Next Generation Preschool Math will provide an example of what research and public media are doing for early learning through digital media at the New America Foundation’s event “Beyond Screen Time: Early Learning and Digital Media.”
The event itself is an “afternoon of moderated discussion, innovative exhibits and networking that explore a world beyond ‘screen time,’ recognizing technology as more than an electronic babysitter and pushing for high standards in how it is used.”
Check out the Beyond Screen Time video!
President Obama’s remarks on early education in his State of the Union Address in January have done wonders for pushing preschools into the forefront of the American political discourse. But is all press good press? Just a few nights ago, comedian Jon Stewart brought up the issue on his late-night “fake news” broadcast The Daily Show, highlighting some of the back-and-forth between proponents of universal education and those skeptical of its effectiveness.
With all this attention on preschools, it’s important to keep the conversation focused on research-backed evidence to keep the truth from getting lost. We turned to edtech thought leader Lisa Guernsey and her colleague Clare McCann to help us understand what we’re hearing. In this Early Ed Watch blog post, Guernsey and McCann discuss The Daily Show clip and explain that the President’s comments on return on investment gained through preschool education are indeed valid, but “only for high-quality preschool programs.”
Recently, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Secretary of Health and Human Resources Kathleen Sebelius pointed to Massachusetts as a leader in early childhood education in a HuffPost opinion piece:
As we move forward with this economically vital effort, we can look to states that have shown the way. In Michigan and Massachusetts, for example, Governors Rick Snyder and Deval Patrick have made expanding access to preschool programs a priority.
We’re inspired and empowered by the work going on in Massachusetts and can’t wait to share our NGPM apps with the world!
All of us working on the Next Generation Preschool Math Project believe deeply in the importance of improving early childhood education, but most of the national debate focuses on the K-12 arena. That’s why we were thrilled when we heard President Obama speak about the value of preschool education at last night’s State of the Union address! Here’s what the President had to say:
“And that has to start at the earliest possible age. You know, study after study shows that the sooner a child begins learning, the better he or she does down the road.
But today, fewer than three in ten 4-year-olds are enrolled in a high-quality preschool program. Most middle-class parents can’t afford a few hundred bucks a week for private preschool. And for poor kids who need help the most, this lack of access to preschool education can shadow them for the rest of their lives. So, tonight, I propose working with states to make high-quality preschool available to every single child in America.
That’s something we should be able to do.
Every dollar we invest in high-quality early childhood education can save more than seven dollars later on, by boosting graduation rates, reducing teen pregnancy, even reducing violent crime. In states that make it a priority to educate our youngest children — like Georgia or Oklahoma — studies show students grow up more likely to read and do math at grade level, graduate high school, hold a job, form more stable families of their own.
We know this works. So let’s do what works and make sure none of our children start the race of life already behind. Let’s give our kids that chance.”
With NGPM, we fully agree that high-quality early childhood education should be available to all children, and our hope is that carefully designed and researched technological solutions can bring down the cost while improving the effectiveness of preschools across the country. Follow us on our journey as we strive to design, develop, and produce innovative learning tools for tots!
Watch the full speech.
What are the challenges facing preschool math programs? EdSource names lack of math content and inadequate professional development as the two main reasons why early math education programs don’t succeed, with cost of professional development and math anxiety among teachers playing smaller but not insignificant roles.
By providing our teachers professional development for math content and pedagogy in our Teacher’s Guide, we’re taking these obstacles head on. Teachers will be able to watch videos, receive lesson plans, and read tips from other teachers, all of which will serve to prepare them for using the NGPM digital and nondigital materials. There is so much potential, and clearly so much work to do! Have you seen any awesome examples of preschool math programs that integrate technology? Let us know!
Read the full EdSource article here.
“It may be the solution… to everything wrong in the world.”
From this quote, you may guess that Alex Blumberg of Planet Money is talking about a whole host of things, preschool being pretty far down on your list. But in this episode of the podcast, Blumberg argues that preschool is critical not only for being ready to learn, but for being successful in one’s adult life. We couldn’t agree more – it’s why we do what we do!
Listen to the full podcast here.