June 17, 2022 – Volume 21, Issue 24


Public Childcare Benefits Children and Mothers: Evidence from a Nationwide Experiment in a Developing Country


Substantial positive benefits were found in the first randomized evaluation of an at-scale child care program in a developing country. Andrés Hojman of the School of Government in Chile and Florencia Lopez Boo of Inter-American Development Bank in Washington, D. C. demonstrated that a child care program serving infants to 4-year-olds in Nicaragua had a large positive effect on children’s socio-emotional development. In addition, mothers whose children attended the program were more likely to work. Benefits were greater in programs with higher observed quality. Read the full study here.


Dear Colleague Letter on Social-Emotional Development and Mental Health


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Education this week made four recommendations to state, territorial, tribal and local policymakers and program administrators on ensuring all young children have access to resources for social-emotional development and mental health. The importance of the recommendations outlined in the Dear Colleague letter are made clear in a 2021 report by NIEER researchers Kwanghee Jung and Steven Barnett. Impacts of the Pandemic on Young Children and their Parents: Initial Findings from NIEER’s May-June 2021 Preschool Learning Activities Survey found parents of all backgrounds reported elevated rates of social-emotional problems in preschoolers and were more concerned about their preschoolers’ social-emotional development than before the pandemic. Read the recommendations here.


Pre-K in Family Child Care Project (PKFCC) Kickoff Webinar


The Erikson Institute will host an hourlong webinar July 14 at 2 p.m. EDT introducing the new Pre-K in Family Child Care Project (PKFCC). Researchers will cover a new conceptual framework on the equitable inclusion of family child care in pre-K systems. Presenters include: the Erikson Institute’s Juliet Bromer; Iheoma Iruka of the Equity Research Action Coalition at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and Rena Hallam and Jason Hustedt of the Delaware Institute for Excellence in Early Childhood. Register here.



Pre-K Teachers’ Professional Identity Development at Community-Based Organizations during Universal Pre-K Expansion in New York City

Researchers exploring how the professional identity of pre-K teachers in community-based organizations was impacted by New York City’s universal pre-K expansion determined areas to be addressed.


Based on interviews with the teachers, the researchers identified three themes: “becoming a teacher who can play multiple roles to meet administration’s expectations is necessary; continuously modifying practice based on external support from the leadership and policymakers can be confusing; and having a brand new relationship with administrative bodies presents challenges.” 


Read the study, by Sanae Akaba of Tokyo Institute of Technology in Japan, and Lacey E. Peters, Eva Liang, and Sherryl B. Graves, of Hunter College in New York, here.


Domains of Quality in Early Childhood Education and Care: A Scoping Review of the Extent and Consistency of the Literature


The evidence of what constitutes high-quality early childhood education (ECE) experiences differs across the domains of structural, process and system quality. After reviewing data from 85 meta-analyses and systematic reviews, researchers in Australia concluded that while some variables within process quality (curricula, programs, interventions) and structural quality (professional development and support) are well studied, there are other features of ECE programs, such as pre-service training and home-based learning environments, that warrant further study. Read the scoping review here.


Attachment Behaviors toward Teachers and Social Preference in Preschool Children


Preschoolers’ attachment behavior toward their teacher is associated with both social preference and social influence, researchers in Italy found.

The study involved observations of 261 preschoolers and their teachers. University of Turin researchers Laura Elvira Prinoa, Claudio Longobardi, Matteo Angelo Fabris, and Michele Settanni reported that “the types of attachment behavior that are more strongly associated with social preference and social affect are those related to avoidance, positive negotiation, and difficult negotiation with the teacher.” Read the abstract here.

The Effect of STEM Applications in Preschool on Students’ Carrier Goals and Perceptions of Engineering


Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) activities introduced to preschoolers increased the children’s interest in a career in STEM, researchers in Turkey found. Children were interviewed about their interest in STEM careers before and after partaking in STEM activities over eight weeks. While all expressed interest in a non-STEM career before the training, half named a STEM career afterward, the researchers wrote. Read the study, by Burcak Ceren Akpinar and Devrim Akgunduz of Istanbul Aydin University, here.