Fredericksburg Parent

March 2014

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22 Fredericksburg Parent and Family • March 2014 This is the second in a series of articles on early-childhood develop- ment that Fredericksburg Parent and Family and Smart Beginnings Rappahannock will be presenting in 2014. Parents have the power to improve their children's future by taking some specific steps during early childhood. Over the next 12 months, we'll show you how. See more at: BY LEIGH AnnE VAn dOREn BY LEIGH AnnE VAn dOREn Character Trumps IQ in Creating Better Life Outcomes Policymakers and educators should act on the evidence. Heckman encourages policymakers, educators and social and economic advocates to: • Invest in quality early education programs for children from birth to age five. • Make sure early childhood education programs focus on cognitive and character development. If you are looking for a pre-school program for your child, The Rappahannock Area Smart Beginnings program maintains a list of vol- untarily rated preschools for area parents. The programs are rigorously assessed in five areas. For more information on the assessments, check out the star-rated programs at Interested in more? Visit for more articles on education and early childhood development." Leigh Anne Van doren publishes Fredericksburg Parent and Family and sits on the board of Smart Beginnings Rappahannock Area. Sara Branner,who was in her 2003 Fredericksburg Area Service League class and 2010 Leadership Fredericksburg class, drafted her to the board. She enjoys just about any project Sara talks her into. W hen selecting a pre- school, some parents look for an academic- driven program. But a recent study shows that programs built around character skills have far greater impact on achievement and life outcomes. A study led by James Heckman on the Perry Preschool Program shows 30-40 percent of the variance in achievement test scores across students is due to character skills, not IQ. The study found that chil- dren shaped by character became adults with higher monthly incomes and bet- ter employment opportunities. These adults also experienced decreases in lifetime arrests, felony arrests, violent crimes and tobacco use.

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