September 23, 2022 – Volume 21, Issue 38


Universal Pre-K and College Enrollment: Is There a Link? 

Children who attended Tulsa’s universal public pre-K program were more likely to attend two- and four-year colleges than children who did not attend pre-K or Head Start, according to a new working paper published by the Center for Research on Children in the U.S. (CROCUS) at Georgetown University. Additional working papers released this week with data from Tulsa showed the pre-K program had benefits that exceeded the cost, and that those who attended had a greater likelihood of on-time high school graduation and better civic engagement. Read the series of papers here.

A Tribute to Edward Zigler 1930-2019: The Man, His Work, His Legacy

Yale University this week announced the release of a documentary honoring  the late Edward F. Zigler, a developmental psychologist, children’s advocate, and founder of the federal Head Start program in the 1960s. A Tribute to Edward Zigler 1930-2019: The man, his work, his legacy includes video clips of Zigler and interviews with family members, former students, and colleagues. Zigler was the first director of the U.S. Office of Child Development. He advised White House administrations from President Johnson through President Obama. Zigler was Sterling Professor Emeritus of Psychology at Yale University. His work continues through the Edward Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy. Watch the documentary here.

Head Start Mask Announcement

Universal masking will soon cease to be a requirement for Head Start programs, the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families has announced. The change is in line with an August update to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. The CDC recommends the wearing of high-quality masks indoors when the COVID-19 community level is high, and for students who are immunocompromised. While the official rule ending the mask requirement hasn’t yet been published, the Office of Head Start has not monitored mask use at programs since February. Head Start programs are encouraged to use “a combination of tools to reduce COVID-19 risks,” according to the announcement. 




Mixed-Delivery Public Prekindergarten: Differences in Demographics, Quality, and Children’s Gains by Setting across Five Large-Scale Systems


Children enrolled in pre-K in public school settings had higher baseline and outcome scores than children enrolled in pre-K in community-based organizations, according to a paper presented this week by NIEER Assistant Research Professor Jennifer Duer at the Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness annual conference. Some quality differences by setting were also noted. NIEER Co-authors included Assistant Research Professor Allison Friedman-Krauss and Co-director for Research Milagros Nores. Read the abstract here.


Preschool Development Grant B-5 Application Preparation: Thoughts from the National TA Collaborative to Maximize Federal Early Childhood Investments


The National Technical Assistance Collaborative to Maximize Federal Early Childhood Investments is hosting a webinar on Sept. 28 for states interested in applying for the Preschool Development Grant B-5 (PDG B-5) planning or renewal grant. National early childhood technical assistance leaders will share their insights, and resources and supports available to state leaders. NIEER Senior Research Fellow Lori Connors-Tadros and Assistant Research Professor Alexandra Figueras-Daniel serve as liaisons to the group. Register here.




Effects of Cumulative Family Risks on School Readiness Skills: A Cross-Cultural Study between the U.S. and Korea

In both the U.S. and Korea, cumulative family risks such as low family income or a mother’s poor mental health when children are 1 resulted in poor school readiness — especially in academic skills — at age 5, researchers reported. They also found cumulative family risks indirectly influenced school readiness skills at age 5 through increased maternal parenting stress. The findings “confirmed the lasting effects of early caregiving environments on children’s school readiness, regardless of cultural context,” wrote Jaehee Kim and Hyoun K. Kim of Yonsei University and Hoseog Yu of Sejong University. Access the study here.

Quantifying the Linguistic Demands of the Oral Directions of Preschool Cognitive Assessments

Oral directions for cognitive assessments used with preschool-age children have low linguistic demands overall, researchers at The Ohio State University reported. They found some assessments had subtests with high linguistic demands that could pose difficulty for children with limited word knowledge, such as several subtests of the Woodcock Johnson Test of Cognitive Abilities (WJ Cog-IV). The Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children (KABC-II), deemed one of the most culturally fair assessments, was found to be the least linguistically demanding for young children. Read the study, by Scott L. Graves Jr., Kyanna Johnson, Shanye Phillips, and Mark Jones, here.


Preschool Educators’ Opinions and Practices on School Gardening

Researchers in Turkey found in a qualitative study of urban preschool educators’ school gardening practices that they routinely integrated gardening with math, science and arts lessons and reported children benefited in numerous ways. They reported school gardening had “positive effects on children’s cognitive, language, and physical development as well as the love of nature, responsibility, cooperation, sharing, exploration, and discovery.” Access the study here.


Impacts of the Let’s Know! Curriculum on the Language and Comprehension-Related Skills of Prekindergarten and Kindergarten Children

Two versions of the Let’s Know! whole-class supplemental curriculum, a language-focused intervention, related to positive results in children’s knowledge of vocabulary used in the curriculum and some comprehension-related skills, according to researchers at The Ohio State University. The curriculum did not relate to standardized language comprehension outcomes. “Results provide evidence that classroom instruction can improve some skills related to later comprehension; however, more work is necessary to develop and validate curricula that directly impact language and reading comprehension,” Meng-Ting Lo and Menglin Xu wrote. Read the study here.