April 8, 2022 – Volume 21, Issue 14


Towards a Global Science of Child Development: Challenges and Opportunities

A robust science of child development requires research on broad samples of children from around the world. To support this effort, the Society for Research in Child Development is sponsoring a webinar focused on global perspectives on child development. At the webinar, a globally diverse set of developmentalists will discuss challenges and opportunities in conducting developmental research around the world.

Topics will include:

  • The experiences of researchers from historically under-represented regions;
  • Building research capacity in developing nations; and
  • International efforts to broaden participation in developmental science.

The panelists are:

  • Dr. Bobby Cheon, Ph.D., National Institutes of Health (United States of America)
  • Dr. Reiko Mazuka, Ph.D., RIKEN Center for Brain Science (Japan)
  • Dr. Dana Basnight-Brown Ph.D., United States International University (Kenya)
  • Dr. Natália Dutra, Ph.D., Núcleo de Pesquisa e Teoria do Comportamento, Universidade Federal do Pará (Brazil)
  • Dr. Rowena Garcia, Ph.D., The Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics (The Netherlands)
  • Dr. Michael Frank, Ph.D., Stanford University (United States of America)

The webinar, moderated by Dr. Leher Singh (United States of America), takes place Thursday, April 14 at 6 p.m. EDT, and will include live presentations and a live Q&A session with the speakers. A second live Q&A with the speakers will occur on Tuesday, April 19 at 10:00 a.m. EDT. Details and registration for the events are available here.


Supporting Children and Families Through a Mixed-Delivery Pre-K System

NIEER Senior co-Director Steven Barnett and Assistant Research Professor GG Weisenfeld spoke on the panel Supporting Children and Families Through a Mixed-Delivery Pre-K System on Tuesday, April 5. The webinar, hosted by The Hunt Institute, focused on implementation and benefits of a mixed-delivery pre-K system. They were joined on the panel by Secretary Barbara Cooper of the Alabama Department of Education, and Martha Strickland, 4K Director of South Carolina First Steps.                                                                                                                             


Paid Maternal Leave is Associated with Infant Brain Function at 3 Months of Age

Infants whose mothers had access to paid leave demonstrated more optimal brain development at 3 months of age, according to a study published this week by New York University researchers.

The researchers looked at associations between paid leave and infant electroencephalography (EEG), a measure of brain function. They found that mothers with access to paid leave were more likely to have infants with EEG profiles that potentially show a more mature profile of brain function at 3 months. These effects held when controlling for variables including infant age, sex, gestational age at birth, and family income. Paid leave was also linked to lower levels of maternal stress and higher levels of maternal sensitivity and reciprocity.

The study, by researchers Natalie H. Brito, Denise Wechan, Annie Brandes-Aitken, Hirokazu Yoshikawa, Ashley Greaves, and Maggie Zhang, can be read  here.

Nudging Early Educators’ Knowledge, Beliefs, and Practices: An Embedded Randomized Controlled Trial of Text Message Supports

Early childhood teachers who received text messages encouraging two high-quality practices were found to speak more to children than teachers in a control group, but also to listen less, Harvard University researcher Emily C. Hanno reported. No impacts were found on transition-related outcomes. Educators in family child care programs showed the largest changes in language practices, she noted. Read the abstract here.

The Clustering of Physical Activity and Screen Time Behaviours in Early Childhood and Impact on Future Health-Related Behaviours: A Longitudinal Analysis of Children Aged 3 to 8 Years

Children who engaged in moderate to high levels of physical activity at age 3 were likely to be physically active at age 5 and at 7 or 8 — even if they engaged in more than the recommended daily limit of 60 minutes of screen time usage as preschoolers, researchers found.

The study was written by: Rosemarie Martin and Elaine M Murtagh of the University of Limerick in Ireland; Joey Murphy of the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom; and Daniel Molina-Soberanes of the University of Granada in Spain. Read it here.

Defining Bilingualism in Infancy and Toddlerhood: A Scoping Review

Although the field of research on bilingual infants and toddlers has expanded greatly in recent years, a lack of consensus on the definition of bilingualism for children under age 3 continues to affect this line of inquiry, researchers from Georgetown University concluded in a scoping review.

They found the most common method to measure bilingualism in infants and toddlers was percent exposure, with 20 to 25 percent being the most used cutoffs as the minimum requirement for second language. They also concluded that studies with a higher cutoff for second language exposure were more likely to report a significant difference between monolinguals and bilinguals. Read the full study, by Joscelin Rocha-Hidalgo and Rachel Barr, here.

Using Mindfulness-Based Interventions to Support Self-regulation in Young Children: A Review of the Literature

Mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) were found to support the development of self-regulation in young children, according to a review of 18 research studies conducted between 2010 and 2021.

The authors determined positive effects on self-regulation were significantly greater for children with difficulties or delays in developing self-regulation skills. “In an era in which educators, families, and children are facing unprecedented levels of stress and distress caused by a global pandemic, the need for these skills feels more important than ever,” wrote Jill O. Bockmann and Seon Yeong Yu of the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Read the review here.

Does Residential Mobility Affect Child Development At Age Five? A Comparative Study of Children Born in U.S. and U.K. cities.

Researchers investigating the impact of residential moves on 5-year-olds in the U.S. and the U.K. found children born in large cities in the U.S. are less likely to experience stability in housing and parental employment and partnership than those born in large cities in the U.K. However, negative impacts of this mobility were not seen in the U.S. sample, whereas some slight associations between negative outcomes and certain types of moves were seen for U.K. children.

The study was written by Ludovica Gambaro of the University of Tübingen in Germany; Anthony Buttaro and Heather Joshi of University College London in England; and Mary Clare Lennon of the City University of New York. Read the abstract here.