early childhood education | KCUR

early childhood education

Seg. 1: Unschooling. Seg. 2: Feral Cats

Sep 13, 2018

Segment 1: To school or unschool, that is the question.

Unschooling combines the ideals of Montessori schools with homeschooling; letting kids dictate their education. We talk about the pros and cons with a local homeschooler and an adolescent psychologist.

  • Jessica Mattingly, mother of six, local unschooler
  • Matthew Westra, psychology professor, Metropolitan Community College Longview

Segment 2, beginning at 35:49: How Kansas City is addressing an abundance of feral cats.

Courtesy Scott Hanson / The Family Conservancy

There aren’t enough licensed child care centers in Wyandotte County to serve all working families with young children, according to a community health assessment.

That’s why the Family Conservancy and other community groups are launching the Start Young initiative to improve access to high-quality child care for kids younger than 6.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Most people agree access to pre-K needs to be expanded. Not everyone agrees on how to pay for and oversee it.

Days after Kansas City Mayor Sly James made public the particulars of his plan to fund expanded early childhood education, opposition to the proposal is piping up. Today, we heard educators and community organizers explain why they think the mayor's scheme to get more 4-year-olds into pre-K needs work.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City Mayor Sly James announced Friday he will temporarily table his plans to fund pre-K education with a 3/8-cent sales tax, a quick reversal of his impassioned push to get the issue on the November ballot.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

New routines as school starts can overwhelm kindergarteners, especially if they didn’t go to preschool.

That’s why many Kansas City area school districts try to ease the transition for young students with summer programs.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Mayor Sly James is ready to fight for a 3/8-cent sales tax to improve access to quality preschool in Kansas City.

“Only 35 percent of the kids in this city are engaged in quality pre-K. We have 40 percent of zip codes in deserts where there is no quality pre-K,” James said Monday on KCUR’s Up To Date.

Kansas City Mayor Sly James sits behind a microphone. He is wearing headphones.
Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: If approved, the proposed 3/8-cent sales tax to fund expanded early childhood education in Kansas City will be on the November ballot.

Segment 1: Fred Rogers and his television show influenced generations of viewers.

Won't you be my neighbor? That's a lyric to the theme song of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, a children's television program that spanned decades in the mid-1900's. On this episode, we learn the impact Fred Rogers had on the lives of children and educators across the country.

  • Angee Simmons, Vice President of Education and Engagement, KCPT

Segment 2, beginning at 36:36: History of women's activism in Kansas City. 

Segment 1: Are we taking the wrong approach to education research?

Results-oriented education research often overlooks the side effects that accompany common teaching practices. We learn how the approach medical research makes can help educators avoid damaging policies from the start.

Brandi Thorpe

Brandi Thorpe says her 10-year-old son D’Juan Franklin is a loving, intelligent child, who loves playing football and baseball. He's also autistic.

When Thorpe transferred him to the New Beginnings School in the Lansing, Kansas, district — a school dedicated to special education — she was hopeful that her son would get the support he needed. And, he did, up until the morning of January 17, 2017.

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Segment 1: Proposed 3/8th-cent sales tax could expand early childhood education.

In an effort to provide quality education to more of Kansas City's youth, Mayor Sly James has proposed a new sales tax that would fund pre-K schools. While almost everyone can agree access to pre-K education should be expanded, some residents have reservations about where the money to pay for it comes from and how it's collected.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Wonderscope Children's Museum is moving to south Kansas City.

Around 70 people gathered Monday morning for a groundbreaking in the Red Bridge Shopping Center. The new 35,000 square-foot facility will double the size of the museum's current location near Johnson Drive and Nieman Road in Shawnee, Kansas.

"We're creating a significant regional attraction, as well as a community resource for the neighborhood," says Roxane Hill, Wonderscope executive director.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

Operation Breakthrough, a beloved early education center in Kansas City for more than four decades, announced Thursday a $17 million expansion that will reach across Troost Ave.

The organization's leaders said they had hopes of literally bridging the city’s historic racial divide.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

When one local woman found out she was pregnant, her doctor said, "Are you going to call your husband, or are you going to start calling child care centers?" It's a funny story we heard from a local daycare worker, but it's a prevalent issue. Local parents share their struggles.

Plus, NPR's Jessica Deahl shares the personal story that informed her reporting on working parents and child care.

Guests:

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

This summer, Kansas City Public Schools made a significant investment in one of two district-operated Montessori schools in an attempt to address long-standing inequities between the programs.

“Right here in KCPS we have a jewel, but Border Star is the Montessori program everyone knows about,” KaLinda Bass-Barlow, principal at Holliday Montessori, says.

