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.
The influence of TPACK contextual factors on early childhood educators' tablet computer use
Blackwell, Courtney K., 07/01/2016
Tablet computers are increasingly becoming commonplace in classrooms around the world. More than half of early childhood educators in the U.S. now have access to tablets, making it imperative to understand how they are using the device and what influences such use. The current study draws on survey data from 411 preschool educators serving 3- to 5-year-olds in school-based, center-based, and Head Start preschool programs to investigate how TPACK contextual factors (e.g., student background, teacher attitudes, and school support) influence teachers' traditional and student-centered tablet computer practices. Results suggest that teacher-level factors--especially positive attitudes toward technology--are most influential. Overall, this study emphasizes the need for preschool teachers and teacher educators to understand and address the critical contextual factors of tablet computer use in preschool education. Implications for education policy include expanding traditional funding models beyond technology access to provide on-going educator support, and developing new initiatives that encourage novel professional development models based on the same learned-centered practices that teachers are encouraged to use themselves. (author abstract)
Improving low-income preschoolers' word and world knowledge: The effects of content-rich instruction
Neuman, Susan B., 06/01/2016
This study examined the efficacy of a shared book-reading approach to integrating literacy and science instruction. The purpose was to determine whether teaching science vocabulary using information text could improve low-income preschoolers' word knowledge, conceptual development, and content knowledge in the life sciences. Teachers in 17 preschool classrooms and 268 children participated; nine classrooms were assigned to treatment, eight to control. The treatment group received a science-focused shared book-reading intervention, 4 days a week, 12-15 minutes daily for 12 weeks, while the control group continued with business as usual. Results indicated statistically and practically significant effects on children's word, concepts, and content knowledge and knowledge of the information text genre compared to the control group. However, we recognize the potential confound of district with treatment condition as a major limitation of the study. (author abstract)
Obesity is a significant public health issue affecting even our youngest children. Given that a significant amount of young children are enrolled in child care, the goal of this project was to evaluate the effectiveness of a child care facility-based obesity prevention program. Over 1,000 facilities participated in the study. The intervention consisted of teacher trainings and technical assistance focused around the implementation of four policies: snack, beverage, physical activity, and screen time. Changes in teacher's attitudes and beliefs, as well as improvements in healthy lifestyle practices, were assessed. Results revealed significant improvements in child care center practices, such as: (1) the amount of health-related lessons provided to students increased t(664) = -6.09, P < 0.00; (2) the amount of outdoor physical activity increased t(702) = -3.83, P < 0.000; (3) the amount of screen time decreased t(686) = -2.52, P < 0.01; (4) the amount of juice served decreased t(577) = -7.38, P < 0.000; and (5) the amount of junk food decreased t(568) = -2.73, P < 0.006. The findings from this study can be easily disseminated and potentially serve as a model for improving the quality of nutrition and physical activity practices in child care facilities. (author abstract)
Child welfare supervised children's participation in center-based early care and education
Klein, Sacha Mareka, 01/01/2016
Research suggests that early care and education (ECE) services, particularly center-based ECE, may help prevent child maltreatment and also mitigate some of the negative developmental outcomes associated with child maltreatment. There is also preliminary evidence to suggest that ECE could reduce the likelihood that maltreatment allegations will be substantiated by child welfare authorities and/or result in children being placed in out-of-home care. However, little is known about rates of ECE participation among children receiving child welfare services, nor the factors that determine ECE participation for this population. Data from the first wave of the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Wellbeing II, a nationally representative sample of children referred to the United States (U.S.) child welfare system (CWS) for suspected maltreatment, were used to measure the frequency with which 0-5 year olds participate in center-based ECE. Additionally, logistic regression analyses explored the effects of maltreatment type, substantiation, and children's living arrangements (i.e., with parents, relatives, or foster parents) on this outcome, controlling for a range of child and family covariates associated with ECE participation in the general population. Results indicate that less than a third of 0-5 year olds receiving child welfare services in the U.S. are participating in center-based ECE. Among the various categories of maltreatment type measured, being reported to the CWS for suspected physical abuse was associated with decreased odds of center-based ECE participation; however, other types of maltreatment, substantiation, and living arrangement were unrelated to center-based ECE participation. These findings suggest that, despite recent efforts by the U.S. federal government to promote ECE participation for CWS-supervised children, the vast majority of young children in the U.S. CWS are not receiving center-based ECE, and physically abused children are particularly disadvantaged when it comes to accessing these services. (author abstract)
