From the Editors: Untapped Benefits

Principal, May/June 2011

During the past month or so, we’ve noticed that the news stories we mention on Twitter that are most often passed along to others (i.e., retweeted) relate to studies proving the benefits of preschool. For example, the recent headlines our Twitter followers have read and shared include: “For every $1 invested in a Chicago early childhood education program, nearly $11 projected to return to society over the kids’ lifetimes;” “New longitudinal study by Vanderbilt University shows Tennessee preschool students outperform their peers;” and “Georgia’s pre-kindergarten pays off, with fewer students being held back, dropping out of school, and landing in special education.”

Why all the attention? Perhaps because high-quality pre-K has far-reaching implications not only for the students attending the programs, but also for their community, the economy, and society at large.

In this issue of Principal, the theme articles further explain why early childhood education should be of interest to everyone involved with U.S. education. More specifically, they address how principals can establish high-quality preschool programs, what can be done to create a seamless continuum of learning from pre-K to the elementary grades, and how to assess young learners.

Both NAESP and the NAESP Foundation have recognized the significance of early childhood education, as evidenced by their efforts during the past 18 months to support principals working with early learners. Details about these efforts are also provided in the following pages.

We started this column mentioning our Twitter account, which many principals and other educators follow to receive education news, resources, messages about programs and events, and alerts we disseminate in 140 characters or fewer. You’ll be surprised how many educators are using social media for professional development, and our Q&A, “Social Media as a Professional Tool,” reveals why you might want to reconsider joining a social network.

As your school year comes to a close, we’re already looking ahead to next school year and the magazine’s next editorial year. Here are the themes and deadlines for next year’s issues. If you’re interested in submitting an article for possible publication, more details are available at We wish you a safe, relaxing summer.

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