Building a Case for Your K-2 Products

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Organize.

Over the past decade, researchers and policymakers have devoted major attention and funding to improving preschool quality and access. No Child Left Behind meanwhile put a spotlight on student performance beginning in third grade.

In many districts, the needs of kindergarten through second grade classrooms have moved down the priority list, making it harder to build a case for your K-2 products and services. In today’s post, we discuss some ideas to help bolster your messaging when beginning to engage new K-2 prospects.

A Sensitive Window in Cognitive Development

The human brain develops more in early childhood than at any other time in life. While the brain reaches 90 percent of its adult size by age five, the first few years in which all U.S. children have access to formal education are important for cognitive development. Early elementary school is a prime period to introduce and nurture skills like creative and critical thinking, executive function, self-regulation, and problem solving.

In an interview with the National Association of the Education of Young Children, long-time education scholars Lilian Katz and Judy Harris Helm discussed the kinds of education programs and products that best promote optimal brain development in early elementary school:

As scientists continue to learn more about how the brain grows and how children develop intellectual abilities, it has become increasingly clear that the younger the children, the more they benefit from active and integrated learning experiences. We know that opportunities for young children to become truly engaged in worthwhile investigations which enable them to take initiative has positive long-term effects on their abilities to observe, reflect, analyze, predict, and evaluate their experiences.

A Vital Building Block in the K-12 Continuum

With many districts still facing budget shortfalls, it’s essential that educators not pit K-2 against preschool or other elementary school grades. Each grade is important, experts say; it’s not a matter of one versus another.

In an article for National Journal, Laura Bornfreund, the deputy director of New America’s Early Education Initiative, explained that, “While the focus on high-quality pre-K expansion is necessary, and efforts to improve the quality of teaching and learning in third through 12th grade are imperative, policymakers must not forget to also strengthen and build connections to the linchpin of the educational system: kindergarten through second grade.

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