About this Study

Jacksonville Community Council Inc. (JCCI) is completing its latest community inquiry, Children 1-2-3: Early Learning for Future Success. This community engagement process has been examining the question, "How can Jacksonville best foster early learning success for children from birth to age 3 in our community?" Over the course of the process (October 2011 through April 2012), the meeting schedule, meeting summaries, key handouts and relevant articles have all been posted here. To find out more, please email tonia@jcci.org.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Video games may not boost cognition

Florida State University researchers have found that a number of influential studies supporting the superior skills of action gamers suffer from a host of methodological flaws. Many of those studies compared the cognitive skills of frequent gamers to non-gamers and found gamers to be superior. However, this doesn't necessarily mean that their game experience caused better perceptual and cognitive abilities. It could be that individuals who have the abilities required to be successful gamers are simply drawn to gaming.

Read more at...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

What kind of childcare is best for development?

Childcare is not an easy obstacle for any parent to handle. These days both parents need to work to make ends meet. That means there is a good chance a child will be with someone other than his or her parents for a good portion of the week.

Some parents fear that leaving their baby at a childcare center may negatively impact their child’s development, but a new study says otherwise.

Researchers in Norway looked at the effects of childcare centers vs. at home daycare on language skills, language-related difficulties and psychological function in 13 000 children who had reached five years by the end of 2010.

“Overall, the report shows that neither the language skills nor the psychological function of most children varies with the type of childcare, their age when starting in childcare, whether they used a combination of childcare arrangements or just one type, or how many hours per week they were in childcare,” the results read.

Other Interesting tidbits from the study:
-The majority of children cared for outside the home before they are 18 months were in center-based childcare
-Choice of childcare is related to the length of mothers’ education.
-Children who are cared for more than 40 hours a week outside the home are rated with slightly more behavioral symptoms at five years of age.

Read the entire article at…

Friday, September 23, 2011

Expert advises brain foods for children

Parents have been advised to boost their children’s brain power by providing them from young age with the right foods that will help increase their mental agility, improve their memory and help fight disease like dementia later in life. To ensure brain alertness, foods high in omega H3 such as salmon fish should be given to a child at least twice per week and those containing potassium like bananas should also be included in meals regularly. Other foods that are good for the brain include lean beef, cheese, walnut, peanut butter, potatoes, milk, yoghurt, eggs, wheat and liver, fish, chicken, lentils, beans and peas. “Being smart is related to good nutrition, so it is good for parents to always ensure their children eat a rich array of food and get the right nutrients that will help grow well, have good memory and improve their general well being,” said Hamad Medical Corporation’s paediatric dietitian Celine Jour. However, Jour also suggested that to encourage children to eat healthy, parents should explain the importance of each food type aside from inviting them to shop for food items as well as involving them in preparation.

Read the entire article at...

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Why Rich Parents Don't Matter

"As wealth increases, adults play a much smaller role in determining the mental ability of their children."

How much do the decisions of parents matter? Most parents believe that even the most mundane acts of parenting—from their choice of day care to their policy on videogames—can profoundly influence the success of their children. Kids are like wet clay, in this view, and we are the sculptors.
As wealth increases, adults play a much smaller role in determining the mental ability of their children.

Yet in tests measuring many traits, from intelligence to self-control, the power of the home environment pales in comparison to the power of genes and peer groups. We may think we're sculptors, but the clay is mostly set.

A new paper suggests that both metaphors can be true. Which one is relevant depends, it turns out, on the economic status of families.

For a paper in Psychological Science, researchers at the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Virginia looked at 750 pairs of American twins who were given a test of mental ability at the age of 10 months and then again at the age of 2. By studying the performance of identical versus fraternal twins, the scientists could tease out the relative importance of factors such as genetics and the home environment. Because the infants came from households across the socioeconomic spectrum, it also was possible to see how wealth influenced test scores.

When it came to the mental ability of 10-month-olds, the home environment was the key variable, across every socioeconomic class. But results for the 2-year-olds were dramatically different. In children from poorer households, the choices of parents still mattered. In fact, the researchers estimated that the home environment accounted for approximately 80% of the individual variance in mental ability among poor 2-year-olds. The effect of genetics was negligible.

