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

NIEER Weekly

Volume 16, Issue 34

September 1, 2017

Highlighting the week's most interesting stories and studies: Great Recession, Teaching Compassion and K-3 Survey

Hot Topics

Still Recovering

A new working paper indicates the Great Recession (2007-09) prompted “significantly reduced” academic achievement among elementary students in school districts with higher concentrations of low-income and minority students.

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania published The Impact of the Great Recession on Student Achievement: Evidence from Population Data using newly available population-level achievement data to assess recession impacts on math and language arts achievement among all US students in third to eighth grades. The paper found adverse effects concentrated in districts with the largest reductions in teacher personnel.

“The recessionary impact on student achievement identified here, coupled with the known effects of student achievement on future earnings, suggest that students who experienced the Great Recession during their school-age years will likely suffer long-term economic declines,” the report states.

The Great Recession also left its mark on publicly funded preschool programs, as documented by NIEER’s annual State of Preschool yearbooks, which report on funding, enrollment and quality, year-by-year.

The State of Preschool 2008 yearbook found fewer states providing sufficient funding per child to meet quality standards benchmarks. In 2008-2009, progress nearly stalled in access, quality standards, and resources. The following year, the 2010 yearbook found state cuts to pre-K “transformed the recession into a depression for many young children.”

The 2012 school year marked “the worst in a decade for progress in access to high-quality pre-K for America’s children,” before state preschool programs began a slow recovery. This year–more than five years later–state average spending per child increased to $4,976, exceeding pre-recession levels for the first time.

Hot Topics UPDATE

Last fall, we highlighted a report by Center for American Progress demonstrating that a family’s zip code could be an insurmountable hurdle to accessing child care. This week, CAP followed up that report with Mapping America’s Childcare Deserts, analyzing locations of licensed child care providers in 22 states—covering two-thirds of the U.S. population—and finding 51 percent of the US population lives in “child care deserts” with little or no access to quality child care.

Other key findings include: child care is much more available in suburban neighborhoods than rural or urban areas with median family incomes below average; Hispanic/Latino and AIAN communities are most likely to lack child care options; and maternal labor force participation is lower in areas without child care, with the widest gap in communities where median family incomes are below the national average.

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New on Preschool Matters Today! Blog

This blog reprinted from UNESCO blue dot blog. See Resource below examining development of social and emotional learning (SEL) in school and after-school settings.

Teaching (with) empathy and compassion in schools

Emotions are the DNA of human experience. Social relationships play a pivotal role in helping us become fully human. Connectedness is an essential need for our species. So, we tend to assume it comes naturally and, thus, needs not to be taught in schools.

It is only recently that policymakers and organisations are paying attention and defining emotions and social skills as essential to a well-rounded education. This is mostly based on growing evidence that socio-emotional skills increase academic outcomes and well-being and employers seek those skills and will pay for them.

Send NIEER your blogs on early childhood education issues. Share your ideas or finished blogs (800 words max)

NIEER Activities

NIEER is launching an updated version of NIEER Weekly next week, based on responses to our readership survey. Your newsletter will be delivered via Constant Contact as usual each Friday.

If you do NOT receive NIEER Weekly Friday Sept 8 please let us know so we can resend and correct any delivery issues. Thank you for your suggestions and comments!

CEELO Update

CEELO this week shared a resource from the Centers on Disease Control. Addressing Health Disparities in Early Childhood is an article from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that discusses the role of collaboration and data-driven intervention activities and how health can play a critical role in both the identification of at-risk children and the integration of systems that can support healthy development.


Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health (IECMH) Policy Series

This series of ZERO TO THREE briefing papers on infant and early childhood mental health policy are designed to generate awareness, interest, and action among federal and state policymakers, behavioral health administrators, and advocates.

Each briefing paper provides an overview of the topic, a summary of key terms, and policy recommendations. Topics include:

  1. The Basics of Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health
  2. Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation
  3. DC:0–5™: Diagnostic Classification of Mental Health and Developmental Disorders of Infancy and Early Childhood
  4. DC:0–5™ Crosswalk
  5. Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Competencies (Coming Soon)

Childcare Center Design Development Recommendations

This Fund for Quality reference guide supports the concept that a childcare center should encourage a child’s social, physical, intellectual, creative, cultural, and emotional development through play and learning in a healthy, stimulating, aesthetically pleasing environment. This guide was developed for child care providers or prospective providers in Philadelphia with information for the planning and design of high-quality early childhood spaces under the PHLpreK program.

