December 2010 Archives

Early-childhood experts say just talking to very young children helps build language and social skills, and say the simplest toys can be the best.

On December 20, the California advocacy group Children Now, released its 2011 report card , which graded 11 aspects of children's health, safety and learning across the state. The report also included an action agenda of 10 items Children Now hopes lawmakers will address in the new year. The highest grade awarded was a B-plus for the state's after-school programming. By contrast, early learning received their average grade, a C-minus. Children Now reports that California's licensed child care centers are only inspected once every five years, while other states inspect annually. Affordability of care is also a challenge. According to the ...

As I reported earlier this month, post-election changes to Iowa's political landscape could affect the state's voluntary, universal pre-K program. Right after the elections, advocates I spoke with were hopeful that newly elected Republican lawmakers would moderate their opposition to universal state pre-K in the face of its popularity with constituents. Recent news indicates otherwise. At a Dec. 15 forum sponsored by, Republican state legislative leaders questioned the value of the state's voluntary, universal pre-K program, which advocates have looked to as a national model. You can see the full story here; read on for highlights. "It's very, ...

The University of Chicago's Urban Education Institute and the Ounce of Prevention Fund are partners in a project to help children and families, and build connections among teachers.

The interdisciplinary center will bring together scholards from education, law, medicine, public health, and the life sciences to work on both research and practice.

What does training look like now for early-educators, and how do administrators in the early ed world make human capital decisions?

In November, the U.S. Department of Education announced it will offer $250 million for innovative literacy programs through a grant called Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Program. Striving Readers has been around for a while; what's new this year is an emphasis on funding programs serving children from birth up to grade 12. A call for applications is likely in January or February, and awards will be made in August. The money is divided into two pots: formula grants for states to develop literacy teams with the expertise needed to create birth-to-12 literacy programs, and competitive grants for programs themselves. ...

Overall state spending on prekindergarten programs nationally grew about one percent, to $5.4 billion, in fiscal year 2011, says the advocacy group Pre-K Now.

The executive director of Raising A Reader talks about California's transitional kindergarten initiative and what it needs to succeed.


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