Subscribe Here                                                                          October 5, 2015
Early Education Research Roundup

Kindergartners: The most 'truant' students?

Photo credit: EdSource
The recently released scores on the Smarter Balanced assessments underscore enduring achievement gaps that decades of previous reforms have failed to close. But one contributor to the achievement gap has received little attention: The fact that large numbers of the youngest and often most disadvantaged students are frequently absent from school.
In California, kindergarten students are the most likely of any elementary school students to be "chronically absent," defined as those missing at least 18 days, or 10 percent of the school year, according to " In School & On Track 2015," a new report from Attorney General Kamala Harris that looked at absenteeism rates in the 2014-15 school year.  
Click here to read more about the reasons for absenteeism, and which students are most likely to have frequent absences.
Early childhood and the roots of bullying

Anyone who has spent time with preschoolers knows that at times their social skills can be a bit... under-developed.

Teaching young students how to interact with classmates with kindness and compassion is an important goal of early education, but when "mean" behavior does occur, is it really bullying? And how can early childhood programs reduce aggressive behavior before kids enter elementary school?

Child Trends has released a paper that takes stock of what is known about aggressive behavior in early childhood and looks at risk factors that can make children more likely to be aggressors or victims. Bullies in the Block Area: The Early Childhood Origins of 'Mean' Behavior also probes the question of whether mean behavior in a three-year-old constitutes bullying: the authors' take is that aggression in young children may not be as "systematic, consistent, or organized" as in older children. This suggests that the early years provide an opportunity to reduce such behavior before it escalates to the level of bullying.

In addition to the white paper, Child Trends offers a shorter research brief, and a "What Works" guide to programs that have demonstrated success in reducing problem behaviors in young children.

New resource on easing the kindergarten transition

Child Care & Early Education Research Connections, a web site created by the National Center for Children in Poverty at the Mailman School of Public Health, has published a new fact sheet on what is known about best practices for helping make the transition to kindergarten successful.

According to the authors, "for typically developing children, there has been less research examining the practices and programs that support their kindergarten transitions" than for students with special needs. The group combed through reports, journal articles and evaluations and provides links to several resources on the topic.

Click here to download the fact sheet (click on the "get full text" button, at the top left).

EdSource Today 
At a time when more children are heading to pre-kindergarten programs, California is doing too little to prepare workers for early education jobs and not paying them enough, according to a new report from New America.

Early Education News Briefs

A Vanderbilt study on the long-term effects of state funded preschool is garnering national attention.

The study found that participation in Tennessee's publicly funded preschool program improved kindergarten readiness, but also found that those results did not persist. The program included "no mechanism for quality control to make sure teachers were following best practices."
Read more or listen to the audio story at
Veteran teacher Randee Mandlebaum wowed New Jersey senators recently during a hearing on the impact of preschool by showing self-portraits her students did during the first week of kindergarten.

One set were drawings by students who had not attended preschool, while the other were by those who had. The differences were "extraordinary" in the words of one one senator.

Iowa's Statewide Voluntary Preschool Program for four-year-olds has grown significantly since its launch in 2007.

"We hardly ever see a kindergartner who doesn't come from a pre- kindergarten program," said Todd Wessels, director of curriculum for early childhood with Holy Family Catholic Schools. "Kindergarten is no longer the first entry to school."

Read the full story from the Associated Press.

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