The Preschool Development Grants Birth Through Five Technical Assistance Center (PDG B-5 TA) is soliciting session proposals for the 2021 PDG B-5 annual convening, scheduled for Oct. 18-21. The convening’s topics are: special populations; data and coordinated eligibility and enrollment; governance; equity; finance; and social emotional learning and mental health. Use this form to submit proposals for learning sessions in one of the six topic areas by Tuesday, July 6.
Research Connections, a source for child care and early education research, recently redesigned its website to improve access to its library of gray literature, journal articles, and survey instruments. Research Connections is a partnership between ICF and the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation at the Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Visit the redesigned website here.
PRESCHOOL MATTERS TODAY
States Sharing Strategies to Target Federal Funds to an Integrated, Equitable, High-Quality System of Early Care and Education
The final in a series of articles on how states plan to allocate and disseminate federal dollars from the American Rescue Plan for early care and education systems is available on NIEER’s Preschool Matters Today blog. The article is authored by NIEER’s GG Weisenfeld and Lori Connors-Tadros, and Kathy Stohr of Pritzker Children’s Initiative and member of the National Collaborative for Infants and Toddlers (NCIT). Read it here.
NIEER IN THE NEWS
The nonprofit magazine, Early Learning Nation, published a story on June 24 about the Abbott Preschool Program in New Jersey and how it could serve as a nationwide model for universal preschool. Writer Mark Swartz interviewed NIEER Senior co-Director W. Steven Barnett, one of the authors of a recent longitudinal study on the Abbott Preschool Program.
The research published in May in Early Childhood Research Quarterly found that higher achievement test scores and lower rates of grade repetition for children who attended the Abbott Preschool Program persisted through 10th grade. Among children who attended a high-quality universal preschool program in low-income urban communities, scores on statewide achievement tests were higher in language arts and literacy, mathematics, and science. They also identified a significant reduction in students being held back a grade.
The Abbott Preschool Program was developed under a state Supreme Court mandate to provide a thorough and efficient education for children in 31 communities with high concentrations of poverty. Read the Early Learning Nation article here.
Steven Barnett, NIEER co-founder and senior co-director, was a guest on KNX In Depth, a podcast of KNX 1070 news radio in Los Angeles. Listen to the interview, which begins at the 32 minute mark, here.
NIEER Senior co-Director W. Steven Barnett was a panelist on a webinar sponsored by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) about policies and practices that can ensure high-quality early childhood education and care for all children.
Other participants included: Hanna Melnick, senior policy advisor at the Learning Policy Institute; Barbara J. Cooper, Alabama’s secretary of early childhood education; and Andreas Schleicher, director for education and skills for OECD. View the webinar here.
Kindergarteners and pre-K students who participated in an eight-week, in-class yoga program showed improved self-regulation and reduced behavioral problems, a study found. The research involved 154 children ages 4 to 6 in school districts serving students from low socioeconomic groups. Teachers, who underwent 10 hours of yoga training, incorporated six yoga lessons into each week, according to the study.
“Few studies have focused on young children living in the context of economic difficulty, which can hinder children’s development of self-regulatory skills and educational trajectories,” the researchers noted. The study was conducted by: Roxanne N. Rashedi of Vanderbilt University; Susan E. Rowe and Ross A. Thompson of the University of California, Davis; Emily J. Solari of the University of Virginia; and Kimberly A. Schonert-Reichl of the University of Illinois at Chicago. Read it here.
Associations of Observed Preschool Performance Monitoring with Brain Functional Connectivity in Adolescence
A longitudinal study over 12 years showed that an observable behavioral indicator of performance monitoring in preschoolers predicted functional brain connectivity in adolescence. Researchers found that the association existed in regions and networks of the brain that “are implicated in psychiatric disorders characterized by elevated performance monitoring.”
Authors Kirsten E. Gilbert, Muriah D. Wheelock, Sridhar Kandala, Adam T. Eggebrecht, Joan L. Luby, and Deanna M. Barchab of Washington University in St. Louis in Missouri suggested the findings “shed light on a mechanistic risk factor in early childhood with long-term associations with neural functioning.” Read the study here.
Hair Cortisol Concentration and Neurocognitive Functions in Preschool Children at Risk of Developing Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Low hair cortisol concentration (HCC) is associated with ADHD in boys, but not girls, a study found. “Low HCC may indicate a specific neurocognitive profile in boys at risk of developing ADHD,” they wrote.
The longitudinal study involved 122 children in Germany tested at age 4 or 5 and again at age 8. Results showed low HCC to be connected with low working memory and low performance IQ in boys. The researchers suggested that “low HCC may indicate a specific neurocognitive profile in boys at risk of developing ADHD.”
The study was conducted by: Christopher Mann, Susan Schloß, Alisa Cosan, Katja Becker, and Ursula Pauli-Pott of Philipps-University Marburg in Germany; and Nadine Skoluda and Urs M. Nater of the University of Vienna in Austria. Read it here.
While fantasy can detract from learning, new research suggested that particular types of fantasy may in fact increase learning. The research involved 5-year-olds who were read versions of a story containing either no fantasy or one of three different types.
Researchers found children who heard the deep fantasy version describing events that violated laws of physics performed the follow-up task well. “Stories with impossible events surprisingly led to more learning,” wrote Emily J. Hopkins of the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania and Angeline S. Lillard of the University of Virginia.
“Although fantasy may sometimes detract from learning (as other research has shown), these new studies suggest that minimal fantasy does not and that particular types of fantasy may even increase learning,” they wrote. They suggested “the mechanism for this may be that a small dose of impossible events induces deeper processing of the subsequent events in the story.” Read the research here.
Dual Stressors and Female Pre-school Teachers’ Job Satisfaction during the COVID-19: The Mediation of Work-Family Conflict
A survey of more than 700 female preschool teachers with children in China found they were adversely affected by having to work online from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. The educators reported higher workload and increased parenting stress, the study said.
“Work overload was negatively associated with job satisfaction via its positive association with work-to-family conflict. And parenting stress was negatively associated with job satisfaction via both family-to-work conflict and work-to-family conflict,” authors Xiumin Hong, Qianqian Liu and Mingzhu Zhang of Beijing Normal University wrote. Read the study here.