Parents may not realize their preschool-aged children are overweight or even obese, if a pediatrician hasn't told them it's a problem, a study by the University of South Florida and Johns Hopkins University reports. The study, published this month in the journal Clinical Pediatrics looks at 150 children aged 2 to 5, 49 of whom were overweight or obese. About 71.4 percent of parents described their overweight or obese children as being of a healthy weight. The absence of a pediatrician's comment on the child's weight was a strong predictor that a parent would underestimate whether the child was ...


A leading demographer in Texas says the state must do more to prepare students for kindergarten to help reduce poverty and dropout rates, according to a recent story in the Houston Chronicle.If steps aren't taken to improve the situation, current trends will result in three of every 10 workers not having a high school education by 2040, said Steve Murdock, a sociology professor at Rice University and former head of the U.S. Census Bureau in the recent Bush administration. He said the state should also look for ways to offer more financial help to students for college."The ...


A proposed law in California would require children to be 5-years-old when they start kindergarten. Now, any child who turns 5 before Dec. 2 can begin kindergarten. But under the proposed measure, a child whose fifth birthday is on or after Sept. 1 would have to wait a year to enter. "Do you really want kids to start school before they're ready?" asked the bill's author, state Sen. Joe Simitian, a Democrat, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. "The answer to that question is obviously no." If the law passes, California would join most states in requiring a September birthday ...


Educators have long known the amount of sleep high school students get can affect their academic performance, but a new study shows sleep is important even for the youngest learners. Four-year-olds who have a regular bed time and sleep at least 11 hours a night performed better on developmental measures. Those 4-year-olds with less sleep had lower test scores in abilities in language, reading, and math skills, according to SRI International, an independent, nonprofit research institute in Menlo Park, Calif. "Getting parents to set bedtime routines can be an important way to make a significant impact on children's emergent literacy ...


Here's a depressing thought: Depression can strike even in children who are younger than 6, research is showing. In the April issue of Current Directions in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, child psychiatrist Joan Luby from Washington University in St. Louis reports findings about depression in preschool-age children and the importance of early detection. The article abstract can be read here. Symptoms of preschool depression are: the inability to enjoy playtime; changes in sleep, appetite, and activity level, which are common symptoms of the condition; and excessive guilt. But the signs may go unnoticed...


For preschoolers and older children, all too often, going outside, usually only at recess, is just a brief part of their school day. But a small number of outdoor preschools have been popping up across the country in recent years, following a movement in Europe designed to encourage little children to become more familiar with nature, the Associated Press reports. The AP wrote an interesting profile of The Cedarsong Nature School in Vashon Island in Puget Sound near Seattle, where preschoolers spend three hours a day on a five-acre forest as their classroom. The article describes a school day in ...


Hi Readers, Welcome to the Early Years. My name is Lisa Fine, and I'm a reporter and also a mom to a young child. I will be writing about issues affecting the educators reaching our youngest learners in the preschool years. I look forward to delving into this important topic. The early years of education are about planting the seeds of learning, assessing the strengths and areas of need in a child,  identifying disabilities, and providing early intervention that can improve a child's ability to learn. I know there are many models for excellent pre-K learning experiences. On this blog,...


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