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Forum on Public Policy Online

Vol 2010 no 5 (Posted December 2010)


Women and Careers || Laws || Early Childhood || Arts and Sciences ||

Early Childhood


Physical Activity Promotes Academic Achievement and a Healthy Lifestyle when Incorporated into Early Childhood Education
Ben R. Abadie and Stanley P. Brown

The detrimental effects of physical inactivity within children have enormous personal health consequences.  These health conditions have the potential to impact the economic vitality of society as a whole. Studies have indicated that inactive children are far more likely to suffer from obesity, type II diabetes, and hypertension than their physically active peers.  Research also indicates that these health problems tend to follow the individual into adulthood.  Seventy percent of obese adolescents will become obese adults (Reilly, 2007).  In addition to the health benefits of physical activity, physical activity has also been positively correlated to academic achievement when integrated into early childhood educational programs.  This paper will primarily review the evidence that demonstrates the positive influence of physical activity on academic achievement in early childhood education.  This paper will further provide basic guidelines for developing an early childhood education program.


Factors Impacting the Child with Behavioral Inhibition
Suzanne R. Hornbuckle, Adjunct Professor of Psychology, Lone Star College
Various factors influence the developmental course of the behaviorally inhibited child. These factors include reciprocating, contextual factors, such as the child’s own traits, the environment, the maternal characteristics, and the environment. Behaviorally inhibited children show physiological and behavioral signs of fear and anxiety when introduced to unfamiliar persons and situations. Their own behavior seems to elicit negative reactions from others. They often go on to develop internalizing problems, such as depression, anxiety and low self-esteem. Mothers of behaviorally inhibited children typically exhibit anxious, overprotective and critical child rearing. They often have histories of depression, anxiety and insecure attachment relationships. These maternal characteristics exacerbate the child’s negativity, anxiety, and sense of powerlessness over his own environment.  Environmental stressors, including an absence of social support and poverty can affect the child directly and/or indirectly.  This paper discusses the variables that impact the behaviorally inhibited child and provides some suggestions for remediation.

The History of Early Literacy Research and Its Effect on the Project “Enriching a Child’s Literacy Environment (ECLE)”
Ethna R. Reid, Director, Exemplary Center for Reading Instruction (ECRI), Salt Lake City
By presenting a brief general history of educators’ efforts and struggles to influence the intellectual and social growth of young children, it will help the reader understand why the Exemplary Center for Reading Instruction (ECRI), a research and consulting group concerned with instructional practices, sought for and obtained funds from the U.S. Department of Education to conduct three major studies pertaining to early childhood education over a period of 25 years.

The Role of Attachment and Self-Regulation in the Etiology of Residential Treatment of Childhood Sexual Behavior Problems and the Development of Public Policy on Early Childhood Literacy
Barbara E. Simpson, Department of Psychology, Gustavus Adolphus College

As the title suggests, it will be suggest in this paper that attachment is a useful concept and that attachment disorders need to be addressed for infants and children to develop into responsible, caring, and mature adults for whom the everyday ability to learn from experience and adapt appropriately to an ever changing world. There will be no attempt to argue that sex offense and early literacy are tied in any way except through the concept of attachment disorder, because children, adolescents, and adults offend for so many different reasons that there is no one underlying pathology let alone one centered on attachment. However, it will be argued there is something about those adolescent sex offenders who remain attachment disordered at ages 12 to 18 that can inform the discussion of the role of attachment and attachment deficits in early literacy and that differentiate the disordered from the normal capacity to develop language and to learn how to read and write.

Music and Early Literacy
Paula J. Telesco, Associate Professor of Music Theory and Aural Skills, Department of Music, University of Massachusetts, Lowell

We have likely all heard of the so-called “Mozart Effect,” the claim that listening to music increases intelligence. While the often-cited 1993 study never actually claimed such a profound conclusion, the resultant publicity focused the nation’s attention on the evidence of music’s positive effect on various types of cognitive skills. Such an effect is desperately needed. The National Center for Education Statistics released in March 2010 the “Nation’s Report Card: Reading 2009,” which examines the literacy skills of our nation’s fourth- and eighth-grade students. The results are sobering. Only 33% of students scored at or above Proficient, while 33% scored below Basic. For Black and Hispanic public-school children, the situation is much more dire: just 15% and 16% (respectively) scored at or above Proficient, while over half, 53% and 52% (respectively), scored below Basic.
            We must do better, and we can. The last two decades have seen an explosion of research concerning the effects of musical training on brain development: how it creates new neural networks, strengthens existing ones, and strengthens the synaptic connections. All the research supports the notion that early music training can be a critical component in the development of verbal, reading, comprehension, mathematical, and spatial-temporal reasoning skills in children, thus providing solid evidence for fully integrating music as a core component of early childhood education.

Intervention Strategies for Pre-School Students with Special Needs
Gloria H. Zucker, Adjunct Professor, Rutgers University

Students with special needs require unique intervention strategies as they enter infant care and preschool environments. The techniques and materials discussed in this paper are designed especially for the child’s unique abilities and disabilities.
This paper will also focus on the skills needed for infants who have been identified as requiring intervention strategies as they transition into pre-school and kindergarten programs. Strategies will be provided for parents who reinforce the skills and behaviors at home.


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