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April 01, 2009

Where we need to move...NOW!

I just finished reading an article from the latest edition of American Educator, a journal primarily focused on educational research and ideas.  I was pleased to see an article devoted to prekindergarten.  Tanya S. Wright and Susan B. Neuman co-authored the article, “Purposeful, Playful Pre-K: Building on Children’s Natural Proclivity to Learn Language, Literacy, Mathematics and Science.”  As you read through the article, there is evidence of great research and thought.  The article is broken down into sections that highlight what the National Research Council deems, “privileged domains” – or “domains in which children have a natural proclivity to learn, experiment and explore.” 


The content throughout the rest of the article is helpful and informative.  It gives current pre-k teachers ideas and methods for creating the best possible learning environment.  Educators or older grades are able to understand why these domains are crucial to the lifelong learning of a child. 


Even so, I am frustrated after reading this article.  The reason is simple: you don’t have to tell me twice why pre-k opportunities are necessary.  We know quality, researched based pre-k experiences provide the best foundations for our young learners.  

That is why I would like to see more articles devoted to the HOW to make this an opportunity for all children.  The article states, “One estimate suggests that children from typical middle-class families experience 1,000 hours of book reading before entering first grade, while children from low-income families may only experience 25 hours.”  I hope this is unacceptable to anyone who reads it.  What is tricky is HOW to get the programmatic support to utilize the information from this article.  I currently have two full classes both with waiting lists.  I know a dozen more families who would love to be involved with our classes but struggle to pay the fees, provide the transportation or have to work full time to support their family. 


With the overwhelming research, what else can we do to persuade lawmakers, investors and even our own communities to commit to the cause?  


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