first_imgLA PUENTE – The expansion of a full-day preschool program is the latest example of the growing support for early childhood education. Since January, the Options-Rorimer Preschool in La Puente has operated a full-day, five-days-a-week preschool for 15 students. Funding by the California Department of Education and the Los Angeles Universal Preschool program has allowed for an additional nine children a chance to attend a 11.5-hour school day, learning shapes, colors, numbers and building social skills, said school officials. Cliff Marcussen, executive director and founder of Options, said the agency has operated similar full-day programs throughout the San Gabriel Valley for 12 years. Options programs are available in Covina, Manzanita and Hurley elementary schools. Enrolling a child in preschool in the U.S. is voluntary, and 40 states have state-sponsored Pre-K programs that enroll 4-year-old children. Illinois, Oklahoma and Georgia allow 3-year-olds to attend preschool, said Don Owens, spokesman for the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Owens compares the preschool system in the U.S. to a patchwork quilt – instead of a single system, states, churches and Head Start centers can all run preschool programs. While full-day programs may attract more students because it helps parents with day care options, educators and early childhood advocates say that curriculum and teaching is what matters. Aubrey Fine, professor of education at Cal Poly Pomona, said that in education circles, “K-12” is shifting to “P-12” or preschool to 12th-grade. “We recognize that early support for youngsters can have their benefit,” Fine said. Programs that certify teachers to work in preschools are scarce, Fine said, but universities are taking an active role in educating teachers who will go in to that field. Fine said in addition to identifying colors or shapes that children, even at an early age, still need to develop the skills to think, problem solve and relate to their peers. [email protected] (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2108160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Marcussen said having full-day preschool targeting low-income families is important. “It gives parents a place that can care for and educate their children during the hours they work,” he said. Giving young children access to education at an earlier age is an area of growing focus with preschool a part of the solution. Studies on the effect of half-day versus full-day programs show that students who attended a full-day program performed better on math and literacy tests, including picture vocabulary and letter-word identification. Ellen Frede, director of the National Institute for Early Education Research, which conducted one of those studies, said that the full-day program also allowed for teachers to build relationships with their students and even used snack time as a learning activity. last_img read more

first_imgIberia will offer a premium economy product on its long-haul fleet from next year in a move that brings the Spanish airline’s widebody cabin configuration in line with the other IAG airlines flying long-haul. The first premium economy-equipped Iberia aircraft will enter service next summer on routes connecting the airline’s Madrid hub to Chicago O’Hare in the U.S. and to Buenos Aires, Bogota and Lima in South America.The oneworld carrier said it will offer premium economy class on 37 of its long-haul aircraft. It will retrofit eight of its current Airbus A330-300s and 13 of its A340-600s with the new seats, while its 16 new Airbus A350-900s will come factory-equipped with the new cabin. Delivery of the A350s will begin in 2018. The remodeling of its to A330s and A3430 will take place next year and in 2018.Iberia did not specify how many premium economy seats it intends to install on its aircraft but said the seats would be 19 inches wide with a 37-inch seat pitch between rows, compared to 17- or 18.1-inch width and 31 to 32-inch seat pitch on its A330/ A340s in standard economy.  Seat-back entertainment screens will be 13 inches wide, as opposed to the 9-inch screens in standard coach. Iberia says the new seats recline by an additional 40 per cent over those in its standard economy cabin.Customers flying in premium economy class, or turista premium, will also enjoy adjustable head and foot rests, get noise-cancelling earphones, a blanket and an amenities kit. In addition, premium economy passengers will have priority in boarding and leaving the aircraft, better food options and an increased baggage allowance.Iberia may be one of the last European legacy carriers to introduce a premium economy, but it will be the only airline with the concept flying between Spain and Latin America, according to its  Chief Commercial Director Marco Sansavini.“Iberia is the sole airline that will offer this intermediate seating class on direct flights between Spain and Latin America, which should strengthen our leadership of this market,” he said.Virgin Atlantic was the first airline to come up with the concept of a premium economy class in 1992 as Mid Class, a service aimed at the cost-conscious business traveler who travelled economy but still required extra space in which to work or relax. The product was rebranded as Premium Economy in November, 1994.Premium economy is well established with full-service international carriers in Europe and Asia, but it is rare in the Middle East and U.S. legacy airlines are only now jumping on the trend.American Airlines, a partner of Iberia in the oneworld alliance, will introduce premium economy on its new Boeing 787-9 aircraft with cabins featuring 21 leather seats with a 38-inch pitch and an increased width with a 2-3-2 arrangement. Premium economy passengers receive priority check-in and boarding, enhanced meals with complimentary wine, beer and spirits and amenity kits.The airline’s first 787-9 was delivered Sept. 13 and it will have four by the end of the year, from an order for 22. But it will only start selling a seat in premium economy from early 2017.Delta Air Lines will introduce premium economy when it takes delivery of its first Airbus A350,  due in Spring next year.last_img read more

