July 30, 2021 – Volume 20, Issue 30


NYS Virtual Early Learning Presentations

The New York State Education Department posted several presentations created for the New York State 2021 Virtual Early Learning P-3 Summer Institute by Junlei Li, a senior lecturer in early childhood education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

In the first presentation, “Being More than One Thing – Finding More than One Way,” Li shares the Simple Interactions framework he developed with the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media in Pennsylvania.

The Power of Simple Ordinary Interactions” includes footage from “Going to School During the COVID-19 Pandemic” video collection, created by the The High Quality Early Learning Project. The presentation is followed by a discussion on the power of noticing, connecting, and responding to children’s needs — all essential qualities of high quality early childhood teaching.


NIEER Evaluates The Creative Curriculum® from Teaching Strategies’ Ecosystem

NIEER is launching a two-year project to study The Creative Curriculum by Teaching Strategies. A key component of high-quality early education is the use of a strong, developmentally appropriate curriculum. The study will evaluate The Creative Curriculum® digital plus print model in its high-fidelity form: it is connected to assessment and family engagement workflows via a digital platform, and supported through professional development. NIEER will compare it to The Creative Curriculum® print model and other commonly used curricula. The study’s primary objective is to assess the extent to which variations in levels of support to the curricula are associated with differences in observed practices, children’s experiences, and children’s learning and development. The research includes an embedded cluster-randomized controlled trial to induce exogenous variation in implementation fidelity within districts. Funded through a grant from Teaching Strategies, the study will run during the 2021–22 and 2022–23 school years.


Preschool Instructional Approaches and Age 35 Health and Well-Being

Child-initiated instruction in preschool was found to be a strong predictor of well-being in adulthood, according to researchers.

The study used data from the Chicago Longitudinal Study and followed 989 children from low-income, minority families who were enrolled in preschool in the early 1980s. Researchers assessed the association between preschool instruction and educational attainment, income, criminal behavior, and the physical health of participants at age 35.

“Higher frequency of child-initiated instruction in preschool was associated with indicators of well-being in adulthood, including income, felony arrest, and jail or incarceration,” wrote Jasmine R. Ernst and Arthur J. Reynolds of the University of Minnesota’s Institute of Child Development. “This pattern of findings emerged regardless of the frequency of teacher-directed activities, suggesting the child-initiated activity frequency might be driving these associations.”

The study, supported by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is available here.

The Role of Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation in Reducing Racial and Gender Relational and Discipline Disparities between Black and White Preschoolers

An infant and early childhood mental health consultation system was found to be an effective intervention for preschoolers with challenging behaviors. Researchers evaluated Smart Support, an evidence-based strategy that provides mental health consultation to early care and education providers in Arizona.

At baseline, Black children had higher teacher-child conflict scores, but those decreased during the course of the program, the research showed. In fact, “Black children’s outcomes surpassed those of white peers by the end of consultation,” the researchers reported.

The study was conducted by Eva M. Shivers and Diana E. Gal-Szabo of the Indigo Cultural Center in Arizona, and Flóra Faragó of the Stephen F. Austin State University in Texas. Read the abstract here.

Teaching Future School Personnel to Train Parents to Implement Explicit Instruction Interventions

Researchers detailed how an academic assessment and intervention clinic trained future school personnel to work with families on developing parent tutoring interventions to improve educational outcomes for students with disabilities. The article was written by Sara Kupzyk of the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and Zachary C. LaBrot of the University of Southern Mississippi. Read the abstract here.

Cross-Domain Associations Between Mathematical and Narrative Abilities in Preschool-Aged Children

Researchers examining the connection between math skills and narrative comprehension in children ages 4 to 6 found that cardinality and math language skills showed the strongest associations. The study involved 108 children in a summer kindergarten readiness program in two U.S. locations.

“Cardinality and math language each explained a significant and substantial proportion of variance in narrative comprehension skills when controlling for the other math skills,” wrote Kiren S. Khan of Rhodes College in Tennessee, and Flora Hong, Laura M. Justice, Jing Sun, and Abigail K. Mills of The Ohio State University. Read the study here.

A Qualitative Evidence Synthesis of Parental Experiences and Perceptions of Parent–Child Interaction Therapy for Preschool Children with Communication Difficulties

Mothers and fathers who complete parent–child interaction therapy to address their preschooler’s difficulties with speech and language “perceive an improvement in their child’s communication and feel empowered to facilitate this,” a study found.

Researchers in Ireland who synthesized results of 27 studies said parents’ engagement “is facilitated when the intervention is tailored to their individual family, their preferences for learning, and when they have a trusting relationship with the clinician.”

The study was conducted by Ciara O’Toole of the University College Cork, and Rena Lyons and Catherine Houghton of the National University of Ireland Galway. Read the abstract here.


The University of Texas at Austin’s Prenatal-to-3 Policy Impact Center is hosting its second annual national summit on Thursday, Oct. 7, noon to 3 p.m. EDT. There is no fee for the virtual event, which features the release of the evidence-driven 2021 Prenatal-to-3 State Policy Roadmap. The center will also share an in-depth analysis of how the level of resources available to the same sample family of three differs due to each state’s policy choices. Click here to register for the free event.


Assistant Research Professor in Dual Language Early Education Policy

NIEER is seeking a non-tenure track assistant research professor in dual language early education policy. Join our multidisciplinary group of researchers and policy experts to conduct and communicate research designed to stimulate policymaking and improve educational opportunities for dual language learners (DLL). Our research informs policy and practice to support high-quality, effective early childhood education (ECE) from infancy through the primary grades. We collaborate with a network of local, state, national, and international leaders to design, conduct, and disseminate rigorous research, evaluation, and policy analysis. Additionally, we provide policy-related and research-informed technical assistance to policy and practice decision-makers. Work with us to use your ECE conceptual knowledge, expertise in supports for DLLs, and research knowledge to partner with elected and appointed officials, ECE leaders and philanthropic partners to improve young children’s learning, development and well-being. Apply online here.