Preschool Creates Long Term Benefits for Students

A new survey points out something that most of us have known for a long time: a better early education can have lasting and beneficial results for students’ entire lives. What kind of benefits are we talking about here? Surprisingly, it’s not just increased levels of intelligence or capabilities; the new study shows that preschool can lead to better jobs, fewer arrests, and less drug abuse.

This study followed more than 1,000 children from low-income families for more than 25 years. One of these students is Michael Washington. When he was four-years old, Washington attended a preschool where he took field trips to educational sites like the library and planetarium. These experiences are where Washington first discovered his love of science. He is now a heating and air conditioning and ceiling fan contractor.

“You expect your mom and dad to care for you,” Washington said. “But when a stranger, who has no ties to you whatsoever, takes the time to invest in you, takes the time to listen, that makes you open your eyes bigger. It was real cool.”

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Is Four-Years Old Too Young for Kindergarten?

Erin Ferrantino is a kindergarten teacher at an elementary school in Hartford, Connecticut. Ferrantino faces the normal challenges of teaching kindergarteners: coloring outside of the lines, getting everyone to take a nap at the same time, and teaching students about sharing – especially when the students do not want to do so.

However, she usually faces the largest challenge with one particular group of students. These students all have one demographic characteristic in common. It’s not race or gender or even economic background: it’s age. These children are all only four-years old when they start kindergarten. Most children start kindergarten at age five.

“They struggled because they’re not developmentally ready,” said Ferrantino. “It is such a long day and so draining, they have a hard time holding it together.”

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Mathomatix iPhone App Introduces Kids to Measurement Concepts

Measurement from MathomatixAnother app in the Mathomatix series from Emantras, Measurement teaches kids about the basics of weight, time, volume and length. Like other Mathomatix apps for kindergartners and young kids, such as Number Sense and Alzebra, Measurement features five animated games that teach basic principles of math.

Measurement, as you can guess, focuses on principles of measuring. The “Crazy Clock” game teaches the basics of telling the time. “Scale Tale” asks kids to pick the heavier or lighter of two everyday objects. “Fill Me Up” teaches a lesson in volume, while “Long & Short” asks the player about the length of objects. Finally, there’s “Action Month,” a puzzle game that prompts the player to assemble the letter of the month.

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Kindergarten Teacher Accused of Selling Drugs

DurgsPolice say that a kindergarten teacher in Brevard County, Florida has been operating a drug-trafficking and counterfeiting operation. Twenty-four-year old Ashley Webb is a teacher at Westside Elementary School. She and her boyfriend, Curtis Phillip Gallagher, face charges related to possession of controlled substances, counterfeiting, and trafficking controlled substances.

Authorities reported finding “trafficking amounts of Oxycodone, at least $220 in counterfeit bills, mostly twenties, instruments used to produce the counterfeit money including computers, printers and copiers along with other drug related paraphernalia” in the couple’s apartment on Pinewood Drive. The Orlando Sentinel reports that Gallagher has a long history of criminal activity.

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Punflay Expands Their iPad Library with Rhymes for Tots

rhymes-for-totsPunflay, the creator of the Kandy Fish picture book app, has expanded its digital library for kindergarteners and preschoolers with a nursery rhyme app. The Ryhmes for Tots iPad app features animated versions of classic children’s rhymes, including “Humpty Dumpty”, “Jack and Jill” and “Hickory Dickory Dock.” Each rhyme is currently available for 99 cents, and each comes with five related activities.

I took a look at the “Humpty Dumpty” rhyme. During the animation, children can see the words and hear them at the same time, which can encourage reading skills. The additional activities include a rhyming game, a matching game, a simple puzzle, connect-the-dots, and a shape search.

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Can Alzebra iPhone App Teach Kindergarteners Algebra?

alzebra-iphone-appThe creator of the Number Sense iPhone app, Mathomatix, has released another cute app to teach kindergartners about math. This round, they’re upping the ante with the claim that Alzebra can teach five-year-olds algebra.

While the Alzebra iPhone and iPod Touch app does teach children important pattern recognition skills, it seems like a stretch to call this algebra. Let us recall that algebra is the part of math that uses letters or other symbols to represent numerical quantities in equations.

