Why Johnny is Broke: Marrying Market-Driven Principles with Government Excess in Early Education

Part Four of my Preschool Series!

In Part One, I asked: Is Preschool Necessary? The answer? No, if there is enough enrichment, play-based activities, and speaking to your child at home. Which means the majority of middle-to-upper class families likely don’t need preschool. So what about more disadvantaged kids?

Enter Part Two, in which I asked: Does Head Start Work? The answer? To a point, yes. Like any preschool, it provides modest gains in kindergarten-1st grade. The problem is the 3rd/4th grade fade-out, which affects almost any preschool-type learning for almost any socio-economic group. So, short-term – yes, it often is helpful. Long-term – the jury is out.

In Part Three I asked:  So what is the measure of quality? What makes one program better than the other? And do we trust these measures of quality?

 

So here’s Part Four: What lessons can we learn from the implementation of universal prekindergarten in three U.S. states? And specifically in Oklahoma, what lessons can we learn from the implementation of a model, lauded, Head Start program?

The study’s authors also conclude that because of Head Start’s comparative advantage in health, that it still has a place in Tulsa’s early education landscape. I’m incline to agree – to a point. I am generally against massive federal programs (for that matter, I am generally against massive state programs). But if we’re looking at the reality of where we stand now, with two massive programs that we will likely not be able to curb, then yes, they both have a place.

My reasoning has less to do with health interventions than with the following  – first, CAP and Educare have a mission of wholesale poverty alleviation and interact well with the parents. I want to keep encouraging that interaction, which is less likely to occur in the TPS system. Second – TPS is full. Of course it’s full. No state program like this can serve 100% of students. Head Start funds right now are necessary to serve those who actually need the intervention, such as disadvantaged students on the north side, not Maple Ridge elites who are attending the universal program over at Lee Elementary.

Despite the third grade slump, there are short term gains in sending children to preschool, and as the study notes, the gains are even larger when dealing with disadvantaged students.

In terms of the collaboration between TPS and Head Start, the results indicate that competition, as always, is good. That is, when we talk about competition in market terms, not in terms of bureaucratic infighting.  Head Start needs to justify its existence since there is a quality prekindergarten program already around. The TPS program needs to justify its existence since there is a quality Head Start program all around. And, the two programs (plus Educare) have learned its better to join forces and work to increase the resource pie together as opposed to fighting over crumbs. Hence, we have collocation, collaboration, and coordination. We have similar salaries, similar benefits, similar credentials, and similar teaching approaches. We share donors and complementary missions.

To those not used to the way the government works, of course this seems like an unnecessary redundancy.  In the intelligence world, we always praised redundancy – to a point- because it eliminated group think. Certainly that’s something we’re seeing here – yes, the programs are similar, but they aren’t coming up with their ideas in a vacuum. They are consistently refining their best practices based on the other programs’ inputs.

Do I believe this is all the best solution? No, I don’t. I’d prefer no federal interventions and no massive universal statewide program. I’d prefer targeted intensive interventions in the populations who need it most, a la Perry and Abcedarian.

But alas, in Oklahoma, we’re not going to get that.

A side note – Kindergarten as an optional program

As the author of the Georgia study points out, in some respects, the introduction of Universal Pre-K parallels the
expansion of access to kindergarten in the 1960s and 1970s.  Cascio (2004) finds little effect of kindergarten
availability on high school graduation.

  • However, with prekindergarten, we’re talking about children one year younger.  At these ages, that makes a large difference in cognitive abilities.  Therefore younger children may respond to similar programs differently.

Kindergarten literally means “children’s garden”; i.e.. not supposed to be a set curriculum. But at this point, kindergarten has a bona fide curriculum and academic standards with substantial cognitive emphasis, harmonizing with the primary grades.

  • Part of the problem may lie in how we’re emphasizing too much schoolwork in kindergarten. Play based education is best for kids – they don’t NEED to learn to read by 5 (despite the fact that many successful people learn by 3 or 4 even). That doesn’t mean they don’t need education – far from it – but the emphasis should be different.
  • On the other hand, if we are going down this road, then take a lesson from the integration of kindergarten. Integrate the primary grades better. Of course, proponents of universal prekindergarten education will point to just that — make pre-k effectively another grade (like in OKlahoma).

