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Everything listed under: Early Childhood Education

  • Child Development in the First Five Years

    Proper rest, good nutrition, and a safe home life are things that many of us take for granted, but that Missouri children born into poverty struggle with every day. From birth through kindergarten, a child’s home environment and basic care provisions have a huge impact on their educational success later in live.

    Missouri Parent believes that the first five years are critical to a child’s success, which is why we created this series of posts called Child Development in the First Five Years. You can read each post in the series on the Missouri Parent Blog:

    Child Development in the First Five Years

    Child Development in the First Five Years: The Importance of Rest

    Child Development in the First Five Years: Proper Nutrition is Key

    Child Development in the First Five Years: A Healthy Home Life

    Tweet about child development in the first five years using the hashtag #EarlyEd.

    The first five years make a difference in a child’s life, affecting their ability to learn and thrive in kindergarten and beyond. If you have friends with young children at home, we hope that you’ll share this series of posts.

    If you’d like to keep learning about ways to help kids succeed in Missouri public schools, bookmark Missouri Parent News and connect with Missouri Parent on Facebook and Twitter.


  • Child Development in the First Five Years Part 2: The Importance of Rest

    This post is Part 2 in a four-part series on how rest, nutrition, and a healthy home life help babies, toddlers, and preschoolers grow into healthy, successful kindergarten students. You can read the first post here.


    Research shows that rest plays a big role in a child’s mental, emotional, and physical development. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) says that sleep improves learning, helps children pay attention, and aids in creative thinking.

    Children who don’t get enough rest, according to the NHLBI, may have trouble getting along with others, and might struggle to stay awake and pay attention in school. (Source)

    When children live in lower socioeconomic environments, these problems are compounded. The American Psychological Association (APA) says that children living in lower socioeconomic conditions suffer more from lost sleep than kids do who live in middle-class or upper-class homes:

    “Social class moderated the link between children’s sleep and cognitive functioning on standardized ability tests. Children of middle and lower class had similar performance when sleep was optimal, but when sleep was poor, lower SES children’s cognitive performance suffered.” (Source)

    It’s not surprising that poor sleep affects a child’s alertness the next day. It’s more surprising to learn that research shows a correlation between poor sleep patterns now and a child’s academic performance two years later. Children who sleep in early childhood are more likely to be successful when they start school years later.

    Parents Can Help Young Children to Sleep Well

    A number of factors contribute to poor sleep in young children. Some of those factors, like minimizing cigarette smoke in the home, are relatively easy for parents to control. Factors like reducing family conflict, however, might be more difficult to address.

    The APA recommends that parents pay attention to the physical environment a child sleeps in, as well as to the psychological environment around them. Physical things like a comfortable bed affect sleep, but it’s also affected by more complex factors like family conflict:

    “Clean, comfortable bedding, adequate heating and cooling, and reduction of airborne toxins (e.g. tobacco smoke; allergens) all facilitate good sleep. In the psychosocial realm, parental management of bedtimes, monitoring of caffeine, restricting media use, noise abatement and reducing precipitators of anxiety (e.g. family conflict), are all ways to improve sleep.” (Source)

    Getting a good night’s rest is critical for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers to grow into healthy kindergarteners who are mentally, physically, and emotionally ready to start school.

    Rest isn’t the only critical ingredient to good health during the first five years. In our next post, we’ll take a look at the importance of nutrition. Come back for the next post in this four-part series on early childhood development.

    If you found this post helpful, we encourage you to bookmark the Missouri Parent Blog and to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

    Learn More:
    Child Development in the First Five Years
    Now for Later: A Campaign for Early Childhood Education in Missouri
    Preparing Your Child for Kindergarten in Missouri
    Missouri Updates to 10 by 20
    Tax Breaks Don’t Benefit Students



  • Child Development in the First Five Years Part 4: A Healthy Home Life

    This the final post in a four-part series on how rest, nutrition, and a healthy home life help babies, toddlers, and preschoolers grow into healthy, successful kindergarten students. You can the additional posts in the series here, followed by this post on the importance of proper rest.


