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Early Childhood Education


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Annual Editions: Early Childhood Education 10/11PrefaceCorrelation GuideTopic GuideInternet ReferencesUNIT 1: PerspectivesUnit Overview1. Invest in Early Childhood Education, Sharon Lynn Kagan and Jeanne L. Reid, Phi Delta Kappan, April 2009In her succinct and informative style, Kagan, joined by Reid, outlines a number of recommendations for moving forward with early childhood education in this country. The roles of the federal government, states, local communities, and families are described. The article is a must-read for anyone interested in ensuring quality programs are available for all young children. The authors contend that universal preschool should be available, but not required.2. A Foundation for Success, Sara Mead, American School Board Journal, November 2008Legislators throughout the country recognize the long-lasting educational and economic cost benefits of pre-kindergarten programs. School leaders are beginning to see how quality early childhood programs can reduce the achievement gap and provide a strong foundation for future learning.3. Joy in School, Steven Wolk, Educational Leadership, September 2008With the focus on academic achievement, teachers are feeling the pressure to teach so that students learn. For many teachers that means an academic approach where the joy and passion for learning is lacking. Wolk reminds educators to plan developmentally appropriate activities that encourage children to develop lifelong learning habits.4. Early Education, Later Success, Susan Black, American School Board Journal, September 22, 2008What used to be called K-12 education has dipped down to include the very critical preschool years. School districts are beginning to align their PK-third grades into an ECE PK-3 unit. Schools committed to achievement and best practices find a cohesive approach to education for their youngest learners most effective.5. The Changing Culture of Childhood: A Perfect Storm, Joe L. Frost, Childhood Education, Summer 2007Joe L. Frost was a keynote speaker at the 2006 Annual Conference for the Association for Childhood Education International. Included is an expanded version of his address focusing on the decrease of play, the increase of academics, the effects of poverty, and other issues affecting young children.6. No Child Left Behind: Who's Accountable?, Lisa A. DuBois, Peabody Reflector, Summer 2007No Child Left Behind (NCLB) is halfway to the year 2014, when the federal law requires that 100 percent of public school students achieve proficiency in reading, math, and science. Accountability and best practices of NCLB are discussed by researchers at Peabody College of Vanderbilt University.7. Preschool Comes of Age: The National Debate on Education for Young Children Intensifies, Michael Lester, Edutopia, June 2007Close to two-thirds of preschool children have a school experience prior to entering kindergarten. The data on achievement levels and readiness for future learning of children who attend preschool programs is well documented. Data on the long-term cost effectiveness of preschool programs for at-risk children is also striking, yet, there are children without access to quality preschool programs. Michael Lester questions why more young children do not attend preschool.UNIT 2: Young Children, Their Families, and CommunitiesUnit Overview8. Class Matters-In and Out of School, Jayne Boyd-Zaharias and Helen Pate-Bain, Phi Delta Kappan, September 2008The effects of poverty on school achievement can be abated by collaboration between school administrators and community leaders. Quality instruction starting in the preschool years and lower class sizes are effective practices.9. Early Childhood School Success: Recognizing Families as Integral Partners, Janet S. Arndt and Mary Ellen McGuire-Schwartz, Childhood Education, Annual Theme 2008Understanding that even though all families are different, they all have the common goal of wanting the best for their children. Involving parents from the beginning in the education of their children will help form a successful partnership.10. Meeting of the Minds, Laura Pappano, Harvard Education Letter, July/August 2007Making parent-teacher conferences a win-win situation for the teacher, family, and student is the key for developing positive relationships. Pappano provides strategies that teachers can use to take full advantage of the opportunity available for parents and teachers to meet.11. Making Long-Term Separations Easier for Children and Families, Amy M. Kim and Julia Yeary, Young Children, September 2008The numbers of children separated from family members by military deployment are staggering. Long deployments, injuries, and death of a family member have an impact on the social, emotional, and cognitive development of children. Teachers can work with the family to help alleviate the stress children are experiencing.12. Fast Times, Deborah Swaney, Family Circle, November 29, 2008The pressures young girls face to dress and act older than they are can affect many aspects of their development. Boys are not under the same pressures as girls but still face social and emotional stress. Suggestions for parents include decreasing their children's television viewing, monitoring their use of the Internet, helping children to make age-appropriate choices in clothing and play materials, and getting children involved in physical activities.UNIT 3: Diverse