Universal Preschool News
In this section, you'll find editorials, legislation, public policy and trends
on issues relating to preschool, pre-kindergarten, childcare and the push toward
universal preschool education. Particularly of note are articles concerning the
states claim of a compelling interest in compulsory preschool education. Visit
often for the latest preschool news.
Opinion: Teaching is the answer
Learning to read is the key, not universal preschool - Universal preschools are not a solution to our education problems. If it were, universal kindergarten would have solved the problem long ago.
In California, approximately 65 percent of young children go to preschool. Yet, nowhere in the literacy performance of our children does that number appear in results. The U.S Department of Education has put its finger on the problem in a backward sort of way. In two official booklets about what your child should be learning in preschool and in primary grades, they do not mention that teachers should be teaching children how to read. Just stuff like reading to children, rhyming and alliteration. Nowhere is it suggested that teachers should actually teach children how to read. They imply that if you do those things, kids will catch on and learn. Life just doesn't work that way.
April 24, 2005
[More Results from The Reporter - Forum]
Op-Ed Not the time for universal preschool ballot measure
The free preschool program would be voluntary, but 70 percent of the state's 500,000 eligible 4-year-olds would be expected to enroll. Why wouldn't they? It's free.
Reiner's proposal raises a lot of questions. Do we want to transform today's network of independent operators into a statewide operation' Do we want a formally institutionalized preschool system with uniform standards and a bureaucracy' How big would it be' Given how strapped California is for money, including education dollars, do we want to fund preschool for wealthy and middle-class children or start by targeting needy children for financial aid'
April 24, 2005
[More Results from The Oakland Tribune (CA)]
Reiner proposes taxing the wealthy to pay for preschool program
Director and Hollywood activist Rob Reiner proposed a ballot initiative to provide universal preschool in California for 4-year-olds in what could be a prelude to a run for governor.
Reiner and a coalition of supporters announced the filing in coming days of an initiative that would impose a 1.7 percent tax on the state's upper 1 percent of wage earners to pay for the estimated $2.3 billion annual costs of the program. Reiner called his proposed constitutional amendment an "historic piece of legislation that will not only provide quality preschool experience for all 4-year-olds..."
April 24, 2005
[More Results from San Diego Union-Tribune (CA)]
Classic toys never grow old with kids
At a time when many 3-year-olds can operate a DVD player to watch their favorite movies, it's nice to know classic toys still have a place in their lives.
Fisher-Price Toys Inc. is celebrating its 75th anniversary, and although the company has kept in touch with the times with hot licensed products and electronic gizmos, it's the classics that have captured the imaginations of generations of kids. Company lore has it that in 1934, Herman Fisher's mother, who was a teacher, coined the term "preschool" toys and a new toy segment was born.
April 22, 2005
[More Results from Chicago Sun-Times (IL)]
Preschool helps kids improve their German
Clap your hands and stomp your feet. Turn around. Touch the ground. Now, do it in German. Too kompliziert (complicated)? It's a breeze for kids in KinderZoo.
The German-based preschool is similar to any other, except that students and/or their parents are native German speakers. Kids sing, dance, play, tell stories and do art projects while speaking German.
April 21, 2005
[More Results from San Diego Union-Tribune (CA)]
World Congress of Families II
"The learning tools -- vision, hearing, cognition, nervous system-- of
average children who enroll at today's early ages are not tempered for structured academic tasks.
Students lose physical and mental health from 1) uncertainty from leaving the family nest, 2) bafflement from social pressures and restrictions, 3) frustration from pressure to use their unready "learning tools" which can't handle the regimentation and routine of formal lessons, 4) hyperactivity growing out of tattered nerves warring against rigid studies, 5) failure which flows from the episodes above, 6) delinquency which is failure's twin, and 7) a sense of family lost, often including suicide.
April 11, 2005
[More Results from The Howard Center for Family, Religion & Society]
Little scholars, big business
As more parents seek to give kids an edge, learning centers thrive
Rather than play outside on the mild afternoon, a half-dozen boys and girls hone verbal skills and hurtle through math drills inside a nondescript Newton storefront. Across the room, students sweat over synonyms and earn high fives after completing each unit.
