Recent Highlights from Our Collection

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.

What are the differences in child care availability by rural-urban location for all counties in Wisconsin?

Availability of child care in rural communities: Implications for workforce recruitment and retention
Henning-Smith, Carrie, 06/01/2016

The objective of this study was to identify differences in child care availability by rural-urban location for all counties in Wisconsin, and describe implications for recruitment and retention of health care workforce. We used data on licensed child care slots for young children (age<5), socio-demographic characteristics, women's and men's labor force participation, and household structure for all counties in Wisconsin in 2013 (n = 72). Data came from KIDS COUNT, County Health Rankings, and the American Community Survey. We used t tests to analyze bivariate differences in child care availability and community characteristics by metropolitan, micropolitan, and non-core rural location. We then used ordinary least squares regression to analyze the relationship between geographic location and child care slots, adjusting for labor force participation and household structure. Rural counties had significantly fewer licensed child care slots per child than metropolitan and micropolitan counties. These counties also had, on average, higher rates of poverty and higher unemployment than micropolitan and metropolitan counties. The association between geographic location and child care availability remained, even after adjusting for household structure and labor force participation. The number of hours men worked and the percentage of men not working were both negatively associated with available child care slots, whereas there was not a significant relationship between women's labor force participation and child care availability. Rural areas face health care workforce shortages. Recruitment strategies to overcome shortages must move beyond individual-level incentives to focus on community context and family support, including availability of child care in rural counties. (author abstract)

Can data-based staff meetings during naptime in child care classrooms enhance early care and education providers' math interactions with their students?

Naptime data meetings to increase the math talk of early care and education providers
Trawick-Smith, Jeffrey, 04/01/2016

Classroom conversations about mathematics--math talk--between early care and education providers and young children have been associated with growth in mathematical thinking. However, professional development opportunities to learn about math teaching and learning are limited in many community-based child development centers. New approaches that are less costly and time consuming are needed to support providers in planning and implementing rich math experiences for young children. Professional development activities that are offered within the work site and during work hours may be most feasible for a large percentage of community-based programs. The purpose of this study was to design and test the impact of brief, data-based staff meetings during naptime in child care classrooms on providers' math interactions with their students. Findings indicate that such meetings increase participants' math talk in specific domains and predict growth in children's math abilities 6 months later. The potential of naptime data meetings to enhance math interactions and other areas of professional practice are discussed. Future directions for additional research are recommended. (author abstract)

Does real-life mathematics instruction impact mathematics outcomes for students in kindergarten?

The role of real-life mathematics instruction on mathematics outcomes in kindergarten
Gottfried, Michael A., 04/01/2016

In an era of a declining quality and quantity of students entering and persisting in mathematics in the USA, researchers and policy makers are looking for new strategies to engage students in these fields and improve mathematics outcomes. One push has been to make mathematics instruction more relevant with real-world applications throughout the K-12 curriculum--i.e. to make instruction more focused on real-life situations. This empirical study examines specifically whether real-life mathematics instruction can influence mathematics achievement for students at the beginning of the educational pipeline. Using a newly released national-level dataset of a cohort of US kindergarten students, approximately ages 5-6 years old, from the 2010/11 school year (ECLS-K:2011), the findings indicate a positive relationship between the frequency of real-life mathematics instruction, as reported by the teacher and mathematics outcomes. The results are differentiated by student demographics, and implications are discussed. (author abstract)

Are government-sponsored day care centers meeting the nutritional needs of preschool-aged children in Guatemala?

The nutritional contribution of foods and beverages provided by government-sponsored day care centers in Guatemala
Vossenaar, Marieke , 09/01/2015

Background: Meals served at government-run day care centers must be nutritionally adequate to ensure good health and proper development of preschool-aged children. They can provide a controlled opportunity to complement the daily diet of children in vulnerable populations. Objective: To determine the nutrient adequacy and leading food sources of nutrients provided by the diet served in government-sponsored day care centers. Methods: Estimated daily energy and nutrient intakes of a theoretical 40-day day care center menu were calculated, and the nutrient adequacy was assessed. Nutrient densities and critical nutrient densities of the menu were computed to identify nutrient inadequacies. Furthermore, main sources of nutrients were identified, and energy and nutrient distributions were examined by meal time. Results: The menu provides approximately 90% of daily energy requirement and more than 100% of Recommended Nutrient Intakes (RNIs), with the exception of vitamin D and calcium. Sugar was the first leading source of energy, whereas milk was the first leading contributor of vitamin D. Conclusion: Within an environment of budgetary constraints, the Guatemalan government developed and advocated an exemplary menu offering for children in the vulnerable preschool period. We have demonstrated that, if prepared and served as planned, the items from the official, standard menu would supply most of the nutrients needed. High vitamin A intake related to the mandated national fortification program is a potential problem. From the analysis, it was found that vitamin D emerges as the most prominent candidate for a problem nutrient of deficient intake. (author abstract)

What is the association between informal child care and adolescent psychological well-being, using Hong Kong's Chinese "Children of 1997" birth cohort?

