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

NIEER Weekly

Volume 18, Issue 12

March 26, 2019

Hot Topics

ECE Apprenticeships

NIEER’s YearbookHeadstart Yearbook, and Workforce Special Report have identified a clear problem with the lack of educational attainment for the ECE workforce. But identifying the problem is the easy part.
Even if every state legislature in the country passed a law requiring lead teachers to have a BA and an early education credential, those highly qualified teachers wouldn’t just appear out of thin air. Admittedly, there are many qualified early childhood teachers who have exited the field but could return if states improved compensation. Yet, that is not a sufficient long-term solution. A recently released report from the New America Foundation suggests that apprenticeships may be a way forward.
The report acknowledges that “today’s typical early childhood worker is a woman from a low-income family, the first in her family to go to college, with a family at home to support. Meeting increasing education requirements requires a significant time commitment, when maintaining full-time work is critical and child care is difficult to access.”
It suggests registered apprenticeships offer the potential to provide on-the-job training and directly relevant coursework, and by pegging wages to completion milestones they can offer short-term monetary incentives instead of the heavily frontloaded cost of college tuition. Of course, strong apprenticeship programs that partner with degree granting institutions to grant BA degrees don’t come cheap. As more research comes out on the effectiveness of Registered Apprenticeship programs, states and the federal government have been expanding funding for them.
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NEW on Preschool Matters Today blog

New Data Report Informs Early Childhood Interventions

There is no one comprehensive indicator of child well-being. Instead, child well-being spans physical, social-emotional, and cognitive health and development. Since children do not grow up in a vacuum separate from parents or communities, a variety of factors influence overall well-being and long-term flourishing. How can teachers, administrators, researchers, and parents get a sense of how children are faring across such a range of domains?

In the recently released South Carolina Early Childhood Data Report, the Institute for Child Success compiled more than 80 indicators regarding well-being of young children and their families, focusing both on access to services and programs as well as environmental factors impacting these families. Our report focuses on our home state of South Carolina, but also provides data on North Carolina and Georgia to allow for regional comparisons – and national level figures to give a sense of the overall picture for America’s children.

NIEER Activities

NIEER Co-directors Steve Barnett and Ellen Frede are in Australia as part of an ongoing partnership between NIEER and Early Start Australia. Dr. Barnett is chairing the Early Start Advisory Board Research and Advocacy Committee meeting, and Dr. Frede presented a talk to University of Wollongong Faculty and Students titled Ensuring Quality in Early Learning Systems and Practice: Balancing Act or the Horns of a Dilemma.


Government Spending During Childhood and Intergenerational Income Mobility in the United States

In a new study in Children and Youth Services Review, the effects of government spending during childhood and the association between income inequality and intergenerational income mobility were examined. The study was based on data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 data along with state-level measures of income inequality and per-capita total government spending.
It was found that additional government spending contributes to promoting intergenerational income mobility, that government spending moderates the effects of income inequality on intergenerational income mobility, and that government spending prevents the decrease in intergenerational mobility by offsetting the consequences of inequality. The researcher concludes that this evidence indicates that government spending plays a role in preventing a decrease in intergenerational income mobility by offsetting the consequences of income inequality.

Preschoolers’ School Readiness Profiles and the Teacher-Child Relationship: A Latent Transition Approach

In a new article in the Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, researchers used latent profile analysis to identify subgroups of children who displayed similar underlying school readiness skills at the beginning of the school year. Additionally, they examined whether these children transitioned across readiness profiles over the course of the school year. The study was based on data from 899 preschool children.
Researchers found that profile analyses of school readiness skills yielded a three-profile solution. Within each profile, children performed similarly across math, science, and executive functioning assessments. Ratings of behavior and approaches to learning differentiated from the other assessments in two of the profiles. Analyses indicated that profiles were moderately stable over the course of the year. Additional analyses revealed that child background characteristics and the teacher-child relationship were associated with profile transition.

