Early care and education (ECE) professionals 2-3 months into the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic were found to have elevated rates of depression, stress, and moderate to severe asthma, according to researchers at the Yale Children and Adults Research In Early Education Study Team. Among 81,682 ECE professionals who responded to a survey in May-June of 2020, 46% had potentially diagnosable levels of depression, 67% had moderate to high stress, and there was a 20% higher asthma rate amongst these ECE professionals compared to the general public. The reported rates of stress amongst ECE professionals were higher than estimates prior to the pandemic, and higher than rates of other U.S. adults during the pandemic. Read the study here.
Data obtained from Migrant and Seasonal Head Start (MSHS) programs indicated that programs serving a larger proportion of seasonal children compared to migrant children reported performing more transition supportive practices. The brief, published by the federal Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, also found that directors of MSHS centers were more likely to report activities involving direct family engagement (e.g., inviting families to informational meetings about the kindergarten transition) than coordination with other schools and programs (e.g., providing children’s MSHS records to the school). Read the full brief here.
Per child federal expenditures reached a new high in 2021 related to temporary relief funding in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Kids’ Share 2022, an annual report analyzing federal spending on children published by the Urban Institute. According to the report, tax provisions were the largest category of federal support for children, accounting for nearly half of all federal expenditures on children. Relatively little was spent on the four smallest categories, which include child care and early education. Read the full report here.
NIEER’s Kwanghee Jung has been nominated by Gov. Phil Murphy to serve on the New Jersey State Board of Education, along with two others. Jung is the associate director for data management and statistics at NIEER. Her recent work includes research on long-term outcomes of New Jersey’s high-quality universal pre-K programs and surveys tracking changes in home learning activities and preschool program participation during the pandemic. Governor Murphy also nominated Claudine Keenan, Dean of Education at Stockton University, and Mary Bennett, an educational consultant for the Seton Hall University Academy for Urban Transformation. The three nominations will be sent to the Senate for confirmation. Read the announcement here.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy released the New Jersey Strategic Plan for Preschool Expansion Phase I: The Foundation this week, signaling a concrete step towards making preschool universally available to three- and four-year-olds across the state. A collaboration between the Governor’s Office, the New Jersey Department of Education and NIEER, the strategic plan draws on New Jersey’s strong history of high-quality preschool to outline critical decision points in the areas of financing, scaling, facilities, workforce and mixed-delivery. With this plan as a foundation, NIEER is now engaging in the second phase of this work to gather the critical information needed to craft a clear blueprint for achieving universal preschool. Read the full Phase I plan here.
NIEER seeks a Senior Editor/Media Specialist to create momentum and awareness, participate in strategic planning, and develop an integrated communications plan to advance the Institute’s mission. The Senior Editor/Media Specialist reports to the founding Co-Director and plays a key role in telling the Institute’s story and expanding its presence. This is an exciting opportunity for an experienced professional to build an impactful communications program that contributes to evidenced-based policies for early education nationally and globally. For more information or to apply contact Louise Hornecker or Steve Barnett.
Research on Chinese parents’ numeracy activities with their preschoolers to reinforce number skills found that higher SES parents tended to engage in both formal and informal math activities, while lower SES parents tended to engage in more formal math activities. Parent involvement in number skills activities positively predicted formal and informal math ability, while involvement in number application activities positively predicted informal math ability. Access the study here.
Researchers at the University of Alabama reviewed a decade of research on phonics instruction for literacy achievement in kindergarten through third grade and identified three overarching themes related to phonics instruction: Instructional resources to support teachers with limited pedagogical or content knowledge; intervention intensity; and professional learning meant to foster a deeper understanding of language. Read the abstract here.
An intervention that provided coaching support for early childhood education teachers to improve classroom interactions was associated with teachers’ improved reflective skills, researchers found. “Coaches and teachers, over time, engaged in more cumulative exchanges, enabling spaces for teachers to reflect more about their practice, and specific types of exchanges promoted more reflection and willingness to change,” the researchers wrote of the intervention. Read the abstract here.
A program effective in improving preschoolers’ literacy by providing trained volunteers in classrooms was found to be cost-effective for schools, according to researchers. The per-student cost of the Minnesota Reading Corps (MRC) Pre-K Program was $1,300 in 2019 dollars, and schools had to cover only about a quarter of the expense, they wrote. In the MRC program, AmeriCorps participants are trained to provide early literacy support and then receive ongoing coaching in the classroom. Access the study, by Atsuko Muroga of Harvard University, Maya Escueta of Duke University, Viviana Rodriguez of the University of Texas at San Antonio, and A. Brooks Bowden of the University of Pennsylvania, here.