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Annual Editions: Early Childhood Education 11/12
1. Those Persistent Gaps, Paul E. Barton and Richard J. Coley, Educational Leadership, December 2009/January 2010
In the ongoing quest to solve the achievement gap dilemma, educators are examining the many reasons for gaps between at-risk children and those not living in risk situations. Factors such as birth weight, exposure to language and literacy, and parent participation all contribute to school success or low achievement on tests. Collaboration among the individual and groups working with children in poverty is needed if the many factors affecting the achievement gaps among children are to be addressed.
2. The Achievement Gap: What Early Childhood Educators Need to Know, Barbara A. Langham, Texas Child Care, Fall 2009
Article one focuses on the reason for the achievement gap, and this article by Langham addresses some solutions, especially for reaching preschool children. Many are beginning to wonder if the gap can ever be closed.
3. Invest in Early Childhood Education, Sharon Lynn Kagan and Jeanne L. Reid, Phi Delta Kappan, April 2009
In her succinct and informative style, Kagan, joined by Reid, outlines a number of recommendations for moving forward with early childhood education in this country. The roles of the federal government, states, local communities, and families are described. The article is a must-read for anyone interested in ensuring quality programs are available for all young children. The authors contend that universal preschool should be available, but not required
4. A Foundation for Success, Sara Mead, American School Board Journal, November 2008
Legislators throughout the country recognize the long-lasting educational and economic cost benefits of pre-kindergarten programs. School leaders are beginning to see how quality early childhood programs can reduce the achievement gap and provide a strong foundation for future learning.
5. Joy in School, Steven Wolk, Educational Leadership, September 2008
With the focus on academic achievement, teachers are feeling the pressure to teach so that students learn. For many teachers that means an academic approach where the joy and passion for learning is lacking. Wolk reminds educators to plan developmentally appropriate activities that encourage children to develop lifelong learning habits.
6. Early Education, Later Success, Susan Black, American School Board Journal, September 22, 2008
What used to be called K–12 education has dipped down to include the very critical preschool years. School districts are beginning to align their PK-third grades into an ECE PK–3 unit. Schools committed to achievement and best practices find a cohesive approach to education for their youngest learners most effective.
7. No Child Left Behind: The Mathematics of Guaranteed Failure, Lowell C. Rose, Educational Horizons, Winter 2004
No Child Left Behind (NCLB) is halfway to the year 2014, when the federal law requires that 100 percent of public school students achieve proficiency in reading, math, and science. Accountability and best practices of NCLB are discussed by researchers at Peabody College of Vanderbilt University.
8. Don’t Dismiss Early Education as Just Cute; It’s Critical, Lisa Guernsey, USA Today, April 28, 2010
Early childhood educators know the importance of what they do and how quality early childhood experiences can make a significant difference in the life of a child and his or her family. Now the challenge is to help others realize that as well. Efforts at school reform, programs to close the achievement gap and efforts to guarantee a better prepared work force often miss starting the reform process with preschool children. Just as the roots of a tree can affect the other parts, the foundation for future learning needs support early in the life of the child.
9. Teachers Connecting with Families—In the Best Interest of Children, Katherine C. Kersey and Marie L. Masterson, Young Children, September 2009
Establishing positive relationships with the families and young children with whom teachers work is paramount to engaging the child in meaningful experiences. This article included many strategies for before and during the year, all with the intended purpose of developing connections and collaboration between the families and the school setting.
10. Class Matters—In and Out of School, Jayne Boyd-Zaharias and Helen Pate-Bain, Phi Delta Kappan, September 2008
The effects of poverty on school achievement can be abated by collaboration between school administrators and community leaders. Quality instruction starting in the preschool years and lower class sizes are effective practices.
11. Early Childhood School Success: Recognizing Families as Integral Partners, Janet S. Arndt and Mary Ellen McGuire-Schwartz, Childhood Education, Annual Theme 2008
Understanding that even though all families are different, they all have the common goal of wanting the best for their children, involving parents from the beginning in the education of their children will help form a successful partnership.
12. Creating a Welcoming Classroom for Homeless Students, Jennifer J. Salopek, Education Update, Association for Staff and Curriculum Development, June 2010
With a close to 50% increase in the population of homeless children since 2008, educators must alter the ways they interact with homeless children in school settings. Academic achievement for homeless children, many who are at-risk for academic success, first hinges on their ability to form a trusting relationship with their teachers, deal with stress, and to feel safe in the learning environment. Communicating with families in creative ways is the responsibility of the teacher.
