|Source: Sesame Workshop (click for detail)|
Our school here in New York maintains a relationship with two area Head Start programs. Each December, our students visit the centers to play games and sing holiday songs. Our middle-schoolers build toys in the wood shop, bake gingerbread cookies, hand-print wrapping paper, and stuff envelopes with crafts to spend the day with classes of 3-to-5-year-olds. Our students come back with lively stories, but even more so, they come back with a recognition of the disparate nature of "school." It's not just the physical differences between buildings, but it's also the realization of space and resources -- and the critical significance of early education.
Head Start began as an initiative from President Lyndon Johnson's War On Poverty. It has grown through sequentially updated federal grants overseen by the Administration for Children and Families in the Department of Health and Human Services. Head Start programs annually reach one million children in inner-city or rural areas.
|Source: Citizen Action Of New York|
|Source: The Urban Child Institute|
|Source: W.K. Kellogg Foundation (click for detail)|
Here we've gathered a collection of infographics that sum up the current state of early learning. Also, check out this video by designer Alena 'Ash' Heath for First Five Years Fund, an organization dedicated to achieving "better results in education, health, and economic productivity through investments in quality early childhood education for disadvantaged children from birth to age five." The organization even has a customizable toolkit to engage local media and Congresspeople in expressing support for early education up against the financial cliff.
Early Learning Matters from Alena 'Ash' Heath on Vimeo.