Kindergarten

Screen Time

March 20, 2012
A science journalist and mother of two, Guernsey manages to extricate straightforward information and guidelines from the morass of research, articles and debates on screen media and child brain development. Easily digestible chapters are smartly structured around 12 pervasive concerns of interviewees from all walks of life. Guernsey explains how parents can shrewdly navigate a TV, DVD and video game market that has only begun developing its potential, much like the minds of the children it targets.

What Does a Self-Sufficient 5-Year-Old Look Like?

March 22, 2012

If you've ever wondered whether 5-year-olds have more capacity for learning than we give them credit for, take a look at a clip from a Dutch television show for preschoolers:

States Get Better at Collecting Education Data, but Still Don’t Use it Well

March 22, 2012

Data can be a valuable tool in helping states and school districts implement effective policies and practices and teachers shape their instruction to meet the individual needs of their students. But how those data are used is just as important as the kind of information collected.

States are making progress toward building longitudinal data systems and implementing what the Data Quality Campaign (DQC) calls the 10 Essential Elements. For example, states have collected data on students’ standardized assessment scores and graduation status (for the list of the full 10, see the table below).  

According to DQC’s latest survey of states, however, most continue to struggle using their data systems to inform and guide policy decisions.

Early Ed: Focusing on Social-Emotional Development in PreK-3rd Graders

March 19, 2012

Ensuring that children receive a good education throughout their early years, from pre-kindergarten through third grade, is not just about helping them achieve academically.  It also means providing kids with teachers who can help them grow socially and emotionally year after year.

Podcast: Focusing on Social-Emotional Development in PreK-3rd Graders

March 19, 2012
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Ensuring that children receive a good education throughout their early years, from pre-kindergarten through third grade, is not just about helping them achieve academically.  It also means providing kids with teachers who can help them grow socially and emotionally year after year.

The ‘Race to the Top’ Winners: How States Plan to Include Early Grades

March 16, 2012
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This is the final post in a series on winners of the Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC), the Obama Administration’s competition to spur improvements in early learning for children up to age 5.  Two weeks ago, we wrote about states’ plans to develop the workforce. Prior to that, we dove into states’ plans to improve early learning standards, birth to 5. The first two posts in this series described states’ plans to use and evaluate quality rating & improvement systems. Earlier this week we explored states’ plans for kindergarten entry assessments. In this post, we’ll revisit the invitational priority for sustaining and building upon early learning outcomes throughout the early grades of elementary school.

Last December, we wrote about states that included plans for either pre-K through third grade or birth through third grade improvement in their RTT-ELC applications. Today we’ll focus on the winners’ plans under this optional invitational priority. Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island and Washington focused on sustaining gains into the early grades, while two other winners, California and Minnesota, chose not to participate.

Raising Attendance at Tulsa’s Head Start Program

March 13, 2012

Three years ago, the Community Action Project in Tulsa discovered it had an attendance problem in its Head Start centers.  Almost two-thirds of children were “chronically absent,” meaning they had missed more than 10 percent of school days.

The non-profit organization was fortunate in one way, though: It had collected data that enabled it to see which children were not arriving at school.  Armed with new information, the organization, known as CAP, jumped into gear to address the problem.

Long-Awaited Guidance on Using Technology in the Classroom

March 7, 2012

The last time the National Association for the Education of Young Children took a position on teaching with technology it was 1996.  The Web was only a few years old, portable music meant the Sony Walkman, and Einstein was still that physics genius with the mustache, not a line of DVDs for babies.

Interactive Map: Full-Day Kindergarten in the States

March 5, 2012

This new map from the Children’s Defense Fund shows  which states require school districts to provide a full day of kindergarten. Especially during years where budget cuts often hit education programs in the states, funding for a full day of kindergarten can get cut—except in states where law mandates that districts must make it available at no charge to parents.

Full Day Kindergarten in the States

Full-Day Kindergarten in the States

Click here to see the map and fact sheets on full-day kindergarten in every state.

The Next Generation of Tests for Young English Language Learners

March 1, 2012

Properly determining a young English Language Learner’s proficiency in English is crucial to putting that student on the right track in school. A child who is placed in a regular classroom too soon is bound to struggle. But a child who is kept in a program for ELL students for too long is wasting time that could be spent moving ahead in math, science, or other academic subjects.

Over the next three years, a group will be developing a new set of assessments for English Language Learners that it hopes will be both accurate and developmentally appropriate for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. (Unfortunately, pre-K versions are not funded through this grant, though WIDA is exploring how to create better assessments for pre-K students as well.) The intent is to give schools better options for evaluating students’ progress so that they can be matched with the instruction they need.

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