Tag Archives: Early Education

Annie E. Casey Foundation report: The first eight years are crucial

12 Nov

Moi wrote in Jonathan Cohn’s ‘The Two Year Window’ Moi has got plenty to say about hypocrites of the conservative persuasion, those who espouse family values, but don’t live up to them or who support corporate welfare while tossing out that old bromide that individuals must pull themselves up by their bootstraps even if they don’t have shoes.
Because of changes in family structure and the fact that many children are now being raised by single parents, who often lack the time or resources to care for them, we as a society must make children and education a priority, even in a time of lack. I know that many of the conservative persuasion will harp on about personal responsibility, yada, yada, yada. Moi promotes birth control and condoms, so don’t harp on that. Fact is children, didn’t ask to be born to any particular parent or set of parents.

Jonathan Cohn reported about an unprecedented experiment which occurred in Romanian orphanages in the New Republic article, The Two Year Window. There are very few experiments involving humans because of ethical considerations.

Nelson had traveled to Romania to take part in a cutting-edge experiment. It was ten years after the fall of the Communist dictator Nicolae Ceauşescu, whose scheme for increasing the country’s population through bans on birth control and abortion had filled state-run institutions with children their parents couldn’t support. Images from the orphanages had prompted an outpouring of international aid and a rush from parents around the world to adopt the children. But ten years later, the new government remained convinced that the institutions were a good idea—and was still warehousing at least 60,000 kids, some of them born after the old regime’s fall, in facilities where many received almost no meaningful human interaction. With backing from the MacArthur Foundation, and help from a sympathetic Romanian official, Nelson and colleagues from Harvard, Tulane, and the University of Maryland prevailed upon the government to allow them to remove some of the children from the orphanages and place them with foster families. Then, the researchers would observe how they fared over time in comparison with the children still in the orphanages. They would also track a third set of children, who were with their original parents, as a control group.
In the field of child development, this study—now known as the Bucharest Early Intervention Project—was nearly unprecedented. Most such research is performed on animals, because it would be unethical to expose human subjects to neglect or abuse. But here the investigators were taking a group of children out of danger. The orphanages, moreover, provided a sufficiently large sample of kids, all from the same place and all raised in the same miserable conditions. The only variable would be the removal from the institutions, allowing researchers to isolate the effects of neglect on the brain….
Drury, Nelson, and their collaborators are still learning about the orphans. But one upshot of their work is already clear. Childhood adversity can damage the brain as surely as inhaling toxic substances or absorbing a blow to the head can. And after the age of two, much of that damage can be difficult to repair, even for children who go on to receive the nurturing they were denied in their early years. This is a revelation with profound implication—and not just for the Romanian orphans.
APPROXIMATELY SEVEN MILLION American infants, toddlers, and preschoolers get care from somebody other than a relative, whether through organized day care centers or more informal arrangements, according to the Census Bureau. And much of that care is not very good. One widely cited study of child care in four states, by researchers in Colorado, found that only 8 percent of infant care centers were of “good” or “excellent” quality, while 40 percent were “poor.” The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development has found that three in four infant caregivers provide only minimal cognitive and language stimulation—and that more than half of young children in non-maternal care receive “only some” or “hardly any” positive caregiving. http://www.tnr.com/article/economy/magazine/97268/the-two-year-window?page=0,0&passthru=YzBlNDJmMmRkZTliNDgwZDY4MDhhYmIwMjYyYzhlMjg

Because the ranks of poor children are growing in the U.S., this study portends some grave challenges not only for particular children, but this society and this country. Adequate early learning opportunities and adequate early parenting is essential for proper development in children. https://drwilda.com/2011/12/18/jonathan-cohns-the-two-year-window/

Christina Samuels reported in the Education Week article, Study: Many Young Children Lagging in Cognitive Skills at Age 8:

