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After years of feeling like early childhood education was the most neglected part of the learning community, finally the message of the critical importance of the early years is being heard in conversation more often. Here’s the first in an occasional wrap-up series on the most important, informative, or entertaining news and talk in the world of early care and education.

NPR: How to Spark Learning Everywhere Kids Go
With the knowledge that children spend the majority of their time somewhere other than a formal learning classroom, early education advocates, urban planners, and even supermarkets are looking at ways to support everyday learning between kids and their primary caregivers. | read now

PBS NewsHour: Are Young Kids Losing the Brain-Boosting Benefits of Playtime?
Is a focus on assessment-driven learning preventing children from getting the free play time they need to promote healthy development? Some early childhood educators think so. Others suggest that it’s never too early to introduce academic concepts, especially to children from disadvantaged backgrounds in this look at the issue from the NewsHour. | watch now

New York Magazine: This Playground Is the Opposite of Helicopter Parenting
A New York City playground is challenging the current conventional wisdom about what constitutes a playground. It’s part of a new movement that’s sort of a throwback to the way kids used to play. | read now

Slate: High School Graduation Rates Are Soaring
In a speech Monday, President Obama announced that high school graduation rates are at an all-time high of 83.2% and said that high school graduation “starts with our youngest learners,” touting his administration’s investments in Head Start and other public pre-K programs. | read now

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