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NIEER's weekly newsletter for the latest in early education news

NIEER Weekly

Volume 16, Issue 29

July 28, 2017

Highlighting the week's most interesting stories and studies: Teacher Well-Being, B-3rd and IJCCEP Highlight

Hot Topics

A is for Attitude

Research has identified classroom experience—and teaching quality—as key to providing children with high-quality early learning opportunities shown to make a positive difference in their lives. Now researchers are exploring how educator well-being affects their ability to provide engaging, intentional and individualized education for every child.

A recently published research review finds the quality of educators’ work environment had clear effects on their well-being. Aspects of work environment studied included material and relational work environment, employment security, and fair pay. “Where educators experienced imbalances between the demands of their job, their control over these demands, and the supports available to them, they reported high levels of stress that were also associated with depressive symptoms, and higher levels of conflict in relationships with children,” the report states.

When educators enjoyed greater financial well-being—defined as wages, and perceptions of ability to meet expenses—they seemed to demonstrate greater emotional availability in interactions with children. Staff turnover also affected teachers, as those remaining reported increased stress and workload, and teachers expressed concerns regarding lack of a “fair exchange” of reward and effort.

The report calls for supporting teachers in ways that reflect the “deep interconnections” of educators, children, families and regulators and encourage acting at all levels in “respectful, ethical ways.”

A separate study published in the Early Childhood Education Journal (see Resources below) explored how Head Start teacher education, credentials and professional experience relate to beliefs regarding developmentally appropriate practice. Teachers with more education consistently held the most appropriate beliefs, according to the study, indicating teacher education may buffer against influences of pushed down curricula and increased accountability.

New on Preschool Matters Today! Blog

Latest in the blog series from the Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO) and New America on early learning opportunities and challenges under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

Using ESSA to Build a Birth-to-Third Grade Early Education Continuum

The federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) establishes new opportunities for building and supporting birth-to-third-grade systems at both state and local levels, enabling states to integrate B-3rd strategies into their new focus on equity, accountability, assessment, professional learning and school improvement.

Whether and how those policies become reality for young children and their families will require leadership and an intentional and intensive effort by state and district agencies and educators. Early childhood administrators can lead the way.

NIEER Activities

2017 National Principals Conference: Supporting High Quality Education in the PreK-Third Grade Years

In this presentation shared during the recent National Principals Conference in Philadelphia, NIEER Associate Research Professor Shannon Riley-Ayers, Ph.D. and colleagues Vincent J. Costanza and Sharon Ryan, Ed.D. discuss their research on kindergarten through third grade classrooms as well as elements of a professional development approach designed to fuse rigorous and appropriate experiences for children as they transition from early childhood settings to the primary years of schooling.

See related blog Giving Young Students a Bigger Slice of the Pie (Chart) by NIEER Associate Research Professor Shannon Riley-Ayers.

IJCCEP Highlight:

Longitudinal research and early years policy development in the UK

This recent International Journal of Child Care and Education Policy article was nominated as “groundbreaking research that could help change the world.” Longitudinal research and early years policy development in the UK presents the outcomes of key longitudinal studies that have contributed to substantial policy changes in Early Childhood Education and Care.

NIEER partners with the Korean Institute of Child Care and Education (KICCE) to publish the IJCCEP. Click here for details on submissions and reviewers.

CEELO Update  

CEELO this week shared a new resource from the McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership at National Louis University providing a comprehensive, cross-sector data base regarding early childhood leadership.

Closing the Leadership Gap provides a state-by-state overview and report card to benchmark progress over time in five policy levers that support high-quality program leadership—administrator qualifications in child care licensing, administrator credential, principal licensure, administrator qualifications in QRIS, and Administrator Qualifications in State Pre-K Programs.


Head Start Teachers Across a Decade: Beliefs, Characteristics and Time Spent on Academics

This study recently published in the Early Childhood Education Journal examines changes in preschool teachers’ beliefs regarding developmentally appropriate and inappropriate practice and their reported frequency of math and literacy activities in the classroom in 2000, 2003, 2006, and 2009 using the Head Start Family and Child Experience Survey (FACES).

Early on, Head Start faced challenges hiring and retaining teachers with early childhood expertise while keeping up with program expansion. This challenge, coupled with an emphasis on parent involvement, meant that many classroom workers were parents of Head Start children or other community members, whose passion for their local children far outweighed their formal training. In an on-going effort to improve the quality of Head Start classrooms, the expectations for teacher education have increased.