An analysis of 13,000 young children tracked from kindergarten entry through middle school found that only about a third of them were on track with cognitive skills by 3rd grade, underlining the need for a comprehensive early-childhood education, particularly for low-income children, according to a new report from the Baltimore-based Annie E. Casey Foundation.
The foundation, which publishes an annual ranking of child well-being called the Kids Count Data Book, released its findings Monday in a policy report called The First Eight Years: Giving Kids a Foundation for Lifetime Success.
The findings are based on the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten, a federally-funded data collection effort that tracked children who were in kindergarten in 1998-99 school year to spring 2007, when most would have been in 8th grade. The federal data collection process asked the participating children questions to assess their literacy, math skills, and science skills. The foundation defines scoring at or above the national average on all three subjects as meeting cognitive development benchmarks.
The data analysis showed that by 3rd grade, 56 percent were on track with physical development, 70 percent with social and emotional growth, and 74 percent in their level of school engagement.
But digging into the numbers revealed disparities between the overall group’s well-being, and the well-being of black children, Hispanic children, and children growing up in poverty. For example, 19 percent of 3rd graders in families with incomes below 200 percent of the federal poverty line—in 2001, that was $35,920 for a family of four—were hitting their cognitive development milestones. In comparison, 50 percent of children in families above that income level hit that mark.
The analysis also showed that 14 percent of black children and 19 percent of Hispanic children were on track in cognitive development.
The results were striking, said Laura Speer, associate director for policy reform and advocacy for the foundation. Also noteworthy was the connection between family education and income. In more than half of the low-income families with children under age 8, the head of the household had a high school degree or less. In half of the higher-income families, the head of the household had at least a bachelor’s degree.
http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/early_years/2013/11/study_many_young_children_lagging_in_cognitive_skills_at_age_8.html

Here is the press release from Annie E. Casey:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 4, 2013
Contact:
Kimberly Varner | 202.706.7404
Sue Lin Chong | 410.223.2836
Can America’s Kids Succeed? Critical Investments Should Target the First Eight Years of Life, Report Finds
Only 36 percent of third graders on track in cognitive development; low-income and minority children faring even worse.
BALTIMORE — The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s latest KIDS COUNT® policy report, The First Eight Years: Giving Kids a Foundation for Lifetime Success, presents a strong case for investing in the early years of a child’s life. Decades of brain and child development research show that kids who enter kindergarten with below-average language and cognitive skills can catch up — but only if they are physically healthy and have strong social and emotional skills.
“All children need nurturing and plentiful opportunities to develop during their crucial first eight years,” said Patrick McCarthy, president and CEO of the Foundation. “Today’s complicated world can strain families’ ability to ensure their children are receiving all the stimulation and care they need to develop to their full potential.”
The report details how a child’s early development across critical areas of well-being is essential to make the effective transition into elementary school and for long-term school success. According to a newly released analysis of the Early Childhood Longitudinal study that began to track 13,000 children who were in kindergarten in 1998-99, by third grade, only 36 percent of children were on track in cognitive knowledge and skills, 56 percent in their physical well-being, 70 percent in their social and emotional growth and 74 percent in their level of school engagement.
The analysis shows that just 19 percent of third-graders in families with income below 200 percent of the poverty level and 50 percent of those in families with incomes above that level had developed age-appropriate cognitive skills. This picture is particularly troubling for children of color, with 14 percent of black children and 19 percent of Hispanic children on track in cognitive development. Children who don’t meet these key developmental milestones often struggle to catch up in school and graduate on time and are less likely to achieve the kind of economic success and stability necessary to support a family themselves.
For children to succeed, classroom learning should be integrated with other aspects of child development, such as social, emotional and physical development, to create opportunities for children to develop the full array of competencies they will need in life. Many states and communities have already begun the work of bringing the programs and services for young children and families into a cohesive system. To prepare all of America’s children for success, the report sets forth three broad policy recommendations:
• Support parents so they can effectively care and provide for their children. States and the federal government should make it easier for parents to navigate the array of programs that can help families by aligning and streamlining benefits packages. Children also benefit when their parents have opportunities to gain education and skills, and when their parents have well-paying, good jobs and the chance to build a career.
• Increase access to high-quality birth-through-age-8 programs, beginning with investments that target low-income children. The report urges states to adopt Early Learning and Development Standards that set clear expectations for child development. Investing to ensure that all children reach important benchmarks, such as grade-level reading proficiency by third grade, will pay long term dividends. In addition to having high-quality care and education for all kids, states should ensure access to affordable and comprehensive health care with timely screenings that can catch disabilities or developmental delays in young children.
• Develop comprehensive, integrated programs and data systems to address all aspects of children’s development and support their transition to elementary school and related programs for school-age children. States should use consistent measures of child development that provide broad assessments of well-being, including progress across key aspects of development. Coordinated educational efforts should use transition planning models that help children move successfully through the birth-through-8 system.
The First Eight Years: Giving Kids a Foundation for Lifetime Success includes data on early childhood development for every state, the District of Columbia and the nation. Additional information is available in the KIDS COUNT Data Center, which also contains the most recent national, state and local data on hundreds of indicators of child well-being. The Data Center allows users to create rankings, maps and graphs for use in publications and on websites, and to view real-time information on mobile devices.
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The Annie E. Casey Foundation creates a brighter future for the nation’s children by developing solutions to strengthen families, build paths to economic opportunity and transform struggling communities into safer and healthier places to live, work and grow. For more information, visitwww.aecf.org. KIDS COUNT® is a registered trademark of the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
Download the news release — Can America’s Kids Succeed? Critical Investments Should Target the First Eight Years of Life, Report Finds — as a PDF.