    In the first part of this series on child development in the first five years, we featured a video created by The Ounce of Prevention Fund in Chicago, Illinois. A child’s voice narrates the video, saying that he’s one of the “thousands of little miracles born into poverty each day”.

    Later in the video, the child narrators take turns saying, “I’m twice as likely to be in special education. I’m 30 percent more likely to never go to college. I’m 70 percent more likely to be arrested for a violent crime.”

    These are some of the realities for children who are at-risk at home. Learning begins before children start school, so kids who are born into unsafe or unhealthy homes begin life at a disadvantage that can follow them into adulthood. Studies have shown that children are more successful in school—and later in life—when they eat well, get proper rest, and have a safe and emotionally supportive home life in the first five years.

    According to the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF),

    “...Babies learn rapidly from the moment of their birth.They grow and learn the most when they receive affection, attention and stimulation in addition to good nutrition and proper health care. Investments in early child development through early learning activities and improved school readiness along with health and nutrition interventions increases the likelihood that boys and girls will complete primary school.” (source)

    The circumstances surrounding an at-risk child’s home life can be complex, including abuse and neglect, homelessness, and poor (or no) childcare while parents are at work. These aren’t simple problems to fix, and many families might feel truly discouraged by their situations.

    Missouri Parent encourages parents and other caregivers to create the safest and most supportive home life possible. Even small changes can make a big difference for young children. Here are a few small ways you can help your baby, toddler, or preschool succeed:

    · Read a bedtime story together each night.
    · Eat breakfast together in the morning.
    · Provide a comfortable sleeping environment for your child.
    · Set regular bed times and wake-up times for your child each day.

    If your family’s needs are more than you can meet, there are programs and resources out there that can help you take care of your child. Here is a list of state agencies and programs that help families with winter heating costs, child abuse and neglect, and other home life challenges:
    · Be an advocate for your child: if your home situation is unsafe, get help.
    · Is your home cold this winter? See if you qualify for the Missouri Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) or the Missouri Weatherization Assistance Program.
    · Is your baby sleeping in an unsafe bed? The Safe Crib Project from the Children’s Trust Fund of Missouri might be able to help you.
    · Early Head Start helps provide safe and developmentally enriching caregiving for infants and toddlers under the age of 3.

    In previous posts, we’ve talked about the importance of rest and nutrition in early childhood development. Each of those posts includes links to state and federal programs to help point you in the right direction to help your family or a family you know who has children under the age of five in Missouri.

    We hope that you’ll continue to use the Missouri Parent Blog as a resource for information about early childhood education, policies and funding issues in Missouri. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.



  • Child Development in the First Five Years Part 3: Proper Nutrition is Key

    This post is Part 3 in a four-part series on how rest, nutrition, and a healthy home life help babies, toddlers, and preschoolers grow into healthy, successful kindergarten students.

    Read the first post in the series here.


    Proper rest, good nutrition, and a safe and supportive home life each have a direct impact on a young child’s readiness for and success in school. Nourishment is critical for child development from birth to age five, and many state and federal organizations exist to ensure that all children have access to the nutritional resources they need.

    Good Nutrition in the First Five Years
    The first five years of life are crucial for a child’s physical, cognitive, and emotional development. Proper nourishment begins during pregnancy, and it continues throughout childhood.