The PHLpreK initiative making quality pre-K free and accessible for thousands of 3- and 4-year-olds will get support from a comprehensive evaluation to be conducted by the NIEER, made possible by a $1.8 million grant from the William Penn Foundation.

The Future of Children: Social and Emotional Learning

A special issue of the journal The Future of Children examines the development of social and emotional learning (SEL) in school and after-school settings, finding that these skills are essential for children and that teachers and staff need professional development to help children acquire them. See blog on teaching compassion and empathy.

K-3 teachers needed for national survey

The National Association for the Education of Young Children is inviting teachers working with children in kindergarten through third grade to participate in a survey that will guide a national advocacy project on behalf of K-3 teachers. All responses will be completely anonymous and confidential. The questionnaire is extensive, so be sure to set aside a generous amount of time. Survey.

Indispensable Policies & Practices for High-Quality Pre-K

This research review from New America synthesizes recent meta-analyses and other studies of pre-K programs and analyzes existing pre-K quality standards (see page 32) to arrive at a summary of policies and practices that are indispensable for high-quality teaching and learning in pre-K. The review focuses on six core themes: Curriculum, Instruction, & Assessment, Family Engagement, Funding, P–3 Alignment, Program Improvement and Workforce Support.

Considerations for Developing State Policy and Guidance on Inclusion of Children with Disabilities in Early Childhood Programs

The Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center recently released this resource to assist states developing policy/guidance to implement high-quality inclusive practices across early care and education programs. States should carefully examine current practices to determine what policy/guidance needs to be in place to improve the opportunities for high-quality inclusion across early care and education programs.

Summer Learning: High Quality Birth to Eight Learning Environments with High Attendance

Summer learning loss has accumulating consequences and can leave lower-income children up to three grade levels behind their higher-income peers by fifth grade. Summer learning programs can help children gain and retain math and reading skills, if they are high-quality and children attend regularly. This NC Early Childhood Foundation working paper offers policy, practice and program options to mitigate and minimize summer learning loss.

Attainment of 5-2-1-0 Obesity Recommendations in Preschool-aged Children 

Obesity prevention guidelines recommend children eat more than five 5 servings of fruits and vegetables, view less than two hours of screen time, participate in one hour of physical activity, and consume sugar-sweetened beverages daily.

This Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center study explored the extent to which preschool-aged children attending child care meet these guidelines. The study, published online in Preventive Medicine Reports, “suggests there is ample room for improvement in preschool-age children’s dietary intake, physical activity and screen time.”

Quality Early Education and Child Care from Birth to Kindergarten 

Children begin to learn to regulate their emotions, solve problems, express their feelings, and organize their experiences at an early age and then use those skills when they arrive at school. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has recognized the importance of early brain and child development by making it a strategic priority.


School Readiness Consulting

School Readiness Consulting (SRC), located in the Washington DC metro area, is looking for an Evaluation Associate to support research and data collection projects across its national Evaluation portfolio. Click here for details and application.

MA Dept of Early Education and Care

Director of Research and Preschool Expansion Grant Administration at the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care is recruiting a data specialist to support public policy. Click here for details on job number 170004F7.


Exploring Early Education Levers to Improve Population Health 

Sept. 14, 2017
8:30 a.m. ET
NYU Langone Medical Center (Alumni Hall B)
550 First Avenue, New York, NY and via webcast

The National Academies of Sciences Engineering Medicine’s Roundtable on Population Health Improvement will hold a free, public one-day workshop exploring intersection of health and early childhood care and education (ECE), a key factor that shapes health outcomes. Registration to attend this event in person or remotely is available here.

SAMHSA’s Center of Excellence for Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation


Part 1: Monday, Sept. 11, 2017, 2-3 pm ET
Part 2: Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017, 2-3 pm ET

The Center of Excellence invites you to register for Part 1 of a two-part series on Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (IECMHC) Models. These 60-minute webinars will provide a sequential, deep dive into components of the Models Section of the IECMHC Toolbox. Register here for Part 1.

Early Education News Roundup 

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

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