Study reveals steps to kindergarten prep

Self-regulation intervention boosts school readiness of at-risk children

Researcher Sara Schmitt working with a child. Courtesy of Oregon State University.

An intervention that uses music and games to help preschoolers learn self-regulation skills is helping prepare at-risk children for kindergarten, a new study from Oregon State University shows.

Self-regulation skills–the skills that help children pay attention, follow directions, stay on task and persist through difficulty–are critical to a child’s success in kindergarten and beyond, said OSU’s Megan McClelland, a nationally recognized expert in child development and a co-author of the new study.

“Most children do just fine in the transition to kindergarten, but 20 to 25 percent of them experience difficulties–those difficulties have a lot to do with self-regulation,” McClelland said. “Any intervention you can develop to make that transition easier can be beneficial.”…Read More

Screen time debate broadens with research

New studies move away from stringent screen time restrictions to more flexible guidelines

screen-timeScreen time remains a hot-button issue, but classifying technology use guidelines to include active versus passive use, and how the technology is used, could help redefine traditional screen time guidelines as tech tools become increasingly integrated into early childhood education settings.

New research from RAND Corporation and PNC Grow Up Great aims to define developmentally-appropriate technology use in early childhood education by taking into account the technology and content used, the reason they used and how they are used, and how often they are used.

The researchers note that screen time guidelines were established when television was the main source of screen-based content children consumed, but that screen time is on the rise, and should perhaps be evaluated and defined in the same way as any other technology with educational potential.…Read More

Six key competencies for effective Pre-K-3 principals

Focusing on the Pre-K-3 early learning continuum is crucial

principals-NAESPProviding personalized learning environments and ensuring developmentally-appropriate teaching are just two of six competencies principals need to support teaching and learning during the transition from birth and preschool to grades K-3.

The competencies come from Leading Pre-K-3 Learning Communities, a report from the National Association of Elementary School Principals, and are an attempt to show principals and policymakers how much children benefit from education and learning from age 3 through the third grade. In order to take full advantage of this rich learning window, principals must focus on closing academic and opportunity gaps.

Child development in the Pre-K years must also be highlighted moving forward. “By bringing Pre-K expectations in line with those in kindergarten and the early school years, principals provide a coherent, related set of developmentally-appropriate experiences during the first critical years of schooling,” according to the report.…Read More

Coding with the kindergarten crowd

When it comes to coding, kindergarten students are joining in on the trend

kindergarten-codingIntroducing coding to kindergarten students helps them reflect on their own learning as they develop 21st-century skills such as problem solving and creativity, experts say.

Coding has emerged as one of the most popular learning trends in recent years, and when it comes to programming, young students are proving just as capable as older students.

Studies suggest that engaging students in STEM and computer-based learning at an early age will help students retain their interest as those subjects become more challenging in high school and college, and it is this line of thinking that has prompted such early introductions to coding concepts.…Read More

Top ways to choose and use tech in early education

Proper early childhood education technology use is critical

early-educationMaking sure that young children benefit from technology isn’t quite as simple as handing a child a mobile device with age-appropriate apps. But using a series of questions and requirements can help ensure that technology in early childhood education environments makes a big impact.

Research has already established some key steps to better early childhood technology use, and ensuring that technology resources and software meet certain requirements can enhance young students’ experiences and learning.

Technology tools are just like paper, blocks, or crayons–they’re materials from which teachers can select to facilitate learning and play.…Read More

5 steps to better early childhood tech use

Report identifies best practices in closing early digital divide

early-educationClosing the digital divide has been a constant challenge as technology tools and use become more prevalent in schools. Now, research shows that developing early technology skills can help close the digital divide.

Though technology use has expanded in schools, students’ at-home technology and internet access isn’t necessarily reliable.

According to a RAND Corporation report, Using Early Childhood Education to Bridge the Digital Divide, this means that children from families without access to digital technology “have fewer opportunities to learn, explore, and communicate digitally, and fewer chances to develop the workforce skills they will need to succeed in later life.”…Read More

Early learning, assisted by technology

VINCI’s model combines hands-on, experiential learning with software that identifies early learning gaps

While students are working on activities, the software analyzes their progress—helping teachers know if they’ve grasped the material.

Susan Kelly is excited about the possibilities when her school welcomes its first class of students this fall.

Kelly is the vice principal of VINCI School in Ottawa, Canada, one of a series of new early learning schools that model the approach of VINCI Education: a hands-on blend of low-tech and high-tech instruction, guided by a skilled classroom teacher.

Though Ottawa’s VINCI School officially opens in September for children ages 3-8, the school has been teaching a few five-year-old students on a pilot basis this spring—and Kelly has seen its approach to learning already pay off.…Read More

5 new findings about early childhood data use

New findings indicate more coordination is needed; report offers 3 recommendations for policymakers

childhood-dataA new survey reveals that most states cannot answer the most basic questions about early childhood care and education, including whether young children up to age 5 are on track for academic success and if early childhood educators are adequately trained to teach and prepare young children, because data system on young children are house in separate and uncoordinated systems with different managing agencies and processes.

Because of this, policymakers and early childhood education professionals, as well as parents, need timely and accurate access to data in order to make informed decisions.

Early childhood education professionals in particular need data about young children’s development in order to inform and personalize instruction, according to 2013 State of States’ Early Childhood Data Systems, the latest survey from the Early Childhood Data Collaborative.…Read More

Estimate for statewide pre-k in New York puts schools chief in a tangle

New York State’s top education official was caught in a battle between city and state leaders on Tuesday after he suggested that providing universal access to prekindergarten would cost substantially more than what Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo had proposed, the New York Times reports. John B. King Jr., the state education commissioner, said at a hearing in Albany that the state would have to spend roughly $1.6 billion per year to offer free, full-day prekindergarten to all 4-year-olds. Mr. Cuomo has called for spending an average of $300 million per year…

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eSN Special Report: Closing Gaps Early

As more students enter kindergarten already behind their peers, closing these gaps quickly is critical to their success. Here’s how software can help

Here’s a closer look at how some schools are succeeding at closing learning gaps early.

Located in Marion County, a rural area of north central Florida, the town of Weirsdale doesn’t offer many opportunities for preschool education. The median family income in the county is around $37,000, or $12,000 less than the state average, and about one in 10 families lives below the poverty line.

As a result, many children are starting their formal education already well behind where they should be, according to the Florida Kindergarten Readiness Screener (FLKRS, or “flickers” as it’s known to the state’s teachers). In fact, some students enter kindergarten not knowing any letters or sounds, said Chris Sandy, principal of Stanton-Weirsdale Elementary School.

“It’s amazing to me that a child can walk in the door and not even know the letter ‘M’ for McDonald’s,” Sandy said, noting that the normally ubiquitous fast-food chain hardly exists in her community.…Read More