13. Making Long-Term Separations Easier for Children and Families, Amy M. Kim and Julia Yeary, Young Children, September 2008
The numbers of children separated from family members by military deployment are staggering. Long deployments, injuries, and death of a family member have an impact on the social, emotional, and cognitive development of children. Teachers can work with the family to help alleviate the stress children are experiencing.
14. Keys to Quality Infant Care: Nurturing Every Baby’s Life Journey, Alice Sterling Honig, Young Children, September 2010
When Dr. Honig speaks or writes about infants, we listen. She asks caregivers who work with infants to spend time exploring the different temperament and individual skills and interests babies bring to a group care setting. Developing nurturing relationships with infants and their families hinges on the caregiver using a variety of techniques which Honig presents. Excellent strategies for caregivers are included.
15. Fast Times, Deborah Swaney, Family Circle, November 29, 2008
The pressures young girls face to dress and act older than they are can affect many aspects of their development. Boys are not under the same pressures as girls but still face social and emotional stress. Suggestions for parents include decreasing their children’s television viewing, monitoring their use of the Internet, helping children to make age-appropriate choices in clothing and play materials, and getting children involved in physical activities.
16. Whose Problem Is Poverty?, Richard Rothstein, Educational Leadership, April 2008
There has been much focus on how best to close the achievement gap found in children living in poverty. Rothstein argues that schools alone will not solve the problem. Collaboration between families, educators, health professionals, the federal government, and community agencies is needed.
17. How to Support Bilingualism in Early Childhood, M. Victoria Rodríguez, Texas Child Care Quarterly, Winter 2008
The diverse home experiences young children bring to their school setting vary in so many ways. None is more challenging for the teacher than children for whom English is not the primary language spoken in the home. These English language learners and their families have unique needs, and knowledgeable and caring teachers can do much to support and encourage children’s language experiences.
18. Class Division, Peg Tyre, Family Circle, September 2009
When we discuss the achievement gap issues, we often don’t think of the gap that exists between males and females, but it’s there. Teachers know there are learning styles for the different genders and with some differentiation strategies in hand; teachers and parents can meet the individual learning needs of each child.
19. Learning in an Inclusive Community, Mara Sapon-Shevin, Educational Leadership, September 2008
Moving to develop an inclusive learning community that meets the needs of all students is the focus of this article. Included are ten suggestions for teachers to consider when designing classrooms that support the diversity of the children.
20. Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Strategies That Work, Clarissa Willis, Young Children, January 2009
Willis describes some of the characteristics of autism spectrum disorder, which is diagnosed in one in every 150 babies. Teachers have many questions related to behavior, needs, and specific strategies that will best reach these children in an inclusive setting. Suggestions for classroom routines are included.
21. Individualizing Instruction in Preschool Classrooms, Mary B. Boat, Laurie A. Dinnebeil, and Youlmi Bae, Dimensions of Early Childhood, Winter 2010
Interest in differentiating or individualizing learning experiences to meet the needs of all children is high among teachers. Teachers first need to know how to differentiate and how to best support each child in his or her learning. Strategies for scaffolding are included.
22. Helping Children Play and Learn Together, Michaelene M. Ostrosky and Hedda Meadan, Young Children, January 2010
Helping preschool children learn how to play and cooperate with their peers is a critical part of an early childhood educator’s job. Young children today are having fewer opportunities to engage in freely chosen play where they make the decisions. Through engagement in cooperative experiences, children develop social and emotional competence and enhance their learning opportunities.
23. Play and Social Interaction in Middle Childhood, Doris Bergen and Doris Pronin Fromberg, Phi Delta Kappan, February 2009
At a time when recess and free play are disappearing from early childhood programs, Bergen and Fromberg discuss the importance of play during the middle childhood years. Social, emotional, physical, cognitive, and creative development are enhanced through play.
24. Is Tattling a Bad Word?: How to Help Children Navigate the Playground, Katharine C. Kersey and Marie L. Masterson, Childhood Education, Summer 2010
All teachers deal with tattling but often are unsure of their approach to handling this common childhood practice. Teachers wonder if validating the tattler will only lead to more and are not certain if they should just ignore the behavior hoping it will go away. Kersey and Masterson provide suggested comments adults can use with children when helping them develop appropriate social skills.