Click to access AECFTheFirstEightYears2013.pdf

Cohn recognizes that in a time of economic distress it is difficult to call for massive spending on parent support and early learning programs, but that is what he says the implications of the Romanian study are if early damage to poor children is to be avoided. A conference where MIT was a participant described the economic benefit of early childhood programs web.mit.edu/workplacecenter/docs/Full%20Report.pdf NPR has an audio debate about the MIT report http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4605569

Legislators are correct in their prudence about the budget, but the question is whether they are being, as the saying goes, “penny wise and pound foolish.” So much of economic development and full employment is based on an educated and skilled population. Third world countries are undeveloped for many reasons including unsustainable debt, corruption, and being disadvantaged in the world system of trade. One of the primary reasons that third world countries are third world is the limited education opportunity for the majority of their population.

Politics has always been a tough business, the Ides of March is one example of how brutal politics can be. Many times those who serve do so under tough conditions, often with little thanks. Still it is time to recognize that there must be some investments made for the future and early childhood programs are an example of necessary investment. Just as there are those who reflex ably say no to school choice, there are those who just as reflex ably say no to investing in this country’s future.
Cohn’s article is a must read.

Resources:

The changing face of poverty
Millions of Americans live in poverty, more families are suffering and hunger is seen growing. (more) http://money.cnn.com/2004/12/22/news/economy/poverty_overview/index.htm

Hard at work but can’t buy food
While the ranks of the working poor grow in number, should employers step up to stop the trend? (more) http://money.cnn.com/2004/12/16/news/economy/poverty_corporate/index.htm

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Childcare is increasingly unaffordable

10 Nov

In University of Virginia study: Child-care ratings are often not connected to learning outcomes moi wrote: Child-care and preschool apparently fall into the category of we know good child-care when we see the effect. The National Network for Child Care says in INGREDIENTS FOR QUALITY CHILD CARE:

