Wide-reaching Implications: Assessments of the Very Young

Published in 2010, the book Multifaceted Assessment for Early Childhood Education provides educators, in particular pre-service teachers, with a broad understanding of current practices in early childhood assessment. The author argues that “there has never been a time when it is more important for early childhood educators to have an understanding of educational assessment and measurement” (p. xix), considering educational accountability and legislation mandating early identification of children with special needs. Very important decisions are increasingly being made based on the results of educational assessments, such as about special needs support allocation, changes in teacher salaries, and early childhood center funding and closings. This book is a timely addition to existing teacher preparation resources.

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

Holiday Greetings from NIEER

In April, we released The State of Preschool 2010 in Washington, D.C., joined by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Marci Young of Pre-K Now. The report, which found unprecedented decreases in both per-child and total state spending on state-funded pre-K programs helped jump start the national conversation on early childhood as a priority in difficult times.  We are now working on the 10th year of data for our State Preschool Yearbook and are looking forward to sharing the results with you sometime in the spring.

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

Crossing the Finish Line? Race to the Top–Early Learning Challenge Winners Announced

The U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services today announced the nine states that will receive funding through the Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge(RTT-ELC). Thirty-five states, D.C., and Puerto Rico applied for a share of the $500 million available through this competitive program, which has been the centerpiece of the Obama administration’s efforts on early childhood education.

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

Investing in Future Jobs: Will North Carolina Fail the First Hurdle in the Economic Race?

North Carolina, on the verge of abandoning its commitment to high-quality pre-kindergarten education, could not have worse timing. In the midst of a struggling recovery, now is not the time to give up on an investment research has proven to provide terrific economic returns.

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

A Life Devoted to Healthy Development for All: J. Fraser Mustard

The Toronto Star recently reported the sad news that Canadian physician and researcher Dr. James Fraser Mustard died in his home at age 84. In addition to being a part of the research team that discovered aspirin could help reduce the likelihood of heart disease, Dr. Mustard studied early childhood development with his research influencing his home province’s education policy. His Early Years Study was used by the Ministry of Education in Ontario when it established a program to offer full-day kindergarten throughout the province.

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

Celebrating Children’s Rights

Since 1954, the United Nations (UN) has observed November 20 as “Universal Children’s Day,” a day to honor children and promote activities for their welfare. On this day in 1959, the UN General Assembly adopted their Declaration of the Rights of the Child. On this date in 1989, these rights became legally binding to all UN member countries that ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which at present includes all member countries except Somalia and the United States.

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

OECD Report Sounds a Warning: Early Education Needed Now More Than Ever

One critical lesson we can draw from this recession is that demand for knowledge workers is increasing at a furious rate — so fast that many skilled people who found themselves out of work when the recession began now find themselves behind the curve knowledge wise as they apply for new jobs. As old jobs have gone by the wayside, the new ones, scarce as they are, are requiring more skills of applicants.

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

Will the Real UPK Please Stand Up?

The pre-K debates often focus around choice – whether parents will be able to send their children to half-day or full-day programs, to private centers or public schools, and perhaps most importantly, to any high-quality preschool program at all. Universal pre-K can make high-quality programs a choice for every family, one that we think few would refuse. Therefore, one might assume universal programs would always have higher enrollments than targeted programs. Interestingly enough that does not turn out to be the case for several reasons.

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

Eating Right, Learning Right

The important link between children’s health and their education is being highlighted this week with the celebration of National School Lunch Week. This year’s theme is “School Lunch – Let’s Grow Healthy,” as part of a three-month long campaign by the School Nutrition Association to highlight the importance of school lunch programs. Common sense tells us that children with empty stomachs can’t concentrate on classroom learning or homework.

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

Sharing Time: Looking at a Busy Week in Early Education

Education Nation, NBC’s annual education summit, presented its second offering this week, and it had a heavy focus on early learning. Dr. Nancy Snyderman, NBC’s chief medical editor, moderated the panel “Brain Power: Why Early Learning Matters” featuring early learning notables, including researchers, practitioners, advocates, and a little star power from actress-advocate Jennifer Garner.  While the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge was clearly a point of interest, the panel also discussed a number of issues NIEER has recently explored, including policies on family engagement, how to reform Head Start, and the 10 states that do not offer state-funded pre-K.

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