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.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Mothers Discuss Preschool Benefits

Mother's of children from varied backgrounds speak about the positive affects of preschool on their 3 & 4 year-olds.

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Growing and Learning in Preschool

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Early Learning Guidelines for Infants and Toddlers: Recommendations for States

ZERO TO THREE has produced a series of recommendations for states to follow to ensure their ELG/ITs (Early Learning Guidelines for Infants and Toddlers) meet these criteria. The recommendations address both the process of developing ELG/ITs and steps to ensure that the content of ELG/ITs is based on research and is developmentally and culturally appropriate.

1. The purpose, intended uses, and primary audiences of the ELG/ITs should be clearly defined at the beginning of the process.
2. The membership of the ELG/ITs working group should include all key stakeholders.
The structure of the working group should assure a coherent process and research-based guidelines.
3. Adequate resources should be available and budgeted for the development, dissemination, implementation, and evaluation of the ELG/ITs.
4. ELG/ITs should be aligned with Pre-K guidelines and K–12 standards in a way that illustrates how the foundations of learning are established in the first years of life.
5. ELG/ITs should be developed in relationship to other elements of the early childhood care and education system, including program standards, knowledge about child development, quality rating and improvement systems, licensing regulations, and child assessment.
6. States should establish processes and criteria to assure the accuracy, quality, and inclusiveness of ELG/ITs from the beginning of the writing process.
7. ELG/ITs should inform every aspect of the professional development system, including pre-service and in-service training.
8. States should plan and budget for the dissemination and implementation of the guidelines, including training for the identified primary audiences.
9. States should establish a process for monitoring the use of the guidelines and their impact on improving adult knowledge and skills.
10. The development of ELG/ITs should begin with a comprehensive review of reliable resources, including research-based publications, assessments, interviews, and practitioners’ experience regarding this age group.
11. Because development occurs at a rapid pace during the first three years of life, ELG/Its should be divided into age groups that are broad enough to allow for normal variation in development and still small enough to have meaning.
12. ELG/ITs should cover multiple developmental domains while still reflecting the underlying learning processes, the significance of relationships during this period, and areas of health and well-being that cut across domains in infancy.
13. Learning expectations for each domain should be clearly stated and include discrete and observable indicators.
14. Learning expectations, indicators, and examples should be written to describe a variety of goals and ways of achieving them that are inclusive of the state’s diverse cultural, ethnic, and linguistic populations.
15. ELG/ITs should be explicitly inclusive of all children, demonstrating that infants and toddlers with disabilities and special needs are expected to learn and be served in these programs.
16. ELG/ITs should describe the importance of very young children’s relationships with adults as the foundation of their learning.
17. Child assessment should be aligned with ELG/ITs and its purpose and use should be clearly defined.

Read the entire report at...

Friday, October 21, 2011

How nursery rhymes can help children learn

Experts in literacy and child development have discovered that if a child knows eight nursery rhymes by heart by the time they are four years old, they are usually among the best readers and spellers in their class by the time they are in Year 3.

Why is this?
1. Nursery rhymes are a great way into learning early phonic skills (the ability to hear, identify and manipulate letter sounds).
2. Nursery rhymes give children practice in pitch, volume as well as in language rhythm.
3. Nursery rhymes expand your child’s imagination.
4. Nursery rhymes follow a clear sequence of events.
5. Nursery rhymes are easy to repeat, so they become some of a child’s first sentences.
6. Nursery rhymes improve a child’s vocabulary.
7. Nursery rhymes are an early form of poetry.
8. Nursery rhymes contain sophisticated literary devices!
9. Nursery rhymes are fun!

Read more at…

Thursday, October 20, 2011

It's official: to protect baby's brain, turn off the TV

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggested that parents limit TV consumption by children under two years of age. Their verdict: It’s not good, and probably bad.

Media, whether playing in the background or designed explicitly as an infant educational tool, has "potentially negative effects and no known positive effects for children younger than 2 years,” per the AAP report.

