New Research

Below are highlights from our most recent acquisitions of research reports and journal articles. Research Connections scans its newest acquisitions, focusing on those from key organizations and journals, to identify articles of high policy relevance to feature here.

Can giving parents homework improve parental involvement in early care and education?

Utilizing parental homework as a form of parent involvement in early care and education
Kim, Yae Bin, 01/01/2014

A novel way of promoting parent involvement was tested: homework was given to preschool parents, to read to their children at home using the dialogical reading method. An earlier study showed that the homework led to actual increases in children's pre-literacy skills. The current study investigated whether the parents in the experimental group actually changed their overall amount or type of parent involvement with the program, as compared to control group parents. Results show that the preschool parental homework led to a shift in the content of parent-teacher communications. They became much more focused on the individual child's development. The findings suggest that parents can respond enthusiastically to homework from their child care program, this homework can contribute to a shift in the nature of teacher-parent communications, and can have significant impacts on child development. (author abstract)

What can we learn from a review of Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) validation studies?

Validation studies for early learning and care quality rating and improvement systems: A review of the literature
Karoly, Lynn A., 05/01/2014
(WR-1051-DOEL). Santa Monica, CA: Rand Corporation. Retrieved June 23, 2014, from http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/working_papers/WR1000/WR1051/RAND_WR1051.pdf

As early care and education (ECE) quality rating and improvement systems (QRISs) have advanced and matured, a number of states and localities have undertaken evaluations to validate the systems. Such efforts stem from the desire to ensure that the system is designed and operating in the ways envisioned when the system was established. Given that a central component in a QRIS is the rating system, a key concern is whether the rating process, including the use of particular measures and the manner in which they are combined and cut scores are applied, produces accurate and understandable ratings that capture meaningful differences in program quality across rating levels. The aim of this paper is to review the set of studies that seek to validate QRIS rating systems in one of several ways: by examining the relationship between program ratings and objective measures of program quality; by determining if program ratings increase over time; and by estimating the relationship between program ratings and child developmental outcomes. Specifically, we review 14 such validation studies that address one or more of these three questions. Together, these 14 studies cover 12 QRISs in 11 states or substate areas: Colorado, Florida (two counties), Indiana, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Virginia. In reviewing the literature, we are interested in the methods and measures they employ, as well as the empirical results. To date, most validation studies have found that programs with higher ratings had higher environment rating scores (ERSs), but the ERS is often one of the rating elements. Independent measures of quality have not always shown the expected positive relationship with quality. The handful of studies that have examined how ratings change over time have generally shown that programs participating in the QRIS did improve their quality or quality ratings. Studies that examine the relationship between QRIS ratings and child development are the most challenging to implement and can be costly to conduct when independent child assessments are performed. Consequently, there has been considerable variation in methods to date across these studies. Among the four studies with the stronger designs, two found the expected relationship between QRIS ratings and child developmental gains. The lack of robust findings across these studies indicate that QRISs, as currently configured, do not necessarily capture differences in program quality that are predictive of gains in key developmental domains. Based on these findings, the paper discusses the opportunities for future QRIS validation studies, including those conducted as part of the Race to the Top--Early Learning Challenge grants, to advance the methods used and contribute not only to improvement of the QRIS in any given state, but also to add to the knowledge base about effective systems more generally. (author abstract)

Which aspects of the program and to what degree is the Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors parenting program effective?

Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors parenting program: Summary report of program implementation and impacts
Moore, Kristin A., 06/01/2014
(Publication No. 2014-24). Bethesda, MD: Child Trends. Retrieved June 17, 2014, from http://www.childtrends.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Abriendo-Puertas-Report-6-9-14.pdf

The Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors program works with Latino parents of young children to promote practices that foster children's learning and development, parent leadership, and advocacy. Abriendo Puertas is one of the largest programs in the United States working with Latino parents of pre-school aged children. Since it began in 2007, the program has served over 30,000 low-income parents/families in over 400 family-serving organizations and schools in 34 states around the country. Parents participating in the Abriendo Puertas program attend 10 educational and discussion sessions. Child Trends recently completed a rigorous evaluation of this program--the first random-assignment evaluation of a culturally-relevant parenting program serving Latino children in the United States. The findings reveal how, with relatively few resources, an evidenced-informed and well-managed effort can make a difference in key parenting behaviors associated with academic success. The findings of the Child Trends evaluation contribute to our knowledge base of best practices in the field, while paving the road for the Abriendo Puertas program to continue to improve its services and focus its efforts and resources in areas where they are most likely to be successful. The study found that the Abriendo Puertas program has a number of impacts, especially related to educational support in the home. It also highlights aspects of the program that may be more effective if modified, such as those that address more challenging behavioral changes including diet modification and increased parent advocacy with school and other authority figures. (author abstract)

What early childhood literacy and language programs have been developed for Dual Language Learners (DLLs) and their families and in what ways are they effective?

Early childhood literacy and language programs: Supporting involvement of DLLs and their families
Lewis, Kandia, 01/01/2014

The purpose of this literature review was to identify effective early childhood literacy and language programs that were developed for Dual Language Learners (DLLs), and their families, or could be adapted for this population. A search of ERIC and PsychInfo databases from the earliest date to the winter of 2008 yielded over 300 abstracts, of which 10 programs met inclusion criteria and three of those programs including six treatment conditions were considered to have met criteria for effectiveness. Overall these programs were found to yield significant positive effects for children's early literacy and language outcomes at post-testing and one year follow-up. Program effectiveness varied by time point and outcome measure. A significant relationship was found between program duration and effectiveness at follow-up. Program components requiring further evaluation are discussed. (author abstract)

What does the literature tell us about partnerships among Head Start/Early Head Start, child care and state prekindergarten programs?

Preliminary findings from the literature review presented at the technical work group meeting for the Study of Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships
United States. Administration for Children and Families. Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, 05/06/2014
Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved June 24, 2014, from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/ehs_ccp_annotated_outline_modified_for_release.pdf

The literature review is designed to guide the theory of change and measurement framework for the Study of Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships and to inform future research and practice. The literature review is examining the following five research questions: 1. What are the characteristics and/or components of partnerships? 2. What are the potential benefits of partnerships to programs, providers, and families? 3. What are common barriers to forming and sustaining partnerships? 4. What factors may facilitate partnerships (such as funding supports, policies and procedures, technical assistance, or other infrastructure supports)? What are promising models or features of partnerships that the research literature suggests have the potential to improve quality and support child development and family well-being? 5. What are the gaps of the existing literature? To answer these questions, we reviewed research on partnerships in the field of early childhood education, such as partnerships among Head Start/Early Head Start, child care, and state prekindergarten programs. The review included studies that examined two or more entities partnering to plan and implement direct early childhood care and education (ECE) services. We included journal articles as well as unpublished and non-peer-reviewed materials (such as project reports and white papers) published in the past 15 years (January 1, 1998 through December 31, 2013). We chose this timeframe to capture studies conducted since welfare reform was enacted in 1996, which included work and workforce development requirements for welfare recipients. This requirement meant that many more low-income families needed child care for infants, toddlers, and preschool-aged children while they worked or participated in education and training programs. (author abstract)

What are the roles of access to Head Start and program quality in Spanish-speaking dual language learners' participation in early childhood education?

The role of access to Head Start and quality ratings for Spanish-speaking Dual Language Learners' (DLLs) participation in early childhood education
Greenfader, Christa Mulker, 07/01/2014

Data from the Head Start Impact Study (N = 4442) were used to test for differences between Spanish-speaking Dual Language Learners (DLLs) and monolingual English-speaking children in: (1) Head Start attendance rates when randomly assigned admission; and (2) quality ratings of other early childhood education (ECE) programs attended when not randomly assigned admission to Head Start. Logistic regressions showed that Spanish-speaking DLL children randomly assigned a spot in Head Start were more likely than monolingual-English learners to attend. Further, Spanish-speaking DLLs not randomly assigned a spot in Head Start were more likely to attend higher-quality ECE centers than non-DLL children. Policy implications are discussed, suggesting that, if given access, Spanish-speaking DLL families will take advantage of quality ECE programs. (author abstract)

What do we know about the development of infants and toddlers who are dual language learners?

Development of infants and toddlers who are dual language learners
Fuligni, Allison Sidle, 03/01/2014
(Working Paper No. 2). Chapel Hill, NC: Center for Early Care and Education Research: Dual Language Learners. Retrieved June 3, 2014, from http://fpg.unc.edu/sites/fpg.unc.edu/files/resources/reports-and-policy-briefs/FPG_CECER-DLL_WorkingPaper2.pdf

The purpose of this working paper is to identify areas of empirical research knowledge and gaps in knowledge about the development of infants and toddlers who are dual language learners (DLLs). This information will inform the work of the Center for Early Care and Education Research, Dual Language Learners (CECER-DLL) on assessment and measurement as well as evidence-based practices. This paper builds on prior work of the CECER-DLL, which reviewed the literature on DLLs aged 0-5 in several domains, including cognitive, social-emotional, and language and literacy development; and early care and education (ECE) practices and measures. A common theme in those critical literature reviews was that much of the small but growing body of research on young DLLs has focused on preschool-aged children, and that more research is needed that focuses on infants and toddlers. This paper therefore draws upon the smaller body of empirical research on infants and toddlers who are DLLs, as well as research on non-DLL infants and toddlers to identify the gaps in knowledge and make recommendations for future research. (author abstract)

What factors are associated with selections into early education and care settings and how do they differ by developmental period?

Selection into early education and care settings: Differences by developmental period
Coley, Rebekah Levine, 07/01/2014

Early education and care programs (EEC) serve important functions in promoting children's school readiness skills and supporting parental employment. Yet knowledge remains limited concerning factors inhibiting or increasing families' use of EEC programs for their young children and whether such factors function differently as children age. This study employed nationally representative data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Birth Cohort (ECLS-B) following 10,700 children from infancy through early childhood to assess predictors of home and center-based EEC and to delineate whether predictors differed by developmental period. Drawing on Meyers and Jordan's (2006) rich accommodations model of EEC selection, analyses found that factors associated with family needs and resources (parental employment, income, education, and family structure), cultural norms and preferences (race, ethnicity, and immigration status; geographic location; child characteristics; and parental priorities regarding EEC characteristics) and contextual opportunities and constraints (availability of care in the community) were all associated with selection into EEC settings. Many patterns were similar for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers, although race/ethnicity, employment, and availability were most strongly linked to EEC type during infancy, whereas parental priorities for features associated with higher-quality care programs predicted EEC most strongly for preschoolers. Results are discussed in terms of efforts to increase family choice and access to EEC programs. (author abstract)

Do children's social skills and/or problem behaviors mediate the relationship between behavioral self-regulation and academic achievement?

