January 3, 2019 – Volume 19, Issue 1

Hot Topics
Updated Study Finds Children Benefit from Early Education
An updated meta-analysis from the Washington State Institute for Public Policy (WSIPP) assesses the evidence for long-term effects and economic benefits from Head Start, state funded pre-K targeting low-income children, and universal pre-K. The group’s 2019 findings are consistent with its 2014 analysis but applies more restrictive criteria for acceptable research methods (including initial equivalence of treatment and comparison groups) and includes only studies of children who participated after 1975.
WSIPP found “evidence that ECE [early childhood education]programs have an impact on kindergarten readiness” as measured by test scores and that programs are likely to produce benefits that exceed their costs. The study provides detailed information about findings for a wide range of possible long-term effects and estimates of the value of specific types of effects including effects on employment and health, grade retention, and special education. For many outcomes there are very few effect sizes available indicating a need for additional rigorous research on long-term effects of large scale preschool programs.
ECE Resources
Apps as Learning Tools: A Systematic Review
Exploring whether children under six can learn from interactive apps, researchers reviewed 35 studies. They write there is “emerging evidence to suggest” apps may support “early academic development” but that more research is needed.
Contingent Responsivity in E-Books Modeled from Quality Adult-Child Interactions: Effects on Children’s Learning Attention
Examining the effects of interacting with a digital book that responds contingently on children’s vocalizations on children’s story recall and engagement, researchers found the digital book “significantly increased children’s story recall and was found to be especially useful for children with less developed attention regulation.”
Utilizing the RE-AIM Framework to Determine Effectiveness of a Preschool Intervention Program on Social-Emotional Outcomes
Researchers examined the effectiveness of the Jump Start program, which “provided short-term intervention to children in low-income preschools from multiethnic backgrounds.” They found Jump Start “significantly increased positive behaviors and decreased challenging behaviors in preschool-aged children.”
Cumulative Risk, Teacher-Child Closeness, Executive Function and Early Academic Skills in Kindergarten Children
Researchers examined “the role of teacher-child closeness in moderating the associations between early childhood adversity … and child outcomes during the kindergarten year.”
They found “teacher-child closeness moderated the relation between cumulative risk and working memory and cumulative risk and reading scores in a protective manner, but not cognitive flexibility, inhibitory control, or math scores.”
Strategy Diversity in Early Mathematics Classrooms
Researchers “examined the relations between [arithmetical]strategy diversity and mathematical achievement as children moved from preschool to kindergarten and first grade.”
Researchers found using a variety of strategies to teach mathematics to young children was effective, but this approach was less effective as the children got older.
Early Education News Round-up
The week’s key stories on early childhood education. Read now.
Assistant Professors of Elementary Mathematics Education (Two tenure-track positions), College of Education, Department of Elementary and Special Education, Georgia Southern University