July 9, 2021 – Volume 20, Issue 27

July 9, 2021

HOT TOPICS

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 inform policy decisions made by state and federal early childhood education policymakers.

NIEER wants the broadest possible representation of the workforce in designing the survey, with input not only from teachers and assistants, but also 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 to tell us what you want policymakers to know about the early childhood education workforce.

PBS Newshour to Air Weeklong Series on the Child Care Crisis

Beginning Monday, July 12, PBS NewsHour will broadcast a weeklong series on the child care crisis in the United States. The five segments are expected to focus on the particular challenges of providing access to affordable, high-quality care for infants and toddlers.

The National Collaborative for Infants and Toddlers has assembled a pre-broadcast toolkit to promote viewership and highlight the needs for better access, affordability and quality in infant/toddler care. The toolkit is available here.

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 (ARP) 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.

DEADLINE EXTENDED: PDG B-5-TA Seeking Annual Convening Proposals

The deadline for proposals for the 2021 Preschool Development Grants Birth Through Five annual convening has been extended to Friday, July 16. Use this form to submit proposals for learning sessions in one of six topic areas.

NIEER ACTIVITIES

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

NIEER this week conducted a briefing for congressional staff members on early childhood education’s complex, fragmented, and changing landscape.

Topics included why quality ECE matters, the characteristics of a quality ECE program, preschool demographics, how mixed public-private delivery of public preschool works, and how the pandemic impacted–and continues to impact–preschool.

Presenters included NIEER Senior co-Director 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.

ECE RESEARCH

Socio-Cognitive Engagement (But Not Socioeconomic Status) Predicts Preschool Children’s Language and Pragmatic Abilities

Young children who spent more time with parents reading, playing games and talking over problems, and who interacted with more household members were better at understanding inferred meanings from conversations, a study found.

The research examined the impact of socio-cognitive engagement on children’s communication comprehension. The study involved 51 4-year-olds and 41 6-year-olds in Germany and their parents.

“Socio-cognitive engagement predicted children’s communication abilities while the parental educational background and income did not,” wrote researchers Cornelia Schulze and Henrik Saalbach of the University of Leipzig in Germany. “This emphasizes the notion that communication is a highly socio-cognitive task, one which children perform the better the more frequently they engage in socio-cognitive interactions.” Read the study here.

Assessing the Impact of the European Resilience Curriculum in Preschool, Early and Late Primary School Children

A curriculum in resiliency used with 1,084 Portuguese schoolchildren ages 3 to 15 showed effectiveness in reducing mental health problems and increasing prosocial behaviors and well-being, researchers found. Preschoolers in the RESCUR program showed improved academic performance. Teachers and children consistently reported positive behavioural changes in resilience-related competencies after implementing RESCUR,” the authors wrote.

The study was written by Celeste Simões, Anabela C. Santos, Paula Lebre, Cátia Branquinho, Tânia Gaspar, and Margarida G. de Matos of the University of Lisbon in Portugal, and João R. Daniel of William James Center for Research, also in Portugal. Read the abstract here.

Rhythm, Reading, and Sound Processing in the Brain in Preschool Children

Preschoolers who could drum consistently to two rates of presented beats performed better on measures of phonological awareness, auditory short-term memory, rapid naming of both colors and objects, and musical rhythm discrimination than children who drummed inconsistently, research found.

The study involving 156 typically developing preschoolers from the Chicago area established strong relationships between rhythm and language processes, according to the authors.

When listening in noise, the children who were good at synchronizing experienced less degradation of some frequency following response measures, the researchers reported. The results “are consistent with the view that rhythm, preliteracy, and auditory processing are interconnected during early childhood,” wrote Silvia Bonacina, Stephanie Huang, Travis White-Schwoch, Jennifer Krizman, Trent Nicol and Nina Kraus of Northwestern University in Illinois. Read the study here.

The Impact of Texas HIPPY on School Readiness and Academic Achievement: Optimal Full Propensity Score Analysis Approach

Socioeconomically disadvantaged preschoolers whose parents participated in an in-home training program were ready to learn in kindergarten, and maintained long-term academic success through eighth grade, a study found.

Researchers tracked children enrolled in the Texas Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (TXHIPPY) program. HIPPY children scored at the same level or higher than non-HIPPY children did in math and reading achievement. Read the abstract here.

The Dynastic Benefits of Early Childhood Education

Researchers monetized the long-run benefits of the Perry Preschool (a model program from the 1960s) on the participants and their siblings and children. The Perry Preschool increased the education and earnings of participants, decreased involvement in crime, and increased the health and healthy behaviors, the researchers found. Participants were followed into their mid-50s and their children into adulthood.

“When considering all of the benefits that we monetize, the internal rate of return more than doubles to at least 8.9%,” the researchers wrote. The study was authored by: Jorge Luis Garcia of Clemson University in South Carolina; Frederik Bennhoff and James J. Heckman of The University of Chicago; and Duncan Ermini Leaf of the University of Southern California. Access the paper here.

OPPORTUNITIES

Social Science Analyst, Health Resources and Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Division of Home Visiting & Early Childhood Systems