October 22, 2021 – Volume 20, Issue 42


The 2021 Early Care and Education Leadership Development Compendium: A View of the Current Landscape

The latest compilation of early childhood and education leadership development programs in the U.S. showed a decline in offerings. The 2021 Early Childhood and Education Leadership Development Compendium counted 35 self-reported leadership development programs, down from 57 programs in the third edition, published in 2017. The report noted that 38 states are without leadership development programs. Future compendiums will be prepared and published by the Institute for Early Education Leadership and Innovation at UMass Boston. Read the fourth edition here.

Association of a Sweetened Beverage Tax With Soda Consumption in High School Students

A month after NIEER released results of a study showing Philadelphia’s sweetened beverage tax had a positive impact on jobs, another study published in JAMA Pediatrics this week found that the city’s beverage tax was associated with a significant reduction in soda consumption by high schoolers.

In “The Total Economic Impact of Philadelphia’s Beverage Tax,” researchers at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey found Philadelphia’s preschool program funded by the tax has likely created between 800 and 1,350 new jobs in the city.

The study on the reduction in soda consumption two years after the tax took effect concluded “beverage taxes may be an effective policy approach to improving health behaviors tied to adolescent obesity.”

Both studies demonstrated that this funding approach for investing in early child care and education can create other social benefits.

The study in JAMA Pediatrics was written by: Emma K. Edmondson, Christina A. Roberto, and Emily F. Gregory of the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine.


NIEER staff presented at the Preschool Development Grant Birth to Five (PDG B-5) Technical Assistance Center Annual Convening, “Leveraging Strong Partnerships for Strong Early Childhood Systems.” Kate Hodges led a session with Kaitlin Northey of the University of Vermont and state leaders from Alabama and West Virginia on “Effective State Offices of Early Learning,” drawing from recent NIEER research. Building off the recently released report, Including Family Child Care in State and City-funded Pre-K Systems: Opportunities and Challenges, GG Weisenfeld and Erin Harmeyer presented on the inclusion of family child care in ECE systems with colleagues from Home Grown and state leaders in Connecticut. Lori Connors-Tadros conducted a session with state leaders from Minnesota, Colorado, New Hampshire, and Illinois on planning for the sustainability of PDG B-5 achievements. Presentations from the convening are available here and here.


NIEER is seeking a bilingual research project coordinator to work closely with the institute’s faculty and staff in research and evaluation projects. Key duties include managing fieldwork across two to three research projects, communicating effectively with research and project partners, and managing and training data collection teams. Required qualifications include:

  • Master’s degree in early childhood education, policy, or social science (psychology, anthropology, sociology, human development, education)
  • Spanish-English bilingual
  • Experience with early childhood classrooms
  • Experience with evaluation of early childhood programs
  • Excellent communications and management skills

If interested, please apply at https://jobs.rutgers.edu/postings/142828. Reach out to mnores@nieer.org with questions.


Computational Thinking Learning Experiences, Outcomes, and Research in Preschool Settings: A Scoping Review of Literature


Citing a lack of research documenting the scope of computational thinking (CT) skills for 3- to 5-year-olds, researchers conducted a scoping review of studies that included preschoolers. After reviewing 17 articles, they concluded “gaps exist in CT experience designs, scope of CT interventions, and CT tool research and development.” The study was authored by Kate I. McCormick and Jacob A. Hall of the State University of New York at Cortland. Read the abstract here.

Second Grade: Longitudinal Findings of the SPELL Trial in Denmark

Short-term benefits of a preschool language and literacy intervention faded by second grade for the general population of Danish children, but appeared to have longer-lasting effects for children whose mothers had a lower level of education, and children of immigrants, a longitudinal study found.

Researchers used data from a large-scale study of the SPELL intervention implemented at 144 childcare centers between November 2013 and June 2014. They were able to match second-grade reading tests for 2,700 children. The brief and relatively low-cost intervention was associated with some sustained improvements in reading achievement 3 to 6 years later.

The study was authored by: Dorthe Bleses, Anders Højen, and Benedicte D. Vind of Aarhus University in Denmark; Philip S. Dale of the University of New Mexico; and Laura Justice and Hui Jiang of Ohio State University. Read it here.

Parents’ Math Anxiety and Mathematics Performance of Pre-Kindergarten Children

Parents’ math anxiety was “significantly negatively related to children’s mathematics performance” during the pre-kindergarten year, according to researchers at Purdue University in Indiana. The study, involving 310 children ages 4 to almost 6, did not find any difference in this association between males and females.


The study measured performance in the spring of pre-K and controlled for children’s math performance in the fall, according to researchers Margaret Becker, Ellen C. Litkowski, Robert J. Duncan, Sara A. Schmitt, James Elicker and David J. Purpura. Read the study here.

Leadership at Play in Preschool Children: A Systematic Synthesis of Nearly Nine Decades of Research

A researcher analyzed studies on play leadership, concluding that, as an essential aspect of social competence in young children, it should be integrated into preschool curriculum. Author Jennifer J. Chen of Kean University in New Jersey suggested within-culture studies of diverse population and cross-cultural comparisons on play leadership be conducted. Read the abstract here.


Request for Proposals: Contractor for IDEA Policy & Consulting