    A child’s exact nutritional needs change over time, but because a child’s brain develops so rapidly in the first few years, it’s vital that children get enough protein and other nutrients. The National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families says that:

    “Brain development is most sensitive to a baby's nutrition between mid-gestation and two years of age. Children who are malnourished--not just fussy eaters but truly deprived of adequate calories and protein in their diet--throughout this period do not adequately grow, either physically or mentally.”– (Source)

    Adequate physical and mental growth in the early years directly affects a child’s likelihood of success from kindergarten through high school graduation and beyond. The No Kid Hungry campaign says, “Poor early childhood nutrition can negatively impact a child’s physical and emotional development in both the short- and long-term and limit adult achievement and productivity.” (Source)

    It’s amazing that adult achievement is influenced by something as far removed as basic nourishment in infancy. The National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families, however, says that malnourished infants suffer long-lasting issues ranging from cognitive deficits to slower language and motor skills development. Malnourished infants often have lower IQs and poorer school performance than their well-nourished peers. (Source)

    Though a newborn’s needs are different from those of a four-year-old, access to nourishing foods is critical in the years when the brain is developing the most rapidly. Unfortunately, not all babies and young children have access to well-rounded, nourishing meals at home. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), children in approximately one in six households are at risk of going hungry.

    Kids raised in poverty are at a clear nutritional disadvantage that extends to kindergarten preparedness and success all through school. Thankfully, a number of state and federal resources exist to help level the playing field for young children whose caregivers struggle to put food healthy on the family table.

    Early Childhood Nutritional Resources Families in Need
    Childhood nutrition and brain development begin during pregnancy. One of the country’s leading resources for pregnant women and young children is the Women Infants and Children (WIC) Program.

    Pregnant women and new parents in Missouri can get breastfeeding support, free supplemental food, nutritional counseling, and health services through the Missouri WIC program. The Missouri Head Start program also helps by providing health and nutrition screenings for young children.

    Learn More: You can read more about early childhood health screenings in this post.

    Federal Home Visiting Programs, like those run by Parents as Teachers, provide high needs families and at-risk families with direct, at-home support and access to parent education. Outside the home, the Special Milk Program provides milk to kids at school and in childcare centers and camps.

    Do you know a baby, toddler or preschooler who might not be getting enough to eat at home? Please share this post with them or help put them in touch with one of the government organizations we’ve highlighted here.

    Proper nourishment from pregnancy through age five can help prepare at-risk children for success in kindergarten and beyond. If you know a family who’s having trouble providing nutritious meals to their young child or a pregnant mother who needs help affording healthy foods, reach out. You might be able to help connect them to the resources they need.

    Continue to learn more about early childhood education by bookmarking the Missouri Parent Blog. We’ll update you on legislation and funding issues affecting Missouri’s youngest learners, as well as those affecting Missouri K-12 public school students.



  • Missouri Education Advocates: The Missouri K-8 Schools Association (MOK8)

     

    Name: The Missouri K-8 School Association (MOK8)

    About: The Missouri K-8 Association is a membership organization that represents all K-8 schools in Missouri. It exists to preserve the integrity of K-8 districts by sharing common resources, improving efficiency and expanding opportunities through collaborative efforts. (Source)

    Tweet with us using the hashtag #MoEdAdvocates.

    Co-Presidents: Darryl Pannier and Carless Osburn

    Website: http://www.MoK-8.com

    Legislation & Advocacy: MOK8 is concerned about school transfers and unaccredited school districts, and believes in high standards for funding technology and modern tools that support education and curriculum. MOK8 is committed to full funding of the Foundation Formula.

    Read MOK8’s full Legislative Platform here.

    This post is part of a running series called “Missouri Education Advocates,” which is designed to highlight the professional education organizations in Missouri that work on public education legislation and advocacy. These short and sweet features highlight basic information about some of Missouri’s leading education organizations.

    Connect with Missouri Parent on Facebook and Twitter and share our Missouri Education Advocates posts with your network using the hashtag #MoEdAdvocates.



  • Education a Prominent Theme During Missouri State of State Address

    Education was a prominent theme in Governor Nixon’s State of the State Address on January 21st. “Education is the great equalizer,” said the Governor in his speech. “Because when every child has a quality education, every child has the opportunity to succeed.”

