Published: April 2, 2013
James Heckman is one of the nation’s top economists studying human development. Thirteen years ago, he shared the Nobel for economics. In February, he stood before the annual meeting of the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry, showed the assembled business executives a chart, and demolished the United States’ entire approach to education.
Eduardo Porter writes the Economic Scene column for the Wednesday Business section. Continue reading
Cookies at school, crackers for car rides, chips after sports … This around-the-clock nibbling is hurting kids’ eating habits — and their health.
By Sally Kuzemchak, R.D. from Parents Magazine
The cupcakes put me over the edge. Every Saturday, I had watched quietly as a convenience store’s worth of junk food was handed out after my son’s peewee soccer games: cookies, chips, doughnuts, cheese-filled pretzels, fruity drinks. I didn’t want to speak up and ruffle feathers. I didn’t want to be that mom.
But on this day, after the kids played a 45-minute game during which most never broke a sweat, they were given fruit punch and cookies — plus enormous, frosted cupcakes. It was 10:30 a.m. I was angry, especially at myself for keeping quiet. So I vowed to do something. The next season, I asked my son’s coach if we could eliminate junk-food snacks in favor of fruit — and then I held my breath. To my relief, his response was “I couldn’t agree more!” I told the team parents that the coach had given the idea his blessing, so they were on board too. I did the same when T-ball began. Each week, the kids devoured the fruit without complaint. Continue reading
By JOHN E. PEPPER Jr. and JAMES M. ZIMMERMAN
IN his State of the Union address, President Obama called for making preschool available to every 4-year-old in America, opening a welcome discussion on whether and how to make the investments needed to realize this vision.
As two longtime corporate executives who have been engaged in education for decades, we have no doubt about the answer to this question. Children who attend high-quality preschool do much better when they arrive in kindergarten, and this makes an enormous difference for their later success. The data on preschool is overwhelmingly positive. Although some studies suggest that the positive impact decreases over time, this is mainly attributable to differences in the quality of preschool and of the schooling that follows — not a deficiency in preschool itself.
The effectiveness of quality early childhood education has been affirmed by many business-related groups, including ReadyNation, a coalition of business leaders, organized in 2006.
The Institute for a Competitive Workforce, an affiliate of the United States Chamber of Commerce, found in a 2010 report that “for every dollar invested today, savings range from $2.50 to as much as $17 in the years ahead.” Research by the University of Chicago economist James J. Heckman, a Nobel laureate, points to a 7- to 10-percent annual return on investment in high-quality preschool.
By creating and implementing effective early childhood programs and policies, society can ensure that children have a solid foundation for a productive future. Four decades of evaluation research have identified innovative programs that can improve a wide range of outcomes with continued impact into the adult years. Effective interventions are grounded in neuroscience and child development research and guided by evidence regarding what works for what purpose. With careful attention to quality and continuous improvement, such programs can be cost-effective and produce positive outcomes for children.
The science of early brain development can inform investments in early childhood. These basic concepts, established over decades of neuroscience and behavioral research, help illustrate why child development—particularly from birth to ἀve years—is a foundation for a prosperous and sustainable society.
Brains are built over time, from the bottom up. The basic architecture of the brain is construct-ed through an ongoing process that begins before birth and continues into adulthood. Early experiences affect the quality of that architecture by establishing either a sturdy or a fragile foundation for all of the learning, health and behavior that follow. In the ἀrst few years of life, 700 new neural connections are formed every second.
Preschool – It’s Not Too Late To Enroll
The Coventry Early Childhood Center (CECC), located in the Hale Early Education Center (on the Capt. Nathan Hale Middle School campus) still has a couple of openings in the school day program (6 hours per day). There is generous financial assistance available. For example, if a family of 2 is earning less than $10,000 they will pay $200/year for the program. A family of 4 earning approximately $80,000 will pay $2400 for the same program. Please contact CECC for more information at 860-742-4550 or contact us.