July 16, 2021 – Volume 20, Issue 28


UPK: Answers to 5 frequently asked, and important, questions

With the possibility of historic new public investments in early care and education becoming a reality, important questions are being asked about universal pre-K. Why do we need it? What does it cost?  Does universal mean compulsory and reduce parental choice? How many new teachers would UPK require? Will UPK conflict with Head Start and crowd out private pre-K? A new one page fact sheet from NIEER (with a second page of detailed sources).answers they key questions. Read the fact sheet here.

Reviewing the Research Base from 1985-2020: Infant and Toddler Child Care and At-Risk Children’s School Readiness

Parents, policymakers and providers face tradeoffs in child care because of cost, and that can affect quality. Debra J. Ackerman, an early childhood education researcher and policy analyst, reviewed more than 60 studies of infant and toddler child care conducted since 1985 to investigate what constitutes quality, the cost of care features associated with quality, the effects of quality on child development, and the links between policies, program features, and quality. Read the report here.

Call for Associated Editor of Early Child Development and Care

Early Child Development and Care is looking for a new associate editor with a relevant academic background, editorial experience and passion to drive the journal forward. The successful candidate would work collaboratively to support the journal’s existing editor, who will remain as senior editor on the journal. The application deadline is Aug. 23. Read the details here.


VIDEO / Understanding the U.S. Preschool Education Landscape: A Briefing for Congressional Staffers

NIEER’s recent briefing for congressional staff members on early childhood education’s changing landscape is available on YouTube. Presenters included NIEER Senior co-Director W. Steven Barnett, NIEER Assistant Research Professor Allison Friedman-Krauss, Alabama Secretary of Early Childhood Education Barbara Cooper, and West Virginia State Superintendent of Schools W. Clayton Burch. View the briefing here.

NIEER Seeks Input from Early Childhood Workforce

NIEER is seeking input from the early care and education workforce to inform the design of a future nationwide, state-representative survey of paid workers in early care and education for children birth to age 5. Results from the future survey will help shape policy decisions made by state and federal early childhood education policymakers.

NIEER wants input from the broadest possible representation of the workforce in designing the survey: we want to hear not only from teachers and assistants, but also from administrators, coaches, speech and language therapists, and other support staff. We are asking every organization that connects with even a part of the workforce to share this information:

NIEER seeks input from everyone working with children under age 5 to inform the design of a future nationwide, state-representative survey of the ECE workforce. This is an opportunity to tell us what you want policymakers to know about the workforce. Your input will influence the scope and content of the survey. Answers are completely anonymous. Please click here for the short 11-question survey.

WEBINAR / Targeting American Rescue Plan Funds to Early Care and Education

NIEER, the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and National Association of Early Childhood Specialists in State Departments of Education (NAECS-SDE) are hosting a July 22 webinar on how state and district leaders can use American Rescue Plan funds for early childhood education. Presenters are:

  • Richard Lower, director of the Michigan Department of Education’s Office of Preschool and Out-of-School Time Learning
  • Jaclyn Vasquez, associate director of the Early Development Instrument at Erikson Institute
  • Miriam Calderon, deputy assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Early Learning

The webinar starts at 1:30 p.m. EDT. Register here.


The 74: Boston Expands Universal Pre-K and Pilots Program for 3-Year-Olds

The 74 referenced NIEER’s The State of Preschool Yearbook and quoted NIEER Founder and Senior co-Director W. Steven Barnett in an article about Boston Public Schools’ plans to launch a pilot program for 3-year-olds. Read more here.


Systematic Review and Meta-analysis: Prevalence of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in Trauma-Exposed Preschool-Aged Children

An estimated 22% of preschool-aged children exposed to trauma experienced post-traumatic stress disorder, a meta-analysis of 18 studies found.

Researchers in England found the prevalence of PTSD “three-fold higher following interpersonal and repeated trauma exposure compared to non-interpersonal or single-event trauma.” The prevalence levels were similar to that in older children and adults. They noted clinicians need to use age-appropriate diagnostic criteria “to ensure that vulnerable children do not go undiagnosed.”

The study was conducted by: Francesca Woolgar and Richard Meiser-Stedman of the University of East Anglia; Harriet Garfield of Addenbrooke’s Hospital; and Tim Dalgleish of the Medical Research Council. Read it here.

An Examination of Motor Competence Profiles in Preschool Children: A Latent Profile Analysis

Researchers identified five unique motor competence (MC) profiles for children ages 3 to 6, finding low levels of MC among preschoolers in the U.S. They examined differences by age, gender, race, geographic region, socioeconomic status, and body mass index standard deviation scores.

The study used data from prior studies conducted between 2010 and 2017. It included 582 children enrolled in early childhood education centers in Alabama, Louisiana and South Carolina.

Older preschool boys from wealthy and urban regions were most likely to be in the highest MC profile, the researchers found. However, 48% of participants fell in the lowest MC profile, they reported.

The researchers suggested their findings can be used “to create targeted, individualized MC interventions.” The study was conducted by: Angela Starrett, Matthew J. Irvin, Sally Taunton Miedema, David F. Stodden and Ali Brian of the University of South Carolina; Adam Pennell of Pepperdine University in California; Candice Howard-Smith of Troy University in Alabama; and Jacqueline D. Goodway of The Ohio State University. Read the study here.

Vocabulary Interventions for Young Emergent Bilingual Children: A Systematic Review of Experimental and Quasi-Experimental Studies

Preschoolers and kindergarteners learning two languages “increased their knowledge of words taught through vocabulary instruction” while “the use of bilingual or family heritage instructional language” boosted vocabulary knowledge in both languages, researchers reported. The study by Na Young Kong and Nicole Hurless of the University of Missouri–St. Louis synthesized the findings of 19 articles on vocabulary interventions for emerging bilingual children. Read the abstract here.

School Readiness Skills at Age Four Predict Academic Achievement through 5th Grade

A large-scale longitudinal study involving an ethnically diverse sample of children found that preschool socioemotional readiness skills consistently related to outcomes in kindergarten through fifth grade. “These findings suggest that school readiness skills at age 4 have long-term influence on academic performance in elementary school and that socioemotional skills are an important component of school readiness,” researchers wrote. The study involved 33,717 children, most from low-income families. Results showed school readiness predicted the odds of retention and suspension in elementary school. The study was conducted by: Courtney Ricciardi, Louis Manfra of the University of Missouri; Suzanne Hartman of St. Thomas More College in Canada; Charles Bleiker and Laura Dineheart of Florida International University; and Adam Winsler of George Mason University in Virginia.


Postdoctoral Research Position in Early Childhood Education Policy, Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University

State Policy Specialist with the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)

Policy Communications Specialist with the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)