I would argue kindergarten itself isn’t proven to have much effect on children’s later education. Don’t continue down a bad path by including Pre-K in this. Target, target. And focus on play-based education.

Policy proscriptions

Let’s make one thing clear: no new federal programs. I would say let’s fix Head Start before going on to new programs, but instead, I will say, let’s fix Head Start, full stop.

The status quo would be better than adding a new federal program.

Let’s change how Head Start is administered.  Make sure a percentage of funding comes from nonprofits or for-profit businesses or foundations. (Not local governments) Instead of requiring Head Start to hit a certain number of accomplishments (which leads to NCLB and Common Core problems and problems of measuring things like literacy), allow the private funding to pull out at any time. If private funding is pulled, federal funding is pulled. The private foundations will be then able to figure out and measure their own standards on a local and case basis and require periodic evaluations and data-driven policies.

Second, boost your inputs. Require all teachers to have postsecondary degrees. Follow up on your mandate that class ratios need to be at least 10:1.

Third, give Head Start grants only to programs that have whole scale poverty alleviation as their focus. Head Start does not need to allocate any extra dollars toward this, but the programs administrating it can.

Fourth, require local Head Start programs to come up to the standard of any local public preschooling option available to disadvantaged children when  it comes to teacher pay, teacher certifications, and class ratio. I do not want to require Head Start to necessarily adopt other experimental measures, such as a Reggio Emilia program or a calendar-based school year because those are not necessarily proven to be beneficial.

That will not stop some states from wanting to adopt their own programs. Fine. One of the beauties of the federalist experiment is the ability of states to try what works for them. I, for example, see Oklahoma as a crucible for education reform and appreciate the chances it takes.  However, here are some suggestions to those legislators:

First, no universal programs. Heckman states a program focuses on the poor is a poor program, and thereby advocates a universal program. It’s an interesting point, to be sure. But ,we know what makes a program a quality program.  We have examples such as Perry and Abecerdan.  A cheaper-but-still-effective model is the Chicago Parent-Child Program. We know teachers with advanced degrees, a play-based curriculum, and a small class ratio makes a good program. Proponents of universal pre-Kindergarten education are aware that anything ‘universal’ is more likely to be voted up than voted down. But to argue that by making it available to all we are somehow increasing the lot of those who need it most is disingenious at best.

  • Programs focusing on up to 200% above the poverty line (such as the recent proposals) are better, but intensive programs focusing on individuals below the poverty line are better.
  • NIEER dings states for how few students they serve, but between Head Start, for-profit programs, and other non profit programs, more students are served than NIEER shows. As Finn says, “except in advocates’ eyes, there is nothing truly unique about state-funded prekindergarten”. If those students are being served elsewhere, it is unlikely the state program is much better. If the state program IS much better (and universal), then one will see a movement to it. (in the universe of free programs  or free family childcare)

Second, don’t just follow the NIEER standards on program inputs. Consider ECER standards as well as CLASS stadnards.

  • Individuals such as Chester Finn argue, however, that too much of a focus on program inputs (such as the ECER standards) means too little focus on program outputs – i.e. measurable advances in cognitive learning. Certainly he has a point, but at the same time, a focus on test scores (even oral checklists) runs into the No Child Left Behind problem. One possible way of fixing this is the Educare model of adhering to the ECER standards but also throughout the year measuring individual students’ progress. A measure of progress, as opposed to certain standards reached, can help with accountability.

Encourage a variety of education providers to fill the preschool slots. In the case of Tulsa, we have Educare with Early Head Start and Pilot Program and universal pre-K slots and CAP Tulsa with Head Start and universal pre-K slots. Better yet,  take a lesson from Florida’s VPK program and encourage contracting with private preschool providers more than public preschool providers. In Florida as of 2009, 89% of the programs were privately run and adhered to an output model. If the programs did not have measurable results in three years, they were counselled out of VPK. I would tweak that a bit and require ECER-type standards from those programs such as teacher certifications and class ratios. If a pre-K model is mostly public- rather than private-run, tou are crowding out private programs that parents may otherwise pay for.