Studies have found that children don’t really understand what’s happening on a screen until they’re about 2 years old. Once they do, media can be good for them, but until then television is essentially a mesmerizing, glowing box.

Used at night, TV might help kids fall asleep, but that appears to come at a delayed cost of subsequent sleep disturbances and irregularities. While the result of TV-induced sleep problems hasn’t been directly studied, poor sleep in infants is generally linked to problems with mood, behavior and learning.

At other times, media consumption comes with opportunity costs, foremost among them the silence of parents. When the TV is on, people are not talking, which is extremely important for a child’s language development.

Even when media plays in the background, it distracts babies from play, an activity that is known to have deep developmental benefits. When parents are trying to carve out free time for themselves, turn the TV off and let kids entertain themselves.

Read the entire article at…

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

"Child poverty, reading skills in spotlight" - A conversations from another community

“As anyone who has spent time in a classroom knows, the keys to a quality education go far beyond the ABCs of basic reading, writing and arithmetic. Bright students struggle every day to reach their full potential because they don’t have the interpersonal and communication skills needed to excel in an academic environment,” according to U.S. Judy Biggert (R-Hinsdale, IL)

Biggert has introduced legislation in Congress that she believes will strengthen social and emotional learning in schools across the country. She said that better communication skills has been proven to improve academic progress and reduce behavioral problems such as bullying.

We know by now that investing in the whole child — through enriching early learning experiences, physical and mental health supports and strong families and communities — builds a foundation for success in school and throughout the rest of life,” said Kathy Ryg, president of Voices for Illinois Children. “By the end of third grade, students need to be able to make the transition from learning to read to reading to learn. Reading achievement for these children is one very important predictor of high school graduation rates, future earnings potential and other indicators of success.”

Samuel J. Meisels, who was recently named to Chicago’s new Early Learning Executive Council by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and who is president of Erikson Institute, spoke about the importance of investing in children’s earliest years.

“The research is clear,” he said. “Time and again, the data prove that giving children access to quality early childhood programs not only works to boost their academic success, it’s incredibly cost-effective as well.”

School readiness is affected by children’s health, as well as by the families and communities in which they live. Low-income children are more likely to have chronic health problems and developmental delays and suffer from trauma due to exposure to violence.

Read more at...

Monday, October 17, 2011

America's child death shame

Over the past 10 years, more than 20,000 American children are believed to have been killed in their own homes by family members. That is nearly four times the number of US soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The child maltreatment death rate in the US is triple Canada's and 11 times that of Italy. Millions of children are reported as abused and neglected every year. Why is that?

Part of the answer is that teen pregnancy, high-school dropout, violent crime, imprisonment, and poverty - factors associated with abuse and neglect - are generally much higher in the US.

Further, other rich nations have social policies that provide child care, universal health insurance, pre-school, parental leave and visiting nurses to virtually all in need.

In the US, when children are born into young families not prepared to receive them, local social safety nets may be frayed, or non-existent. As a result, they are unable to compensate for the household stress the child must endure.

In the most severe situations, there is a predictable downward spiral and a child dies. Some 75% of these children are under four, while nearly half are under one.

Geography matters a lot in determining child well-being. Take the examples of Texas and Vermont.

Texas prides itself in being a low tax, low service state. Its per capita income places it in the middle of the states, while its total tax burden - its willingness to tax itself - is near the bottom.
Vermont, in contrast, is at the other extreme. It is a high-tax, high-service state.

A national strategy, led by our national government, needs to be developed and implemented. For a start, the Congress should adopt legislation that would create a National Commission to End Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities.

Nearly half the child fatalities in 2009 were children under the age of one

Read the entire story at...