LearnersUnit Overview13. Whose Problem Is Poverty?, Richard Rothstein, Educational Leadership, April 2008There has been much focus on how best to close the achievement gap found in children living in poverty. Rothstein argues that schools alone will not solve the problem. Collaboration between families, educators, health professionals, the federal government, and community agencies is needed.14. How to Support Bilingualism in Early Childhood, M. Victoria Rodriguez, Texas Child Care Quarterly, Winter 2008The diverse home experiences young children bring to their school setting vary in so many ways. None is more challenging for the teacher than children for whom English is not the primary language spoken in the home. These English language learners and their families have unique needs, and knowledgeable and caring teachers can do much to support and encourage children's language experiences.15. Learning in an Inclusive Community, Mara Sapon-Shevin, Educational Leadership, September 2008Moving to develop an inclusive learning community that meets the needs of all students is the focus of this article. Included are ten suggestions for teachers to consider when designing classrooms that support the diversity of the children.16. Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Strategies That Work, Clarissa Willis, Young Children, January 2009Willis describes some of the characteristics of autism spectrum disorder, which is diagnosed in one in every 150 babies. Teachers have many questions related to behavior, needs, and specific strategies that will best reach these children in an inclusive setting. Suggestions for classroom routines are included.17. Including Children with Disabilities in Early Childhood Education Programs: Individualizing Developmentally Appropriate Practices, John Filler and Yaoying Xu, Childhood Education, Winter 2006/2007Integrating young children with disabilities in early childhood programs requires teachers who work closely with families to accommodate the special needs of each child. Teachers skilled in differentiating will be best able to make the practice of inclusion successful and a positive learning experience for all children in the classroom.UNIT 4: Supporting Young Children's DevelopmentUnit Overview18. Play and Social Interaction in Middle Childhood, Doris Bergen and Doris Pronin Fromberg, Phi Delta Kappan, February 2009At a time when recess and free play are disappearing from early childhood programs, Bergen and Fromberg discuss the importance of play during the middle childhood years. Social, emotional, physical, cognitive and creative development are enhanced through play.19. Twelve Characteristics of Effective Early Childhood Teachers, Laura J. Colker, Young Children, March 2008Colker provides 12 characteristics or dispositions found in skilled early childhood teachers. The author describes the characteristics: passion, perseverance, flexibility, and love of learning. All teachers should assess the effectiveness of their own teaching characteristics.20. Health = Performance, Ginny Ehrlich, American School Board Journal, October 2008Ehrlich links students' academic achievement to their overall health and wellness. A strong physical presence and a strong body make one better able to acquire cognitive skills. School administrators who focus on offering healthy food and nutrition, providing ample opportunities for physical development, and partner with staff and families to be positive role models will see progress in moving to overall healthy students.21. Which Hand?: Brains, Fine Motor Skills, and Holding a Pencil, Louise Parks, Texas Child Care Quartely, Spring 2007Helping parents understand the needs of their child when developing physical skills, specifically related to handedness, is an important job for teachers. Strategies for helping children feel competent and comfortable with their choice to use either their left or right hand for fine motor skills are included.22. Keeping Children Active: What You Can Do to Fight Childhood Obesity, Rae Pica, Exchange, May/June 2009Instilling a love for leading a healthy active lifestyle starts when children are young. Pica provides strategies for adults to incorporate physical activity and recess into each day which will help prevent obesity as children age.23. The Truth about ADHD, Jeannette Moninger, Parents, November 2008Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) affects approximately 4 million children in the United States yet it often is a challenge for the teachers who serve the children with the disorder. The author includes eight facts about ADHD all teachers and parents should know.24. When Girls and Boys Play: What Research Tells Us, Jeanetta G. Riley and Rose B. Jones, Childhood Education, Fall 2007As many teachers and administrators are deciding to eliminate play and recess, there is strong evidence supporting the many benefits of child-initiated, free-choice play. Children specifically benefit physically, socially, and creatively when given an opportunity to engage in free play.UNIT 5: Educational PracticesUnit Overview25. Enhancing Development and Learning through Teacher-Child Relationships, Kathleen Cranley Gallagher and Kelley Mayer, Young Children, November 2008When teachers take the time to develop warm and nurturing relationships with each child, they take the first step toward the total education of all children in their classroom. A secure attachment is important for infants and toddlers and continues throughout the early childhood years. Research on