Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Early Childhood Education: Should Kids be Given Letter Grades?

The Louisiana Senate recently approved Governor Bobby Jindal’s proposal to assign letter grades to preschools, remove funding from underperforming programs and streamline governance.

The current state of early childhood education in Louisiana is not a good one—programs are scattered across various different types of funding, some with state and some with federal—which combines to be over $1 billion annually.

More than 30 percent of Louisiana’s 4-year-olds are in a state-funded preschool program—that’s about 41,000 at-risk children, which doesn’t include children in child care centers licensed by the state social services department or childhood development programs by the state health department.

The programs aren’t tracked and scored like public schools and Louisiana has a kindergarten readiness rate of only 52 percent.

The new bill would call for assigning letter grades to all early childhood programs and childcare centers that receive public funding in order to create a more integrated network of programs and to better track performance of both Louisiana’s youth and early childhood education programs.

Sen. Barrow Peacock pleaded to remove the letter-grading requirement, insisting that the children in early childhood education programs are too young to be subjected to such a grading scale, but the Senate rejected this attempt, stating that grades would give parents a way to tell if a pre-K program was doing well.

What do you think? Should pre-K programs and students be given a letter grade, or are the children simply too young? Share your thoughts by commenting below, or on our Facebook or twitter pages.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Early Childhood Education: How Far is Too Far?

Has early childhood education gotten out of control?

While we’ve discussed the importance of early childhood education and the negative impact a lack of one can have, further perpetuating the achievement gap, there’s the other end of the spectrum that may be just as worrisome.

Writer Betsy Hart references the movie, “Parenthood,” where the obsessive father of a preschool-aged daughter insists that his child do high-level math and keeps her away from people of average intelligence. While comedic in the late 80’s, has this humor become the reality of the early 2000’s?

Now, schools are available from infancy and can cost over $2,5000 a month. Pre-schools are for older kids—these new schools are for kids 2 and below. You can expect the teachers to have master’s degrees, parent interviews and $30,000 a year in tuition. And despite the price tag, there’s actually a waiting list for such a high-level of infant care.

Since years 1-3 are believed to be the most crucial in early childhood development, it’s no surprise that parents are signing their children up for such programs—but how far is too far?

Some doctors advise that, with all of the pre-early learning and extra-curricular activities, parents need to slow down. Others even believe that doing too much too soon will cause children mental distress and illnesses, even increasing their risk for autism. In an age where babies are doing yoga and infant daycare is more than some college tuition, at what point have we gone too far?

Share your thoughts on how early childhood should be by commenting below, or on our Facebook or twitter pages.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Tadpoles for Android is Here!

Android users—you’re in luck! Tadpoles for Android is now in Beta and available in Google Play. Parents can now access historical photos, videos and daily reports from the iPhone, iPad and/or Android device!

Learn more about how Tadpoles connects parents and childcare providers.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

St. Patrick’s Day Activities for Preschoolers & Kindergarteners

With St. Patrick’s Day coming up this weekend, it’s important to share the celebration with your kids and/or classroom. First and foremost, make sure they understand the meaning of the celebration.

Patrick: Patron Saint of Ireland and The Story of Saint Patrick are both great books geared toward children that explain why we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

Once the kids understand the story, you can have some fun! Here’s some great ideas for crafts and activities around the holiday.

Start the day off with a St. Patty’s themed breakfast, such as Lucky Charms and green milk, or green eggs and ham.

Have the kids make a fashion statement by helping them craft this easy-to-make St. Patrick’s Day hat.

We’ve all heard of the McDonald's Shamrock Shake—a treat so special it only comes around once a year, but why not spend time with your kinds and make this delicious treat together at home.

Just like leprechauns, Tad is small and green too! We’ve created this free coloring page of Tad celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. Print it out and have your little ones color it in—we’ll post the masterpiece on our Facebook page!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Tadpoles at CAEYC

Tadpoles will be at CAEYC stop by and say hi at booth #235

The California Association for the Education on Young Children (CAEYC) will be holding their annual conference and expo from March 15-17 in San Diego, CA. Best of all, Tadpoles will be there in booth 235!

The conference is focused on those who love early childhood education—people with a true passion for the vocation—and celebrates their commitment by providing outstanding professional development.

This year’s theme, “The Heart of ECE… Child. Family. Community.,” will provide professional development via over 150 workshops, an expo hall full of resources (like Tadpoles), and a reception.

There’s still time to register, so if you’re passionate about early childhood education, make the commitment and then stop by booth #235 to see how a daycare management system can help you stay organized and in control.