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

NIEER Weekly

Volume 17, Issue 42

October 19, 2018

Highlighting the week's most interesting stories and studies: Leveraging ECE, P-3 Summit, SACQ is New

Hot Topics

Leveraging ECE

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recently published a summary of its workshop exploring how health care and early education interact to influence child development, recognizing birth through age 5 as a unique opportunity to enhance longer term outcomes.

Exploring Early Childhood Care and Education Levers to Improve Population Health: Proceedings of a Workshop notes that roughly 60 percent of children birth to 5 spend at least part of their days out-of-home or under non-parental care, so early learning programs can connect with families as a convenient and trusted resource for information and support.

“By weaving health promotion, preventive care, health literacy, and health care coordination into early care and education environments and making it easier for both health care providers and early care and education providers to coordinate and cooperate through policy levers, we can change the health status of entire geographies of children,” said Debbie Chang, the senior vice president of policy and prevention at Nemours Children’s Health System.

Participants discussed letting the health sector take more of a leadership role in early childhood system building, a need to create “a shared language across public health, medical field, and education fields” to encourage collaboration and communicate about desirable outcomes, and whether paying family members to stay home and care for children birth to 3 as a job might improve child outcomes.

Improving child health is a key goal of quality early childhood programs. With support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, NIEER recently launched a multi-year study to see how preschool policies and practices at school district, school, and classroom levels influence child development and health.

We hope to share new insights about how preschool policy and practice affect children’s physical activity, and how the level of activity influences physical, social, emotional, and cognitive development. Click here for a closer look at our work so far.

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

NEW on Preschool Matters Today blog

Seattle Preschool Program: Public Investment Paying Off

As voters consider whether to continue investing public dollars in the  Seattle Preschool Program, our multi-year evaluation indicates that, so far, it has been money well spent.

Four years ago, Seattle voters approved a $58 million property tax levy to finance “accessible high-quality preschool services for Seattle children designed to improve their readiness for school and to support their subsequent academic achievement.” The city launched SPP in 2015-16 as a three-year demonstration project that would be enhanced based on annual evaluations by NIEER and Cultivate Learning at the University of Washington.

The recently released year three (2017-18) evaluation of SPP focused on classroom quality and children’s learning, including information on children served, children’s learning and development during the school year, and program quality since the program began.

NIEER Activities

The National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) is building on our research into effective early education practice and policy with a summit for New Jersey educators focused on preschool to third grade education. Research has shown early learning sets the foundation for later academic outcomes.

The Early Childhood Education Summit, co-hosted by NIEER, The Nicholson Foundation and the NJ Principals and Supervisors Association Foundation for Educational Administration, will highlight research, policies and practice that can enhance pre-K to third grade instruction. The event will feature national experts on school leadership Sharon Ritchie and Kristie Kauerz, as well as a poster session featuring real-life examples of innovative practices from school districts participating in the NJ Early Childhood Academy program.

Register here for the Early Education Summit 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. November 16, 2018 in Monroe, NJ. Admission is free; registration is required.

CEELO Update

The Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO) this week shared a new tool to help calculate the costs of administration as part of the true cost of high-quality preschool.

The State Administrative Cost of Quality (SACQ) tool helps states generate data on the functions and costs of the State Infrastructure to Implement, Monitor and Sustain Quality of early childhood programs. The budget tool is organized around a continuum of state- and regional-level administrative capacities framework spanning policy/program development, forecasting and planning, provider recruitment, contracting, child enrollment, and workforce development.

SACQ is an Excel-based model that can be integrated into the Cost of Preschool Quality & Revenue Calculator (CPQ&R) to help users determine costs and funding sources related to implementing high-quality preschool programs. Both The CPQ&R and SACQ are free to use after completing either the CPQ&R licensing agreement , or the SACQ licensing agreement , and the user request questionnaire.


Examination of Teachers’ Preparedness and Strategies Used to Teach English Language Learners in Kindergarten

A new study released in Early Child Development and Care examined kindergarten teachers’ preparedness and training to teach English language learner (ELL) students and strategies that they utilize in the classroom to teach this population. Researchers report that teacher surveys and phone interviews were employed to gather data.

Researchers found that the majority of the kindergarten teachers felt prepared to teach ELL students, felt committed to working with this population, and also were eager to attend professional training workshops related to this topic.

From Early Relationships to Preacademic Knowledge: A Sociocognitive Developmental Cascade to School Readiness

This article in Child Development examined a model linking mother-child attachment to children’s school readiness through child executive functioning (EF) and prosociality in toddlerhood and the preschool years. Mother-child attachment security was assessed when children were aged 15 months and two years, child EF at age 2, prosocial behavior at age 4, and finally cognitive school readiness in kindergarten (age 6).

The results revealed three indirect pathways linking attachment to school readiness. These included one through Executive Function only, one through prosocial behavior only, with the last pathway involving both EF and prosocial behavior serially.

Risk Factors and Implications of Childhood Obesity

A new report released in Current Obesity Reports summarizes what is described as our current understanding of factors associated with childhood obesity, including the latest prevalence rates, the effectiveness of intervention strategies, and risk for concomitant disease later in life. Researchers report that prevalence of childhood obesity has increased eightfold since 1975. They suggest that prevention efforts have mainly focused on behavioral changes at the individual level such as increasing daily physical exercise or optimizing diet. The study authors propose that the effects of such interventions have been very limited worldwide and could not stop the increase in obesity prevalence so far.

Recommendations include using community-based/environment-oriented measures such as the promotion of healthy food choices by taxing unhealthy foods, mandatory standards for meals in kindergarten and schools, an increase of daily physical activity at kindergartens, and schools, as well as a ban on unhealthy food advertisement for children.

Vaccination Coverage for Selected Vaccines and Exemption Rates Among Children in Kindergarten–United States, 2017-18 School Year

A new report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention summarizes vaccination coverage and exemption estimates collected by state and local immunization programs for children in kindergarten in 49 states and the District of Columbia (DC) and kindergartners provisionally enrolled or in a grace period for 28 states. State and local school vaccination requirements exist to ensure that students are protected from vaccine-preventable diseases, the study authors suggest.

Researchers report that vaccination coverage among kindergartners remained high. However, they suggest that schools can improve coverage by following up with students who are provisionally enrolled, in a grace period, or lacking complete documentation of required vaccinations.


Ounce of Prevention Fund

The Research & Evaluation Division at the Ounce of Prevention Fund is seeking a Senior Program Evaluation Manager who will report to the Director, and collaborate with senior leaders to develop a coherent philosophy, plan, process, standards of evidence, and metrics for evaluation across professional development programs and direct services.

The Ounce also seeks a Research Specialist to research design, methods, analysis, synthesis, and dissemination of Educare Learning Network research to answer questions of value to the Network and field. See details here.


What must we do to promote school readiness and school success?

2018 Albert M Greenfield and William T. Carter Lecture
Monday Oct. 29, 2018
4:30 pm
University of Pennsylvania

Keynote address will feature both Dr. Tammy Mann, Chief Executive Director of The Campagna Center and Past-President of NAEYC, and Dr. Sam Meisels, Founding Executive Director of the Buffett Early Childhood Institute and Past-President of the Erikson Institute.

Presentations will be followed with questions from the audience and a reception. You can register for the Lecture here.

Early Education News Roundup

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

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