Below are highlights from our most recent acquisitions. Research Connections scans its newest acquisitions, focusing on those from key organizations and journals, to identify resources to feature here.
Preschool and academic school readiness among young children of Asian and Hispanic immigrant mothers
Lee, RaeHyuck, 01/01/2016
Preschool is an important developmental context for children of immigrants that can help them succeed in later life. In this study, we examine the association between preschool and academic school readiness among young children of Asian or Hispanic immigrant mothers. A secondary data analysis was conducted using data (n [is approximately] 1,550) collected in the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort. Results show that attending preschool (mostly prekindergarten or other center-based care) was associated with better academic school readiness at the year of participation among children of both Asian and Hispanic immigrant mothers; such beneficial associations were found at kindergarten entry among Asian children, but not Hispanic children. Furthermore, more-pronounced beneficial influences of preschool on academic school readiness were found at the year of participation among children of home language mothers in both groups, but such more-pronounced benefits were gone at kindergarten entry in both groups. These findings suggest that the differences between the two groups in maintaining the benefits from preschool may be associated with different home environments. Future research is needed to look specifically at the mechanisms of how attending preschool is related to academic school readiness among children of immigrants. (author abstract)
Including relationship-based care practices in infant-toddler care: Implications for practice and policy
Sosinsky, Laura Stout, 05/01/2016
(OPRE Report No. 2016-46). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/nitr_inquire_may_2016_070616_b508compliant.pdf
This brief describes relationship-based care practices and the research support for a focus on relationships in infant and toddler care. We emphasize two specific relationship-based care supports - primary caregiving and continuity of care. We then present practice considerations for child care directors and owners regarding adopting or enhancing relationship-based care practices, and discuss the implications of state standards for incorporating these practices into programs that serve infants and toddlers. This brief focuses on implementation and standards in center-based settings because family child care homes are already structured to support relationship-based care practices from infancy through age three due to small numbers of children and caregivers. However, considerations for implementation of relationship-based care practices in centers may also be relevant to group child care homes serving infants and toddlers. (author abstract)
Check out Research Connections Infant and Toddler Child Care quality Measures Bibliography and our Research-to-Policy Resource List on Research-informed Policy Options for Infant and Toddler Early Care and Education for additional resources in the Research Connections collection.
This study examined the attitudes, preparation, and comfort of early childhood administrators in working with gay and lesbian (GL) parented families and the use of GL inclusive practices within centers. Data were gathered from 203 participants in the state of North Carolina using an online survey. Overall, administrators held a positive attitude towards GLs. Specifically, administrators with higher levels of education held a more positive attitude towards lesbians than gay men. Attitudes also correlated highly with administrator's comfort in working with GL parented families and use of inclusive practices within their center; however, it did not correlate with preparation or training in the field. Participants who identified themselves as very religious had lower scores on all measures used within the study, compared to administrators who were somewhat religious or not religious. Finally, most of the inclusive strategies implemented within centers were perfunctory, which required minimal change and effort by administrators. (author abstract)
The effects of Tulsa's CAP Head Start program on middle-school academic outcomes and progress
Phillips, Deborah A., 08/01/2016
This study presents evidence pertinent to current debates about the lasting impacts of early childhood educational interventions and, specifically, Head Start. A group of students who were first studied to examine the immediate impacts of the Tulsa, Oklahoma, Community Action Project (CAP) Head Start program were followed-up in middle school, primarily as 8th graders. Using ordinary least squares and logistic regressions with a rich set of controls and propensity score weighting models to account for differential selection into Head Start, we compared students who had attended the CAP Head Start program and enrolled in the Tulsa Public Schools (TPS) as kindergarteners with children who also attended TPS kindergarten but had attended neither CAP Head Start nor the TPS pre-K program as 4-year-olds. CAP Head Start produced significant positive effects on achievement test scores in math and on both grade retention and chronic absenteeism for middle-school students as a whole; positive effects for girls on grade retention and chronic absenteeism; for white students on math test scores; for Hispanic students on math test scores and chronic absenteeism, and for students eligible for free lunches on math test scores, grade retention, and chronic absenteeism. We conclude that the Tulsa CAP Head Start program produced significant and consequential effects into the middle school years. (author abstract)
The objective of this study was to examine the student-teacher relationship as a potential moderator of the link between executive functioning (EF) and children's early school readiness among a clinical sample of preschoolers with externalizing behavior problems (EBP). Participants for the study included 139 preschool children (75.54% boys, [mean] age = 5.01 years, 84.94% Hispanic/Latino) with at-risk or clinically elevated levels of EBP. The student-teacher relationship was assessed using the Student-Teacher Relationship Scale. School readiness data were composed of standardized achievement test scores and teacher reports of kindergarten readiness. EF was measured via parent and teacher reports along with standardized measures of EF, including the Head-Toes-Knees-Shoulders task and 4 standardized subtests from the Automated Working Memory Assessment. Poorer student-teacher relationship quality was predictive of lower teacher-reported kindergarten readiness and higher academic impairment. Main effects were qualified by an interaction between EF and student-teacher relationship quality such that worse EF (parent/teacher reports and standardized performance) was only associated with lower teacher-rated kindergarten readiness for children with poorer student-teacher relationship quality. Practice or Policy: EF appears to be an important predictor of school readiness for preschool children with EBP, particularly for children experiencing poorer student-teacher relationships. (author abstract)
Check out Research Connections Interventions to Promote Young Children's Self-Regulation and Executive Function Skills in Early Childhood Settings for additional resources in the Research Connections collection.
