June 16, 2023 – Volume 22, Issue 24


NIEER’s Latest Headlines  
OPINION: The pandemic wiped out decades of progress for preschoolers. It’s time to get them back on track 

“Unfortunately, low access to quality preschool is a theme: In the 20 years since NIEER began collecting data on the state of preschool in America, we have seen only piecemeal steps forward and frequent steps back in funding and access for high-quality preschool programs across the country. During that time, real state spending per child has remained essentially unchanged, making clear that our nation has not prioritized early education despite its proven benefits and ongoing bipartisan support. Without fundamental change, this trend will continue.” 

Read more here. 

Access the State of Preschool Yearbook 2022 report.   

Join In | High-quality instructional coaching in pre-K presented by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation  

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation invites you to the first webinar hosted by their Early Learning Solutions team on Thursday, June 22, at 10 a.m. PT. Take part in an exciting discussion about the role instructional coaching can play in supporting pre-K teachers and promoting high-quality preschool programs that meet the needs of all children. 

Register here.  

Watch | Webinar – Place Matters: The Environment We Create Shapes the Foundations of Healthy Development 

This webinar discusses the Place Matters: The Environment We Create Shapes the Foundations of Healthy Development working paper. Researchers explore the impact of environmental conditions on children’s development and lifelong health. It highlights that the places where children live, grow, play, and learn can significantly affect their brains and biological systems. 
Watch now.  

Medicaid Policies to Help Young Children Access Key Infant-Early Childhood Mental Health Services: Results from a 50-State Survey 

This report presents the findings of a comprehensive 50-state policy survey conducted by the National Center for Children in Poverty, Georgetown University McCourt School of Public Policy Center for Children and Families, and Johnson Policy Consulting. The survey aimed to assess the Medicaid policies across states regarding screenings and services for identifying, preventing, and treating mental health problems in infants and early childhood. The report provides valuable insights and recommendations based on the survey results, serving as a resource for mental health and early childhood leaders to evaluate existing Medicaid policies and their effectiveness in supporting infant-early childhood mental health. 

Read the report.   


Understanding Heterogeneity in the Impact of Public Preschool Programs  

Co-authored by NIEER Assistant Research Professor Jennifer Duer, this study focuses on the North Carolina Pre-K (NC Pre-K) program. It examines the effects of the program on student outcomes in 5th grade. The researchers investigate how the program’s effects vary based on interactions with other environmental factors before, during, or after the pre-K year. The analysis leverages the variation in county-level funding for NC Pre-K to assess the impact of funding on student achievement. The findings indicate that higher NC Pre-K funding is associated with improved academic achievement six years later.  

Read the study.  


Socioeconomic and Attitudinal Differences between Service Users of Private and Public Early Childhood Education and Care in the Finnish Context

In Finland, a recent study explored how socioeconomic status and attitudes towards early childhood education and care (ECEC) differ between users of public and private ECEC. The study also investigated whether socioeconomic status plays a role in the relationship between ECEC type and parental attitudes. The findings showed that there are indeed differences in socioeconomic status and attitudes between users of public and private ECEC. However, interestingly, these attitudinal differences were not found to be associated with family socioeconomic status. 

Read the overview here.  

Publish in the International Journal of Child Care and Education Policy (IJCCEP)  

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The journal is indexed by Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI) and by Scopus.  

All articles are published under the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 license. Authors will retain copyright. 


Data Collection and Analysis for Preschoolers: An Engaging Context for Integrating Mathematics and Computational Thinking with Digital Tools 

The study highlights the importance of developing data collection and analysis (DCA) skills in young children, emphasizing its relevance in the modern world. By integrating DCA with computational thinking (CT) and math skills, the intervention aimed to foster problem-solving abilities through real-world data-focused investigations. The researchers utilized a digital app that allowed teachers and preschool children to engage in the various steps of the DCA process, enhancing their understanding of data visualization and interpretation. The results showed that the app provided a systematic approach to data collection and entry, while children in classrooms that completed the intervention achieved significantly higher scores in post-intervention assessments compared to those who did not participate.  

Read the analysis.  

Parent and Early Childhood Educator Perspectives of Unstructured Nature Play for Young Children: A Qualitative Descriptive Study 

This study aimed to explore the perspectives of parents and early childhood educators (ECEs) regarding nature play in early childhood settings. Interviews were conducted with 18 ECEs and 13 parents across four centers in South Australia. The study found that both groups recognized the benefits of nature play, including children’s connection to the natural world, learning about sustainability, emotional regulation, and self-discovery.   

Read the study.  

Exploring Links between Social Avoidance and Socio-Emotional Functioning in Early Childhood: The Moderating Role of Maternal Depressive Symptoms

The study aimed to investigate the role of maternal depression in the relationship between social avoidance and socio-emotional functioning in young children in mainland China. Multiple assessments were used, including mothers reporting their depression symptoms, rating children’s social withdrawal (social avoidance, shyness, unsociability), and teachers assessing children’s socio-emotional functioning at school (asocial behaviors, interpersonal skills, peer exclusion, internalizing problems). The findings indicated that social avoidance was positively associated with asocial behaviors, peer exclusion, and internalizing problems, while negatively associated with interpersonal skills.  

Read the study.  

Process Evaluation of a Kindergarten-Based Intervention for Obesity Prevention in Early Childhood: The Toybox Study Malaysia 

The Toybox program is an intervention aimed at improving healthy behaviors among children in Malaysian kindergartens, focusing on reducing sedentary behavior, promoting physical activity, and addressing snacking and drinking habits. This paper presents the process evaluation of the program, assessing indicators such as recruitment, retention, dosage, fidelity, and satisfaction. Overall, the Toybox program was found to be acceptable and feasible, although improvements are needed before its wider implementation across Malaysia. 

Read the paper. 


Oregon Dept. of Education: Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education (Several Positions)  

North Carolina DHHS: Deputy Director, Division of Child Development and Early Education 

Communities of Practice Facilitator/Program Manager, CAYL Institute 

Director, Maryland Early Childhood Leadership Program 

Early Childhood Associate/Senior Associate, School Readiness Consulting 

Principal Associate – Early Childhood Advising & Strategy Focused, School Readiness Consulting