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Child Development H. Glaeser * From the Albert Shanker Institute’s Research Summary 2009.

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Presentation on theme: "Child Development H. Glaeser * From the Albert Shanker Institute’s Research Summary 2009."— Presentation transcript:


2 Child Development H. Glaeser * From the Albert Shanker Institute’s Research Summary 2009

3  Part 1: Introduction  Explain why early childhood is a crucial time for children’s cogni- tive development  Identify characteristics of a high- quality preschool  Compare and contrast the pre-kindergarten academic learning between children of poverty and middle-class children  Describe effective methods of teaching young children

4 Part 1

5  Much of the research on young children’s learning investigates cognitive development in  Language  Mathematics  Science  These appear to be “privileged domains”  Domains in which children have a natural proclivity to learn, experiment, and explore Allow for nurturing and extending the boundaries of the learning in which children are already actively engaged

6  Crucial time for children’s cognitive development  Very young children are ready – and excited – to develop skill and understanding in:  Language and literacy  Mathematics  Science  Pre-kindergarten (pre-k) learning experiences in these domains can help to build the skills, knowledge, and attitudes that prepare young children for future academic success

7  Eager to understand more about the world  Actively strive to build knowledge and to develop language to communicate about what they learn  Develop theories about how the world works  Learn to solve problems  Ask questions in constant quest for information  When provided with supportive and stimulating environments, eagerly engage in:  Language learning  Literacy practices  Math play  Science exploration

8  Many children growing up in poverty lag far behind their middle-class peers in key academic areas by the time they enter kindergarten  Reading, math, and attention skills that children bring to school have been found to be a strong predictor of their later academic success  Without intervention, these early disparities tend to be sustained or even widen over time

9  To close or significantly narrow the gap, we must either figure out how to drastically increase the rate of learning for poor school children, or  Figure out how to prevent this gap from opening in the first place  High-quality pre-kindergarten programs are one promising avenue for reaching this goal  Compelling research suggests that strong pre-K programs can ameliorate academic discrepancies at start of elementary school

10  Very young children are capable of much more academically than previously thought  High-quality, age-appropriate, academically rich pre-K experiences are often unavailable to poor and minority children – the very children who are likely to gain the most benefit from them

11  Quality indicators include:  Easy to measure “structural” factors: Child-to-teacher ratios Teachers’ education levels  In terms of cognitive growth, “process” factors: Daily human interactions and activities that have potential to enhance children’s cognitive, physical, and social-emotional development Appear to be more central

12  Of particular importance is the quality of instruction  Appears to have vital, lasting effect on building children’s cognitive and social skills through the elementary school years  Children in pre-K classrooms that spend time on key academic content areas (literacy, language, math) have an academic advantage as they enter early elementary school

13  The effectiveness of today’s preschool programs could be significantly improved  if they were aligned with what we now know about how children learn in the academic disciplines of: Language Literacy Math Science  These subjects should not be the exclusive focus of a quality preschool curriculum History, social sciences, music, arts and crafts, movement, foreign languages all have place in rich, well-rounded curriculum  Featured subjects appear to be “privileged domains” Areas in which children may be predisposed to learn

14  Differ substantially from teaching methods used with older children  Use of developmentally appropriate instructional techniques such as:  Read alouds  Discussions  Songs  Games  Projects  Other active learning opportunities

15  Both free and “structured” play (where teachers purposefully design play experiences to support specific learning goals) important to this age group  During play, children:  Learn by exploring and manipulating materials  Learn to imagine themselves in new situations  Role play  Take turns  Set and follow rules  Practice oral language as they communicate with peers  Remember, incorporate, and rehearse new knowledge and skills

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