Encourage transparency in input and output measures, allowing parents to choose the providers.

Want to focus on the entire population of children in your state? Revamp kindergarten; revamp the early grades. Fight against NCLB and the Common Core and use proven strategies on how children learn.

  • As a corrolary, draw a distinction between daycare and preschool.  As I have pointed out in the past, and as Finn points out in his book, the line is murky, especially when dealing with the earlier years and a play based curriculum. But again, the key is a curriculum. And certified teachers. A focus on teaching social skills, not just peer socialization. And set hours, not a drop off/pick up schedule.

Require your program to measure up at least to the standard of Head Start. Hopefully, that would mean all teachers with bachelors degrees and a class ratio of 10:1. If it doesn’t, then it should be an internal standard.

Employ administrators who know more than just education policy but who also have an academic understanding of preliteracy and premath skills. That can help the ‘testing gap’.

Collocate your program with the local public school. Make it part of the whole elementary school process, even though it should be available only to disadvantaged students. Let teachers at the local school cycle through the program, thereby ensuring continuity of care and schooling.

Consider early schooling. Use Early Head Start funds if you must. Get the children before their vocabulary is permanently maimed. By no means do I want to discourage mother care, but I want to discourage low-quality care for infants, if those infants are being put in negative child care settings. (for example, Educare is for working parents)

Use private funding for the majority of your budget.

Use external sources to evaluate your data, but also evaluate your own. Compare and contrast.

Partner with external sources of teachers, such as Teach for America and TNTP.

Partner with external education research groups, such as Harvard.

Flexible spending of TItle I dollars.

Partner with external sources for nonprofit workers in your centers. Consider a program such as Atlas Corps.

Use state dollars to fund targeted programs, not universal. Yes, it mimics Head Start, but the existence of multiple programs will still have a competitive effect. TPS rolls are full, and there is no way to ensure those who would beneift from preschool the most are getting in. In fact, the four schools without preschool programs are in disadvantaged areas. Those students may go to spill over ECDC centers, or qualified students may go to HeadStart and Educare, but you are adding hurdles for parents who may not have the time, motivation, and/or know-how to navigate a complicated system.

Focus on the parents. Model correct parental behavior. Helping with child care and education issues also helps lower incidences of depression in parents.  Stress in parents lead to stress in children, and there are now studies exploring what higher levels of cortisol do to children.

For those legislatures concerned with reaching the middle class, who often fall through programs that target the impoverished, instead of expanding programs to those who fall up to 200% of the poverty line, consider these classic ideas:

  • Education accounts
  • Vouchers
  • Extra tax incentives for employers that provide quality childcare environments for children under the age of three.

For those concerned that those policies may reward just the working mom and punish those who choose to stay at home with their children, consider Ben Domenech’s Etsy Earner agenda.

Do I want to get into the stay-at-home mom vs. working mother debate? Not one bit. (For the record, whatever works for your family is what works.)  But I’ve seen the argument out there, both from the Heritage Foundation and from Penelope Trunk, that women want to stay at home with children. True? Possibly.  But, not necessarily full-time.

  • In addition, child care is also increasingly utilized by families with stay-at-home parents. A 1999 study  shows that almost a third of 0 to 4 year old children with mothers who are not employed are in non-parental child care, compared to three quarters of children of employed mothers .  They spend 16 to 20 hours per week in the primary mode of non-parental care.
  • This literature has produced little conclusive evidence of a negative effect of maternal employment on children. Mothers apparently reduce both leisure time and housework in order to maintain their time inputs into child raising (National Research Council and Institute of Medicine, 2003).

 

 

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Universal Prekindergarten: Evidence from the Field

Welcome Carnival of Evidence-Based Parenting readers!  Today’s Carnival focuses on preschool education. I will keep an ongoing list of links from other participating blogs at the end of this post.

