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Pre-K

What ‘Sid the Science Kid’ Means for Adults

July 3, 2013
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Last month I had the opportunity to write about one of my favorite preschool television shows, Sid the Science Kid.  The piece, “How Kids’ Television Inspires a Lifelong Love of Science,” is part of a special online report on Educating Americans for the 21st Century, published by Smithsonian magazine.*

Child Care, Preschool, and American Families

June 28, 2013
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The last few news cycles have confirmed what researchers already knew: American families, conceptions of marriage, and views on gender are changing fast. In 1975, nearly half of American households followed the traditional “dad-at-work, mom-at-home” model. Less than one-third of families use that model today. Twice as many dads stay home with their children now as did a decade ago. And today, over 40 percent of mothers are the “sole or primary providers” in their households today.

New Research Shows Social Skills and Mixed-Language Play Help ELLs Learn English

June 24, 2013

A new study provides evidence of the direct link between social and academic skill building during early childhood. The article, “Understanding Influences of Play on Second Language Learning,” is by Ruth Piker of California State University – Long Beach, and was published in the most recent issue of the Journal of Early Childhood Research. Piker uses developmental psychologist Lev Vygotsky’s “concept of play as rule driven” to analyze how non-native English speakers develop skills in English through structured play with both native speakers and other dual-language learners.

What Obama's Pre-K Proposal Could Mean for Head Start

June 24, 2013

This guest post was written by J.M. Holland, a Head Start teacher in Richmond, Va., and adjunct faculty in the school of education at Virginia Commonwealth University. He writes about education at The Collaborateurs,  formerly The Future of Teaching

To be honest, President Obama’s recent re-commitment to improving quality and increasing access to early childhood education was a surprise to me. I knew that he had an interest in early childhood, because as a Head Start educator I have experienced first hand his interest in early childhood through the Designation Renewal of Early Head Start and Head Start grantees.  And when the Obama administration set accountability as a priority in its efforts to strengthen Head Start it made sense to me. There have been calls for revisions of Head Start funding for years. I am not sure if there will be unintentional negative consequences down the line but any effort toward change takes that risk.

Hillary Clinton, the 'Accelerator' and More

June 17, 2013
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Early childhood advocates received some big shots of energy last week. First,  former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared her dedication to early childhood, including her participation in a national initiative cleverly titled “Too Small to Fail.”  Second, the J.B. and M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation, announced social impact bonds and $20 million in investments in the first phase of its public-private partnerships projects known as the  “Early Childhood Innovation Accelerator” project.

Child Care Legislation Heightens Emphasis on Quality

June 13, 2013

Last week, amidst the release of multiple reauthorization bills for No Child Left Behind, key members of the Senate produced a draft bill for reauthorization of the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG). Introduced by a bipartisan group of senators, including Democratic Senators Mikulski (MD) and Harkin (IA) and Republican Senators Burr (NC) and Alexander (TN), S. 1086 is somewhat more prescriptive than the last version of CCDBG, and a lot more focused on quality.

Recaps and Highlights from Eight PreK-3rd Webinars

June 6, 2013
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Since February 2012, we’ve been tracking (and live-tweeting) the PreK-3rd Grade National Work Group’s series of webinars on reducing the achievement gap by fourth grade. Today  the work group, of which New America is a part, released a four-page brief with webinar highlights. The group's site also includes PDFs of press coverage from Ed Daily, which reported on each session.

Sen. Harkin’s New ESEA Bill Includes Provisions for the Primary Grades, PreK-3rd

June 5, 2013

Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), the chair of the Senate committee on education, introduced legislation yesterday to update the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, known for years as No Child Left Behind.  Since 2007, there have been attempts to reauthorize the law, but none have made it very far.  Here are a few measures in the Senate Democrats’ bill – called the Strengthening America’s Schools Act – that focus on the early childhood field and the primary grades of elementary school:

President's Plan Is More than Pre-K

June 5, 2013

As part of Early Learning Day of Action, we are running a post that originally appeared at the National Journal Education Experts blog. In addition to the post below on the President's pre-K plan, we've also written on the proposed quality standards; partnership with statespre-K momentum from business leaders and red states; proposed funding in the President's budgetdebates on the President's plan; the idea of a tobacco tax; the cost of funding universal pre-K; and for The Atlantic, Lisa Guernsey and I explained why preschool isn't enough.

The President’s early education plan is a step in the right direction. It puts forward a vision of learning along a continuum, starting with pregnant mothers gaining assistance from visiting nurses, moving to expanding families’ access to public programs for babies and toddlers, adding more emphasis on preschool for 4-year-olds and continuing up through the next year, with a recognition of the need for more full-day kindergarten seats.

President Obama’s proposal recognizes that while preschool is certainly an important investment, its impact on children’s long-term success could be greater if it were linked with the rest of the education pipeline. His plan gives weight to the idea that we should no longer think of education as a K-12 system, but instead as a PreK-12 system. This is where I would like to see his plan go even further, by encouraging states to find ways in kindergarten to build instructionally on the knowledge and skills children gain in pre-K, ensuring that those benefits are sustained.

Proposed Changes to the Race to the Top - Early Learning Challenge

May 31, 2013

This month the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services released proposed changes to future Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge competitions, which would be limited to states that have not already received a RTT-ELC grant.

For the most part, the requirements proposed by ED and HHS are identical to previous rounds. But there are five main changes, two of which have to do with the competition’s priorities.

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