Social skills and problem behaviors as mediators of the relationship between behavioral self-regulation and academic achievement
Montroy, Janelle J., 07/01/2014

Early behavioral self-regulation is an important predictor of the skills children need to be successful in school. However, little is known about the mechanism(s) through which self-regulation affects academic achievement. The current study investigates the possibility that two aspects of children's social functioning, social skills and problem behaviors, mediate the relationship between preschool self-regulation and literacy and math achievement. Additionally, we investigated whether the meditational processes differed for boys and girls. We expected that better self-regulation would help children to interact well with others (social skills) and minimize impulsive or aggressive (problem) behaviors. Positive interactions with others and few problem behaviors were expected to relate to gains in achievement as learning takes place within a social context. Preschool-aged children (n = 118) were tested with direct measures of self-regulation, literacy, and math. Teachers reported on children's social skills and problem behaviors. Using a structural equation modeling approach (SEM) for mediation analysis, social skills and problem behaviors were found to mediate the relationship between self-regulation and growth in literacy across the preschool year, but not math. Findings suggest that the mediational process was similar for boys and girls. These findings indicate that a child's social skills and problem behaviors are part of the mechanism through which behavioral self-regulation affects growth in literacy. Self- regulation may be important not just because of the way that it relates directly to academic achievement but also because of the ways in which it promotes or inhibits children's interactions with others. (author abstract)

What are infant, toddler, and early childhood mental health competencies and what are the currently operating competency systems?

Infant, toddler, and early childhood mental health competencies: A comparison of systems
Korfmacher, Jon, 01/01/2014
Washington, DC: Zero to Three, Policy Center. Retrieved June 9, 2014, from http://www.zerotothree.org/public-policy/webinars-conference-calls/2014-infant-mental-health-report.pdf

The current report, then, is an update of the 2008 review (Korfmacher & Hilado, 2008). It is divided into four sections. The first section reviews what is meant by ITECMH competencies and deals with some issues of nomenclature. The second section provides a brief overview of the six competency systems that are the focus of this review (California, Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Ohio, and Vermont). In the third section, results of the comparative analysis are presented, summarizing areas of agreement and disagreement. The final section of the report goes once more into the policy breach and discusses the relevance of these competency systems to the current early childhood mental health movement. (author abstract)

How does program accreditation compare to quality assessment scores as an approach to assigning quality rating and improvement system ratings to family child care providers?

Alternative pathways in family child care quality rating and improvement systems
Kelton, Robyn, 09/01/2013

As research continues to underscore the positive impact high-quality early childhood programs have on young children, numerous states have implemented quality rating and improvement systems (QRIS) to measure and improve the services young children receive across a wide range of early learning settings. These state systems range from two to five levels with five levels being most common. While the overarching goal of all QRIS is to increase the quality of early learning and development services provided to children, state systems vary greatly in their design. At the time of this study, Illinois Quality Counts - QRS was a four-star system in which licensed family child care programs could follow one of two pathways to achieve a three-star level. One pathway involved achieving an average score of 4.25 on both the Family Child Care Environment Rating Scale-Revised (FCCERS-R) and the Business Administration Scale for Family Child Care (BAS). The second pathway required programs to achieve National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC) accreditation status. This study, conducted in the fall of 2011, looked at the FCCERS-R and BAS scores of 31 NAFCC-accredited family child care programs participating in Illinois QRS at the three-star level and the likelihood of each program to qualify for a three-star level based on FCCERS-R and BAS scores without NAFCC accreditation. Data analysis revealed that only one program would have qualified for a three-star rating based on both FCCERS-R and BAS scores. The findings of this study suggest that the NAFCC accreditation pathway to a three-star level is not an exact proxy of program quality as measured by validated assessment tools such as the FCCERS-R and BAS. (author abstract)

How do Early Head Start classrooms score on the Toddler Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS-T), and how do CLASS-T scores relate to child outcomes?

Observed quality and psychometric properties of the CLASS-T in the Early Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey
United States. Administration for Children and Families. Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, 05/01/2014
(OPRE Technical Brief 2014-34). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved June 9, 2014, from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/baby_faces_class_t_final_final_r.pdf

In this technical brief, we report on the use of the Toddler Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS-T; Pianta et al. 2010; La Paro et al. 2012) in the Early Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (Baby FACES). We begin by providing a brief overview of the Baby FACES study, including its methodology and approach to data collection. Next, we provide a descriptive snapshot of process quality in center-based settings drawing on observations conducted in Early Head Start classrooms serving 2-and 3-year-old children in Baby FACES. Finally, we document evidence from Baby FACES of the instrument's psychometric properties, including results of factor analyses, internal consistency reliability, and concurrent and predictive associations to child development outcomes and other key indicators of quality. (author abstract)

What effect does a 10-hour early literacy training for child care providers have on their classroom practices and children's literacy outcomes?

How much for whom?: Lessons from an efficacy study of modest professional development for child care providers
Gerde, Hope K., 04/01/2014

Examining the effects of professional development of the early childhood workforce that fit within the constraints of government policy is crucial for identifying types and amounts of effective training and informing child care policy. The present study used a cluster-randomized trial to evaluate the effects of a professional development program for child care providers designed to meet the criteria for 2 state-level policies: (a) that child care providers working in licensed centers engage in 10 hr of professional development annually and (b) that all licensed child care settings provide 30 min of developmentally appropriate literacy activity daily. Results indicated that 10 hr of professional development focused on literacy was effective for significantly improving the literacy practices and knowledge of child care providers. However, it was not effective in eliciting substantial growth in child literacy outcomes, at least in the short term. The lack of child outcomes illustrates the importance of measuring professional development effects at both the provider and child levels. (author abstract)

How have Head Start programs implemented social-emotional curriculum enhancements as part of the Head Start CARES demonstration?

A first look at the Head Start CARES demonstration: Large-scale implementation of programs to improve children's social-emotional competence
United States. Administration for Children and Families. Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, 12/01/2013
(OPRE Report 2013-47). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved March 11, 2014, from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/head_start_cares_implementation_full_report.pdf

Head Start, which is the largest federally funded early childhood education program in the United States, aims to increase school readiness among low-income children from birth to age five years by boosting their cognitive, social, and emotional development. The Head Start CARES ("Classroom-based Approaches and Resources for Emotion and Social skill promotion") demonstration was designed to expand the current evidence base by evaluating enhancements to the standard curricula that have been used in Head Start classrooms. The demonstration included (1) selection of three different strategies, or program "enhancements," that in smaller-scale tests showed positive effects on children's social-emotional outcomes, such as reducing problem behaviors and promoting positive peer relationships; (2) implementation of these three enhancements in many different kinds of classrooms that operate within the regular Head Start system; and (3) the same professional development model, technical assistance, and program monitoring to support each of the three enhancements, in order to help ensure that they were implemented as designed while efforts were made to rapidly increase their scale, as Head Start CARES envisioned. This report, which focuses on how well the three enhancements and the related supports were implemented, is part of a larger Head Start CARES randomized control trial that is also examining the impact of the approaches on classrooms and the children in them. The Head Start CARES demonstration was conceived and sponsored by the Office of Head Start and the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation in the Administration for Children and Families in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The demonstration was conducted by MDRC, a nonprofit, nonpartisan education and social policy research organization, in collaboration with MEF Associates and several academic partners. (author abstract)

What are promising strategies to support pre-kindergarten access for children of immigrants?

Supporting immigrant families' access to prekindergarten
Gelatt, Julia, 03/01/2014
Washington, DC: Urban Institute. Retrieved March 25, 2014, from http://www.urban.org/UploadedPDF/413026-Supporting-Immigrant-Families-Access-to-Prekindergarten.pdf

Given that children of immigrants form a growing share of the population of young children in the country, policymakers wishing to ensure that their prekindergarten programs are reaching children who could benefit from early education must continue to work to attract and include immigrant families and ELLs. This report is intended to help those interested in improving participation--from program staff to state directors and policymakers--learn from the experiences of other communities about ways to facilitate immigrant families' enrollment in public prekindergarten programs. To understand what strategies programs can adopt to enroll more children of immigrants, we conducted more than 40 telephone interviews with local prekindergarten program directors, outreach specialists, English as a second language (ESL) specialists, state prekindergarten directors, directors of other early childhood education programs such as Head Start, and national early childhood education specialists in communities and states across the country involved with diverse types of early childhood education programs. The strategies described to us fall into four main categories: outreach, enrollment assistance, building relationships with parents, and building immigrant-friendly prekindergarten programs. For each strategy, we describe actions used by local programs and regional program directors and discuss some of the policies, funding, and infrastructure at the state level that they identified as being helpful for this work. Some strategies involve substantial investments of resources and staff time, while others are quite simple and inexpensive to implement. (author abstract)

How do the child care arrangements of families in low-wealth, rural communities differ by child care subsidy receipt?

Child care subsidy use and child care quality in low-wealth, rural communities
De Marco, Allison, 01/01/2014

Child care subsidy programs serve to reduce the number of families for whom child care is a barrier to work. Child care is essential to economic self-sufficiency, and it can also support child development, particularly for low-income children. However, most research has an urban focus so little is known about rural settings where formal programs are limited and of lower quality. In this paper we examine the subsidy use of rural families, the care arrangements they make, and the quality of care received. We utilized data collected between 2004 and 2007 from the Family Life Project, a representative, longitudinal study of non-metro families in low-wealth counties (n = 1,292), oversampled for low-income and African-American families. Families who used subsidies were more likely to select center-based care, typically of higher quality. Further, these families were also more likely to receive higher quality care, regardless of the type chosen, even after accounting for a host of family and community factors. Findings suggest that subsidy programs have successfully moved low-income children into higher quality care beneficial for development. These findings point to the need to maintain subsidy programs and encourage eligible families to take advantage of such resources. (author abstract)

How do Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) scores in North Carolina vary by community characteristics, state and federal funding, and community and funding interactions?