best practices to foster social and emotional development are outlined in this article.26. Developmentally Appropriate Practice in the Age of Testing, David McKay Wilson, Harvard Education Letter, May/June 2009Wilson's message to all teachers is to hold strong to principle of child development and provide an environment that is developmentally appropriate for all young children to learn. Pressure to use scripted curriculum and deny children the opportunity for inquiry-based learning is forcing many teachers to not follow what they know to be best practice. Four key foundations of development are described.27. What Research Says about . . . Grade Retention, Jane L. David, Educational Leadership, March 2008Retention, or repeating a grade, has been increasing as schools work to meet Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). There is a great difference between countries such as Great Britain, Denmark, Japan, and Sweden with zero children retained each year and the United States with over two million K-12 grade children retained each year. Significant research studies have found retention to not be a positive experience that doesn't lead to successful results in achievement. Additional strategies for educators to help struggling students are included.28. Back to Basics: Play in Early Childhood, Jill Englebright Fox, Earlychildhood NEWS, March/April 2006The basics to which Englebright refers are the benefits of a variety of developmentally appropriate play experiences for young children. Freely chosen and supported by a knowledgeable staff, children who are allowed to engage in a variety of play will experience benefits in their cognitive, social, creative, physical, and emotional development.29. Scripted Curriculum: Is It a Prescription for Success?, Anita Ede, Childhood Education, Fall 2006In light of the NCLB requirements that students are to achieve by 2014, many school districts have adopted scripted curriculum programs for teachers to use when teaching reading specifically. The use of these programs is most prevalent with at-risk learners.30. Using Brain-Based Teaching Strategies to Create Supportive Early Childhood Environments That Address Learning Standards, Pam Schiller and Clarissa A. Willis, Young Children, July 2008Creative primary teachers can provide quality inquiry-based learning experiences where students can achieve content standards. Good teachers differentiate activities. The authors provide many suggestions for brain-based learning activities.31. Successful Transition to Kindergarten: The Role of Teachers and Parents, Pam Deyell-Gingold Earlychildhood NEWS, May/June 2006Helping young children make a smooth transition to kindergarten is a goal of every preschool teacher and parent. When kindergarten teachers prepare environments that are ready to accept a variety of developmental levels, children can be successful. A play-based setting with a focus on the social and emotional development of young children will allow them to be successful, lifelong learners.32. The Looping Classroom: Benefits for Children, Families, and Teachers, Mary M. Hitz, Mary Catherine Somers, and Christee L. Jenlink, Young Children, March 2007Educators often try different practices with improving academic achievement as their ultimate goal. The benefits of teachers moving up to the next grade with their class of children are many. Skilled teachers are able to provide developmentally appropriate environments and best serve English Language Learners and other diverse learners. Families often like the consistency that comes from their children having the same teacher for two or more years. Retention can be decreased when children have the opportunity to continue for another year with the same teacher in the next grade level.33. Beyond The Lorax?: The Greening of the American Curriculum, Clare Lowell, Phi Delta Kappan, November 2008Young children are spending fewer hours playing outside enjoying nature and spending more time inside using technology. The long-term consequences of this nature deprivation will be a generation of children not familiar and invested with their natural surroundings and everything living outside. The author discusses a number of key issues addressed in this edition including ADHD and obesity, as well as physical and creative development.UNIT 6: Helping Children to Thrive in SchoolUnit Overview34. Play: Ten Power Boosts for Children's Early Learning, Alice Sterling Honig, Young Children, September 2007Dr. Honig, an icon in the early childhood field, provides ten reasons why play is critical for young children. The reasons cover all areas of development and are very appropriate to share with parents and administrators questioning the benefit of play for young children's development.35. Ready or Not, Here We Come: What It Means to Be a Ready School, Paula M. Dowker, with Larry Schweinhart and Marijata Daniel-Echols, Young Children, March 2007For years good early childhood educators have known that we don't get children ready for school, we get schools ready for children. School readiness takes on a whole new meaning when it is viewed from the perspective of how all learners will be accepted and accommodated. Developmentally appropriate practices that best serve all children are necessary for positive learning experiences to occur.36. "Stop Picking on Me!": What You Need to Know about Bullying, Barbara A. Langham, Texas Child Care Quarterly, Spring 2008Teachers have a responsibility to educate children about bullying. Risk factors as well as