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Are Kids Missing Out By Not Skipping A Grade?

KQED News Mind/Shift – Linda Flanagan

“Saxon Scott was 5 years old when her parents decided she could do without kindergarten. She’d sailed through a series of tests that measured her acumen, and moved directly to first grade once preschool ended. Now she’s 15 and a high school junior, and Scott thinks nothing of her relative youth. She continues to shine in the classroom, is friendly with students in her grade, and only briefly laments the fact that she won’t be driving until the end of her freshman year in college. “As someone who skipped kindergarten, I can say it wasn’t a big deal,” Scott said. Skipping grades used to be a common strategy to keep gifted or very bright children engaged in learning; it was a simple intervention that worked well when schools were smaller, more flexible and lacking enrichment programs. But today, according to a recent report by researchers at Johns Hopkins University, just 1 percent of students jumps a grade level.”(more)

Learning the lingo: Taking up a second language before we’re 3?

The Irish Examiner – Arlene Harris

“Dr David Carey, director of Psychology at City Colleges and Dean of the College of Progressive Education, says introducing children to new languages before they even start primary school is a great idea. “All children can learn another language at an early age and it’s a wonderful gift to give to them,” he says. “The young brain, before the age of 5, is able to learn to speak another language without developing an accent — to speak it like a native. “And when a foreign language it taught in a fun and engaging style, without an obsessive focus on grammar, it opens the world to them. While learning any skill builds confidence and self-esteem, language learning is intrinsically rewarding to children.” The experienced psychologist says incorporating a new language into your child’s everyday life in an engaging fashion is the best way to create interest.”(more)

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)

4 reasons why investing in STEM is good business

Washington’s Top News – Staff Writer

“According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, over the past 10 years, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) jobs grew three times as fast as non-STEM jobs and STEM workers commanded higher wages, earning 26 percent more than their non-STEM counterparts. To help prepare to meet these future demands, local firms like Unanet, a Northern Virginia developer of software for Professional Services firms, have made STEM education a priority for many years. Here are four reasons why supporting STEM is important for our region and just makes good business sense.”(more)

Does Milk Actually Make Kids Grow Taller?

Modern Farmer – Dan Nosowitz

“It’s likely that at least one person told you as a kid that milk would help you grow tall. The claim is pretty persistent; parents love it, dairy farmers repeat it, and it shows up unsubtly in “Got Milk?” ads (like this one, featuring 6’11” NBA player Chris Bosh standing next to a giraffe). As to where the claim comes from, nobody’s exactly sure. “Partly, it’s a kind of intuitive understanding, meaning that when infants of any species of mammal drink milk, it’s also a period of very rapid growth,” says Andrea Wiley, an anthropologist who has been studying the question of milk and height for more than a decade.”(more)