first_imgThe International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions hosted its World Library and Information Conference in Cape Town in August. It enabled librarians from across the world to experience local hospitality, and allowed for energetic discussion on the role of a library in this modern era. The World Library and Information Congress took place in Cape Town. It included discussion about the importance of libraries in society and their contribution to democracy. (Image: World Library and Information Congress Facebook) • Mandela: a life in books • Jacana gives flight to new literary voices with BlackBird Books • Mandela’s presidential years to get book treatment • Lauren Beukes gets her own comic book series at DC’s Vertigo Comics • Bokoko literacy project brings books and libraries to Africa Priya PitamberDespite the rise in popularity of digital books and other online media, there is still an important space for libraries in this day and age.“By bridging the information gaps, libraries can contribute to building stronger communities and societies,” said Sinikka Sipilä, the president of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) at the opening of the World Library and Information Congress (WLIC): the 81st IFLA General Conference and Assembly, held from 15 to 21 August in Cape Town.“Amongst other objectives, the IFLA Conference will seek to promote high standards of provision and delivery of library and information services as well as to encourage widespread understanding of the value of efficient library and information services,” said the Department of Arts and Culture ahead of the conference.Strong ties to South AfricaIn her address, Sipilä recalled how she was the last librarian to work at the Solomon Mahlangu Freedom College, the education institution set up by the African National Congress while in exile in Tanzania during apartheid. She said the library provided an opportunity for those in exile to educate themselves.“Finnish librarians worked there since 1985, I myself being the last one before the centre was closed in 1992,” she recounted. “We worked together with South Africans who ultimately received library and archive qualifications in Europe and Africa, and after repatriation also here at the University of the Western Cape.”The congress gave her a chance to meet her South African colleagues with whom she had worked more than 20 years ago. “That early experience of the library and information environment in Africa and later also elsewhere has had a huge influence on me, both professionally and personally.”It made her aware, she said, of the barriers that existed to access to information, more so in developing and transitioning countries. It also helped her to choose the presidential theme of Strong Libraries, Strong Societies.“I chose this theme as I firmly believe that libraries exert a crucial impact on societies by promoting equal opportunities and equitable access to lifelong learning and education, to research and innovation, to culture and recreation for all,” she said.IFLA WLIC 2015 Cape Town from IFLA on Vimeo.So much more than just a library“We believe that culture is a basic need with which communities thrive, and without it, communities die,” said IFLA secretary-general Jennifer Nicholson in her report during the IFLA’s general assembly.“If you cannot read or write, you cannot participate… and if you don’t understand what you are reading, then you cannot fully participate in a democracy,” she added.Sipilä noted that libraries could not only help to strengthen democracy on the African continent, but were also able to provide many more functions. “Libraries need to connect with civil society to demonstrate the value they add in eradicating poverty, illiteracy, unemployment and ignorance with special emphasis on early childhood development, youth services, women’s health and local economic development.”#wlic2015 Ifla highlights: “If you cannot understand what you read, you cannot exercise fully your democratic rights” — Nicolas Tocquer (@TocquerNicolas) August 18, 2015South Africa’s arts and culture minister, Nathi Mthethwa, echoed her sentiments at an address in the WLIC pre-conference on the role of libraries. He described libraries as agents of change and societal development because they provided access to information and knowledge.