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Cradle to Kindergarten

A New Plan to Combat Inequality

Early care and education for many children in the United States is in crisis. The period between birth and kindergarten is a critical time for child development, and socioeconomic disparities that begin early in children’s lives contribute to starkly different long-term outcomes for adults. Yet, compared to other advanced economies, high-quality child care and preschool in the United States are scarce and prohibitively expensive for many middle-class and most disadvantaged families. To what extent can early-life interventions provide these children with the opportunities that their affluent peers enjoy and contribute to reduced social inequality in the long term? Cradle to Kindergarten offers a comprehensive, evidence-based strategy that diagnoses the obstacles to accessible early education and charts a path to opportunity for all children.
The U.S. government invests less in children under the age of five than do most other developed nations. Most working families must seek private childcare, which means that children from low-income households, who would benefit most from high-quality early education, are the least likely to attend them. Existing policies, such as pre-kindergarten in some states are only partial solutions. To address these deficiencies, the authors propose to overhaul the early care system, beginning with a federal paid parental leave policy that provides both mothers and fathers with time and financial support after the birth of a child. They also advocate increased public benefits, including an expansion of the child care tax credit, and a new child care assurance program that subsidizes the cost of early care for low- and moderate-income families. They also propose that universal, high-quality early education in the states should start by age three, and a reform of the Head Start program that would include more intensive services for families living in areas of concentrated poverty and experiencing multiple adversities from the earliest point in these most disadvantaged children’s lives. They conclude with an implementation plan and contend that these reforms are attainable within a ten-year timeline.
Reducing educational and economic inequalities requires that all children have robust opportunities to learn, fully develop their capacities, and have a fair shot at success. Cradle to Kindergarten presents a blueprint for fulfilling this promise by expanding access to educational and financial resources at a critical stage of child development.

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Early Start

Preschool Politics in the United States

Andrew Karch

In the United States, preschool education is characterized by the dominance of a variegated private sector and patchy, uncoordinated oversight of the public sector. Tracing the history of the American debate over preschool education, Andrew Karch argues that the current state of decentralization and fragmentation is the consequence of a chain of reactions and counterreactions to policy decisions dating from the late 1960s and early 1970s, when preschool advocates did not achieve their vision for a comprehensive national program but did manage to foster initiatives at both the state and national levels. Over time, beneficiaries of these initiatives and officials with jurisdiction over preschool education have become ardent defenders of the status quo. Today, advocates of greater government involvement must take on a diverse and entrenched set of constituencies resistant to policy change. In his close analysis of the politics of preschool education, Karch demonstrates how to apply the concepts of policy feedback, critical junctures, and venue shopping to the study of social policy.

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From Gesture to Language in Hearing and Deaf Children

Virginia Volterra and Carol J. Erting, Editors

In 21 essays on communicative gesturing in the first two years of life, this vital collection demonstrates the importance of gesture in a child’s transition to a linguistic system. Introductions preceding each section emphasize the parallels between the findings in these studies and the general body of scholarship devoted to the process of spoken language acquisition. Renowned scholars contributing to this volume include Ursula Bellugi, Judy Snitzer Reilly, Susan Goldwin-Meadow, Andrew Lock, M. Chiara Levorato, and many others.

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The Good-bye Window

A Year in the Life of a Day-Care Center

Harriet Brown

Have you ever wondered what really goes on at your child’s day-care center after you say good-bye? Harriet Brown did. To satisfy her curiosity, she spent an entire year observing Red Caboose, a center in Madison, Wisconsin. This engaging and thought-provoking book is the story of that year.
    In her beautifully written personal account, journalist and mother Brown takes us behind the scenes at a day-care center that works. At Red Caboose, one of the oldest independent centers in the country, we meet teachers who have worked with young children for more than twenty years. We watch the child-care union and parents struggle to negotiate a contract without ripping apart the fabric of trust and love that holds the Red Caboose community together.
    We look at the center’s finances, to see what keeps Red Caboose going at a time when other good centers are disappearing. Best of all, we get to know the children, families, and teachers of Red Caboose—their struggles, their sorrows, their triumphs.
    Started twenty-five years ago by a group of idealistic parents, the center has not only survived but thrived through some pretty tough times. In the world of day care, Red Caboose is a special place, a model for what child care in this country could and should be: not just babysitting, not just a service to working parents, but a benefit for children, families, teachers, and the community at large.
    Brown sets her rich and engaging stories in the greater political and social context of our time. Why is so much child care bad? Why should working Americans worry about the link between welfare reform and child care? What can we learn from the history of child care?
    This book is a must-read for parents, educators, and anyone who enjoys first-rate writing and dead-on insight into the lives of our youngest children and those who care for them.

