September 9, 2022 – Volume 21, Issue 36


Assistant Teachers in State-funded Preschool Programs


Assistant teachers are an integral component of the preschool classroom. However, there is limited research on the impact of assistant teacher qualifications and training on child outcomes. In a newly released policy brief, Assistant Teachers in State-funded Preschool Programs, NIEER’s GG Weisenfeld and Kate Hodges, and Abby Copeman Petig of the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment, explore what is known about assistant teachers in state-funded preschool programs, and share strategies states have implemented to support assistant teachers in meeting qualifications. Read the full brief here.


3Ps of Protection, Promotion, and Preservation: Centering Race and Racism in Developmental Science


The early years are critical for ensuring children receive equitable opportunities. Next week, Iheoma Iruka, a research professor and fellow at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina, will deliver a keynote lecture on how equity can be the bedrock of early childhood programs and other systems through racial equity and cultural wealth frameworks. 3Ps of Protection, Promotion, and Preservation: Centering Race and Racism in Developmental Science takes place Monday, Sept. 12 at 2 p.m. EDT. Register for the lecture, part of the John R. Lutzker series at Georgia State University, here.


A Transformative Vision for the Authentic Inclusion of Family Child Care in Mixed-Delivery PreK Systems


Researchers from the Pre-K in Family Child Care Project this week released the project’s first brief, A Transformative Vision for the Authentic Inclusion of Family Child Care in Mixed-Delivery PreK Systems. Authors Juliet Bromer and Samantha Melvin of the Erikson Institute, Iheoma Iruka of the Equity Research Action Coalition at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Rena Hallam and Jason Hustedt of the Delaware Institute for Excellence in Early Childhood at University of Delaware provided guiding principles and a conceptual framework for the equitable, intentional inclusion of family child care professionals in public pre-K systems. Download the brief and read about the project here.



Steven Barnett Talks Universal Preschool

NIEER Senior co-Director Steven Barnett explained the importance of investing in high-quality pre-K programs on a recent television episode of Think Tank with Steve Adubato. Adubato interviewed Barnett about his perspective on pre-K in the U.S. and in New Jersey. “New Jersey has one of the best programs in the country when it comes to quality, and we are number one when it comes to putting money behind those standards to make sure we can actually do them—that teachers and administrators have the resources they need to provide a high-quality preschool program,” Barnett told Adubato. The interview aired last weekend on NJ PBS and is available for viewing here.

HV as an Integral Part of the State Comprehensive EC System: Lessons Learned from Preschool Development Grant Birth to Five States

NIEER Senior Research Fellow Lori Connors-Tadros, a Parents as Teachers (PAT) National Center Board of Directors member, attended the national PAT board meeting in Denver on August 30.  Following the meeting, Connors-Tadros led a session at the PAT 2022 international conference, Home Visiting as an Integral Part of the State Comprehensive Early Childhood System: Lessons Learned from Preschool Development Grant Birth to Five States.  Home visiting leads from Rhode Island, Colorado and South Carolina shared lessons learned about how to ensure that home visiting is an integral part of the state comprehensive early care and education system to support children and families birth through age five and beyond.


A Comparison of the Impact of Digital Games Eliciting Explicit and Implicit Learning Processes in Preschoolers

Digital educational games that used implicit learning processes to teach letter names were more effective with 3- and 4-year-olds, while 5-year-olds’ letter-learning ability improved more with explicit games, researchers found. “This study illustrates the interest of studying the effectiveness of digital games by considering the cognitive processes they mobilize and the learner’s level of development,” wrote Annie Vinter, Patrick Bard, and Bénédicte Poulin-Charronnat of the Université de Bourgogne in France, and Helle Lukowski-Duplessy, of the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. Access the study here.

Early Childhood Education and Care Policies in the U.S. and their Impact on Family Violence

Researchers who studied the association between early childhood education and care (ECEC) policies and family violence outcomes found promising evidence that such policies can mitigate child maltreatment, though the amount of research is limited. In a review of studies conducted from 1996 to 2021 examining the relationship between three ECEC policies—childcare subsidies, Head Start/Early Head Start, and universal pre-K—and two family violence outcomes, child maltreatment and intimate partner violence (IPV), they found the policies/programs studied “have the potential to support families and prevent children from experiencing maltreatment and parents from experiencing IPV.” They emphasized the need for additional research using rigorous designs. Access the study here.


Unpacking the Home Numeracy Environment: Examining Dimensions of Number Activities in Early Childhood


Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh found support for two dimensions of home numeracy activities in early childhood: using numbers during play/everyday life; and using educational materials. Further, they found increased play was associated with higher math performance at age 5, but increased use of educational materials had no association with age 5 math performance. Read the study here.