New classrooms will open this fall in the Houston area with an added element: the parents will be students as well.
The U.S. Department of Education has awarded a $2.6 million, four-year grant to The University of Texas Health Science Center's Children's Learning Institute (CLI) to combine two programs to test whether the approach can better prepare children for kindergarten.
The two research-proven programs are the Texas Early Education Model (TEEM) and Play and Learning Strategies (PALS).
"The challenge is so great for teachers serving economically disadvantaged children. Some students show up for their first day of school and have never held a book," said principal investigator Susan Landry, Ph.D., Albert and Margaret Alkek Endowed Chair in Early Childhood Education and executive director of the Children's Learning Institute at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston. "In most cases, teachers have to combine two months worth of material into one month. I think we can bridge the gap with PALS. With PALS, the children will get reinforcement at home."
Any time you involve parents in their child's education, you will see the student excel, said Cynthia Johnson, TEEM coordinator for the Houston community at Neighborhood Centers, Inc.
Two Head Start agencies in Houston will be selected for the grant-funded program. Johnson hopes that Neighborhood Centers will have the opportunity to participate. "I think children have a better chance of succeeding when you get parents involved in the learning process. I am excited about the possibilities," she said.
"This grant will help future generations of economically disadvantaged students excel so that they may be on equal footing with their peers," said Giuseppe Colasurdo, M.D., chair of the Department of Pediatrics and dean of the UT Medical School at Houston. "Through this award, the U.S. Department of Education is recognizing Dr. Landry and her team fo
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University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston