November 19, 2021 – Volume 20, Issue 47

HOT TOPICS

National Group for State Early Childhood Education Professionals Changes Name

The National Association of Early Childhood Specialists in State Departments of Education has been renamed the National Association of State Leaders in Early Education (NASLEE). The new name is intended to better represent the association’s membership, which primarily includes state leaders working on early childhood within state agencies.

NASLEE has strong ties to NIEER. NIEER founders and staff have been supporters and members since 2002. NIEER funding enabled NASLEE members to attend the annual meetings and helped the organization grow. Between 2012 and 2019, NASLEE was a key partner in the Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes, the federally funded national technical assistance center that NIEER leads. The association also has played an important role in the creation and continuing development of NIEER’s State of Preschool Yearbook.

NIEER staff congratulates NASLEE and looks forward to a continued partnership with this vital organization of state early education leaders. To become a member of NASLEE, visit the website or contact Mandy Sorge (mandy.sorge@naecs-sde.org) for more information.

Small Grants Program for Early Career Scholars

The Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) invites submissions for its Small Grants Program. Applications are due Feb. 4, 2022. For more information, click here.

ECE RESEARCH

Parental Investment, School Choice, and the Persistent Benefits of Intervention in Early Childhood

Children ages 2 to 3 whose parents received in-home training on cognitively stimulating interaction skills had improved working memory two and a half years afterward, and the parents were more likely to enroll their children in higher-quality preschools, researchers found.

In the study, 212 of more than 500 families from poor, rural villages in China received the weekly early childhood development intervention for six months. Parents in the treatment group continued to spend more time with their children after the intervention ended, and enrolled their children in preschool earlier and in better-quality programs, researchers reported.

“Taken together, our results imply an important role for preschool quality in sustaining longer-term effects of early childhood interventions, particularly where caregivers have low levels of human capital,” the authors wrote. The study was conducted by: Lei Wang of Shaanxi Normal University in China, Yiwei Qian and Scott Rozelle of Stanford University in California; Nele Warrinnier of Queen Mary University of London; Orazio Attanasio of Yale University in Connecticut; and Sean Sylvia of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Download the PDF here.

Population-based Approaches for Monitoring the Nurturing Care Environment for Early Childhood Development: A Scoping Review

Researchers mapped 32 population-based approaches for monitoring the nurturing care environment in early child development — an emerging global priority — and identified a half dozen challenges.

Few of the approaches they evaluated had disaggregation by geographic location or an equity approach, they noted. Nurturing care environment includes factors such as good health, adequate nutrition, responsive caregiving, security and safety, and opportunities for early learning.

“Standardized methods for selecting and validating indicators, and coordinated efforts to share findings/data with stakeholders should be prioritized,” they wrote. “Given the great variability in methods and indicators used to measure NC environments, valid approaches should be flexible to work well across different contexts.”

The study was conducted by: Coelho Kubo, Priscila Olin Silva,Gabriel Ferreira de Castro, Juliana Lopes Pimentel and Muriel Bauermann Gubert of the University of Brasilia in Brazil; Rafael Pérez-Escamilla of Yale University in Connecticut; and Gabriela Buccini of the University of Nevada. Read it here.

Improvements in Motor Competence Skills Are Associated With Improvements in Executive Function and Math Problem-Solving Skills in Early Childhood

With preschoolers, improved motor competence  — not moderate-to-vigorous physical activity — was related to executive function (EF) and math problem-solving skills, researchers found. The study involved 283 children from 13 preschools who were assessed three times in a school year for physical activity, motor competence, executive function, and math problem-solving skills.

“The results of this study suggest that efforts to improve motor competence skills in young children may improve EF and math problem-solving skills,” they wrote. The study was published in the journal, Developmental Psychology. Read the abstract here.

Variation in State Early Childhood Lead Educator Qualifications: Pre-service versus In-service Qualification, Professional Organization, and Geographical Proximity

Researchers at the University of Arkansas categorized qualifications for early childhood lead educators into four clusters, two of which had higher memberships in professional development associations and unions. They noted that professional development through in-service training was the most common form of qualification. Read the abstract here.

Excessive Screen Time and Lower Psychosocial Well-Being among Preschool Children

Preschoolers exposed to excessive screen time had higher odds of poor psychosocial well-being, researchers in Turkey found. The study involved 220 child-mother pairs. Children who had four hours or more of daily screen time had a significantly higher likelihood of having emotional, conduct and peer relationship problems, they wrote. “Preschool children with behavioral problems should be evaluated for excessive screen time,” the researchers suggested. Read the abstract here.

POSTDOCS AND FELLOWSHIPS

WFRN: Early Career Work and Family Fellowship Program

AERA: Minority Dissertation Fellowship Program in Education Research

Penn State University: Postdoctoral Fellowship

CALL FOR …

NRCEC: Call for Presentations

NRCEC: Call for Reviewers

Children: Call for Papers 

OPPORTUNITIES

Chief Executive Officer, National Association for the Education of Young Children

Nebraska Early Childhood Workforce Leadership Cadre

Assistant Professor, University of Georgia

Research Associate, Urban Institute

Research Analyst, Urban Institute

Research Associate, WestEd

Program Director, Early Childhood Policy Fellowship, Bank Street College of Education

Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education (Tenure Track), University of Alabama