Inequities in access to quality early care and education: Associations with funding and community context
Hatfield, Bridget E., 01/01/2014

The purpose of the current study was to examine program- and community-level characteristics related to total points earned by early care and education programs in North Carolina's Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement System (TQRIS). Multiple statewide data sources, program- and community-level characteristics were combined to better understand associations with total points awarded in the TQRIS. The concentration of state and federal funding at the program level, and the socioeconomics of the communities that programs resided were related to program quality. The current study demonstrated that there are inequities within the system where the highest quality early care and education programs are differentially available based on program funding characteristics, community socioeconomics, and interactions among the program and community variables. Future research and policy implications are discussed. (author abstract)

Are teachers' executive function skills and perceptions of child behavior problems associated with job stress in the context of Head Start classrooms?

Child behavior problems, teacher executive functions, and teacher stress in Head Start classrooms
Friedman-Krauss, Allison, 07/01/2014

The current article explores the relationship between teachers' perceptions of child behavior problems and preschool teacher job stress, as well as the possibility that teachers' executive functions moderate this relationship. Data came from 69 preschool teachers in 31 early childhood classrooms in 4 Head Start centers and were collected using Web-based surveys and Web-based direct assessment tasks. Multilevel models revealed that higher levels of teachers' perceptions of child behavior problems were associated with higher levels of teacher job stress and that higher teacher executive function skills were related to lower job stress. However, findings did not yield evidence for teacher executive functions as a statistical moderator. Practice or Policy: Many early childhood teachers do not receive sufficient training for handling children's challenging behaviors. Child behavior problems increase a teacher's workload and consequently may contribute to feelings of stress. However, teachers' executive function abilities may enable them to use effective, cognitive-based behavior management and instructional strategies during interactions with students, which may reduce stress. Providing teachers with training on managing challenging behaviors and enhancing executive functions may reduce their stress and facilitate their use of effective classroom practices, which is important for children's school readiness skills and teachers' health. (author abstract)

How does Head Start teachers' language use vary across classroom activities?

Examining teachers' language in Head Start classrooms from a Systemic Linguistics Approach
Dickinson, David K., 07/01/2014

This study examined teacher language use in Head Start classrooms (N = 43) from the perspective of the Systemic Linguistics Approach (SLA) to describe the nature of teacher support for children's acquisition of academic language and factors that shape language use. Using a sample of teachers who were part of a larger study on early language/literacy curricula, we hypothesized that evidence of emergent academic language registers might be identified using utterance-level descriptions of language and that language use would vary across the three settings examined: Book Reading, Group Content Instruction, and Small Group Instruction. Differences in overall patterns of language were also expected to relate to teachers' pedagogical skill and the intervention condition to which they were exposed in the larger study. Language use within setting was expected to vary by the content of instruction and, in Book Reading, the books being read. These hypotheses were examined using a corpus of 146,000 teacher utterances from a study in Head Start pre-kindergarten classrooms that included a business-as-usual condition and two intervention conditions. Language variables included use of sophisticated vocabulary, diversity of words used, number of words used, and syntactic complexity; semantic content variables included talk about vocabulary, concepts, and skills. We found evidence of emergent academic registers in Book Reading, Group Content Instructional Time and Small Group Instruction; differences in teacher talk were associated primarily with setting, and few differences related to teacher pedagogical skill or intervention condition. Language use during Book Reading was affected by the type of book read. Our findings identify factors that should be considered when planning interventions and studying classroom language. (author abstract)

How can fidelity be measured in early childhood intervention research?

An implementation science framework for conceptualizing and operationalizing fidelity in early childhood intervention studies
Dunst, Carl J., 06/01/2013

An implementation science framework is used to differentiate between two types of practices (implementation and intervention) and to describe how the fidelity of the two practices are related and would be expected to influence outcomes of interest. The two practices are the methods and procedures used by implementation agents (e.g., a coach) to promote adoption of early childhood intervention practices and the methods and procedures used by intervention agents (e.g., early childhood practitioners) to influence changes or improvements in individual or group outcomes. Data from a study using an evidence-based adult learning practice to promote Head Start staff use of an evidence-based naturalistic instructional practice are used to illustrate the applicability of the fidelity framework. (author abstract)

What are the features of tools that can be used in early childhood developmental screening?

Early childhood developmental screening: A compendium of measures for children ages birth to five
United States. Administration for Children and Families. Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, 02/01/2014
(OPRE Report 2014-11). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved March 31, 2014, from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/compendium_2013_508_compliant_final_2_5_2014.pdf

This document has several purposes. First, the compendium aims to discuss the purpose of developmental screening and how it differs from child assessment. Second, the compendium aims to "translate" technical psychometric information about the reliability and validity of commonly-used developmental screening tools into language that is easily understood by early childhood practitioners. Being able to access this information more easily can help early childhood practitioners evaluate whether a developmental screening tool is appropriate for the population with which it will be used. Finally, this compendium aims to highlight areas in which the early childhood field is lacking information on reliability and validity of available developmental screening tools. (author abstract)

How do existing early care and education professional and performance standards align with elements of provider-family relationships that are associated with positive child and family outcomes?

Family-provider partnerships: Examining alignment of early care and education professional performance standards, state competencies, and quality rating and improvement systems indicators in the context of research
United States. Administration for Children and Families. Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, 12/01/2013
(OPRE Brief 2013-35). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved February 25, 2014, from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/fpr_brief_with_revised_front_matter_0.pdf

This review, co-authored by researchers from Bank Street College of Education and the Erikson Institute, aims to explore associations between early care and education professional standards, professional development system competencies, and QRIS indicators. This is accomplished by systematically comparing key elements of effective provider facilitation of family-provider relationships identified through a literature review from the Family-Provider Relationship Quality project to: 1) accreditation standards from the National Association for the Education of Young Children and National Association for Family Child Care, 2) Head Start Performance Standards, and 3) promising examples of professional development system competencies and QRIS partnership indicators in Colorado and New Mexico. These comparisons are used to answer three questions: 1) How do existing professional and performance standards align with research-based elements of provider-family relationships that are associated with positive child and family outcomes? 2) What are some of the gaps in alignment across professional and performance standards and research-based elements of family-provider partnerships? 3) What are some promising examples of language in the professional and performance standards, state professional development system competencies, and QRIS indicators that could be used to fill the gaps in alignment in the professional and performance standards? This brief finds gaps in alignment across professional standards, state professional development system competencies and QRIS indicators for four key elements of provider facilitation of family-provider relationships: developing parents' competence and confidence, social networking opportunities for families, theoretical knowledge, and openness to change. Promising language from state professional development systems and QRIS, that could serve as a starting point for addressing these gaps and strengthening existing definitions is offered. (author abstract)

Are variations in early care and education quality related to community characteristics and state and federal funding?

Inequities in access to quality early care and education: Associations with funding and community context
Hatfield, Bridget E., 01/01/2014

The purpose of the current study was to examine program- and community-level characteristics related to total points earned by early care and education programs in North Carolina's Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement System (TQRIS). Multiple statewide data sources, program- and community-level characteristics were combined to better understand associations with total points awarded in the TQRIS. The concentration of state and federal funding at the program level, and the socioeconomics of the communities that programs resided were related to program quality. The current study demonstrated that there are inequities within the system where the highest quality early care and education programs are differentially available based on program funding characteristics, community socioeconomics, and interactions among the program and community variables. Future research and policy implications are discussed. (author abstract)

How does socioeconomic status (SES) moderate the association between center-based early childhood education (ECE) and English proficiency?

Hispanic immigrant children's English language acquisition: The role of socioeconomic status and early care arrangement
Bumgarner, Erin, 05/01/2014

Using nationally representative data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten cohort, this study investigates whether socioeconomic status (SES) moderates the association between center-based early childhood education (ECE) and English proficiency at kindergarten entry for 1st- and 2nd-generation Hispanic immigrant children. Results show significant, positive main effects of ECE and SES on English proficiency. However, results also reveal that the association between ECE and English proficiency differs by SES. Among 1st- and 2nd generation Hispanic children from very low-SES households, the odds of being proficient in English for children who attended ECE is more than double the odds for children who did not attend ECE. In contrast, the association between ECE and English proficiency for higher SES children did not reach significance. Additional analyses reveal similar patterns for income but not maternal education. Practice or Policy: These results highlight the need for ECE programs that target the poorest Hispanic immigrant children. (author abstract)

How do subsidized families' costs rise with increases in income and what is the cliff effect?

Low-income families and the cost of child care: State child care subsidies, out-of-pocket expenses, and the cliff effect
Minton, Sarah, 12/01/2013
Washington, DC: Urban Institute. Retrieved February 3, 2014, from http://www.urban.org/UploadedPDF/412982-low-income-families.pdf

In this paper, we first give an overview of CCDF child care assistance, touching briefly on how certain eligibility policies vary across states. Next we discuss the full, unsubsidized out-of-pocket cost of child care as well as the amount families receiving child care assistance pay. We then turn to the focus of the analysis: how subsidized families' costs rise with increases in income, up to the point where families no longer receive assistance and become responsible for paying the full amount charged by providers. At this point, families may see relatively small increases in income coupled with large increases in child care costs, sometimes referred to as the "cliff effect." We examine selected states as examples of how families' child care costs can change depending on a state's assistance policies. This analysis uses data from the CCDF Policies Database, focusing on state policies as of October 1, 2011 (Giannarelli et al. 2012). (author abstract)

In what ways can the INQUIRE Data Toolkit support effective data collection?

INQUIRE data toolkit
United States. Administration for Children and Families. Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, 12/01/2013
(OPRE Report No. 2013-58). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved February 7, 2014, from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/inquire_data_toolkit_final_dec_2013_submitted_1_8_13.pdf

The Quality Initiatives Research and Evaluation Consortium (INQUIRE) Data Work Group was convened to address a request from stakeholders for information on building an effective data infrastructure to support activities including monitoring, continuous program improvement, reporting, validation and evaluation in Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS) and other quality initiatives. The INQUIRE Data Toolkit was designed to provide tools to support effective data collection and the use of data to answer important policy and reporting questions through the use of common data elements. (author abstract)

How was coaching structured and implemented in the Office of Head Start's Early Learning Mentor Coach Initiative?

