Volume 16, Issue 4

Hot Topics

(Factual) News You Can Use

The National Institute for Early Education Research conducts academic research to inform policy supporting high-quality, early education for all young children. NIEER provides independent, research-based analysis and technical assistance to policymakers, journalists, researchers, and educators to improve the lives of children. 
With recent talk of “alternative facts,” and media bias, the need for evidence-based research grows. One source of cutting edge work-in-progress is NBER where working papers by economists including many focusing on policy relevant issues in education and human development are available.  
The National Bureau of Economic Research, a leading nonprofit economic research organization, is financed by government agencies, private foundations, investment income and contributions from individuals and corporations. NBER recently published Empowering Mothers and Enhancing Early Childhood Investment: Effect on Adults Outcomes and Children Cognitive and Non-Cognitive Skills a study of a unique approach to do both by an Italian NGO in a poor neighborhood of Quito, Ecuador.  
Mothers in the study were more likely to continue their education, make independent financial decisions, and play a greater role in household decisions, especially on issues involving children’s education and discipline, the study found. Also, children were less likely to repeat a grade, had fewer behavior problems in school from and higher scores on cognitive tests. 
Another useful source is online journals. The Journal of Applied Research on Children is an open-access, peer-reviewed online journal focused on interdisciplinary research linked to practical, evidenced-based policy solutions for children’s issues, including human trafficking, food insecurity, and the quality of public education.  The most recent issue, The Critical Years: Research and Progress in Early Education and Early Brain Development, features a new Brandeis University study on Head Start. 
Our assessment of research evidence from rigorous studies shows that Head Start has a positive average impact on child school readiness at kindergarten – the program’s primary goal – as well as longer-term impacts in adulthood,4 although these remain to be proved through experimental studies,” according to Head Start since the War on Poverty: Taking on New Challenges to Address Persistent School Readiness Gaps.Nevertheless, the program’s potential to reduce inequities in school readiness significantly at the population level is constrained by resource capacity.” 
Information is critical to shaping policy–especially budget policy–so the better informed we are, the better we can inform others.  

New on Preschool Matters…Today!

Leading in Times of Transition or How to Dance during an Earthquake

State early childhood specialists are experts on transitions. They live and work with varied shifts and moves on a regular basis, planning and adjusting accordingly. Calendars flow through annual budget and legislative cycles each year, and every four years, elections change the shape of those annual progressions.

This year those shifts may seem a bit more seismic. State elections and the move to a new federal administration, combined with implementation of the new federal elementary and secondary education law, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), present new adjustments, and if you look deeper, new early learning opportunities.

NIEER Activities

NIEER Assistant Research Professor Shannon Riley-Ayers Ph.D., was a featured speaker during the New Jersey Early Childhood Summit focused on bridging the gap in early learning preschool to third grade. Dr. Riley-Ayers’ presentation focused on Supporting a Developmentally Appropriate and Academically Rigorous Primary School. 
Today, educators and leaders are faced with the challenge of building a developmentally appropriate primary school without sacrificing the academic rigor needed to support young children in achieving success in school and beyond. Dr. Riley-Ayers provided an overview of the NJ Implementation Guidelines that outline best practices for primary school which defines practices that seamlessly blend instruction to address academic standards, approaches to learning, and students’ interests and motivation. She also shared preliminary results of a research study of quality in kindergarten through grade three throughout the state. 

CEELO Update

CEELO this week shared Addressing Early Childhood Emotional and Behavioral Problems supporting a policy statement from the American Association of Pediatrics on early childhood emotional and behavioral issues. This resource reviews data on approaches to addressing emotional, behavioral, and relationship problems. 
“Very young children can experience significant and impairing mental health problems at rates comparable to older children,” the report states. “Early adversity, including abuse and neglect, increases the risk of early childhood emotional, behavioral, and relationship problems and is associated with developmental, medical, and mental health problems through the lifespan.”  


The Relationship Between Teacher Qualification and Quality of the ECE Environment

The Campbell Collaboration is an international, voluntary, non-profit research network that publishes systematic reviews. They summarize and evaluate the quality of evidence for social and economic policy, programs, and practice. This review examines the empirical evidence on the relationship between teacher qualifications and the quality of the early childhood learning environment. Included studies must have examined the relationship between teacher qualification and quality of the ECEC environment from 1980 to 2014, as well as permitting the identification of the education program received by the lead teacher and providing a comparison between two or more groups of teachers with different educational qualifications. Higher teacher qualifications are significantly positively correlated with higher quality in early childhood education and care.

The Worldwide Expansion of Early Childhood Care and Education, 1985–2010

Although early childhood care and education (ECCE) enrollments have expanded significantly around the world since the 1960s, little is known about the economic, social, and cultural drivers explaining this growth. Using country fixed effects and a sample of 117 countries, this study, by Christine Min Wotipka, Brenda Jarillo Rabling, Minako Sugawara, and Pumsaran Tongliemnak, explores three predictors framing the growth of ECCE enrollments across countries and over time: economic development, improvements in women’s status, and country linkages to world society. The findings suggest that economic development was most strongly related to growth in ECCE enrollment before 1995 and that women’s status and world society indicators were even stronger predictors between 2000 and 2010.

What is the Current State of Research on Bullying among Preschool Children?

Bullying in schools has been identified as a serious and complex worldwide problem associated with young children’s victimization. Research studies indicate the frequency and effects of bullying among young children. The effects seem to be across-the-board for both bullies and victims, who are at risk of experiencing emotional, social, and academic difficulties. When preschool children first enter school, they become social members of a peer group. Preschool is the first context outside the home environment where young children encounter social problems when they interact with peers and become exposed to bullying behaviors. The purpose of this review by Olivia N. Saracho is to present current empirical evidence about the nature and distinctive facet of bullying among preschool children. Studies trace the development of preschool bullying and its pervasiveness. This review describes young children’s participation in bullying including their different roles, social status, and prevention programs.


Teacher Time 2016-2017 Series
Friday, January 27, 2017 3 p.m. EST

Register here for live webcast sponsored by the National Center on Quality Teaching and Learning on creating responsive preschool classrooms. Today’s interactive Teacher Time webcast is the second in the 2016-17 series and features NIEER Assistant Research Professor Alexandra Figueras-Daniel.


Early Education in the News

ICYMI: Read this week’s key stories on early childhood education issues.

Highlighting the week's most interesting stories and studies: True Facts, Seismic Shifts and Little Bullies