February 17, 2023 – Volume 22, Issue 7


Artificial Intelligence in Early Childhood Education: A Scoping Review 


With the increasing use of artificial intelligence (AI) tools in early childhood education (ECE), researchers in Hong Kong sought studies on their effectiveness specific to preschoolers, but found few. Analyzing 17 studies conducted between 1995 and 2021 in multiple countries, the researchers identified at least two approaches to AI integration in ECE: intelligent tutoring systems that personalize learning for children, and networked smart toys. “Most studies have shown that AI has significantly improved children’s concepts regarding AI, machine learning, computer science, and robotics and other skills such as creativity, emotion control, collaborative inquiry, literacy skills, and computational thinking,” the researchers wrote. While many studies involving older age groups have found AI-enhanced educational systems to be successful, the researchers called for one designed for younger children. Read the study here. 


Illinois’ Governor Proposed Universal Schooling for 3- and 4-Year-Olds, with $440 Million to Finance 5,000 Additional Seats This Fall 

Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker outlined his “Smart Start Illinois” program in his fifth annual State of the State and budget address before a joint session of the state’s House and Senate. “It’s a plan that will make our system more equitable, focusing in particular on children and families who have less ability to access quality programs, and investing in a workforce made up largely of women and people of color,” Pritzker said. Read more here. 



NIEER Senior Research Fellow Lori Connors-Tadros Advocated for Public Prekindergarten Before the Vermont Senate Committee on Health and Welfare  

NIEER Senior Research Fellow Loir Connors-Tadros testified about Vermont Bill S.56, which would establish public prekindergarten education programs, and related measures. Connors-Tadros discussed NIEER’s research finding on quality preschool standards for success, mix-delivery systems and field case studies. Watch her Feb. 10 testimony here, starting at 25:44. 


Join NIEER co-Founder W. Steven Barnett at CAYL Institute Webinar on March 2   

The COVID pandemic shined a light on early childhood education (ECE) as an essential workforce, and public perception of child care continues to change. Panelists, including NIEER co-Founder W. Steven Barnett, will consider ways ECE impacts life today and what can be done to continue demonstrating the field’s importance nationwide. The webinar begins at 4 p.m. EST on Thursday, March 2. Register here. 


Implementation and Quality of an Early Childhood Education Program for Newly Arrived Refugee Children in Germany: An Observational Study 

Adaptive early childhood education (ECE) programs serving refugee children in Germany had acceptable structural quality and high process quality, though not at the level of ECE programs at daycare centers, researchers reported. So-called “Bridging Projects” range from highly structured preschool programs to mother-child playgroups, depending on local circumstances and refugee families’ needs, they wrote. Those operating in education settings tended to have higher structural quality. The two-phase study provided “preliminary evidence that adaptive ECE programs might not necessarily require strict regulatory policies and education settings to achieve acceptable ECE quality,” they wrote. Read the study here 


Sleep Duration in Preschool Age and Later Behavioral and Cognitive Outcomes: An Individual Participant Data Meta-Analysis in Five European Cohorts 

European preschoolers who slept longer showed fewer behavioral problems at age 5, according to researchers who conducted a meta-analysis. “Longer mean sleep duration per day at 3.5 years was associated with lower mean internalizing and externalizing behavior percentile scores at 5 years,” they reported. Those findings, however, “could be due to confounding or reverse causality,” the researchers noted. Evidence related to a connection between sleep duration and language or non-verbal intelligence was found to be imprecise. Read more here. 


The Role of Digital Technologies in Supporting Quality Improvement in Australian Early Childhood Education and Care Settings 

An Australian study on the role of digital technologies in 60 early childhood education and care (ECEC) settings revealed their broad use and contributions to quality. The researchers reported digital technologies were particularly useful in the quality areas of: educational program and practice; collaborative partnerships with family and community; and governance and leadership. “This is the proper time to replace older, unidimensional views on technology with an organic, holistic view which is embedded in all areas of early childhood education,” they wrote. Access the study here. 


Measuring Preschool Children’s Engagement Behaviors during Classroom Shared Reading: Construct and Concurrent Validity of the Shared Reading Engagement Rating Scale 

Preschoolers’ interactive engagement in shared classroom reading, whereby children ask and answer questions and share experiences, predicted early literacy, but active engagement— paying attention and showing interest—alone did not, researchers found. The study, which assessed the validity of the Shared Reading Engagement Rating Scale, also found “the levels of shared reading engagement and their predictability of early literacy skills did not differ by gender or home language groups.” Read the study here.