The Descriptive Study of the Head Start Early Learning Mentor Coach Initiative: Vol. 1. Final report
United States. Administration for Children and Families. Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, 01/01/2014
(OPRE Report No. 2014-5a). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved February 10, 2014, from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/early_learning_mentor_coach_descriptive_study_final_report_volume1.pdf

In September 2010, the Office of Head Start (OHS), in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families (ACF), awarded 17-month Early Learning Mentor Coach (ELMC) grants to 131 Head Start grantees. In March 2011, ACF's Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation awarded a contract to American Institutes for Research, and its partners MEF Associates and the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, to conduct a descriptive study of the ELMC initiative. This study was guided by three key goals: Goal #1. Describe the implementation of the ELMC grants in HS programs. Goal #2. Examine the implementation factors of the ELMC efforts. Goal #3. Examine the factors that appear to be related to perceptions of successful coaching. This report provides detailed findings from: grantee census survey to collect information on a final respondent pool of 121 grantees (93 percent response rate); coach census survey to collect information on a final respondent pool of 384 coaches (84 percent response rate); coach telephone interview with 54 coaches (83 percent response rate); and staff telephone interview with 80 staff members who received coaching (73 percent response rate). The study findings are presented according to seven practical aspects of coaching that are aligned to a conceptual framework of coaching in early care and education settings: context of coaching (e.g., size of grantee, population served, professional development resources); basic dimensions (e.g., goals of coaching, whom to coach, whom to hire as coaches, and how long to provide coaching); structural dimensions (e.g., logistics relating to where coaching will take place, coach and staff travel demands, scheduling, workload, and supervision of coaches); procedural dimensions (e.g., identifying staff needs, establishing staff goals, engaging in focused observation, providing feedback ); outputs of coaching (e.g., staff openness, coach-staff relationship); ? perceived outcomes of coaching; implementation successes and challenges; and sustainability of coaching program after the end of ELMC funding. The report concludes with a conceptual framework and implications for future research. (author abstract)

How do states license, regulate, and monitor their child care providers?

The 50-state Child Care Licensing Study: 2011-2013 edition
National Association for Regulatory Administration,
Lexington, KY: National Association for Regulatory Administration. Retrieved January 28, 2014, from http://www.naralicensing.org/Resources/Documents/2011-2013_CCLS.pdf

The National Association for Regulatory Administration Child Care Licensing Study compiles detailed information on child care licensing regulations and monitoring in each state and the District of Columbia. Data for the study are collected through a survey of state child care licensing agencies, an online database of state regulatory requirements, and follow-up interviews with states. In addition to general licensing procedures, findings are presented according to child care setting type: family child day care homes, group day care homes, and child day care centers. Topics covered include: background checks, complaint investigations, monitoring, inspector training, the licensing process, child health, discipline, emergency preparedness, nutrition, child care staff requirements and training, and child supervision.

What effect did enrollment in Head Start and participation in Early Reading First have on the language and early literacy skills of Spanish speaking ELLs?

Development of early English language and literacy skills among Spanish-speaking children: does preschool make a difference?
Han, Myae, 04/01/2014

This study examined the early English language and literacy skill development of 179 children from 11 Head Start classrooms who participated in an added focus on language and literacy skill-building supported by Early Reading First programme. Of this sample, 118 children were Spanish-speaking English Language Learners (ELL). All children were assessed with a battery of assessments to measure their language and early literacy skills twice each year. Linear growth model analyses show that Spanish speaking ELLs made significant gains from pre- to post-test after receiving a double dose of an intervention (Head Start and Early Reading First), and there was a significant effect for years enrolled in the programme on Spanish-speaking ELLs. (author abstract)

Is there an association between changes in physical activity practices and providers' beliefs regarding their role in supporting children's physical activity?

Physical activity for young children: A quantitative study of child care providers' knowledge, attitudes, and health promotion practices
Lanigan, Jane, 01/01/2014

Many preschool children fail to achieve the National Association for Sport and Physical Education physical activity recommendations placing themselves at increased risk of overweight and its associated health consequences. The early learning and care system is well positioned to intervene. Yet few child obesity prevention efforts have focused on systematically integrating physical activity into early learning and care. A pre/post design examined the association between changes in physical activity practices and providers' beliefs regarding their role in supporting children's physical activity. Survey and observational data from 43 sites participating in the Encouraging Healthy Activity and Nutrition in Child Care Environments pilot project were analyzed. Statistically significant increases were found in providers' perceptions of role salience and the need for adult leadership to increase children's physical activity. Significant improvements in indoor child care physical activity practices, physical education, and family communication occurred. A binary logistic regression indicated that changes in adult leadership and role salience were significantly associated with changes in physical activity practices. Understanding and modifying child care providers' beliefs regarding their role in children's physical activity is a critical component for the successful implementation of obesity prevention initiatives designed to increase child activity levels. (author abstract)

What aspects of early care and education settings are viewed as most important by parents and providers for supporting positive outcomes for children and families?

Parental perceptions of quality in early care and education
Cleveland, Jennifer, 11/01/2013
(Publication No. 2013-44). Bethesda, MD: Child Trends. Retrieved January 21, 2014, from http://www.childtrends.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/2013-44ParentalPerceptionsofQuality.pdf

What aspects of early care and education settings are viewed as most critical for supporting positive outcomes for families and children? The Quality Sub-Study of the Maryland-Minnesota Research Partnership explores this question from the perspective of both parents and providers. Understanding how parents and providers perceive quality can provide valuable insights into design and refinements of the quality measures used within a state Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) or inform individual program evaluation or program quality improvement plans. The components of quality explored in the quality sub-study include family-sensitive caregiving practices, strategies to implement developmentally appropriate instructional practices (including use of curriculum and child assessment strategies), strategies to support children's social and emotional development, and cultural sensitivity. The perspectives of parents and early care and education providers about quality and quality practices, and linkages between those practices and outcomes for children and families, are examined. Several different data collection vehicles are used as part of the quality sub-study, including a longitudinal parent survey in both Minnesota and Maryland and semi-structured interviews with parents and providers. This brief focuses on findings from semi-structured telephone interviews conducted with 19 low-income parents in Minnesota. (author abstract)

How do young children interpret multidigit numerals?

Young children's interpretation of multidigit number names: From emerging competence to mastery
Mix, Kelly S., 01/01/2013

This study assessed whether a sample of two hundred seven 3- to 7-year-olds could interpret multidigit numerals using simple identification and comparison tasks. Contrary to the view that young children do not understand place value, even 3-year-olds demonstrated some competence on these tasks. Ceiling was reached by first grade. When training was provided, there were significant gains, suggesting that children can improve their partial understandings with input. Findings add to what is known about the processes of symbolic development and the incidental learning that occurs prior to schooling, as well as specifying more precisely what place value misconceptions remain as children enter the educational system. (author abstract)

How can states simplify their child care subsidy policies and align them with other public programs?

Confronting the child care eligibility maze: Simplifying and aligning with other work supports
Adams, Gina, 12/01/2013
Washington, DC: Urban Institute. Retrieved December 17, 2013, from http://www.urban.org/UploadedPDF/412971-confronting-the-child-care.pdf

States approaches to Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) administration affect the program's ability to meet its goals. Burdensome, complex processes and requirements can deter or discourage applicants, as well as hinder the functioning of public agencies. This report explores strategies to strengthen CCDF administration. It suggests improved approaches to defining and verifying program eligibility. It also argues for simplifying and aligning the processes for determining and monitoring CCDF eligibility. Some states already coordinate CCDF with other public benefit programs, including Medicaid and SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), and examples from nine states are offered. The report concludes by describing six steps states can take to increase the effectiveness of their own CCDF administration.

To what extent does cumulative risk predict family literacy practices in low-income Latino families, and is this relationship moderated by enrollment in preschool settings?

Exploring cumulative risk and family literacy practices in low-income Latino families
Marcella, Jennifer, 01/01/2014

The home literacy environment and other early learning settings such as preschool play a role in children's language and literacy outcomes, yet research suggests that Latino, Spanish-speaking families are less likely than other families to participate in family literacy activities. This study explored the relations among cumulative family risk (i.e., defined by the presence of multiple risk factors, including single-parent household, poverty, welfare receipt, low maternal education, and maternal depression), enrollment in an early learning setting, and family literacy activities in a sample of 238 low-income families of 3-year-old children. The majority of families were of Latino descent (71.6%), but other ethnic groups made up the rest of the sample for comparison purposes. Children who attended family child care programs experienced the least cumulative risk compared to children attending public center-based programs or children not enrolled in any early learning setting. Children in families with the most cumulative risk engaged in the fewest literacy activities. Home language and maternal immigrant status, but not enrollment in an early learning setting, were significant predictors of family literacy activities. Practice or Policy: These research findings yield practical descriptive information indicating that most families in this high-risk sample participated in some family literacy practices, and they shed light on which families might particularly benefit from family literacy interventions. (author abstract)

What types of teacher qualifications and in-service training predict children's school readiness?

Head Start classrooms and children's school readiness benefit from teachers' qualifications and ongoing training
Son, Seung-Hee, 12/01/2013

Teacher qualifications have been emphasized as a basis of professional development to improve classroom practices for at-risk children's school readiness. However, teacher qualifications have often not been compared to another form of professional development, in-service training. Objective: The current study attempts to investigate contributions of multiple types of professional development to school readiness skills of low-income preschoolers. Specifically, we examined the significance of teachers' education level, degree, teaching certificate, teaching experiences as well as specialized in-service training and coaching support as these teacher trainings are linked to preschoolers' school readiness through proximal classroom practices. Method We used a multi-level path analysis to examine multiple pathways from teachers' professional development to classroom environments and school readiness with Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey 2003 (N = 2,159). Results Teachers with an early childhood education major provided higher-quality provision for learning and social-emotional practices in the classroom; teachers who received coaching provided higher-quality social-emotional and parent involvement practices. Further, children in higher-quality social-emotional classrooms had better math skills, social skills and learning behaviors; children in the classrooms with higher-quality parent involvement practices had higher receptive vocabulary and parent-reported social skills and positive approaches to learning. Conclusions Along with early childhood education degree, ongoing coaching support would work effectively, improving classroom environments and a broad array of school readiness skills of at-risk children. (author abstract)

What are the preschool to kindergarten transition patterns for African American boys and what factors are associated with these transitions?

