Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Preventing Summer Slide in Early Childhood

The summer break can pose a huge setback in learning—find ways to beat the “summer slide.”

With summer just around the corner for most schools, kids everywhere are undoubtedly excited, but could the summer off actually hinder their learning? The “summer slide” is all of the knowledge kids forget over the summer before returning to school. In fact, studies have shown that students can return to school the following fall at least a month behind of where they were in the spring.

So, what’s a parent to do? While you want your child to have an enjoyable summer, it’s important to keep the learning going so your child does not fall behind. Here’s some tips for avoiding the dreaded summer slide:

  • Send your child to an educational day camp
  • Visit your local library and encourage reading
  • Take your child to museums—some have free days!
  • Explore the zoo and/or aquarium
  • Plant a garden
  • Encourage outdoor activity

While there is no set formula for preventing summer slide, keeping your child engaged and active is a step in the right direction.

Have some more ideas for fun summer activities for kids? Share them by commenting below, or on our Facebook or twitter pages. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Tadpoles Gets New Updates!

Childcare by Tadpoles gets new features and enhancements.

We recently released a new update to Tadpoles in the Apple App store. The new updates will fix bugs and provide overall enhancements.

Now, with the latest update of Tadpoles, you can quickly and easily share photos and videos of multiple children. In addition, we’ve made updating child profile pictures much more simple and easier to use. There are also new cognitive and emotional categories for daily reports, allowing you to truly capture the child’s achievements and mood.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Economics of Early Childhood Education

In a down economy, everyone is trying to think about how to fix it—but could the answer lie in early childhood education?
As we approach the 2012 elections, more and more voters are concerned with education. In fact, two-thirds of voters in nine swing states stated that education was extremely important to them personally, realizing the link between education and the economy.
So, what’s wrong with early childhood education today—is it bad teachers, over-crowded classrooms or unmotivated students? What’s wrong with early childhood education today is poverty. Currently, 1 in 5 children live in families with incomes below the poverty level, and as the economy continues to be stagnant, the gap between wealthy and poor families continues to widen.
Rob Gruenwald, economic researcher, found that for every $1 invested in quality early childhood daycare and education, the community sees a $16 return on investment because of less public funding going to law enforcement, prison costs and other services.
Research dating back to the 1960s proves Grunenwald and other like-minded researchers’ theories, so why don’t early childhood education programs get more federal and state funding? Grunenwald believes it’s because results are intangible and unless people have young children in their lives, they don’t realize the importance of early childhood education.
As the 2012 elections near, we’ll have to pay close attention to the candidates’ views on early childhood education, with the hope that the achievement gap can one day, be closed in a flourishing economy.
Share your thoughts on the economics of early childhood education by commenting below, or on our Facebook or twitter pages. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Benefits of Recess in Early Childhood Education

If its no secret that kids need recess—then why is recess being cut from many elementary schools?

For many adults, recess is a fond memory of playing outdoors with friends—from the sandbox to dodgeball games, recess was an integral part of socializing. Today, kids are lucky if they get 15 minutes of outdoor playtime during the school day. And people wonder why childhood obesity  is on the rise.

Although recess programs began to be cutting the late 1980’s, it wasn’t until 2001 when the No Child Left Behind Act came into play, that urban schools in particular began to lose their recess time entirely. Recess became a safety issue and was thought to bring down test scores.

So, administrators, believing their school’s test scores would improve if children spent more time on schoolwork, began to cut recess. But, while there is no research that suggest test scores improve by keeping children in the classroom all day, there is a lot of research proving that recess improves both cognitive, social andemotional traits within children

Cognitive Benefits of Recess

• Children with recess fidget less and complete tasks more efficiently—even children with disorders like ADHD benefit

• Recess provides break for the brain to recharge, improving the recollection of information

• There is a relationship between physical activity and the development of brain connections

• A school system that devoted a third of the day to nonacademic activities (art, music, physical activity) improved attitudes and fitness and slightly increased test scores, despite spending less time on academics

Social Benefits of Recess

• During recess, children exercise leadership, teach games to one another, take turns, and learn to compromise

• Intervention programs during recess can successfully improve social skills.

Physical Benefits of Recess

• Recess before lunch leads to healthier eating

• Children who are active during the day are more active after school, whereas children who are sedentary during the day tend to remain sedentary after school

Emotional Benefits of Recess

• Teachers rated children’s behaviors better in classes where children had at least 15 minutes of recess

• Teachers get to know the children better when supervising them on the playground.

• Time on the playground is a change of pace for the teacher as well as for the children.

With all of the benefits of recess, its hard to believe recess is still being cut—there must be something that can be done. The International Play Association (IPA) has a lot of resources regarding the positive effects of research. If parents and/or teachers band together and meet with principals, superintendents, legislators and elected officials, recess can hopefully be saved for children to enjoy and benefit from for generations to come.

Share your thoughts on recess in early childhood education by commenting below, or on our Facebook or twitter pages.