by Mary Niederberger, PublicSource
It’s a quiet Monday morning and sunshine streams through the windows of Shellie Groom’s preschool class at Pittsburgh Beechwood PreK-5 as her pint-sized pupils choose their first activities of the day.
Some decide to play with blocks, others work with shapes and one chooses time at the sand table. They don’t know it, but their play is not without purpose. It’s aimed at helping the 3- and 4-year-olds learn colors, shapes, letters and numbers. There’s something else the tots don’t know: Their activities are expected to contribute to a large body of best practices for successful academic and health outcomes for children. Those outcomes will be compiled and shared over much of the next two decades as part of The Pittsburgh Study. The study, organized and sponsored by UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, aims to follow local children from birth to age 18 to identify what factors contribute to their physical and mental health and successful educational outcomes.