May 21, 2021 – Volume 20, Issue 20

HOT TOPICS
Informing Continuous Improvement of Early Education at Scale
Enabling large-scale public programs to learn as grow and as the populations they serve and contexts in which they operate change presents challenges and opportunities. New Jersey developed one systematic approach to this when creating the “Abbott” preschool program as described in a recent ECRQ article. Another approach has been developed for New York City’s universal pre-K program and is described in a new article in the Future of Children. As with New Jersey’s approach, NYC has embedded randomized and rigorous quasi-experimental designs in the ongoing work of its preschool programs. You can learn more about this approach and how it works from the following links:
The Denver Preschool Program (DPP) is seeking proposals to support implementation of its Quality Improvement Framework. View the request for proposals in its entirety here, or download it on the DPP website. Proposals are due Thursday, June 3 at 6 p.m. EDT. The full proposal schedule is on page 11 of the RFP.
Proposals may be submitted by an individual organization or in a partnership with others to complete one, multiple or all projects described in Section IV: Scope of Work/Requirements. Contact DPP Director of Quality Initiatives Chris Miller with questions at chris@dpp.org.
ECE RESEARCH
A survey of Australian early childhood educators conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic found that strong professional well-being was associated with both lower risk of staff turnover and less conflict in educator-child relationships.
Of the 232 early childhood educators surveyed, the majority were from Victoria, where lockdowns were most severe. Educators indicated they were able to sustain strong relationships with children despite the negative impact they perceived the pandemic having on their own wellbeing, according to the researchers. An analysis of the responses found educators’ wellbeing was relatively high, they noted.
“Supportive organizational structures and culture can assist EC [early childhood]educators to meet the demands and expectations of their role, develop quality practice, ensure supportive working environments, and increase an EC educator’s intention to stay,” wrote researchers Patricia Eadie, Penny Levickis, Lisa Murray, Jane Page, Catriona Elek and Amelia Church of the University of Melbourne. Read the study here.
A study of bullying in 582 affordable early childhood education/kindergarten programs in China found physical bullying was the most common. The study involved a sample of 92,528 children ages 2 to 6. The study was conducted by: Mei Zhong of Foshan University in China; Hongxia Zhao of New Mexico State University; Jun Ai of the University of Kansas; and Songtian Zeng and Angela K. Stone-MacDonald of University of Massachusetts Boston.
The authors noted that most studies on bullying focus on older children. “Our study suggests that bullying may be prevalent in affordable kindergarten and it is urgent to create a policy framework to identify, intervene and prevent bullying behaviors,” they wrote. Read the abstract here.
While early childhood education teachers in Turkey showed positive attitudes toward the rights of children, their classroom behavior did not support those rights, researchers found.
“The incompatibility between attitudes and behaviors may be a result of the teachers’ lack of information and their adoption of traditional teacher-centered classroom management strategies in crowded classrooms,” wrote Cagla Banko-Bal and Tulin Guler-Yildiz of Hacettepe University in Turkey. “All of these findings also show that the best interests of the child are not protected sufficiently in the classroom.”
Under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, children in Turkey are entitled to rights related to care, health, education, optimal development, the ability to express opinions, and more; and protection from neglect, abuse, violence, cruel and degrading treatment, discrimination, and other violations. The study involved 205 early childhood education teachers who answered questionnaires; only 10 agreed to be observed in the classroom and interviewed.
The issue is critical in Turkey, where children make up nearly a third of the population, the authors noted. “Educating teachers about the rights of the child plays an important role in enhancing children’s learning and the application of these rights.” Read the study here.
Young children whose fathers demonstrated more mind-mindedness may reach more mature sleep patterns earlier in development, researchers suggested. Their study found that at age 2, children whose dads made more mind-related comments during father-child interactions slept a higher proportion of sleep at night, and less during the day and overall. Other children achieved that shift in sleep patterns between ages 2 and 4, they found. The study was conducted by Émilie Tétreault and Annie Bernier of the University of Montreal and Célia Matte‐Gagné of Laval University, also in Canada. Read the abstract here.
Children born prematurely exhibit executive functioning deficits in preschool compared to children born fuIl-term, researchers reported. They reviewed studies published between 2014 and 2019, finding that the deficits in the areas of the global index, inhibitory control, cognitive flexibility, working memory, and planning/executive functioning were independent of the degree of prematurity at birth. The review was done by Carolina Cruvinel Sandoval, Cláudia, Maria Gaspardo, and Maria Beatriz Martins Linhares of the University of São Paulo in Brazil. Read the abstract here.
ECE IN THE NEWS
The week’s key stories on early childhood education.
OPPORTUNITIES