Early Childhood

Redshirting, Pre-K Quality Among Eclectic Mix of Topics Readers Enjoyed in 2017

By Christina A. Samuels — December 29, 2017 3 min read
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Early Years readers enjoyed a variety of posts this year, including pieces on preschool quality, the changing knowledge base of incoming kindergartners, and an international look at early-childhood spending. Before the year is out, take another look at the 10 posts that garnered the highest readership over the past year, starting with the most-read post:

‘Redshirt’ Your Kids? Study Adds Fuel to a Complicated Debate: Unsurprisingly, this blog post saw the biggest group of readers in 2017. The post described a study showing that Florida youngsters who are “old for grade” when they start school have higher test scores and are less likely to spend time in the juvenile justice system than kindergartners who are “young for grade.” Though none of the students in the study were “redshirted"—intentionally held back from starting kindergarten—the findings supported some who believe that holding children back is beneficial.

New Analysis Finds Long-Lasting Benefits From Early-Childhood Education: Researchers examined several high-quality preschool programs and found that they boosted graduation rates, reduced special education placements and reduced grade retention.

Study: Kindergartners Start School With More Academic Skills Than in Past: Kindergarten gets a bad rap for being the “new first grade,” but this study shows that 5-year-olds are actually entering school with more academic skills than they did 12 years ago. Wider enrollment in preschool and changes in parenting practices could be behind this change, researchers suggest.

Pediatricians Urged to Get Involved With Early-Childhood Education: Advocating for high-quality early-childhood education is not just the job of teachers; this post explained that doctors are now being asked to support such programs.

More Than Two Hours of TV Daily Affects Children’s School Readiness, Study Finds: The negative association between television watching and math and executive functioning skills was strongest for children in families who earn at or below $21,200 a year.

What Does Science Tell Us About Prekindergarten? A high-powered group of early-childhood researchers came together to offer some science-based perspectives on early-childhood programs. One important point, they noted: gains that children make in pre-K are bolstered by strong elementary school programs.

One Key Question May Help Children Get Deeper Meaning From Stories: And that question is ... you’ll have to read the blog post to find out! But asking this question has the potential to change children from passive consumers of content to active learners.

What Are Common Traits Shared by High-Quality Preschool Providers?: Researchers (and journalists) throw around the term “high-quality” but seldom define it. This report from the Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now, or ConnCAN, digs further into what quality means in a real-life context.

Which Countries Spend the Most on Early-Childhood Education? The United States’ spending on early-childhood programs, including child care, is 0.4 percent of its gross domestic product, below the 0.8 percent of GDP average from 30 countries analyzed by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Positive Early Home Environment Predicts Later Academic Success, Study Finds: And finally, an appropriate thought to keep in mind as we enter a new year: Parents and home environment really matter to a child’s success. No surprise there, but this study of low-income families whose children were enrolled in Head Start quantified some of the effects. Engaging conversations, books in the home, and educational toys all contributed to a cognitive boost for children, researchers found.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Early Years blog.