Struggling students in need of remedial help' No. They're normal elementary-school pupils who came to the local Score! learning center for an hour of "personal academic training" while their mothers ran errands.
April 10, 2005
[More Results from The Boston Globe]
The danger of confusing education and childcare
Education and childminding have long been closely associated. In the 1830s, all three Brontë sisters went out from Haworth Parsonage to be governesses, either in boarding schools or private homes.
The posts involved both teaching and childcare, extending, in the case of Emily, "from six in the morning until near eleven at night". Why, then, do I feel the balance between the two is now so seriously out of kilter that the integrity of the education service is threatened'
From the end of the Second World War, day nurseries were set up by the government to meet the needs of the wartime female workforce with no pretence they provided education - other than on a very informal social basis. After the war, this continued in local authority day nurseries and through the voluntary playgroup movement.
At some stage, however, the concept of preschool education entered the scene. Nursery schools were established, typically staffed by one qualified teacher and a number of nursery nurses. The teacher provided an educational veneer for what was essentially organised play.
April 6, 2005
[More Results from The Scotsman]
Study pushes preschool for all
Report: payoff to state would be twice $1 billion investment
About 35 percent of California's children don't go to preschool at all. Giving those kids access to the early learning, socialization and development that happen in preschool will cut down on costly school dropouts, special education, remedial work and juvenile crime, the Rand study states.
March 30, 2005
[More Results from The Desert Sun]
DVD schools kids on kindergarten
Teachers reach out to students who did not attend preschool. Preschool wasn't an option for Tyler Fink. His working parents couldn't afford it, and Tyler didn't qualify for the free programs offered to low-income families.
So when it came time to register for school, his mother was relieved when two kindergarten teachers at Harvey Green Elementary School gave her son a workbook and a DVD about kindergarten.
The DVD was the brainchild of Green teachers Kristin Dil and Peggy Prestidge. Tired of playing catch-up each year with their non-preschool students, the teachers decided that they needed to reach the children, who otherwise would fall behind, long before school started.
March 26, 2005
[More Results from Tri-Valley Herald (CA)]
Hard-charging high schools urge students to do less
Sprawling across two huge campuses in Chicago's affluent northern suburbs, the venerable New Trier High School is usually cited as the epitome of public-school excellence.
New Trier, like a number of large, high-performing schools, is beginning to acknowledge that a culture of excellence can have a dark side, and that the push to craft gilded college applications can bring on stress and overscheduling. Now the school - considered a stalwart of traditional education - is rethinking everything from its schedule to class rank and weighted GPAs in an effort to alleviate pressure.
March 21, 2005
[More Results from The Christian Science Monitor (IL)]
Academic jump-start: Classes for kids 2 to 5
Ritij Sarvaiya sits at a low table facing his teacher, Anita Hattangady. She shows him pictures and points to the accompanying words.
Ritij, by the way, is 3 years old.
He is also one of the first children enrolled in Pittsburgh's first Junior Kumon, a supplemental academic program designed specifically for preschoolers as young as 2, although 4 or 5 is the usual age.
The goal of the program, which is controversial in some circles for its methods and its unique academic focus on the pre-K market, is to prepare its youngest clients for kindergarten, in turn positioning them to do advanced work throughout their academic careers.
March 13, 2005
[More Results from Post-Gazette]
Opinion: Redwood City School District
There's no free preschool The Mercury News reported Feb. 15 that parents in the Redwood City School District will get the first shot at enrolling their children in the county's first "free" preschool classes.
Whether one is philosophically in favor or opposed to the concept of universal preschool, selling the idea that it is "free" is misleading at best. Property owners and taxpayers of other venues know who will be footing the bill for those "free" preschools while organized educators statewide are crying to Sacramento for even more money.
February 17, 2005
[More Results from The Mercury News - [free subscription required]]
Parents go to school on giving kids a good start
Police take up the cry to get all 4-year-olds into preschool.
The situation in San Leandro is not unique. A statewide survey of publicly funded preschool programs found anywhere from 20,000 to 50,000 children waiting for slots in either Head Start, state preschool programs or general child care - all of which serve low-income families.
Sponsored by Fight Crime: Invest in Kids California, the survey included responses from about 2,800 state programs, a 48 percent response rate.
February 10, 2005
[More Results from The Daily Review (CA)]