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

NIEER Weekly

Volume 16, Issue 30

August 4, 2017

Hot Topics

New International Assessment of Child Development at Kindergarten Entry Includes Social-Emotional Development

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development is launching a massive new project, called the International Early Learning and Child Well-being Study. The study is designed to inform early learning policy and practice globally by providing insights into children’s learning and development up to age 5 together with information on their home learning environment, early care and education experiences outside the home, and family background and other contextual factors. Notably, the study is assessing social-emotional development and self-regulatory skills as well as language, literacy, and mathematics.

The study’s measures obtain information from parents and teachers as well as through direct assessment. As their FAQ explains, “there is a consensus among experts that early learning represents a holistic concept that involves developing cognitive and social-emotional skills that are inter-related and mutually reinforcing.” The OECD provides a very detailed brochure that includes a summary of prior OECD analyses of early care and education’s associations with age 15 test scores internationally as well as detailed description of the new study. The U.S. will be conducting a field test in 2017 in preparation for the full study in 2018.

Although the early childhood community obviously would desire an even broader assessment, the inclusion of a range of social and emotional “skills” is broader than what is typically available in international comparisons. Two recently published studies add to the evidence that social and emotional skills should be front and center in early childhood policy decision making. A Dutch study by Martine L. Broekhuizen et al. found a significant improvement of social-emotional outcomes with increased early learning program quality and dosage. In a Canadian study, Justine Charrois et al. found that higher child care quality was associated with better social-emotional development for children of mothers with depression. 

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).

Social and Emotional Learning Under ESSA

The goal of every school is to help students acquire the skills and tools needed for a successful future. The federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) provides states and local education agencies with opportunities to improve strategies and practices to better support the academic, developmental, and social-emotional learning that prepares students for college and careers. And while the importance of strong academics is well-known, research now indicates early social-emotional learning (SEL) skills are important elements of school readiness and healthy child development, which are critical for long-term school and life success. 

SEL lays the foundation for growth in all areas of development and is especially critical for children living in areas of concentrated poverty. With a focus on SEL in instruction, children are more likely to acquire and learn to effectively exercise the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, and establish and maintain positive relationships. 

NIEER Activities

NCSL Webinar: State Preschool Programs Annual Yearbook Update

The State of Preschool 2016 authors NIEER Senior Co-Director W. Steven Barnett and Assistant Research Professor Allison Friedman-Krauss were recently featured in a National Conference of State Legislatures webinar discussing key findings from the annual state preschool yearbook.

Collecting data since 2001, NIEER researchers highlight the state data and national trends, focusing on quality and access, and the latest state spending numbers on preschool programs. 

CEELO Update  

CEELO this week shared a new resource from The Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, presenting 41 key indicators on important aspects of children’s lives.  

America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2017 presents key indicators in seven domains: family and social environment, economic circumstances, health care, physical environment and safety, behavior, education, and health. In addition to updating data sources and expanding several indicators, this year’s report presents a special feature on peer victimization among 3rd-graders in the United States. 


How to Prepare Preschoolers for an Automated Economy

Children at a summer camp run by the Developmental Technologies Research Group at Tufts University were observed by researchers who say they were learning the skills necessary to succeed in an automated economy. Technological advances have rendered an increasing number of jobs obsolete in the last decade, and researchers say parts of most jobs will eventually be automated. What the labor market will look like when today’s young children are old enough to work is perhaps harder to predict than at any time in recent history. Jobs are likely to be very different, but we don’t know which will still exist, which will be done by machines and which new ones will be created. To prepare, children need to start as early as preschool, educators say. Foundational skills that affect whether people thrive or fall behind in the modern economy are developed early, and achievement gaps appear before kindergarten. 

Alabama Pilot Program to Connect Learning From Pre-K Through 3rd Grade 

Eight schools in five different districts are participating in the pilot program known as the Alabama Pre-K-through-Third-Grade Integrated Approach to Early Learning. Each school has a pre-K program on campus and will be assigned an instructional coach to help guide the teachers. The schools were selected from a pool of applicants participating in the Alabama Pre-K-3 Leadership Academy, which launched last month. All eight of the schools will also receive a $15,000 grant to purchase classroom materials and improve early-learning experiences. 

Kicking Off a New State Agency for Children, Youth and Families

A new state agency was created to better serve Washington’s children and families, especially those living in vulnerable situations and communities. By next summer, the Department of Children, Youth and Families will combine and oversee several services now offered through the state Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) and the Department of Early Learning (DEL); all of DEL will fold into the new agency. Current DEL Director Ross Hunter has been tapped to build and lead the new agency. Stepping up to head DEL for the next year is current DEL Deputy Director Heather Moss. By July 2019, the new department also will administer programs offered by the Juvenile Rehabilitation office and the Office of Juvenile Justice in DSHS.