Preschool to kindergarten transition patterns for African American boys
Iruka, Iheoma U., 04/01/2014

This study focused on the transition patterns of African American boys from preschool to kindergarten using the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study - Birth Cohort (ECLS-B) dataset. Analyses were conducted to examine whether socioeconomic status, parenting (i.e., emotional support, intrusiveness), and attendance in a center-based program predicted likelihood of being in a particular transition pattern. Four patterns emerged from the data: (1) Increasing Academically, (2) Early Achiever: Declining Academically & Socially, (3) Low Achiever: Declining Academically, and (4) Consistent Early Achiever. There was heterogeneity in the school transition patterns of African American boys, with many showing stability from preschool to kindergarten. Family income and parenting practices and interactions were associated with an increased probability of being in the group that showed a significant increase in academics, suggesting the importance of parents' provision of enriching opportunities and experiences for African American boys as they transition from preschool to kindergarten. (author abstract)

What are parents' preferences and priorities in selecting a care arrangement?

Child care decision-making literature review
United States. Administration for Children and Families. Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, 12/01/2013
(OPRE Brief 2013-45). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved December 19, 2013, from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/child_care_decision_making_literature_review_pdf_version_v2.pdf

The purpose of this review is to summarize research on the context and factors that facilitate parents' decisionmaking about child care. It is intended to provide a foundation of empirical knowledge for state administrators, early childhood program developers, and policymakers who can use information about child care decisionmaking processes and outcomes to improve their programs and services for families. The review reflects current and seminal work completed by researchers throughout the U.S. on the preferences, constraints and supports that influence parents' child care decision-making. Literature for this review comes from published journal articles as well as reports from studies funded by the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation and other federal government agencies. The structure and content were selected to reflect topics of interest to early care and education administrators, policymakers, and stakeholders. (author abstract)

Is active play associated with self-regulation and academic achievement in preschool?

Physical activity, self-regulation, and early academic achievement in preschool children
Becker, Derek R., 01/01/2014

The present study investigated whether active play during recess was associated with self-regulation and academic achievement in a prekindergarten sample. A total of 51 children in classes containing approximately half Head Start children were assessed on self-regulation, active play, and early academic achievement. Path analyses indicated that higher active play was associated with better self-regulation, which in turn was associated with higher scores on early reading and math assessments. Practice or Policy: Results point to the benefits of active play for promoting self-regulation and offer insight into possible interventions designed to promote self-regulation and academic achievement. (author abstract)

What are the effects of Head Start on children's nutrition, weight, and health care receipt at kindergarten entry?

Head Start and children's nutrition, weight, and health care receipt
Lee, RaeHyuck, 10/01/2013

Using a sample of low-income children from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort (N [is approximately] 4350) and propensity-score weighted regressions, we analyzed children's nutrition, weight, and health care receipt at kindergarten entry, comparing (1) Head Start participants and all non-participants, and (2) Head Start participants and children in prekindergarten, other center-based care, other non-parental care, or only parental care. Overall, we found that compared to all non-participants, Head Start participants were more likely to receive dental checkups but showed no differences in getting medical checkups; they were also more likely to have healthy eating patterns but showed no differences in Body Mass Index (BMI), overweight, or obesity. However, these results varied depending on the comparison group-Head Start participants showed lower BMI scores and lower probability of overweight compared to those in other non-parental care, and the effects on healthy eating and dental checkups differed by comparison group. (author abstract)

How are states monitoring child care providers' compliance with health and safety licensing requirements?

Child Care and Development Fund: Monitoring of licensed child care providers
United States. Department of Health and Human Services. Office of Inspector General, 11/01/2013
(OEI-07-10-00230). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General. Retrieved November 21, 2013, from http://oig.hhs.gov/oei/reports/oei-07-10-00230.pdf

This study examines the compliance of states' child care licensing and health and safety requirements with federal requirements and standards, states' monitoring of child care providers, and federal monitoring of state licensing and health and safety requirements. It is based on a survey of licensing and monitoring staff in each state and the District of Columbia, on case studies of monitoring efforts in California, Florida, Illinois, Ohio, and Texas, and on a survey of federal staff. While all states' licensing regulations were in compliance with federal health and safety requirements, they did not all satisfy federal recommendations and national standards related to monitoring practices. Some states failed to monitor providers in accordance with their own requirements. The federal government was found to provide little oversight of state monitoring efforts.

What percentage of young children in each state experience risks related to poor educational outcomes?

Investing in young children: A fact sheet on early care and education participation, access, and quality
Schmit, Stephanie, 11/01/2013
New York: Columbia University, National Center for Children in Poverty. Retrieved November 21, 2013, from http://nccp.org/publications/pdf/text_1085.pdf

This fact sheet provides information about the percentages of young children in each state experiencing risks related to poor educational outcomes. It then shows trends in federal and state investments in early care and education programs and state policies related to both access and quality. (author abstract)

What policies do States use in operating child care subsidy systems?

The CCDF policies database book of tables: Key cross-state variations in CCDF policies as of October 1, 2012
United States. Administration for Children and Families. Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, 10/01/2013
(OPRE Report 2013-22). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved December 18, 2013, from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/ccdf_policies_database_2012_book_of_tables_final_11_14_13.pdf

This report describes and compares the policies that States and Territories use in operating child care subsidy systems under the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF). Policies compared include: eligibility requirements for families and children; application, redetermination, terms of authorization, and waiting lists; family payments; and policies for providers, including reimbursement rates.

Do Head Start Programs that experience increases in teacher education also experience changes in comprehensive service provision, staffing choices, and racial composition of staff?

Raising teacher education levels in Head Start: Exploring programmatic changes between 1999 and 2011
Bassok, Daphna, 10/01/2013

Between 1999 and 2011, the percentage of Head Start teachers nationwide with an Associate's Degree or higher more than doubled from 38 to 85%. Over the same period, the percentage of teachers with a BA also rose rapidly from 23 to 52%. This paper uses within-program fixed-effects models and a 13-year panel of administrative data on all Head Start programs in the United States to explore whether programs that experienced increases in teacher education experienced changes with respect to comprehensive service provision, staffing choices and the racial composition of the staff. I find no evidence that programs that raised their teachers' education levels sacrificed health or social services. However, programs with gains in teacher education did see some increases in child-teacher ratios, turnover, and racial divergence between children and staff, which may be associated negatively with young children's development. (author abstract)

How can states effectively promote the physical, social, and cognitive development of their young children?

The research base for a birth through age eight state policy framework
Halle, Tamara, 10/01/2013
(Publication No. 2013-20). Bethesda, MD: Child Trends. Retrieved November 21, 2013, from the Alliance for Early Success Web site: http://earlysuccess.org/sites/default/files/website_files/files/B8%20Policy%20Framework%20Research%20At%20a%20Glance.pdf

"Build[ing] on decades of research and theory identifying the essential supports for children's development", this brief presents a comprehensive guide for state policies to support children from birth through age eight--crucial years of rapid neurological and biological growth. Created under the auspices of The Alliance for Early Success with input from more than 150 leading early childhood practitioners, advocates, researchers, policymakers, and foundation officers, this framework focuses on three critical policy areas--health, family support, and learning--and three critical pillars of successful policy implementation--standards, assessment practices, and accountability systems. For each of the mutually reinforcing policy areas, the framework succinctly presents the supporting research and lays out effective policy choices. Similarly, the framework also highlights the evidence base and presents choices for standards for children and programs, for screening and assessment, and for accountability systems within and across policies.

Is there a relationship between socioeconomic classroom composition and children's social and cognitive development?

High-quality preschool: The socioeconomic composition of preschool classrooms and children's learning
Reid, Jeanne, 11/01/2013

As policymakers expand access to preschool, the sociodemographic composition of preschool classrooms will become increasingly important. These efforts may create programs that increase the concentration of children from low-income families or, alternatively, foster the creation of socioeconomically diverse preschool classrooms. What effect the creation of such contexts would have on very young children remains unclear. Using multilevel methods and data on 2,966 children in 704 prekindergarten classrooms, this study explores the relationship between socioeconomic classroom composition and children's social and cognitive development. The results indicate positive associations between the mean socioeconomic status (SES) of the class and children's receptive language, expressive language, and mathematics learning, regardless of children's own sociodemographic backgrounds and the characteristics of their classrooms. However, the analyses indicate no association between the development of social competence and class mean SES. The links between classroom SES and language and mathematics development were comparable in size to those associated with instructional quality and even children's own SES. Neither structural nor instructional characteristics of prekindergarten classrooms explained these relationships, suggesting the possibility of direct peer effects. The findings indicate that the composition of children's classrooms should be considered an important aspect of preschool quality. (author abstract)

Did teachers involved in the Research-based, Developmentally Informed (REDI) research trial continue to implement the REDI curriculum components with high quality 1 year later?

Sustaining high-quality teaching and evidence-based curricula: Follow-up assessment of teachers in the REDI project
Bierman, Karen L., 11/01/2013

Research Findings: Recent research has validated the power of evidence-based preschool interventions to improve teaching quality and promote child school readiness when implemented in the context of research trials. However, very rarely are follow-up assessments conducted with teachers in order to evaluate the maintenance of improved teaching quality or sustained use of evidence-based curriculum components after the intervention trial. In the current study, we collected follow-up assessments of teachers 1 year after their involvement in the REDI (REsearch-based, Developmentally Informed) research trial to evaluate the extent to which intervention teachers continued to implement the REDI curriculum components with high quality and to explore possible preintervention predictors of sustained implementation. In addition, we conducted classroom observations to determine whether general improvements in the teaching quality of intervention teachers (relative to control group teachers) were sustained. Results indicated sustained high-quality implementation of some curriculum components (the Promoting Alternative THinking Strategies curriculum) but decreased implementation of other components (the language/literacy components).

How effective are the fidelity measures used in the Preschool Curriculum Evaluation Research initiative?

The effectiveness and precision of intervention fidelity measures in preschool intervention research
Darrow, Catherine L., 11/01/2013

A quantifiable measure of teachers' intervention fidelity when delivering curriculum-based interventions allows researchers to interpret the effectiveness of the curricula under scrutiny. Fidelity measures, however, must accurately represent the critical components of an intervention to confirm that the intervention was delivered as intended and to provide evidence that the delivered intervention is the source of change in targeted outcomes. Research Findings: Sixteen fidelity measures used in the Preschool Curriculum Evaluation Research initiative were evaluated on how well they represented teachers' adherence, the quality of their delivery, the extent to which they exposed children to the curriculum, and participant responsiveness. Most fidelity measures insufficiently represented adherence, quality, exposure, and responsiveness. Practice or Policy: Implications focus on the importance of measure development and the need for developers and researchers to define critical components of a curriculum when constructing corresponding measures of fidelity. (author abstract)

How have states varied in their approaches to quality rating and improvement system (QRIS) validation?