“[Brown’s] writing is beautiful and her scholarship sound. Students considering day-care careers, day-care professionals, and concerned parents will gain insight by reading this provocative book, as will anyone who cares about the future of young children in this country.”—Choice

“I admire enormously the ambition of this book—its eagle-eyed witness and engrossing detail, plus the social importance of the project. I wish there were in the world more books like it.”—Lorrie Moore, author of Who Will Run the Frog Hospital?

The Good-bye Window is a fascinating peek into the secret world of children. With the poignancy of Anne LaMott, and the reportorial grace of Tracy Kidder, Harriet Brown has written a terrific and worthwhile book.”—Meg Wolitzer, author of This Is Your Life

“Harriet Brown’s well-told story of the Red Caboose child-care center should be read by teachers and parents, but also by every legislator and politician in the land. Only a writer as good as Ms. Brown could display the dramatic complexities of a school community in which the youngest members enter crawling and emerge a few years later as articulate, empathetic, and well-socialized individuals, ready for the ‘real world.’”—Vivian Gussin Paley, author of The Boy Who Would Be a Helicopter


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L'échange de connaissances en petite enfance

Comment mettre à profit les expertises des chercheurs et des praticiens

Edited by Nathalie Bigras

Quelles sont ces activités d’échange de connaissances menées dans le domaine de la petite enfance au Québec ? Comment ces expériences ont-elles vu le jour et par la suite pris forme ? Quels sont les cadres de référence sur lesquels s’appuient ces expériences ? Quels en sont les caractéristiques, les obstacles et les gages de succès ? Quels types d’activités d’échanges sont menés ? Ces questions sont au cœur de ce collectif qui réunit des chercheurs et des praticiens préoccupés par l’échange de connaissances, que l’on parle de projets de grande envergure mobilisateurs et rassembleurs, de projets liés à l’évaluation et à l’intervention en petite enfance, de projets locaux visant la réussite scolaire ou de projets visant l’accroissement des connaissances sur les pratiques éducatives et la qualité des service

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L'intervention éducative au préscolaire

Un modèle de pédagogie du jeu

Jouer et voir le monde sous un angle ludique est une compétence nécessaire pour toutes les enseignantes, particulièrement pour les enseignantes du préscolaire pour qui cette compétence constitue l’essence même de leur identité professionnelle. Toutefois, nombreuses sont les futures enseignantes qui, dans le passage de l’adolescence à l’âge adulte, ont perdu «le code de jeu». Elles doivent réapprendre à jouer. Dans le langage pédagogique, cela veut dire: connaître le système complexe et dynamique du jeu, maîtriser les différentes voies de construction du jeu propres aux différentes étapes du préscolaire, agir dans une situation imaginaire, se positionner selon différents rôles, gérer des conflits intrinsèques à l’activité et organiser les apprentissages dans un contexte ludique. Cet ouvrage permettra aux futures enseignantes de l’éducation préscolaire, et à celles déjà en fonction, de faire le lien entre les concepts théoriques et leur expression dans la pratique. Elles seront ainsi en mesure d’observer le jeu des enfants, d’établir leurs degrés de progression, d’évaluer la culture et la compétence ludiques de chaque enfant et de la classe, et ce, en vue d’élaborer un modèle personnel d’intervention éducative basée sur le jeu. L’ouvrage les fera passer de la perspective pédagogique qui consiste à «jouer pour apprendre» à celle qui requiert d’«apprendre pour jouer».

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Let’s Read

A Linguistic Approach

By Cynthia A. Barnhart and Robert K. Barnhart Based on the original work of Leonard Bloomfield and Clarence L. Barnhart

A classic reading-instruction text, updated to be more contemporary and teacher- and user-friendly.


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