Building Skills with Playdough

playdoh1You may be surprised to learn all of the ways using playdough with your children builds school readiness skills needed for kindergarten. Take a look:

Build fine motor muscles in their hands by kneading, pounding, squeezing or cutting the dough. These tiny muscles are needed when children start writing later.

Build eye-hand coordination by rolling dough into balls.

Build math readiness skills when you count how many balls (or circles) you made or when you use varying colors to create a pattern.

Continue reading

Head Start Works

Alaska Fact Sheet.pdfDoes Head Start work?

On its face, the logic of providing early education, particularly for disadvantaged children, seems obvious, not only for the benefit to the child, but to the schools that will be educating the child down the line.

As a federal program, its cost is relatively modest; at $7 billion it accounts for about 0.8% of the Health and Human Services Department’s total budget.

Last year, results from the most comprehensive study of Head Start were released. The Head Start Impact Study Third Grade Follow-up randomly selected children for participation in Head Start or for comparison and followed them through third grade. Many of the comparison children participated in other preschool programs, some of which may also have been subsidized, and few had no preschool experience at all.

There was disappointment in the early childhood world that the Impact Study did not show much difference at third grade between Head Start and comparison children, but many felt the outcome pointed to the variety of early learning options available to children who didn’t attend Head Start. We’ve come a long way since 1965.  Early learning is now found in numerous settings, funded through multiple public and private streams.

Continue reading

Investing in Children Vital to California’s Economic Recovery

By now it’s almost trite to say that “children are our future,” but California’s future is in trouble if we don’t start making wise investments and policy decisions for children now.

In 1970, one in three Californians was a child. By 2030, a new report from KidsData estimates that only one in five will be.  Currently, nearly half of the state’s children live in poverty or close to it, which significantly limits their potential and can hinder their development. With Baby Boomers soon to retire, shouldn’t we be doing all we can to optimally prepare our future workforce for success?

Continue reading