Take a look at this BBC investigative report on child abuse in America

Zero to Three: State of Florida Public Policies and Initiatives

Birth to Four Learning and Developmental Standards
Early Learning Guidelines for Infants and Toddlers (Florida)
Florida Infant and Toddler Initiative
Florida Statewide Quality Initiative
Florida's Strategic Plan for Infant Mental Health
Gold Seal Quality Care Program
Healthy Families Florida
Helping Young Children Succeed: Strategies to Promote Early Childhood Social and Emotional Development (Florida)
Improving Maternal and Infant Mental Health (Florida)
Infant/Toddler Specialist Network
Teenage Parent Program (TAPP)

For a description of the policies and initiatives above go to...
(Search term "State" = FL)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

In Preschool, What Matters More: Education or Play?

Much of Europe has shifted gears, from academics in early childhood education to play. In Russia and Germany and Scandinavia, reading is not introduced until age 6 or 7. Even in academic powerhouses such as China and South Korea, where The Power of Play has been translated into the local tongue, there is budding recognition that play fosters creativity and curiosity.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

"Creative Play Makes for Kids in Control": NPR's look at the Tools of the Mind program

by Alix Spiegel

February 28, 2008

It's playtime at the Geraldyn O. Foster Early Childhood Center in Bridgeton, N.J., and in one corner of a busy classroom, 4-year-olds Zee Logan and Emmy Hernandez want to play bookstore.

In a normal preschool, playing bookstore would be a pretty casual affair. They would just pick up some books, set the shiny toy cash register on the table by the blackboard, and get down to business.

But this isn't a normal school. It's based on the Tools of the Mind program. In other words, it's a school where almost every moment of the day is devoted in some way to teaching the kids — mostly low-income children who live in the poor surrounding community — how to regulate their behavior and emotions.

So before Emmy and Zee even think about picking up a toy, they sit down with their teacher at a small classroom table and fill out some paperwork.

That's right. Paperwork.

On a small blank form, they spell out their intentions. "I want to play bookstore," each girl writes with assistance from her teacher.

Then she draws a picture of herself playing bookstore.

Then, together with her teacher, she reads back her intention so that everyone is clear about what is going to happen.

Finally, each girl grabs an armful of props and makes her way to the corner, where (as in most preschool classrooms) strong disagreements about the appropriate way to play bookstore ensue.

Transformation in Play

Now, the reason that the Tools of the Mind curriculum asks kids like Zee and Emmy to fill out paperwork before they pick up the Play-Doh lies in the fact that today's play is very different from the play of past eras. . . .

For the full article, go to: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=76838288

Monday, October 10, 2011

Rethinking Pre-K: 5 Ways to Fix Preschool

Take two kids, one from a low-income family, the other middle class. Let them run around and do little-kid things in their respective homes and then, at age 5, enroll them in kindergarten. Research shows that when the first day of school rolls around, the child from the low-income household will be as many as 1.5 years behind grade level in terms of language and prereading and premath skills. The middle-class kid will be as many as 1.5 years ahead. This means that, by the time these two 5-year-olds start school, the achievement gap between them is already as great as three years.

And yet early-learning programs, because of the way they are financed and administered, are not part of the entrenched educational system in most of the U.S. The vast majority of states are not required to offer preschool, and some states have no pre-K programs at all.

Against this backdrop, Pew is exiting the pre-K stage with several hard-boiled recommendations.
Stop thinking K to 12, and start thinking pre-K to 12
Once considered little more than day care, preschool (or nursery school) is regarded as a crucial beginning to a high-quality education. Part of a natural continuum of learning, these early years are too often separated from kindergarten and elementary school by artificial boundaries.

Strategically expand access
Some 27% of 4-year-olds in the U.S. were enrolled in state-funded pre-K programs in the 2009-10 school year. Factor in programs like Head Start, and the total rises to just 40% of 4-year-olds. That's not good enough.

Bring early-learning initiatives under one roof
Consider, the Pew study tells readers, the scattered system in Alabama, where child care, pre-K and kindergarten are all run by separate departments. It should come as no surprise, then, that early-learning advocates are trying to coordinate efforts and bring everything under one roof….Conceived as part of President Lyndon B. Johnson's War on Poverty, Head Start is run by the Department of Health and Human Services rather than the Department of Education. Over the years, there have been calls, most recently during George W. Bush's first term in the White House, to move the program under the domain of the Department of Education.