Findings illustrate that policies at the national level have the potential to impact children’s day-to-day classroom experiences. Federal policy changes with regards to accountability for children’s academic readiness likely led to both intentional and unintentional changes in teacher’s beliefs about DAP.

Use of Early Childhood Longitudinal Studies by Policy Makers

This study published in 2016 by the International Journal of Child Care and Policy finds policy makers and the public are usually familiar with the idea that ECCE programs lead to long-term effects and return on investment and a few know that only high-quality ECCE programs result in such effects. However, few act as if they know that economic compromises in high-quality ECCE programs lead to compromises in long-term effects and return on investment.

“Early childhood researchers should fashion their reporting so that policy makers can act on it,” the report states. “Too often it is laden with research jargon that is unintelligible to policy makers and practitioners.”

Is Subsidized Childcare Associated with Lower Risk of Grade Retention for Low-Income Children?

This study published by the US Census Bureau investigates whether low-income young children’s experience of Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF)-subsidized childcare is associated with a lower subsequent likelihood of being held back in grades K-12.

Matching information on children from CCDF administrative records to later observations of the same children in the American Community Survey (ACS), the analysis finds strong evidence for an association between CCDF-subsidized care and lower risk of grade retention, especially among non-Hispanic Black children and Hispanic children.

The report also identifies evidence that receiving CCDF-subsidized center-based care in particular is associated with a lower risk of being held back than CCDF-subsidized family daycare, babysitter care, or relative care, again with the largest apparent benefit to non-Hispanic Black children and Hispanic children.

Bilingual Baby: Foreign Language Intervention in Madrid’s Infant Education Centers

This University of Washington Institute of Learning & Brain Sciences (I-LABS) study focuses on infants and toddlers and reflects findings from a foreign language (English) intervention in Madrid, Spain. Intervention children (N = 126, ages 7–33.5 months) experienced 18 weeks of daily, hour-long, group English sessions with native-speaking tutors, using a brain-based method of infant language development. Intervention infants were compared to a matched Current Practice Comparison (CPC) group of peers in the same schools.

Intervention children outperformed the CPC group, showing rapid gains on measures of English word comprehension and English speech production. Schools’ neighborhood wealth was not a significant factor in learning. Follow-up analyses show that language gains were fully retained 18 weeks post-intervention.

An Analysis of the Memphis Nurse-Family Partnership Program

This working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research presents results from a reanalysis of data from a randomized controlled trial of the Memphis Nurse-Family Partnership program conducted in 1990. NFP aims to improve the long-term success of at-risk children by promoting healthy maternal behaviors and fostering strong parenting skills.

Researchers found that the home visiting program improved birth weights for infant boys, who tend to be more vulnerable during pregnancy. By the time children reached age two, researchers found the home visiting program had created healthier home environments, more positive parenting attitudes and better maternal mental health. At age six—four years after the program ended—the home visiting program led to improved cognitive skills for both boys and girls, and better socio-emotional skills for girls. Researchers found the positive effects on cognition and achievement persisted for boys through the primary grades.

Study of Early Education and Development (SEED): Impact Study on Early Education Use and Child Outcomes up to Age Three

This report published by the UK Department of Education compares the costs of delivering early education with the monetary value of the impacts on child development. Existing evidence shows that improvements in child development at age three and age four can be linked to later monetary benefits from reduced Special Educational Needs (SEN), truancy, school exclusion, crime, smoking and depression and from improved employment rates and earnings. Improvements in Key Stage 1 (KS1) attainment at age seven can be linked to later monetary benefits in reduced SEN, truancy and school exclusion and from higher qualifications leading to higher lifetime earnings

The key driver of the monetary value of the impacts, the report states, is higher earnings rather than reductions in the costs of Government services and the benefits mainly accrue to individuals.


The Center for the Study of Child Care Employment at the University of California, Berkeley is seeking a Program Associate to assist with the overall coordination of internal and external meetings, report preparation and distribution, research and information gathering, web updates and online communication, fact checking, and the CSCCE’s ongoing archival project. Find details here.

Early Education News Roundup 

ICYMI: Read this week’s key stories on early childhood education issues.

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