep them active in every season. Such efforts grow out of a recognition in the education field that healthy habits start early and boost learning. Step by Step staff members had talked many times about their stagnant play space. But it was hard to envision anything different until they attended a design workshop with experts from ECHO, a partnership between the National Wildlife Federation, Qualistar Colorado and the Natural Learning Initiative at North Carolina State University.”(more)

Why Preschool is the ‘Most Important Year’ In a Child’s Development

KQED News Mind/Shift – Deborah Farmer Kris

“Pre-K is a foundational year because, for most children, it provides their initial exposure to school and sets the tone for their educational career. “They develop certain feelings, perceptions, and ideas about school. It’s a great opportunity to get kids off on the right foot,” said Bouffard. Conversely, she noted, a sub-par experience in pre-K has the potential to create “enduring negative emotions about school.” According to Bouffard, researchers have found that few pre-K are truly poor quality, and few are truly excellent. Most are stuck in the middle “with considerable room for improvement.” She argues that many parents and lawmakers don’t know what to look for in a pre-K classroom — and that even elementary school administrators may not be well-versed in the distinct needs of this developmental age.”(more)

What Should We Be Teaching Young Children?

NPR – Tania Lombrozo

“Early-childhood and elementary school programs reflect a diverse set of commitments about what children ought to learn, and about how they ought to do so. Some focus on academic preparation and advancement, with extra attention to reading and mathematics. Some emphasize social-emotional development and community values. Others tout their language classes, or their music program, or the opportunities for children to engage in extended projects of their choosing. Some praise structure and discipline; some prize autonomy and play.”(more)

The 4 simple misconceptions that can derail early math education

E-School News – Dennis Pierce

“From an early age, children try to make sense of their world by applying context and meaning to certain ideas. But many children also form misconceptions about number concepts and operations that can hinder their learning of early math skills.”(more)

How early should kids begin STEM education?

The Dayton Daily News – Sarah Cavender

“Developing strong STEM skills early is key to closing the skills gap that young adults are facing in the workforce business and military leaders said. “The first five years of life are absolutely critical for brain development,” said Chris Burns, marketing and education manager at Encore Technologies. “If we wait till kindergarten we have waited too late” he said as he and other leaders talked about the report at a press conference at the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery on Thursday.”(more)