Health Care Reform: Early Learning Challenge Fund Dropped but Home Visitation Survives

We were bitterly disappointed to learn that the Early Learning Challenge Fund didn’t survive the rough and tumble of the health care reform effort. It represented much that was good about the Obama approach to education. Using competitive grants to fund better quality, better-coordinated services for children from birth to age 5, as the program proposed, would go a long way toward addressing the many deficiencies in our early childhood system.

Please visit National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) for the complete blog post.

Calling All Doctoral Students: Dissertation Funding Available

Child Care Research Scholars grants are available to support graduate students as a way of encouraging child care policy research. Eligible applicants include doctoral level graduate students enrolled in accredited public, state-controlled, and private institutions of higher education, including Hispanic-Serving Institutions, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities (TCCUs), and faith-based institutions of higher education. Applications are due May 3, 2010.

Please visit National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) for the complete blog post.

Why School Reform Should Begin With Pre-K

In the past, too many school reform conversations have begun at the kindergarten door, but that is changing. We think it particularly noteworthy that the latest issue of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) quarterly journal American Educator features two articles devoted preschool education. In their article “The Promise of Preschool,” NIEER Co-Directors Ellen Frede and Steve Barnett make the case that preschool programs have important academic and social benefits for middle-income children as well as more disadvantaged kids and that if high-quality preschool were offered to all children, the benefits would far outweigh the costs.

Please visit National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) for the complete blog post.

Preschool’s Role in Fighting Childhood Obesity

While new data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) suggests that the childhood obesity epidemic may have hit a plateau, the fact remains that in 2008, 14.6 percent of low-income children from ages 2 to 4 were obese. Obesity at such young ages has been linked to less physical activity, thus perpetuating unhealthy weight and inactivity status into adulthood. While obesity levels have been rising, the number of children enrolled in preschool programs has also been steadily increasing. Researchers and advocates have proposed that preschools might be an appropriate place for preventive health measures, particularly activities that increase young children’s physical activity. Enter the Children’s Activity and Movement in Preschools Study (CHAMPS).

Please visit National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) for the complete blog post.

Bredekamp Book Illuminates Effective Practices

Sue Bredekamp, one of the foremost authors on early childhood teaching practice, is out with a timely new book. Few are as qualified to write a primer on effective practice as she. Many may recall Sue is the primary author of NAEYC’s Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood Programs (1987 and 1997 editions) and co-author of last year’s revision of that well-regarded volume. Her new effort, Effective Practices in Early Childhood Education, just arrived at NIEER and first impressions suggest it builds on that foundation. Research-based practices are demonstrated by example, there’s a “What Works” section in each chapter, and she integrates play as a means to promote learning throughout.

Please visit National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) for the complete blog post.