Topics in Early Childhood Education

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Preschool Rocks!

Check out the following from the University of Chicago Chronicle:
Consortium will review study data to identify best investments in children.

This is a great article which states,"Children who go to preschool are 30 percent more likely to graduate from high school and 41 percent less likely to need special education." Congrats to all you preschool teachers!! Since we usually hear what we are not doing, it is nice to hear what we ARE doing!

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Good Luck in California

The state of California is taking the opportunity to vote on a proposition to create a universal preschool. I wish the proponents of this proposition good luck. I do know that there are benefits when a child attends a quality preschool. The prospect of allowing every child to access preschool is exciting. Yes, it will take a lot of money and there will need to be monitoring of quality programs, but it is thrilling. With so many states who still don't require a child to attend kindergarten it is refreshing to hear about a state that is making an effort to support preschool children. Unfortunately, in our current society, it is evident that we must provide language and literacy support to children prior to kindergarten. It is more cost efficient to help a child begin the education process in a effective manner than fixing their deficits later in life. If the proposition in California passes, let's hope it is a giant step toward a better educational system and a good example to other states.

Thursday, May 18, 2006


I had the opportunity to spend a few days in Hawaii. I've checked out some of the early childhood resources and settings there. One place, however, impressed me very much. I went to the day of activities at the Polynesian Cultural Center on Oahu. This center was established to retain the culture of the Polynesian Islands and to financially support the education of Polynesian students at BYU-Hawaii. During the Luau, several small children danced the native dances of their island. There were huge smiles on their faces and a genuine joy in the dance. I was impressed how the children were learning the background of their culture and the strength of their background. Wouldn't it be great if that is the way we all approached early childhood education? How wonderful it would be to see every early childhood setting create an atmosphere of success and joy in learning the educational heritage of our country. Education should be a celebration of new knowledge not a task of compliance. Those small Polynesian children gave me a lot think about.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

The Beginning and the End

I had to place my mother in an Alzheimer's unit last year. It has been difficult to watch her slowly disappear as the disease progresses. I have however, had great success communicating with my mom this year. In fact, much more success than my siblings. A doctor friend, who accompanied me to visit my mom, pointed out that the reason I had such success was because I never argue or correct her when she makes an inaccurate comment or request (for example: "Let's go to my house and I'll make you a sandwich before you go home."). Dr. Butler pointed out that I just redirect her to something else and at all times maintain full respect ("Let's go see the pictures in your room instead."). He says that this keeps her from the embarrassment of memory loss or of being wrong. We came to the conclusion that it was my early childhood teaching strategies that helped me communicate with my mother at the end of her life. Maybe with both of our specialties we should write a book called, "Using Early Childhood Strategies with Alzheimer's Patients." Is the beginning and the end of life so similar? I wonder...

Monday, May 01, 2006

May Day Reflections

Today is May Day. Someone on the Today show asked if anyone was going to be dancing around the Maypole. I don't suppose you find that celebration much anymore. School has certainly changed. Back in the day when I was young, school had much to do with holidays and celebrations. Today, in an effort to be politically correct and culturally sensitive, you don't see many celebrations in school. Private schools might be the exception to this rule. Some might say that it is a great loss and reflected a gentler time when children could really be children. Others will say that it is about time that we were sensitive and respectful to everyone's needs, not just the traditions of our forefathers. I would think that both sides are correct. It would be nice to return to a gentler time when there were more celebrations of life and less violent acts against life. It also makes sense to validate every cultural need, not just mainstream Christianity. Perhaps that is why I like early childhood settings. We can usually do both without causing a huge stir. Happy May Day!