September 24, 2021 – Volume 20, Issue 38


NIEER Offers Resources to Support Development of Universal Pre-K in NJ

Gov. Phil Murphy this month announced plans to expand pre-K to all New Jersey 3- and 4-year-olds by the end of the decade. Another 19 school districts received $17 million to provide high-quality pre-K this academic year, adding to the 140 districts that already offer state-funded pre-K.

The state’s Abbott pre-K program, created 20 years ago by a Supreme Court ruling requiring the highest-poverty school districts to provide high-quality pre-K, is considered a model nationwide. Learn more about New Jersey’s pre-K programs from NIEER’s extensive collection of research here.

“Investing in early childhood education lays the foundation for a bright future for our early learners,” Murphy said. The state Department of Education will develop a strategic plan for rolling out pre-K statewide by 2030, he said.

NIEER’s most recent research on children’s long-term outcomes from the Abbott pre-K system was published in the Early Childhood Research Quarterly. NIEER has developed several resources for universal pre-K, available here:


Multitiered System of Support Framework in Early Childhood Description and Implications

New guidelines outline an early childhood multitiered system of support (MTSS) framework for programs that serve children with or are at risk for developmental delays and disabilities.

The Division for Early Childhood of the Council for Exceptional Children released its new Multitiered System of Support Framework in Early Childhood position statement. The information can help programs implement a MTSS.

“Programs can ensure that young children are being universally screened, authentically assessed, and differentially supported in ways that are developmentally appropriate and address their unique needs across both curricular and developmental outcomes,” the international membership organization wrote in the announcement.



Philadelphia’s Pre-K Program Funded by the Beverage Tax Helps the City’s Children, Families, and Economy

Philadelphia’s preschool program, PHLpreK, funded by a beverage tax, has likely created between 800 and 1,350 new jobs in the city, according to research from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.

A new policy brief, “The Total Economic Impact of Philadelphia’s Beverage Tax,” evaluated the full economic and fiscal impacts of Philadelphia’s beverage tax and the programs it supports within the city. NIEER commissioned the study with a grant from the William Penn Foundation.

“We focused specifically on the expansion of Philadelphia’s early childhood industry and the implications of increased employment of parents who enroll their children in the free PHLpreK program,” said Rutgers Distinguished Research Professor Michael L. Lahr, who directed the study. “It is clear that any small improvement in the city’s labor supply enabled via the free, quality PHLpreK program, or even just improved productivity due to better child care arrangements with no increase in jobs, secures a positive net effect for Philadelphia’s private industries and the city’s tax coffers.”

The research report is available here and a policy brief is available here.


The Impact of the Pandemic on Academic Support for Preschoolers: Key Takeaways from a New Jersey District-Level Survey

NIEER’s Milagros Nores and Erin Harmeyer examined how New Jersey leaders in school districts offering state-funded preschool supported learning at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many children had access to or were encouraged to engage in activities like reading and music, but participation rates varied. Supports varied in type, frequency and duration.

Nearly two-thirds of districts provided professional development for teachers. However, much of it focused on the technology needed to reach children and families instead of on developmentally appropriate practices or instructional strategies for the online environment. Read more here.



Measuring and Forecasting Progress in Education: What about Early Childhood?

A team of researchers from universities and organizations worldwide found the benefits of preschool education are high for individuals and the economies of low- and middle-income countries.

The study examined the relationship between participation in preschool and adolescent mathematics and science test scores in 73 countries. It also estimated the costs of not making such programs universal, in terms of forgone lifetime earnings, in 134 countries. The costs of inaction amounted to “considerable losses comparable to or greater than current governmental expenditures on all education (as percentages of GDP).”

To achieve targets for worldwide sustainable development education goals and reduce inequalities in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, they concluded that early childhood care and education must be prioritized. Read the study here.


Father–Child Interactions in Preschool Children with ASD: A Systematic Review

As fathers take on more parenting duties, the way they interact with their preschoolers with autism spectrum disorder needs closer study, wrote researchers, who reviewed 12 observational studies. Most research examines the relationship between mother and child, they noted.

Interventions “are often tailored without considering father’s behaviors, characteristics, and needs,” they noted. “From fathers’ individual strengths and weaknesses, it is possible to implement interventions that are complementary with maternal characteristics from the perspective of personalized and optimized treatment.”

The study was written by Silvia Perzolli, Arianna Bentenuto, Giulio Bertamini, Simona de Falco, and Paola Venuti of the University of Trento in Italy. Read it here.


Examining Empowerment Interventions with Families and Preschool Children: Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials

A study examining empowerment as a tool to promote health outcomes for families of preschool-age children identified 16 potentially effective behavior change techniques; the most commonly applied was “instruction in how to perform the behavior.” The researchers reviewed 10 randomized studies of which half found positive outcomes. Read the abstract here.


Family Routines and Practices that Support the School Readiness of Young Children Living in Poverty

Family routines could serve as protective factors for young children living in poverty and support their school readiness according to researchers at the University of Virginia.

The study involved 3,111 children and families who entered Head Start in the fall of 2009. It examined children’s school readiness across five developmental domains: cognitive, physical, language, social-emotional, and approaches to learning.

“Factors related to implementing art activities and playing games and implementing learning- and literacy-focused activities are the most consistent predictors of school readiness outcomes across all domains measured,” reported authors Khara L. P. Turnbull, Deiby Mayaris, Cubides Mateus, Jennifer LoCasale-Crouch, Frances L. Coolman, Sofia E. Hirt, and Etomgi Okezie. Read the study here.



Early Childhood Development Program Specialist, ACF’s Office of Early Childhood Development

Program Specialist, Dovel Technologies

Postdoctoral Associate, New York University, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development



NAEYC members 2021 Virtual Annual Conference, November 6-9