Amid Rising Inequality, One School Gap Is Narrowing

Recent studies and government reports continue to highlight what many Americans know by their wallets: Rising income differences, debt and stagnant real wages are among the biggest problems besetting the nation.

That economic inequality is reflected in America’s schools, right? Absolutely.

But a study just out shows that the gap in school readiness between rich and poor children entering kindergarten closed significantly — by 10 to 16 percent — from 1998 to 2010. Some ethnic/racial achievement gaps declined as well. Reed the full story below.

Tips for Tots – Classroom Environment

Looking for evidence-based strategies for supporting very young children to learn and grow? You may want to check out the Tips for Tots series. Each one-page document features a theme (e.g., Support with Transitions), information about what to expect and why, and strategies for supporting the emotional health and success of infants and toddlers.

Educator Resources

A New DLL Electronic Toolkit for Programs, Early Educators, Child Care Providers, and Families:  released by HHS’ Office of Head Start, includes free resources on supporting the learning and development- including dual language development – of DLLs at home, in early learning settings, and in the community.

The Policy Statement on Supporting the Development of Children Who Are Dual Language Learners in Early Childhood Programs.

USDOE Fact Sheet: Supporting Dual Language Learners in Early Learning Settings.


Essential Instructional Practices in Early Literacy

The purpose of this document is to increase Michigan’s capacity to improve children’s literacy by identifying a small set of research supported literacy instructional practices that could be a focus of professional development throughout the state. The focus of the document is on classroom practices, rather than on school- or systems-level practices (which will be addressed in a future document). The document focuses on prekindergarten, as literacy knowledge and skills developed in the preschool years predict later literacy achievement.1 Prekindergarten education has the potential to improve “reading-by-third-grade” outcomes. Early childhood programs can also help to address disparities in literacy achievement. Research suggests that each of the ten practices in this document can have a positive impact on literacy development. We believe that the use of these practices in every classroom every day could make a measurable positive difference in the State’s literacy achievement. They should be viewed, as in practice guides in medicine, as presenting a minimum ‘standard of care’ for Michigan’s children.

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Preschoolers and Praise: What Kinds of Messages Help Kids Grow?

A three-year-old dressed in a superhero cape collapses in a corner and yells, “I can’t put on my shoes! I can’t!” A four-year-old proudly sets the table “all by myself,” only to fall apart when a glass of water tips over.

Preschool children are in the early stages of  developing their self concept — their mental picture of who they are, what they can do, and who they are capable of becoming. During this pivotal time, the language parents and educators use with preschoolers — particularly when they face challenges or struggle to learn new skills — can help them shape a healthy mental model of how people learn and grow.

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Helping Others Understand Academic Rigor in Teachers’ Developmentally Appropriate Practices

When children and their families enter the prekindergarten classroom, they see a room designed to engage children in intentional and active learning. Within the first 20 minutes of the day, children sign in, answer a yes-or-no poll question (“Do you like to swim?”), and then consult a chart to determine at which learning center they will start their morning. The teacher, Ms. Price, circulates to help children achieve specified learning goals. In the writing center she helps Angela print her name by referring to the alphabet chart to help her find the letter that makes the L sound. She asks José about his new shoes, which they will sing a song about later at circle time. She assists Steven by dictating words for a message he will share with his classmates during circle time. Ms. Price talks directly to the children (“Tell me about your new shoes”), offers reminders when needed (“We will start cleaning up in 10 minutes”), and comments on their work (“Angela, I see you wrote all of the letters in your name”).

To Read Article visit: Helping Others Understand Academic Rigor in Teachers’ Developmentally Appropriate Practices

Understanding and Addressing the Early Childhood Origins of “Mean” Behavior and Bullying: Resources for Practitioners

This brief first provides a summary of the developmental trajectory to bullying behavior and theories about social and environmental contributors to bullying. The remainder summarizes promising strategies and evidence-based intervention models designed to prevent bullying by addressing factors that contribute to the development of “mean” behavior and aggression in early childhood.

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Think Tank Calls for States, Not Feds, to Take the Lead on Early Education

State governments, based on regional needs and abilities, should be the primary force behind expanding early care and education programs for young children, according to a Nov. 3 report by the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative-leaning public policy think tank.

“It makes sense that governors are paying attention to early childhood. States, not the federal government, bear the brunt of down-the-line social and economic costs incurred when children’s earliest foundations are not well laid,” writes report author Katharine B. Stevens.

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Teachers Use Social-Emotional Programs to Manage Classes

Lessons help build students’ empathy: One morning early this fall, 1st graders in Nydia Mendez’s class at Public School 24 in Brooklyn were working on identifying feelings.

“It’s your birthday. Make a face and show me how you feel,” Ms. Mendez said to students, who instantly became all smiles and flapping arms. “You lost your favorite pencil.” Their puppy-dog eyes hit the ground. “Your body’s showing me that you’re disappointed,” she said to one boy.

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