Algebra claims aside, Alzebra comes equipped with five charmingly animated games: Pizza Mania, Tummy Time, Space Rock, Number Strike, and Sound Sequence. All the games involve some element of pattern recognition. Number Strike also develops hand-eye coordination. Tummy Time, a matching game using cartoon animals, uses the iPhone’s tilt sensor for a fun twist in game play: users move a character by tipping the device, not by touching the screen.

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Students Who Start Kindergarten Sooner Are Less likely to Fail a Grade

matt-lauer-visits-kindergartenSixty-seven percent of 4th graders in the U.S. read below the national reading proficiency standard. Some educators feel that the problem starts much earlier, with kindergartners entering school without basic social and learning skills.

Matt Lauer of the Today show visits a school in Boston that’s trying to find a solution early. The Eliot school enrolls kindergartners at the age of four, rather than five. This younger class is called Kindergarten One, or K1, other schools call similar programs “pre-K.” Unlike a nursery school or daycare center, the kindergarten one teachers at the Eliot school must have their master’s degree in education.

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Number Sense is a Fun Way for Kindergartners to Learn About Counting

number-sense-ipad-appLooking for a good way to keep your kids entertained and learn something while they’re at it? The Number Sense app for iPad by Mathomatix fits the bill perfectly. The app features five games to help kindergarteners learn about numbers. The five games are “Do the Dotty,” “Numbrella,” “Booster Balls,” “Fishoonka” and “Toot Toot Train.”

“Do the Dotty” is a connect-the-dots game that teaches children how to count and identify numbers. This game also require a pretty high level of hand-eye coordination, a skill children growing up in the touch-screen may benefit from, but is also at times frustrating when the game doesn’t respond. “Fishoonka” gets kids to learn about the concepts of “greater than,” “lesser than” and “equal to” in an underwater setting. The “Toot Toot Train” game deploys basic principals of addition and subtraction. “Numberella” is another game that involves identifying the values of numbers, and “Booster Balls” is a counting game that involves friendly monsters. The games all feature appealing and colorful graphics.

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Kindergarten Teachers Worth $320,000 per Year

kingergarten-teachers-worth-320000-dollarsKindergarten teachers often provide a child’s first taste of school, and a good teacher can impact a child in extremely positive ways. But this positive influence has been thought to dissipate by middle school, a “fade out” that’s manifest in test scores. But test scores don’t indicate adult success.

Harvard economist Raj Chetty set about to find other means of assessing the long-term effects of a good kindergarten experience. “We don’t really care about test scores. We care about adult outcomes,” he explained. He presented his findings on Tuesday, which focused on students who had participated in an experiment in Tennessee. Conducted in the 1980s, the young adults are now in their 30s. The experiment provided excellent data because the students were from widely varying backgrounds were randomly assigned to kindergarten classes, allowing for a good randomized sample.

By high school, students who received excellent kindergarten instruction performed about as well on standardized exams as students with average or poor kindergarten experiences. But the lives lead by the young adults who participated in the experiment as children revealed a different story. Students who had shown academic improvements due to good kindergarten teachers were more likely to go to college, were less likely to become single parents, and were more likely to be saving for retirement. They also out-earned their peers.

Although the researchers do not claim to have uncovered the direct causal relationship, it’s easy to hypothesize that learning skills like discipline and patience at a young age are key to success later. For every percentile above average a child improved on tests during their kindergarten year, they can expect to earn an additional $100.00 at the age of 27. By extension, Chetty and his colleagues estimated that a great kindergarten should be worth $320,000 a year.

Via the New York Times.

Read Also:

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Obama Doesn’t Really Support Kindergarten Sex Ed

Obama Doesn’t Really Support Kindergarten Sex Ed

obama-sex-ed-for-kindergartersIt’s not a slow news week, so we’re not sure why Fox has chosen to dig up comments that Barack Obama made back in 2007. But they’ve been circulating the headline “Obama Supports Kindergarten Sex Ed,” in connection to a new sex education bill that’s being considered in Helena, Montana.

The idea stems from a smear campaign that started during Obama’s 2004 senatorial race against Alan Keyes. ABC reports that Obama’s opponent propagated the idea the he is for teaching sex ed to kindergartners after supporting a bill that provided age-appropriate and scientifically-based sex education for students of all grade levels. Read the rest of this entry »


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