    The Governor listed increased funding, heightened academic expectations, and stricter accountability measures as evidence of the state’s legislative progress for education. He made indirect reference to #MoNoOn3; the statewide effort to defeat Missouri Amendment 3, which would have used standardized test scores to evaluate public school teachers.

    Academically, he cited improved math and reading scores and progress in troubled school districts as ways that Missouri’s schools are “rising to the challenge”. He also highlighted several specific communities across the state that have made academic progress or have supported public educators.

    Governor Nixon was honest, however, that Missouri’s public education system isn’t where it needs to be. In order to give kids, “the best”, Governor Nixon proposed the following funding and legislative changes in 2015:

    · An $11 million increase to existing preschool budgets
    · A proposed record level of funding for K-12 education
    · An additional $150 million for public schools
    · A “clean fix” to the debate over Missouri’s school transfer law
    · Start-up grants to extend Project Lead the Way (a STEM education program) to 350 more Missouri elementary schools
    · An additional $25 million for Missouri higher education
    · Upgrading higher education facilities, especially those in STEM programs

    You can read the full text of Governor Nixon’s January 21st State of the State Address here.

    As the 98th General Assembly proceeds, education legislation and funding will be ongoing subjects of discussion and debate. Part of our mission at Missouri Parent is to provide you with accurate and timely information on education funding and legislative issues that impact public education, so we’ll continue to share relevant policy updates throughout this legislative session.

    Visit Missouri Parent News or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter for daily updates about K-12 public school education, funding, and policy in the State of Missouri as we continue to post regular updates from the 98th General Assembly.


  • Early Childhood Education Investment: An Investment in Our Kids & Our Economy

       

    What would you say if we told you that a single type of state investment could do these three big things?

    1. Increase high school graduation rates.
    2. Improve an adult’s job prospects.
    3. Help a great percentage of Missourians become successful contributors to our economy.

    We're here to tell you that early childhood education investments help with all of those things and more.

    Ready Nation is one of the many independent organizations in the U.S. that takes a powerful stand in regards to the return on investment that early childhood education brings to communities, business, and students. It says that quality early learning programs “have been shown to immediately generate about $2 for every $1 invested, through the sale of local goods and services, providing an immediate benefit to communities and making early learning an important economic sector.” (Source)

    If we offered you a retirement plan that had a 2-to-1 return, you would jump on the opportunity. But when policymakers have the opportunity to invest in early childhood education in Missouri, there’s much contention.

    Recently, the Springfield Daily Leader published a news story about a head start program whose state funding suddenly and unexpectedly disappeared. Communities in Springfield, Branson, Bolivar, Marshfield, and Ozark could all be affected.

    Across the state in Kirksville, Missouri, another early childhood program saw November funding cuts. The Northeast Missouri Community Action Agency lost 74 slots for Early Head Start Program students, leaving it funding for just 14 slots. 74 families will be affected. 54 will be slots previously filled by students, and 20 will be prenatal slots—all in a town of less than 18,000 people. (Source)

    Study after study shows that early childhood education is a good investment—not just in kids, but a good investment in economies. Here are just a few examples:

    · Missouri’s own Now for Later campaign says that, “Longitudinal studies indicate a societal return on investment in early childhood programs of approximately $10 per $1 invested.” (Source)

    · A cost-benefit analysis by the Journal of Public Economics “suggests that a dollar invested in an early childhood nutrition program in a developing country could potentially return at least three dollars worth of gains in academic achievement, and perhaps much more.” (Source)

    · Ready Nation says that at-risk students (like those who are often served by the Head Start program like the one mentioned in Kirksville) who participate in quality early childhood learning programs their median earnings” by as much as 36%.” (Source)

    · Nobel Prize-winning economist Dr. James Heckman is a powerful advocate for investing in early childhood education. He believes “the most cost-effective route to strengthening the workforce is to invest in early education.” (Source)

    Missouri must stand up for and invest in early childhood education. Cutting the same programs that a wide body of research has shown has an impressive return on investment while simultaneously funding expensive and inefficient programs like Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTCs) is one more example of bad #MissouriMath.

