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

NIEER Weekly

Volume 17, Issue 38

September 21, 2018

Highlighting the week's most interesting stories and studies: Diversity Issues, NJ $ and PDG B-5

Hot Topics

Diversity Issues

As Hispanic Heritage Month gets underway, a new report raises concerns that while overall preschool enrollment is expanding for low-income Hispanic families, inequities and barriers continue to limit access for many.

Access to Early Care and Education for Low-Income Hispanic Children and Families: A Research Synthesis, published this week by the National Research Center on Hispanic Children, finds evidence that “stigma, application burden, and lack of knowledge of available (early childhood education) options are among the barriers that low-income Hispanic families face in locating ECE arrangements. Hispanic families also report a… fear of government assistance.”

In addition, “social and economic stressors, such as a lack of community support or nonstandard work hours” can interfere with  families seeking early ed options, according to the report.

Recent studies indicate that even as ECE access issues are addressed, concerns also remain about the quality of programs available to Hispanic children. A recent NIEER Policy Facts reported that Hispanic DLLs show math and reading gaps twice as large as those of English-speaking Hispanic children at kindergarten entry and Hispanic children who start kindergarten without speaking English rarely catch up with their English-speaking peers. en español

At the same time, a State of Preschool 2017  Special Report found most state pre-K programs do not collect data on children’s home language, making it nearly impossible to design effective supports for young dual language learners.

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

The National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) recently completed a landscape study assessing how ready New Jersey school districts and private pre-K providers are to expand preschool programs and make the best use of new state funding.

This week, NJ Gov. Phil Murphy announced $20.6 million in new pre-K funding for 31 school districts to enhance and expand pre-K programs for more than 2,000 children ages 3 and 4. A second round of new funding is expected early next month.

NIEER research included classroom quality observations, surveys, interviews and the convening of a workgroup from Early Childhood Education higher education, state policymakers and other stakeholders. NIEER has also been providing technical assistance to help New Jersey school districts apply for preschool expansion aid, including Carteret where Gov. Murphy announced the funding.

CEELO Update

The Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO) recently joined with BUILD, the Ounce, EducationCounsel, and the Alliance for Early Success to support state efforts to submit successful applications for the new federal Birth to Five Preschool Development Grants.

CEELO and its partners will be sharing memos, webinars and hosting an in-person TA meeting October 9-10 in Chicago. Costs of the meeting space, sleeping rooms, meals during the meeting, AV and consultants and topical experts will be covered. Participants are asked to cover travel.

To register for the meeting, please complete the survey and coordinate who will be coming from your state. See the travel agenda here.


A Critical Calculation Supporting the Inclusion of Math in Early Childhood Degree Programs

A new brief released by the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment Institute for Research on Labor and Employment at the University of California, Berkeley (CSCCE) summarizes research conducted between 2012 and 2017 on early mathematical content included in early childhood education degree programs across eight states.

Significant findings include that only half of the degree programs required the inclusion of key math topics as part of their curricular requirements, only 64 percent of early childhood education faculty members believe that including early math education for pre-service teachers is very important, and that while faculty members across degree types felt most capable of addressing broad, informal topics within math education, they report being less capable of teaching more concrete or tangible skills. Finally, faculty members indicated a need for professional development on teaching practitioners to implement instructional strategies and to use assessment to inform and individualize their instruction.

Key policy recommendations include requiring early childhood education degree programs to align required content with the core early math teacher competencies, contextualized math courses and rich field experiences as standards for early childhood education degree programs, and promoting awareness of the importance of early math development–both within the ECE field and in the larger community. Supporting professional development for faculty in early mathematical instruction is also a key recommendation.

Alignment of Learning Experiences from Prekindergarten to Kindergarten: Exploring Group Classifications Using Cluster Analysis

A new study in the Journal of Early Childhood Research  analyzed data from more than 1,300 children in the 2009 Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey to examine children’s experiences of instructional alignment from prekindergarten through kindergarten.  The study found children have distinct and definable experiences of prekindergarten to kindergarten alignment.

Researchers found that Hispanic/Latino children in the sample were more likely to attend Head Start programs with poor support for prekindergarten-kindergarten transitions and poor kindergarten classroom structures. Most of the Hispanic/Latino children also experienced a decline in developmentally appropriate practices between prekindergarten and kindergarten.

Use of the Delphi Technique to Obtain Community Input on Leading Contributors to Early Childhood Obesity in Latino Communities

A new study in Hispanic Health Care International sought to identify stakeholders’ opinions on factors influencing early childhood obesity in Latino children aged 0 to 5 years. Researchers gathered and prioritized stakeholders’ opinions about factors and barriers considered most influential in early childhood obesity intervention or prevention within the Latino community. Participants included Latina women as well as staff from community organizations serving metropolitan Denver’s Latino population.

Study results revealed that stakeholders value the role of the child’s primary care provider in the identification of overweight children and desired more educational support to reduce intake of non-nutritious foods. Participants reported that obesity-related knowledge gaps and affordability of healthy foods and activities were the largest barriers to helping Latino children maintain healthy weights.


Joan Ganz Cooney Center

The Joan Ganz Cooney Center, a 501(c)(3) within Sesame Workshop, is seeking an Executive Director, who will serve as a member of the Sesame Workshop’s CEO’s senior management team responsible for the oversight of the entirety of Sesame Workshop.

The Executive Director will serve as the Center’s head strategist, champion, fundraiser, and manager and will partner with Sesame Workshop and the Board of Trustees to build and scale the Center into a leading and highly influential voice in the education arena. Email cover letter and resume.


2018 Early Childhood Data Systems Survey

2:oo pm ET
Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Early Childhood Data Collaborative webinar discussing latest national and state results from our 2018 Early Childhood Data Systems survey. Participants will get a first look at the new interactive website, see how early childhood coordinated data systems have shifted since 2013 and learn about innovative state approaches to integrating child, program, and workforce data. Register here

Early Education News Roundup

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

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