Study: Sesame Street boosts early childhood learning

Abby Cadabby blows bubbles in “Bubblefest” as part of Sesame Street’s 42nd season. Photo credit: Richard Termine/Sesame Workshop.

Watching international versions of Sesame Street has a positive impact on early childhood learning practices and learning outcomes among children in other countries, according to a forthcoming meta-analysis from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Lead researchers Dr. Marie-Louise Mares and Dr. Zhongdang Pan examined 24 studies of more than 10,000 children in 15 countries and found that watching Sesame Street helped children achieve a variety of learning outcomes, such as increased health and safety knowledge.

The study pulls from various studies that mention the academic and economic advantages and learning outcomes associated with early childhood learning programs.…Read More

Report highlights importance of early childhood education

Children who attend high-quality pre-kindergarten programs are more likely to graduate from high school.

Children who attend high-quality pre-kindergarten programs are more likely to graduate from high school, says a new report that calls on states and communities to build an aligned system to support early childhood learning and kindergarten programs.

The report from the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP), called “Building and Supporting an Aligned System: A Vision for Transforming Education across the Pre-K-Grade Three Years,” claims that “high-quality early learning can substantially increase the likelihood of academic success.”

“I certainly see this report to be a really strong signal to the K-12 world, as much as the early childhood [learning] world, that there is room for everybody at the table, and in fact, we need everybody at the table to make sure that young children are going to get what they need,” said Lisa Guernsey, director of the Early Education Initiative.…Read More

Feds announce $500M for early learning competition

New federal grants will encourage states to develop high-quality early childhood learning programs.

A new state-level grant competition will direct $500 million in federal funding to improve child care and early childhood learning as part of the Obama administration’s signature Race to the Top program.

The Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge encourages states to make the best possible use of current federal and state investments in early childhood learning by creating comprehensive plans to transform early learning centers with better coordination and clearer learning standards.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, whose departments will administer the competition jointly, challenged the broader innovation community—including leading researchers, high-tech entrepreneurs, foundations, nonprofit organizations, and others—to engage with the early childhood learning community to close the school readiness gap.…Read More

Education sees modest increase in Obama’s FY2012 budget

Though states are strapped for cash, education would see a slight bump in federal funding if Obama's budget is approved.

Despite tough economic times, President Obama’s $3.73 trillion budget proposal for fiscal year 2012 would increase education spending by 4.3 percent in an effort to help students compete on a global level and boost citizens’ college and workforce readiness.

The administration’s 2012 budget request for the U.S. Department of Education (ED) is $48.8 billion, an increase of $2 billion, over the 2011 budget, which was not approved by Congress and is being funded through continuing resolutions.

The budget proposal requests the following funding levels:…Read More