November 11, 2022 – Volume 21, Issue 45


Facilitating Kindergarten Transitions: The Role of Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) between Head Start and Local Education Agencies

Agreements between Head Start grantees and the schools often lack clear strategies for successful kindergarten transition, and instead typically describe high-level policy goals, researchers found. The Understanding Children’s Transitions from Head Start to Kindergarten project, examined memoranda of understanding (MOUs) between Head Start programs and local education agencies (LEAs). “MOUs between Head Start programs and LEAs may not be meeting their full potential in aligning and supporting the implementation of cross-system transition strategies,” wrote Kyle DeMeo Cook, Mitchell R. Barrows, Stacy B. Ehrlich Loewe, Van-Kim Lin, and Nola du Toit. Read the brief here.

Childhood Lead Exposure is Associated with Lower Cognitive Functioning at Older Ages

Adults who grew up in cities with lead-contaminated water had lower cognitive functioning at age 72 than those who did not, researchers at the National Institute on Aging and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development reported in Science Advances. The researchers noted recent evidence showing “more than 40% of schools in the United States have higher than EPA-recommended levels of lead in their school tap water.” They contended their results point to the importance of regulation to prevent future childhood lead exposure. Read the study here.



Exploring Effects of an Early Math Intervention: The Importance of Parent–child Interaction

Simple math games parents play at home with their preschoolers “can promote math learning in fun, natural contexts,” researchers at the University of Pittsburgh reported. In a study examining preschool-parent dyads, children whose parents were trained to play a number game with them showed an increase in mathematical skill compared to children of parents in a no-training control. Additionally, results showed that parents who went through approximate number system training significantly underperformed compared with parents in the no-training control condition at the eight-week follow-up. The researchers noted “results from this study show the promise of low-touch, low-cost interventions to improve young children’s mathematical skills.” Access the study here.

Home and School Literacy Experiences in Preschool-Age Children with Developmental Disabilities: Identifying Relationships between Speech, Language, and Early Literacy Skills

Parents of preschoolers with developmental disabilities reported that reading together at home played a positive role in their child’s language and literacy development, according to a study. Researchers assessed speech ability, expressive and receptive language and vocabulary comprehension, phonological awareness, and print knowledge in 4- and 5-year-olds. “Speech ability was significantly correlated with access to technology for instruction, with children who had greater speech ability provided with greater access to technology,” wrote Andrea Barton-Hulsey and Sara C. Collins of Florida State University, and Rose A. Sevcik and MaryAnn Romski of Georgia State University. Read the abstract here.  


Early Childhood Professionals’ Perspectives on Dealing with Trauma of Children

Early childhood educators who work with children affected by trauma called for more professional development to understand trauma and how best to provide support to these children, researchers in Australia reported. Educators reported receiving insufficient training to identify and support students exposed to trauma and their families and noted they themselves have experienced emotional burnout. Read the study here.

How Does the Amount of a Physical Education Intervention Affect Gross Motor Coordination in Early Childhood?

Kindergartners who spent 10 hours per week exercising in a physical education program (PEP) showed improved levels of motor skills above peers who participated in four hours of PEP a week, and both groups scored far higher than children who did no physical education, researchers in Italy reported. Researchers measured students’ locomotor and object control skills and their gross motor development at the start and completion of the study. Read the study here.

The Quality of Teacher-child Interactions and Teachers’ Occupational well-being in Finnish Kindergartens: A Person-centered Approach

Researchers categorized kindergarten teachers in Finland based on their observed quality of student interactions, and assessed their workplace well-being through questionnaires. They found that teachers in the moderate quality profile–one of four categories–reported the most favorable occupational well-being. Teachers in the top tier of quality and the two lower categories reported higher levels of stress. “Teachers’ professional development opportunities should focus on both improving the quality of classroom interactions and enhancing teachers’ occupational well-being by reducing their stress,” the authors wrote. Read the abstract here.

Who counts? Legitimate Solutions in Construction Activities in Preschool

Researchers in Sweden used video footage to analyze preschoolers’ interactions with teachers and classmates during a construction activity—building a working door for a cardboard model house—to assess which children’s ideas were adopted. “Children who quickly and decisively engage with the material, the teachers and their peers in suggesting which material to use and/or how the material can be used, end up in a central role in the design process” the researchers found. “These children (or their actions) often get legitimized by the teachers.” The researchers recommended teachers in the planning phase focus on comparisons about different solutions and material to allow all children to voice ideas. Read the study here.