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Top-Read Blog Posts of 2014: Preschool, Head Start, and Research

Head-Start-Day-White-House-1965-blog.jpgThis year was a busy one in the early-childhood world, with the federal government and private entities devoting more than $1 billion to the cause over the course of the year, states and cities making their own moves, and advocates trying to keep the topic on the front burner. This year, readers of Early Years found their attention drawn to a variety of topics, including early-education research, practice, and federal support. 

1. Study Questions Principals' Tendency to Split Up Twins in Kindergarten Studies tend to show no difference in academic achievement between twins placed in the same classroom compared to those who are separated. (Someone ask Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield about this.) 

2. Knowledge Motivates Preschoolers More Than Stickers, Study Says I'm sure that some children would like both knowledge AND stickers. 

3. Eighteen States Win $250 Million in Preschool Development Grants Something special in the stocking this year for Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia. 

4. Report: Fewer Than Half of U.S. Children Attend Preschool This 2012 blog post was based what was then the most recent version of the the Annie E. Casey Foundation's annual Kids Count report. At that time, 53 percent of 3- and 4-year-olds did not participate in preschool in the years spanning 2008-2010. The percentage has increased slightly in the most recent report, to 54 percent not attending preschool in 2010-2012.

5. Head Start Advantages Mostly Gone by 3rd Grade, Study Finds Also written in 2012. Additional studies in recent years have offered more nuanced ways to interpret the Head Start Impact Study. 

6. Reading to Children the Right Way The American Academy of Pediatrics recommended this year children be read to from infancy.  

7. Children Need More Choices in Kindergarten, NAEYC Expert Says Children need more time in kindergarten to pursue their own interests, said Kyle Snow, the director of applied research for the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

8. States Fall Short on Linking Data for Youngest Children, Study Says Without coordinated data collection, states can't focus on quality improvements, according to the Early Childhood Data Collaborative.

9. Head Start Releases Results in Second Round of Grant Recompetition Results of the first round of competition, released in 2013, are also available, and a 3rd cohort is going through the recertification process now. 

10. Study: Preschool Evaluation Tool Does Not Track With Child Outcomes The Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scale-Revised, or ECERS-R, is a major part of many states' quality rating and improvement systems, but the tool may not be sensitive enough to capture the factors that mean the most to children. 

Ceremony for National Head Start Day on June 30, 1965, at the White House. Front row, right to left: Sargent Shriver, who spearheaded the program as director of the Office of Economic Opportunity; Lou Maginn, director of a Head Start project in Vermont; Lady Bird Johnson; entertainer Danny Kaye; and Mr. Shriver's sons Robert Shriver and Timothy Shriver. Education Week revisited the history of Head Start in August. 

—The Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library-File


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