Assess outcomes
Crazy as it sounds, it is possible to evaluate student learning even when those students are too young to be expected to know how to write their own name, let alone take a standardized test. But "we need more measures that look less at qualifications and more at how much teachers grow their kids," Kati Haycock, president of Education Trust, is quoted as saying in the Pew report…NIEER recommends two basic ways of evaluating a program's effectiveness. One is to have each teacher perform self-evaluations of each student as well as his or her own teaching ability and have the district and state also perform internal evaluations. The other is to commission formal research studies on the programs by outside firms, local universities or education consortiums.

Use the federal government to push pre-K reform
If the federal government uses NCLB to emphasize the importance of pre-K and makes it clear what funding streams are available to finance the programs, the states will follow the lead, says Marci Young, director of Pew's Pre-K Now initiative. Young urges legislators to think about how preschool can be included in the evaluation systems, curriculum standards and other reform initiatives likely to be part of the reauthorization; she would also like to see incentives offered to states that make progress on pre-K.

Read the entire article at

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Cradle to College to Career

The focus in education used to be kids from kindergarten through high school, but trends show that attention is moving to a cradle-to-college model. Mary Jean Ryan from the Community Center for Education Results in Seattle discusses what they're doing to improve early learning.


Can't view the video associated with this post? Please visit the link below.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Teaching `whole' child'...something different in education

Maple Village, a small private school in Belmont Heights, is the only school in the Long Beach area that uses the Waldorf method of education. Developed in 1919 by Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner, Waldorf education bases its curriculum on the various stages of child development, with emphasis on thought, artistic expression and hands-on learning.

At Waldorf schools, students don't take standardized tests. They learn how to make their own textbooks and will stay with the same teacher from first grade all the way through eighth grade.

Maple Village, which is funded through tuition and donations, started out as a preschool/kindergarten formed by a group of local parents.

Waldorf schools don't focus heavily on academics in the early years, and as a result, many students don't learn to read until about age six or seven.

Lynne Struye, who teaches the combined first- and second-grade class of 10 students, said her classroom focuses on imaginative play and learning that develops both sides of the brain. Rather than an everyday drill, students learn academics in time blocks - two or three weeks of reading, followed by two or three weeks of arithmetic.

They also learn Spanish, yoga, music, clay sculpting, puppetry, baking and other hands- on activities. In her classroom on Monday, students were learning to knit their own toy balls with hand-made needles.

Read the entire article at…

In addition to pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, first, and second grade, Maple Leaf offers Parent/Toddler Classes for children who are 18 months to 3 years old. This class provides an opportunity for the parents and their children to come together once a week in a warm, home-like environment. It offers the heart-felt rhythm and beauty of Waldorf early childhood education. The whole child is taught through creative play, song and movement, storytelling and handwork, while the parent is given a place to regain peace and strength in a natural, communal environment.

For more information about Maple Leaf visit, go to…

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Risks Seen for Children of Illegal Immigrants

Children whose parents are illegal immigrants or who lack legal status themselves face “uniformly negative” effects on their social development from early childhood until they become adults, according to a study by four researchers published Wednesday in the Harvard Educational Review.

The study concluded that more than five million children in the United States are “at risk of lower educational performance, economic stagnation, blocked mobility and ambiguous belonging” because they are growing up in immigrant families affected by illegal status.

The study is the first to pull together field research by social scientists nationwide to track the effects of a family’s illegal immigration status on children from birth until they graduate from college and start to navigate the job market. It covers immigrants from a variety of origins, including Latinos and Asians.

About 5.5 million children in this country have at least one parent who is an illegal immigrant, according to an estimate by the Pew Hispanic Center. Among them, about one million children were brought here illegally by their parents, while about 4.5 million are United States citizens because they were born here.
Read the entire article at...