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The Need For A New Early Education Solution

The problem is simple – the United States is falling behind in education, and the difficulties begin as early as preschool. An estimated one in three children currently enters kindergarten unprepared to learn the core skills of math and reading. And it has been shown time and again that a child who gets behind early in the educational system is likely to stay behind, and to leave school early. Now, a new research study shows that the TeachSmart® Learning System from Hatch can be a key part of the solution to this problem.

 

Study Focused On Lower Income, At-Risk Kids

The research behind this study was conducted during the 2009-2010 school year and involved 87 randomly selected preschoolers in a rural Tennessee school district. The majority of the children were from low-income households, traditionally the group most at risk to have academic difficulties. The children were tested prior to the school year, then again after six months of daily activities involving use of the TeachSmart Learning System. The assessments used to measure the children's skills were the Test of Preschool Early Literacy (TOPEL), Get Ready To Read Early Literacy Screening Tool (GRTR), and C-PALLS+ Math Screener. Using these widely-accepted assessment tools allowed the researchers to objectively determine the value of the TeachSmart Learning System in the classroom.

 

Remarkable Results

The children made significant gains in the areas of early literacy, print knowledge, phonological awareness, emergent writing and mathematics skills. At the beginning of the study, only 46% of the children were ready to learn to read in kindergarten. Six months later, 82% exhibited the literacy skills required for reading readiness. Only 72% of children scored high enough during initial mathematics tests to be considered ready for math in school. At the end of the study, that number had increased to 92%.

 In at least one key measure this study can also be compared with a study conducted in “business as usual” pre-school settings. In a large reliability and validity study using the GRTR assessment, a group composed of children from Head Start, public pre-kindergarten, and private preschool began their year with a GRTR mean score of 10.12. Retested three to seven months later, their mean score had actually decreased to 9.85. In the TeachSmart classroom, on the other hand, the beginning mean score for the children was 11.20 and six months later it had increased to 15.18. This is nothing short of remarkable.

 

A Smart Use Of SMART Technology

The SMART Board™ interactive whiteboard technology that is a major component of the TeachSmart Learning System is well established in our nation's schools. Until now, however, there has been some question about the best way to utilize it. In many cases it is being used merely as a high-tech chalkboard, offering little or no additional value. The TeachSmart Learning System brings the SMART Board interactive whiteboard to life, featuring more than 1,100 research-based activi¬ties that differentiate learning, engage students and support teachers.

June McCourt, Supervisor of Special Education, CTE and Pre-K Director for the Trenton, TN Special School District, a participating school, said, “I believe that the children who are familiar with the TeachSmart Learning System start out ahead of those who have not been exposed to the technology. The progress the students made from pre-test to post-test is amazing. The percentage of students unprepared for kindergarten has dropped.”

 

Lighting The Fire

We all know that early learners are at the optimal age for cognitive development. Now, with the TeachSmart Learning System, we have given educators the tools needed to create a classroom experience that will engage and excite their students. TeachSmart prepares these young minds for what comes next – kindergarten, first grade and second grade. Without that preparation, school will quickly become frustrating and unpleasant, and will eventually become a place just to kill time until they can leave. But with TeachSmart in the pre-k classroom, lighting the fire and creating a love of learning, kindergarten and school will become a place to thrive and grow. The facts are there – TeachSmart gets kids school ready!

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