Youngsters enter into kindergarten at such an important time in their lives — a short window of raw, excited curiosity and eager exploration.If we can harness and nurture that feeling of wonder, it has the power to amplify a child’s academic trajectory and create a lifetime of prosperity. If we don’t, we run the risk of failing our youngest people from a very early age, and perpetuating inequalities that have held back students of color and students from low-income families. I have devoted my entire life to the fight for equal rights and opportunities for all people, and I have found that the most direct way to lift people up and help them achieve their full potential is through education. Continue ReadingI know Governor Jared Polis shares this goal — he started a school for English learners and another for at-risk youth and, as governor, has turned his focus to education. The Governor and his partners in the legislature rightly acknowledge that education can be … [Read more...] about Op Ed: Why Colorado Needs Full-Day Kindergarten
What kindergarteners need to know
VANCOUVER/SINGAPORE: It was “carpet time” at Ferris Elementary School in Vancouver, Canada. A class of seven-year-olds huddled near the whiteboard and begin reading simple passages aloud to start the school day.Suddenly, classroom teacher Mrs Andrea Argao stopped the Grade 2 class and told them to sing a cheer instead.“Can we do it a little louder to wake Josh up?” she said.In the group was Joshua, aged eight, who appeared to be falling asleep.Upon hearing the cheers, he perked up and sat up with the help of his education assistant, Ms Jaylene Berry. His eyes slowly refocused on the passage the class was reading.Joshua was not daydreaming. He has Pura syndrome, a neurodevelopmental disorder characterised by moderate to severe intellectual disability, excessive sleepiness and seizures, among other symptoms.His condition is so rare that there are fewer than 500 identified cases globally - making it a remarkable feat that Joshua is not only in school, but … [Read more...] about The Big Read: Where kids with and without special needs learn together – and it’s not in Singapore
As Arizona’s next superintendent of public instruction, I want to be the champion for all students, at the highest level of curriculum possible, and I want to start not at the top, but at the bottom with our youngest and most vulnerable students.That’s why I support expanding voluntary full-day kindergarten to Arizona’s neediest students. It’s a great first step in making kindergarten in Arizona the full-day grade it should be. OUR TURN: How investing in early childhood pays off As a high-school teacher for almost two decades, I have and continue to see an enormous gap in the capabilities of my students. Some come through the door reading and writing fluently. Others are still sounding out words letter-by-letter with no ability to blend the sounds into words, the words into sentences, and sentences into coherent thoughts.The problem, too often, is a lack of the true kindergarten experience, the enrichment it brings into their lives, and the critical … [Read more...] about My Turn: Why full-day kindergarten is my top priority
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SOUTH PORTLAND — The presidential election of 2016 has certainly made a difference in the lives of many Maine residents. For my husband and me, we became much more interested in politics, locally and nationally, reading current books and watching much more televised news. I cut out a commentary last spring from The New York Times, titled “The age of the MSNBC mom,” and sent it to my son, saying that it described his father and me now. Having been educators in the Portland area for more than 40 years, my husband and I have talked about what we think school systems need to focus on in these political times: specifically, civil discourse and social media. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Cheryl Stitham White is a resident of South Portland. Search photos available for purchase: Photo Store → We feel that, starting with students in the early grades, we need to help young people express their thoughts and beliefs in a rational manner that is respectful of other points of … [Read more...] about Maine Voices: Our schools need to focus on civil discourse and social media