March 13, 2020 – Volume 19, Issue 10

Hot Topics
ECE Policymakers and Advocates Respond to COVID-19
As COVID-19 spreads and national, state, and local overall responses evolve, early care and education is impacted, and policymakers need to formulate responses for ECE policies and programs. Issues range from how to financially support programs and their workers when programs are closed or children stay home, to providing online and other resources to continue education for young children whose parents may be working from home, to new care arrangements for young children of health care workers when centers and schools close.
As important resources for parents become available, we will direct policymakers toward those, as well. For example, the Bedtime Math group has provided a new link for parents to hands-on, research-proven activities that have been modified for use with children whose preschools and schools have been closed.
Advocates Seek Federal Help for ECE Providers’ Economic Problems Due to COVID-19
National ECE organizations have asked federal officials to help support ECE providers as they deal with financial strains from the COVID-19 crisis.
Writing to Shannon Christian, director of the Office of Child Care within the Administration for Children and Families, the twelve groups also urged “Congress to invest additional, significant, emergency, and flexible funds to support child care and early learning programs at this time.”
The letter is signed by officials from All Our Kin, Center for American Progress, Center for law and Social Policy, Child Care Aware of America, Early Care and Education Consortium, Educare Learning Network, First Five Years Fund, National Association for the Education of Young Children, National Women’s Law Center, Ounce of Prevention Fund, Save the Children Action Network, and ZERO TO THREE.
NIEER Activities
New NIEER Webpage for ECE Policymakers on COVID-19
The world’s attention—and our attention, too—is focused on an effective response to COVID-19. As noted above, we have created a webpage of federal, state, and local guidance and examples ECE policymakers may find useful. If wish to suggest resources useful to policymakers via our COVID-19 webpage, please email them to and include COVID-19 in the subject line.
Infant/Toddler Care
Financing High-Quality Infant-Toddler Care
The financing system for infant and toddler care is not working, according to Karen Schulman of the National Women’s Law Center. In a new blog post on Preschool Matters Today, Schulman writes that the financing system is “not making infant/toddler care affordable enough for parents, it does not sufficiently support high-quality infant/toddler care, and it does not support adequate compensation for the teachers who care for and educate infants and toddlers.”
ECE Resources
Research Connections provides a new comprehensive bibliography for the 2012 National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE) with links to data sets, user guides and methodological papers, and research studies using the NSECE data. The NSECE is a unique source of national data on ECE use and provision.
Researchers examining the effects of computer-supported early literacy interventions on phonological-awareness and reading-related skills reported a small positive effect across treatments and outcome measures.
“Excessive ST [screen time]during preschool age is a risk factor for increased” body mass “ at 6 years, regardless of time spent PO [playing outside],” report researchers. They suggest “reducing high levels of ST during preschool age … could help preventing childhood obesity.”
Researchers assessed the word order, word formation, syntax, and reading comprehension skills of children whose first language was Chinese and second language was English. Finding that the children’s syntactic awareness in Chinese predicted their syntactic awareness in English, the researchers suggest teachers may map the syntactic features of children’s first language onto the corresponding structures of their second language to facility reading comprehension in that language.
Researchers examining risk factors associated with being overweight or obese in early life for Korean preschool children found “a significant association with the introduction of solid foods before 4 months of age … and a nonresponsive feeding style … with being overweight or obese in preschool children.”
Studying parents’ and caregivers’ perspectives on factors that influence their children’s food choices, researchers’ findings “suggest that modifying the food preference of the child and the family characteristics need to be central for effective eating interventions.”
Early Education News Round-up
The week’s key stories on early childhood education. Read now.
The National P-3 Center is updating the National Association of Elementary School Principals’ (NAESP) 2014 publication, Leading Pre-K-3 Learning Communities: Competencies for Effective Principal Practice. As in past editions, elementary schools from around the country will be highlighted in “spotlights” to provide real-world examples of meaningful PreK-3rd grade efforts. To nominate a school, click here.
Tuesday, March 17, at 2 PM EDT, hosted by Child Care Aware of America. This webinar will share the latest coronavirus and emergency preparedness resources.