August 5, 2022 – Volume 21, Issue 31


Early Childhood Workforce Special Series: Strengthening Systems: Embedding Equity when Defining Quality 

NIEER Assistant Research Professor Dr. Alexandra Figueras-Daniel will speak at a webinar on Tuesday, Aug. 9 focused on defining and measuring quality in early childhood and highlighting strategies to build more equitable and inclusive systems. Strengthening Systems: Embedding Equity when Defining Quality, is hosted by The Hunt Institute and Bank Street College, and starts at 2 p.m. EDT. Joining NIEER’s Figueras-Daniel are Maki Park of the Migration Policy Institute, Stephanie Curenton of Boston University, and Sarika Gupta of the Straus Center for Young Children and Families. Register here.

Including Pre-K in Comprehensive ECCE Systems Building Activities

NIEER Senior Research Fellow Lori Connors-Tadros recently presented strategies used by states to expand access to high-quality early care and education programs at the webinar, Including Pre-K in Comprehensive ECCE Systems Building Activities. Connors-Tadros was joined last month by Debra Andersen as a facilitator, and panelists from New Jersey, New Mexico and North Carolina shared their experiences supporting pre-K in mixed settings. Slides and the webinar video are available here.

Impacts of COVID-19 on the Child Care Sector: Evidence from North Carolina

Child care enrollment reductions and closures during the COVID-19 pandemic varied greatly by provider type and community characteristics, according to researchers who examined county-level data in North Carolina. They found that family child care (FCC) providers had smaller enrollment declines and closures than centers, and counties with larger percentages of Hispanic residents had more closures. Child care centers experienced a 41 percent decrease in enrollment and a 4 percent decrease in the number of providers by December 2020, while FCC providers had a 19 percent drop in enrollment, and the number of providers increased 4 percent. Read the study, by Qing Zhang, Maria Sauval, and Jade Marcus Jenkins, here.



Childcare Providers’ Views of Challenging Child Behaviors, Suspension, and Expulsion: A Qualitative Analysis

Child care providers in Minnesota in both center- and family home-based settings reported physical aggression and noncompliance/arguing/fighting as the most frequently encountered difficult child behaviors, and they perceived typical child development and parenting problems to be the causes, according to a qualitative study on child behaviors and suspension and expulsion. Providers most often cited a belief that a child’s behavior was dangerous to others/themselves, or that they had exhausted all options and could not meet the child’s needs as reasons for considering expulsion or suspension. Read the study here.

A Scoping Review of Quality in Early Childhood Publicly-Funded Programs

Researchers who set out to identify what is known about high-quality early childhood programming in publicly funded, school-based settings concluded the traditional definitions of quality need widening. Their scoping review of 41 studies also demonstrated gaps in the literature in defining and assessing quality in school-based, publicly-funded programs.  Read the review by researchers from Mount Saint Vincent University here.

Phonemic Awareness: A Meta-Analysis for Planning Effective Instruction

Phonemic awareness (PA) instruction has a moderate effect on improving PA skills in preschool through first-grade students according to a new meta-analysis. The meta-analysis found no differences in effectiveness based on a number of moderators including instructor type (i.e., teacher, computer, or parent/tutor), grade level, group size, or at-risk for reading difficulties status. The study was authored by Marianne Rice, Florina Erbeli, Christopher G. Thompson, and Melissa Fogarty of Texas A&M University, and Mary Rose Sallese of the University of Alabama. Read the abstract here.

The Effects of Preschool and Age on Children’s Early Number Skills

Enrollment in preschool contributed to children’s math skills in the areas of object counting, numeral recognition and number order, while age-related effects were found for verbal counting, number order, numeral recognition and nonverbal calculation, researchers in Belgium reported. The study involved children ages 4 to 6 and compared experiences during preschool versus maturational changes. “From an educational point of view, the current data highlight that children’s object counting (including their understanding of the cardinality principle), number order and Arabic numeral identification might be particularly malleable through preschool,” wrote Aishvarya Aravindan Rajagopal, Floor Vandecruys and Bert De Smedt. Access the study here.

Participation and Learning in Prek Teacher Workgroups: A Communities of Practice Analysis of Mathematics-Focused Professional Development

Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison examined how professional collaboration impacted pre-kindergarten teachers’ learning in a mathematics-focused yearlong professional development series, identifying three modes of participation: interpersonal management, validation, and collective reasoning. The researchers analyzed teacher workgroup conversations using a communities of practice framework. Read the abstract here.