September 1, 2023 – Volume 22, Issue 35


As we approach labor day, our thoughts turn to teachers, especially early childhood workers who are poorly paid and under-appreciated worldwide. One recent study documented high levels of poverty for children of child care workers in the UK, a situation we suspect is replicated in the US. Recently, much attention has been given to teacher shortages generally and in early childhood programs. Many policy remedies have been offered, and not infrequently they seek to solve the problem by lowering qualifications requirements from levels that are already scandalous or avoid it by relaxing ratios and group size requirements, ignoring the consequences for child development as well as the workforce. If anyone needs more support for the painfully obvious conclusion that there is only one solution—improving compensation—we recommend recent resources based on research in Virginia and Louisiana 

📚 Exploring ways for ALL children to feel included in preschool – the role of infant and early childhood mental health consultation 🍎 

Making children feel as though they are not a good fit in early childhood programs, either officially through expulsions or unofficially such as regularly removing the child from the classroom, often harms young children of color differently compared to their white peers. Infant and early childhood mental health consultants (IECMHC) can help lower these preschool expulsions, but they need guidance. This study covers the work of an interdisciplinary research team, with support from the national Center for Excellence in IECMHC, as they identify essential activities across different settings. The results? A list of five essential elements and 26 activities focused on relationships and equity.  



📢 Breaking News: Our State Support for Preschool Ranking Report Featured in Ohio Journal! 🌟 

We are thrilled to announce that our comprehensive ranking report on how well states support preschool programs has made headlines in the Ohio Capital Journal! Our report delves deep into the critical facets of early education, offering insights into accessibility, funding, and quality state by state.  

Read the full story.  

Meet Our Newest BELLE Cohort III Partners!   

Join us in extending a warm welcome to our BELLE Cohort III partners for the 2023-2024 school year! This group of educators will participate in a year-long partnership dedicated to implementing strategies for Dual Language Learners (DLLs), including Spanish language instruction. These workshops offer valuable insights into best practices for supporting DLLs in their classrooms and the opportunity to develop concrete plans for implementation. By attending these workshops, our leaders will be better prepared to collaborate with their teachers to put these strategies into action. 

Get to know our BELLE Cohort for 2023-2024!  


Public or Private? Determinants of Parents’ Preschool Choice in India 

This study examined the factors influencing parents’ choice between public and private preschools in India. Researchers have found that socioeconomic status plays a critical role in decision-making. Based on a primary sample of 1,369 children from 1,369 households, the study discovered that parents with higher economic means and educational aspirations are more likely to opt for private preschools—even when these institutions do not offer additional facilities beyond education. This preference for private preschools exists despite the availability of free public preschool options, underscoring the need for policy interventions aimed at elevating the quality and perception of public preschool education in India.  

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Preschool Classroom Age Composition and Physical Literacy Environment: Influence on Children’s Emergent Literacy Outcomes 

This research, drawing data from 895 4-year-olds in 223 classrooms, spotlights a critical issue. Classrooms with a significant presence of younger children (aged 2 or 3) tend to lack crucial literacy resources. The consequence? 4-year-olds in these mixed-age classrooms demonstrate limited progress in expressive language skills. This underscores the pressing need for policy adjustments and investments to ensure comprehensive literacy support across classrooms, regardless of age diversity.  

Reading, Singing, and Storytelling: The Impact of Caregiver-Child Interaction and Child Access to Books and Preschool on Early Childhood Development in Ghana  

A recent study assessed 6,752 children’s early development using UNICEF’s index. While physical and cognitive skills were mostly on track, gaps existed in literacy-numeracy and social-emotional abilities. Activities like reading and preschool attendance boosted literacy-numeracy, while play improved social-emotional and cognitive skills. The findings stress the importance of focused caregiver-child interactions and early education for children’s overall development. 

Association of Physical Activity and Fitness with Executive Function among Preschoolers 

A study in Shenzhen, China, involving 127 preschoolers found that higher cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) and more moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) were linked to better inhibitory control and working memory. These findings emphasize the importance of promoting physical activity and fitness in early childhood for cognitive development.  

Urban-rural Achievement Gap in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: The Role of Early Childhood Education  

A study across India, Peru, and Vietnam explored educational disparities between urban and rural children in low- and middle-income countries. The research, involving 6,000 poor children at ages five and eight, found that family factors contribute to the urban-rural achievement gap. Access to early childhood education (ECE) was crucial for academic improvement in urban areas, especially in private ECE centers. These findings highlight ECE’s potential in narrowing this gap, stressing the importance of monitoring ECE quality, particularly in rural regions, for optimal child development.


Senior Director, Early Childhood Policy, Center for American Progress 

Senior Training and Technical Assistance Specialist, ZERO TO THREE 

Assistant Professor (N/T) – Early Childhood Education, Berkeley School of Education 

Prenatal to Three Policy Impact Center: Several Positions 

Harvard Center for the Developing Child: Special Assistant to the Faculty Director 

SchoolHouse Connection: Senior Manager/Director, Federal Policy