ENVIRONMENT
A quality environment is well planned and invites children to learn and grow. Centers and family day care homes that had a “neat, clean, orderly physical setting, organized into activity areas and oriented to the child’s activity” were found to have good child development (Clarke-Stewart, 1987, p. 113). Most states require 36 square feet of room per child for indoor areas, while 100 square feet per child is recommended outside (Gotts, 1988). There should be enough materials and equipment available that are developmentally appropriate for children of different age levels. Activities planned by the caregivers must also be developmentally appropriate and allow for imaginative play. Play opportunities that enhance children’s social, emotional, physical, and cognitive development are another indicator of high quality programs (Bridgman, 1988). Children need to be given time to play and explore using concrete materials in order to enhance their natural curiosity and intellectual development. http://www.nncc.org/Choose.Quality.Care/ingredients.html

A University of Virginia study finds that many rating systems don’t aid in finding quality child-care. https://drwilda.com/tag/child-care/

S. Jhoanna Robledo described the difference between preschool and daycare in the Baby Center article, daycare centers:

Preschools and daycare centers can be quite similar. “People tend to use the word ‘daycare’ in a derogatory way, but that’s a misconception,” says Leslie Roffman, director of San Francisco’s Little School. Daycare centers and preschools must meet the same licensing and accreditation requirements, they cost about the same, and you can evaluate them using many of the same criteria.

The biggest difference is how early they accept children. The term “preschool” refers to programs designed for children from the age of about 21/2 to 5 or 6. Daycare centers may serve a much wider age range. Some accept infants as young as 6 to 8 weeks old, young toddlers, and even elementary school children for after-school care.

Preschools may also have more limited hours than daycare centers — for instance, a few hours a day, two to five times a week. A growing number, however, offer extended hours so working parents can leave their kids for an entire day.

Curriculum may be one reason to go with a preschool. Many are organized around a specific educational theory or approach, such as Montessori or Waldorf. “If a large opinion survey were conducted on the difference between schools and childcare for preschool children, school-based programs (nursery schools and kindergartens) would be described as more educationally focused while childcare programs would be seen as more custodial,” writes Ellen Galinsky, co-president of the Families and Work Institute in New York, in her book The Preschool Years.

But the very best daycare centers also feature curricula carefully designed to encourage children’s cognitive, social, and physical development. If you have your child enrolled in one already, it might be better to sit pretty until regular school starts rather than switch in midstream.

Watch out for preschools or daycare centers that have stringent academic programs. “Be wary of programs that claim to teach academic skills or ‘speed up’ children’s intellectual development,” says the American Academy of Pediatrics in Caring for Your Baby and Young Child. “From a developmental standpoint, most preschoolers are not yet ready to begin formal education.” http://www.babycenter.com/0_how-preschools-differ-from-daycare-centers_64643.bc

Bill Chappell of NPR wrote the article, Child Care Costs, Already High, Outpace Family Income Gains.
According to Chappell:

In 2012, the cost of child care in the U.S. grew up to eight times faster than family income, according to a new study of the average fees paid to child care centers and family child care homes.
“Child care is an increasingly difficult financial burden for working families to bear,” said Lynette M. Fraga, executive director of Child Care Aware of America, a nonprofit research and advocacy group. “Unlike all other areas of education investment, including higher education, families pay the majority of costs for early education.”
According to the new findings, some families are spending more on child care than on food or rent, as NPR’s Jennifer Ludden reports for our Newscast unit:
“In most states, average child care center fees for an infant are higher than a year’s tuition and fees at a public college. …
“Factor in two kids, and the study finds average fees higher than the median rent in all states, and higher than the average food bill in all regions.”
In compiling its report, Child Care Aware of America looked at the costs of child care centers, including those run by religious organizations and family care homes. The findings don’t include other options such as nannies, or friends and relatives who look after children.
To compare the costs of caring for two children, the organization used data from the price of care for an infant and a 4-year-old.
The study ranked U.S. states according to the affordability of child care (as a share of median income for single or married parents), not by the overall cost of child care.
“The dollar cost of center-based care for infants was actually highest in Massachusetts” at nearly $16,500 yearly, according to the report, “compared to just over $13,450 per year in Oregon; however, as a percentage of median income for married couples with children, care was least affordable in Oregon.”
Oregon was also found to be the least affordable state for center-based care for a married couple with a 4-year-old, ahead of New York, Minnesota and Vermont.
The overall price of raising kids has also risen, according to government figures. Parents who had a child in 2012 can expect to pay $241,080 to raise him or her for the next 17 years, as Eyder reported for The Two-Way this past summer.
http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/11/04/243005358/child-care-costs-already-high-outpace-family-income-gains?utm_medium=Email&utm_source=share&utm_campaign=