This is Part Three of my preschool series.

In Part One, I asked: Is Preschool Necessary? The answer? No, if there is enough enrichment, play-based activities, and speaking to your child at home. Which means the majority of middle-to-upper class families likely don’t need preschool. So what about more disadvantaged kids?

Enter Part Two, in which I asked: Does Head Start Work? The answer? To a point, yes. Like any preschool, it provides modest gains in kindergarten-1st grade. The problem is the 3rd/4th grade fade-out, which affects almost any preschool-type learning for almost any socio-economic group. So, short-term – yes, it often is helpful. Long-term – the jury is out.

So here we have Part Three. We are spending exorbitant amounts of money to educate disadvantaged kids through Head Start and other programs, with spotty results. We are also now advocating universal prekindergarten, even though the evidence shows preschool in general provides spotty results. There are confounding factors throughout, including the way one measures achievement, the varying degrees of quality in Head Start programs across the nation, and the quality of the schools the children enter for elementary.

Here we ask: So what is the measure of quality? What makes one program better than the other? And do we trust these measures of quality?

The Oklahoma Experiment vs Georgia vs Florida

First, let’s clear up a misstatement in President Obama’s State of the Union speech:

Tonight, I propose working with states to make high-quality preschool available to every child in America.  Every dollar we invest in high-quality early education can save more than seven dollars later on – by boosting graduation rates, reducing teen pregnancy, even reducing violent crime.  In states that make it a priority to educate our youngest children, like Georgia or Oklahoma, studies show students grow up more likely to read and do math at grade level, graduate high school, hold a job, and form more stable families of their own. (my bolding)

Somewhat disingenuous.  The bolded parts are in reference to very specific preschool programs  such as the Perry Preschool Project and the Abcerdarian Experiment. Hardly a large scale universal prekindergarten program such as Oklahoma’s. No universal prekindergarten program has been able to prove that students are more likely to graduate high school, hold a job, or form more stable families – as a matter of fact, they are too new anyway.

Despite that misstatement, Oklahoma (Tulsa, specifically) does boast a “quality” Head Start program as well as a “quality” prekindergarten program. Due to the presence of these programs and a 74% enrollment rate for Tulsa prekindergarteners, Tulsa-area prekindergarten and its Head Start program is a subject of a multi-year Georgetown University research project.

However, first, we must define quality, as it is a contentious measure.  What most researchers call the ‘accepted’ measures of a program’s quality are measuring input factors – the amount of money spent per student, the student-teacher ratio, teacher pay and certification, and the facilities in which the children learn. Input then, rather than output.

Let’s look at input first.

Continue reading

Controversies: Does Head Start Work?

This is part two of my early education series.

For additional information on the general impact of preschools, see part one: Is Preschool Necessary?

—————————————-

A lot has been written recently on universal prekindergarten in Oklahoma since President Obama’s State of the Union speech.  Oklahoma’s program has been seen as a national model, due to its broad reach (over 74% children in pre-kindergarten) and its adherence to National Institute of Early Education Research quality benchmarks

There are, of course, detractors. Small government idealists, for example, are against any expansion in the system, especially what can amount to glorified childcare in many cases – and center-based childcare, some research suggests, can do more harm than good for children’s emotional development. Other detractors point out that four-year-olds need to play, not sit at a desk and learn.

Those assertions are valid.  Any literature study on childcare and preschools will indicate that quality play-based education is the way to go for young children – and that this education does not need to be provided by the state, or by private educators. Parents, indeed, can provide all that a four year old needs.

Regardless of these facts, the discussion on prekindergarten is jumbled between mixing childcare, preschool, rote education, and programs for low-income students such as Head Start all into one jumble.

I address much of this in my first article, with numerous citations.  However, it all comes down to this: quality matters. When we’re talking about childcare vs. nanny care or familial care, it matters if the childcare is quality and if the home environment is toxic to the child. When we’re talking about the benefits of preschool, it matters if the preschool has teachers with degrees, high pay, low class ratios, and a belief in play-based education. And, when we’re talking about measurable results, it matters what we’re measuring. A child may not be reading at five years old – but may be showing other measures of early literacy that indeed might be more important at that age. So, the quality of the testing, indeed, matters.