Mathematics and language: Individual and group differences in mathematical language skills in young children
Purpura, David J., 07/01/2016
The development of early numeracy knowledge is influenced by a number of non-mathematical factors--particularly language skills. However, much of the focus on the relation between language and early numeracy has utilized general language measures and not domain-specific measures of mathematical language. The primary purpose of this study was to determine if the variance accounted for by general language skills in predicting numeracy performance was better accounted for by mathematical language. Further, age- and parental education-related differences in mathematical language performance were explored. Using a sample of 136 3- to 5-year-old preschool and kindergarten children ([mean] = 4.28 years, SD = 0.67 years), a series of mixed-effect regressions were conducted. Results indicated that although general language performance was initially a significant predictor of numeracy performance, when both mathematical language and general language were included in the model, only mathematical language was a significant predictor of numeracy performance. Further, group-difference analyses revealed that children from families where both parents had less than a college education performed significantly lower on mathematical language than their peers; and even by 3-years-old, children have acquired a substantial body of mathematical language skills. Implications and future directions are discussed. (author abstract)
One hundred children (44 boys) participated in a 3-year longitudinal study of the development of basic quantitative competencies and the relation between these competencies and later mathematics and reading achievement. The children's preliteracy knowledge, intelligence, executive functions, and parental educational background were also assessed. The quantitative tasks assessed a broad range of symbolic and nonsymbolic knowledge and were administered four times across 2 years of preschool. Mathematics achievement was assessed at the end of each of 2 years of preschool, and mathematics and word reading achievement were assessed at the end of kindergarten. Our goals were to determine how domain-general abilities contribute to growth in children's quantitative knowledge and to determine how domain-general and domain-specific abilities contribute to children's preschool mathematics achievement and kindergarten mathematics and reading achievement. We first identified four core quantitative competencies (e.g., knowledge of the cardinal value of number words) that predict later mathematics achievement. The domain-general abilities were then used to predict growth in these competencies across 2 years of preschool, and the combination of domain-general abilities, preliteracy skills, and core quantitative competencies were used to predict mathematics achievement across preschool and mathematics and word reading achievement at the end of kindergarten. Both intelligence and executive functions predicted growth in the four quantitative competencies, especially across the first year of preschool. A combination of domain-general and domain-specific competencies predicted preschoolers' mathematics achievement, with a trend for domain-specific skills to be more strongly related to achievement at the beginning of preschool than at the end of preschool. Preschool preliteracy skills, sensitivity to the relative quantities of collections of objects, and cardinal knowledge predicted reading and mathematics achievement at the end of kindergarten. Preliteracy skills were more strongly related to word reading, whereas sensitivity to relative quantity was more strongly related to mathematics achievement. The overall results indicate that a combination of domain-general and domain-specific abilities contribute to development of children's early mathematics and reading achievement. (author abstract)
Geometric toys in the attic?: A corpus analysis of early exposure to geometric shapes
Resnick, Ilyse, 07/01/2016
Preschoolers' experiences with shapes are important because geometry is foundational to aspects of mathematics and it is now part of the Common Core for school-readiness. Exposure to shapes also provides experiences that are key to developing spatial thinking more broadly. Yet achieving a strong conceptual understanding of geometric categories can extend well into elementary school (Satlow and Newcombe, 1998) despite a general sense that many kindergarten children "know their shapes." The extended time period may be partially a product of the nature of the spatial input to which children are exposed. This study characterizes the geometric input preschoolers receive from three sources: shape books, sorters, and interactive digital content. These shape materials were examined for the types of shapes they include. Shapes were further classified as canonical (e.g., equilateral triangles) vs. non-canonical (e.g., isosceles or scalene), and whether the shape was presented as a geometric form vs. everyday object and in isolation vs. embedded in a scene. The quantity of shape terms was documented for each shape material. The level of sophistication of associated shape language was assessed by tracking the presence of geometric adjectives and explicit definitions. Findings suggest that children are exposed to a limited number of shape categories and very few non-typical variants within those categories. Shapes were typically labeled with only a single generic identifier (e.g., triangle) and few of the materials provided explicit definitions, geometric adjectives (e.g., scalene), or identified similarities and differences across shapes. Findings suggest a need for more thoughtful design of shape learning materials to provide variety and evoke discussion of their defining properties. (author abstract)
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