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California Democrats begin fight for free preschool

By Sharon Bernstein SACRAMENTO, California (Reuters) - A proposal to offer free preschool to all California 4-year-olds faces its first legislative hurdle on Wednesday with strong support from majority Democrats' liberal wing but skepticism from Governor Jerry Brown that could doom its chances this year. The $1.5 billion program is being pushed hard by the state senate's Democratic leader, Darrell Steinberg, who is leaving office at the end of this year and views it as key to his legacy in the most populous U.S. state.

Apps thrill toddlers as Swedish schools go digital

Two-year-old Mia traces out a letter on the screen with her forefinger, then claps with joy when the computer chants "wonderful!" and emits a slightly metallic round of applause. The preschool group at Tanto International School in central Stockholm is just getting used to a new batch of iPads -- one for every two children -- and it's a noisy, chatty affair. "They really enjoy playing this app. It's really good for learning pronunciation," said their teacher Helena Bergstrand.

Nursery schools' opening to be pushed back due to construction delay

The opening of nursery schools originally scheduled for April, the start of the new business year, is set to be postponed in a number of Japanese municipalities due to construction delays caused by labor shortages and surges in building material costs, local governments say. The planned delay of day-care centers opening in Tokyo, Chiba, Osaka, Shiga and Fukuoka prefectures is expected to affect parents hoping to return to their workplace after taking child care leave.

Manitoba has lots of research on all-day kindergarten but still isn't funding it

WINNIPEG - The Manitoba government is resisting calls to fund all-day kindergarten despite a push from school trustees and more than a decade's worth of largely supportive research compiled by its own staff. Documents obtained by The Canadian Press through freedom-of-information laws show the NDP has been building a file on all-day kindergarten since first being elected almost 15 years ago. The research shows children in all-day kindergarten have better language, social and communication skills.

Campaign emphasizes that preschool education is a social investment

Los Angeles, Oct 21 (EFE).- For each dollar spent on preschool education a return of more than $7 is realized, according to experts who on Monday launched Preschool Nation, a national campaign to promote universal early education. "A preschool nation is one in which every child has full opportunity to succeed in school regardless of their zip code, ethnic background or immigration status," W. Steven Barnett, director of the National Institute for Early Education Research, said.

S. Korea in serious shortage of national, public kindergartens

SEOUL, Sept. 30 (Yonhap) -- The country is facing a serious shortage of national and public kindergartens due to insufficient state funding to expand eduction facilities for preschoolers, data showed Monday. According to the data compiled by Rep. Ahn Min-suk of the main opposition Democratic Party, 1.4 million children reached the age of entering preschool as of early this year, far more than the current 4,552 national and public kindergartens can accommodate.

Private kindergartens 14 times more expensive than public ones: data

SEOUL, Sept. 1 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's private kindergartens on average are 14 times more expensive than public ones, government data showed Sunday. The Ministry of Education on Sunday released financial figures on three national, 4,516 public and 4,040 private kindergartens. They are available on the ministry's website on kindergarten information, at e-childschoolinfo.moe.go.kr. According to the website, the average monthly education cost for children aged five or older amounted to 191,737 won (US$172) at private kindergartens, compared to 13,285 won at public ones.

Group says mobile apps aimed at making babies smarter are more entertaining than educational

WASHINGTON - Smartphones don't make smart babies, an advocacy group declared Wednesday in a complaint to the government about mobile apps that claim to help babies learn. The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, whose allegations against "Baby Einstein" videos eventually led to nationwide consumer refunds, is urging federal regulators to examine the marketing practices of Fisher-Price's "Laugh

Yokohama city achieves zero-waiting list for nursery schools

Yokohama city office said Monday it had reduced the number of children waiting to enroll in nursery schools to zero as of April 1 from 179 in the previous year, meeting its 2010 target of eliminating waiting lists within three years. The local government said that the reduction of waiting lists in the city, which at one stage had become the longest among all municipalities in Japan, was attributable mainly to its efforts to increase the number of such schools by aggressively encouraging private companies to enter the business.

kindergarten students-increase

SEOUL, March 8 (Yonhap) -- The number of South Korea's kindergarten students has increased while that of students from primary and secondary schools decreased over the past three years, a government tally showed Friday. According to the statistics announced by the state-run Korean Educational Development Institute, the number of children attending preschools across the country totaled 613,749 last year, or a 14.2 percent jump from 537,361 tallied in 2009.
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