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Community Approach to Early Childhood Education Foundation for Success

Internationally, children who attend Pre K programs have greater achievement in mathematics, science, and reading by the fourth grade. And the more years of preprimary education, the greater the benefit, according to recent data released by Boston College from over 50 countries. [i]

But what is it about Pre K programs that give children an edge?

As it turns out, the greatest long-term benefit comes when early childhood education coincides with parenting to form a true parent-school partnership.

Specifically, Boston College’s findings indicate that a child’s home learning environment and Pre K education can positively reinforce dispositions toward exploring basic literacy and numeracy, especially when parents engage their children in specific activities, such as those listed below.


Early Numeracy Activities That Promote Success in Mathematics
Children had greater success in mathematics at the fourth grade if . . .

. . . they had engaged in early numeracy activities in early childhood:

. . . they began elementary school
able to:

> Counting rhymes or songs

>Count by him/herself

> Playing with number toys and games with shapes

> Recognize different shapes and written numbers from 1 to 10

> Counting different things

> Write numbers from 1 to 10

Early Literacy Activities that Promote Success in Reading
Children had greater success in reading at the fourth grade if . . .

. . . they had engaged in early literacy activities in early childhood:

. . . they began elementary school
able to:

> Reading books

> Recognize most of the letters of the alphabet

> Telling stories; singing songs

> Read some words and sentences

> Playing word games

> Write letters of the alphabet and some words


For 30 years, this very parent-school partnership has successfully guided Touchstone Community School’s philosophy and teaching. Starting with Pre K, “What we’re really trying to do is to build on that foundation that parents have already started at home,” affirms Sheryl Harrow, Head Teacher of Touchstone’s Early Childhood Program.

Every day in the Pre K classroom, during free play and in short workshops, children pursue their passions and interests though literacy, math, and science exploration, by playing with words and numbers, looking at books, and counting.

“Math, science, and literacy are always very much there,” explains Sheryl. “As they play, the children are communicating and writing notes, making lists and menus, and playing with money. They are developing their mathematical and scientific thinking, learning to cooperate, and they are learning in a joyful and meaningful way.”

“More importantly,” Sheryl emphasizes, “we involve parents and families, and we learn to help each other, especially around the social-emotional development of the kids—that’s the focus of this age.”

“So, that community piece is there, while we’re also supporting the individual. And we’re doing it in a playful sense, which is totally appropriate for this age.”

Watch a day in the life of Sheryl’s class as she describes Touchstone’s philosophy

Visit Touchstone


References:

[i] Mullis, I.V.S., Martin, M.O., Foy, P. & Arora, A. (2011). TIMSS 2011 international results in mathematics. Chestnut Hill, MA: TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center at Boston College, and the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement; Martin, M.O., Mullis, I.V.S., Foy, P. & Stanco, G.M. (2011). TIMSS 2011 international results in science. Chestnut Hill, MA: TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center at Boston College, and the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement; and Mullis, I.V.S., Martin, M.O., Foy, P. & Drucker, K.T. (2011). TIMSS 2011 international results in reading. Chestnut Hill, MA: TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center at Boston College, and the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement. Retrieved from http://timssandpirls.bc.edu/data-release-2011/