December 18, 2020 – Volume 19, Issue 48

NIEER Newsletter will be on hiatus for the holidays, returning Friday, Jan. 8. From everyone at NIEER, please enjoy a joyful and safe holiday.




Study Shows Pennsylvania Pre-K Program Benefits Young Learners

Children who participated in the Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts Program (PA PKC) had significantly higher levels of language and math skills in kindergarten compared to peers with no prior early childhood education, according to a report published this week.

Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, with support from the William Penn Foundation, conducted the study during the 2018-19 school year with kindergarteners who attended PA PKC the prior school year. The study sample included 597 children from 28 school districts across Pennsylvania.

“The finding of persistent effects is good news for Pennsylvania and the nation, and underlines the importance of adequately investing in strong programs,” said NIEER Senior Co-Director Steven Barnett. “Pre-K Counts has higher standards than most other state-funded pre-K programs across the country. As states struggle with the pandemic and its budget impacts, the nation must find ways to support essential investments in effective programs.”

Learn more here.


NIEER Assessment Finds 33 of Nation’s Largest Cities Have Public Pre-K

A new national assessment from NIEER shows 15 large U.S. cities are leaders in providing high-quality, accessible pre-K.

Based on NIEER’s assessment, CityHealth awarded gold medals for high-quality preschool programs to three new cities: Louisville, Kentucky, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Memphis, Tennessee. They join Albuquerque, Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Nashville, New York, Oklahoma City, San Antonio, and San Francisco, each of which received a gold medal in the past three years. Another 18 cities hold silver or bronze medals.

CityHealth, an initiative of the de Beaumont Foundation and Kaiser Permanente, evaluates cities on the number and strength of their policies advancing quality of life, well-being, and health.


New Toolkit to Facilitate Preschool Teachers’ Mastery of Literacy Strategies

The Southeast Regional Educational Laboratory (REL Southeast) has developed a guide to teach preschool teachers how to incorporate evidence-based language and literacy practices in their lessons. By engaging preschool teachers in collaborative learning experiences, the goal is to improve children’s literacy readiness for school. Videos of preschool teachers implementing the practices are part of the multi-prong toolkit. More information is available here.




Excellence and Equity in Remote Learning: A Series for EducatorsNIEER staffers GG Weisenfeld and Beth Gardiner will lead an hourlong virtual session about remote preschool during the pandemic on Wednesday, Jan. 13, at 7 p.m. “Remote Preschool: What We’ve Learned” is part of Rutgers Graduate School of Education’s Excellence and Equity in Remote Learning series for educators. Register here.




Concurrent Predictors of Science Core Knowledge in Preschool

With the U.S. lagging behind other countries in science achievement, researchers sought to better understand the development of science knowledge in young children. They examined the relations of executive function, vocabulary, literacy, math, and math language to science core knowledge among preschoolers. They collected data from 86 children in 27 local childcare centers participating in a state-funded pre-K evaluation project.

“Although vocabulary, literacy, math, and math language were all initially individually predictive of children’s science performance, when they were all included in the same model only vocabulary remained predictive of science core knowledge,” they wrote. “Capitalizing on the relation between vocabulary and science may be a useful mechanism for enhancing children’s learning within the scientific domain.”

The study was conducted by Lauren Westerberg, Ellen Litkowski, Jennifer K.Finders, Robert J. Duncan, Sara A. Schmitt, and David J. Purpur, all of Purdue University in Indiana; and Hope K.Gerde of Michigan State University.


Exclusionary Discipline Practices in Early Childhood Settings: A Survey of Child Care Directors

Noting that preschoolers “are being suspended and expelled at alarming rates,” researchers Kelsey A. Claybacka of the University of Virginia and Mary Louise Hemmeter of Vanderbilt University in Tennessee examined suspensions and expulsions at child care settings in Pennsylvania. Expulsion rates were found to be negatively related to director job satisfaction and use of the Pyramid Model.


What Are the Effects of Screen Time on Emotion Regulation and Academic Achievements? A Three-Wave Longitudinal Study on Children from 4 to 8 Years of Age

A four-year longitudinal study looked at the effects of screen time on 422 children, starting at age 4. Researchers Luca Cerniglia of the International Telematic University Uninettuno in Italy and Silvia Cimino of Massimo Ammaniti Sapienza University of Rome found screen time was positively associated with dysregulation at age 4 and negatively associated with mathematics and literacy grades at age 8.


“Who Will Share With Me?”: Preschoolers Rely on their Friends More Than on Their Non-friends to Share With Them

Researchers Samantha Lenz Samuel, Essler Monika Wörle, and Markus Paulus of Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München in Munich, Germany, conducted a study to determine the extent to which preschoolers rely on their friends and non-friends to share with them. They found that older preschoolers, ages 4 and 5, selectively expect their friends to share, but not 3-year-olds. “This highlights the developmental changes in selective reliance over the preschool years,” they suggest.




The week’s key stories on early childhood education.




North Dakota State University: Assistant Professor

Loyola University Chicago: Assistant Professor

NYU: Data Associate

SUNY College at Oneonta: Assistant Professor

University of Michigan: Research Assistant Professor




The National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) at the Graduate School of Education, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, conducts independent research to inform early childhood education policy. ITC@NIEER, the Infant and Toddler Policy Research Center at NIEER, focuses on informing policies that enhance the learning and development of infants and toddlers.