Validation of quality rating and improvement systems (QRIS): Examples from four states
United States. Administration for Children and Families. Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, 10/01/2013
(Research-to-Policy, Research-to-Practice Brief OPRE 2013-036). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved November 22, 2013, from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/qris_brief_validation_in_4_states.pdf

In a recent Brief produced through the Quality Initiatives Research and Evaluation Consortium--INQUIRE--Zellman and Fiene (2012) provide a framework to guide QRIS validation and examples of the activities that could be conducted as part of validation efforts. The current Brief serves as a companion to the 2012 INQUIRE Brief by providing detailed examples and findings from the validation activities in four states: Indiana, Maine, Minnesota and Virginia. The purpose of this Brief is to demonstrate how different states have approached QRIS validation, to compare findings, and to highlight challenges in designing and conducting QRIS validation studies. The picture that emerges from the synthesis of findings across the four states and across the validation approaches is mixed. For instance, the results of efforts to validate the quality standards and indicators in QRIS generally have been successful. Efforts to review how well measures are functioning, however, reveal concerns about limited variation on some measures and QRIS structures that are producing skewed distribution of programs across the rating levels. There are some indications that QRIS levels are distinct with respect to measures of observed quality, but only in the QRIS that used the observational measures as part of the rating process. Finally, validation studies that included measures of children's developmental progress indicate limited support for linkages between these measures of children's growth, QRIS ratings and program quality elements. The findings suggest that further work is needed to strengthen the ability of QRIS ratings to serve as meaningful markers of program quality. (author abstract)

What changes have states made to their child care assistance policies in the past two years?

Pivot point: State child care assistance policies 2013
Schulman, Karen, 01/01/2013
Washington, DC: National Women's Law Center. Retrieved November 8, 2013, from http://www.nwlc.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/final_nwlc_2013statechildcareassistancereport.pdf

As part of an annual effort, the National Women's Law Center surveyed child care administrators in every state and the District of Columbia on their child care assistance policies as of February 2013, and on any expected changes during the remainder of 2013. The survey examined policies related to income eligibility limits, waiting lists, copayments, reimbursement rates, and eligibility for parents searching for a job. At least one of these aspects of child care assistance policies was more restrictive for families in 24 states in February 2013 than it had been a year earlier. However, families in 27 states fared better in at least one aspect over the same period. Seven states lowered their income eligibility limits for child care assistance while two states raised them. Nineteen states had waiting lists for child care assistance. Only three states set their reimbursement rates to providers at the federally-recommended level, compared to 22 states in 2001.

What are the impacts of family involvement on the literacy, math, and socioemotional skills of children ages 3 to 8?

The impact of family involvement on the education of children ages 3 to 8: A focus on literacy and math achievement outcomes and social-emotional skills
Van Voorhis, Frances L., 10/01/2013
New York: MDRC. Retrieved November 21, 2013, from http://www.mdrc.org/sites/default/files/The_Impact_of_Family_Involvement_FR.pdf

This report summarizes research conducted primarily over the past 10 years on how families' involvement in children's learning and development through activities at home and at school affects the literacy, mathematics, and social-emotional skills of children ages 3 to 8. A total of 95 studies of family involvement are reviewed. These include both descriptive, nonintervention studies of the actions families take at home and at school, and intervention studies of practices that guide families to conduct activities that strengthen young children's literacy and math learning. The family involvement research studies are divided into four categories: Learning activities at home, including those that parents engage in to promote their child's literacy and/or math skills outside school; Family involvement at school, including the actions and interactions that families have while in the school building; School outreach to engage families, including the strategies that schools and teachers use to engage families and make them feel welcome; Supportive parenting activities, including the nature and quality of the parent-child relationship and home environment, rule-setting, and caring behaviors. Key Findings: Family involvement is important for young children's literacy and math skills. The majority of studies, including some randomized control trials (RCTs), demonstrate this positive link. A few studies show positive relations with social-emotional skills. The weakest association was between family involvement at school and children's outcomes. Parents from diverse backgrounds, when given direction, can become more engaged with their children. And when parents are more engaged, children tend to do better. This review also provides recommendations for additional lines of inquiry and implications to guide next steps in both research and practice. While there is still more to learn about how to connect with and support caretakers' efforts to promote children?s learning, what we already know from extant research can help guide this process. (author abstract)

Is early cognitive development related to the quality of toddler care?

The quality of toddler child care and cognitive skills at 24 months: Propensity score analysis results from the ECLS-B
Ruzek, Erik A., 01/01/2014

Over half of the toddlers in the US experience routine nonparental care, but much less is known about early care than about preschool care. This study analyzed 2-year-old child care and child outcome data from the nationally representative ECLS-B sample of children born in 2001. At two-years of age, 51% of children experienced exclusive parental care, 18% relative care, 15% family child care, and 16% center care. More children in non parental care were in medium quality care (61%) than in high quality (26%) or low quality (13%) care. Low-income children were more likely than non-low income children to be cared for by their parents and, when in care, were more often in lower quality care. The impact of toddler care quality on cognitive skills was estimated using propensity score adjustments to account for potential selection confounds due to family and child characteristics. Children's cognitive scores were higher in high or medium quality care than in low quality care, but no evidence emerged suggesting that poverty moderated the quality effects. Nevertheless, this suggests that increasing the proportion of low-income children in high quality care could reduce the achievement gap because low-income children are very unlikely to experience high quality care.

What does 10 years of research tell us about the effects of early education practices on the developmental outcomes of Dual Language Learners from birth through age 5?

Effects of early education programs and practices on the development and learning of dual language learners: A review of the literature
Buysse, Virginia, 01/01/2013

This article describes the results of a comprehensive review of the research literature from 2000 to 2011 evaluating the effects of early care and education practices on the developmental outcomes of dual language learners (DLLs) from birth through 5 years of age. Across 25 studies that met inclusion criteria, study samples consisted primarily of Latino or Spanish-speaking children 3-5 years of age enrolled in center-based programs. The analysis focused on features of the early education programs and practices (intensity and language of instruction) and research methods (sampling, research designs) in relation to child outcomes for the various types of research interventions evaluated in these studies (center-based programs, professional development, curricula, and instructional strategies). On the basis of a few large scale scientifically sound studies, the review found at least some evidence to suggest that DLLs benefitted from attending widely available, well regulated programs such as Head Start and public pre-k, particularly with respect to improving language and literacy skills. However, because the extant research has not systematically accounted for the separate effects of language of instruction versus type of intervention, very little can be concluded about how these factors contribute to the positive main effects of these interventions. (author abstract)

What are the characteristics and size of the early care and education (ECE) workforce in the United States?

Number and characteristics of early care and education (ECE) teachers and caregivers: Initial findings from the National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE)
United States. Administration for Children and Families. Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, 10/01/2013
(OPRE Report No. 2013-38). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved November 6, 2013, from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/nsece_wf_brief_102913_0.pdf

This brief provides the first nationally representative portrait of ECE teachers and caregivers working directly with young children in center-and home-based settings. This portrait reveals that the ECE workforce in 2012 was large, comprised of about one million teachers and caregivers directly responsible for children age zero through five years in center-based programs, and another one million paid home-based teachers and caregivers serving the same age group. An additional 2.7 million unpaid, home-based teachers and caregivers were regularly responsible for young children not their own at least five hours a week. Educational attainment was higher than reported in prior studies. A majority (53%) of center-based and almost a third (30%) of home-based teachers and caregivers reported having college degrees--and almost a third reported BA or graduate/professional degrees. There was considerable attachment to the ECE occupation, with almost three-fourths of center-based teachers and caregivers working full time. Their overall median ECE experience was 13 years with only 4 percent having less than one year experience. This brief reports data from the National Survey of Early Care and Education, an integrated set of four nationally representative surveys collecting information from individuals and programs providing early care and education in center-based and home-based settings to children age birth through five years, not yet in kindergarten, and from households with children under age 13. Data were collected in the first half of 2012. (excerpt from author abstract)

What do we know about the effects of preschool programs on children's school readiness and later outcomes?

Investing in our future: The evidence base on preschool education
Yoshikawa, Hirokazu, 10/01/2013
Ann Arbor, MI: Society for Research in Child Development. Retrieved October 21, 2013, from http://www.srcd.org/sites/default/files/documents/washington/mb_2013_10_16_investing_in_children.pdf

The expansion of publicly-funded preschool education is currently the focus of a prominent debate. At present, 42% of 4-year-olds attend publicly funded preschool (28% attend public prekindergarten programs, 11% Head Start, and 3% special education preschool programs). A vigorous debate about the merits of preschool education is underway, although at times it has not included the most recent available evidence. The goal of this brief is to provide a non-partisan, thorough, and up-to-date review of the current science and evidence base on early childhood education (ECE). Our interdisciplinary group of early childhood experts reviewed rigorous evidence on why early skills matter, the short- and long-term effects of preschool programs on children's school readiness and life outcomes, the importance of program quality, which children benefit from preschool (including evidence on children from different family income backgrounds), and the costs versus benefits of preschool education. We focus on preschool (early childhood education) for four-year-olds, with some review of the evidence for three-year-olds when relevant. We do not discuss evidence regarding programs for 0-3 year olds. (author abstract)

What is the impact of subsidy participation on family management of child care and employment?

Struggling to pay the bills: Using mixed-methods to understand families' financial stress and child care costs
Grobe, Deana, 01/01/2012

Purpose - This study examines parents' financial stress associated with obtaining care for young children while employed in unstable low-wage jobs. The child care subsidy program aims to both improve child care quality and support employment, and we expect that a substantial infusion of resources into this program would reduce parents' financial stress. Methodology/approach - We use a mixed-methods research design to study parents' financial costs of child care, how predictable the cost of child care is to a parent, and what strategies parents employ to manage child care costs. Findings - We find that parents perceive the subsidy program essential to their ability to manage the needs of their children and working. Yet, receiving subsidies does not appear to alleviate parents' financial stress because child care costs continue to consume a large share of the family's income and subsidy policies make it difficult for parents to predict their portion of the costs. Parents manage the large and unpredictable expense of child care by decreasing other expenditures and increasing debt. Practical implications - Changing subsidy policies so they better fit the reality of these families' lives could result in a more substantive stress reduction. States can reduce unpredictability by reducing and stabilizing participants' child care cost burden and revising eligibility policy. Originality/value of paper - This research project fills an important gap in our knowledge about financial stress of low-income working families, provides insights into the role subsidy program participation plays in these parents' lives, and informs discussion of subsidy policy. (author abstract)

Do strategies for soothing infants and toddlers vary by their teachers' education levels?