    A new legislative session will open in Missouri in January, and Missouri Parent believes that it is worth advocating for early childhood education. If you agree, please contact your local lawmakers to let them know that early childhood learning programs are a strong investment in Missouri’s future.

    To stay informed on the January session in the Legislature, and to remain up-to-date on policy and funding issues affecting Missouri public school, bookmark the Missouri Parent Blog and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


  • Missouri’s Low Income Housing Tax Credits

     

    Missouri struggles to support public education. Year after year, lawmakers make choices about general revenue expenditures like those that support Missouri’s K-12 public schools. They also make decisions about tax credits, like Missouri’s Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC). Year after year, the Foundation Formula for public schools remains underfunded by almost exactly the same amount of money that goes to LIHTCs.

    Learn More: Understanding the Foundation Formula

    Compared to other states, Missouri is incredibly generous with LIHTCs. Only 14 states offer LIHTC programs and of them, only California and Georgia spend more money on those low income housing tax credits than Missouri does. (Source)

    On the surface, this may not seem like a problem, but the reality is that LIHTCs aren’t an investment in Missouri or Missouri’s future. Studies have shown little to no return on investment for tax credits. To make matters worse, for every dollar spent on LIHTCs, more than half is lost to accounting, taxes, and middlemen.

    According to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, only 43 cents of every dollar spent on low income housing tax credits (LIHTC) is spent constructing new housing. “The rest of the money is lost in an accounting haze or flows to federal taxes, investors, and middlemen.” (Source)

    LIHTCs are the single biggest category of tax credits in the state. The Missouri Tax Credit Review Commission identified LIHTCs as the single most expensive tax credit to the state. (Source)

    Unlike LIHTCs, education is an investment with a high return. Education, especially early education has proven time and again to bring money back to those who invest in it.

    According to the Economic Policy Institute:

    “States can build a strong foundation for economic success and shared prosperity by investing in education. Providing expanded access to high quality education will not only expand economic opportunity for residents, but also likely do more to strengthen the overall state economy than anything else a state government can do.” (Source)

    The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) cites early childhood education as a good investment for governments. According to UNICEF,

    “Efforts to improve early child development are an investment, not a cost. Available cost-benefit ratios of early intervention indicate that for every dollar spent on improving early child development, returns can be on average 4 to 5 times the amount invested, and in some cases, much higher.” (Source)

    LIHTCs provide little to no return on investment, while education offers a 400-500 percent return. Our lawmakers support LIHTCs but refuse to fund Missouri’s schools fully. This situation sounds to us like another example of #MissouriMath.

    If you’d like to learn more about tax credits and Missouri public schools, come back often to the Missouri Parent Blog. We’ll continue to share information about legislation and funding issues that related to public education. Bookmark the blog or connect with us on Facebook or Twitter for regular updates.

    Learn more:
    Tax Credits Don’t Attract Businesses to Missouri
    What Exactly is a Tax Credit?


  • Child Development in the First Five Years Part 2: The Importance of Rest

    This post is Part 2 in a four-part series on how rest, nutrition, and a healthy home life help babies, toddlers, and preschoolers grow into healthy, successful kindergarten students. You can read the first post here.


    Research shows that rest plays a big role in a child’s mental, emotional, and physical development. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) says that sleep improves learning, helps children pay attention, and aids in creative thinking.

