February 3, 2023 – Volume 22, Issue 5


Report on Wisconsin’s Early Care Serves as Little More Than a Missed Opportunity 

A recent Badger Institute report reviewed the current early care and education (ECE) landscape and offered a profile of the child care system in Wisconsin. Despite drawing valuable attention to the policy issues of ECE, the report ultimately failed to support its recommendations. NIEER Senior co-Director and Founder W. Steven Barnett reviewed Off Track: An Assessment of Wisconsin’s Early Care and Learning System for Young Children and found it to be flawed in its methodology and in its central premise. Read the review here. 


Gov. J.B. Pritzker has vowed to bring preschool to every Illinois child. That’s easier said than done 


In his second inaugural address in January, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker promised to “make preschool available to every family throughout the state” — a feat that will require solutions to staffing shortfalls and school capacity limitations, and an increase to the state’s nearly $600 million early childhood education block grant program. Read more here. 



Components to Consider When Planning City Preschool Programs 

When planning a new preschool program or enhancing an existing program, city officials and other stakeholders must consider program policies and options across several components. NIEER’s latest with co-authors Emmy Liss and Josh Wallack article details nine key components aiding communities to create programs that best meet their needs and the needs of the children and families they serve. Interested in diving deeper after reading the article? Join us in March for a two-part webinar series discussing how cities can plan programs with these components in mind. Stay tuned to NIEER’s Twitter for webinar date announcements! Read the article here. 


Apply For Our Peer Learning Community: Envisioning, Planning, and Implementing Better Systems for Dual Language Learners 

Applications are being accepted to participate in a nine-month peer learning community, Envision, Plan, and Implement Supportive Systems for Dual Language Learners, hosted by NIEER and the Migration Policy Institute. States/partners will engage and collaborate to self-identify a catalyst for action that can lead to improved policies and systems for dual language learners. See the attached document for details, as well as the structure for the letter of interest. Questions? Contact Alexandra Figueras-Daniel at afiguerasdaniel@nieer.org. Letters of interest are due Feb. 10. 



Systematic Mapping of Computational Thinking in Preschool Children 

Research on computational thinking (CT) teaching activities for preschoolers is increasing, but a systematic overview of 82 studies found preschool teachers still have little autonomy in implementing them, researchers in Brazil reported. CT teaching activities were found mostly to be taught by computer professionals. “When teachers receive training related to teaching CT in the classroom, they become interested in the content and become more active during the teaching process: integrating CT into their curricula and implementing it autonomously in their classroom,” the researchers wrote. They found a trend toward using physical artifacts as well as disconnected computing to teach CT skills to 4- and 5-year-olds. Read the study here. 


Preschool Teachers’ Music-Specific Professional Development Preferences: Does Teaching Experience Matter? 

Hong Kong preschool teachers’ preferences for professional development (PD) in music instruction varied according to their career stage, according to researchers who surveyed more than 1,000 educators. Generally, study participants preferred PD centered on musical creativity and curriculum integration taught by experts in pedagogy and music performance in short workshop and mentoring sessions, the researchers wrote. Beginner and experienced teachers “were more interested in playing instruments and in learning by observing other teachers,” while “advanced teachers showed preference for PD focusing on dance and music appreciation,” they wrote. Read the study here. 


Dietary Intake by Toddlers and Preschool Children: Preliminary Results from a Michigan Cohort 

A study charting the nutritional intake of a small group of Michigan children from ages 1 to 3 found basic dietary recommendations were met, but recommendations for limiting nutrient-poor foods and added sugars in early childhood were not, according to researchers at Michigan State University’s department of food science and human nutrition. Researchers conducted surveys of mothers when children were 12, 24 and 36 months of age. The study examined breastfeeding rates, fruit and vegetable consumption, and the avoidance of added sugars. Read it here. 



Perceptions of and Reflections on Aesthetic Education Training from the Perspective of Taiwanese Preschool Educators 


A survey of preschool teachers in Taiwan on their attitudes toward aesthetic education training, particularly in the area of music, showed they believed such training would improve their skills and benefit students. The training “would increase preschool educators’ perceptions of aesthetic appreciation, implementation, and evaluation in aesthetic education,” the researchers wrote. Middle-aged and experienced preschool teachers had more favorable attitudes toward aesthetic implementation for young children, they noted. Access the study here. 



Universal Screening in Early Childhood Populations: A Systematic Review 


Researchers evaluated 18 tools for screening young children for problems in social, emotional and behavioral (SEB) skills, and highly recommended four of them “based on their technical adequacy and usability within early childhood settings.” The researchers noted that only a fraction of children with SEB deficits receive services, and called for development of more cost-effective screeners. “Easily accessible or free SEB screening tools are needed to ensure that all students at SEB risk are identified early to facilitate early intervention,” they wrote. Access the study here.