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Report: Quality Education Begins With the Very Young

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November 10, 2010

HARTFORD, Conn. - Start with the very youngest children. That's the suggestion of a new report about how to close Connecticut's biggest-in-the-nation educational achievement gap between middle-class and low-income students, most of whom are Black or Latino.

Judy Goldfarb, executive director of the Hartford Area Child Care Collaborative, says the Governor's Commission report, called "Creating a State of Achievement for All," recommends expanding high-quality preschool and full-day kindergarten to help all kids compete on equal terms. According to Goldfarb, it is important to start early because children from birth to age 8 are learning how to read – while kids from age 8 on, are reading to learn.

"So, if you don't have those solid fundamentals to be able to have that strong foundation, you're going to continue to flounder."

She says other critical components are active and involved parents, excellent teachers, and low teacher-child ratios.
She explains that children learn language by mimicking it, so the goal is for caregivers to model good language and provide young children with loving, high-quality interactions to establish a solid foundation.

"Not bringing more curriculum down from first grade or from kindergarten that they can't absorb because they haven't had the basis and the solid foundation."

By 2015, as part of improving early childhood education, state regulations will require state-funded programs to have at least one teacher with a bachelor's degree in each preschool classroom, adds Goldfarb.

Melinda Tuhus, Public News Service - CT