In the end, I concluded what many have concluded before me. Is preschool necessary? Does it work? In the end,  no. It is not necessary. Your child may gain some short term benefit toward being exposed to a classroom environment and being with his or her peers, but keeping your child home from preschool will likely not hamper him or her in the long run. That is, if you are an involved enough parent to be researching this in the first place. But, by all means, for a short-term enrichment, and for your own sanity – do it.  And, if you are choosing between center-based care or a preschool with actual teachers – sure. Go for the preschool – there are fewer negatives.

I addressed all that to some extent in my article. However, I did not address Head Start or universal pre-kindergarten. Suddenly, we’re dealing with massive taxpayer-funded programs that have yet to show measurable results.  On the other hand, we are faced with disadvantaged children, those who may not be hearing enough words in their daily lives to assist in literacy, those who may be facing substandard childcare.

Does, the question goes, Head Start work?

By many indicators, no. Not on the national scale.

According to the Head Start impact study, a randomized experiment funded by the federal government, there was indeed some short-term impacts for three-year-olds and four-year-olds, specifically pre-reading, pre-writing, and vocabulary. However, there were no benefits on oral comprehension, pre-math skills, or phonological awareness.

When the study moved into the first-grade realm, the study showed diminished impacts, apart from vocabulary and oral comprehension. In fact, math skills were higher in the control group than in those in the Head Start group.

Finally, the most damning – the third grade followup.  Although there were significant improvements in indicators during the actual duration of the Head Start program, by third grade, most of the those improvements had dissipated.  Other than a few indicators, there were no differences between the Head Start group and the control group by third grade. The only real positive impact was for the three-year-old cohort in the third grade, with average reading/language arts proficiency scores favoring the Head Start group.

What about Head Start’s other missions?

Most people, including myself, focus on the cognitive development portion of Head Start’s mission. However, Head Start was founded on a ‘whole child’ model, including but not limited to medical, dental, and mental health care; nutrition services; helping emotional and social child development;  and parental training.

The Head Start impact study did in fact measures some of those indicators in addition to cognitive development. Alas, the same patterns applied: some modest gains early on, mostly erased by third grade.

So, Head Start is useless?

Probably a harsh judgment.   It may be true overall, but there are a few confounding factors.

For example, some of the children in the Head Start impact study did not actually enroll in Head Start, and some in the control group did enroll  (although usually in a Head Start center not involved in the study).  A 2008 reanalysis of the preschool outcomes obtained stronger positive effects for the Head Start group when accounting for this change.

In addition, not all Head Start centers are created equal. Some of the Head Start group attended centers with lower emphasis on language and literacy or math.  Forty percent of the students had teachers without a postsecondary degree. The majority had teachers with less than 25 hours of training the year before.

Third, the study did not measure the impact of Early Head Start.  One year of Head Start education likely will not provide lasting changes and/or undo the disadvantages children already acquire by age four. Even though there may be short term gains, in the long term, the home environment and a bad schooling environment for early elementary are going to take over. Some then focus on fixing the schools. Yes, but there are other lessons there, including earlier intervention and a focus on parenting education.

Early Head Start does appear to have some advantages, albeit modest. At the age of three, the program benefited families across child, parent, and family self-sufficiency outcomes. However, ,programs that fully implemented the Head Start performance standards and mixed-appprach programs (home- and center-based services) had broader and stronger impacts. Impacts also varied by sub-groups (race, length of time in program, and risk factors). In the prekindergarten years, students who continued with formal early childhood education exhibited an impact. A grade 5 followup (with a smaller sample size), however, experienced the same ‘fade out’ effect on the full group, but gains persisted in some subgroups. Thus, although short-term gains are stronger with earlier intervention, long-term gains remain problematic.

