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

NIEER Weekly

Volume 17, Issue 27

July 6, 2018

Highlighting the week's most interesting stories and studies: New Year, New Map, Twitter Chat

Hot Topics

Happy New Year

A new fiscal year began this week in 46 states—New York began its fiscal year April 1, Texas begins Sept. 1 and Alabama and Michigan begin Oct. 1—and 49 states had enacted budgets for FY 2019 (with Massachusetts adopting a temporary spending plan for the month of July), according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Several states boosted spending on early education, most focusing on expanding enrollment, including:

New York adopted a spending plan that includes $15 million for preschool expansion expected to enroll an additional 3,000 children in high-need districts in half-day or full-day programs across the state, according to state websites.

Alabama approved a total of $96 million for the state’s pre-K program—an increase of $18.5 million. Combined with final year Preschool Development Grant funding, the increase will add 100 classrooms to the First Class Pre-K program, allowing an estimated 1,800 additional 4-year-olds to enroll in the 2018-19 school year.

Illinois‘ new budget earmarks an extra $50 million for early childhood learning, adding about 5,000 children to pre-K classes and bringing total enrollment in state-funded programs to about 97,000 children.

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam launched a new Children’s Cabinet focused on quality and access to early education, nutrition and food security and safety for children and youth. The new budget includes $6 million to expand the Virginia Kindergarten Readiness Program (VKRP) in all kindergarten classrooms to provide data on children’s skills upon kindergarten entry beyond literacy. Funding also will provide professional development to teachers and school divisions to help them understand how to effectively use the readiness data, raise the per pupil rate for the state-funded Virginia Preschool Initiative (VPI) programs, provide classroom observations in all VPI programs and professional development to support VPI teachers.

New Jersey’s new budget includes an $83 million increase for early education, including $25 million for expanding state-funded programs into new school districts beginning this fall, $25 million to continue funding districts added last year and $33 million in new funding for 35 school districts already providing state-funded pre-K for all 3- and 4-year-olds based on a landmark court ruling in 1998. Governor Phil Murphy has pledged to make state-funded pre-K available statewide in four years.

A new chart (below) based on State of Preschool 2017 data shows state pre-K funding per child across the country, 2016-2017.

We invite you to follow NIEER on Twitter @PreschoolToday and Facebook at Preschool Today. Please share your social media handles so we can connect.

NIEER Activities

NIEER Co-Director for Research Milagros Nores, Ph.D. will be a featured speaker July 20-21 at the Education Writers Association’s fifth annual conference for Spanish-Language media, co-hosted by the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. Dr. Nores will be among influential researchers and leaders in the field of Latino education to help journalists gain a better understanding of the education issues affecting Latino students in the United States. The conference will be held in Miami.

Join NIEER and MomsRising for a Twitter Chat about state preschool policies supporting young Dual Language Learners at 2 pm Eastern Thursday July 12. #DualLanguageLearners #EarlyEdChat #DLL #bilingualism #preschool #bilingualkids

CEELO Update

The Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO) recently shared new resources based on presentations last month during the 2018 NAEYC Professional Learning Institute in Austin, TX.

“Evidence-Based” Is Not A Dirty Word: How To Confidently Use And Contribute To Research In Your Practice provides strategies and tools to identify high-quality research and practice and strategies for applying research to program and classroom use. CEELO’s Melissa Dahlin and Diane Schilder were joined by Kathleen Theodore (AIR).

Taking Technical Assistance To A New Level: Helping Early Childhood Leaders Adapt To Change And Move Programs And Policies To Success For Young Children focuses on three essential characteristics of high-performing early childhood efforts: individual and organizational capacity, organizational effectiveness and efficiency, and leadership and staff capabilities. Presented by CEELO’s Jana Martella and Diane Schilder.


Are Content-Specific Curricula Differentially Effective in Head Start or State Prekindergarten Classrooms?

