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Hosted by: Scott LaMar



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witf introduces 'Smart Talk Friday' radio program

RST: Importance of early childhood education

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Aug 6, 2013 3:24 PM

What to look for on Radio Smart Talk Wednesday, August 7:

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One of the real breakthroughs of the last 10-15 years is the research and acknowledgement that early childhood education helps children become better students throughout their school years and more successful even into adulthood.

It used to be that a child's first formal education came in kindergarten.  Today, many children who don't have some form of pre-kindergarten learning start off behind their classmates.

Research shows that kids who had early childhood education often are better students throughout school, go on to college, earn higher salaries, and use fewer government services as adults.

It also is one aspect of education that is almost universally accepted politically.  However, politics does go on display once the subject turns to paying for early childhood programs.

Meanwhile, witf's Ready, Set, Go...Kindergarten event is scheduled for this Saturday.  Hundreds of children about to enter kindergarten and their families will participate to get them ready for the first day of school in a few weeks. 

Appearing on Wednesday's Radio Smart Talk to address the importance of early childhood education is Christy Renjilian, Executive Director of Child Care Consultants in York County and Debbie Riek, witf's Education Coordinator.

View photos from last year's event!

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Christy Renjilian, Executive Director of Child Care Consultants in York County and Debbie Riek, witf's Education Coordinator

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Comments: 8

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2013-08-07 08:21

    email from Nick in York

    I'd like to hear Debbie's response to the following:

    In recent years, ECE has fought to avoid budget cuts to it's various programs. In spite of this, there are still many program (PRE-K counts for ex) that regularly end their fiscal years with excess funding and engage in wasteful spending practices.

    For example, a PRE-K counts program ends the fiscal year with a surplus of $20k and spends the money on an over abundance of paper supplies, toys, etc. simply to avoid giving the money back to the funders. This type of spending allows programs to erroneously report their budgetary needs and ends in unnecessary stockpiles of materials that never get used.

    I'd like to know why this is necessary, why the funding can't be put into paying staff a livable wage, and lastly, in an economic situation like he one we're in now, why anyone should advocate for funding to these programs when this type of wasteful spending takes place. I know Debbie has personally witnessed this in a local agency, which is why the question is directed to her.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2013-08-07 08:24

    Email from Grace

    I have a 2 year old son and we read to him, take him to the local library reading program and have him in Soccer Shots. Do you know of any other early programs in Central PA that we could explore to help him prepare for going to school? He is in daycare as well. We just want to do all we can to help him prepare.

    • edstem09 img 2013-08-29 04:05

      Good for you. That is just what you should do. You should also take advantage of low cost enrichment activities that happen in your community and our region. There are lots of them sponsored by a variety of groups. Set the goal to go on an "adventure" each month. Visit a park and make nature observations. Talk about what you see. Visit the children's section of local museums. Buy plain paper and crayons or colored pencils. Draw a picture of what you saw with your child. Count stuff like spoons as you set the table or cars on the train passing by. Talk about colors of things you see.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2013-08-07 08:28

    Email from Pat in Waynesboro.


    My mother taught kindergarten for many years. How far we seem to have come from Robert Fulghum's essay

    ALL I REALLY NEED TO KNOW I LEARNED IN KINDERGARTEN

    All I really need to know about how to live and what to do and how to be I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sand pile at school.

    These are the things I learned:
    • Share everything.
    • Play fair.
    • Don't hit people.
    • Put things back where you found them.
    • Clean up your own mess.
    • Don't take things that aren't yours.
    • Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.
    • Wash your hands before you eat.
    • Flush.
    • Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
    • Live a balanced life - learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
    • Take a nap every afternoon.
    • When you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together.
    • Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: the roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
    • Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup - they all die. So do we.
    • And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned - the biggest word of all - LOOK.
    Everything you need to know is in there somewhere. The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation. Ecology and politics and equality and sane living.

    Take any one of those items and extrapolate it into sophisticated adult terms and apply it to your family life or your work or government or your world and it holds true and clear and firm. Think what a better world it would be if we all - the whole world - had cookies and milk at about 3 o'clock in the afternoon and then lay down with our blankies for a nap. Or if all governments had as a basic policy to always put things back where they found them and to clean up their own mess.