Are We Losing Play Without a ‘Purpose’?

Parents generally want their children to get outside and play, but they may prefer more structured activities than adventures fueled by imagination, finds a new Gallup study. 

“Many parents may not recognize the positive role that unstructured, child-led play can have on their children’s development, despite the scientific research linking this type of play to the development of problem-solving skills, social cooperation, resiliency, and creativity,” the report found.


Nicholson Foundation

The Nicholson Foundation (TNF) is dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of vulnerable populations in New Jersey. TNF seeking a Senior Early Childhood Program Officer to help lead its expanded efforts to improve health and early childhood outcomes by implementing strategies that inform policy and transform service delivery systems. Through partnerships with policymakers, stakeholders, and service providers, TNF seeks to achieve transformative, sustainable systems reform.  

A resume and a cover letter may be submitted, in confidence, to: Michelle Fouks, Chief Fiscal Officer, at 

NYC Department of Education  

The NYC DOE is seeking a Senior Executive Director to oversee the Teaching and Learning team, which includes a group of content experts who have developed the curriculum and professional learning that is in place at over 1,800 pre-K programs citywide, as well as a team of over 140 Instructional Coordinators, who provide instructional coaching to teachers and leaders in public elementary schools and NYCEECs. The Senior Executive Director will lead the Teaching and Learning team in research, design, production, and implementation of key instructional support materials, including research-based units of study for New York City pre-K programs. The Senior Executive Director and the teaching and learning team work cross-functionally to inform the NYCDOE’s early childhood education research agenda. Applications will be accepted through August 15, 2017 until 3:00 p.m. For more information and application click here. 

San Francisco Office of Early Care and Education 

The San Francisco Office of Early Care and Education is seeking a Fiscal Strategies Manager. Reporting to the Chief Operating Officer, the Fiscal Strategies Manager oversees the management of OECE’s funding portfolio and the staff team that manages relationships with OECE’s grantees and contractors. The Manager oversees the local deployment of several federal, state, and local funding sources to ensure that families in need have access to high-quality early care and education options. The Manager is responsible for effectively managing a team of five staff who each manage relationships with direct service providers and other contractors, and coordinating the team’s efforts with other units within OECE such as Data & Evaluation, Policy and Quality. Click here to apply.  

Education Program Officer, Early Education, Heising-Simons Foundation 

The Heising-Simons Foundation is seeking an Education Program Officer who will manage the Foundation’s Early Education (ages birth to eight years) grantmaking. The Education Program Officer reports to the Education Program Director and identifies and works with prospective and existing grantees, monitors grantee progress, and explores new grantmaking areas. The ideal candidate should have: 1) a relevant graduate degree in child development or early childhood education with a focus on ages birth to eight years; 2) a background and deep understanding of early childhood development and education, including knowledge of key early childhood education research findings and best practices; 3) 5+ years’ relevant educational or professional work experience in early childhood education with experience in family engagement activities; 4) experience in and knowledge of research and evaluation methods; 5) experience and understanding of California’s early education policy and practice and linkages with K-12 education and prior grantmaking experience are a plus. Interested and qualified candidates are encouraged to apply by sending a cover letter, resume and salary information by email to 


Nebraska Early Childhood Workforce Survey: A Focus on Providers and Teachers Presentation of Findings and Panel Discussion

Wednesday, September 6, 2017
8 – 10 a.m.
Sheldon Museum of Art
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
12th & R Streets

Please join us to learn about the Nebraska Early Childhood Workforce Survey, a study conducted by the Buffett Early Childhood Institute at the University of Nebraska to better understand the current status, working conditions, and attitudes of caregivers and teachers responsible for children from birth through Grade 3. The largest and most comprehensive study of the state’s early childhood workforce, this survey provides important insight into the everyday challenges of the professionals who care for and educate our youngest citizens. RSVP here. 

National Summit on Quality in Home Visiting Programs

January 31-February 2, 2018
Washington D.C., USA, 20001

The Ounce of Prevention Fund is hosting the Seventh National Home Visiting Summit on Quality in Home Visiting Programs convening researchers, advocates, policymakers, and practitioners in pursuit of advancing the home visiting field. The Seventh National Home Visiting Summit is an opportunity to address key issues facing the field and share best practices and lessons learned. Learn more.

Early Education News Roundup 

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

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