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 latest measurement approaches, support for, and research on home-based child care systems and providers?

Understanding and incorporating home-based child care into early education and development systems [Special issue]
Tonyan, Holli A., 08/01/2017

A special issue of the journal Early Education and Development, focusing on measurement approaches, support for, and research on home-based child care systems and providers (all subgroups)

Do preschool children's approaches to learning skills predict their gains in science?

Approaches to learning and school readiness in Head Start: Applications to preschool science
Bustamante, Andres S., 05/01/2017

Approaches to learning are a set of domain-general skills that encompass curiosity, persistence, planning, and engagement in group learning. These skills play a key role in preschoolers' learning and predict school readiness in math and language. Preschool science is a critical domain for early education and facilitates learning across domains. However, no studies to date have examined how approaches to learning affect science outcomes in preschoolers. This study addressed this gap in the literature by testing predictive associations between approaches to learning and gains in science, as well as, math, vocabulary, and listening comprehension, across the school year, in a sample of preschoolers from low-income families. Results indicated that approaches to learning significantly predicted gains in science, and trended towards predicting gains in math, but not vocabulary or listening comprehension. These findings highlighted the potential of approaches to learning to facilitate early science learning for children from low income families. (author abstract)

Check out Research Connections Resource List on science in early care and education.

What are effective parent engagement models for low-income families to improve preschool-age children's school readiness?

Parent engagement practices improve outcomes for preschool children
Bierman, Karen L., 01/01/2017
University Park: Pennsylvania State University, Edna Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center. Retrieved from

This research brief describes current approaches and highlights findings from recent studies with preschool children (ages 3-5) that document both the promise and challenge of effectively engaging families and children at risk for poor school readiness. We focus in particular on effective parent engagement models that improve school readiness outcomes in well-controlled studies. Systematic approaches and next generation research are recommended to improve the impact of parent engagement programs in order to reduce disparities in school readiness associated with family socioeconomic status. (author abstract)

What are recent trends in the opening and closing of regulated child care programs in Vermont?

Vermont regulated child care program report on program closures: April 2017
Vermont. Child Development Division, 04/01/2017
Waterbury, VT: Vermont, Child Development Division. Retrieved from

There are many reasons why regulated child care programs open and close. The data available at the time of this report can show the number of regulated programs that opened and closed between June 2012 and March 2017, and demographics of those programs including the Agency of Human Services (AHS) service area/district where they were or are located, and the licensed capacity of those programs. Additional information was available from July 2016 through March 2017 about programs who closed and why a program owner decided to close that program. (author abstract)

What is the relationship of participation in arts programming to cortisol levels for low-income children?

Can the arts get under the skin?: Arts and cortisol for economically disadvantaged children
Brown, Eleanor D., 07/01/2017

This within-subjects experimental study investigated the influence of the arts on cortisol for economically disadvantaged children. Participants were 310 children, ages 3-5 years, who attended a Head Start preschool and were randomly assigned to participate in different schedules of arts and homeroom classes on different days of the week. Cortisol was sampled at morning baseline and after arts and homeroom classes on two different days at start, middle, and end of the year. For music, dance, and visual arts, grouped and separately, results of piecewise hierarchical linear modeling with time-varying predictors suggested cortisol was lower after an arts versus homeroom class at middle and end of the year but not start of the year. Implications concern the impact of arts on cortisol for children facing poverty risks. (author abstract)

How are states using contracts and grants with providers receiving subsidies through the Child Care and Development Fund?

Using contracts and grants to build the supply of high quality child care: State strategies and practices
National Center on Child Care Subsidy Innovation and Accountability, 11/01/2016
Washington, DC: National Center on Child Care Subsidy Innovation and Accountability. Retrieved from

This paper provides information on state and territory efforts to use contracts and grants with providers. We start by providing an overview of States and Territories whose 2016-18 CCDF Plans indicate that they are currently using contracts and grants, and then discuss the following: - The overall approach of States and Territories that use contracts and grants, including examples - Contract and grant payment practices - Monitoring processes for grants and contracts The last section addresses lessons learned and best practice approaches for using contracts and grants to advance the goals of the Child Care and Development Block Grant. (author abstract)

What is the cost of providing early care and education services to prepare students for kindergarten in Southwest Florida?

The cost of preparing students for kindergarten in Southwest Florida
Augenblick, Palaich & Associates, 04/01/2017
Fort Myers, FL: Florida SouthWestern State College. Retrieved from

The purpose of this study was to determine the cost to ensure that three- and four-year olds in southwest Florida are prepared for kindergarten. Augenblick, Palaich, and Associates (APA), an education consulting firm with expertise in both costing out methodologies and early childhood education, was hired to conduct this study. Specifically, APA was asked to estimate the gap between existing early childhood education (ECE) funding and the costs of preparing three- and four-year olds for kindergarten. Early childhood educators in five southwest Florida counties (Charlotte, Collier, Hendry, Glades, and Lee counties) participated in and contributed substantially to the data collected in this study. (author abstract)

How do early education providers in Pennsylvania finance high-quality child care?

Child care funding & finance in Pennsylvania: Budgeting for survival or paying for the true cost of quality?
Moran, Della, 06/01/2017
Philadelphia, PA: Research for Action. Retrieved from

Efforts underway to expand access to high-quality child care and pre-K programs in Pennsylvania are aimed at improving school readiness for low-income children and mitigating the wide achievement gaps that plague them in the later grades. In order for those efforts to be successful, more early education providers must have the capacity and financial stability to serve children in high-quality settings. But what does it really cost to provide high-quality care, and are the reimbursement rates for public programs that allow providers to serve low-income children adequate to support quality? If not, what sacrifices are made? Because there is no statewide data on provider finances, little is known about the true cost of high-quality child care and how high-quality Pennsylvania providers are currently making ends meet. As a first step towards filling in these knowledge gaps, Research for Action (RFA) studied how six early education providers of different shapes, sizes, and community contexts from across the Commonwealth financed high-quality child care. (author abstract)

To see a complete list of new research, please view Archived New Research.