October 8, 2021 – Volume 20, Issue 40


Webinar: Including Family Child Care in State- and City-funded Pre-K Systems

Join Home Grown, NIEER, state and city pre-K leaders, and special guests from the U.S. Department of Education and the Office of Early Childhood Development on Oct. 13 at 11:30 a.m. EST for a conversation about the inclusion of Family Child Care (FCC) in public pre-K systems.

The webinar will include a discussion about the newly released report from NIEER, Including Family Child Care in State- and City-funded Pre-K Systems: Opportunities and Challenges. (Home Grown funded the report.) Speakers include:

  • GG Weisenfeld, NIEER senior ECE policy specialist
  • Natalie Renew, director of Home Grown
  • Katie Hamm, deputy assistant secretary for the federal Office of Early Childhood Development
  • Miriam Calderon, deputy assistant secretary for early learning with the U.S. Department of Education
  • Monica Liang-Aguirre, early learning director for the Seattle Department of Education and Early Learning
  • Kate Rogers, early education programs manager with the Vermont Agency of Education
  • Adrienne Biggs, owner of Lil Bits Family Child Care Home in Philadelphia

Reserve your spot here.



New NIEER Study Highlights the Complexity and Importance of Early Childhood Education Site Support Personnel

NIEER researchers examined the critical role of site support personnel in New York City’s universal pre-kindergarten program, finding they provided wide-ranging expertise and technical assistance.

The recently released report, A Time Use Study of Site Support Personnel in New York City’s UPK Program, called for greater recognition and more professional development opportunities for these professionals.

From 2017 to 2018, Sharon Ryan and Zijia Li tracked the daily time use of instructional coordinators and social workers, who help early educators better teach children and assist families, and policy specialists, who focus on foundational quality such as health and safety and governance.

“The support staff we interviewed were working in many roles and multitasking in many ways,” Ryan said. “There is intricate planning that goes into preparing for each day and these individuals are navigating both the policy context and the local community context at the same time.”

Li noted: “In an environment that is constantly changing, and even more so due to COVID-19, it is important to prioritize professional development opportunities for site support personnel.”

The NYC Department of Education has implemented many of the strategies that emerged from the report’s findings.



NIEER is seeking a bilingual research project coordinator to work closely with our faculty and staff in research and evaluation. 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, human development, 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.



The Associations between Teacher-Child Relationships and Academic Skills: A Longitudinal Study among Chinese Preschool Children

Teacher-child relationships and children’s academic skills have a reciprocal relationship, predicting one another, researchers found. The study involved 656 Chinese preschoolers and 59 head teachers. The children’s academic skills were assessed three times during their second and third preschool years, while the teachers reported on teacher-child relationships.

Preschoolers who were better at math established closer relationships with teachers, they wrote. Meanwhile, teacher-child closeness at the first assessment positively predicted children’s executive functioning at the second.

Researchers used three models, finding that the reciprocal model best explained associations between teacher-child relations and children’s math achievement, character recognition and executive function. The child-driven model, however, “was the best fit in explaining the relation between teacher-child relationships and children’s receptive vocabulary,” according to the researchers.

The study was written by: Ying Hu and Yuanfang Guo of the University of Macau in China; Shuang Wang of Sichuan Preschool Teachers College in China; and Virginia E. Vitiello of the University of Virginia. Read the study here.


Comparison of the Diagnostic Evaluation of Language Variation–Screening Test Risk Subtest to Two Other Screeners for Low-Income Prekindergartners Who Speak African American English and Live in the Urban South

Researchers found that screening tests used to determine whether children require language intervention have high fail rates when used with preschoolers who live in a low-income city in the South and speak African American English (AAE).

The Diagnostic Evaluation of Language Variation–Screening Test “was designed for children who speak a variety of dialects, including AAE,” the researchers noted. However, as with other screening tests, it “can lead to higher error scores than its standardization sample and high fail rates when administered to low-income children who speak AAE and live in the urban South.”

Screening tests “were better able to classify children with speech and language disorders as impaired than classifying children without speech and language disorders as typical,” wrote Christy Wynn Moland and Janna B. Oetting of Louisiana State University. The study involved 73 children enrolled in Head Start or publicly funded pre-K. Read it here.


Supportive Parenting and Social and Behavioral Development: Does Classroom Emotional Support Moderate?

Mothers’ supportive parenting at home promoted children’s social skills development when preschoolers received high-quality emotional support in the classroom, researchers found. However, they also found that the benefits of maternal supportive parenting may vanish if children experience low-quality emotional support in the classroom.

The study involved 388 children and their mothers from 59 preschool programs in China’s Guangdong province.

Researchers said higher supportive parenting was associated with decreases in problem behaviors, but noted teachers’ emotional support had no strengthening effect in that area.

Such results showed the importance of both providing young children with supportive parenting at home and emotional support in preschool classrooms, as family and schools work together to optimize children’s social development,” wrote the authors: Shuang Wang of East China Normal University; Bi Ying Hu of the University of Macau in China; Jeniffer LoCasale-Crouch of the University of Virginia; and Juan Li of Wenzhou University in China. Read the study here.


Effect of the Jamaica Early Childhood Stimulation Intervention on Labor Market Outcomes at Age 31

A two-year intervention in the late 1980s for impoverished Jamaican children with impaired growth showed significant effects on participants’ income and schooling three decades out, a study found.

The researchers interviewed 95 of the original 127 participants in the Jamaica Early Childhood Stimulation intervention at age 31. “The treatment group had 43% higher hourly wages and 37% higher earnings than the control group,” they reported. When interviewed at age 22, the participants’ increased earnings compared to the control group was only 25%, they noted.

The home-based intervention sought to improve nutrition and the quality of mother-child interactions to foster cognitive, language and psycho-social skills, they wrote.

The authors are: Paul Gertler of the University of California, Berkeley; James J. Heckman of the University of Chicago; Rodrigo Pinto of the University of California at Los Angeles; Susan M. Chang, Susan Walker and Amika Wright of The University of The West Indies; Sally Grantham-McGregor of The Institute of Child Health in England; and Christel Vermeersch of the World Bank in Washington, D.C. Access the paper here.


Quantifying Severity of Preschool-Aged Children’s Internalizing Behaviors: A Daily Diary Analysis

Researchers said the results of a diary study that tracked the frequency of preschoolers’ anxiety and depressive behaviors can provide child practitioners a tool to better assess which frequencies are within the range of developmentally typical behavior and which are not.

The study involved 609 primary caregivers of children ages 3 to 5. For 14 days, the caregivers tracked how frequently their child experienced daily separation and social anxiety, and depressive behaviors and impairment.

Analyses quantified frequencies at which a behavior was psychometrically severe and/or rare. For example, “most social anxiety behaviors had to occur approximately every other day to be considered severe,” they wrote.

The study was authored by: Sara J. Bufferd of the University of Louisville in Kentucky; Thomas M. Olino of Temple University in Philadelphia; and Lea R. Dougherty of University of Maryland College Park. Read the abstract here.



Better Kid Care Program Manager, Penn State University

Early Childhood Research Scientist, University of Virginia

Assistant Professor of Early Childhood – Inclusion/Early Intervention/Dual Language Learners, California State University Channel Islands

Early Childhood Education Senior Associate, Abt Associates