The opposite pattern appeared in 2-year-olds from wealthy households. For these kids, genetics primarily determined performance, accounting for nearly 50% of all variation in mental ability. (The scientists made this conclusion based on the fact that identical twins performed much more similarly than fraternal twins.) The home environment was a distant second. For parents, the correlation appears to be clear: As wealth increases, the choices of adults play a much smaller role in determining the mental ability of their children.

Read more at...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Pre-k programs face tough, new standards

Florida's pre-K program faces tough, new standards, as the State Board of Education voted today to demand more from state-funded preschools and seek to weed out those that offer "a very poor delivery system."

The changes alter how pre-K providers — mostly private schools and day-care centers but some public schools, too — will be rated, making it much tougher for them to earn a good rating.
Their ratings are based on two kindergarten "readiness tests" their students take when they start formal schooling.

The number of pre-K providers who fail their review and are deemed "low performing" under the new standards could hit 2,500, up from just under 800 this year, the Florida Department of Education estimated.
That means 39 percent could be poor performers under the newer, tougher standards. Those providers would have to follow state-dictated improvement plans and could lose their contract to run Florida's pre-K program within two years.

The board rejected the new standards proposed by education department staff, which they estimated would have more than doubled the number of low-performing providers, and instead adopted an even stricter benchmark.

The new benchmark requires that 70 percent of pre-K students test "ready" on both kindergarten tests. Department staff had recommended a 60 percent standard with, perhaps, a move up to 70 percent in another year or so.

Currently, there is no set standard, since the pre-K law had initially allowed pre-K providers to be graded on a curve, so that no more than 15 percent failed. This spring, however, the Legislature changed the law, stripping out the language that meant an 85-percent passing rate, and requiring the State Board to set a new, specific standard.
Read the entire article at...

Monday, September 19, 2011

How To Help Your Child's Brain Grow Up Strong

Babies may look helpless, but as soon as they come into the world, they're able to do a number of important things. They can recognize faces and moving objects. They're attracted to language. And from very early on, they can differentiate their mother from other humans.

"They really come equipped to learn about the world in a way that wasn't appreciated until recently," says neuroscientist Sandra Aamodt. "It took scientists a long time to realize that their brains are doing some very complicated things."

Aamodt and fellow neuroscientist Sam Wang explain how the human brain develops from infancy to adolescence in their new book, Welcome to Your Child's Brain. The two researchers also offer tips for parents to help their children eat their spinach, learn their ABCs and navigate elementary school.

"The most simple way is to talk to your baby and around your baby a lot," says Aamodt. "And the other thing that parents can do is to respond when the baby speaks, even if the baby isn't forming the words correctly or you don't understand it. Just act like some communication has occurred — smile and give the baby a little pat — and that encourages the baby to continue to try to communicate."

To read the entire article and listen to the interview at National Public Radio, go to

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Whole Child: The Six Dimensions of a child's well being

The Whole Child philosophy is grounded in the notion that communities must address and nurture all 6 dimensions of a child’s well being in order to raise a healthy child.

A growing body of research shows that the first 5 years of life are crucial to brain development, to acquiring social skills necessary to grow into good citizens, and to developing emotional strength and physical and mental health. Embracing the idea that we must nurture the Whole Child is key to giving our children the best start in life.

Whole Child Hardee Highlands Polk is forming 6 “Action Teams” made up of leaders in the community, some with extensive knowledge on the subject, some bringing the gift of a new perspective. All have a passion for children. Some Teams focus on research and identifying gaps, while others focus on developing tools and activities to assist parents and caregivers.

-Social-Emotional Development: The focal point of this action team is providing family-friendly information on assessing and facilitating social and emotional development.

-Spiritual Foundation and Strength: This action team provides resources for nurturing the development of a child’s spirit including qualities to teach and nurture, reading aloud, places to experience and adventuring in music, movement, drama and the visual arts.

-Economic Stability: This action team will help hard-working families become financially stable and take the next steps to long-term independence.

-Physical & Mental Health: This action team focuses on issues such as pediatric dental needs, infant mortality, mental health, health data collection, health insurance and navigation of the health delivery system.

-Quality Education: The goal of this action team is to improve children’s development through quality early education.

-Safe & Nurturing Environments: “From the crib to the playground” is a good description of the wide scope of this action team’s focus on creating a safe and nurturing environment within the home and neighborhood for children and families in our community.