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

NIEER Weekly

Volume 18, Issue 15


May 13, 2019

Hot Topics

The State of Preschool is Coming (Season 16)

Available Wednesday, April 17th, the Yearbook presents a stark view of preschool policy in the states.
This year’s report features, for a second time, the results of a special supplemental survey on workforce policies. How well does your state support it’s preschool teachers? Last time we reported on the workforce the results were not encouraging, but it did include some bright spots such as salary parity for lead teachers in New Jersey and supports for teachers in Alabama.
In addition, we report on access, spending, and quality standards for the 2017-18 school year, highlighting change over the past year and decade. Find out which states’ pre-K programs are on the move and which are in decline. In the meanwhile, you can catch up on our previous reports, dating back to 2003, at http://nieer.org/yearbook.

 

NIEER Activities

NIEER just released a new report on designing policies to support workforce development, “Developing and Supporting Highly-Qualified Preschool Teachers.” In it, we show ways that pre-K teacher quality can be improved by supporting the existing workforce, following the example of states like New Jersey.
On Tuesday, April 16th, NIEER with be hosting a webinar with the Education Writers’ Association, in advance of our Yearbook release. Journalists can reach out to us at info@NIEER.org for details.

CEELO Update

We are delighted to point you to the hard work accomplished during the first face-to-face meeting of CEELO’s Leadership Academy’s Cohort 5 held last week in Washington, DC. The eight fellows from across the country began their leadership journey focusing on six key competencies. Take a look at their webpage to see these competencies, the fellows’ bios, and all of the materials shared during the agenda for this first session.


ECE Resources

From our new report:
Teacher knowledge and skills are one of the keys to success in providing high quality early learning, and strong pre-service teacher education builds the foundation for those. Yet, only about half of state-funded Pre-K programs require lead teachers to have a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree and specialized training. Head Start raised teacher qualifications requirements in recent years, and 73 percent now have a BA. By contrast, all the well-known examples of preschool programs demonstrating strong long-term outcomes for children (e.g., Perry Preschool and Chicago Child Parent Centers) had teachers with BA degrees. More recent examples of large scale public programs with evidence of strong persistent impacts have all had licensed early childhood teachers with BA degrees (New Jersey, North Carolina, Alabama, Tulsa, and Boston). The entire field needs to catch up, but to do so in a way that retains the diversity of the early childhood workforce and supports it with adequate compensation.
In a new article in the Journal of School Psychology, researchers examined teachers’ initial level of interactional quality at the beginning of a school year (baseline) as a potential moderating factor in the relation between change in interactional quality and change in children’s school readiness skills throughout an academic year. The study was based on data from 269 preschool teachers and 1,179 children from low-income backgrounds.
Researchers found that overall, improvements in the quality of teacher-child interactions across the year were not significantly related to children’s skill development. However, gains in teachers’ instructional support across the year were related to children’s literacy and inhibitory control development. Additionally, the relation between gains in teachers’ emotional support and gains in children’s inhibitory control was moderated by teachers’ initial level of emotional support at the beginning of the year.
In a new study in Landscape and Urban Planning, researchers examined differences in outdoor play patterns and locations, and their correlates between Hispanic and non-Hispanic White children. The study was based on data from 3,449 elementary school students who were recruited in 2010 from 20 schools in the Austin Independent School District, Texas.
Researchers found that Hispanic children played in fewer types of outdoor places but for more minutes. Further, neighborhood safety and play destinations were important for children’s play. Additionally, researchers found that prevalent crash incidences were deterrents of outdoor play among White children and that street intersections were barriers to outdoor play among Hispanic children
Researchers suggest that intervention strategies to promote outdoor play should respond to the specific needs, preferences, and external constraints of children from different cultural backgrounds. They further suggest that strategies should also be tailored to provide safer places for Hispanic children. Researchers propose that diverse ethnic groups participate in planning and infrastructure decision-making processes to reflect different preferences and to achieve equitable access to health-supportive resources.
Early childhood educators looking for ways to develop a supportive learning environment for children who are emergent bilingual (or dual language) learners, while also seeking to meaningfully integrate technology tools into their programs, now have two new EDC resources.
Supporting Emergent Bilingual Children in Early Learning and Integrating Technology into Early Learning draws on current research into how children learn, giving educators promising practices for supporting the diverse needs of young learners. These resources also provide easy-to-use classroom checklists to aid educators in effectively implementing these practices. The resources, available in Spanish, Chinese, and English, are applicable to all early childhood professionals, working in all types of learning environments, with young children from all backgrounds.
Most studies report a small to negligible association between performance-based measures and ratings of Executive Function (EF). Researchers suggest there are few studies investigating this association for preschoolers, and most only include parent ratings. In a new study released in Child Neuropsychology, researchers examined the associations between three EF rating scales completed by teachers on 243 preschool children.
Results showed small to moderate correlations with EF measures of inhibition and cognitive flexibility/switching for all three scales, with the strongest associations observed between Child Behavior Rating Scale (CBRS) Behavioral Regulation subscale and child EF measures. Researchers suggest that in ideal situations, it is best to measure EF using both rating scales and performance-based measures of EF. They further suggest that CBRS seems to be a sensitive measure of EF in preschoolers and may be a helpful brief screening tool for use with teachers.

Opportunities

Recently, faculty from the Zigler Center developed a classroom observation tool called the CHILD (Climate of Healthy Interactions for Learning and Development; Gilliam & Reyes, 2016, 2017). The CHILD promotes the quality of social-emotional interactions in early child care and education settings.
The Center currently seeks a Research Associate who will primarily be responsible for conducting trainings on the CHILD Observation tool across the country and contributing to the development of CHILD materials and content. Ability to travel around the US is a major requirement for the position.
Interested applicants should submit via e-mail a cover letter, CV, and a minimum of two letters of reference addressed to: Madeline Klotz (madeline.klotz@yale.edu). The cover letter should include a section on why social and emotional learning is critical to instill at an early age. Applications will be reviewed upon receipt, and considered until the position is filled. Please make “Zigler Center Research Associate Position” the subject line of your e-mail.
The Center for Early Education Research and Evaluation (CEERE) at HighScope Educational Research Foundation announces a Post-doc/Project Manager position to begin in April 2019, or as soon as the position is filled. This individual in this role will report to the Project Director. The role will primarily be on a grant awarded to HighScope from the US Department of Education Investing in Innovation (i3) grant: Supporting Preschool and Kindergarten Students’ Self-Regulation Through HighScope Curriculum Enhancements: Plan-Do-Review and Conflict Resolution. The goal of this project is to improve the self-regulation skills of Detroit preschool and kindergarten students by building off the historic HighScope Perry Preschool Study. This project is in partnership with Detroit Public Schools Community District.
Application review begins immediately and continues until position is filled. Send a cover letter, curriculum vitae, brief writing sample, and contact information for three professional references to jobs@highscope.org

Calendar

April 17th
The Yearbook will be going live at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday. Please look forward to visiting us at http://nieer.org/yearbook.

Early Education News Round-up

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


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