“We recognise the critical role of access to information and information technology in helping to eradicate poverty, promoting human rights, and enabling sustainable development by bridging the gap between national policies and implementation at local level,” the minister said.Sipilä said the overall theme of the conference – Dynamic Libraries: Access, Development and Transformation – could assist with those goals.Libraries of South Africa and AfricaPointing out that libraries made a difference in people’s lives, Mthethwa said South Africa continued to transform its libraries and information services. “We need to tell our own stories,” he said. “We need to ensure that our voices, our narratives, our ideas have equal power, and assert ownership of this knowledge.”Libraries could be used as spaces where information was conveyed through new technologies, he said, and could help to revolutionise and transform people’s lives.There were already numerous gatherings to address the status of libraries and their role in providing access to information in Africa. These included the African Public Library summits of 2011 and 2013.Users drawn to overall experience; escape & productive space. Integrate print & digital.#wlic2015 pic.twitter.com/VA6HKsbDOD — Mary Ellen Davis (@med744) August 16, 2015The FellowsTwo African librarians were among the five fellows announced during the WILC to participate in the IFLA/OCLC Early Career Development Fellowship Programme for 2016.The five are:• Idowu Adebgilero-Iwari from Elizade University in Nigeria • Penninah Musangi from Karatina University in Kenya • Željko Dimitrijevic from the National Library of Serbia • Rhea Jade Nabusan from Tarlac College of Agriculture in the Philippines • Shaharima Parvin from East West University in BangladeshThe fellowship programme is designed to support library and information science professionals from countries with developing economies and will take place at Online Computer Library Centre (OCLC) headquarters in Ohio, USA.The fellows will participate in discussions with library and information science leaders, visit various libraries and take part in professional development activities. “This is one of the best opportunities available for librarians in the world,” said Masimba Muziringa of University of Zimbabwe Libraries, a 2015 Fellow.“You get to understand best practices in librarianship. You also get to understand the trends. All of our visits gave us a broad spectrum of American lifestyle, cultural values, and best practices within our profession.”Librarians of the world, unite and have fun. #wlic2015 pic.twitter.com/s2CKY7nKFQ — Mr. Mohulo (@mohulo) August 18, 2015last_img read more

first_imgNew Delhi: Hitting out at Amit Shah for pitching Hindi as a common language, senior Congress leader Veerappa Moily on Wednesday said the Home Minister’s statement was against India’s federal structure and that he should withdraw his remarks for the unity of the country.Shah, the BJP president, had on Saturday pitched for a common language for the country, saying it is Hindi which is spoken the most and that it can unite the whole country. “The recent statements of Amit Shah, President of the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Union Home Minister, like ‘one nation, one language’, ‘one nation, one election’ are against the federal structure and democracy of India,” the former Karnataka chief minister said in a statement. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’It is also opposed to the principle enunciated in the Constitution, Moily said. “How a Home Minister of a country like India could create this kind of apprehension in the minds of the people is really anti-federal. It is most appropriate for the unity of the country that Amit Shah withdraws such statements,” the former Union law minister said. “Shah has also further said that multi-party democracy has failed in this country. He forgets that multi-party democracy has in fact kept the unity and integrity of this country intact …,” the Congress leader said.last_img read more

first_imgInterpreted as a show of brute power and a display of institutional dominance, the detention of the senior most leader of Jammu and Kashmir, Farooq Abdullah under Public Safety Act (PSA) also speaks of disregard for the mainstream politicos of the troubled state of Jammu and Kashmir. The two sections of the 1978 Act are public order and threat to security of the state. Its provisions warrant that any person can be detained without trial for 3 to 6 months under public order and for two years for being a threat to national security. There is also a need for the administration to constitute a committee which confirms the action under PSA. The senior leader is said to have been booked under PSA to prevent him from participating in a rally planned by opposition leaders ahead of the UNGA session next month. The former CM had last addressed the media on August 6 in dismay over the Centre’s decision to scrap the special status of J&K accorded under Article 370 which was made inoperative on August 5. 81-year-old Farooq Abdullah was thrice the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, a Union Minister, and five times Member of Parliament. At present, an MP from Srinagar, his father and National Conference founder, Sheikh Abdullah, was instrumental in integrating Kashmir with India upon Independence from the colonial rule. He led Kashmir’s Muslim population to reject the two-nation theory that led to Partition and the formation of Pakistan in 1947. The third generation of this family, Omar Abdullah is also a former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir and a Union Minister. The role of Sheikh Abdullah at the time of Independence and was critical in winning the confidence of the local people in the state. It was established way back then the value of local leadership and how important that is for the Indian government. The government must acknowledge that respecting the regional leadership is only of gain to them and erratic decisions will have very serious long term ramifications.last_img read more