As a corollary to the failing schools argument: fourth, although the study showed lowered indications of math ability for the Head Start children in kindergarten, that indicator was based only on teacher reports of children’s performance and not supported by scores on three direct math assessments.  And, this is where the actual school attended for early elementary may matter – the control group children attended school reporting a higher percentage of students at or above a proficient level of math than the Head Start children’s schools.

However, the argument that it is the schools that are failing do not hold as much water in most cases. Perhaps the schools are erasing any and all cognitive gains, thereby re-leveling the playing field, but with small exceptions such as the math one above, one cannot argue that the control group children attended better schools and the Head Start children did not – these children were pulled in general from the same sociodemographic group.

It is important to understand that although failing schools is a policy concern, most gains in preschool and kindergarten education are erased by third grade. This is true with any type of preschooling – regardless of socioeconomic status – and it is true in the case of redshirting kindergartners.  I address this in my articles on whether preschool matters and on redshirting, and the Director of the National Institute for Early Education Research Stephen Barnett addresses this in his apologetic paper on Head Start where he claims right off the bat: “Head Start is Effective“. Although I do not make such a bold statement, we are in agreement over some of the problems: measures of improvement are flawed, and Head Start implementation is spotty.

In addition, as Barnett argues,  we have to look at fifth: Benefits of preschool are not necessarily measurable by test scores. Research has shown an increase in high school graduation rates, future economic earnings, and lower crime rates in participants who attended preschool.  Some of those studies are based on Head Start participants, but many are from small sample sizes with intensive programs such as the Perry Preschool Project and the Abcedarian experiment. As Megan McArdle points out, if you look at it from a market standpoint, yes, the return on investment for those programs is huge. However, also from a market standpoint, scaling up such programs leads to spending exorbitant amounts of money. Quality will get sacrificed for quantity. (See: Head Start) And, the small sample sizes of those two preschool darlings mean the results are more likely to be happenstance than statistically significant.

Sixth:  Another nod to Barnett’s article.  The research may be flawed here. In discussions with local educators and literacy professors, I’ve learned that most pre-reading tests do not fully embrace the five pillars of literacy, most importantly, comprehension.  Comprehension also gets shortchanged in most ‘teach-to-the-test’ instruction in the early grades. Hence, the third and fourth grade drop off in literacy – when, suddenly, reading is more than just stringing words together.

Seventh The study could not accurately separate the effects of Head Start versus familial care versus other other early education programs versus substandard childcare. We know that substandard care has a negative effect on children, while quality care has a positive effect on children when coming from bad home environments. The control group children did not stay exclusively in parental or familial care.  In fact, the control group were in non-parental care for more hours per week, on average.  The results of the impact study do not augur well for Head Start writ large as a program, but it would be incorrect to conclude that early childhood programs have no impact for disadvantaged children, as many in the control group also attended early childhood programs. Instead, the results indicate Head Start does not have a comparative advantage in early childhood education. That makes sense, given the haphazard way in which it is implemented (and, as small government advocates would likely point out, given that federal government does not by any means have an advantage in effective programs).

Therefore, what if Head Start and universal prekindergarten programs were implemented via best practices models?

We will explore that next, in looking at models from Oklahoma, Georgia, and Florida.

After that, policy proscriptions that come out of all this research, based on small government and market-driven principles.

Private Education in Midtown and Downtown Tulsa – A Directory

School blackboardLooking for schooling resources for midtown and downtown Tulsa? I’ve tried to compile everything I can find in one place. This post is about private education; I will be compiling public school information (and any public/private partnerships) in a later post.

credit where credit is due -some of my information came from the following sources: Tulsa People’s 2009 guide to Tulsa’s private schools, TulsaKids’s Education Directory  and Tulsa realtor Lori Cain’s 2012 guide to private schools in the area.

Preschools/Daycare Centers

A note about Early Education/Preschool:
It is difficult to separate preschool from child care centers, especially when some preschools take children as young as 8 weeks old.  For that reason, I have omitted some centers from the list, even if it has “early learning academy” in the name, if it appears to be more daycare-centric than preschool-centric. But I’ve also let in a few daycares that are well-regarded.

