How important is early childhood education?

According to one of the most famous studies on education in America, access to early childhood education impacts more than a child’s future GPA. The “High/Scope Perry Preschool Study” followed 123 children born into poverty between the years 1962 and 1967. The group was divided at random and 58 of the children were enrolled in a quality preschool program, while 65 received no preschool education. The children who attended preschool were more likely to graduate high school. Forty years later, researchers found they were also more likely to hold jobs and less likely to have committed crimes.

Twitter Chat: How important is early childhood education? | The Rundown | PBS NewsHour

Recently, Conflicting research has shown that, while children who attend preschool are ahead of their peers both academically and socially upon entering kindergarten, gains fade away by the end of the first grade.

How important is early childhood education? Could its impact last into adulthood? Can kids without access to quality preschool catch up? What role do parents play?

We addressed these questions in a Twitter chat Thursday. Maggie McGuire (@Scholastic) vice president of Scholastic’s Kids and Parents channels, shared her insights, along with guests from the National Institute for Early Education Research (@PreschoolToday) and the Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (@CEELOorg). Read a transcript of the conversation below.

Twitter Chat: How important is early childhood education? | The Rundown | PBS NewsHour

Some other interesting news:

Expanding access to early childhood education a must for equal opportunity (guest column) | OregonLive.com

Millions of 3- and 4-year-olds will begin preschool this week, but millions of others will not have the same opportunity to benefit from early education. Long-term studies have found that children who attend preschool are more likely to graduate from high school, attend a four-year college, and earn a higher salary. Preschool helps to fulfill education’s greatest ideal: All students, whether low-income or affluent, deserve the same chance to build a productive, fulfilling life.

We also know, however, that early education alone is not enough. Economic and environmental factors outside the classroom affect learning. A teacher can provide support and challenging curriculum, but if students live with instability or poverty at home, learning is likely to be impaired.

Policymakers at all levels should be asking how we can help students be ready for school. I’m proud of Oregon’s recent steps to bolster early education in the state, and I’m looking forward to doing my part to build on the progress.

Expanding access to early childhood education a must for equal opportunity (guest column) | OregonLive.com

— I’m really not sure where I stand. It’s not about getting “quality” preschool education but really just a matter of getting early education. With that in mind, it doesn’t matter what kind of study was made, the fact is – some people are fast learners and some take more time to digest new information. And that’s exactly what the Montessori education is all about.

“Can kids without access to preschool catch up?” Of course they can. Just because you went to some preschool it doesn’t really mean you’re smarter than someone who didn’t. I find it really disturbing that people think this way. We all love to stereotype, it is pathetic.

To illustrate my point, here’s a good example: Better jobs usually favor Ivy League college graduates because other graduates aren’t even given the opportunity. Actual performance should never be based on the school. What makes someone a better banker than the other guy if they both have the same field of study and GPA? How do we choose from two people who both have PhD and recommendations from people we trust?

What am I really trying to say here? It’s not the school, but the child. We put our children to school so they can learn. Sadly, the quality of education for each school is different. This brings me back to the reason I strongly believe in the Montessori education system – Every Montessori school across the globe follows the same principles. We can rest assured that our children will get the same quality of education.

Montessori Preschool education is meant to develop a positive attitude towards learning, which somewhat guarantees they will always try to do their best to succeed in life later on.

Everyone is welcome

As a special education teacher for over 20 years, I realize that all children can learn no matter what their special needs may be. There are children with Down Syndrome, autism, learning disabilities, dyslexia, attention deficit disorder, or a physical disability. Whatever the case may be, all children can learn.

Montessori Garden School and the Child with Special Needs

Montessori education is an educational approach developed by Italian physician and educator Maria Montessori. She emphasized independence, freedom within limits, and respect for a child’s natural psychological, physical, and social development. Children with challenging behaviors inspired her work. At her time, they were considered mentally challenged.

In a Montessori environment, children learn by exploring specially designed materials. Each material teaches one concept or skill at a time. It gives the child the foundation for the child to understand abstract ideas. The classroom is beautifully prepared and inviting. The materials are introduced and the child is taught how to use them appropriately. Then, the teacher allows the child to work through the process independently where most of the materials are self-correcting. The teacher’s goal is to inspire rather than instruct.

Children with special needs, such as learning differences and physical disabilities often thrive in a Montessori setting. The younger they start, the most gains they will make. Montessori materials engage all the senses, which in turn is extremely important with students with different learning styles. Students are free to move about the class, which is great for students who require a high level of physical activity. Each child learns at their own pace, so to children who are the same age but have different abilities work on the same lessons without the pressure of formal standards. Language is encouraged in the Montessori classroom helping the children with speech and language impairments.

There are some Montessori classrooms with large class sizes and a special needs child who needs a lot of one-on-one time with the adult may not get as much attention as he or she needs. The children are encouraged to work independently. A child with special needs may find it difficult to focus, concentrate, and work on his or her own. Also, some Montessori schools do not have teachers who are specially trained to work with a special needs child, where they need a lot of patience and strategies on what to do in certain situations. Special services may not be offered in the school and may be difficult to coordinate. So not all Montessori schools are created equal. Some schools may be able to provide for the special needs child, but not for another with the same disability. Every child is different and not every special needs child will be successful in a Montessori environment.

Montessori Garden School and the Child with Special Needs

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maria_Montessori – Her educational method is in use today in some public and private schools throughout the world. Get more information about the founder of Montessori.

http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/montessori/method/method.html – A story about the Montessori Method translated from the Italian version.

— I’ve always been a firm believer that everyone deserves to go to school no matter what. Having said that, I really feel bad when people stereotype Montessori as a place for children with special needs. There are so many schools that accept special children. Montessori was developed as a way for children to learn at their own pace, where the child dictates if he or she is ready or not. It was not created as a “home” for special children. It’s a place where children gradually learn to become more independent, which is really what matters when they grow up.

It’s a school day, why were you absent?

Did you know that students can still fall behind in school even if they miss just a day or two every few weeks? By sixth grade, absenteeism is one of the signs that a student may drop out of high school and believe it or not, by ninth grade, regular attendance is a better predictor of graduation than eighth grade test scores. Research has linked good attendance, starting in kindergarten, all the way through high school, to higher achievement, lower rates of delinquent behavior and increased participation in higher education.

Importance of school attendance can’t be understated – The Jessamine Journal: Opinion

We work hard to make our schools inviting and engaging places where students can build relationships and learn. We have made a concerted effort to improve attendance with strategies that include implementing support systems to address barriers, offering incentives to encourage good attendance and applying consequences when attendance expectations are not met.

Attendance patterns are formed early; children who develop good habits in the primary grades will be more likely to attend regularly throughout their schooling.

Importance of school attendance can’t be understated – The Jessamine Journal: Opinion

— I couldn’t agree more. Absenteeism is a behavioral issue. We must correct this kind of behavior before it proves to become a problem. The earlier we attend to the issue, the better it is for the student.