Volume 11, Issue 8

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Hot Topics

Early learning experiences influence later school success, according to the latest report from a longitudinal study in the U.K. following children from the age of 3. At age 14, children who had attended high-quality preschools had better outcomes in math, science, and social-emotional measures than their peers. These long-lasting benefits of preschool were most evident when students went from high-quality early learning opportunities to attending secondary schools with low or medium academic effectiveness. The Effective Pre-School, Primary and Secondary Education project (EPPE/EPPSE), commissioned by the U.K. Department of Education, has been following 3,000 children since 1997 and found evidence of an achievement gap based on socio-economic differences as early as age 3.

CNN reports on a new study finding that preschool-age children lack outdoors time for physical activity, which is a key component in developing gross motor skills. According to research out of the Seattle Children's Research Institute and the University of Washington, nearly half of 3- to 5-year-olds do not engage in outdoors playtime with their parents on a daily basis, even though the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children play out of doors at least one hour each day. However, the study focused on parental interactions with preschoolers and did not address if children had outdoor playtime while in center-based care, although the authors did conclude that outside physical activities in preschool and child care centers are especially crucial when parents work outside the home. The study's findings were published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine this week.

PNC's Grow Up Great program, an initiative to help children birth to age 5 be ready to succeed in school and life, is celebrating Great Month in April. This month-long celebration is the eighth annual one to highlight early childhood education, with their website focusing on math tips for parents, teachers, and other caregivers. Great Month coincides with National Financial Literacy Month in the United States. Last April, PNC's Grow Up Great program announced a financial education initiative for preschoolers, with details explained on our blog.

New on Preschool Matters...Today!

Want to know more about how states help support the federal Head Start program? Find out in the latest blog post from NIEER researchers Jen Fitzgerald and Megan Carolan.


The latest social policy report from the Society for Research in Child Development explores the current state of the early childhood care and education workforce, building off of proceedings from a workshop conducted by the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council and focusing on the need for integration between early education and child care, quality training, and improved working conditions.

For World Autism Awareness Day this past Monday, Harvard EdCast featured neuroscience/education researcher Joanna Christodoulou discussing a brief overview of the history of autism and the current state of understanding of autism spectrum disorders. NIEER has collected further resources on autism and the early years.

NIEER Activities

The State of Preschool 2011: State Preschool Yearbook, our annual report ranking all 50 states on preschool access, funding, and quality standards, will be released next week. On the release date of April 10, we will be holding a press conference in Washington, DC, featuring NIEER Director W. Steven Barnett and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan as speakers. Stay tuned to our Facebook and Twitter pages for all the updates. Feel free to join the conversation on either platform (using the hashtag #preK2011 on Twitter).


Thursday, April 12, 2012 to Saturday, April 14, 2012

Dublin, Ireland - This conference will provide participants with the opportunity to engage in an interdisciplinary discussion about the development of Froebel's educational philosophy.

Monday, April 16, 2012 to Saturday, April 21, 2012

Nashville, TN - This annual conference will feature valuable sessions for all those who work to ensure vulnerable children and families have what they need to succeed in school and life.

Monday, April 30, 2012 to Thursday, May 3, 2012

Greensboro, NC - This conference provides professional development for early care and education leaders dedicated to improving access to and the quality of early childhood programs.

Thursday, May 17, 2012 to Saturday, May 19, 2012

Wheeling, IL - This conference provides professional development for early childhood leaders, offering opportunities to validate their work and also explore new and innovative ways to lead successfully.

Monday, May 14, 2012 to Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Chapel Hill, NC – At this conference, participants will learn the latest research findings related to inclusive policy, professional development, and practice.

Sunday, June 10, 2012 to Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Indianapolis, IN - The goal of this conference is to deepen participants' understanding of the expanding early childhood knowledge base and develop skills that improve professional practice.

Monday, June 18, 2012 to Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Tallinn, Estonia - This conference will explore research on children's need for undirected time and space for play.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012 to Thursday, June 21, 2012

New York, NY – Join caregivers, teachers, family child care providers, trainers, special educators, librarians, and others for this three-day institute.

Sunday, July 15, 2012 to Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Baltimore, MD – The theme of The CAYL Institute's conference is "What Really Works? Impact and Innovation for Young Learners."

Early Education News Roundup

Tuesday, April 3, 2012
(WFAE Radio 90.7, Charlotte, NC)

The pre-k reduction, though, means about 2,000 fewer children are in the program this school year. That number would've been more like 4,000 if not for [Governor] Bev Perdue moving money around in February to create new spots.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012
(Early Years blog at Education Week)

A 2008 report by the National Institute for Literacy found that sharing books with adults helped young children develop print knowledge and oral language skills, which play a role in later development of reading and writing skills. But don't confuse early literacy with early reading--formal instruction that pushes babies and toddlers to read and write is not developmentally appropriate, experts say.

Monday, April 2, 2012
(The Coloradoan)

When a preschool relies on play-based learning and has a skilled teacher who knows how to extend the learning that children naturally engage in, the results are priceless.

Friday, March 30, 2012
(Star-Gazette, Elmira, NY)

The [achievement] gap can be closed, if attacked early and aggressively enough. Without question, there is one great equalizer: pre-kindergarten.

Thursday, March 29, 2012
(DNAinfo.com, New York, NY)

The Department of Education may consider a plan to eliminate Pre-K programs to create space for more kindergartners, after hundreds of angry parents landed on a waitlist for their neighborhood schools.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012
(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

The study sponsored by the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute was conducted by a Federal Reserve economist and a former director of the state Legislative Audit Bureau. It found that investments in young children "can relatively quickly reduce special education and other classroom costs and enable parents to move into the workforce."

Tuesday, March 27, 2012
(Lexington Herald-Leader)

Any state that wants more college graduates cannot scrimp on early childhood.  Yet, despite Kentucky's desire to raise college attainment, not even a meager $15 million expansion of early childhood education is making it through the legislature.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012
(Education Week)

Concerns about early literacy skills are justified because reading skills at kindergarten entry predict later academic achievement. But guess what predicts later academic success better than early reading? Early math skills.