For a complete list of childcare options (including preschools) for your child, check out the Oklahoma DHS site.  Each daycare center/preschool has drop-in visits from case workers to check conditions, and any reports filed against the center are reported on this site.  This site also covers in-home daycare options.

The Child Care Resource Center also is an excellent resource for childcare centers in Tulsa. You may put in your criteria (age, distance from work or home, etc) and a customized report will be emailed to you.

Finally, if you are looking for excellent babysitting services, Seeking Sitters is a franchise founded in Tulsa with qualified and background-checked sitters. I personally use it (a sitter is with my children now as I write this) and I have nothing but positive experiences.


University of Tulsa Kindercare
Donna Terry, Center Director
2906 East 3rd St., Tulsa, OK 74104
Ph: (918) 583-5400 Fax: (918) 583-5426
Ages: 6 Weeks to 12 Year-Olds Open: 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM, M-F

Infant Programs (6 Weeks – 1 Year)
Toddler Programs (1 – 2 Years)
Discovery Preschool Programs (2 – 3 Years)
Preschool Programs (3 – 4 Years)
Prekindergarten Programs (4 – 5 Years)
Before and After School Programs (5–12 Years)

Chapman Child Learning Center (a Bright Horizons program). On the St. John’s Hospital campus.

Happy Camper Academy – ages 6 weeks through 5 years. Allows for continuous parental monitoring via webcam. Daycare and preschool.  1819 E. 15th St. Tulsa, OK 74104
918-584-2779 (58-HAPPY)

Hillcrest Child Development Center  – (918) 579-7858, 1121 S Victor Ave, Tulsa, OK 74104 (918) 579-7858

Church- and Temple-based Early Learning Centers:

John Knox Child Development Center – 2929 E 31st Street Tulsa OK 74105 918-742-7655.  A ministry of John Knox Presbyterian Church. Preschool and daycare.

University United Methodist Church (On the TU campus). Preschool and Mother’s Day Out. Hours: 9:00a – 2:00p Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. For additional information on Preschool and Mother’s Day Out, please contact preschool@uumctulsa.org or call the Church Office at 918-592-3633.

First Christian Church Child Development Center – 913 S. Boulder Ave. Tulsa, OK 74119 (918) 582-8237

First Baptist Church Child Development Center – First Steps Developmental Preschool. Tuesday, Wednesday, and/or Thursday. 6 months-pre-K. 403 S. Cincinnati Ave Tulsa, OK 74103

First United Methodist Church Early Learning Academy – 8 weeks – 5 years.  Tuesday, Wednesday, and/or Thursdays. 9:30-2:30. Enrolling now!  Registration forms may be picked up or requested by calling (918) 587-9481, ext. 212. Please ask for Judy Landers, Director.

First Lutheran Early Learning Center – Jennifer Olden, Director.  6 weeks – 5 years. Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. 1244 South Utica Avenue // Tulsa, Oklahoma 74104 // 918.592.5705 // flelctulsa@yahoo.com

The Early Learning Center at  Congregation B’nai Emunah6 weeks – 5yrs.  If you’d like to schedule a tour, please call 585-KIDS. 1719 South Owasso Tulsa, Oklahoma  74120

Boston Avenue Weekday School – M-F 9am-2:30pm. 4months- Kindergarten. Children may attend 2, 3 or 5 days a week. Contact Patty Barnes. 918-699-0112. 1301 S. Boston Tulsa, OK

Temple Israel Moe Gimp Early Learning Center (a Day School program)- 6 weeks-5 years. Jewish-based education. Pikler Institute philosophy. 6:45am – 6:00pm, Monday – Friday.  Sasha Reedy may be contacted (918-747-3122) for enrollment information. 2004 East 22nd Place • Tulsa, Oklahoma 74114

Dioceses/Parish Schools:

St Catherine School – A parish Catholic school Serving the Tulsa Diocese. Pre-K through 8th grade. 2515 W 46th Street Tulsa, OK 74107.  (918)446-9756

School of Saint Mary1365 E. 49th Place, 749-9361,Opened in 1954, the School of Saint Mary is a parish school that aims to provide its students with a quality education while integrating their spiritual, academic, moral, social, physical and emotional development. 1st-8th grades.