    And it is still true, no matter how old you are, when you go out in the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2013-08-07 08:29

    Email from Heather,

    What are the pros and cons of public v. Private kgarten? And 1/2 day v. Full day?

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2013-08-07 08:35

    Email from Kim

    When I was first learning to be a teacher, I was told that the only 25% of the students in the Harrisburg School District (and other urban districts) were prepared to enter 1st grade.

    By the time they get to high school, many, if not most, of them are 5 years behind in reading and math. That was in the 90's and it seems to not have changed much since then. How do we address this monstrous problem?

  • edstem09 img 2013-08-08 04:27

    In 2000, Harrisburg School District had some of the lowest achievement in the state not just in the high school, but in all its schools and at every grade level. Several interventions were put into place. 1 - a universal preschool for 3year old and 4 year olds. These kids also received school based health care and 2 meals at school. The District also put in place universal All Day Kindergarten. Again with school based health care services, 2 meals at school and an after school snack. Plus there is a summer lunch program. These interventions were all delivered by Harrisburg District employees.

    By 2012, the kids (who received this massive intervention) are now through out district at every grade level. How have things improved?

    The District remains second to last for student achievement In 2012. Just 35% of the children 3rd-11th have on grade level math skills. Only 34% of the children in the District are reading on grade level in 2012. PreK & AllDK interventions are supposed to fix these problems. http://paayp.emetric.net/Content/reportcards/RC12D115222752.PDF

    3rd grade math - 42% on grade level in 2012.
    3rd grade reading - 40%, Statewide 77% of 3rd graders are on grade level.

    4th gr math - 32% on grade level a decline for the same kids in 3rd grade (45% on gr level)
    4th gr reading - 23% on grade level a BIG decline for the same kids in 3rd grade. (40% on gr level)

    22% of HCSD students are in special education which is far above the state average of 16%. In 2005 the rate was 17% in HCSD. AllDK has NOT reduced Special Ed referrals and saved not one dollar.

    The District's graduation rate was 45% which is abysmal.

    In 2012 the administration reports 54 incidents in the school involved the police with 44 arrests. There were 30 assaults on students, including 1 aggravated indecent assault. https://www.safeschoolsreports.state.pa.us/historic/historic/2012/97a11912-baf7-4631-bf87-cfb54dd4ac92.pdf

    Youth crime and crime in general are serious issues in the city.

    I think the outcomes we see in Harrisburg demonstrate the unabashed mythology of the "cure alls" of preschool and all day k.

  • edstem09 img 2013-08-08 04:28

    In 2000, Harrisburg School District had some of the lowest achievement in the state not just in the high school, but in all its schools and at every grade level. Several interventions were put into place. 1 - a universal preschool for 3year old and 4 year olds. These kids also received school based health care and 2 meals at school. The District also put in place universal All Day Kindergarten. Again with school based health care services, 2 meals at school and an after school snack. Plus there is a summer lunch program. These interventions were all delivered by Harrisburg District employees.

    By 2012, the kids (who received this massive intervention) are now through out district at every grade level. How have things improved?

    The District remains second to last for student achievement In 2012. Just 35% of the children 3rd-11th have on grade level math skills. Only 34% of the children in the District are reading on grade level in 2012. PreK & AllDK interventions are supposed to fix these problems. http://paayp.emetric.net/Content/reportcards/RC12D115222752.PDF

    3rd grade math - 42% on grade level in 2012.
    3rd grade reading - 40%, Statewide 77% of 3rd graders are on grade level.

    4th gr math - 32% on grade level a decline for the same kids in 3rd grade (45% on gr level)
    4th gr reading - 23% on grade level a BIG decline for the same kids in 3rd grade. (40% on gr level)

    22% of HCSD students are in special education which is far above the state average of 16%. In 2005 the rate was 17% in HCSD. AllDK has NOT reduced Special Ed referrals and saved not one dollar.

    The District's graduation rate was 45% which is abysmal.

    In 2012 the administration reports 54 incidents in the school involved the police with 44 arrests. There were 30 assaults on students, including 1 aggravated indecent assault. https://www.safeschoolsreports.state.pa.us/historic/historic/2012/97a11912-baf7-4631-bf87-cfb54dd4ac92.pdf

    Youth crime and crime in general are serious issues in the city.

    I think the outcomes we see in Harrisburg demonstrate the unabashed mythology of the "cure alls" of preschool and all day k.

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