protective factors for aggressive behavior are provided along with strategies for teachers to use in preventing bullying.37. Developmentally Appropriate Child Guidance: Helping Children Gain Self-Control, Will Mosier, Texas Child Care Quarterly, Spring 2009Our ultimate goal for guiding children's behavior is to have children express their emotions in socially acceptable ways as they learn to develop internal control. Teachers who employ natural consequences for inappropriate behavior help children develop the skills they will need throughout their life.38. Fostering Positive Transitions for School Success, Jayma Ferguson McGann and Patricia Clark, Young Children, November 2007Colleges and universities have, for years, provided well-organized transition programs for incoming students. Preschools and elementary schools are just beginning to see the importance of helping children transit to their first or next school experience. The benefits of social and emotional development as well as establishing a positive connection with families are some of the results seen with an organized transition program.39. A Multinational Study Supports Child-Initiated Learning: Using the Findings in Your Classroom, Jeanne E. Montie, Jill Claxton, and Shannon D. Lockhart, Young Children, November 2007A result from a study in 15 countries of over 5,000 preschoolers provides striking findings for educators everywhere. Applying four key findings can lead to increased achievement. Education of the teachers, opportunities to make choices, minimal time spent in large group activities, and classrooms with a variety of materials all led to higher language and/or cognitive achievement.40. The Power of Documentation in the Early Childhood Classroom, Hilary Seitz, Young Children, March 2008Documentation takes many forms and should be collected throughout the year. It allows others to gain an understanding of the many learning opportunities in a classroom and shows specific ways in which children benefited from participation in various learning experiences.UNIT 7: Curricular IssuesUnit Overview41. Preschool Curricula: Finding One That Fits, Vivian Baxter and Karen Petty, Texas Child Care Quarterly, Fall 2008There are many different curriculum approaches used in preschool programs. Some are models or packages adopted or purchased and others are an eclectic approach incorporating practices from a number of approaches or theories. This article describes six popular curriculum models and presents the role of the child and teacher for each approach.42. Got Standards?: Don't Give up on Engaged Learning!, Judy Harris Helm, Young Children, March 2006Judy Harris Helm walks teachers through a planning process where early learning standards can be integrated into a child-initiated, inquiry-based approach to learning.43. The Plan: Building on Children's Interests, Hilary Jo Seitz, Young Children, March 2006Teachers who carefully listen and observe the children will find a wealth of possibilities for the development of an emergent curriculum. When the curriculum is based on the interests of the children and allows for extended projects, there are many rich discoveries waiting for both the children and the teacher.44. Constructive Play: A Value-Added Strategy for Meeting Early Learning Standards, Walter F. Drew et al., Young Children, July 2008Constructive play is play in which children work to make an original creation or show an understanding of a concept. Creativity, imagination, and inquiry are all parts of constructive play. Teachers have found that early learning standards can be achieved by fostering constructive play in their classrooms.45. Using Picture Books to Support Young Children's Literacy, Janis Strasser and Holly Seplocha, Childhood Education, Summer 2007Getting great picture books into the hands of young children and reading the stories to them is a critical part of the job for any early childhood educator. Early literacy experiences are best fostered in a supportive environment that is well stocked with appropriate picture books.46. Calendar Time for Young Children: Good Intentions Gone Awry, Sallee J. Beneke, Michaelene M. Ostrosky, and Lilian G. Katz, Young Children, May 2008When teachers develop more experience and an understanding of young children's development, they begin to examine traditional classroom practices. The authors explore calendar time and provide suggestions for making the experience more developmentally appropriate and authentic for young children.Test-Your-Knowledge FormArticle Rating Form

About the Author

Karen Menke Paciorek is a professor and coordinator of Early Childhood Education and Children and Families programs at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti. Her degrees in early childhood education include a BA from the University of Pittsburgh, an MA from George Washington University and a PhD from Peabody College of Vanderbilt University. She has served as a president of the Michigan Association for the Education of Young Children, the Michigan Early Childhood Education Consortium, and the Northville Board of Education. She presents at local, state, and national conferences on curriculum planning, guiding behavior, preparing the learning environment, and working with families. She is currently on the Board of Trustees for the Eastern Michigan University Foundation, Women in Philanthropy at EMU, Wolverine Human Services Detroit, Michigan, and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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