25. Twelve Characteristics of Effective Early Childhood Teachers, Laura J. Colker, Young Children, March 2008
Colker provides 12 characteristics or dispositions found in skilled early childhood teachers. The author describes the characteristics: passion, perseverance, flexibility, and love of learning. All teachers should assess the effectiveness of their own teaching characteristics.
26. Health = Performance, Ginny Ehrlich, American School Board Journal, October 2008
Ehrlich links students’ academic achievement to their overall health and wellness. A strong physical presence and a strong body make one better able to acquire cognitive skills. School administrators who focus on offering healthy food and nutrition, providing ample opportunities for physical development, and partner with staff and families to be positive role models will see progress in moving to overall healthy students.
27. Keeping Children Active: What You Can Do to Fight Childhood Obesity, Rae Pica, Exchange, May/June 2009
Instilling a love for leading a healthy active lifestyle starts when children are young. Pica provides strategies for adults to incorporate physical activity and recess into each day which will help prevent obesity as children age.
28. The Truth about ADHD, Jeannette Moninger, Parents, November 2008
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) affects approximately 4 million children in the United States yet it often is a challenge for the teachers who serve the children with the disorder. The author includes eight facts about ADHD all teachers and parents should know.
29. Enhancing Development and Learning through Teacher-Child Relationships, Kathleen Cranley Gallagher and Kelley Mayer, Young Children, November 2008
When teachers take the time to develop warm and nurturing relationships with each child, they take the first step toward the total education of all children in their classroom. A secure attachment is important for infants and toddlers and continues throughout the early childhood years. Research on best practices to foster social and emotional development are outlined in this article.
30. Developmentally Appropriate Practice in the Age of Testing, David McKay Wilson, Harvard Education Letter, May/June 2009
Wilson’s message to all teachers is to hold strong to the principle of child development and provide an environment that is developmentally appropriate for all young children to learn. Pressure to use scripted curriculum and deny children the opportunity for inquiry-based learning is forcing many teachers to not follow what they know to be best practice. Four key foundations of development are described.
31. Kindergarten Dilemma: Hold Kids Back to Get Ahead?, Stephanie Pappas, msnbc.com, September 6, 2010
The national trend for many middle and upper middle class parents to delay kindergarten entry for their children has hidden costs, many economists state. Delayed kindergarten or “redshirted” children lose any gains they achieve by being older, often by the third grade. There is a slight academic advantage early in their academic career.
32. What Research Says about . . . Grade Retention, Jane L. David, Educational Leadership, March 2008
Retention, or repeating a grade, has been increasing as schools work to meet Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). There is a great difference between countries such as Great Britain, Denmark, Japan, and Sweden with zero children retained each year and the United States with over two million K–12 grade children retained each year. Significant research studies have found retention to not be a positive experience and it doesn’t lead to successful results in achievement. Additional strategies for educators to help struggling students are included.
33. Using Brain-Based Teaching Strategies to Create Supportive Early Childhood Environments That Address Learning Standards, Pam Schiller and Clarissa A. Willis, Young Children, July 2008
Creative primary teachers can provide quality inquiry-based learning experiences where students can achieve content standards. Good teachers differentiate activities. The authors provide many suggestions for brain-based learning activities.
34. The Looping Classroom: Benefits for Children, Families, and Teachers, Mary M. Hitz, Mary Catherine Somers, and Christee L. Jenlink, Young Children, March 2007
Educators often try different practices with improving academic achievement as their ultimate goal. The benefits of teachers moving up to the next grade with their class of children are many. Skilled teachers are able to provide developmentally appropriate environments and best serve English language learners and other diverse learners. Families often like the consistency that comes from their children having the same teacher for two or more years. Retention can be decreased when children have the opportunity to continue for another year with the same teacher in the next grade level.
35. Acknowledging Learning Through Play in the Primary Grades, Jeanetta G. Riley and Rose B. Jones, Childhood Education, Spring 2010
In the rush to meet all of the elementary standards, primary teachers are forfeiting opportunities for their children to learn through play-based experiences. There are many ways teachers can provide for hands-on investigative play opportunities that meet learning standards in literacy, math, and science as well as social skills.
36. Beyond The Lorax?: The Greening of the American Curriculum, Clare Lowell, Phi Delta Kappan, November 2008
Young children are spending fewer hours playing outside enjoying nature and spending more time inside using technology. The long-term consequences of this nature deprivation will be a generation of children not familiar and invested with their natural surroundings and everything living outside. The author discusses a number of key issues addressed in this edition including ADHD and obesity, as well as physical and creative development.
