Three decades out, participants in the high-quality Chicago Child-Parent Center preschool program experienced positive long-term health impacts, including a lower incidence of diabetes and lower body mass index. The study followed 1,539 participants born in 1979 and 1980 and surveyed most recently at ages 35 to 37. Researchers calculated a benefit of $1.35 to $3.66 per dollar invested, demonstrating that the health benefits offset the program cost. This does not account for prior research showing the program’s economic benefits on crime reduction and educational benefits. Read the paper by University of Minnesota researchers Nishank Varshney, Judy A. Temple, and Arthur J. Reynolds here.
Healthcare workers reporting higher levels of childcare stress (CCS) at the onset of the pandemic (from April to December 2020) had higher rates of anxiety or depression and burnout, according to a new study. Higher rates of CCS were associated with a greater intent to reduce hours and a greater intent to leave their job. “CCS findings have practical and financial implications, ranging from the increased risk of self-reported medical error to turnover and other costs associated with burnout,” the researchers concluded. Read the study here.
Science achievement is distinct from math and reading achievement in kindergarten, first, and second grade, although all are highly correlated, researchers from the University of South Florida found. Kindergarten language proficiency and executive functioning (EF) predicted science achievement among both English-only speakers and multilingual students. The findings suggested “integrated instruction that takes advantage of domain interconnectedness may reduce redundancies and help children connect with science content,” wrote Matthew E. Foster, Sara A. Smith and Trina D. Spencer. Read the study here.
A 12-week training for early childhood education and care professionals focused on physical activity and healthy eating resulted in improved child physical activity rates for the intervention group, researchers from Australia reported. They noted the intervention “can be easily integrated into existing service provision,” especially at centers with limited professional development. Read the paper here.
Preschoolers can master computational thinking (CT) concepts and skills, and CT can support them in more traditional areas of learning and social and cognitive development, a review of literature by Tufts University researchers Marina Umaschi Bers, Amanda Strawhacker and Amanda Sullivan found. They suggested policymakers focus on “play-based, screen-free technologies and other ‘unplugged’ approaches” for teaching CT to young children “to align with research recommendations around early learning and development, and about limited screen time.” Read the paper here.
Children ages 4 to 6 learned how to ask categorical questions useful for understanding science concepts after an educational intervention, while younger children struggled to use them, researchers found. “Activities to model children’s scientific skills, particularly those involving the formulation of categorical questions, could be included as part of the science teaching-learning process from 4 to 5 years of age,” wrote Esther Paños, Ana Carrión and José-Reyes Ruiz-Gallardo of the University of Castilla-La Mancha in Spain. Read the abstract here.