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President Announces Early Childhood Initiative

President Bush’s early childhood initiative will help states and local communities to overcome these obstacles and strengthen early learning for young children by:

  • Strengthening Head Start: The President has directed the Department of Health and Human Services to implement a new accountability system to ensure that every Head Start center assesses standards of learning in early literacy, language and numeracy skills. HHS will implement a national training project with the goal of training all of the nearly 50,000 Head Start teachers this year in the best pre-reading and language teaching techniques for young children.
  • Partnering with States to Improve Early Childhood Education: To ensure that pre-school activities are aligned with state education goals, the President’s plan asks States to develop quality criteria for early childhood education, including optional guidelines on pre-reading and language skills activities for pre-school age children ages that align with State K-12 standards. To help states meet these criteria, the President’s plan gives states more flexibility with their federal child care funds.
  • Providing Information to Teachers, Caregivers and Parents: In order to close the gap between the best research and current practices in early childhood education, the Department of Education will implement a broad public awareness campaign targeted toward parents, early childhood educators, childcare providers, and other interested parties. Additionally, the President announced an unprecedented $45 million collaborative research initiative between the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the Department of Education to identify effective early literacy programs and teaching strategies.