June 9, 2023 – Volume 22, Issue 23

Hot Topics 

New Early Childhood Prize Recognizes Great Excellence Around the Globe  

NIEER’s Steve Barnett chairs the award committee, which also includes Fatima Al Bastaki, Jana Fleming, Nirmala Rao, and Iram Siraj, for the new Khalifa International Award for Early Learning and was in Abu Dhabi this week to help honor and celebrate the first four winners. Each received $50,000 for their contributions to early childhood research and evidence-based practice. All represent excellence and innovation in our field, and we encourage you to get to know all four, briefly described below. We think everyone in early childhood will find something worth looking into further.  

Foundation Zakoura in Morocco won for the ANEER preschool program, which reaches low-income rural populations with quality early education at scale and was represented by Fadwa Moussahim. This approach is designed to be affordable and sustainable in lower income countries while effectively improving quality. 

Data Drive 2030 led by Sonja Giese was recognized for the use of rigorous research to drive early childhood policy change in South Africa. This approach offers a model and set of measures to inform early childhood policy development that many others could benefit from using.   

The Inter-American Development Bank’s Jadenka intercultural and bilingual mathematics program for preschoolers in Panama led by Emma Naslund-Hadley has a strong theoretical base and has proven effective in a randomized trial. The approach is already being adapted for other countries and could be employed in many other places because of the keen attention to affordability and scalability as well as effectiveness. 

Laura Justice of Ohio State University won for a sustained program of research on learning and teaching in early childhood literacy, including her recent work on designing and implementing a bilingual early literacy program in indigenous Mexican villages. 

In addition to the specific lessons, tools, and programs that can be adopted and adapted from the winners, each illustrates approaches to rigorous research and program development that have wide applicability globally, including in low- to moderate-income countries. The goal of the Khalifa Award is to inspire excellence in early childhood education research, policy, and practice. Applications for next year’s awards can be submitted starting this September so it’s not too early to begin thinking about submitting an application!   

Calling All Child Care Providers! How Can You Be Part of Free, Full-Day, State-Funded Preschool in Eligible School Districts in New Jersey? 

Join us on June 14th at 12PM EST for a lunch-and-learn discussion to find out how to be part of free, full-day, state-funded preschool in eligible school districts in New Jersey. Keynote speakers include ACNJ Senior Policy Analyst Cynthia Rice and NIEER’s Technical Assistance Specialist Beth Ann Gardiner. 

Register today.  

Place Matters – How the Environment We Create Shapes the Foundations of Early Development Webinar – Monday, June 12th, 2PM EST 

A wide range of conditions in the places where children live, grow, play, and learn can get “under the skin” and affect kids’ developing brains and other biological systems. Rapidly advancing science around early childhood development provides evidence that, beginning before birth, these environmental conditions shape how children develop, which, in turn, shapes their lifelong physical and mental health. Join The Hunt Institute and an expert panel inspired by Place Matters, the most recent working paper from the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, for this important conversation. 

Register here. 


Evaluation of Early Childhood Programs and Child Development in Indiana, from 2021-2022.   

NIEER conducted an evaluation of early childhood programs in Indiana between the spring of 2021 and the summer of 2022. The evaluation focused on understanding program components, quality, and children’s learning and development across a variety of programs in the state.  

Commissioned by Early Learning Indiana (ELI), this study provides Indiana’s policymakers with research-based information on the quality of early childhood programs and the learning and development status of young children birth to five.  

Read the report here.    

Early Care and Education Use Among Young Children in New Jersey in 2022  

New Jersey’s families rely on a wide range of early care and education (ECE) arrangements – formal and informal, paid and unpaid – to meet the needs of their young children. NIEER surveyed a representative sample of New Jersey households in June 2022 to gain a better understanding of these arrangements and how well the ECE needs of children and families are being met.   

Read the survey results now.      


Weekly Feature 

Early Childhood Education and Care in the United States: An Overview of the Current Policy Picture 

In an overview of policy regarding early childhood education and care, authors note that in the United States, early childhood education and care (ECEC) encompasses a diverse array of programs that cater to children during different parts of the day, whether it be for a portion of the day, the entire school day, or throughout the workday. Various entities, including educational institutions, social welfare organizations, and commercial establishments, operate these programs. The funding and delivery methods vary across both the public and private sectors.  

They argue that the existence of categorical funding and divergent societal values around early childhood reinforces existing distinctions. As a consequence, the ECEC system remains fragmented, with varying levels of quality and unequal access. However, the authors do note that has been some progress in toward integrating early childhood education and care services in recent years. 

Read the overview here. 

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

  • It’s FREE – article processing charges for all articles published in the journal are fully sponsored.  
  • 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. 


Professional Development for Digital Competencies in Early Childhood Education and Care: A Systematic Review 

A new systematic review of existing literature focuses on frameworks that outline digital competencies (DC) in education, specifically within the Early Childhood and Education and Care (ECEC) domain. Additionally, it explores the variations in DC requirements for ECEC staff members with different roles and responsibilities. The review delves into strategies aimed at successfully incorporating DC into ECEC workforce development programs. It also highlights the limited research and policy support surrounding the development of DC in the ECEC field.  

Read the review. 

Digital Technologies to Support Young Children with Special Needs in Early Childhood Education and Care: A Literature Review 

This literature review explores the current body of research on the utilization of digital technologies to assist young children with special needs in the context of early childhood education and care (ECEC). It identifies four main areas of focus: clarifying the purpose and objectives of integrating assistive technologies (ATs) into ECEC, mobilizing and integrating expertise within the ECEC field, fostering an engaged community of shared experiences and practices, and advocating for and facilitating the development of high-quality AT designs. Based on their findings, the review authors provide recommendations to guide ECEC policymakers, staff members, educational institutions, and supportive networks in harnessing the potential of ATs to benefit children with special needs in ECEC settings. 

Read the review.  

What Drives Early Childhood Education Attendance? The Role of Structural Factors and Personal Beliefs in Germany
This study explores the factors that influence attendance in early childhood education (ECE) during the first three crucial years of a child’s life. Researchers report that despite significant reforms, the German ECE system remains unequal, inequalities in ECE attendance are evident from the age of one, peak at two years old, and gradually decrease at three years old.  

Read the study here. 


Deputy Director Division Child Development and Early Education (DCDEE) 

Communities of Practice Facilitator/Program Manager, CAYL Institute 

Director, Maryland Early Childhood Leadership Program 

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