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Will the New Pre-Kindergarten Programs Make a Difference?

September 14, 2014
Plain English Version

Pre kPre-k programs bring school to four-years olds.  Experts believe these programs will help students get a good start. The big question is can things be done to reduce the gap between students who come from higher-income homes and those who come from lower-income homes. Teachers are learning how to teach pre-k pupils. First, they want to know how successful students learn. For some scholars, the pre-k schoolroom is the place to learn how children learn. There are a few methods that seem to work. One is to let children use their own ideas. Art, music and games made up by kids involve them in their own projects. In this way knowledge is learned and not just taught. The technical phrase is “interactive guided play.” There are many different programs and ideas from which to choose. Parents may and should participate. One way is for them to spend time with their kids at home. Talking to kids is a simple but good way to find out what they are interested in. But will this work for children who come from homes where parents are working at two jobs? Or homes where only one parent is around? And is this new idea really different from the old way of a teacher standing in front of a class and drilling the students? Some experts say the children who come into a pre-k program better prepared will do better in kindergarten and the rest of the way through school. And finally, there is the big question. will even the best pre-k programs make a difference in closing test score and income gaps? Source: The New York Times September 9, 2014

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