October 16, 2020 – Volume 19, Issue 40



Identifying Promising Strategies for Dual Language Learners

Bellwether Education Partners has published new research on promoting early math learning for dual language learners (DLL). Language Counts: Supporting Early Math Development for Dual Language Learners examines research and practice to identify promising strategies for supporting early math learning for DLLs in the classroom and at home with their families.

Among its recommendations, the report offers six specific recommendations for policymakers and advocates:

  1. Engage and listen to DLL families to better understand their needs.
  2. Include attention to the specific needs of DLLs in COVID-19-related funding and policies.
  3. Include DLL-related reporting and capacity-building in QRIS systems.
  4. Support development of grow-your-own bilingual educator certification pathways.
  5. Establish and sustain funding for educators to learn best practices while working with DLL students.
  6. Advocate for and establish educator certification requirements to include training related to DLLs.

Yale Study Examines COVID Transmission in Child Care

Walter Gilliam will present findings from his new study of COVID transmission in child care. Gilliam, who serves as director of the Edward Ziegler Center at Yale, looked at data from 57,000 child care programs for his research. Sponsored by the CT Association for Human Services, the Middlesex Coalition for Children, the CT Early Childhood Alliance, and CSEA-SEIU, the presentation is October 19 at 9:30 AM ET. Register.

New App Seeks to Promote Parent-Child Activities and Learning

NIEER’s recent survey of home learning environments during the pandemic found parents and teachers are having difficulty supporting early learning activities for preschool children. The survey saw declines in some parent-child activities and found less than half of preschool children continued to receive remote learning support from their programs within two months after schools closed.

A new app that seeks to promote parent-child activities appears to be a useful home learning tool and worthy of consideration.

OK Play “helps families create, bond, and grow together, every day,” according to the company’s news release.

For young children and their parents, “OK Play helps parents set aside a few intentional moments every day to play” with their children and delivers new activities weekly.

The app is free. A paid subscription for access to additional programs is available.


NIEER to Leadoff EECERA Convocation

Steven Barnett, NIEER founder and senior co-director, and Georgenne Weisenfeld, NIEER assistant research professor, are lead-off presenters for this year’s EECERA Conference.

Drs. Bennett and Weisenfeld’s presentation ‘Corona Pandemic in the US Shapes New Normal for Young Children and Their Families’ will explore the challenges governments have faced and the actions they’ve taken to support and adapt their early childhood systems and the vital role of early childhood services during a crisis.

The New Normal: System Challenges is October 27 at 1 PM GMT. Registration is open.

NIEER’s Lori Connors-Tadros Presents Award at PAT Conference

NIEER’s Lori Connors-Tadros was an award presenter at the Parent Educator of the Year Award last week at the PAT International Virtual 2020 Conference.


Postdoctoral Associate in Early Childhood Policy and Research

The National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) at the Rutgers Graduate School of Education seeks a postdoctoral associate.

NIEER conducts and communicates research to support high-quality, effective early childhood education from infancy through the primary grades. Our aim is to stimulate policymaking that will enhance children’s learning, development, and well-being.

The postdoctoral associate will work directly with NIEER’s co-directors on research in collaboration with university and community partners. The associate will contribute to policy analysis, field research, and technical assistance to inform ECE policy and practice. The post-doctoral associate will author and co-author policy briefs and journal articles, support dissemination, and participate in grant writing and communications with potential project sponsors.

The ideal candidate will have a doctoral degree by the hire date in a discipline related to Early Childhood Education. This position will involve ECE conceptual knowledge and research expertise to design, conduct, oversee, and interpret research and to interface with elected and appointed officials as well as philanthropic partners. In addition, the candidate would need relevant professional experience in the field and/or policy research and demonstrated knowledge and expertise in ECE practice and policy. For more information, please see the full job posting.


