June 25, 2021 – Volume 20, Issue 25



How Can We Support Meaningful Interactions in Early Childhood Education and Care? US Perspectives

Webinar on Monday, June 28 at 1 p.m. EDT

NIEER and the Learning Policy Institute are sponsoring a webinar on Monday to launch the sixth edition of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Starting Strong series, Supporting meaningful interactions in early childhood education and care. The hour-long webinar at 1 p.m. EDT will look at five main policy levers and their effect on process quality, focusing particularly on curriculum and pedagogy, and workforce development. Policies and practices that can ensure high-quality early childhood education and care for all children will be discussed. Hanna Melnick, senior policy advisor at the Learning Policy Institute, will moderate. OECD Director for Education and Skills Andreas Schleicher, Alabama’s Secretary of Early Childhood Education Barbara J. Cooper, and NIEER Senior co-Director W. Steven Barnett are panelists. Register for the webinar here.


New NAEYC Child Care Survey: Take It Today!

Early childhood educators, will you take a few moments to complete the newest NAEYC survey on the ECE field, available in English and in Spanish? Your responses and your voices make a huge difference in helping policy makers and the public understand the continued urgency of the challenges you face, how relief is helping, and how much more is needed. As an added “thank you!” for your time and expertise, your completed survey could win you a $50 gift card. This survey will close at midnight ET on Wednesday, June 30, so get your responses in today. And thank you all, for everything you do.


New Jersey’s Pre-K as a National Model

The nonprofit magazine, Early Learning Nation, published a story yesterday about the Abbott Preschool Program in New Jersey and how it could serve as a nationwide model for universal preschool. Writer Mark Swartz interviewed NIEER co-Director W. Steven Barnett, one of the authors of a recent longitudinal study on the Abbott Preschool Program.

The research published last month in Early Childhood Research Quarterly found that higher achievement test scores and lower rates of grade repetition for children who attended the Abbott Preschool Program persisted through 10th grade. Among children who attended a high-quality universal preschool program in low-income urban communities, scores on statewide achievement tests were higher in language arts and literacy, mathematics, and science. They also identified a significant reduction in students being held back a grade.

The Abbott Preschool Program was developed under a state Supreme Court mandate to provide a thorough and efficient education for children in 31 communities with high concentrations of poverty. Read the Early Learning Nation article here.


A Review of Fiscal Strategies in PDG B-5 Renewal Grants

A newly published paper was co-authored by NIEER Senior Research Fellow Lori Connors-Tadros with colleagues Simon Workman and Jeanna Capito. Based on a review of Preschool Development Grant Birth to Five proposals from the 23 initial renewal awardees, the paper highlights the types of funding strategies that renewal grantees proposed to increase quality and access to early care and education in their states. The breadth of strategies detailed in this paper provides promising approaches that state leaders can use to advance their goals for their B-5 systems. The paper includes state funding examples and shares insights from state leaders on the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the second year of federal PDG B-5 funding. View it here.




Research in Early Childhood Teacher Domain-Specific Professional Knowledge – A Systematic Review

Compared with other subjects, mathematics dominates in research on early childhood teachers’ content knowledge and how ECE teachers convey that knowledge to children, a study found.

Researchers in Germany reviewed studies on how content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge of math, science and literacy are represented in relation to early childhood pre- and in-service teachers.

Simone Dunekacke of Freire University in Berlin and Julia Barenthien of University of Hamburg found that math was the subject most investigated, and that the majority of studies focused on in-service teachers rather than pre-service teachers. Read the abstract here.


Coaching Teachers to Improve Students’ School Readiness Skills: Indirect Effects of Teacher-Student Interaction

Researchers from the University of Virginia found that pre-K teachers who underwent MyTeachingPartner coaching improved in instruction interactions, which, in turn, predicted bigger increases in students’ early literacy and working memory. Robert C. Pianta, Daniel Lipscomb, and Erik Ruzek said “results confirm the theory of change for coaching and an ecological-developmental conceptualization of school readiness.” They examined data on 393 pre-K teachers and 1,570 students from 10 urban districts in the eastern U.S. The information was collected during the 2008–2009 and 2009–2010 school years. Read the abstract here.


Exclusionary Discipline in U.S. public schools: A Comparative Examination of Use in Pre-Kindergarten and K-12 Grades

In both pre-K and K-12 schools, exclusionary discipline was used more for boys than girls and Black students compared to white, a study found. While most schools didn’t use exclusionary discipline, “when they did, they did so at higher rates,” wrote Richard A. Fabes, Matthew Quick, Evandra Catherine and Aryn Musgrave of Arizona State University.

