August 19, 2022 – Volume 21, Issue 33


Practice Guide: Preparing Young Children for School


Research has identified specific practices that can better prepare children ages 3-5 to benefit from school in kindergarten and beyond. A panel of experts compiled this research into seven recommendations for preschool teachers and parents. Preparing Young Children for School, released this week by the U.S. Department of Education’s What Works Clearinghouse, outlines these evidence-based recommendations, and includes guidance, potential obstacles to implementation, and tools and resources. Peg Burchinal of the University of Virginia chaired the expert panel that developed the guide. Read it here.


Child–Parent Relationship During the Wuhan COVID-19 Lockdown: Role of Changes in Preschool Children’s Daily Routines


​​Preschoolers who experienced the strict 76-day lockdown in Wuhan, China when the COVID-19 virus first surfaced in 2020 spent significantly less time learning, playing and exercising and more time sleeping and viewing screens than before the lockdown, according to researchers. The reduction in learning time and increase in nighttime sleep were related to more child–parent conflict, while the reduced play and exercise time were related to less child–parent closeness, researchers reported. Read the study, by Tony Xing Tan, Peng Wang, Joy Huanhuan Wang and Yu Huang here.


Research Translation & Dissemination: Best Practices and Approaches


Best practices in research translation and dissemination, and examples of how to use research to inform and improve programs for children, youth and families will be the topics covered at a webinar on Monday, Aug. 22. Hosted by the National Council on Family Relations, Research Translation & Dissemination: Best Practices and Approaches will run noon to 1 p.m. EDT. Presenters are Mindy Scott and Alana Ward of Child Trends. Register for the webinar here.



‘Pre-K in Alabama is Like Football in Alabama’: How One State Built an Admired Pre-K Program


The preseason college football rankings are just out, and Alabama again ranks number one. If NIEER gave preseason rankings for preschool, Alabama would be a strong contender for a top spot here as well. By prioritizing funding of pre-K education, Alabama has developed a high-quality pre-K program, and is the only state that has met all of NIEER’s ten benchmarks for minimum state preschool quality for the last 15 years. But it has done far more than the minimum to work on continuously improving quality. NIEER Senior co-Director Steve Barnett was recently interviewed about Alabama’s success in building a pre-K program on Two Americas. “Alabama is one of the poorest states in the country, but their per child spending is much higher than many wealthier states. They’ve made a choice to focus their resources on getting this right for 4-year-olds,” Barnett said in the interview. Watch the video clip here.



Effects of Training Parents in Dialogic Book Sharing: The Early Years Provision in Children’s Centers (EPICC) Study

Parents trained in dialogic book-sharing at child care centers experienced large gains in parent book-sharing skills with their preschool-age children, according to researchers in the United Kingdom. Children whose parents completed the seven weekly training sessions also experienced small benefits in language and attention outcomes. Read the study here.

A Systematic Literature Review of Empirical Research on Technology Education in Early Childhood Education


In the emerging field of technology education in early childhood education, research tends to focus on two broad themes: preschool and pre-service teachers’ understandings of technology education; and technology activities in preschool settings. Research “involving the historical and future aspects of technology education in preschools” is more limited; further research in this area is needed, according to Sara Eliasson, Louise Peterson and Annika Lantz-Andersson of the University of Gothenburg. Read the systematic review here.


Redefining Engineering for Early Childhood Educators through Professional Development


Early childhood teachers who participated in an intensive summer professional development series about engineering had improved understanding of the subject, increased self-efficacy, and more confidence to teach engineering to young children, researchers found. The research “provides an example of an effective approach to enhance early childhood teachers’ preparation in teaching engineering activities for young children.” Read the abstract here.


Family Involvement and English Learners’ Outcomes: A Synthetic Analysis


Family involvement is related to small effects on academic, socio-emotional and behavioral outcomes for English-language learners, researchers at Texas A&M University found. Bizhu HeView and Christopher Thompson synthesized 28 empirical studies that involved English learners from pre-kindergarten to grade 12. They found the strongest association between family involvement and children’s outcomes in spontaneous contexts occurred when parents/caregivers had high educational expectations and encouraged aspiration in their children. Effects were greater in pre-K/kindergarten and elementary school as compared to secondary school. Read the study here.