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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 learning

You are viewing the most recent posts on this topic.

March 31, 2014 at 3:34 PM

Baby talk 101: New program puts brain research into action

The research is clear: the first few years of life are crucial to a child’s brain development and future language skills. The best way to build strong neurological connections? One-on-one, verbal interactions between the child and an adult caregiver.

But what does that interaction sound like? What’s the best way to talk to a baby who can’t talk back yet?

A Sunday story from reporter Katherine Long describes how a new pilot program is working to give parents in South King County the tools to strengthen early brain development. Called Vroom, the program includes hundreds of suggested activities — from mimicking a baby’s babbling noises to playing peek-a-boo — that parents can try at different ages.

A sampling:


0 Comments | More in News | Topics: baby-talk, early ed, early learning

February 6, 2014 at 5:00 AM

New preschool will teach children in Vietnamese and English


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.


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

January 22, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Math struggles start even before kindergarten, state says

Don’t just worry about the old math — or the new math. Or whether students use calculators, or don’t have them.

New data from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) suggests that the state’s math problem starts before children line up for their first day of kindergarten.

Courtesy Washington OSPI

Courtesy Washington OSPI

For the second year in a row, kindergarten teachers in hundreds of schools observed their students and rated their school-readiness skills — everything from how well they hold a pencil to whether they recognize letters and can count to 10.

Three-quarters of those kindergarteners were deemed school-ready in five areas: social-emotional, physical, language, cognitive and literacy.

But in math? Only a little over half had the desired skills.


0 Comments | More in Math and science, News | Topics: early learning, kindergarten, math

December 26, 2013 at 5:00 AM

Kindergarten signups to start on same date in seven districts

A little more than a year ago, six South King County school districts along with Seattle Public Schools won a four-year, $40 million federal grant, part of what’s known as the Race to the Top program.

Since then, they’ve been working together to carry out what they proposed, which includes building stronger ties between pre-kindergarten programs and the early elementary grades, improving instruction in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) subjects, and encouraging more students to enroll in college or career programs after high school.

One other benefit of the whole effort is that Seattle and the six other districts — Auburn, Federal Way, Highline, Kent, Renton, and Tukwila  — are working together much more than ever before, with an eye toward helping and learning from each other.

One small example: The districts recently decided to coordinate kindergarten registration this school year. Rather than having seven different kindergarten sign-up times, they will decide on a single start date.


0 Comments | More in News | Topics: early learning, kindergarten, Race to the Top