    Children who don’t get enough rest, according to the NHLBI, may have trouble getting along with others, and might struggle to stay awake and pay attention in school. (Source)

    When children live in lower socioeconomic environments, these problems are compounded. The American Psychological Association (APA) says that children living in lower socioeconomic conditions suffer more from lost sleep than kids do who live in middle-class or upper-class homes:

    “Social class moderated the link between children’s sleep and cognitive functioning on standardized ability tests. Children of middle and lower class had similar performance when sleep was optimal, but when sleep was poor, lower SES children’s cognitive performance suffered.” (Source)

    It’s not surprising that poor sleep affects a child’s alertness the next day. It’s more surprising to learn that research shows a correlation between poor sleep patterns now and a child’s academic performance two years later. Children who sleep in early childhood are more likely to be successful when they start school years later.

    Parents Can Help Young Children to Sleep Well

    A number of factors contribute to poor sleep in young children. Some of those factors, like minimizing cigarette smoke in the home, are relatively easy for parents to control. Factors like reducing family conflict, however, might be more difficult to address.

    The APA recommends that parents pay attention to the physical environment a child sleeps in, as well as to the psychological environment around them. Physical things like a comfortable bed affect sleep, but it’s also affected by more complex factors like family conflict:

    “Clean, comfortable bedding, adequate heating and cooling, and reduction of airborne toxins (e.g. tobacco smoke; allergens) all facilitate good sleep. In the psychosocial realm, parental management of bedtimes, monitoring of caffeine, restricting media use, noise abatement and reducing precipitators of anxiety (e.g. family conflict), are all ways to improve sleep.” (Source)

    Getting a good night’s rest is critical for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers to grow into healthy kindergarteners who are mentally, physically, and emotionally ready to start school.

    Rest isn’t the only critical ingredient to good health during the first five years. In our next post, we’ll take a look at the importance of nutrition. Come back for the next post in this four-part series on early childhood development.

    Missouri Parent is a free service to all Missouri parents publishing updates on research, policy, and funding issues that affect public education in the state. If you found this post helpful, we encourage you to bookmark the Missouri Parent Blog and to connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

    Learn More:
    Child Development in the First Five Years
    Now for Later: A Campaign for Early Childhood Education in Missouri
    Preparing Your Child for Kindergarten in Missouri
    Missouri Updates to 10 by 20
    Tax Breaks Don’t Benefit Students

    photo credit: el7bara via photopin cc


  • Child Development in the First Five Years

     

    This video, produced by The Ounce of Prevention Fund in Chicago, Illinois, is sobering and inspiring. It’s easy to forget that thousands of babies and young children are born into conditions each year that are detrimental to learning and emotional development.

    Proper rest, good nutrition, and a safe home life — all highlighted in this video — are things that many of us take for granted. For Missouri’s children born into poverty, however, those basic needs are not always met.

    The years from birth to kindergarten have a lasting impact on a child’s school readiness and his or her long-term stability and success. Kids who are raised in healthy, nurturing homes have a head start on those who are not.

    According to UNICEF:

    “Children who receive assistance in their early years achieve more success at school. As adults they have higher employment and earnings, better health, and lower levels of welfare dependence and crime rates than those who don’t have these early opportunities.” (Source)

    One of our goals at Missouri Parent is to provide information to public school parents like you that will help your child to be successful in school. In this case, the information we’ll share is designed to help parents make sure their younger children are prepared for school physically, emotionally, and intellectually when that first day of kindergarten comes along.

    We’ll explore the importance of sleep, nutrition, and a healthy home life on Missouri’s youngest learners: babies, toddlers, and preschoolers from birth to five years old. Along the way, we’ll share links to helpful resources for your family, and we’ll highlight policies and other state initiatives that can help prepare Missouri’s young children for success in kindergarten and beyond.

    Come back to read about the important of rest, and to discover resources available in Missouri that help families provide a safe place for young children to sleep at night, get nutritious meals, and give their kids a safe and supportive home life.

    Learn More About the Importance of Early Childhood Education:

    Now for Later: A Campaign for Early Childhood Education in Missouri
    Preparing Your Child for Kindergarten in Missouri
    Missouri Updates to 10 by 20
    Tax Breaks Don’t Benefit Students

    Keep learning about resources that will help your child enter kindergarten prepared for success by bookmarking the Missouri Parent Blog, liking us on Facebook, or following us on Twitter.


