July 29, 2022 – Volume 21, Issue 30


State of Preschool Yearbook 2021 Appendix Now Available

The complete 2021 State of Preschool Yearbook “Appendix” is now available! This means that you can find answers to every question in the State of Preschool Yearbook survey from all 64 state-funded preschool programs. For example: How many state programs dedicated federal COVID-19 relief funding specifically to assist state-funded preschool programs? (Spoiler alert: The answer is 31!)  How many states support compensation parity for state preschool teachers and how many states provide incentives to recruit and retain preschool teachers? You can also use Appendix data from multiple years to answer more complex questions. For example, did the pandemic differentially affect preschool enrollment by race? Comparing 2017-18 to 2020-21 we find a much larger decline in enrollment for Black children than others (in states that report enrollment by race). To access the 2021 Appendix, visit the 2021 State of Preschool Yearbook home page and click the link for 2021 Survey Data

Trends in Obesity Prevalence Among Children and Adolescents Aged 2 to 19 Years in the US From 2011 to 2020

Obesity rates among U.S. children and teenagers of all races and ethnicities increased from 17.7 percent a decade ago to 21.5 percent for the three-year period ending in 2020, according to research published this month in JAMA Pediatrics. Researchers used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and found changes in obesity rates differed by age. For children ages 2 to 5, rates increased from 10.3 percent to 12.9 percent. Read the research letter, by Kathy Hu and Amanda E. Staiano of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Louisiana here.

National Study of Teaching Conditions and Experiences of Early Childhood Teachers

Early childhood teachers (infants/toddlers through third graders) are invited to participate in a national study focused on their teaching conditions and experiences during the 2021-22 school year. Participation involves completing an anonymous survey, which takes approximately 10 minutes. The findings will help guide support practices for teachers. Respondents will have a chance to win one of eight $25 Amazon gift cards. To read details of the study and take the survey, click here.


Preschoolers’ Executive Functions Following Indoor and Outdoor Free Play

Preschoolers showed greater attention during circle time following one hour of outdoor free play compared to one hour of indoor free play. Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin also measured how indoor and outdoor play impacted task-based executive functions and noted a “Goldilocks” zone of physical activity (i.e., not too much or too little) was most beneficial for preschoolers’ task-based inhibitory control. Read the study, by Andrew E. Koepp, Elizabeth T. Gershoff, Darla M. Castelli, and Amy E. Bryan, here.

Pathways of Mathematics Achievement in Preschool: Examining Executive Function and Task Orientation

Prekindergartners’ growth in task orientation, or their ability to stay focused, persist, and resist distractions, partially mediated the association between executive function (EF) and their achievement in math, researchers found. Tara L.Hofkens, Jessica Whittaker, Robert C. Pianta and Virginia Vitiello of the University of Virginia and Erik Ruzek of Ohio State University found no significant differences between boys and girls in associations between EF, task orientation and math achievement; however, they did find that girls had a significantly higher task orientation than boys. Read the study here.


​​Associations between Fundamental Movement Skills, Physical Fitness, Motor Competency, Physical Activity, and Executive Functions in Pre-School Age Children: A Systematic Review

Researchers exploring the relationship between measures of physicality and executive functions in preschool-age children found a strong association between motor competence and working memory. However, in their review of 15 studies examining fundamental movement skills, physical fitness, motor competency, physical activity, and executive functions, they found either no relationships or insufficient evidence for many associations. Read the review here.


Evidence-Based Psychotherapy Practices for Preschool Children: A Brief Review for Clinicians

Preschool-aged children are more likely than older children to receive clinical interventions with little to no empirical support, researchers have found. A synthesis of literature on psychological treatment for children with internalizing or externalizing problems noted that parent behavior management training, parent-child interaction therapy (PCIT), and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) were the treatments for externalizing problems with the most empirical support; and family-based CBT, group parent CBT (alone or in combination with group child CBT), trauma-focused CBT, and adapted versions of PCIT were deemed best for preschoolers with internalizing problems. Read the review here.

Relationships Between Proximity to Grocery Stores and Oklahoma Early Care and Education Classroom Nutrition Practices

In early childhood education (ECE) classrooms in Oklahoma, the community food environment (i.e., proximity to grocery stores) was not related to classroom nutrition practices, but certain ECE contexts faced more barriers in serving healthful food and beverages to children. Family childcare homes (FCCHs) located in an area with less access to grocery stores reported more barriers to implementing classroom nutrition practices than FCCHs close to grocery stores; an association not found in Head Start or community-based childcare. “These findings add to previous work by suggesting that experiences and perceptions of FCCH providers may be more susceptible to influence of the community food environment, especially when implementing nutrition practices required by CACFP standards,” the researchers concluded. Read the study here.