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Sean Contreras holds up five fingers as he says out loud the number on the card his teacher, Jennifer Penserum, shows him.

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Experts: Emphasis on early education beginning to pay dividends

‘We keep growing’

Simple experiments, gleaned from a book called “Ollie Oxygen,” kept the children at Southwest Early Childhood Center rapt. But expanding the students’ vocabulary and encouraging them to verbalize their thoughts was the activity’s main point.

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