Informal child care and adolescent psychological well-being: Hong Kong's "Children of 1997" birth cohort
Leung, Cherry Y., 03/17/2015

Informal child care (child care by untrained family members, relatives or employees in the home) in Western populations is often associated with poorer psychological well-being, which may be confounded by socioeconomic position. We examined the association of informal child care, common in non-Western settings, with adolescent psychological well-being, using Hong Kong's Chinese "Children of 1997" birth cohort. Methods Multivariable linear regression was used to examine the adjusted associations of informal child care (at 0.5, 3, 5 and 11 years) with parent-reported Rutter score for child behavior at 11 years, self-reported Culture-Free Self-Esteem Inventories score at 11 years and self-reported Patient Health Questionnaire-9 depressive symptom score at 13 years. Model comparisons were used to identify the best representation of child care, in terms of a critical period of exposure to informal child care (independent variable) at a specific age, combination of exposures to informal child care at several ages or an accumulation of exposures to informal child care. Results Child care was not associated with behavioral problems. A model considering child care at 3 years best represented the association of child care with self-esteem while a model considering child care at 5 years best represented the association of child care with depressive symptoms. Informal child care at 3 years was associated with lower self-esteem (-0.70, 95% confidence interval (CI) -1.26 to -0.14). Informal child care at 5 years was associated with more depressive symptoms (0.45, 95% CI 0.17 to 0.73). Conclusion In a developed non-Western setting, informal child care was associated with lower self-esteem and more depressive symptoms. (author abstract)

Does full-time versus part-time parental employment influence the use of grandparent child care in Europe?

Full-time versus part-time employment: Does it influence frequency of grandparental childcare?
Lakomy, Martin, 12/01/2015

The impact of grandparents' employment on grandparental childcare has been examined repeatedly, but the findings have so far been inconsistent. We contend that these inconsistencies may have resulted from variations in model specification and crude measurement of employment status. Furthermore, we assert that earlier research overlooked gender differences in the ability to combine paid employment and caregiving as well as variations between maternal and paternal grandparents. We also question the causal interpretation of earlier findings that were based on cross-sectional data. We revisit the issue of the impact of the intensity of employment and analyze SHARE data from 19 countries. We find a significant positive association between part-time employment (as compared to full-time employment) and the frequency of grandparental childcare in a cross-sectional sample, but only among paternal grandmothers. Capitalizing on the panel component of SHARE, we use a within-person estimator to show that this association is unlikely to reflect a causal effect of the intensity of labor market attachment on the frequency of the care of grandchildren, but more probably results from omitted variable bias. We argue that grandparents most likely to provide (intensive) childcare are also most likely to adjust their employment in anticipation of caregiving. The paper documents the usefulness of role strain theory among grandparents and highlights that part-time jobs may reduce role conflict and may thus make grandparenting a more easily manageable experience. (author abstract)

Do the socialization goals and values of first-generation immigrant mothers from diverse cultures differ from those of their children's preschool teachers in Italy?

Socialization goals of immigrant mothers from diverse cultures and of their children's preschool teachers in Italy
Lavelli, Manuela, 02/01/2016

This study investigated and compared the socialization goals and values of first-generation immigrant mothers in Italy and of their children's preschool teachers. Seventy-eight mothers of four major migrant groups--Romanian, Moroccan, Nigerian, and Sri Lankan--and 21 Italian teachers were interviewed about the most important things they want their children to learn or achieve in their life. A thematic content analysis of the interviews yielded nine categories of socialization goals that were differentially emphasized by mothers and teachers. All immigrant mothers emphasized the value of goals associated with hierarchical relatedness, particularly Respect for Adults, Religious Practice, and Sense of Family and Original Culture. However, correspondence analysis showed that the mothers' views tended to conglomerate in clusters with those of mothers of the same cultural background, indicating some differences between the four groups that might shed light on different acculturation processes. The Italian teachers focused on goals pertaining to individual psychological autonomy (Autonomy Identity), Social Integration, and Respect for Social Rules, showing a considerable distance from the immigrant mothers' main goals. These findings provide empirical evidence that children of first-generation immigrant families experience caregivers at home and in preschool with divergent goals for their development. This has important practical implications, suggesting the need for action to increase the mutual understanding of caregivers with different cultural backgrounds. (author abstract)

Do Norway's policy initiatives expand access to, and improve the quality of early childhood education and care?

Early childhood education and care policy review: Norway
Engel, Arno, 01/01/2015
Paris: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Retrieved from

Early childhood education and care (ECEC) programmes can offer a wide array of benefits to children, parents and society at large -- provided they are of high quality. Since the 1999 OECD Thematic Review of ECEC in Norway, the country has undertaken major policy reforms to expand access to, and improve the quality of, the country's kindergartens. This new review delivers an independent analysis of major issues in the areas of governance, funding, access and quality of Norway's kindergartens, looking at past and present policy initiatives, and potential approaches for the future. Prepared by a review team of international researchers and OECD experts, this report draws on international evidence and insights from two review visits to the country to identify the strengths and challenges of Norway's ECEC system. The review also suggests measures to improve the system, including ensuring an adequate supply of qualified staff, further developing monitoring practices and systems to assure quality, and increasing the attractiveness of kindergarten to disadvantaged groups even more. (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.

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