In this news roundup, Today’s Modern Educator takes a look at early childhood education. Stories include a Northern Virginia nonprofit’s finding that children who are jumping by age three are more likely to read by third grade, a look at early childhood education in New Mexico, how results of programs differ and may – or may not – produce positive, long-lasting educational success, and how educators can teach the correct grip at an early age to support handwriting. Keep reading to find out more.
Giving Kids a Jump-Start to a Brighter Future
Children together on the playground crawling, climbing, running and jumping is more than just kids being kids. According to the Northern Virginia Family Service (NVFS), jumping by age three is a key indicator that a child will be more likely to read by third grade? Although jumping may seem like a simple task, there can be many hurdles in a young child’s life that delay it. Distractions such as technology can certainly be factors, but urbanized living and other social factors are also primary contributors. Children in (NVFS) programs that did not have enough space in and around their homes, access to safe outdoor play areas, or outdoor play time in general were exhibiting lower gross motor skills than expected because they lacked access to jumping at home. Physical activity also improves behavior in the classroom, and reading and math scores, and decreases risk for depression and anxiety, according to the American Council on Exercise. Read the story here.
In Focus: How New Mexico School Districts Are Facing Early Childhood, Rural Education Challenges
A recent federal ruling found that New Mexico isn’t doing enough in terms of early childhood education for children who are at risk, including those in low-income households, who are Native American, or who are English Language Learners or special education students. Given that 34 percent of students in New Mexico are living in poverty, which is considered an Adverse Childhood Experience, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Kaiser, millions of children across the state are at risk. However, solid educational efforts and support can counter the effects of adverse childhood experiences. Sylvia Ulloa with New Mexico In Depth talks about the federal ruling and how communities across the state, from Las Cruces to Roswell, are working harder to improve early childhood education in their communities. She talks about what she has learned on In Focus from KRWG Public Media. Watch the video here.
Accountability for Early Education – A Different Approach and Some Positive Signs
Early childhood education in the United States is a tangle of options that vary in quality, price, structure, and a range of other dimensions. As a result, children start Kindergarten having had very different experiences in care and very different opportunities to develop the skills and dispositions that will serve them well during school. Systematic differences across groups by income, race, ethnicity, home language, and geographic location are particularly troubling because inequalities that appear early are often sustained through school and affect prospects throughout life. Convincing research has demonstrated that high-quality early childhood programs can reduce these differences across groups. A few small programs have demonstrated strong positive effects throughout the life cycle, and some large-scale programs have shown effects on math and reading learning. However, a range of research also shows that many early childhood programs do not have positive long-term effects. Read more about early childhood education in this Brookings Institute report.
Get A Grip: Laying The Foundations Of Handwriting Success
Laying the foundations of handwriting success is one of the most important parts of early childhood education. But how do you ensure that you’re teaching early learners to grip a pencil or pen in a way that will help them become successful hand writers? This is a topic that’s near and dear to the heart of Diane Eldridge, RN, COTA, whose career has focused on helping children of all ability and grade levels to achieve success in writing readiness, as well as printing and cursive handwriting skills. Diane’s experience in both private home tutoring and with Prince William County Schools as a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) has provided plenty of her with plenty of insight about what strategies work to lay the foundations for handwriting success, as well as best practices for identifying and remediating poor grip. Learn more about Diane’s webinar about grip for Pre-K through 2nd Grade educators here.