  • Top 10 by 20 Initiative Part III: Entering Kindergarten Prepared for Success

    This post is Part 3 of a series on the Missouri Top 10 by 20 initiative. To read this series from the beginning, click here.

    In 2009, The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) launched a statewide education improvement effort called Missouri Top 10 by 20. The initiative aims for Missouri’s K-12 students to rank in the top 10 states in America in academic performance by the year 2020.

    Missouri 10 by 20 is broken down into several smaller goals and objectives. Those goals and objectives make the initiative more actionable and help hold teachers, administrators, and lawmakers accountable for ensuring student success.

    We’ve written already about Missouri 10 by 20 Goal #1: “All Missouri students will graduate college and career ready”. Today we’re here to talk about Goal #2: “All Missouri children will enter kindergarten prepared to be successful in school”.

    To help young learners prepare for kindergarten, parents need to account for basic factors like creating a safe and nurturing home environment and making sure young children receive the health care they need. Formalized early childhood programs, however, also play a role in preparing kids for kindergarten.

    To that end, Missouri has identified screenings, parent education, and quality early childhood programs as some of the best tools for helping Missouri’s babies, toddlers, and preschoolers get ready for school.

    Health Screenings for Missouri Children

    One of the ways that Missouri measures its success in preparing kids for kindergarten is by tracking the percentage of young children who are screened for health concerns and developmental delays each year.

    Early childhood health screenings help professionals to identify developmental delays, nutritional shortfalls, and other issues that could have a negative impact on a young child’s overall wellness and on his or her success in school.

    The state plans to increase the percentage of young children (birth through kindergarten) who receive developmental screenings and health screenings by 2% annually.

    Learn More: This Q&A, published by DESE, goes into more detail about health and developmental screenings.

    Parent Education Home Visits in Missouri

    Another way that Missouri is helping young children prepare for kindergarten is by providing services and education directly to their parents. Families are a child’s first (and primary) educator: A child will be more prepared for kindergarten if his or her family is engaged and supportive, playing an active role in his or her development and education.

    Parent education home visits provide information, support, and encouragement that parents need to help their children develop in the early years. Programs like Parents as Teachers work with parents to help them understand their child’s development, and home visits also help them to strengthen their parenting practices.

    Home visitors are trained to help families detect developmental delays or other health issues that might be detrimental to a child’s learning and development. They help prevent child abuse and neglect, and all-around, they increase children’s readiness for success in school. (source)

    Missouri’s goal is to increase the number of parent education home visits — to both at-risk and not-at-risk —families with young children by 2% each year.

    Learn More: Parenting Education in Missouri

    Quality Standards in Missouri’s Early Childhood Education Programs

    Finally, Missouri recognizes the need for an increase in the number of early childhood programs for Missouri’s infants, toddlers, and preschools that meet established quality standards.

    Missouri adopted a series of 10 Early Learning Program Standards in 2011 to help ensure high quality early education opportunities that would help prepare Missouri’s youngest learners for school. Some of Missouri’s specific educational programs and grants available to support infant, toddler and preschool education include Missouri Head Start.

    Learn More: Parents as Teachers’ Alignment with State Early Learning Standards

    In June of this year, Governor Nixon signed Senate Bill 869 and House Bill 1831. These two bills “establish a transparent set of quality indicators for child care providers”, says Governor Jay Nixon’s office.

    The Governor says, “these quality indicators will give parents the tools and information they need to choose the right childcare provider for their family.”

    Those quality indicators include things like state licensure, health and safety requirements, use of curricula, additional staff training, and any history of violations. (Source)

    The state hopes to increase these programs by 2% annually.

    Educational and service organizations across the state are working together to provide families with the health screenings, parent education home visits, and higher quality early childhood programs. Together, these programs and services are working to help Missouri reach the Top 10 states in the nation in student performance by 2020.

