October 1, 2021 – Volume 20, Issue 39

HOT TOPICS

New Research Identifies Factors Associated with Academic Success of English Learners

Early intervention for young children learning English as a second language improved school attendance and long-term academic outcomes, researchers found. The study, English Learners in Chicago Public Schools: An Exploration of the Influence of Pre-K and Early Grade Years, examined outcomes for more than 30,000 English learners (ELs) in pre-K and primary grades in the Chicago Public Schools.

The study found that ELs’ enrollment in pre-K before age 4 supported English language development and early reading skills for kindergarten. Comparing ELs who attended the city’s school-based pre-K and those who didn’t, “the differences in outcomes were still detectable — even as far as third grade,” the authors wrote.

They also found that children who attended higher-rated schools performed better on standardized test scores in math, reading, and English proficiency.

Black Parents and Their Babies: Attending to the First 1,000 Days

The Equity Research Action Coalition at the UNC Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute this week issued a report about the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on Black and Black/multiracial families with infants and toddlers, birth to age 3 in the U.S. The report’s key findings show that:

  • Black families with babies face economic insecurity and material hardships
  • COVID-19 caused disruption in parents’ and babies’ health care, well-being, and early care and education placements
  • Black families begin promoting their babies’ racial identity early

Read the report here.

 

NIEER ACTIVITIES

NIEER Presents at National Association of State Boards of Education Early Childhood Summit

Lori Connors-Tadros, a NIEER senior research fellow, discussed the challenges and opportunities created by the pandemic as part of a panel at the National Association of State Boards of Education Early Childhood Summit. Connors-Tadros’ slides deck is available here. Video of the entire session is available here.

 

ECE RESEARCH

A Comparative Analysis of Instructional Coaching Approaches: Face-to-face versus Remote Coaching in Preschool Classrooms

Child care teachers benefitted from both face-to-face and remote coaching, a study found. The researchers compared face-to-face and remote coaching models to what they called a “business as usual” model. While they found some advantages of face-to-face coaching for certain teaching behaviors, those “were no longer evident after accounting for teachers’ levels of responsiveness to the intervention.” Read the abstract here.

Our Way of Being: Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Workforce Development in Tennessee

Researchers assessed the Association of Infant Mental Health in Tennessee in order to provide a roadmap for others looking to develop or grow/sustain a similar organization. To seven previously established themes for making an infant and early childhood mental health association strong, they added diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, as well as funding. Read the abstract here.

Identifying Levers for Improvement: Examining Proximal Processes and Contextual Influences on Preschool Language Development

A study of children’s oral language development in preschool found that teacher techniques of vocabulary talk and elicitation practices were positively related to children’s language. Researchers found that more beneficial language practices were “used more often in large group settings and in preschools with extensive professional development and coaching support.”

The research involved 99 children in 15 preschool children who were assessed at the beginning and end of a school year. Authors Elizabeth Burke Hadley and Eun Sook Kim of the University of South Florida, and Katherine Mackay Newman of Vanderbilt University in Tennessee noted substantial variation across activity settings and program type, and suggested there exist several leverage points for intervention. Read the abstract here.

Sing It or Speak It?: The Effects of Sung and Rhythmically Spoken Songs on Preschool Children’s Word Learning

Songs are effective for teaching vocabulary to preschoolers, researchers found. “Teachers can leverage songs to help foster children’s vocabulary knowledge,” they wrote. Songs “provide more contextual support for building deeper word knowledge than can be achieved with picture card instruction alone.”

Fifty-six preschoolers from four classrooms in an urban school district in the U.S. participated in the study. Songs that teachers rhythmically spoke were found to be as effective as those sung, according to authors Jessica Lawson-Adams and David K. Dickinson of Vanderbilt University in Tennessee and J. Kayle Donner of the University of Minnesota. Read the study here.

Life Course Effects of the Lanham Preschools: What the First Government Preschool Effort Can Tell Us about Universal Early Care and Education Today

The first universal preschool program in the U.S. during World War II showed lasting positive impacts for boys, according to researchers who examined data from a landmark national longitudinal study of high school students in 1960.

Preschool funded through the federal WWII Lanham Act not only boosted high school academic outcomes for men but their income 11 years after graduation, the researchers reported. However, preschool had a negative effect on some social emotional outcomes for women in high school, they found. For other outcomes, they said they found no or inconsistent effects.

“The Lanham experience demonstrates that even with the less sophisticated understanding of child development of the early 1940s, the first universal, government-funded preschool program had positive impacts on boys’ outcomes at least through high school,” wrote Taletha M. Derrington and Alison Huang of the American Institutes for Research and Joseph P. Ferrie of Northwestern University.

 

OPPORTUNITIES

Assistant Professor – Early Childhood Education, SUNY Cortland