The Value of Pre-K Education
Many research studies have shown the positive effects of quality early childhood education on future academic development, educational attainment, and earnings later in life. Yet, 59% of preschool-aged children across the nation—approximately 2.5 million—are not enrolled in publicly funded preschool programs through state preschool, Head Start, and special education preschool services.
Although as many as 30% of three-and four-year-olds are fortunate to attend private preschools and child care centers, hundreds of thousands of children have no access to the programs that can help them build literacy skills and prepare them for kindergarten and beyond.
The U.S. Department of Education’s 2015 report, “A Matter of Equity: Preschool in America,” notes that “while both state and the federal government invest in early learning, these efforts have fallen short of what is needed to ensure that all children can access a high-quality early education that will prepare them for success.”
The benefits of early literacy are clear but data shows the needs of children are not yet being met. Below are some statistics looking at the long-term impact on communities if changes aren’t made.
Additionally, research shows that for the 25% who drop out of school, the cost to the nation can be $300,000 over a lifetime where conversely, a high school graduate will earn $10,000 per year more than a non-graduate. These realities—the importance of early education over a lifetime juxtaposed with gaps in access to quality programs—underscore the value of libraries in providing resources that serve the pre-K audience.
In support of public libraries’ learning initiatives, Gale is partnering with Miss Humblebee LLC to provide a new digital early literacy product—Miss Humblebee’s Academy—that will assist libraries’ youngest learners in building foundational literacy skills. Digital resources are increasingly prevalent and in demand, and 62% of libraries report that they are the only provider of free computer and Internet access in their community.
Miss Humblebee’s Academy is a fun, interactive online kindergarten readiness program for children ages 3 – 6 that presents learning concepts based on the U.S. Department of Education, Head Start Child Development, Common Core State Standards, research of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), and Early Learning Framework. It includes hundreds of guided lessons with sound and visual cues across such disciplines as Art, Language & Literacy, Math, Music, and Science & Social Studies.
An Environment Tailored for Learning
Miss Humblebee’s Academy delivers a tranquil, supportive, and comprehensive learning environment. Unlike other game-like or highly animated literacy programs, Miss Humblebee’s Academy’s classroom is inviting and easy to use. In this environment, children can focus on the learning activity at hand without distraction. As the child moves through each lesson, progress is appropriately reinforced i.e. congratulatory with correct answers and instructive (and a second chance) with incorrect answers. Because Miss Humblebee’s Academy is standards based, every lesson targets one or more specific learning objective. In addition, lessons progress in difficulty, so that the foundation of knowledge grows with the child’s progression through the program.
Children begin with a 15 question cognitive-skills assessment to establish their baseline kindergarten readiness. From there, they create their own avatar and begin a guided, step-by-step approach to learning that progresses sequentially.
Having the child take a cognitive-skills assessment is recommended in order to establish a baseline of kindergarten readiness; measure improvement compared to subsequent cognitive skills assessments (e.g. every 3 weeks and after 50 lessons); and benchmark kindergarten readiness compared to industry standards.
More than A, B, C and 1, 2, 3
School readiness is more than academics. Industry practices consider children’s physical, social, and emotional progress to be critical in supporting school readiness. Miss Humblebee’s Academy provides an age-related developmental milestones guide to foster parent’s understanding of readiness. In addition, an observation checklist is provided that evaluates five specific domains, four of which are legislatively mandated for kindergarten readiness. Using these resources, parents will understand where the child falls in the readiness spectrum.
Miss Humblebee’s Academy sends parents a weekly email notification to view progress and performance reports which are available online at all times. Parents can go to one place to track classroom success. The reports are designed to:
Help identify a child’s strengths
- Pinpoint trouble spots
- View improvement over time
- Measure progress based on length of practice time
- Unlike any other early learning program available, Miss Humblebee’s Academy includes the tools libraries need to measure their impact on early literacy development in their communities.
At the Library, Home, or On-the-go
Adults and children can access the program beyond the library using smart phones, iPads, or tablets. Remote access is available once a patron has authenticated themselves using their library card.
Offline Learning Opportunities
A printables section offers hundreds of practice worksheets and flashcards that parents can print to supplement and reinforce online learning.
Early Learning Begins Now
Libraries can bring Miss Humblebee’s Academy to young learners in their community, starting today by requesting a free trial. And for more information about how Miss Humblebee helps children learn, visitwww.gale.com/mha.