    Missouri Top 10 by 20 is a statewide improvement effort that aims for student achievement in Missouri to rank among the top 10 states in the nation by 2020. Learn more about Missouri 10 by 20 on the DESE website.

    Missouri Updates Top 10 by 20 for Fiscal Year 2015

    Top 10 by 20 Initiative Part II: Graduating College and Career Ready

    Preparing Your Child for Kindergarten in Missouri

    Now for Later: A Campaign for Early Childhood Education in Missouri

    Stay up to date on Missouri 10 by 20 and other Missouri public education policy and funding initiatives by coming back often to the Missouri Parent Blog, liking us on Facebook and following us on Twitter.


  • Now for Later: A Campaign for Early Childhood Education in Missouri

     

    What if we told you that by the time your baby was just nine months old, researchers would be able to see signs of a growing achievement gap between your son or daughter and his or her peers? That’s exactly what the research says.

    The Office of Early and Extended Learning tells us that:

    “Although evidence of the achievement gap can be identified among children as young as 9 months of age, recent research indicates most, if not all, of the achievement gap found at age 5 (at school entry) and at age 8 could be eliminated by an intensive two-year early childhood program for infants and toddlers.” (source)

    Studies like these are evidence that early childhood education is important for Missouri’s children from birth through kindergarten. Kids who receive a good start in life are more likely to finish high school, score well on tests, and have positive attitudes about school. They’re also less like to suffer from substance abuse or to become criminals as adults. (source)

    There are dozens of great programs in Missouri that help at-risk children, and many of those organizations are partners in a statewide early childhood education awareness campaign called Now for Later. These inter-agency partnerships are an important piece of the puzzle for improving early childhood education in Missouri.

    According to Now for Later, “it’s bigger than just one agency or program. We must come together to create a coordinated system to invest in our children Now for Later.” (source)

    Learn More: Download the Missouri Now for Later Brochure

    The role of early childhood education isn’t relegated exclusively to teachers. Family members (including grandparents), community members, clergy, neighbors, and childcare providers are just a few people who can make small changes that could make a big difference for Missouri’s youngest learners.

    The Now for Later campaign brings early childhood education resources and family support organizations together to help make sure Missouri’s children receive the educational foundation they need.

    Bookmark the Missouri Parent Blog and follows us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up-to-date on the importance of early childhood education programs and resources in Missouri

    Learn More About Early Childhood Education in Missouri:
    The Missouri 10 by 20 Initiative
    Preparing Your Child for Kindergarten in Missouri
    Nixon Spells Out Plan to Boost Preschool Funding



     

  • Four Passed Bills Which Impact Missouri Public Schools




    With the end of the regular session of the Missouri Legislature, it is a good time to look at several bills impacting public education were passed and one which might be back sooner than you think.

    HB 2002 is the appropriations bill which fund elementary and secondary schools. The Foundation Formula received an at least $115 million in increased funding. Due to a compromise trigger, if revenue meets earlier forecasts the fund could see more money for public schools.

    Even with the increased funding, the Foundation Formula is currently underfunded by more than $500 million from promised levels.

    See also: Where MO School Funding Comes From and Understanding the Foundation Formula

    SB 493 is the bill relating to transfers of students from unaccredited schools to accredited schools. Among many changes, the bill allows for students to be transferred to private, nonreligious schools. Governor Nixon is considering a veto of this bill and calling the Legislature back to a special session on the issue.

    HB 1689 allows for future state funding for public school districts to provide early childhood education to children in poverty.

    HB 1490 seeks to find a compromised between supporters and detractors of the Common Core standards by creating evaluation panels for any changes to education standards.

    Were there any public school issues you wanted to see addressed which were not by the legislature this session? Leave your thoughts and comments here on the blog on our Facebook page.

    Missouri Parent will continue to cover these issues and any updates on possible special session.

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