Other Religious Private Schools (more than early childhood education):

Holy Family Cathedral School – 820 S Boulder Ave, Tulsa OK 74119 (918) 582-0422. Ages 3 through 8th grade.

Monte Cassino School
2206 S. Lewis Ave., 742-3364,Founded in 1926, Monte Cassino is a Catholic community school that serves students in preschool through eighth grade.

Augustine Christian Academy
6310 E. 30th St., 832-4600,Augustine Christian Academy, formerly St. Augustine Academy, is a Christian, classical school dedicated to providing a setting to students that is both challenging and supportive. Located in midtown Tulsa in the former University of Oklahoma Medical School library building. Pre-kindergarten through 12th grades.

Marquette School
1519 S. Quincy Ave., 584-4631,Established as the Sacred Heart School in 1918. Ages 2 years – middle school. Marquette’s Early Childhood Development Center (ECDC) serves children from ages 2 years until developmentally ready for kindergarten.

Bishop Kelley High School
3905 S. Hudson Ave., 627-3390,serves Catholic and non-Catholic families who seek a college preparatory program within a Christian environment of concern, trust and growth. The school is owned by the Catholic Diocese of Tulsa and serves a student population of nearly 900 students, grades 9-12.

Cascia Hall Preparatory School
2520 S. Yorktown Ave., 746-2600,offers a stimulating academic curriculum to students in the sixth through 12th grades.

Peace Academy
4620 S. Irvington Ave., 627-1040, Peace Academy is an Islamic private school educating students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade that aims to provide a unique learning environment with high standards to students of all faith traditions.

The Little Light House – 5120 E. 36th St. | 918-664-6746 | Learning haven for children living with autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy and other challenges. It provides a program designed to offer special education and therapeutic services to children from birth to 6 years old. Students attend Little Light House tuition free. Bible-based curriculum

Tulsa Adventist Academy – 900 S. New Haven Ave – 918-834-1107 – PreK-10th grade

Other Private Schools:

University School (on the University of Tulsa Campus) – serves academically talented children from ages 3 to 8th grade. It has flexible class divisions (instead of dividing the students into grades)

Miss Helen’s Private School 4849 S. Mingo Road, 622-2327,Family owned for more than 50 years, Miss Helen’s provides a safe, loving and challenging environment for students in prekindergarten through fifth grade.

Undercroft Montessori School
3745 S. Hudson Ave., 622-2890,
Undercroft is a nonprofit private school serving children ages 3-15. The school was founded in 1964 by parents who sought a whole-child approach to their children’s education.

this article was originally posted on the Midtown Tulsa Moms website

Controversies: Should You Redshirt Your Kindergartener?

Boy in Red ShirtThe practice of ‘redshirting’ kindergarten (holding kids back one year before they enter) has been the source of media histrionics over the last few years. Media reports usually presume parents redshirt so their children gain academic and leadership advantage over younger, less developed, more impulsive classmates. This theory developed after the popularity of Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers, in which he discussed the landmark study indicating the power of age in Junior Hockey leagues in Canada.

Quite a few studies have been done regarding the impact of redshirting. A 2005 RAND study indicated the practice has benefit to reading skills in the first grade. However, a 2008 study by Harvard’s Dyanarski and Deming indicate there is not really a lasting, positive effect to redshirting – the benefits gap closes at about third grade. A 2000 study indicates there may even be some negative effect on behavior, especially for boys. A Canadian study even indicated benefit to “greenshirting” (starting school at a younger age). Finally, a study in Pediatrics journal of Icelandic middle schoolers indicated the practice may lead to higher ADHD prescription rates as the non-redshirted children seem hyperactive in comparison.

Important stuff, right? Maybe not. A March 2012 paper examining the practice found the incidences of redshirting nation-wide are much smaller than media reports seem to indicate (surprise surprise).

The exciting news is that another paper appears to be in the works.  We’ll keep our eyes peeled for the results.