March 20, 2020 – Volume 19, Issue 11

Hot Topics
ECE Lessons from China’s Response to COVID-19
Having dealt with COVID-19 longer than any nation, China offers important lessons for the US. China’s response can inform policymakers in America. China responded to the virus and its impact on children with three board moves: Closing schools and child care centers nationwide, providing students free educational resources, and providing guidance for online teaching for teachers and parents.
These steps put children first in developing policy, and each move deserves US policymakers’ attention. They supported parents and teachers, enabling them to focus most on the specific needs of individual children while using materials and activities designed by experts nationwide rather than having to develop their own.
NIEER has been closely following the steps China has taken. These are more fully described in a brief report (LINK) by NIEER Visiting Professor Lin Li of East China Normal University.
Despite cultural differences, many aspects of China’s ECE policy response can be applied here. We can and should learn from China’s experience.
COVID-19 ECE Resources
ECE Resources
Researchers examined “whether age of onset of media exposure, cumulative effect of high media exposure, and verbal interaction during screen time in the first 2 years of life were associated with 4-year-old cognition …” They suggest “earlier age of onset of media exposure, more months of excessive screen media exposure, and fewer months of verbal interaction with children during media use in the first 2 years of life had associations with decreased preschool cognition.”
Researchers who reviewed “longitudinal studies tracing the development of reading comprehension from preschool” suggest “early interventions to facilitate language development appear to provide a promising approach to facilitate the later development of reading comprehension skills.”
Examining “the effectiveness of Escribo Play … on preschool students’ phonological awareness, word reading, and writing skills,” researchers indicate the experimental classrooms that used the games for 3 months gained 68 percent in their reading scores compared to control classrooms and gained 48 percent more in writing scores.
Researchers examined the ability of children between two and eight years old “to perform touchscreen gestures and follow prompting techniques.” Researchers report “two- and three-year-old children could not follow any prompting technique and only a minority (27%) of them could tap the touchscreen at an intended place.” They found “children gradually learn to use mobile apps beginning at two years of age. They become comfortable in performing single-finger gestures and following non-textual prompting techniques by eight years of age.”
Researchers examined “how early childhood sleep … was developmentally associated with child functioning at 54 months.” They found “internalizing problems were associated with sleep variability, and cognitive and academic abilities were associated with sleep timing.” Researchers suggest “objectively measured sleep variability and late sleep timing in toddlerhood are associated with higher levels of internalizing problems and poorer academic/cognitive abilities in preschool.”
Early Education News Round-up
The week’s key stories on early childhood education. Read now.