Here is the press release from Childcare Aware of America:leases

Report: Child care costs exceed many household expenses
November 4, 2013
REPORT
The cost of child care continues to rise while families struggle to afford quality care, according to a new report from Child Care Aware® of America.
Parents and the High Cost of Child Care: 2013 Report, released today, reveals that families are paying more for child care, and are paying a significant part of their earnings for this care. In the last year, the cost of child care increased at up to eight times the rate of increases in family income.
In 2012, the average annual cost of full-time care for an infant in center-based care ranged from $4,863 in Mississippi to $16,430 in Massachusetts. For an infant in a family child care home, the average cost ranged from $3,930 in Mississippi to $11,046 in New York.
“Child care is an increasingly difficult financial burden for working families to bear,” said Lynette M. Fraga, Ph.D., Executive Director of Child Care Aware® of America. “Unlike all other areas of education investment, including higher education, families pay the majority of costs for early education. Too many families are finding it impossible to access and afford quality child care that doesn’t jeopardize children’s safety and healthy development.”
Read the full report here. http://www.usa.childcareaware.org/costofcare
Contact: Tracey Schaefer
703-341-4148
Tracey.Schaefer@usa.childcareware.org
Child Care Costs in the U.S.: Expensive and Rising
Quality care difficult to afford for working families as increases in the cost of child care outpace increases in family
income

Arlington, VA, November 4, 2013 – The cost of child care continues to rise while families struggle to afford quality care, according to a new report from Child Care Aware® of America.

Parents and the High Cost of Child Care: 2013 Report reveals that families are paying more for child care, and are paying a significant part of their earnings for this care. In the last year, the cost of child care increased at up to eight times the rate of increases in family income.

“Child care is an increasingly difficult financial burden for working families to bear,” said Lynette M. Fraga, Ph.D.,
Executive Director of Child Care Aware® of America. “Unlike all other areas of education investment, including higher
education, families pay the majority of costs for early education. Too many families are finding it impossible to access
and afford quality child care that doesn’t jeopardize children’s safety and healthy development.”

In 2012, the average annual cost of full-time care for an infant in center-based care ranged from $4,863 in Mississippi to $16,430 in Massachusetts. For an infant in a family child care home, the average cost ranged from $3,930 in Mississippi to $11,046 in New York.

For a 4-year-old, the average annual cost for center-based care ranged from $4,312 in Mississippi to $12,355 in New
York. The average annual cost for a 4-year-old in a family child care home ranged from $3,704 in Mississippi to $10,259 in New York.

Findings in the report about the high cost of child care in 2012 include:
-Child care fees for two children (an infant and a 4-year-old) in a child care center exceeded annual median rent
payments in every state.
-In every region of the United States, average child care fees for an infant in a child care center were higher than the
average amount that families spent on food.
-In 31 states and the District of Columbia, the average annual average cost for an infant in center-based care was higher than a year’s tuition and fees at a four-year public college.

The report uses 2012 data from a survey of Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) State Networks and local agencies to show the average fees families are charged for child care centers and family child care homes in every state and the District of Columbia. Cost data is provided for infants, 4-year-old children and school-age children. This year, the report also examines why child care is so expensive, why it’s more expensive in some states than others, and families’ options for paying for child care.