37. Give Me a Break: The Argument for Recess, Barbie Norvell, Nancy Ratcliff, and Gilbert Hunt, Childhood Education, Winter 2009/2010
Without supporting research, school administrators across the country are eliminating recess. Healthy physical development, as well as the development of social skills, is being affected by the elimination of recess.
38. Promoting Emotional Competence in the Preschool Classroom, Hannah Nissen and Carol J. Hawkins, Childhood Education, Summer 2010
There is strong research indicating that positive social interactions between young children and the important people in their lives, including family, friends, and adults, leads to the development of emotionally competent individuals. Teachers help young children build relationships by coaching, serving as a role model, and creating healthy environments.
39. Ready or Not, Here We Come: What It Means to Be a Ready School, Paula M. Dowker, with Larry Schweinhart and Marijata Daniel-Echols, Young Children, March 2007
For years good early childhood educators have known that we don’t get children ready for school, we get schools ready for children. School readiness takes on a whole new meaning when it is viewed from the perspective of how all learners will be accepted and accommodated. Developmentally appropriate practices that best serve all children are necessary for positive learning experiences to occur.
40. “Stop Picking on Me!”: What You Need to Know about Bullying, Barbara A. Langham, Texas Child Care Quarterly, Spring 2008
Teachers have a responsibility to educate children about bullying. Risk factors as well as protective factors for aggressive behavior are provided along with strategies for teachers to use in preventing bullying.
41. Developmentally Appropriate Child Guidance: Helping Children Gain Self-Control, Will Mosier, Texas Child Care Quarterly, Spring 2009
Our ultimate goal for guiding children’s behavior is to have children express their emotions in socially acceptable ways as they learn to develop internal control. Teachers who employ natural consequences for inappropriate behavior help children develop the skills they will need throughout their life.
42. Fostering Positive Transitions for School Success, Jayma Ferguson McGann and Patricia Clark, Young Children, November 2007
Colleges and universities have, for years, provided well-organized transition programs for incoming students. Preschools and elementary schools are just beginning to see the importance of helping children transit to their first or next school experience. The benefits of social and emotional development as well as establishing a positive connection with families are some of the results seen with an organized transition program.
43. 5 Hallmarks of Good Homework, Cathy Vatterott, Educational Leadership, September 2010
With pressure for academic achievement starting early, homework is viewed as a way to extend the learning into the home setting. Effective homework is purposeful, among other things, and not randomly assigned for all children to do the same work. Families of young children play a key role in the homework discussion, with family support and supplies available, two factors that may affect its successful completion.
44. The Power of Documentation in the Early Childhood Classroom, Hilary Seitz, Young Children, March 2008
Documentation takes many forms and should be collected throughout the year. It allows others to gain an understanding of the many learning opportunities in a classroom and shows specific ways in which children benefited from participation in various learning experiences.
45. Preschool Curricula: Finding One That Fits, Vivian Baxter and Karen Petty, Texas Child Care Quarterly, Fall 2008
There are many different curriculum approaches used in preschool programs. Some are models or packages adopted or purchased and others are an eclectic approach incorporating practices from a number of approaches or theories. This article describes six popular curriculum models and presents the role of the child and teacher for each approach.
46. Got Standards?: Don’t Give up on Engaged Learning!, Judy Harris Helm, Young Children, March 2006
Judy Harris Helm walks teachers through a planning process where early learning standards can be integrated into a child-initiated, inquiry-based approach to learning.
47. Constructive Play: A Value-Added Strategy for Meeting Early Learning Standards, Walter F. Drew et al., Young Children, July 2008
Constructive play is play in which children work to make an original creation or show an understanding of a concept. Creativity, imagination, and inquiry are all parts of constructive play. Teachers have found that early learning standards can be achieved by fostering constructive play in their classrooms.
48. Calendar Time for Young Children: Good Intentions Gone Awry, Sallee J. Beneke, Michaelene M. Ostrosky, and Lilian G. Katz, Young Children, May 2008
When teachers develop more experience and an understanding of young children’s development, they begin to examine traditional classroom practices. The authors explore calendar time and provide suggestions for making the experience more developmentally appropriate and authentic for young children.
49. Why We Should Not Cut P. E., Stewart G. Trost and Hans van der Mars, Educational Leadership, December 2009/January 2010
Eliminating physical education and recess so children can have more classroom learning time is happening all across the country. Trost and van der Mars provide research which shows academic performance did not change when physical education was decreased. They discuss the link between academic achievement and physical fitness and obesity.
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