pensylvania walfare preschool standards?

the book of standard for a daycare or preschool setting

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  • 1 decade ago
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    The State of Pennsylvania should assure high quality early childhood programs for all three, four and five year olds who are not yet kindergarten age. The state funded early childhood classes should be either directly provided by the local school district, the local Head Start or through the purchase of programs from qualified private agencies. The programs should meet minimal standards based on the work of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) or another recognized early childhood education organization and be available without cost to all families.

    Early childhood education poses a serious ethical challenge for educators striving to assure that all children are able to become successful students and independent adults. Many children do not have access to effective early childhood programs. This inequity in access to early childhood education harms children who need the support of preschool education the most to increase their chances of success in school. (Neuman, December 2003). Failing to assure early childhood education for all, especially for those children in low socioeconomic categories, leads to more children entering school without basic prereading skills, unprepared for the social and academic challenges of school, more likely to be enrolled in special education and facing greater challenges in adulthood.

    Evidence of Effectiveness and Need

    The evidence documenting the effectiveness and value or early childhood education is strong and clear. Barnett found that early childhood education programs yield $7.16 for every dollar invested through reduced special education and remedial education and reduction in the use of welfare, incidence of crime and through higher earnings (Barnett, 1996).

    In another study, researchers found that low income children who attended all day kindergarten performed better in school, completed more years of education, were more likely to complete college and were less likely to become parents as teenagers (Campbell, et al. 2002).

    Children who participated in Head Start programs were found to earn higher scores on cognitive and language tests, display less aggressive behavior and demonstrate improved social skills (Barnett and Hustedt, April 2003).

    The table excerpted below illustrates the difference in school readiness found when comparing children in low versus high socioeconomic categories:

    Beginning Kindergartners' School-Readiness Skills by Socioeconomic Status

    Lowest SES

    Highest SES

    Recognizes letters of alphabet

    39%

    85%

    Identifies beginning sounds of words

    10%

    51%

    The children with lower socioeconomic status have greatly reduced exposure to books and language. They begin school with dramatically less prereading ability than children in the highest socioeconomic category. (Neuman, 2003).

    Despite agreement about the benefits of early childhood education, not even all Head Start eligible children have access to Early Childhood Education programs. From 1989 to 2002, 28,895 of the 56,895 children eligible for Head Start were able to participate in the program. 49% of eligible children were excluded from the program during that period because funding was not sufficient to make the programs available. (Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children, 2002).

    An example of difficulties in the area of access to early childhood education can be found in the strategic plan of the Quality Child Care Coalition (QCCC). The Coalition examined childcare quality and accessibility in Bucks County before developing a proposal to promote improved access to the Pennsylvania Department of Welfare. QCCC found that the vast majority of childcare and early education programs in Bucks County were located in the more populated and affluent regions in the center of the county. It is very difficult to find quality early childhood education programs in the rural areas and those confronting higher rates of poverty (Quality Child Care Coalition, 2002).

    Defining and Assuring Quality Early Childhood Education

    It is not sufficient to simply mandate early childhood education. Researchers are clear that programs that do not meet basic criteria have no positive impact on the readiness of young learners. The call for "quality" is heard frequently in education and is merely a slogan if not connected to clear definitions of quality indicators. Undefined calls for quality early childhood education may be sufficient to increase superficial interest and support, but will not be sufficient to put together a program that is truly effective and truly supported by the community. (Claybaugh and Rozycki, 2002).

    Currently only 15% of center-based childcare programs are rated as good or better using observational scales (Cost, Quality, and Child Care Outcomes Study Team, 1995). Clearly, establishing a statewide early childhood program requires that the state establish minimal requirements for teachers, curriculum, physical setting, child to adult ratios and so on.

    The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) has well-researched standards for teacher preparation, curriculum practices, ongoing training and other aspects of early childhood education. Adopting the NAEYC definition of quality early childhood education, or developing a definition based on those standards would communicate the requirements of the program effectively and insure that the preschool programs developed would meet quality standards necessary to assure effectiveness.

