Task force proposes changes for preschool education

A task force charged with improving early childhood education in Kentucky is recommending the state develop a model curriculum for preschool programs and implement a screening tool for children entering kindergarten, reports the Lexington Herald-Leader. The Task Force on Early Childhood Development and Education released its findings Monday at a news conference in Frankfort. The group made eight recommendations that it said would strengthen Kentucky’s childhood education system. Gov. Steve Beshear convened the task force in February 2009.

The 28-member panel also recommended that the state adopt and distribute a universal school readiness definition to local communities and develop a governing model for early childhood education programs. Early childhood or preschool programs in Kentucky are run by a variety of entities, including Head Start, school districts and private concerns. Beshear said the state would study the task force’s recommendations.

“This is a crucial and urgent initiative,” he said.…Read More

University of Kentucky launches instructional innovation lab

The University of Kentucky is launching a new laboratory to develop innovative ways to educate students from preschool through graduate programs, reports the Lexington Herald-Leader. UK will invest $1.5 million over three years on the P20 Innovation Lab, which will serve as a melting pot in which school leaders, teachers, and students from all levels across Kentucky can mix with professors in all of UK’s 17 colleges. The lofty goals: figure out ways to incorporate new technology into teaching; help bridge gaps between what students know when they graduate from high school and what universities and employers expect them to know; and shake up conventional teaching and classroom formats. “It’s really going to give us the capacity to customize teaching to individual students and their needs,” said Robert L. King, president of the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education. UK’s dean of the College of Education, Mary John O’Hair, brought the concept with her when she was hired last year from the University of Oklahoma, which created a similar center in 1995. Professors and teachers can act like scientists by researching and testing different styles, approaches, and the use of web sites, computers, and even video games to help them in the classroom, she said…

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