The Effects of a Phonological Awareness and Alphabet Knowledge Intervention on Four-Year-Old Children in an Early Childhood Setting

Does an evidence-based intervention using games and books improve the emergent literacy of four-year olds? Rachel Rachmani of Massey University, New Zealand, conducted research that found “four-year-old children identified as having low levels of EL [emergent literacy], who participated in an evidence-based 10-week intervention using games and books, made significant gains in PA [phonological awareness]and AK [alphabet knowledge]in comparison to a control group.”

Early Childhood-Focused Training in School Psychology

Do school psychologists acquire early childhood knowledge and skills through on the job training, rather than graduate education? Rachel Stein of West Virginia University and Kizzy Albritton of Kent State examined “48 syllabi from 37 graduate programs to further understand the alignment between professional work expectations and graduate training for young children.” They found “content and depth of coverage pertaining to early childhood is highly variable and often focuses on early childhood assessment or developmental foundations.” They suggest “school psychologists working in early childhood settings may be able to better support young children if provided additional education and training.”

Numerical Magnitude Understanding in Kindergartners: A Specific and Sensitive Predictor of Later Mathematical Difficulties?

Rebecca Bull of Macquarie University, Kerry Lee of the Education University of Hong Kong, and David Múñez, National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University investigated “whether different measures of numerical magnitude understanding in kindergarten uniquely predict mathematical achievement concurrently and 6 months later.” They found “all 3 aspects of magnitude understanding had similar explanatory power in predicting concurrent and prospective math achievement” with only one exception.

Teacher-Student Relationships across the First Seven Years of Education and Adolescent Outcomes

Arya Ansari of Ohio State University and Tara L. Hofkens and Robert C. Pianta of University of Virginia examined “whether teacher-student relationships between kindergarten and sixth grade were associated with the achievement, social-behavior, and educational beliefs and aspirations of 1,364 ninth graders.”

Analyses revealed “when teachers reported closer relationships with students, in turn, students demonstrated modestly stronger outcomes across all domains. In contrast, more conflictual relationships were largely associated with underachievement and variability in relationship quality was not consistently associated with adolescent outcomes.”

“Although the benefits of teacher-student closeness were largely cumulative, teacher-student conflict in the later years was more strongly associated with student outcomes than earlier conflict,” the researchers note.

Who Participates in Quality Rating and Improvement Systems?

Which providers participate in Quality Rating Information Systems (QRIS)? Jade Marcus Jenkins and Jennifer K. Duera, both of the University of California, Irvine, and Maia Connors of the Ounce of Prevention Fund, used “a recent national sample of providers to predict selection into QRIS centers nationwide”.

They found “one-third participated in QRIS in 2012” and that “participation is more likely among centers that blend multiple funding sources and who are NAEYC accredited, and in communities with high poverty rates.”

“QRIS participation is less likely in communities with relatively higher proportions of Black residents,” they note and suggest the “findings raise questions about how QRIS can equitably engage programs in all communities.”


Postdoctoral Associate in Early Childhood Policy and ResearchNational Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) at the Rutgers Graduate School of Education.

Postdoctoral Scholar – Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing StudyThe Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (FFCWS) at Columbia University School of Social Work.


Presentation by William Gilliam, director of the Edward Ziegler Center at Yale, October 19 at 9:30 AM ET, sponsored by the CT Association for Human Services, the Middlesex Coalition for Children, the CT Early Childhood Alliance, and CSEA-SEIU.

NAECS-SDE Virtual Round Table 2020, October 26-29, sponsored by the National Association of Early Childhood Specialists in State Departments of Education.

Radical Family Engagement – A Journey Like No Other, ACF’s Office of Early Childhood Development (ECD) is hosting a series of conversations with key cross-sector partners and targeted engagements to bring new insights for how RADICAL family engagement could change the landscape of education and early childhood systems.

EECERA Convocation, International Narratives about COVID – 19 and Early Childhood, October 27-28.

Technology in the Early Years, Thursday, October 29, 7 PM CT, sponsored by the Buffett Early Childhood Institute at the University of Nebraska.