August 13, 2021 – Volume 20, Issue 32

HOT TOPICS

ACF Seeks to Study Leadership in Center-based Care and Education Settings

The Administration for Children and Families’ Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation plans to collect data for a study of leadership in center-based early care and education settings. A 30-day public comment period on the matter began yesterday.

The purpose of the Early Care and Education Leadership Study (ExCELS) Descriptive Study “is to better understand how leadership might improve center quality and outcomes for staff, children, and families.” The goals are to:

  • Develop a short-form measure of early care and education leadership that has strong psychometric properties
  • Examine empirical support for the associations among key constructs and outcomes in the study’s theory of change of early care and education leadership for quality improvement

Send written comments and recommendation regarding the proposal to www.reginfo.gov/​public/​do/​PRAMain. More details are available here.

NIEER ACTIVITIES

NIEER Participates in Webinar for Zero to Five Montana

NIEER Assistant Research Professor GG Weisenfeld recently participated in a webinar by Zero to Five Montana on using funding from the federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief program (ESSER) to support early childhood education. The webinar was geared to Montana public school educators and administrators, but could be a resource for educators throughout the country. The webinar and resources provided by Weisenfeld are available here.

ECE RESEARCH

Associations between Preschool Sleep Problems and Observed Dimensions of Elementary Classroom Engagement

Researchers found that preschool-age sleep problems were linked to poorer classroom engagement when children transitioned to first grade. The initial 276 participants were evaluated as preschoolers, with parents reporting sleep patterns; 168 of them were then observed in their first grade classrooms.

The researchers found that more preschool sleep problems were associated with less involvement in academic tasks, and more inappropriate or distracting behaviors.

They noted that the critical period of cognitive development in preschoolers may make the impact of early sleep problems more pronounced. “These findings suggest important implications for clinical intervention targeting sleep as a novel, largely untapped component of school readiness programs,” they wrote.

The study was authored by: Cara C. Tomaso, Tiffany James, Jennifer Mize Nelsona, and Timothy D. Nelson of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln; and Kimberly Andrews Espy of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Read the study here.

To Stay or to Leave: Factors Shaping Early Childhood Teachers’ Turnover and Retention Decisions

Interviews with 26 early childhood education teachers, 12 of whom left their jobs, found that all shared the same workplace frustrations — a misalignment between job demands and resources — but that those who stayed “were more willing to engage creatively in solving workplace problems,” according to researchers at the University of Colorado.

Teachers who remained on the job “placed greater value on professional development opportunities,” while those who left “often felt that lacking key job resources undermined their sense of competence at being an effective teacher,” authors Diana D. Schaack, Courtney V. Donovan, Tobiloba Adejumo, and Mari Ortega wrote. Family factors influenced the value many of the teachers placed on job rewards, they noted. Read the abstract here.

Preschoolers’ Profiles of Self-Regulation, Social-Emotional and Behavior Skills and Its Prediction for a Successful Behavior Adaptation during the Transitional Period from Preschool to Elementary School

Low levels of self-regulation skills in preschool predicted difficulties in behavioral adaptation entering elementary school, a study found.

Researchers in Germany analyzed 406 preschoolers’ self-regulation skills, social-emotional competences, and externalizing behavior problems. They identified profiles and found that behavior problems occurred when self-regulation skills were low, even when moderate social-emotional competences existed.

“The results reinforce the relevance of promoting early self-regulation skills to support children in their behavioral adaptation process during the transitional period from preschool to elementary school,” wrote authors Annika Rademacher, Naska Goagoses, and Ute Koglin of the University of Oldenburg, Sören Schmidt of the Hochschule Fresenius University of Applied Sciences, and Jelena Zumbach of Psychologische Hochschule Berlin. Read the abstract here.

Association of Individual Motor Abilities and Accelerometer-Derived Physical Activity Measures in Preschool-Aged Children

Factors including age, parental education and time spent in sports clubs were strongly associated with preschoolers’ motor abilities, researchers found. The study involved 193 children who completed five tests assessing motor abilities: shuttle run, standing long jump, lateral jumping, one-leg stand, and sit and reach. The children wore accelerometers that measure movement. Researchers suggested their results “demonstrate that total PA [physical activity]and meeting current PA guidelines may be of importance for motor ability development and should be investigated further.”

The study was conducted by: Becky Breau, Berit Brandes, Marvin N. Wright, Christopher Buck and Mirko Brandes of the Leibniz Institute for Prevention Research and Epidemiology-BIPS in Germany; and Lori Ann Vallis of the University of Guelph in Canada. Read the abstract here.

Maternal History of Childhood Adversities and Later Negative Parenting: A Systematic Review

A review of 29 studies on maternal childhood adversities found “predominantly significant direct associations” between mothers’ troublesome experiences as children and negative parenting. Maternal childhood adversity also was linked to parental stress, according to study authors Camila Regina Lotto, Elisa Rachel Pisani Altafim, and Maria Beatriz Martins Linhares of the University of São Paulo’s Ribeirão Preto Medical School in Brazil. Read the abstract here.

EVENTS

The Future of Early Childhood Education After COVID-19, Tuesday, Aug. 17 at 2 p.m. EDT

OPPORTUNITIES

Program Director, Early Childhood Policy Fellowship, Bank Street Education Center

Postdoctoral Fellows, Divisions of General Pediatrics and Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics, Department of Pediatrics, NYU Grossman School of Medicine