Posts Tagged by preschoolers
|April 6, 2012||Posted by M. P. under Children and Family, Education, Research||
A research team from the University of Chicago has linked preschool puzzle play to increased spatial relations skills. The study examined play by preschoolers from divergent backgrounds in their homes over the course of two years. Children who played with puzzles scored higher in spatial relations at the end of the research period.
According to prior studies, a gender gap in spatial skills is present relatively early in childhood development, but the University of Chicago study found the increase in spatial skills to be equal across genders, although parents of boys used more engagement during puzzle play. Preschool boys also tended to play with puzzles that were more complex. Parents with higher income levels were most likely to use puzzles during playtime.
These findings point to the importance of parents and early childhood professionals mindfully incorporating puzzle–style activities into play to serve as a foundation for better improved skills and outcomes in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education achievement in elementary school. The study, Early Puzzle Play: a Predictor of Preschoolers’ Spatial Transformation Skill, by Susan Levine, Kristin R. Ratliff, Janellen Huttenlocher and Joanna Cannon was published in the February 2012 edition of Developmental Science.
|February 27, 2012||Posted by M. P. under Children and Family, Education, Policy||
Well into its fifth decade of operation, Head Start provides early childhood education opportunities for preschool age children from low-income families as well as early intervention for infants, toddlers and expectant mothers in communities across the nation. A recent policy brief from CLASP, Putting Children and Families First – Head Start Programs in 2010, examines program data to ascertain the impact of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) fund on the program as well as discuss program trends from the late 1990’s through 2010.
Report highlights include:
- In 2010, of the more than 1.1 million children served by Head Start, 86 percent were between the ages of 3-5; and 14 percent birth through age 2 were served through the Early Head start program.
- In 2010, 40 percent of Head Starts participants were white, 29 percent African American, 8 percent reported themselves biracial or multiracial, 4 percent were American Indian or Alaska Native, 2 percent Asian and 1 percent Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander. Eleven percent reported their race as “other. ” Thirty-six percent of all participants reported being of Hispanic or Latino ethnicity.
- In 2010, over half of the families involved in Head Start (57 percent) were headed by a single parent. In nearly ¾ of Head Start families (72 percent), neither parent had achieved an education level above a high school degree or general equivalency degree (GED).
- In 2010, 12 percent of Head Start children were diagnosed as having a disability.
- In 2010, 76 percent of Head Start teachers had an associate degree or higher, an increase from the 51 percent in 2002.
The brief contains additional data on program services and families, as well as comparisons of data points over the past decade. CLASP also has a new data tool to assist decision makers and policy wonks with assessing their state’s needs around early childhood education. The tool is accessible through the CLASP website resource center.
|January 25, 2012||Posted by M. P. under Children and Family, Health, Research||
Understanding the trend in obesity among youth may require more consideration than blaming fast food, “lazy” parents and video games. It may require a more honest examination of the nature of the trade-offs that schools, child care centers and parents have to make to balance the issues of safety, learning and physical activity. We know that students are not getting adequate exercise during their physical education hours and that recess itself is a topic of debate, now a study indicates that preschoolers in daycare settings are not getting adequate amounts of physical playtime – for some surprising reasons.
The article, Societal Values and Policies May Curtail Preschool Children’s Physical Activity in Child Care Centers published in the February journal of Pediatrics found that young children in daycare did not typically get recommended levels of physical activity during their time at the center because of,
- a fear of child injury – including related parental complaints, parental pressure to reduce running and climbing play opportunities and concerns with licensing codes;
- a priority on classroom learning over non-cognitive playtime, due in part to the perceived pressure of early education standards; and
- a lack of financial resources for playground equipment or adequate space for active play.
The paper, available free online for download, includes a sample of responses from the study focus groups that paint a clearer picture as to some major, but hidden, reasons why the kids are sitting more and running less.
Societal Values and Policies May Curtail Preschool Children’s Physical Activity
in Child Care Centers. Kristen A. Copeland, Susan N. Sherman, Cassandra A. Kendeigh, Heidi J. Kalkwarf and Brian E. Saelens Pediatrics; originally published online January 4, 2012; DOI: 10.1542/peds.2011-2102
|May 25, 2011||Posted by M. P. under Behavorial Health, Children and Family, Federal Government, Health, Policy||
Research indicates that the youngest members of society are the most at risk of experiencing trauma, abuse and neglect, therefore having a high likelihood of contact with the child welfare system. The vulnerability of young children makes their safety and well-being a high priority, a point recognized by policy-makers and professionals as evidenced by the growing collaborative efforts between the child welfare system and early childhood experts.
A brief from the Administration for Children and Families, US Department of Health and Human Services entitled TIP SHEET FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD-CHILD WELFARE PARTNERSHIPS: Policies and programs that promote educational access, stability, and success for vulnerable children and families, provides a concise review of the many federal policies and programs in place to improve access to child care, early intervention and early education for youth in the child welfare system. Programs highlighted include:
- The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA): The reauthorization of this Act last year provided incentive and support for linking physical and mental health and developmental services to the child welfare system to target at-risk children, especially those under the age of three.
- Head Start: A free program to eligible children regardless if they live with their parents, kin, or have been placed in a foster home.
- Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act: This bill requires that youth in foster care, even very young children, experience a stable placement with as few disruptions to their education and residential setting as possible.
More programs and initiatives are summarized on the brief that also includes a list of web-based resources, making this a handy resource for families, advocates, child care workers, educators and social service staff.