Teacher education and soothing strategies with infants and toddlers
Honig, Alice S., 07/01/2013

Observations of soothing strategies that daycare teachers used with infants and toddlers in 10 centres, revealed that distress episodes lasted the longest for the youngest babies (0-12 months). The youngest babies received more positive caregiver responses when distressed compared with babies 13-24 months or toddlers 25-36 months old. The frequency of distress cues did not differ by child gender. Recorded levels of distress were significantly lower for babies cared for by teachers who had high school education or less, and those teachers responded more rapidly to infant/toddler distress signals than did teachers with college-level education. (author abstract)

How are cities supporting coordination among after school programs?

Is citywide afterschool coordination going nationwide?: An exploratory study in large cities
Simkin, Linda, 09/01/2013
New York: Wallace Foundation. Retrieved September 24, 2013, from http://www.wallacefoundation.org/knowledge-center/after-school/coordinating-after-school-resources/Documents/Is-Citywide-Afterschool-Coordination-Going-Nationwide.pdf

This study examines the status of after school coordination in American cities of more than 100,000 people. Of the 100 cities contacted, 77 are engaged in efforts considered fundamental to coordination, which include designating an entity responsible for coordination activities, developing a common data system, and adopting common quality standards. However, fewer than one-quarter have implemented all three of these key components. A majority of cities have mayors who are committed to or are actively involved in after school coordination. These cities are also more likely to have provided public funds to coordination efforts in the past five years.

What do 20 years of research show about effective professional development for preschool teachers?

A review of 20 years of research on professional development interventions for preschool teachers and staff
Snell, Martha E., 07/01/2013

This systematic literature review addresses 20 years of intervention research conducted between 1990 and 2010 in which adults in any role serving preschoolers with or without delays or disabilities were taught skills applicable to children in classroom settings. Acceptable inter-observer agreement was reported for (a) the criteria for including research articles in this review and (b) the article content items. Review findings summarised the (a) characteristics of preschool staff, children, and settings, (b) professional development training topics and methods of training, and (c) research characteristics and findings. The 69 studies in this database lend credibility to the use of professional development to improve classroom-related skills in preschool teachers and staff. Most of these studies included professional development methods that have been identified as being indicators of effectiveness: modelling, demonstration by instructors, and feedback to participants both during workshops and classroom-based interventions. (author abstract)

Are associations between center- and home-based care and developmental outcomes mediated by quality of care?

Does child-care quality mediate associations between type of care and development?
Abner, Kristin, 10/01/2013

Studies document that, on average, children cared for in centers, as compared to homes, have higher cognitive test scores but worse socioemotional and health outcomes. The authors assessed whether the quality of care received explains these associations. They considered multiple domains of child development--cognitive, socioemotional, and health--and examined whether mediation is greater when quality measures are better aligned with outcome domains. Using the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study Birth Cohort, they found that children in centers have better cognitive skills and behavioral regulation than children in homes, but worse social competence and generally equivalent health (N = 1,550). They found little evidence that quality of child care, as measured by standard instruments (e.g., the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale-Revised), accounts for associations between type of care and child developmental outcomes. (author abstract)

Are states enacting regulatory changes to promote healthy nutrition and physical activity in child care settings?

Achieving a state of healthy weight: 2012 update
National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care (U.S.), 06/01/2013
Aurora, CO: National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care. Retrieved October 14, 2013, from http://nrckids.org/default/assets/File/ASHW%202012%20Final%20Report%209-18-13%20reduced%20size.pdf

This report is a second annual update tracking states' child care regulatory changes that promote healthy nutrition and physical activity practices in three regulated child care types: centers, large/group family homes, and small family child care homes. Key findings include that twelve states enacted child care licensing regulations that included new or revised text related to obesity prevention. Additionally, of the 47 'Achieving a State of Healthy Weight' (ASHW) variables examined, those that states most often fully addressed in at least one care type were: Space for active play; making water available indoors and outdoors; feeding children developmentally appropriate sized servings; feeding infants on cue; serving 100% juice; serving skim or low fat milk to children two years of age or older; and serving no cow's milk to children younger than one year.

What are the trends in access, quality and resources for state-funded preschool programs?

Trends in state funded preschool programs: Survey findings from 2001-2002 to 2011-2012
Barnett, W. Steven, 06/01/2013
New Brunswick, NJ: Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes. Retrieved August 19, 2013, from http://ceelo.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Trends_STATE_PREK.pdf

This report details the major trends in state pre-K over the last decade. The National Institute of Early Education Research (NIEER) has tracked the policies of state-funded preschool programs through its State Preschool Yearbook since 2001. The data document tremendous change in state pre-K over the decade, such as that states now serve nearly 30 percent of 4- year-olds and that state pre-K now serves more than twice as many 4-year-olds as Head Start. Implications of the various trends are also discussed.

Can rating pre-K programs predict children's learning?

Can rating pre-K programs predict children's learning?
Sabol, Terri J., 08/23/2013

Early childhood education programs [e.g., prekindergarten (pre-K)]-characterized by stimulating and supportive teacher-child interactions in enriched classroom settings-promote children's learning and school readiness (1- 3). But in the United States, most children, particularly those from low-income backgrounds, attend programs that may not be of sufficient quality to improve readiness for school success (4). States are adopting Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRISs) as a market-based approach for improving early education, but few states have evaluated the extent to which their QRIS relates to child outcomes. We studied the ability of several QRISs to distinguish among meaningful differences in quality that support learning. (author abstract)

Are there significant differences between segregated and integrated infant and toddler child care programs?

A comparison of segregated and integrated infant and toddler programs in one childcare centre
Rutherford, Lynne, 06/01/2013

To create an environment more conducive to the needs of very young children from January 2011, Gowrie South Australia replaced age groupings, which separated infants and toddlers with integrated infant-toddler programs. The aim of this study was to evaluate this program change by comparing the two types of infant and toddler programs, before and after implementation. The evaluation focused on those areas considered to have most impact on children's development (Ackerman, 2008): the overall length of time educators and children spend together, the depth of documentation and assessment of children's learning as evident in learning stories, and the quality of interactions between educators and families during drop-off and pick-up times. Statistically significant differences were found for the first two areas and higher frequencies in the third area, showing overall improvement under the integrated program. Parents' and educators' perceptions about the advantages and challenges of integrated infant-toddler programs were also included in the study. (author abstract)

Are there culturally relevant dimensions of family engagement among Latino Head Start families?

Defining family engagement among Latino Head Start parents: A mixed-methods measurement development study
McWayne, Christine M., 07/01/2013

Given the increasing numbers of Latino children and, specifically, of dual-language learning Latino children, entering the U.S. educational system, culturally contextualized models are needed to understand how parents construct their involvement roles and support their children's educational experiences. Current measures of parenting and family engagement have been developed primarily with European American families and, thus, might not capture engagement behaviors unique to other ethnic groups. Lacking culture-appropriate measurement limits our ability to construct programs that adequately incorporate protective factors to promote children's successful development. The present mixed-methods investigation employed an emic (i.e. within-group) approach to understand family engagement conceptualizations for a pan-Latino population. One hundred thirteen parents from 14 Head Start programs in a large, northeastern city participated in the first study, in which domains of family engagement were identified and specific items were co-constructed to capture family engagement behaviors. Then, 650 caregivers participated in a second study examining the construct validity of the resulting 65-item measure across two language versions: Parental Engagement of Families from Latino Backgrounds (PEFL-English) and Participacion Educativa de Familias Latinas (PEFL-Spanish). Four theoretically meaningful dimensions of family engagement among Latino Head Start families were identified empirically. The measure was then validated with teacher report of family involvement and parent report of satisfaction with their experiences in Head Start. (author abstract)

Are variations in children's school readiness associated with different types of subsidized child care, and state pre-kindergarten or Head Start?

Ready or not: Associations between participation in subsidized child care arrangements, pre-kindergarten, and Head Start and children's school readiness
Forry, Nicole D., 07/01/2013

Research has found disparities in young children's development across income groups. A positive association between high-quality early care and education and the school readiness of children in low-income families has also been demonstrated. This study uses linked administrative data from Maryland to examine the variations in school readiness associated with different types of subsidized child care, and with dual enrollment in subsidized child care and state pre-kindergarten or Head Start. Using multivariate methods, we analyze linked subsidy administrative data and portfolio-based kindergarten school readiness assessment data to estimate the probability of children's school readiness in three domains: personal and social development, language and literacy, and mathematical thinking. Compared to children in subsidized family child care or informal care, those in subsidized center care are more likely to be rated as fully ready to learn on the two pre-academic domains. Regardless of type of subsidized care used, enrollment in pre-kindergarten, but not Head Start, during the year prior to kindergarten is strongly associated with being academically ready for kindergarten. No statistically significant associations are found between type of subsidized care, pre-kindergarten enrollment, or Head Start and assessments of children's personal/social development. (author abstract)

Does documentation facilitate children's memory?

The effects of documentation on young children's memory
Fleck, Bethany, 07/01/2013

A central aspect of the Reggio approach to early childhood education is documentation, in which educators observe, record, and display children's work. Educational anecdotes and developmental theory suggest that documentation may facilitate children's memory; the current study explored this possibility empirically. Sixty-three preschool/kindergarten children experienced a novel learning event. Two days later, children were reminded with either documentation or worksheets of event details and the factual information that had been presented, or they were not reminded. Three weeks later, children completed a memory interview that included episodic and semantic measures. Children in the documentation and worksheet conditions remembered more factual information than those in the no-reminder condition. Children in the documentation condition produced more on-topic speech than those in the worksheet condition during reminding and a subsequent learning session. Potential benefits of documentation for classroom performance are discussed. (author abstract)

As state budgets start to improve, how are early care and education programs faring?

