March 12, 2021 – Volume 20, Issue 10

HOT TOPICS

ACF and CDC Host Early Childhood Vaccine Webinar Today, March 12

President Joe Biden has directed all states to prioritize school staff and child care workers for COVID-19 vaccinations, challenging them to get these essential workers their first shot by the end of March. The Administration for Children and Families and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are hosting a webinar today at 1 p.m. on an initiative to get both those groups vaccinated this month. Register here.

 

ITC@NIEER ACTIVITIES

New Snapshots Explore the Data on Infant and Toddler Care

Three new data snapshots from the Infant and Toddler Care Policy Center at NIEER examine what we know about care in New Jersey, the cost of high-quality care in the state, and changes in care nationally from 2012 to 2019:

  1. What Do We Know About Infant and Toddler Care in New Jersey? This snapshot authored by Steven Barnett found that most of the state’s nearly 300,000 children under age 3 receive nonparental child care.
  2. Exploring the Cost of High-Quality Infant and Toddler Care in New Jersey concluded that anticipated increases in federal support, if aligned and allocated intentionally with existing funding, will put New Jersey in a strong position to raise the level of care provided to its youngest children. It was authored by Karin Garver, an early childhood education policy specialist.
  3. Who Cares for Infants and Toddlers? Change from 2012 to 2019 and its Implications found that the percentage of young children in formal care increases with the age of the child and has been growing over time. It was written by NIEER’s Steven Barnett and Zijia Li.

 

NIEER OPPORTUNITIES

ECE Policy Research Professor – Open Rank

NIEER is seeking a non-tenure track research professor (open rank). Please join our multidisciplinary group of researchers and policy experts to conduct and communicate research designed to stimulate policymaking. Our research informs policy to support high-quality, effective early childhood education from infancy through the primary grades. We collaborate with a network of local, state, national and international leaders to design, conduct and disseminate rigorous research, evaluation and policy analysis. Use your ECE conceptual knowledge and research expertise to partner with elected and appointed officials as well as philanthropic partners to improve young children’s learning, development and well-being. For a full job description and to apply, click here.

 

Research Project Manager

NIEER is seeking a research project manager to support current and emerging projects in early childhood research. Minimum requirements include a master’s degree in early childhood education or related field, or an equivalent combination of education and/or experience, plus a minimum three years of experience in a research environment. Only applications submitted via Rutgers University’s employment website will be considered. For a full job description and to apply, click here.

 

Early Childhood Education Policy Specialist

NIEER is seeking an Early Childhood Education Policy Specialist. We are looking for someone to join our work conducting policy analysis and providing technical assistance to state policy makers to inform ECE policy and practice at the national, state and local levels. In this position you will also assist in obtaining funding by contributing to proposals and discussions with potential project sponsors. This position requires a Masters’ degree in public policy or related discipline and a minimum of three (3) years of relevant professional experience. Learn more and apply here.

 

ECE RESEARCH

Promoting a Person-Centered Approach to Strengthening Early Childhood Practices that Support Social-Emotional Development

Researchers sought to define associations between social-emotional teaching practices and teacher characteristics. The exploratory study involved 97 U.S. preschool teachers in the Pacific Northwest. The findings suggested that “a person-centered approach to understanding classroom quality might provide multiple dimensions to consider for quality improvement.” They concluded that a tailored and tiered professional development approach that takes into account “the complex connections between teachers’ practices, beliefs, and job attitudes” is needed to support the early childhood workforce. The study was conducted by Angel Fettig, Kathleen Artman-Meeker and Huan-Ching Chan of the University of Washington, and Lieny Jeon of Johns Hopkins University in Maryland. Read the abstract here.

 

Impact of Pedagogical Intervention on Early Childhood Professionals’ Emotional Availability to Children with Different Temperament Characteristics

Researchers from Finland found that targeted professional training to support children with different temperaments increased the quality of interaction in early childhood education and care. The study involved 136 children, ages 1 to 6, in 16 childcare centers in Finland. Staff for the intervention group received theory and video-based training. “Early childhood professionals’ emotional availability increased in the intervention group, especially to children with high levels of activity and pleasure seeking and with low levels of attentional focusing,” they found.

Study authors Sivi M. Harkoma, N.K. Sajaniemi  and E. Suhonen of the University of Helsinki, and M. Saha of Tampere University, also in Finland, concluded: “Intervention seemed to support early childhood professionals’ (ECPs’) emotional availability and ability to interact with children of different temperaments, considering their individual characteristics.” Read the study here.

 

Smartphone Use Patterns and Problematic Smartphone Use among Preschool Children

Findings in a new study indicated nearly one of five children ages 3 to 6 in South Korea could experience Problematic Smartphone Use (PSU), defined as excessive or uncontrollable use, preoccupation, neglect of other activities, and continued use despite the evidence of potential harm.

PSU can negatively affect children’s physical and psychological health, social interaction, and cognitive development, the researchers noted. The study involved 1,378 Korean preschoolers, and was based on data from a 2017 nationwide survey on smartphone overdependence.

Preschoolers’ smartphone time should be limited to an hour a day, and include a mix of education and entertainment, the researchers concluded. They said caregivers need information about the total screen time recommended for children, smartphone use patterns associated with PSU, suggestions for alternative activities to smartphone use and strategies to strengthen children’s self-regulation with smartphone use.

The study, authored by Jeong Hye Park of Gyeongsang National University and Minjung Park of the National Institute of Korean Medicine Development, is available here.

 

Theory and Evidence for Pre-printing Development: A Scoping Review

Canadian researchers proposed creating a new framework for helping young children develop pre-printing skills that integrates elements of two approaches identified in their review of the literature.

One approach is from the field of occupational therapy, the other from education. The first “describes a prescriptive developmental sequence with direct instruction, leading to mastery of pre-printing shapes, strokes and skills.” The education approach is “less prescriptive and more focused on a literacy-rich, curricular approach to pre-printing instruction,” they wrote.

They proposed developing a pre-printing program based on an integrated theoretical framework. “This combined approach may prevent confusion and conflicting information about printing readiness, and thus allow occupational therapists, early childhood educators, kindergarten teachers, and parents to provide consistent guidance and learning opportunities for young children to learn pre-printing skills,” they wrote.

The study was conducted by: Erin Klein of the University of British Columbia; and Ivonne Montgomery and Jill G. Zwickerb of BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute. Read the abstract here.

 

OPPORTUNITIES

Director, Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute for Child & Family Development, Wayne State University