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After-school clubs ‘can improve poorer children’s education’

The Guardian – Staff Writer

“After-school clubs can improve the academic performance and social skills of children from disadvantaged backgrounds, research shows. The study of 6,400 children in England found that those who took part in organised sports and physical activities at the ages of five, seven and 11 were almost one and a half times more likely to reach a higher than expected level in their Key Stage 2 (KS2) maths test at the age of 11. Disadvantaged children who attended after-school clubs also fared better than their peers who did not take part.”(more)

Inside the schools with edible playgrounds

The Guardian – Zofia Niemtus

“How can we get children to eat more vegetables? There’s no shortage of advice on the matter, varying from “serve them with unpopular foods” to “act more like French people” or “just give up”. But schools are discovering that getting students to grow their own greens can make a big difference. This hands-on method is so powerful, in fact, that it can even detoxify the dinner table nemesis of generations: the brussel sprout…Edible playgrounds are springing up across the country and address several key areas of concern around children’s health. They teach pupils about nutrition, encourage physical activity, and can help with food poverty.”(more)

Education is the topic for the new World Development Report

The World Bank – KAUSHIK BASU

“Education is central to improving human welfare and to achieving the goals of eliminating extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity. Schooling was recognized as vital to achieving the MDGs, and it remains front and center in the SDGs. Yet there has never been a World Development Report (WDR) on education. As a result, I have just announced that the WDR 2018—with a working title of Realizing the Promise of Education for Development—will fill this gap by taking stock of what the development community has learned, and how it can strengthen and expand education systems to drive significantly more development and growth.”(more)

An Easier Way to Enroll in School Lunches

The Atlantic – Tajha Chappellet-Lanier

“The USDA Food and Nutrition Service has announced a new pilot program for the upcoming school year that hopes to give more children access to the National School Lunch Program. Under the program, states will use Medicaid data to find qualifying students and directly enroll them for both free and reduced-price meal programs. Under the current system, parents have to go through a cumbersome application process to access the programs, and the paperwork diminishes accessibility. “Many children who are eligible for free and reduced-lunch meals aren’t enrolled in the program—this is going to help ensure that they receive the benefits, too,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told The Washington Post.”(more)

Teaching Parenting Skills At Doctor Visits Helps Children’s Behavior

NPR – Vanessa Rancaño

“As researchers have come to understand how poverty and its stresses influence children’s brain development, they’ve begun untangling how that can lead to increased behavior problems and learning difficulties for disadvantaged kids. Rather than trying to treat those problems, NYU child development specialists Adriana Weisleder and Alan Mendelsohn want to head them off. They say they’ve found a way: Working with low-income parents when they bring babies and young children to the pediatrician. They’ve been able to reduce key obstacles to learning like hyperactivity and difficulty paying attention, according to research published Wednesday in the journal Pediatrics…The results show that a relatively cheap form of intervention works…By using pediatric checkups as a way to engage parents, the researchers say they could reach every child without burdening parents with additional transportation or logistical demands.”(more)

Poverty cannot explain America’s mediocre test scores

Thomas B. Fordham Institute – Michael J. Petrilli & Brandon Wright

“At a time when the national conversation is focused on lagging upward mobility and yawning income inequality, it is no surprise that many educators point to poverty as the explanation for American students’ mediocre test scores compared to their peers in other countries. If teachers in struggling U.S. schools taught in Finland, says Finnish educator Pasi Sahlberg, they would flourish—in part because of “support from homes unchallenged by poverty.”…It’s an important question. If critics of education reform are correct that our schools are doing as well as can be expected given the economic challenges that their students face, they could also be right in saying that school reform is beside the point, misguided, or even doing more harm than good. So what does the evidence show?”(more)