“We call on federal and state policymakers to make child care a top priority when working on budgets, particularly in
light of looming January cuts,” said Fraga. “We also call on parents, concerned citizens and early care and education
professionals to urge federal and state legislators to address the high cost of child care.”

To download a copy of Parents and the High Cost of Child Care: 2013 Report, please visit http://www.usa.childcareaware.org

Parents and the High Cost of Child Care: 2013 Report
Key Findings and Recommendations

Key findings:
-The cost of full-time center-based care for two children is the highest single household expense in the Northeast,
Midwest and South. In the West, the cost of child care for two children is surpassed only by the cost of housing in the
average family budget.
-The cost of child care fees for two children exceeded housing costs for homeowners with a mortgage in 19 states and the District of Columbia.
-Center-based child care fees for an infant exceeded annual median rent payments in 21 states and the District of
Columbia.
-Child care fees for two children (an infant and a 4-year-old) in a child care center exceeded annual median rent
payments in every state.
-In every region of the United States, average child care fees for an infant in a child care center were higher than the
average amount that families spent on food.
-In 2012, in 31 states and the District of Columbia, the average annual average cost for an infant in center-based care
was higher than a year’s tuition and fees at a four-year public college.
-Even the annual average cost of care for a 4-year-old, which is less expensive than care for an infant, was higher than public college costs in 19 states and the District of Columbia.

The 10 least-affordable states in 2012 for center-based care based on the cost of child care as a percentage of state
median income for a two-parent family (in ranked order):

For full-time center-based infant care: Oregon, New York, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Colorado, California, Illinois,
Hawaii, Washington and Kansas.

For full-time center-based care for a 4-year-old: Oregon, New York, Minnesota, Vermont, Colorado, Maine,
Massachusetts, Washington, Rhode Island and Illinois.

Recommendations:
-A national discussion about the impact of the high cost of child care. This discussion should explore federal and state options; innovative, low-cost solutions that have shown success; and what has worked in other industries.

-Congress to require the National Academy of Sciences to produce a study on the true cost of quality child care and to offer recommendations to Congress for financing that supports families in accessing affordable, quality child care.

-Congress to reauthorize the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) to ensure all children in low-income
working families have access to affordable, quality child care.

-Congress to reauthorize CCDBG to include investing in Child Care Resource and Referral agencies to assist providers in becoming licensed and in maintaining compliance with licensing standards and help parents identify quality settings.

-The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to require states to eliminate barriers that prevent families from
easily accessing child care fee assistance, maintaining eligibility and identifying quality settings.

Child Care Aware® of America, our nation’s leading voice for child care, works with more than 600 state and local Child Care Resource and Referral agencies to ensure that families in every local community have access to quality, affordable child care. To achieve our mission, we lead projects that increase the quality and availability of child care, offer comprehensive training to child care professionals, undertake groundbreaking research and advocate for child care policies that positively impact the lives of children and families. To learn more about Child Care Aware® of America and how you can join us in ensuring access to quality child care for all families, visit http://www.usa.childcareaware.org.

Kayla Webley wrote an excellent report in Time magazine about Pew Charitable Trusts’ findings on a studies of preschool. In Rethinking Pre-K:5 Ways to Fix Preschool http://content.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2094847,00.html

Our goals should be: A healthy child in a healthy family who attends a healthy school in a healthy neighborhood. ©
Think small, Not small minded ©

Money spent on early childhood programs is akin to yeast for bread. The whole society will rise.

Related:

The state of preschool education is dire https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/04/10/the-state-of-preschool-education-is-dire/

Oregon State University study: Ability to pay attention in preschool may predict college success https://drwilda.com/2012/08/08/oregon-state-university-study-ability-to-pay-attention-in-preschool-may-predict-college-success/

Pre-kindergarten programs help at-risk students prepare for school https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/07/16/pre-kindergarten-programs-help-at-risk-students-prepare-for-school/

What is the Educare preschool model? https://drwilda.com/2012/11/09/what-is-the-educare-preschool-model/

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