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Time to Expand Early Childhood Education

The Huffington Post – Mark Shriver

“In our increasingly divided nation, there is one issue that private businesses, nonprofits, both Republicans and Democrats in Congress, and the incoming administration all agree on: increasing access to early childhood education. High-quality early education is one of the most effective means for helping children escape poverty. It leads to higher graduation and employment rates, and it helps build a workforce better prepared for the challenges and opportunities created by technological innovation and productivity gains. Simply put, greater investment in the early education of disadvantaged children lays the foundation for their future success. It also has tangible benefits for society.”(more)

Math education needs to start early

The Virgin Islands Daily-News – John Green

“Educators and parents alike are alarmed over the persistent gaps between 15-year-olds in the United States and their international peers on science and math outcomes. According to the latest results of the Programme for International Student Assessment, or PISA, released on Dec. 6, American adolescents rank a paltry 31st out of the 35 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries in math, and math scores have significantly declined since the last PISA in 2012. To combat this trend, forces have mobilized around STEM education — stressing the experiences needed to build a foundation for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Fostering strong STEM education will safeguard our place in the world and ensure our children a place in tomorrow’s workforce.”(more)

Early childhood as the foundation for tomorrow’s workforce

The World Bank – P. Scott Ozanus

“Why is a company that employs over 189,000 people around the world, and hires about 40,000 people every year, concerned with early childhood? It’s because all over the globe, countries and companies face a common challenge: How best to strengthen their economy and workforce, while also taking societal concerns into consideration. Early childhood is key to a productive current workforce as well as nations’ future success. How does a child’s experience at two-years-old translate into being a fulfilled, productive adult? Research shows that the learning gap between advantaged and disadvantaged children can show up as early as nine months of age. A study showed that by age three, children of low-income families had half the vocabulary of more advantaged families.”(more)

New Report Shows Increased Need for Federal Investments in Early Learning

Home Room: Blog for U.S. Dept of Education – Staff Writer

“Are there too many federal early learning programs? This question has been contentiously debated and discussed in Washington, DC for years. Are programs that simply permit funding for early learning as a part of a larger initiative, such as Title I or English Language Acquisition grants, considered early learning programs? Should programs that merely mention the importance of early learning – the Appalachian Area Development grants or Donations of Federal Surplus Personal Property program – be considered early learning programs? These issues have emerged from a 2012 Government Accounting Office (GAO) report.”(more)

Preschoolers with autism show gains after play-based program

Medical X-Press – Sarah C.p. Williams

“Treatments for autism spectrum disorder that appear promising in a research lab often don’t work as well in real-life settings. But one intervention, developed over the past 15 years by UCLA scientists, has been shown to be effective in reducing symptoms of autism in preschool-age children, even when it’s carried out in facilities with less substantial resources and by mostly young teaching assistants. “Children who received the intervention were more engaged with their teacher, used more communication gestures and words than did children who were not in the intervention,” said Connie Kasari, the paper’s senior author and a UCLA professor of education and psychiatry. The study was published online in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.”(more)

Column: Start math education early

The Times News – Melissa E. Libertus and Roberta Michnick Golinkoff

“Yet our lagging international PISA scores highlight how we continue to miss an essential element in preparing our students for the future: Evidence suggests that the road to strong STEM education starts not in elementary or middle school, but at home and in preschool with very young children. Some parents and teachers talk about numbers and math frequently so that their children are hearing words such as “two,” “12,” “more,” “less,” “count,” and “add” repeatedly in various contexts. Other parents and teachers, however, rarely use number and math words or engage children in meaningful math-learning activities. Failing to talk to our kids about math and introducing them to mathematical ideas and activities is what we call “The Great Shortchange” because it stunts children’s math growth and their future success.”(more)