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A New Push for Play-Based Learning: Why Districts Say It’s Leading to More Engaged Students, Collaborative Classmates … and Better Grades

The 74 Million – Kate Stringer

“To learn the word “the,” Kristen Bauter’s kindergartners used to sit at their desks with a worksheet and circle words scattered across the page. Now, the 5-year-olds stand at a station digging through shredded blue paper to find cardboard fish marked “the.” It’s a change for the Watertown City School District in far upstate New York, where Bauter works. This year, the district has implemented a play-based learning curriculum for kindergartners and first-graders in its five elementary schools, an effort to make learning more developmentally appropriate and to cultivate students’ social-emotional skills.” (more)

Graduates of early childhood program show greater educational gains as adults

Medical X-Press – Staff Writer

“Students who participated in an intensive childhood education program from preschool to third grade were more likely to achieve an academic degree beyond high school, compared to a similar group that received other intervention services as children, according to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health. Researchers led by Arthur Reynolds, Ph.D., at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, followed the 30-year progress of 989 children who attended the Child-Parent Centers (CPC) program in inner-city Chicago as preschoolers. Their findings appear in JAMA Pediatrics.” (more)

How Tips via Text Message May Help Parents and Preschoolers Learn

KQED News Mind/Shift – Daisy Yuhas

“Tending toddlers can require endless reserves of energy. Just ask Huyen Le, supervisor of a family resource center in San Jose, California. After a full day’s work managing children’s reading programs and parenting workshops, she returns home to her own two-year-old daughter, Katelynn. “We do a lot in our center. Sometimes, I forget to do it with my kid at home,” Le says. Seeking inspiration, she turns to her phone where, for the last 10 months, she’s been receiving text messages with simple educational games, tips on how to engage with Katelynn and reminders of simple learning activities they can do together.” (more)

General to lawmakers: Early education is critical to nation’s security

The Eagle – Aimee Breaux

“The military needs quality candidates, the organization argues, and quality candidates are the product of quality early education. The group specifically points to the Department of Defense’s statistic that 73 to 74 percent of Texans ages 17 to 24 do not reach the standard to join the U.S. military. Namely, they either don’t have a high school degree, are not physically fit enough or have a disqualifying criminal record. “Those are alarming figures for those of us who have served, who understand what it means to have a fully trained and capable force that goes out and does the things we ask them to do every day,” Ramirez said at a roundtable discussion following the reading session.” (more)

Early Childhood High Quality Learning Environment Ideas

Education World – Dr. Tisha Shipley

“There are many types of early childhood environments. Think about the environments you have been in or built. As we plan for 2018, what can you do to make your environment better? All children deserve to learn and engage in a clean, safe and enjoyable area where they feel valued, engaged, appreciated and successful.”(more)