Holliday was built specifically for Montessori education, opening as a magnet school in 1992, back when district officials thought state-of-the-art facilities might convince white families to stay.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

Trauma experienced at home or elsewhere can negatively affect a child's learning in the classroom. Today, we learn how and why Kansas City Public Schools has introduced trauma-sensitive care to help kids cope. Then, meet the two nuns who broke the mold to establish one of the largest child care and social services organizations in Missouri, Operation Breakthrough

Elle Moxley

Kansas City Mayor Sly James sits in a comfy chair, holding up a book featuring a bow tie-wearing owl with a striking resemble to the mayor.

“The name of this book is ‘Our Home, Kansas City,’” James tells a group of 4-year-olds from Operation Breakthrough.

“It’s my book!” shouts a child.

“No,” says James, “this is my book.”

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

In a city with so many school options, it isn’t always easy for parents to choose where to send their children.

Amanda Recob’s daughter, Marliemae, will start kindergarten in the fall. But Recob isn’t just choosing a school for her 5-year-old.

“I have two girls following her, so it is a lot of pressure,” Recob says. “I don’t want them going to three separate schools.”

So Recob is trying to keep the needs of her 2-year-old and 4-year-old in mind as she visits schools.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

The relationship between schools and the communities to which they belong is crucial.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Except for the chain of events it spurred in the victim's life, the assault and robbery of Brad Grabs 14 years ago in the Northeast neighborhood of Kansas City, Kansas, would not have been particularly notable.

Despite the ensuing anger and fear, Grabs says prayer and reflection on the events of that Sunday afternoon led him to believe his assaulters weren’t “bad kids,” he told KCUR’s Brian Ellison on a recent episode of Up To Date. They were youngsters caught in a bad situation with little opportunity for positive growth.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Balloons were practically spilling out of the doors, as parents and children filed into the Central Library in downtown Kansas City for the first ever City School Fair this weekend. 

The library was buzzing throughout the day, with a steady crowd of visitors. Fifty schools were in attendance, spread out at booths on all three floors of the library. 

"It's kind of like a college fair," said library spokesperson Courtney Lewis.

A train leaves from Kansas City to Wichita traveling at 55 mph. Meanwhile, another train ... Wait a second, who cares? One KU researcher does. Michael Orosco shares his innovative approach to motivating students to enjoy math, and excel at it. Also on the show, a local algebra teacher discusses his techniques.

Guests:

www.fundforteachers.org

In the ongoing conversation about what constitutes effective discipline in schools, Independence, Missouri, poses an interesting case study. 

In January, the district briefly came under fire from a group of agitated parents over the use of the ominous-sounding "isolation rooms." In the resulting furor, several child development experts questioned the practice of isolating students as a way to control their behavior. 

Kyle Palmer / KCUR

Twitter founder Jack Dorsey made a splash this month when he announced he would fund all Missouri teachers' projects on the education crowd-funding site DonorsChoose.org. The gift bought classroom supplies — everything from Chromebooks to crayons— for about 600 educators statewide. 

In a school setting where curriculums and lesson plans rule, some argue that our littlest learners could benefit more with less. Author and childhood education lecturer Erika Christakis suggests we stop trying to over-structure our preschoolers. 

Andrea Tudhope / / KCUR 89.3

Last November, for the first time, Kansas City child care workers spoke out about their low wages, as they officially joined fast food and other low wage workers in the Fight for 15, a movement to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

Just 49 percent of third graders in Kansas City are reading proficiently.

That’s the bad news.

The good news is that’s a dramatic improvement from just a few years ago, when only a third of them were reading at or above grade level. As research mounts that third grade is a benchmark for future success, literacy has become a rally cry for elected leaders and community groups trying to turn around Kansas City’s public schools.

At Garfield Elementary in the Historic Northeast, AmeriCorps volunteers meet daily with reluctant third grade readers.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan stopped at Kansas City’s Woodland Early Learning Community Monday morning to advocate for high-quality preschool for low-income families.

“We have to make sure our babies are entering kindergarten ready to be successful,” Duncan said. “In education, we spend lots of time playing catch-up, and frankly we don’t often play catch-up well.”

Duncan says the average child from a disadvantaged neighborhood starts school at least a year behind. In Missouri, 80 percent of 4-year-olds don’t have access to a high quality early education program.

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There’s a simple, inexpensive way parents can promote academic success in kids. Surround them with books.

Researcher Mariah Evans headed a 20-year, worldwide study that found “the presence of books in the home” to be the top predictor of whether a child will attain a high level of education.

More so even, than the education level of their parents. Those from highly educated and higher-income families however, may not feel the difference quite as significantly.

Legislators in Topeka recommended major funding cuts for the Parents as Teachers program, then they backed off. On this edition of Up To Date we learn about the Parents as Teachers program and why a Kansas House Committee looks at continued funding.

Guests:

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