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.
Playtime, nursery rhymes and progress tests
Plans for a national curriculum for babies will only add to pressure on parents, says Alice Thomson
The blue indicator line shows. "I'm pregnant." It all seems so easy. All you have to do is wait nine months and there's your baby. You can take them home and they are all yours. You can cuddle them, play with them, care for them and enjoy watching them grow. That's what you think. From the moment you inform the state that you are having a baby, there's a third parent in the relationship. It starts the moment that you tell your doctor.
October 11, 2005
[More Results from Telegraph News (UK)]
Study: Preschool Kids Drive Flu Epidemics
When the flu strikes, preschool kids may be the first age group affected, passing the flu on to other people, a new study shows.
If so, vaccinating 3- and 4-year-olds against flu might help curb flu epidemics, write researchers in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
October 1, 2005
[More Results from FOX News]
Don't judge a preschool by whether it has computers
Unless you count the plastic one next to the two real-but-not-connected telephones in the dress-up corner of the yellow room, there's no computer in the classrooms at Watertown Cooperative Nursery School.
In the search for the perfect preschool, that could make or break some parents' decision. Teaching director Margaret Cleremont makes no apologies. "If what they are looking for is reading skills and worksheets and an emphasis on academics rather than on social and emotional development, we're not for them," she says.
September 29, 2005
[More Results from The Boston Globe]
Will New CA. Bill Stop Homeschooling?
When it comes to preschool, the race is on. I remember questions from other moms about what I was going to do regarding preschool when my oldest son was a baby.
I said "we're homeschooling" because it was an easy answer and I had indeed thought about doing so, but still I felt compelled to check out preschools, to apply frantically, and to make a deposit so that my child wouldn't be left out of the race. I was already feeling as though I wasn't good enough to teach my own child.
July 30, 2005
[More Results from News With Views (CA)]
Preschool for All plan put into action
California Gathered last week in front of a blue banner with big letters reading "Preschool for All," actor-turned-preschool advocate Rob Reiner and a bevy of San Francisco bigwigs kicked off the enrollment season for the city's new preschool program.
The goal is for all 4-year-olds in the city to have the opportunity to attend a free, high-quality preschool within five years, regardless of their families' income levels. The launch involves $3.3 million in city funds supporting 1,000 children at 22 preschool programs clustered in Visitacion Valley, the Excelsior, the Mission and Bayview.
Reiner -- joined by Supervisor Tom Ammiano, District Attorney Kamala Harris and Board of Education members Jill Wynns and Norman Yee -- said investing in early-childhood education will have a tremendous ripple effect in the future, with lower crime rates and an improved economy.
July 15, 2005
[More Results from The San Francisco Chronicle (CA)]
Toilet training tips from the pros
Ever hear the old saying, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink'" The same can be said for leading a toddler to a toilet, says Michael McCabe, a pediatrician with North Canton Medical Foundation.
"There are a few things parents can't make their children do," he said. "They can't make them eat, they can't make them go to sleep and they can't make them poop in a toilet. But they can teach them to do these things." Instead of turning toilet time into a power struggle, start getting little ones comfortable with the bathroom when they are between 15 months and 18 months old, he said.
June 12, 2005
[More Results from The Salt Lake Tribune (UT)]
Pre-K plan may have a big flaw
Use of religious schools for programs could be a violation of the state constitution.
As they crafted Florida's free prekindergarten program last year, lawmakers were largely silent on one potential hang-up: Their plan may be unconstitutional. The problem is that Florida lawmakers, rather than relying on public schools as other states have done, opted to offer public money for 4-year-olds to attend religious schools.
June 7, 2005
[More Results from Sarasota Herald-Tribune (FL)]
County readies for free preschool
Universal preschool â€" or free and voluntary preschool for all â€" is creating a huge buzz in California, with the prospect looming of a June 2006 ballot initiative led by Rob Reiner to fund such as proposal.
First 5 Commission leads effort to create countywide program. Contra Costa County had been mulling the idea for free preschool for more than a year now. But on Thursday, about 75 representatives of early childhood education, private preschools, K-12 school districts, the parent community and nonprofit organizations met to begin the planning process.
June 3, 2005
[More Results from Inside Bay Area - Tri-Valley Herald (CA)]
Maybe Preschool Is the Problem
IF six out of every 1,000 preschool children are asked to pack up their Goldfish crackers and never return to nursery school - expelled at the tender age of 4 - whose fault is that?
But maybe, some education experts say, the problems stem from preschool itself. A new study released last week by the Yale Child Study Center found that preschool children are three times as likely to be expelled as children in primary school, and that roughly 5,000 preschool children are turned out each year.
May 22, 2005
[More Results from The New York Times [Requires free subscription]]
Research Finds a High Rate of Expulsions in Preschool
So what if typical 3-year-olds are just out of diapers, still take a daily nap and can't tie their shoes? They are old enough to be expelled, the first national study of expulsion rates in pre-k programs has found.
In fact, preschool children are three times as likely to be expelled as children in kindergarten through 12th grade, according to the new study, by researchers from the Yale Child Study Center. Although preschool expulsion rates varied widely by state and type of setting, the study found that on average, boys were expelled at 4.5 times the rate of girls, African-Americans at twice the rate of Latinos and Caucasians, and 4-year-olds at 1.5 times the rate of 3-year-olds.
May 17, 2005
[More Results from The New York Times]
Stick to what works, researchers tell preschool advocates and policy makers
As efforts accelerate to develop a universal preschool system, advocates and policy makers should focus dollars on blue-collar families, not hand preschools over to public schools.
"The worthy cause of extending preschool to all families is gaining steam, money and big-name proponents," said Bruce Fuller, co-author of the report and UC Berkeley professor of education and public policy. "But key pillars of initial programs are founded on the sands of weak evidence, ignoring the lessons from leading states."
May 5, 2005
[More Results from UC Berkeley 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]
Parents matter more than preschool
Thanks for printing teacher Matt Baxter's insightful letter (March 10). It's unbelievable the way that universal preschool is being pushed.
Studies have repeatedly shown the most important factor in a child's success is the presence of the mother and father in a loving and committed relationship to each other and the children above all else.
March 12, 2005
[More Results from San Jose Mercury News]