New Crib Safety Standards

Valuable information for any providor or parent. 

CPSC Announcement on New Crib Safety Standards
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) proposed new safety standards for full-size and non-full-size baby cribs.  The proposed new crib standards are in response to numerous incidents of injury or fatality to infants involving such cribs.  The Commission is requesting comments on these new proposed standards by October 6, 2010.  The proposed new crib standards will apply to all owners and operators of child care facilities, including family child care homes.  Once the new standards are in effect, it will be unlawful to provide a crib for use that does not meet the new standards.  We encourage you to review these proposed new standards and make comments.  The Commission has proposed the new standards to be effective six months after the publication of the final rule (which is unknown at this time, but could be as early as this fall).  The Commission is also seeking comments regarding the sufficiency of this six month effective date.  To read the notice of proposed rulemaking as well as instructions for submitting comments please click here:  http://www.cpsc.gov/businfo/frnotices/fr10/cribstd.pdf.
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Importance of Activity Based Learning

story recently released in the New York Times features a study published by University of Illinois researchers confirming that active children may, in fact, be smarter than inactive children.  This is great news for Head Start and a large reason for its success over the year. 

As early childhood educators, parents or education professionals, we are all aware of the benefits activity based learning can have on a young child.  If you are unaware of the benefits, this study may help shed some light on the situation.  In Head Start, activity based learning and providing valuable early childhood experiences is an essential part of the social, emotional, mental and physical development of our young children.  This study further emphasises the importance that play and activity based learning can have on our young children. 

While the study focused on 9 and 10-year-old children, it is difficult to imagine these findings not relating to younger, or even older children in similar situations.  The main point of the New York Times article?  GET KIDS MOVING!!  They showed active children, with similar backgrounds, will have high IQ’s and will perform better on tests than their inactive counterparts.  This evidence further emphasises the need for early childhood education and the role it plays in the development of the future leaders of our country.  I hope Washington D.C. and the leaders therein are listening.

Head Start Body Start

If there is someone out there who hasn’t heard of Head Start Body Start, I’d like to provide a brief introduction.  Head Start Body Start National Center for Physical Development and Outdoor Play (HSBS) is a collaboration between the American Association for Physical Activity and Recreation (AAPAR) and the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) and is funded by a grant from the Administration for Children and Families.  Their goal?  To improve the health of all Head Start and Early Head Start children, parents and staff.  They do so by providing valuable resources, services and assistance to Head Start programs around the country, informing OHS of changing policies and trends, and last but not least by providing grants to programs allowing them to construct or improve their outdoor play centers. 

Recently, 380+ grants were awarded to Head Start programs nationwide to improve their outdoor play spaces.  These grant recipients also have access to online training as well as on-site targeted training and technical assistance from a Head Start Body Start Physical Activity Consultant.  The best news…three South Dakota programs were chosen to receive grant money!!  Congratulations goes out to:

  • Murdo Head Start, SD
  • TREC – Badlands Head Start: Prenatal to Five Lemmon, SD
  • Watch Puppy Depot Head Start, SD

To see the complete list of grant winners, visit the Head Start Body Start website.  Congrats again to those South Daktoa programs who will be upgrading or improving  their outdoor play equipment.  Keep up the great work for the children and families of South Dakota!

Is Education Hindering Young Children?

We mentioned a video regarding education in our first post and how it inspired us to start this blog.  In the video, Sir Ken Robinson speaks of education at  a TED 2006 conference.  TED is a small nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started in 1984 as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design.  It has since expanded in scope and popularity, and certainly does bring together some of the brightest minds in the world. 

The video is about 23 min, but well worth the watch if you have the time.  He jokes his way through the majority of the presentation, but eventually gets to the point that our current education system is hindering the progress of our young children.  Why on earth would he say that?  He has many good points, the main one being that perfection is encouraged, while mistakes are criticized.  He premises that education’s purpose is to produce university professors.   

Short story longer, a quote at the beginning of his presentation really got to me.  He stated,  “We don’t grow into creativity, we grow out of it.”  As children, we are not afraid of making mistakes, so we don’t mind taking a “leap of faith”, so to speak, when answering a question or confrunted with a problem.  This made me think of Head Start.  Head Start has come under vast scrutiny lately because of a study released by the Department of Health and Human Services.  Without going into great detail, the study found that children enrolled in Head Start showed no significant advantage over children who were not enrolled in Head Start after one year of school.  It showed that Head Start children did perform better than their counterparts before they were enrolled in school.  After that, their performace bagan to level out with that of their counterparts.  And remember, these are dissadvantaged kids we are talking about here. 

The main opponents of Head Start are focusing solely upon this fact suggesting that the federal government is funding a program that does not work.    However, in the very first line of the report, the goal of Head Start is, “…to boost the school readiness of low-income children.”  That’s it, plain and simple.  People often forget that low-income children do not always have the same opportunities to learn as their counterparts above the poverty line.  Head Start provides them with that chance. 

Going back to Sir Robinson’s point about creativity and how it relates to Head Start.  That is what makes Head Start so wonderful for these children.  Head Start focuses on activity based learning fostering physical, social, emotional and mental growth.  It provides young children with experiences and education that they otherwise may not receive.  They transition into a school setting, not behind their counterparts, but ahead or at the same level, ready to learn and ready to excel.  This is only the tip of the iceberg when you are discussing the benefits that Head Start provides for the children and families enrolled.  We’ll discuss those other benefits in future posts.

Poverty Statistics Released

The total number of people in poverty grew by 3.7 million from 2008 to 2009 according to a recent release sent out by the U.S. Census Bureau.  The increase in the poverty rate – or percentage in poverty – is the largest single year increase since 1979-1980. Child poverty rose from 19 percent to 20.7 percent.  That is the highest child poverty rate since 1995 (which was 20.8 percent).  15.4 million children are poor, an increase of almost 1.4 million children. 

How does South Dakota fit into the mix?  The number of individuals in poverty rose from 104,000 in 2008 to 113,000 in 2009.  According to the most recent KIDS COUNT Data Book, the percentage of children in poverty has risen by 29% since 2000.  This compared to a 6% increase on a national scale.  The percentage of children living with single-parent families has risen by 30% since 2000 while the national increase was only 3%.  These statistics are quite daunting and we’ll face a bumpy, uphill climb if we wish to turn these statistics around in the right direction.

A new beginning for SDHSA

Hello everyone!  As I was watching a great video yesterday about education and how it may be hindering the creativity of our young children, I had the sudden urge to blog about it!  While that blog post will be coming soon, I want to provide a brief introduction to our new pressence online. 

We have recently developed a new website at www.sdheadstart.org.  Our CMS system allows us to manage the content and look of our website and is very user friendly.  The blog, however, is a different story.  We feel that WordPress will be a very simple way to provide everyone interested in early childhood education with valuable information.  Please continue to check back or sign up for our updates.  Please also let us know if there is anything you would like to see posted.  Thanks for visiting!

South Dakota Head Start Team