Comparative evaluation of a South Carolina policy to improve nutrition in child care
Neelon, Sara E. Benjamin, 06/01/2016
Background Policies to promote healthy eating in young children appear promising, but are largely untested. Recently, South Carolina implemented mandatory nutrition standards governing child-care centers serving low-income children. Objective This study evaluated consistency with the standards before and after the policy took effect. Design This study evaluated consistency with the nutrition standards in South Carolina, using North Carolina--a state not making policy changes--as the comparison. The research team conducted assessments in a longitudinal sample of centers and a cross-sectional sample of children before and approximately 9 months after the standards took effect. Participants/setting Trained observers recorded foods and beverages served to 102 children from 34 centers in South Carolina and 90 children from 30 centers in North Carolina at baseline. At follow-up, the research team observed 99 children from 33 centers in South Carolina and 78 children from 26 centers in North Carolina. Intervention The policy was implemented in April 2012 and included 13 standards governing the nutritional quality of foods and beverages served to children, and staff behaviors related to feeding children in care. Main outcome measures The outcome was consistency with each standard at follow-up in South Carolina compared with North Carolina, controlling for baseline consistency and other covariates. Statistical analyses performed Logistic regressions were conducted to evaluate consistency with each standard, adjusting for baseline and potential confounders. Results Compared with North Carolina, centers in South Carolina were more likely to be consistent with the standard prohibiting the use of food as a reward or punishment (odds ratio=1.22; 95% CI 1.11 to 1.61; P=0.03). Two centers in South Carolina met all 13 standards at follow-up compared with none in North Carolina. No other differences were observed. Conclusions New standards modestly improved nutrition practices in South Carolina child-care centers, but additional support is needed to bring all centers into compliance with the current policies. (author abstract)
Early childhood inclusion in the United Kingdom
Blackburn, Carolyn, 07/01/2016
A policy-to-practice paper is presented of early childhood inclusion in England. The article aims to report the benefits of early intervention services and early childhood inclusion for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), document the chronology of policy development, and discuss research evidence about policy-to-practice considerations for early childhood inclusion. Policy development for children with SEND in England has been informed by international human rights and European inclusion agendas and has been significantly revised and reformed recently with a new Children and Families Act (2014), which places families at the center of individual education, health, and care plans for children SEND. The article discusses the practicalities of delivering policy initiatives for children with SEND in a diverse and fragmented early childhood market and suggests possible future directions for policy and practice. (author abstract)
This collection on Early Childhood Inclusion includes reports from Turkey, Spain, Aotearoa New Zealand, Israel, Croatia, Australia, and Austria. All records on these country-specific benefits are available in the Research Connections collection.
Background The childcare environment offers a wide array of developmental opportunities for children. Providing children with a feeling of security to explore this environment is one of the most fundamental goals of childcare. Objective In the current study the effectiveness of Video-feedback Intervention to promote Positive Parenting-Child Care (VIPP-CC) was tested on children's wellbeing in home-based childcare in a randomized controlled trial. Methods Forty-seven children and their caregivers were randomly assigned to the intervention group or control group. Children's wellbeing, caregiver sensitivity, and global childcare quality were observed during a pretest and a posttest. Results We did not find an overall intervention effect on child wellbeing, but a significant interaction effect with months spent with a trusted caregiver was present. Children who were less familiar with the caregiver showed an increase in wellbeing scores in both the intervention and control group, but for the group of children who were more familiar with the caregiver, wellbeing increased only in the intervention group. Conclusions Although there was no overall effect of the VIPP-CC on children's wellbeing, the VIPP-CC seems effective in children who have been cared for by the same trusted caregiver for a longer period of time. (author abstract)
To see a complete list of new research, please view Archived New Research.
Research Connections is supported by grant #90YE0104 from the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The contents are solely the responsibility of the National Center for Children in Poverty and the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, the Administration for Children and Families, or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.