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Viewpoint: A case for pre-K education

The Reading Eagle – Dr. Solomon Lausch

“Throughout all of the current political debate, one theme has been constant, conservative or liberal: the decline of the American middle class. In 2013, for the first time, 51 percent of public school students fell below the federal government’s low income standard for free or subsidized school lunches. That standard is 300 percent of the defined federal poverty level…Why all this focus on 3- and 4-year-olds? The answer is that these are the years in which a child’s brain is rapidly developing and equally, when the child is acquiring the social skills, self control, and persistence which matter for success in life.”(more)

The importance of early childhood education

The Kokomo Perspective – Jeff Hauswald

“Early childhood education is very, very important! In a state-by-state comparison of early childhood education programs and efforts, Indiana is in last place… but at least we are tied for last place! How important is early childhood education? One of the most effective means of helping children to read on-level by third grade has proven to be early childhood education, which directly impacts the high school drop-out rate. Quite simply, early childhood education is one of the leading means by which society can reduce the “school-to-prison” pipeline, which costs the average taxpayer $14,823 per year for each incarcerated person in Indiana state prisons (Vera Institute of Justice, 2010). These conservative estimates from 2010 are considered far lower than the true prison cost found throughout Indiana today. Aside from the long-term societal cost that are inversely related to investments in early childhood education, the benefits for each child for whom an early childhood education program is available are staggering. Students who attend an early childhood program are less likely to be held back through grade retention. Early childhood education, such as preschool, allows students to enter kindergarten ready to learn.”(more)

Preschoolers’ motor skill development connected to school readiness

Medical X-Press – Staff Writer

“Preschoolers’ fine and gross motor skill development is indicative of later performance on two key measures of kindergarten readiness, according to a study published today by researchers from Oregon State University. Preschoolers who performed better on fine and gross motor skill assessments early in the school year were more likely to have better social behavior and “executive function,” or ability to pay attention, follow directions and stay on task later in the school year, scientists said. “Physical activity and motor skills are important for preparing for school and for life,” said Megan MacDonald, an assistant professor in OSU’s College of Public Health and Human Sciences and lead author of the study.”Now that we know these things are linked to school readiness, we have more tools to share with parents and educators so they can help young children be ready for school.” The findings were published in Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, and supported by the Environmental Health Sciences Center and the Hallie E. Ford Center for Healthy Children and Families at OSU and OSU-Cascades. The work included an interdisciplinary team of researchers.”(more)

Every child deserves the Best Start to create the brightest future

The Huffington Post – Staff Writer

“Five things are needed as part of a child’s basic care: good nutrition, health care, learning, play and protection (and of course love when providing all of these). By the time a child reaches the age of five about 90% of its brain development is complete. It is clear that busy stimulation and learning is needed from day one to give every child the best start in life. In these early years, a child’s brain develops 700 new neural connections every second – the highest rate of development during an individual’s lifetime. Thankfully, with an increased focus on early years and new research our knowledge of brain development and the inherent potential of all children is growing almost as fast! So the excuses need to stop – we cannot ignore investment in this area any longer.”(more)

From Dabbling to Doing: 6 Tools That Excite Kids About Coding

KQED News Mind/Shift – Tanner Higgin

“It’s clear coding and computer science have become key priorities in K-12 education. From’s massive round of funding and the formulation of the Computer Science Coalition to President Obama’s Computer Science For All initiative to big school districts, like the San Francisco Unified School District, building K-12 computer science curriculum – there’s indications that this is more than a passing fad. Many educators are excited about the opportunities coding and computer science offer students, but with these new curricular priorities come the major practical, pedagogical challenges of building a scope and sequence and then transforming it into units and lessons (not to mention, you know, teaching). Given the problems computer science has had meeting the needs of all students — especially early on — there’s some tough challenges ahead for school leaders and educators to make sure computer science for all doesn’t fall flat.”(more)

Body Image: Even Preschoolers Think About Their Looks, Study Finds

Medical Daily – Kelsey Drain

“Toddlers between the ages of 2 and 5 are going through a crucial growth stage. According to the Child Development Institute, this is a stage of rapid physical and intellectual development. Results of a new study have revealed that these preschool-aged young children actually develop perceptions of body images, which is significantly earlier than their parents probably thought they would develop this awareness. These perceptions of their small selves can be either positive or negative, and parents may be missing opportunities to promote healthy mindsets about physical looks, Medical Xpress reported.”(more)