June 10, 2022 – Volume 21, Issue 23


Maria Adelaida López, Executive Director aeioTU, Announced as Winner of the 2022 LEGO Prize Award

Maria Adelaida López, executive director of the Colombian social enterprise aeioTU, was awarded the 2022  LEGO Prize at the annual LEGO Idea Conference. The award goes to individuals or organizations who have made an outstanding contribution to children. López was awarded the prize for her leadership with aeioTU, which delivers high-quality early childhood services to children under the age of five, and administers programs to help parents, teachers and practitioners understand the importance of play, among other services.  Read more about plans for the $100,000 award and an excerpt from López’s acceptance speech here, and read about the evaluation of aeioTU led by NIEER’s co-director for research Milagros Nores here.

Data for Developing Equitable Pre-K Systems

The Early Childhood Data Collaborative has formed a consortium of experts to weigh in on the development of a Pre-K Data Equity Framework. The Framework’s goal is to develop better data to support action steps to build more equitable pre-K systems. NIEER’s early childhood education policy specialist Karin Garver is a member of the national consortium that is weighing in on the Framework. Read a blog post about the Framework here, and access the project landing page here.

Staffing Challenges at Virginia Child Care Centers: Differences by Centers’ Subsidy Participation Status

According to a brief published by the Study of Early Education through Partnerships (SEE-P). staffing challenges were greater at Virginia centers that accept subsidies. They found 79 percent of centers in the state’s Child Care Subsidy Program (CCSP) had at least one teacher vacancy, compared to 46 percent of centers not in the program. Sixty-six percent of centers in the CCSP reported turning away children because of staffing challenges compared with 37 percent in those outside the program. The authors point to inadequate reimbursement rates as a problem for recruiting and retaining teachers. Read the full brief, written by Justin Doromal, Kennedy Weisner, and Daphna Bassok, here.

Biden Administration Announces Operational Plan for COVID-19 Vaccinations for Children Under 5

The Biden Administration released a fact sheet Thursday that announces an operational plan ensuring a smooth roll out of COVID-19 vaccinations for children under the age of 5, should they be approved next week (as expected). The operational plan outlined by the Administration includes ensuring there is enough vaccine supply for children, making vaccinations available in convenient and trusted locations, leveraging federal programs to provide families with information and advance equity, and supporting efforts to build trust among families. Read the full fact sheet here


The Future of Abbott Preschool in New Jersey


On June 11, NIEER Senior co-Director Steven Barnett will address “The Future of Abbott Preschool in New Jersey” at the virtual conference Re-Envisioning the Future of Educational Equity in New Jersey. The conversation will cover several aspects of New Jersey’s historic entitlement to free high-quality preschool education in communities with high concentrations of poverty. Panelists and participants will consider the program’s impressive successes in supporting increased achievement and school success. They will also discuss the need to reinvigorate and adequately fund key elements for effectiveness, beginning with ensuring that all children in the “Abbott” communities enroll at age 3. The discussion is scheduled for 11:20 a.m-12:40 p.m. EDT. Register for the conference here.



Preventing Reading Disabilities in Prekindergarten Using a Technology-Aided Tool

A technology-based tool used by pre-K teachers to help them use assessment-guided practices and intentional teaching among other strategies reduced the number of their students at risk for reading disabilities (RD), researchers found.


Over six months, pre-K teachers systematically monitored learning and provided individualized supports for children with identified RD risk, and implemented one hour literacy and behavior regulation classroom activities nine days per month.


“With embedded technological support, prekindergarten teachers can feasibly and effectively engage in evidence-informed practices to systematically reduce children’s risk for RD,” wrote Leilani M. Sáez and P. Shawn Irvin of the University of Oregon. Read the study here.


Effects of Philosophical Ethics in Early Childhood on Preschool Children’s Social–Emotional Competence and Theory of Mind

An intervention called Philosophical Ethics in Early Childhood (PEECh) was found to increase preschoolers’ social-emotional competence (SEC) and understanding of their emotions and those of others, researchers found.


PEECh uses games, extension activities and discussion to support children in thinking deeply about emotional dilemmas and creating and sharing solutions, they wrote. The study was conducted by Tugce B. Arda Tuncdemir of The Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania; Michael D. Burroughs of California State University Bakersfield; and Ginger Moore of Penn State. Read the report here.


Spanking and Children’s Early Academic Skills: Strengthening Causal Estimates


Children who had been recently spanked at age 5 had significantly lower reading and math scores at ages 6 and 7 compared with those who had been spanked in the past but not recently.

Jeehye Kang of Old Dominion University in Virginia used data from a national sample of a U.S kindergarten cohort. Kang noted 61 percent of children had been spanked at least once by age 5, and among those who had been spanked, 28 percent were spanked at least once within a week of the survey. Read the study here.

Effects of the MMCI Course and Coaching on Pre-Service ECE Teachers’ Beliefs, Knowledge, and Skill


A course designed to improve early childhood education (ECE) teachers’ knowledge and skills related to effective classroom interactions benefitted preservice teachers, especially when paired with coaching. Participants either took the course Making the Most of Classroom Interactions (MMCI), received coaching along with MMCI, or were in the control group.


The study found pre-service teachers “with lower prior intentional teaching beliefs, teacher efficacy beliefs, or knowledge of effective teaching strategies” received the most benefit from the intervention. Read the study here.

Associations between the Neighborhood Social Environment and Preschool Children’s Physical Activity and Screen Time

The study by Jessica Baldwin, Lauren Arundell and Jill A. Hnatiuk of Deakin University in Australia examined components of the neighborhood social environment (NSE) with a sample of 214 Australian preschoolers. Parental social interaction was associated with increased likelihood of meeting physical activity guidelines and combined physical activity and screen time guidelines. Higher neighborhood crime was associated with a lower likelihood of meeting screen time guidelines. Read the study here.