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Early-Years Column

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The National Association of Elementary School Principals has released a guide to help parents raise "children who are curious, confident, and ready to succeed'' in school.

The pamphlet, which offers activities for parents with children from birth to age 5, urges parents to talk, read, and explain things to children while encouraging them to explore, raise questions, and solve problems.

It stresses affectionate play, baby-safe environments, and helping babies notice things around them and get used to other adults; suggests ways to familiarize children with color, time, size, counting, and grouping objects; and offers a range of educational activities for parents and children at home and in the community.

It also lists skills identified as helpful for children entering school, including several linked with reading readiness.

Copies of "Little Beginnings'' are available in sets of 25 for $17.25 plus $2.50 for shipping from the N.A.E.S.P., Educational Products, 1615 Duke St., Alexandria, Va. 22314-3483.

The educational-television studios in Columbia, S.C., last month began broadcasting a series of weekly training seminars for Head Start personnel.

The Early Childhood Professional Development Network, launched last year under a grant from the U.S. Health and Human Services Department, offers satellite-delivered interactive training for Head Start teachers in rural and isolated areas.

The network serves 450 Head Start workers in 12 states, and will add another 450 trainees in 15 more states in February.

The seminars cover such topics as curriculum, growth and development, and family interaction, supplemented by small-group discussions. Participation can be applied toward a child-development-associate credential and credit at at least one college in each state.

For more information, write the Early Childhood Professional Development Network, P.O. Drawer L, 2712 Millwood Ave., Columbia, S.C. 29250.

The Marietta, Ga., city schools are working on a strategy to involve parents in revamping report cards in the early grades.

As schools in Georgia have begun instituting reforms focused on "developmentally appropriate'' learning for young children, many are moving away from traditional grading.

In Marietta, school personnel had begun discussing alternatives to absolute comparisons between children, such as developmental checklists and portfolios. But reaction from parents who feared downplaying letter grades would lower standards has prompted the district to seek ways to "bring parents more fully into the process,'' said Robert Clark, the district's associate superintendent.--D.C.

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