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Education Lab Blog

Education Lab is a yearlong project to spark meaningful conversations about education solutions in the Pacific Northwest.

Topic: early-childhood education

You are viewing the most recent posts on this topic.

July 9, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Kindergarten catch-up program yields results in Lake Washington

Photo by Caitlin Moran / The Seattle Times.

Photo by Caitlin Moran / The Seattle Times

Two years ago, the Lake Washington School District started a small experiment to see if it could help struggling kindergarten students catch up with their peers.

It was based on a common-sense idea: To improve, the kindergartners needed more time at school.

Kelly Pease, the district’s director of intervention programs, realized that students who were the furthest behind often were the ones who attended only a half day of kindergarten. That’s likely because many of their parents couldn’t afford the full-day programs that Lake Washington, like many school districts, offers for a fee.

Half-day programs, which the state funds, are free.

So district leaders decided to offer those students the chance to attend a free program for the second half of the day, designed specifically for them.

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Comments | More in News | Topics: early learning, early-childhood education, kindergarten

May 14, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Pre-kindergarten programs in Washington at the ‘tipping point’

With all the talk about expanding pre-kindergarten programs nationally and locally, a new report this week came with a surprise.

In the 2012-13 school year, the number of 4-year-olds in state-funded pre-K across the country declined for the first time in at least 10 years, said a group of researchers from Rutgers University, with 9,000 fewer students than the year before.

The drop, they said, was driven by big declines in California and a few other states. In California alone, enrollment dipped by 15,000 students.

In Washington, enrollment stayed about the same  about 8,700 students who are 3 and 4 years old.

But this state is on the cusp of a big increase, said Amy Blondin, spokeswoman for the Department of Early Learning.

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Comments | More in News | Topics: Department of Early Learning, early learning, early-childhood education

February 6, 2014 at 5:00 AM

New preschool will teach children in Vietnamese and English

preschool

Courtesy Hoa Mai Vietnamese Bilingual Preschool

Three Seattle organizations have joined forces to open the first Vietnamese-English dual-language preschool in the city, and likely the first in the state.

The Hoa Mai Vietnamese Bilingual Preschool is scheduled to open this fall near the Mount Baker light rail station and is already accepting applications. The first open house is scheduled for Feb. 28.

The preschool grew out of discussions with Seattle’s Vietnamese community. Many parents were dismayed that their children were growing up without knowing the Vietnamese language and culture, said James Hong, director of operations at the Vietnamese Friendship Association. The association, working with Sound Child Care Solutions and Artspace, decided to open a dual-language preschool to help address that concern.

Some parents worried that young children learning two languages might not master either, Hong said, but “research we looked at … shows it pays off in the end.

“It was exciting for us to learn that a child can learn two languages at the same time and not fall behind,” he said.

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Comments | More in News | Topics: dual-language, early learning, early-childhood education

January 30, 2014 at 5:00 AM

How Boston’s preschools went from mediocre to outstanding

Corrected version

Preschool has a high profile these days, with many government leaders, from President Obama on down, pushing for more — and better — early childhood programs.

The Seattle City Council, for example, is considering joining a handful of other municipalities across the nation that make preschool available to every 3- and 4-year-old, regardless of the family’s ability to pay.

As part of the city of Seattle’s discussions about preschool, Seattle City Councilman Tim Burgess has organized a hearing next week where two researchers will discuss their recent studies on the value of preschool. One of those studies focuses on the program in Boston Public Schools, which Burgess and others see as possible model for Seattle. To date, Boston’s program has seen some of the best success in preparing students for school, the researchers say.

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Comments | More in News | Topics: Boston Public Schools, early ed, early-childhood education

January 14, 2014 at 3:39 PM

To raise quality of early learning, proposed carrots and a stick

State Rep. Ross Hunter (Photo by Ellen M. Banner / The Seattle Times)

State Rep. Ross Hunter (Photo by Ellen M. Banner / The Seattle Times)

Enrolling a child in a high-quality child care can easily cost $15,000-$20,000 a year, especially in the Seattle area. Most families can’t afford that, even if they qualify for federal or state subsidies.

Throughout Washington state, only about 30 percent of children attend programs that have earned a score of 3 or better on the state’s voluntary child-care rating system, said state Rep. Ross Hunter, D-Medina.

Yet a growing body of research suggests that quality matters when it comes to preparing children for kindergarten — and that low-income children may have the most to gain.

So how can Washington get higher-quality care for more of its youngest residents?

In a bill introduced Tuesday, a bipartisan group of legislators are proposing a mix of carrots and sticks.  The prime sponsors are Hunter, who leads the House Appropriations Committee, and state Sen. Steve Litzow, R-Mercer Island, chair of the Senate’s education committee.

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Comments | Topics: child care rating system, early-childhood education, preschool

December 13, 2013 at 1:27 PM

Inslee: Emphasis on early learning may require changes to K-12 structure

Gov. Jay Inslee (Photo by Ellen M. Banner / The Seattle Times)

Gov. Jay Inslee (Photo by Ellen M. Banner / The Seattle Times)

Count Gov. Jay Inslee among the dozens of politicians calling for more attention to early-childhood education.

The governor spent an hour answering questions from KCTS viewers during a live broadcast of Ask the Governor on Thursday evening. Education was just one of a handful of topics Inslee addressed, but he was eager to plug early learning while responding to a follow-up question about state funding under the McCleary mandate.

He said he plans to push for an early-childhood education package during the next legislative session, even though the State Supreme Court ruling does not require it.

“We may have to make some changes in the organizational structure of the K-12 system in order to do that. If that’s what we have to do, we should do it, because we are losing these kids by age 6,” Inslee said.

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Comments | More in News | Topics: early-childhood education, Gov. Jay Inslee

November 13, 2013 at 3:55 PM

Free preschool? 50,000 Washington children could qualify under proposed bill

Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), along with 11 other lawmakers, today proposed a bill that would help carry out President Obama’s pledge to offer every child in the country a chance to attend a high-quality preschool. The bill, as explained in a story by Seattle Times reporter Kyung Song, would help states provide free preschool to all 3- and 4-year-olds…

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Comments | More in News | Topics: early-childhood education, Patty Murray, preschool

November 11, 2013 at 1:13 PM

Question of the Week: How can we better prepare young children for kindergarten?

The topic of early-childhood education is picking up steam this week, following The Huffington Post’s report that Congressional leaders are preparing a bill to dramatically expand access to preschool for low-income families. The proposal would follow President Obama’s call for universal pre-K in his State of the Union Address earlier this year.

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Comments | More in Question of the Week | Topics: early-childhood education, preschool, question of the week

November 7, 2013 at 6:00 AM

Want to see the future? Check your local preschool

Teacher Yves Nichols leads a preschool class at Maple Elementary School earlier this year. Photo by Ken Lambert / The Seattle Times

Teacher Yves Nichols leads a preschool class at Maple Elementary School earlier this year. Photo by Ken Lambert / The Seattle Times

Add another voice — a rather loud one — to the growing chorus insisting that quality preschool makes a measurable difference in a host of later-in-life outcomes, particularly academic performance.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation has released its annual Kids Count report, a snapshot of the status of young Americans across the country, this year placing a special emphasis on the importance of early-childhood experiences.

Depending on how one views the report, it’s either a dire assessment — only 19 percent of third graders growing up in low-income families had age-appropriate skills — or welcome ammunition needed to make the case for funding early education.

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Comments | Topics: Annie E. Casey Foundation, early-childhood education, Kids Count report