Early Childhood Education

The conversation around early childhood education in New Hampshire today is often focused on the availability of half-day versus full-day kindergarten programs.

Governor Maggie Hassan weighed in when she spoke to NHPR in May:

"Full-day kindergarten would be a very important next step in making sure our young people have the kind of education that really prepares them for the 21st century global economy."

However, kindergarten here was not guaranteed until a 2007 law mandating public programs state-wide – making New Hampshire the last state in the nation to fully adopt public kindergarten.

Thunder Hill Elementary via Flickr CC

The incomes of wealthy and poor American families have diverged over the past three decades, so too have the educational outcomes of the children in these families. For more on why money matters when it comes to early childhood education and success later in life, we turn to Greg Duncan. He, along with Richard J. Murnane, is the author of Whither Opportunity?, which looks at the consequences of rising inequality for America’s education. Duncan spoke with NHPR's Peter Biello.
 

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

Kindergarten is a year of transition. Kids are learning how to listen, follow directions, sit still... but while they are making that transition, there’s a lot of mandatory wiggling.

In Mr. Woody’s morning kindergarten class, in Plainfield, a class of students blows off some steam while doing a “wiggle dance.” A stereo plays a children’s song that Mr. Woody sings along to, and the kids giggle and flail.

Sara Plourde | Data: NH Dept. of Education, NH School Administrators Association

The number of New Hampshire public school districts offering full day kindergarten has been on the rise since 1999, when there were fewer than a dozen.
 

Simon Whitaker via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/2Wc9GL

From Chicken Soup for the Soul to The Secret, self-help is an 11-billion dollar industry. We’ll talk to a writer who attended workshops, conferences and visualizations to understand America’s fixation with being better. And, any pet owner will tell you that having a dog or cat enriches one’s life, but what about a pet tiger or bear? We’ll take a look into the underground world of exotic animal ownership in America. Plus, common sense tells us that reading to children is good for them, but it’s more powerful than you might imagine. We’ll look into the practice of interactive reading and share tricks for bringing up book worms in the age of screens and digital devices. 

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments. 

Woodley Wonderworks via Flickr CC

Gov. Peter Shumlin has signed into law a bill calling for every 3- and 4-year-old in Vermont to have access to at least 10 hours a week of publicly funded, pre-kindergarten education.

Backers of the bill say it will add about $10 million a year in costs to the state's Education Fund by 2021. But they say the measure will save much more in the long run because many of the children will be given a good enough educational start that special education and corrections costs will be reduced.

Charlotte Albright for VPR

Every three, four, and five-year-old  in Vermont will be eligible for state-subsidized preschool, under new legislation  that Governor Shumlin has promised to sign into law. Many school districts already offer early education programs, but they vary widely in structure and quality. So a lot of details have to be worked out as the state sews together what is now a patchwork of programs.  

plums_deify / Flickr Creative Commons

New Hampshire has missed out on another round funding in the federal education grant program Race to the Top. The state was hoping for $37.5 million dollars to improve pre-k and early childhood education programs.