Predicting Early Emotion Knowledge Development among Children of Colour Living in Historically Disinvested Neighbourhoods: Consideration of Child Pre-Academic Abilities, Self-Regulation, Peer Relations and Parental Education

n a new article in Cognition and Emotion, researchers examined child pre-academic abilities, self-regulation, peer relations, and parental education as predictors of emotion knowledge development over two years among children attending pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten programs in high-poverty urban schools. It was based on data from 1,034 children (primarily Black) living in historically disinvested neighborhoods that was part of a larger longitudinal study.
Children’s emotion knowledge was assessed with a series of tasks three times over a two-year period. At baseline, parents, and teachers reported on peer relations, children completed a test of pre-academic abilities, independent observers rated child self-regulation, and parents reported on their educational attainment. Researchers report that emotion knowledge increased over time, and pre-academic abilities, self-regulation, peer relations, and parent education independently predicted children’s emotion knowledge.

Data-Driven Decision Making in Early Education: Evidence from North Carolina’s Pre-K Program

In a recent study in Education Policy Analysis Archives researchers examined the types of data available to educators in Pre-K, the ways in which data are intended to be used, how data are reportedly used, and the facilitators and inhibitors of effective data-driven decision making. They draw upon in-depth interviews and survey data to examine this issue in North Carolina’s Pre-K program.
The researcher found that Pre-K settings are data-rich environments, often with informal data collected through developmental screening tools and formative assessment systems. They found that engagement with and use of these data for instruction vary. Finally, the found that data sharing between grades is inconsistent, and an important factor predicting data sharing is co-location of Pre-K programs within elementary school buildings. Researchers discuss the implications for policy and practice and future research.

Randomized Controlled Trial Comparing the Effectiveness of Structured-Play (ENGAGE) and Behavior Management (TRIPLE P) in Reducing Problem Behaviors in Preschoolers

In a new study in Scientific Reports, 60 families of children aged 3 and 4 years who had a T-score of 60 or above on the parent-rated Hyperactivity subscale on the BASC-2 were randomly assigned to either a structured play-based ENGAGE intervention or to the current gold standard treatment for preschool behavior problems, behavior management Triple P.
ENGAGE was found to be as effective as Triple P in reducing parent-rated problem behaviors in preschoolers (i.e., Hyperactivity, Attention Problems, and Aggression); with gains maintained over a 12-month follow-up period, for both interventions. Researchers suggest that these findings indicate that structured play is an equally effective alternative way to manage difficult behavior in preschoolers and compliments our current treatment options.

Improving the quality of early childhood care at scale: The effects of “From Zero to Forever”

The focus in developing countries is shifting from increasing access to early childhood care services to improving its quality. In light of the inclusion of early childhood development in the UN Sustainable Development Goals, there has emerged a global call for early childhood programs that integrate nutrition, health and development components. However, large-scale studies of integrated early childhood interventions are scarce in developing countries, and thus, little is known about its effectiveness and sustainability.
A new paper studies the immediate and medium-run effects of a large-scale expansion of an integrated package of services including care, education, health and nutrition on child growth and development, by analyzing the expansion of the Colombian national early childhood strategy known as “From Zero to Forever” between 2011 and 2013. The results indicate that the increased access to integrated center-based care had a large immediate effect on vocabulary that persists five years into the intervention, and less robust effects on nutritional status.


Educational First Steps

EFS is a North Texas intervention program that offers the community’s most vulnerable, at-risk children a strong start to their lives and their education. EFS is seeking an Executive Director to provide leadership to the current staff, continue the fundamental services that EFS offers, maintain a voice in the community about matters related to early childhood education and, in partnership with the Board, develop and implement strategies to build a stronger and more impactful organization. For more information, contact Holly Sherman Peña


American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting

April 5-9, 2019
Metro Toronto Convention Center

The theme of AERA’s 2019 conference, Leveraging Education Research in a “Post-Truth” Era: Multimodal Narratives to Democratize Evidence, is promoted as an opportunity to assess the state of education research, explore how research can help overcome today’s challenges by becoming more relevant to communities, practitioners, and policy makers.  Several NIEER faculty will be presenting during the meeting. Register here

Early Education News Roundup

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

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