In a new article in AERA Open, researchers examined whether children in Head Start or public pre-K classrooms differentially benefit from the use of randomly assigned classroom curricula targeting specific academic domains. Prior research has suggested that children who receive targeted or content-specific curricular supplements (such as literacy or math) during preschool show moderate to large improvements in that targeted content domain. However, recent research also suggests differences in children’s school readiness among different preschool program settings.

Results indicate that children in both Head Start and public pre-K classrooms benefit from targeted, content-specific curricula. Researchers suggest that future research is needed to examine the specific mechanisms and classroom processes through which curricula help improve children’s outcomes.

Playing, Talking, Co-constructing: Exemplary Teaching for Young Dual Language Learners Across Program Types

In a new article released in Early Childhood Education Journal, researchers report on a qualitative multiple-case study that investigated specific teaching practices for dual language learners in six community-nominated exemplary preschool classrooms across three program types (Head Start, public pre-K, and private university-affiliated preschool programs). Researchers wanted to learn from exemplary teachers about their beliefs and practices for teaching young Dual Language Learner (DLL) children through interviews with teachers, classroom observations, video recordings, and classroom artifacts.

Researchers report that their findings demonstrate that exemplary teachers hold asset-oriented beliefs about bilingualism and diversity, viewing DLL children and families as knowledgeable resources to the community. These teachers enact a wide repertoire of practices tailored for DLL children, including fostering relationships and belonging through embedding home languages and cultural practices in the classroom; emphasizing guided play, co-constructed curriculum, and ongoing observational assessment; and scaffolding and teaching the English language. Researchers discuss the implications of these findings for both teaching and teacher education.

Using Practice-Based Coaching to Increase Use of Language Facilitation Strategies in Early Head Start and Community Partners

In a new article in Infants & Young Children researchers describe how practice-based coaching was used with Early Head Start infant and toddler teachers to support their use of evidence-based language facilitation strategies. Strategies included video-based self-reflection strategies and coaching.

In this pilot study, infant–toddler teachers benefited from video-based self-reflection and coaching to transfer the use of language facilitation strategies. Researchers suggest that focusing on teacher strengths and creating opportunities for skill development through goal setting, individualized support and performance-based feedback facilitated the use of language facilitation strategies in infant–toddler care settings.

Early Shared Reading, Socioeconomic Status, and Children’s Cognitive and School Competencies: Six Years of Longitudinal Evidence

In a new study in Scientific Studies of Reading, researchers explored longitudinal associations between early shared reading at 2 to 3 years of age and children’s later academic achievement. They also examined the mediating role of children’s vocabulary and early academic skills, and the moderating effects of family’s socioeconomic status. Data were drawn from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (n = 4,768).

Researchers report that the results indicated that early shared reading was associated with children’s academic achievement directly and indirectly through receptive vocabulary and early academic skills. Further, frequency of early shared reading predicted the outcome measures, over and above other home learning activities. Study authors’ report that associations were stronger among low and middle socioeconomic status groups compared to the high socioeconomic status group. They suggest that shared reading offers unique opportunities for adults to teach young children new words and concepts.


University of Nebraska

The Department of Special Education and Communication Disorders at the University of Nebraska Lincoln is searching for a new faculty member at the rank of Assistant or Associate Professor, with expertise in Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education (EI/ECSE) for young children with disabilities birth to 5 years and their families.

The position is tenure-leading with a nine-month appointment. Appointment at the associate professor level may be awarded with tenure. More information and applicationDeadline August 15


Where the Babies Are: Exploring Strategies to Increase the Quality of Family Child Care

CCDBG Webinar
Monday July 6, 2018
2 – 3:15 pm Eastern

Infants and toddlers are frequently cared for in family child care settings; FCC providers delivering this care have a range of capacity, experience and quality in their services. This is Part 2 of a BUILD Initiative webinar series focused on family child care supports and will go deeper into coaching and capacity-building approaches for FCC. More information and register here

Early Education News Roundup

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

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