November 6, 2020 – Volume 19, Issue 43

HOT TOPICS

ECE Ballot Initiatives Win in Tuesday’s Elections

Early childhood education ballot initiatives—in St. Louis, San Antonio, Colorado, Multnomah County, Colorado, and Florida’s Leon County and Escambia County—won handily at the polls Tuesday night.

  • Colorado voters easily approved a nicotine tax measure Tuesday that will fund universal free preschool for 4-year-olds statewide starting in the fall of 2023. (Chalkbeat Colorado)
  • San Antonio voters approved renewing the city’s “sales tax rate of one-eighth of one cent to continue funding Pre-K 4 SA programs in San Antonio for the next eight years.” (KENS, 5 San Antonio)
  • Voters in Multnomah County, Oregon approved an initiative to “establish a tuition-free preschool program and to impose an additional income tax to fund the program.” (Ballotpedia)
  • Escambia County, Florida approved a “property tax dedicated to funding programs that address school readiness, child abuse, juvenile arrests and other issues affecting local youth and their families.” (Pensacola News Journal)
  • Louis voted “yes” to “an additional property tax of $60 per $100,000 in assessed value to generate an estimated $2.3 million per year in revenue for childhood services for children five years of age or younger.” (Ballotpedia)
  • Leon County, Florida residents approved “a new property tax rate” likely to raise $8 million annually for a Children’s Services Council. (Tallahassee Democrat)

 

ECE RESEARCH

The Adoption of Public Pre-Kindergarten among the American States: An Event History Analysis

Noting “a surge in publicly funded pre-K programs in the United States,” researchers Lora Cohen-Vogel and James Sadler (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) and Michael H. Little (North Carolina State University, Raleigh) “examined the influence of a set of predictors on states’ decisions to adopt public pre-K” by “combing information from twelve datasets.” They report “party dominance in the legislature, legislative professionalism, and unemployment rates are associated with pre-K adoption; regional proximity to previously adopting states is also significant.”

 

Using Centralized Lotteries to Measure Preschool Impact Insights from the DC Prekindergarten Study

Tomas Monarrez, Erica Greenberg, Grace Luetmer, and Carina Chien of the Urban Institute describe “how to use a common application system and centralized lottery to conduct applied policy research on public preschool.”

Their report, which “follows a report on lottery applicants and application patterns in” Washington, DC, seeks to “lower the barrier to entry to using these complex methods to improve the quality of evidence that guides early education policy and practice.”

 

Benefits and Damages of the Use of Touchscreen Devices for the Development and Behavior of Children Under 5 Years Old-A Systematic Review

Researchers Bruno Rocha and Cristina Nunes of the University of Algarve, Faro, Portugal conducted a literature review “to understand the impact of touchscreen device usage toward children’s development and behavior under the age of 5.” While noting a “limitation of this study was the difficulty in finding studies directed to the desired age and type of electronic device”, they suggest “the damages of the use of touchscreen devices are superior to the benefits that may result, especially when there are more hours of screen time”.

The authors suggest “guidelines that should be given to parents about the use of touchscreen devices by children” and that “further studies are required to analyze the contents of the different touchscreen applications, in different ages and contexts.”

 

How Do Activity Settings, Preschool Teachers’ Activities, and Children’s Activities Relate to the Quality of Children’s Interactions in Preschool? Findings from Austria

Researchers Wilfried Smidt and Eva-Maria Embacher from the University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria assessed “the interaction quality of 185 children aged 3-5 years attending 61 preschools in Austria using the Individualized Classroom Assessment Scoring System (inCLASS)”. They found “scaffolding was positively related to children’s interactions with teachers, free choice was positively related to interactions with peers, and ‘high-yield’ activities [role playing, construction games, art, natural science, oral language, use of print materials, and school preparation) were positively related to interactions with peers and task orientation. Teacher-led activities and scaffolding were negatively related to interactions with peers, and ‘low-yield’ activities [transitions/being unoccupied, napping/cuddling, caretaking routines, dance games/ group or circle games, parlor and board games, and movement games]were negatively related to interactions with peers and task orientation.”

 

Effect of the EFE-P Program on the Improvement of Executive Functions in Early Childhood Education

Researchers Miriam Romero-López, M. Carmen Pichardo, Ana Justicia-Arráez, and Francisco Cano-García all from the University of Granada, Spain, examined the impact of implementing the Executive Function Training Program in Preschool (EFE-P) on children’s executive functions as measured by the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function-Preschool Version (BRIEF-P). They report “results show that the intervention program has a significant impact on all the executive function variables analyzed.” Researchers suggest “Programs such as EFE-P can be implemented by teachers within the standard curriculum, using materials that are readily available in schools.”

 

EVENTS

Restoring a Sense of Safety; Supporting Children, Families & Communities in Times of Crisis webinar, November 25, 2020, sponsored by Early Start, University of Wollongong

 

OPPORTUNITIES

Dean of Early Childhood Education & Early Learning, Dallas College