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3 Trends That Are Improving Early Childhood Education

There is a direct link between early childhood education and educational attainment. The Chicago ChildParent Center (CPC) Preschool Program, using a sample of 1,334 youth tracked to age 22, found that those youths who participated in early childhood education completed more years of education than those who did not. Programs that provide the crucial link between early education and later educational attainment,  such as Head Start, have faced challenges in providing opportunities for all young learners, particularly in times of federal fiscal challenges.

 Despite these challenges, there are several recent positive trends in early childhood education. These trends include changes from traditional instructional methods for early childhood education to Waldorf or Montessori style instruction (known as the Reggio Emilia approach). Other trends focus on improving the educational achievement gap between groups (by providing greater flexibility to standards mandated under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 or NCLB) and efforts to improve literacy.

1. Alternate Approaches to Traditional Instruction

The Reggio Emilia approach to early education began in the 1940s as a way to bring the resources of a child’s learning community together as equal shareholders in the process. Through this approach, the responsibility for education is shared between teachers, parents and the learner. Reggio Emilia is set on a fundamental set of values that are learner-centered and less rigid than traditional methods for education. Children are guided toward learning through free inquiry and exploration.

The input of parents is both welcomed and encouraged and students create learning portfolios, based on their interests. This approach allows children to not only take ownership over their learning but nurture long-term interest in inquiry and discovery. This approach is a growing trend in many communities throughout the country and has been integrated into the philosophy of companies such as Google.

2. Closing the Achievement Gap

An ongoing interest of early childhood proponents is to be able to verify the effectiveness of their teaching methods in order to improve outcomes for all learners. Gaps in performance have been assessed, according to the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study (ECLS-K), to be three-fifths of a standard deviation higher for children from higher socioeconomic communities than those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. Standards within the NCLB allowed little flexibility to address the differences in these learning communities.

Changes to NCLB has allowed local educators to custom craft programs that allow for the delivery of education that meet NCLB standards in a way that is less rigid than what the law initially called for. This flexibility helps maintain the interest of children that is particularly critical in the early years prior to education in a more formal setting (i.e. K-12).

3. Achieving Early Literacy

Children exposed to books and readings in the first three years of their lives have a better chance of developing vocabulary, understanding letters and being able to tell stories. Parents who reinforce learning attained through early childhood education by reading to their children aid in better educational attainment outcomes for their child over those who do not. Early literacy is being reinforced in various communities that have adopted Every Child Ready to Read programs at public libraries and other facilities tasked with improving literacy for all children.

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Give your child an early advantage on education by enrolling them in one of the programs from Tender Care Learning Centers. All of our Tender Care locations focus on engaging your child to instill a passion for lifelong learning. Discover all the differences quality early education can make for your child and visit a Tender Care Learning Center location near you.

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Tender Care is a Pennsylvania and Connecticut state-licensed child care and early childhood learning organization, an accredited member of NAEYC, PennAEYC, CAEYC, HAEYC, and PACCA, and is Keystone STARS rated.

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Tender Care Learning Centers has committed to accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) as the measurement of our program excellence. NAEYC is the nation’s largest and most influential organization of early childhood educators, and is dedicated to improving programs for children from birth through third grade. NAEYC sets the standards for quality childcare and education in America, with an emphasis placed on the quality of interactions among teachers and children and the developmental appropriateness of the curriculum.

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The Keystone STARS program validates what Tender Care Learning Centers have been doing for many years. Your child's Early Education is critical to his/her development and future success in school and life. Keystone STARS sets requirements for early childhood educators to promote the best learning environment and safest setting possible for your child. As a parent, feel confident your child is safe and respected, is learning new things every day, and is well prepared for future success in life.