Volume 11, Issue 17

Friday, August 10, 2012

Hot Topics

The U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) recently released a report on the kindergarten class of 2011, creating a profile of more than 18,000 children in public and private schools with part- and full-day programs for a nationally representative sample. This study - the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010-11 (ECLS-K:2011) - compiles data on proficiency on mathematics and reading assessments in the fall and spring of kindergarten, demographic and family characteristics, and the body-mass index (BMI) of each enrolled child. Some findings presented include:

- Math and reading scores were lowest for children from families with incomes below the federal poverty level and highest for those whose families had incomes at or above 200 percent of the federal poverty level, with scores also increasing in tandem with parental education levels.
- Kindergartners whose families primarily spoke English at home also scored higher on math and reading assessments as did those who attended private schools rather than public schools.
- Children from families with higher incomes and levels of parental education had lower BMI than their peers from low-income families where parents’ highest level of education was a high school diploma or lower.

ECLS-K:2011 will be ongoing and provide data for cross-cohort comparisons with the earlier NCES study, the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998-99 (ECLS-K).

In the first large-scale evaluation of the federal Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) and its effects on young children in pre-K and child care centers, researchers examined outcomes from a sample of 4-year-old children participating in the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Birth Cohort (ECLS-B). They compared data on 4-year-olds in centers participating in CACFP and those in centers not participating in the federal nutrition program, with their findings published in the journal Early Childhood Research Quarterly. Amongst those findings is that children in preschools using CACFP consumed more vegetables and milk rather than unhealthy food choices, thus reducing the likelihood of children becoming either overweight or underweight. With childhood obesity affecting around 15 percent of children, preschools and child care centers have important roles to play in encouraging physical activity and proper nutrition.

Another new study published in Early Childhood Research Quarterly examined children’s academic outcomes longitudinally, finding a link between attention span and school success. Specifically, the researchers found that children’s persistence in attention span at age 4 predicted advanced math and reading skills at age 21, as well as increasing the chances that students would complete college by age 25. Attention span is one component of executive function, which has been shown in past studies to have a role in academic achievement.

Last year, a study from Common Sense Media found that 65% of children between ages 0 and 8 watch on average 1 hour and 44 minutes of television each day. While this may be cause for concern for some, a new study found that positive outcomes for children can be found even if families simply change their children’s viewing choices rather than limiting the number of minutes spent watching television. Published in Pediatrics, the study found that when children ages 3 to 5 watch age-appropriate television designed specifically for a preschool-age audience, these children were less likely to suffer from negative sleep patterns including nightmares, disrupted sleep, difficulty falling asleep, etc. As poor sleep has been associated with a lack of school success, increased behavioral problems, and greater likelihood of childhood obesity, this is an important outcome. Families were also encouraged to engage in a process called “co-viewing” or “joint media engagement” in which they explain, discuss, and ask questions about what is going on in the TV story so that children glean additional learning from the content presented to them.

Resources

This policy brief from the National Association for the Education of Young Children examines the results of focus groups, online survey responses, and individual interviews to identify best practices for public policies on integrating technical assistance providers into state’s professional development processes.

This infographic from The Urban Child Institute provides a handy visual of the academic, economic, and social effects, both short-term and long-term, of investing in preschool education.

This policy brief from the Foundation for Child Development compare children from immigrant families with their peers who have parents born in the U.S., finding noteworthy differences in poverty levels, mathematics and reading proficiency, high school graduation rates, and health insurance coverage.

This report from Child Care Aware of America provides a snapshot of child care access and costs in each state.

This issue brief from the Education Commission of the States examines the role of multimedia and electronic tools in early learning classrooms.

Calendar

Wednesday, September 19, 2012 to Friday, September 21, 2012

Panama City Beach, FL - This conference will explore how workforce data can inform the early childhood education field to improve policies and practices for serving young children.

Friday, October 5, 2012 - 8:00am

Dearborn, MI - This conference will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Perry Preschool Study and provide attendees with opportunities to learn more about pre-K evaluations.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012 to Saturday, November 10, 2012

Atlanta, GA - This early childhood education conference offers hundreds of presentations and exhibits to the tens of thousands of educators that attend.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012 to Friday, November 9, 2012

St. Louis, MO - This international Parents as Teachers conference provides participants with the opportunity to network with each other and learn from workshops and presentations.

