September 2, 2022 – Volume 21, Issue 35


Kindergarten Academic and Social Skills and Exposure to Peers with Pre-Kindergarten Experience


Kindergarteners who attended pre-K and those who didn’t both showed modestly larger gains in inhibitory control and vocabulary when they had more classmates who attended pre-K, but also smaller increases in their ability to manage frustration, according to a new study. Researchers from the University of Virginia and The Ohio State University analyzed whether the proportion of children in kindergarten classrooms with pre-K experience was related to children’s gains in social, academic, and executive functions skills during kindergarten. The benefits for having more pre-K peers in kindergarten was the same for pre-K attenders and non-attenders. Read the full study here.


Does Classroom Quality Promote Preschoolers’ Learning? A Conceptual Framework for Evaluating the Impact of Classroom Quality on Child Outcomes


While researchers agree high-quality early learning experiences matter, questions remain about how quality relates to child outcomes. The Variations in Implementation of Quality Interventions (VIQI): Examining the Quality-Child Outcomes Relationship in Child Care and Early Education project attempts to answer these types of questions. The VIQI project is described in a brief that includes a conceptual framework outlining the pathways through which interventions are expected to lead to child outcomes. Read the brief, by Michelle F. Maier, Joann Hsueh, Marie-Andrée Somers, and Peg Burchinal, here.


Early Childhood Learning and Children’s Literacy Skills in Kindergarten and Third Grade


Code-focused skills (e.g., letter knowledge and phonological awareness) and language skills in early childhood are both fundamental to learning to read, but less is known about how each predicts later school outcomes. Researchers at The Ohio State University examined these skills in the fall and spring of preschool, and showed that while initial levels of code-focused and language skills in preschool predicted kindergarten literacy skills, only gains in code-focused skills made in preschool predicted kindergarten literacy (and not gains in language skills). Further, initial levels of code-focused and language skills predicted grade 3 reading achievement, but not gains in these skills. Read the white paper here.



Education Focus Report: Top District Priorities and Shifts in PK-12 Education


Hearing from education leaders about lessons learned in the pandemic can help set priorities that center student learning for the new school year. NIEER senior co-Director Ellen Frede was among those who provided insights for PowerSchool’s Education Focus Report: Top District Priorities and Shifts in PK-12 Education. The report is based on findings from surveys and interviews with educators, superintendents, technology officers and others. It features three recommendations from Frede for districts aiming to expand early childhood education: research what works, set up an early childhood advisory council, and reflect on K-3 offerings to make the transition from pre-K to kindergarten smoother. Read the full report here.



Widening the Lens of Family Math Engagement: A Conceptual Framework and Systematic Review

A systematic review of family math engagement studies showed that the quality and quantity of children’s family math engagement along with families’ math attitudes relate to children’s math outcomes. In addition, family math intervention studies showed short-term, but limited long-term, positive effects on children’s math engagement and learning. Read the study, by Sarah H. Eason of Purdue University, Nicole R. Scalise of the University of California, Irvine, Talia Berkowitz and Susan C. Levine of the University of Chicago, and Geetha B. Ramani of the University of Maryland here.

Optimizing Vocabulary Instruction for Preschool Children

A vocabulary curriculum helped preschoolers at risk for language difficulties learn more words than at-risk children who didn’t receive the intervention, researchers found. Children in a treatment and control group were exposed to the same vocabulary words, but the preschoolers in the treatment group received explicit vocabulary instruction during small-group storybook listening centers and had extended practice opportunities in the classroom and at home.  Access the study here.


The Effects of a High Quality State-Run Preschool Program as Rated by a Quality Rating and Improvement System on Children’s School Readiness


Children who participated in a higher QRIS-rated pre-K program made greater gains in language during the pre-K year, and these gains persisted into kindergarten, researchers found. Furthermore, participation in a higher-quality state-run pre-K program was associated with greater gains in math, literacy, and school readiness in kindergarten, although most effects were small and not consistent over time. Read the study here.


Early Opportunities and Fourth-Grade Success: State Pre-K Funding, Quality, and Access on Student Achievement

Children in higher-funded pre-K programs demonstrated significant increases in English language arts performance in the fourth grade, according to an assessment of pre-K programs across the U.S. The funding effect was stronger in states providing targeted pre-K access to low-income and high-risk students. Legislated quality standards mainly impacted White students and increased achievement gaps in states with universal access, researchers found. “Overall, our results suggest that providing adequate funding targeted toward historically disadvantaged children may provide broad benefits to all students while reducing educational disparities,” wrote Andrew Pendola of Auburn University, and Ismael Muñoz, Mayli Zapata and Maryellen Schaub of The Pennsylvania State University. Read the study here.


Predicting Preschool Children’s Self-Regulation from Positive Emotion: The Moderating Role of Parental Positive Emotion Socialization


Parents’ socialization of positive emotions when discussing an upsetting event with preschool-age children interacted with children’s temperamental positive emotionality to relate to their self-regulation skills, researchers found. “Parents and childcare providers who enhance children’s positive emotions might also be supporting their self-regulation, which has long-lasting implications for children’s social and emotional outcomes at later developmental periods,” they noted. Access the study here.