Charter schools were more likely to use exclusionary discipline, they reported. In public schools, researchers found rates of exclusionary discipline were 10 times higher in grades K-12 than pre-K. The research was supported by a grant from the Administration of Children and Families. Read the abstract here.


‘The Digital Book Project’: Empowering Preservice Teachers in Early Childhood Education with a Repertoire of Children’s Books

A study examined the impact of having pre-service teachers choose stories from digital libraries to use in early childhood classrooms. Teachers in training participated in a digital book project that involved building “a repertoire of high-quality children’s literature” they could use once they became teachers.

Researchers Susanne E. Metschera of Monroe College in New York and Kevin Wong of Pepperdine University in California said the study “investigates how leveraging technology can support teacher candidates’ appreciation for diverse books from a broad range of genres, and how that might influence their selection and instructional application of children’s literature in their future classrooms.” Read the abstract here.


Racial Discrimination, Mental Health, and Parenting among African American Mothers of Preschool-Aged Children

African American mothers who experienced racial discrimination had heightened parental stress, which could affect children’s social-emotional and behavioral development, researchers reported. The study was a secondary data analysis of a longitudinal cohort study that involved 250 African American mothers with children ages 3 to 5.

More than half the participants reported at least one experience of racial discrimination, the study showed. The authors found racial discrimination has harmful intergenerational effects on African Americans, and that individual coping strategies “are inadequate for addressing the harmful effects of racial discrimination on parenting.”

The study was conducted by: Eileen M. Condon of Yale School of Nursing in Connecticut; Veronica Barcelona and Jacquelyn Y. Taylor of Columbia University in New York; Bridget Basile Ibrahim of the University of Minnesota School of Public Health; and Cindy A. Crusto of the Yale School of Medicine. Read the study here.


The Occurrence of Internalizing Problems and Chronic Pain Symptoms in Early Childhood: What Comes First?

Children who internalized problems at age 3 were more likely to have chronic pain at age 6, a study found. Chronic pain, in contrast, was not a predictor of a child subsequently internalizing problems.

The study involved nearly 4,000 preschoolers, with mothers assessing their child’s experienced pain and internalizing problems at 3 and 6 years. (Fathers also provided feedback at age 3.) At baseline, 2.7% of 3-year-olds had chronic pain; at age 6, the prevalence was 8%.

The results highlight “the importance for comprehensive assessment of psychiatric problems contributing to the manifestation of chronic pain,” the authors wrote. The study was authored by: Gerasimos Kolaitis and Foivos Zaravinos-Tsakos of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens in Greece; Jan van der Ende, Tonya White and Ivonne Derks of The Generation R Study Group in the Netherlands; Frank Verhulst of the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Center in Copenhagen, Denmark; and Henning Tiemeier of Erasmus University Medical Center in the Netherlands. Read the abstract here.


Do Shy Preschoolers Interact Differently When Learning Language With a Social Robot? An Analysis of Interactional Behavior and Word Learning

Shy preschoolers were less expressive interacting with a social robot than other children, but over four sessions learned words the robot was teaching as well, a study found.


The researchers assessed the temperament of 28 preschoolers, ages 4 and 5, and compared how the children interacted with the social robot during a word-learning session. “Shy children not only interacted differently with a robot compared to nonshy children, but also changed their behavior over the course of the sessions,” wrote Nils F. Tolksdorf, Franziska E. Viertel and Katharina J. Rohlfing of Paderborn University in Germany. Read the abstract here.





•      CEO at First Things First in Arizona




Global Support for Parents: A Call-to-Action

Webinar on Monday, June 28 at 9 a.m. EDT

UNICEF, the World Health Organization, Parenting for Lifelong Health, End Violence Against Children, and the Early Childhood Development Action Network are hosting a joint hourlong webinar to elevate parenting and family support, which are central to children’s health and development. UNICEF estimates the pandemic has put more than one billion children at risk from increased isolation due to school closures, the financial hardship of families, and the disruption of child protection, health, education, and other services. The coalition will present an interagency vision for scaling global support for parents and caregivers along with a collective action framework and a call-to-action for governments, implementers, researchers, policymakers, and donors. Register here for the 9 a.m. webinar on Monday.