Early Childhood Education Act

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The Early Childhood Education Act is the name of various landmark laws passed by the United States Congress outlining federal programs and funding for childhood education from pre-school through kindergarten. The first such act was introduced in the United States House of Representatives by Congresswoman Patsy Mink of Hawaiʻi in the 1960s. The theory behind the act is that the years before a child reaches kindergarten are the most critical to influence learning. Many children do not have access to early education before entering kindergarten.[1] The goal of the act is to provide a comprehensive set of services for children from birth until they enter kindergarten.[2]

Legislative History[edit]

Since the Early Childhood Education Act was initiated in the 60s, various laws have been passed and continue to be passed as part of the Early Childhood Education Act to better prepare young children for school.

Head start

Founded in 1965 by Jule sugarman, Head start was one of the first programs initiated as a result of the Early Childhood Education Act. Its goal is to enhance the social and cognitive development of children offering services in the area of education, health, social and nutrition.[3]

National Academy of Early Childhood Programs

In 1985 the National Association for the Education of Young Children established the National Academy of Early Childhood Programs for voluntary accreditation according to health, safety and education standards. This program was intended to create a more reliable standard of accreditation for early childhood education programs.[3]

Even Start Program

In 1988, The U.S Department of Education established the Even Start Program to improve parent and family literacy at home. This program was designed to improve parents literacy so they can ultimately help their children become literate and reach their full potential as learners. It integrates early childhood education, adult education and family literacy.[3]

No Child Left Behind Act

The No Child Left Behind Act was proposed by George W. Bush and passed by United States House of Representatives in 2001. The Act requires that all public schools receive federal funding to administer a standardized test annually to asses if students have made Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). Schools must provide services to students who do not meet AYP in order to help them succeed and pass AYP the following year.[3]

Preschool for All Initiative

In 2013, President Obama proposed the Preschool for All initiative. The goal of this program is to expand funding in all fifty states to allow low and mid-income families the opportunity to provide their four-year-old children with high quality preschool.[3]

Provisions of the act[edit]

Laws under the Early Childhood Education Act offer comprehensive services for children from birth through age five.[2] Programs should meet one the following goals: ·Provide access to high-quality infant and toddler care [1]

·Expand voluntary home visit early learning program s[1]

·Develop partnerships with states to provide high-quality preschool for low and middle-income families [1]

Current Programs[edit]

Early Reading First was established as part of the No Child Left Behind Act. It provides competitive grants to fund the development of model programs that aim to prepare children for school.[4] The Special Education Preschool Grants program provides grants to states to fund special educational services to children 3 to 5 with disabilities. The Special Education Grants for Infants and Families grant program assists states in implementing services for children with disabilities from birth to 2 years old.[2] The Early Childhood Educator Professional Development Program is a competitive grant program that gives the opportunity to professionally develop skills to educators and caregivers working in low-income areas.[2]

Research and Evaluations[edit]

Research

The Preschool Curriculum Evaluation Research program evaluates the efficiency current preschool curricula in order to address the lack of systematic evaluations currently used. The data collected includes child assessments, parent interviews, teacher interviews and classroom observations.[2]

Evaluations

The 'Even Start Classroom Literacy Interventions and Outcomes Study is a controlled study that asses the contribution of the enhanced parenting component of the program. It focuses on evaluating whether focused literacy instruction combined with parent education will provide better outcomes than current programs.[2]

The Early Reading First National Evaluation asses the impact of the program on children’s language, literacy outcomes and preschools’ literacy instruction. The study compares schools’ programs who received funding from the Early reading grant and those who did not.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d U.S Department of Education. "Early Learning: America's Middle Class Promise Begins Early." U.S. Department of Education. Web. 9 Nov. 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g U.S Department of Education. "Archived: Early Childhood Education." Archived: Early Childhood Education. Web. 8 Nov. 2014
  3. ^ a b c d e "Milestones: A Child Care History Timeline." Milestones: A Child Care History Timeline. , 2011. Web. 9 Nov. 2014.
  4. ^ name = Early Education
  • "Milestones: A Child Care History Timeline." Milestones: A Child Care History Timeline. , 2011. Web. 9 Nov. 2014.
  • U.S Department of Education. "Archived: Early Childhood Education." Archived: Early Childhood Education. Web. 8 Nov. 2014.
  • U.S Department of Education. "Early Learning." The White House. The White House, n.d. Web. 8 Nov. 2014.
  • U.S Department of Education. "Early Learning: America's Middle Class Promise Begins Early." U.S. Department of Education. Web. 9 Nov. 2014.