    The state will need to establish minimum teacher training and quality standards, which are sufficient to support the programs created. Higher levels of education and training requirements may push some early childhood teachers out of the field, but in general, higher minimum standards will have the positive impact of raising their job status and increasing salary as demand for the positions grows.

    Public education involvement can have a positive impact on the quality of early childhood education programs. Support from local school districts through training and technical assistance will be an important source of support, which will promote the use of appropriate curriculum and improve teacher skills (Freeman and King, 2003).

    Creation of a Network of Early Childhood Services/Cost

    As indicated above, the investment in early childhood education programs is supported by research indicating that it there is a significant return for every dollar invested. Cost poses challenges for every community that will be significant and must be addressed. It will not be possible to assure early childhood education without using existing as well as new resources.

    Models of early childhood education, which build on existing private and public resources, can be part of a state wide early childhood system. (Barnett and Hustedt, April 2003). Head Start is an important program, which is under supported in Pennsylvania. One way to assure access to early childhood education would be to enhance funding for this program, which provides valuable education to children and social support to families.

    Private preschools are a valuable resource. It may be more cost effective for a school district to charter an early childhood program in the community then to create a new program in isolation. A model already in use in Pennsylvania allows Head Start funds to flow to existing early childhood centers, which agree to meet minimum Head Start educational and care standards. (Barnett and Hustedt, 2003).

    Using a diverse network of publicly supported early childhood programs will allow parents to choose to participate in programs that match their interests and values. While participation in an early childhood education program would be voluntary, they will be most effective and widely used if they can be designed in a way to match the values of the community. Well-designed programs can be a source of information and support, even for parents who do not enroll their children in a state supported program.

    Conclusion

    Research supports high quality early childhood education as preparation for success in school. State initiatives in early childhood education indicate a strong interest in the needs of young children and the benefits of early learning. The development of a uniform system can assure quality education practices while building on existing private and public early childhood infrastructure. Pennsylvania should act to insure that all preschool age children have access to quality early childhood programs.

    Toulmin Structure of the Proposal

    Claim

    Publicly funded early childhood programs for all three to five year olds should be available to all children in Pennsylvania. The programs are needed to improve the likelihood of academic and social success in school for all children, regardless of socioeconomic status. The state should assure the programs by funding Head Start, local school districts, or local private programs that are able to meet state quality standards.

    Evidence

    Research shows the academic and social benefits participants in early childhood programs experience.

    Research shows that participants in early childhood programs are more likely to be independent, working adults, and less likely to live in poverty or to commit crime.

    Early Childhood programs are not affordable or accessible for many families in the state of Pennsylvania.

    Warrants

    All children have the right to an effective public education.

    The state is responsible for taking steps to insure that quality public education is available in all communities regardless of socioeconomic status.

    Schools must seek out strategies to assure the success of all children in school

    Schools must embrace programs, which will help them address the challenges of No Child Left Behind, and state standards for success in education.

    The community

  • 1 decade ago

    From the way your question is worded, I'm not quite sure what you're looking for, so I will tell you what I know.

    In Pennsylvania, the Department of Public Welfare licenses daycare centers, group daycare homes, and family daycare homes. Each of these types of facilities has a book of regulations. In order to maintain the license at the facility, the facility must adhere to these regulations. Here is the link for the DPW page that contains the regulations:

    http://www.dpw.state.pa.us/ServicesPrograms/ChildC...

    There are also Early Learning Standards available for any type of preschool - head start, daycare or public school. You can find these on the Pennsylvania Department of Education's website. The page is bookmarked here:

    http://www.able.state.pa.us/early_childhood/cwp/vi...

    And finally, if you're looking for the Head Start guidelines, you can find them on the Department of Health and Human Services website. The link is below:

    http://www2.acf.dhhs.gov/programs/hsb/legislation/...

    Head Start is the preschool program that is federally funded for low income families. I suspect that you'll want to start there, but I included the other links on regulations and standards, as I wasn't quite sure what you were looking for.

    I hope this helps!

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