Friday, November 16, 2012 to Saturday, November 17, 2012

Melbourne, Australia – The theme for the CEIEC "Honoring the Child, Honoring Equity 12" conference is "Troubling truths: bridging divides for equity."

Wednesday, November 28, 2012 to Saturday, December 1, 2012

Los Angeles, CA - This training institute will provide attendees with the latest information on early childhood policy, practice, and science.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013 to Saturday, March 23, 2013

Clearwater, FL - At this conference, attendees will participate in workshops providing information on best practices for supporting children's social-emotional development.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013 to Friday, April 19, 2013

New York, NY - The 10th annual Young Child Expo & Conference will bring together early childhood professionals and parents to learn the latest information about early childhood development.

Early Education News Roundup

Tuesday, August 7, 2012
(The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, TN)

There is general agreement statewide and nationwide that there are tangible short-term benefits to expanding the accessibility of pre-K programs, but doubt in some circles about the long-term benefits has made some state legislators balk at increasing funding for pre-K programs.

Monday, August 6, 2012
(USA Today)

A program that encouraged parents of kids ages 3 to 5 to replace age-inappropriate media content with more suitable programming found "long-lasting, significant reductions in sleep problems," says Michelle Garrison of Seattle Children's Research Institute, lead author of the study in Monday's Pediatrics.

Saturday, August 4, 2012
(Bennington Banner, Bennington, VT)

Bennington has been selected to pilot a program to train early educators and parents in the importance of literacy and communication during the earliest stages of a child’s life.

Saturday, August 4, 2012
(Morning Sentinel, Waterville, ME)

While Gov. Paul LePage made headlines last month blasting the state's education system, a local Head Start program -- and others statewide -- continued to grapple with budget cuts made by the Legislature.

Saturday, August 4, 2012
(Chicago Tribune)

The $10 million is for the 2013-14 school year. The city wants to continue funding for another two years. The money will allow 2,000 children to be added to early childhood education programs in the city, which are also funded by Chicago Public Schools and the city's Department of Family and Support Services.

Friday, August 3, 2012
(The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, TN)

Architects of the new unified city-county school district set to open next fall harbor no illusions about the difficulty of finding the money for one of their most significant recommendations — access to a high-quality prekindergarten program for all 4-year-olds whose parents want them to attend.

Friday, August 3, 2012
(Business Standard, New Delhi, India)

Switching from one language to another while in a conversation can help children express themselves better, a new research has found. A study by University of California and Morgan Kennedy of Bard College researchers has found how 'code-switching', or switching back and forth between different languages to discuss and express emotions in a multilingual family might play an important role in children's emotional development.

Thursday, August 2, 2012
(U-T San Diego)

The parents of hundreds of South County children enrolled in state-funded preschool programs will have to pay a fee for the first time this year because of a provision in the recently passed California budget.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012
(Post-Bulletin, Rochester, MN)

This issue is a hot topic across the nation. Michigan, for example, previously allowed kids to begin kindergarten at age 4, provided they turned 5 before Dec. 1. But just three weeks ago, Gov. Rick Snyder signed a law that shifts that date back to Sept. 1 — largely in response to problems in the classroom.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012
(Early Years blog at Education Week)

Of all the issues that got some airing at this morning's National Journal-hosted event on early childhood education, one theme resounded more than any other: Politicians, and, by extension, the people who vote for them, don't see early learning as a priority.

Monday, July 30, 2012
(San Antonio Express-News)

[Pascual] Gonzalez credits the Northside enrollment boom to a platter of factors but said a proposal by Mayor Julián Castro to fund an extensive early childhood initiative with a 1/8 cent sales tax increase has helped draw attention to the issue.

Saturday, July 28, 2012
(The Washington Post)

Providers said that if that is the case, the first children to go probably would be those whose care is paid for by government subsidy. Day cares tend to make less money from those children, and the reimbursement checks are sometimes slow to arrive.