Early Childhood Education

Courtesy Image / Kids Count/Annie E. Casey Foundation

State Child Poverty Up, Teen Deaths Down  

The annual Kids Count survey finds child poverty rates rising during 25 years of data-gathering while fewer teens are giving birth or dying.

The report released Tuesday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation says Michigan ranks 32nd in overall child well-being nationally, down one slot since last year.

Andrew Cluley / 89.1 WEMU

Ann Arbor Public Schools officials hope to get more pre-kindergarten aged kids registered for programs in the district this weekend.  The district is holding an Open House at the Preschool and Family Center Saturday from 10 until 2.

A new national report says only one in three children who started school in the late 1990's had the necessary cognitive skills by the third grade to go on to be successful adults.

Jane Zehnder-Merrell is the Director of the Kids Count in Michigan project. She explains that the study helps to chart the trajectory of kids' lives.

The report followed 13,000 kids who began kindergarten at the end of the 1990's. Children from lower-income families had the lowest rate of sufficient cognitive development.

Zehnder-Merrell says funding programs that support these families, such as cash assistance or food stamps, would positively affect these rates.

Bob Eccles

The Ypsilanti Community Schools Early Childhood Advisory Committee is working on ways to improve education at the earliest levels, going as far as finding ways to give parents pre-natal help in making education choices. 

The committee presented a draft plan to the school board last night. 

Margy Long co-chairs the group.  She's also director of the Success by Six Great Start Collaborative.

Long says achievement gaps happen when every child isn't ready to learn by the time they enter kindergarten.

She says the Early Childhood Advisory Committee is trying to expand on what's been done in the area before. 

She says teachers can't do everything, so a Family Resource Center could help. 

The committee will make its formal report to the school board in early 2014.