March 26, 2021 – Volume 20, Issue 12

HOT TOPIC

NYC Expanding 3-K to All Community School Districts

New York City is expanding its “3-K for All” program, making free, full-day preschool available to an additional 16,500 3-year-olds. The expansion means 3-K will be available in all community school districts and serve 40,000 children in the 2021-22 school year, a city-issued news release said.

“3K has been invaluable for so many kids and working families across our city,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Now, as we build a recovery for all of us, we are bringing 3K to every district across our city, giving more kids the quality head start they need to grow and thrive.”

“3-K for All is the nation’s most ambitious effort to provide universal, free, full-day, high-quality early childhood education” to prepare 3-year-olds for kindergarten, according to the news release. More information is available here.

 

Global Early Child Development Student Grant Program Accepting Applications

The Patrice L. Engle Dissertation Grant for Global Early Child Development is accepting applications. The program provides $5,000 to support dissertation research and a two-year student membership in the Society for Research in Child Development to students from or doing research in low- or middle-income countries. The 2021 application deadline is June 30. Information is available here.

 

NIEER ACTIVITIES

New Brief Offers Guidance for Pre-K Advocates

NIEER’s newest policy brief helps universal pre-K supporters advocate for early childhood education programs in their states and communities. Authored by NIEER Assistant Research Professor GG Weisenfeld, “Advocating for High-Quality Preschool” covers how to gather and communicate data, use research to form your message, and develop and communicate your ask to policymakers. Read more here.

 

INFANT/TODDLER CARE

Cognitive effects of early education and care in the first 5 years

A newly published study in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience used MRI to investigate the effects of the Abecedarian program on adult brain structure. The program provided high quality support for cognitive and linguistic development in full day care from infancy up to kindergarten entry. The study presents evidence for a causal effect of early experience on brain structure and indicates that the early cognitive and linguistic environment affects macroscopic brain development.  Read here.

 

Toddler teacher job strain, resources, and classroom quality

Working conditions and job-related stress are important concerns for teachers of infants and toddlers and their capacity to provide high quality care and education. Research with 44 center-based teachers of toddlers investigated support from co-workers and supervisors, teacher reported physical and psychological job strain, and quality as measured by the CLASS. Co-worker and supervisor support were found to have positive effects on quality that were not mediated by stress. Read here.

 

Child Care Quality Gets Boost in Rural Illinois

Illinois is boosting funding for rural child care providers to help meet the state’s quality of care standards. Thirty-five centers in rural counties will receive $3.8 million a year to hire additional staff or increase the salary of existing staff.

“This important pilot program strengthens our ongoing efforts to improve equity in every corner of our state, bringing new resources to regions where families have historically had less easy access to quality child care,” Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker said. The initiative is expected to run three years. Read the announcement here.

 

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 looking for 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 to conduct policy analysis and provide technical assistance to state policy makers; our goal is to inform ECE policy and practice at the national, state and local levels. The position also involves helping to obtain funding by contributing to proposals and discussions with potential project sponsors. A master’s degree in public policy or related discipline and a minimum of three years of relevant professional experience are required. Learn more and apply here.

 

ECE RESEARCH

Father Involvement during Early Childhood: A Systematic Review of the Literature

Recognizing the importance of fathers’ involvement in family well‐being and positive child development, researchers from Portugal reviewed 86 studies on the topic conducted over the past 10 years. Most focused on white middle-class families, “leaving unexplored father involvement in other cultures and contexts,” they wrote.

The review was conducted by: Eva Diniz and Manuela Veríssimo of SPA‐Instituto Universitário; Tânia Brandão of Universidade Autónoma de Lisboa Luís de Camões; and Lígia Monteiro of Instituto Universitário de Lisboa. Read the abstract here.

 

The Grade-Level and Cumulative Outcomes of Absenteeism

Student absenteeism in elementary grades is tied to lower outcomes in academic, executive function, and socioemotional outcomes, a study found. “Students who were consistently absent throughout elementary school tended to have lower outcomes across developmental domains in the long-term,” according to researchers Arya Ansari of The Ohio State University and Michael A. Gottfried of the University of Pennsylvania.

The study, based on data from the nationally representative Early Childhood Longitudinal Study Kindergarten Class of 2011, found few subgroup differences. However, “the negative links between absenteeism and outcomes were larger for Black than white students,” they wrote. Read the abstract here.

 

Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Behavioral and Emotional Aspects and Daily Routines of Arab Israeli Children

Young Arab-Israeli children living through the COVID-19 pandemic have shown increased fear, sleep problems and irritability, according to new research.

The study surveyed 382 parents of children ages 5 to 11 on questions involving their children’s screen time, sleep and activity levels during the pandemic. It found that more than half of children “asked to sleep in their parents’ bed, and 45% expressed fears they did not have before.” Most parents reported increased irritability and mood swings in their children. More than 40% had trouble sleeping. The majority of parents “reported that their child became wiser, lazier, and was able to adapt the limits and restriction of the COVID-19 outbreak,” the authors wrote.

Researchers Rafat Ghnamah of Oranim Academic College of Education and Hazar Eghbaria-Ghanamah of the University of Haifa in Israel recommended children maintain healthy routines, including getting adequate sleep and physical activity. They said parents should help their children understand the pandemic to minimize negative feelings. They suggested government institutions develop interventions to promote the mental health of children, especially for national minorities or at-risk populations such as Arab-Israeli children. Read the study here.

 

A Peer Coach Intervention in Childcare Centres Enhances Early Childhood Physical Activity: The Active Early Learning (AEL) Cluster Randomised Controlled Trial

Researchers in Australia found Active Early Learning, a preschool program that involves peer-coached professional development for childcare educators, succeeded in its goal of increasing children’s activity levels.

The study involved 314 children ages 3-5 in 15 childcare centers over six months. AEL embeds physical activity into daily curriculum. While implemented by child care center staff, “it is directed and supported by a peer coach who works across a network of centres,” the researchers said. They found that AEL can elicit both practical and statically significant increases in preschool children’s physical activity. The study was conducted by R. M. Telford and R.D. Telford of the University of Canberra and L.S. Olive of Deakin University. Read it here.

 

Effects of a Professional Development Program on Emergent Literacy-Promoting Practices and Environments in Early Childhood Education and Care

Early childhood education and care centers where educators went through the Let’s Read professional development program scored better in all areas of educator practice and classroom quality than those that did not, researchers reported.

The small study found “measurable value in professional development involving coaching for improving emergent literacy-promoting practices of early childhood educators, including those working within disadvantaged communities.”

The study involved 223 educators and 12 centers in Australia. “Changes were most encouraging for educators of infants and toddlers,” the study said. Let’s Read combines eLearning and on-site coaching.

The study was conducted by: Catriona Elek, Sarah Gray, Sue West and Sharon Goldfeld of the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Australia. Read the abstract here.