On the first day of kindergarten, the child who is ready to learn is not necessarily the one who can count to 20 or name all the colors in the rainbow, rather it’s the child who can pay attention, take turns, get along with others and follow directions.
LB773 was introduced to create the Early Childhood Workforce Development Task Force. Rather than have the bill advance this session, a strategic decision was made to work collaboratively with Governor Pete Ricketts' new Education and Workforce Roundtable to identify issues and solutions impacting students' in the early childhood-to-workforce pipeline.
New Census data show 42% of Nebraska children ages 0-5 continue to be at risk of failing in school. They are located throughout the state and in rural and metro areas.
Private child care providers have a role to play in helping children arrive at kindergarten ready to learn. These Nebraska-specific resources are available for providers pursuing early childhood interventions that narrow the achievement gap.
Babies are born ready to learn. At birth, the brain contains about 100 billion neurons that are connected by synapses carrying electrochemical signals in response to stimuli from the world around us. During the earliest years, those synapses are firing at an astonishing rate, and they become the neural foundation upon which everything else is built.
Babies are born learners, and the number of quality interactions they experience in their earliest months and years heavily influences how they develop and succeed later. In recognition of the importance of early literacy and family literacy, Governor Dave Heineman has proclaimed November “Read Aloud to a Child Month.”
Deliah Kearnes knew something remarkable had happened when her daughter recently told her what she wanted to do when she grew up. For months, Kearnes had watched anxiously as her child struggled to learn and develop a sense of belonging in a child care setting. When the new Educare Winnebago opened its doors earlier this year, however, that began to change.
One of the most important things parents can do to prepare their children for school is to read to them. The number of words a child knows upon entering kindergarten is a key predictor of future success, and the American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends that parents read aloud to babies starting at birth to build pre-literacy skills in the earliest years. And as children grow, reading aloud and talking about pictures in age-appropriate books strengthens their emerging language skills and literacy development. And the resulting closer parent-child bond boosts a child’s social-emotional development.
If a parent reads to a child just 15 minutes a day starting at birth, by kindergarten, they will have shared 456.25 hours of reading together. The benefits for the child include a larger vocabulary, plus the security and confidence that result from a parent's one-on-one attention.
At-risk children under age 3 in Nebraska currently face long odds to gain access to high-quality early childhood learning opportunities. Estimates are that only 1 in 10 at-risk Nebraska children have access to early learning experiences that close the achievement gap by age 3.
The more we learn about early childhood development, the more we realize the truth behind Lincoln’s words. We now know that brain architecture is profoundly affected by our earliest experiences and interactions, and mothers and fathers are a child’s first and most influential relationships.
Quality early childhood education leads to healthy lifestyle choices that help prevent chronic disease, says Nobel prize-winning economist James Heckman. Professor Heckman released new longitudinal findings of adults who participated in the Abecedarian study as children, and says they show that quality early education have long-lasting health benefits that could lead to reduced health care spending.