State updates: Early care and education
National Women's Law Center, 06/01/2013
Washington, DC: National Women's Law Center. Retrieved August 12, 2013, from http://www.nwlc.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/stateupdatesjune2013.pdf

As the Great Recession's strain on state budgets has slowly eased, a number of governors and legislatures have made or considered new investments in early care and education. This fact sheet summarizes actions and proposals in 28 states during the first half of 2013. Most of these states worked to expand or restore funding for and access to pre-kindergarten, child care assistance, or other early care and education programs. Some shifted resources among programs, and a few reduced funding or access.

What is the level of parental involvement in early intervention services for children under three in various settings?

Parent involvement in early intervention: What role does setting play?
Kellar-Guenther, Yvonne, 03/01/2014

This study compared levels of parent involvement in early intervention services for children under three which were delivered in community settings (children's homes and child care programs) and specialized settings (early intervention centers and provider offices) in the USA. Respondents reported the highest levels of parental involvement in the home. However, level of involvement in the home was not significantly higher than the provider's office for parent attendance, quality and content of parent-provider communication, and effective instruction; level of provider communication and instruction to parents was not significantly higher in the home than in the early intervention center. Early intervention services in the child care setting were associated with the lowest levels of parent involvement. With the exception of child care, these results suggest that specialized and natural settings are associated with similar levels of parent involvement. (author abstract)

How are early childhood education programs working with immigrant children and families?

Exploration of the status of services for immigrant families in early childhood education programs
Vesely, Colleen K., 01/01/2011
Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children. Retrieved August 1, 2013, from http://www.naeyc.org/files/naeyc/Vesely_Immigrant.pdf

Immigrants make up at least 15 percent of the population in more than 50 countries (Matthews & Ewen 2006). In 2005, "One in every three international migrants lived in Europe and one in every four international migrants lived in North America" (UNPD 2005, 1). At age 3 and 4, children in immigrant families were less likely to be enrolled in preschool than their native-born counterparts (Hernandez, Denton, & Macartney 2007). Consequently, the goal of this study, which was conducted by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) with support from the Bernard van Leer Foundation, was to add to researchers' and practitioners' understanding of how early childhood education (ECE) programs are currently working with immigrant children and families. Using qualitative case study methodology, including in-depth interviews with teachers, program staff, and parents as well as field observations in ECE programs in the United States and in Eastern Europe, analyses were conducted with respect to how high-quality programs work with immigrant families. Through qualitative analyses of the interview transcripts and field observation notes, four principles or themes emerged as particularly important for working with immigrant families: (1) improving quality of and access to ECE programs for immigrant families, (2) building relationships with immigrant parents and families, (3) supporting immigrant parents' identity development and representation in their communities, and (4) fostering staff dynamics, development, and well-being. Each of these is explored individually in the report, in terms of dynamics as well as recommendations for ECE programs currently working with immigrant families. (author abstract)

How effective is the Big Math for Little Kids curriculum for 4- and 5-year-old children?

Effects of a preschool and kindergarten mathematics curriculum: Big Math for Little Kids
Presser, Ashley Lewis,
New York: Education Development Center. Retrieved July 8, 2013, from http://cct.edc.org/sites/cct.edc.org/files/publications/BigMathPaper_Final.pdf

Big Math for Little Kids (BMLK) is a mathematics curriculum designed for 4- and 5-year-old children. In this study, the curriculum was evaluated for effectiveness over two years, using a cluster-randomized controlled study. Over 750 children participated in the study and experienced either the BMLK curriculum or business-as-usual instruction. Students' mathematics knowledge was assessed using the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort (ECLS-B) Direct Mathematics Assessment, an independent outcome measure not tied to the curriculum materials. The BMLK children significantly outperformed the business-as-usual control group, a difference that represents the equivalent of 1.6 months of additional instruction, with a medium effect size (Cohen's d=0.40). BMLK children also showed indications of improved mathematical language on piloted language tasks. Policy or Practice: These results suggest that the inclusion of thoughtful, developmentally appropriate mathematics curriculum can positively impact young students' achievement. (author abstract)

How well do quality rating systems capture center-level quality?

Understanding variation in classroom quality within early childhood centers: Evidence from Colorado's quality rating and improvement system
Karoly, Lynn A., 10/01/2013

This study examines variability in quality across classrooms within early childhood centers and its implications for how quality rating systems (QRSs) capture center-level quality. We used data collected for administrative purposes by Qualistar Colorado which includes the environmental rating scale (ERS) collected in all classrooms in the 433 centers participating in Colorado's QRS between 2008 and 2010. We conducted variance components analysis for the ERS and found that between 26% and 28% of the variation in quality captured by the ERS occurred across classrooms within the same center serving children in the same age range. This finding reveals that capturing center-level quality based on average ERS will often miss important within-center quality differences and points to the merits of using "no score below" rules along with rating tier cutpoints in determining center-level ERS. Most QRSs assess center-level quality for a randomly selected subset of classrooms. To test the implications of cross-classroom quality variation for this practice, we simulated four classroom selection strategies in current use: selecting 50% of the rooms,33% of the rooms, two rooms, or one room. In general, the larger the share of classrooms measured under a selection rule, the lower the chance that a center's rating tier will be misclassified. The error rates under each selection rule also depend on the extent of cross-classroom quality variability, how centers are distributed by size, and the QRS structure. QRS designers, therefore, need to consider the tradeoff between the costs of measuring more classrooms in each center versus the costs of misclassifying centers. The paper quantifies the magnitude of these tradeoffs using the Colorado data and two illustrative QRSs. The implications of our findings for QRS designers, parents, and other stakeholders are discussed. (author abstract)

What developmental progress do children make during their time in Head Start?

Getting ready for kindergarten: Children's progress during Head Start: FACES 2009 report
United States. Administration for Children and Families. Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, 06/01/2013
(OPRE Report 2013-21a). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved July 16, 2013, from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/faces_2009_child_outcomes_brief_final.pdf

This brief report focusing on children's kindergarten readiness is the third in a series of reports describing data from the 2009 cohort of the Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES 2009). Previous FACES 2009 reports described the characteristics of children and their families and programs as they entered Head Start in fall 2009 (Hulsey et al. 2011) and, in spring 2010, at the end of one year in the program (Moiduddin et al. 2012). This brief report describes the family backgrounds and developmental outcomes of children as they completed the Head Start program and also describes progress in children's outcomes between Head Start entry and exit. It focuses on the population of children who entered Head Start for the first time in fall 2009 and completed one or two years of the program before entering kindergarten in the fall. Key Findings: With the exception of letter?word knowledge, children assessed in English score below norms across language, literacy, and math measures at both Head Start entry and exit. However, children make progress toward norms across areas, and they score at the norm on letter-word knowledge at program exit. Teachers report that children show growth in their social skills from program entry to exit, and they also rate children as having fewer problem behaviors by program exit, as well as more positive approaches to learning and stronger executive functioning skills. There are no changes in children's body mass index (BMI) between the beginning and end of the program, nor are there differences in parent reports of children's general health status between program entry and exit. The majority of children are reported by their parents as being in excellent or very good health at Head Start entry and exit. Using criteria set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one-third of children are over weight or obese at Head Start entry and exit. (author abstract)

What factors motivate early care and education professionals to pursue higher education?

Motivation for attending higher education from the perspective of early care and education professionals
Huss-Keeler, Rebecca , 04/01/2013

The field of early care and education has been challenged to raise the level of quality for young children by increasing the number of practitioners with college degrees. The purpose of this study was to explore the perceptions of early care and education professionals working in the field and enrolled in community college early childhood classes, about the benefits of attending classes, and the factors that motivated them to pursue a college degree. The majority of the participants were not attending college for the first time and previously attempted to return to school to complete a certificate or an associate degree. Motivational factors and perceived benefits, which varied by teachers and directors, were influenced by the number of years that the practitioners worked in the field. Personal goals and professional development were main motivator, but younger teachers also valued the degree for their future careers Directors played a pivotal role in motivating teachers to enroll in college, while scholarship assistance made it possible to act on desires to go to college. These findings point to differentiated, targeted marketing and recruitment for teachers and directors, relevant early childhood college coursework, and continuous available funding to complete degrees. (author abstract)

Does length of exposure to an enhanced preschool program impact the academic functioning of disadvantaged children in kindergarten?

One versus two years: Does length of exposure to an enhanced preschool program impact the academic functioning of disadvantaged children in kindergarten?
Domitrovich, Celene E., 10/01/2013

Research on the effects of preschool dosage on children's early academic functioning has been limited despite the substantial policy implications of such work. The present study adds to a growing literature on this topic by examining how the number of years enrolled in an enhanced preschool program impacts the school readiness of primarily low-income children at kindergarten. Multi-level modeling was used to account for nesting of children within classrooms. To control for potential selection bias since children were not randomly assigned to receive one or two years of preschool, propensity score one-to-one matching was used to create the two participant groups. Receiving a second year of preschool led to significant improvements in children's early literacy and numeracy skills. Implications of these results for preschool interventions are discussed. (author abstract)

How can early care and education improve the outcomes of children who experience maltreatment?

Providing quality early care and education to young children who experience maltreatment: A review of the literature
Dinehart, Laura H., 07/01/2013

The current paper highlights the few studies that examine the role of early care and education on the developmental and early academic outcomes of children who experience maltreatment. First, we argue that children who experience maltreatment are at significant risk for poor developmental outcomes as a result of the chronic exposure to stress that is typical of this population. Recent evidence emphasizing the effects of stress on brain development is discussed. Next, the role of quality early care and education (ECE) experiences for children receiving services from child protective agencies are explored, underscoring three particular studies that examine the early educational experiences of children who receive child protective services as a result of maltreatment or exposure to violence. Finally, we focus on current approaches to improve the outcomes of children who experience maltreatment, within the context of ECE, and the implications for future research. Overall, this review serves as a call for international research efforts to explore the role of ECE on the developmental and early educational outcomes of this vulnerable population of children. (author abstract)

What elements should be included in a QRIS validation plan?

Key elements of a QRIS validation plan: Guidance and planning template
United States. Administration for Children and Families. Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, 02/01/2013
(OPRE 2013-11). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved June 12, 2013, from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/key_elements_of_a_qris_validation_plan_final_2_21_13.pdf

The purpose of this document is to provide a practical tool that states and evaluators can use to develop QRIS validation efforts. Validation is defined as a multi-step process that assesses the degree to which design decisions about program quality standards and measurement strategies are resulting in accurate and meaningful ratings (Zellman & Fiene, 2012). This document describes key elements of a validation plan, highlights challenges of QRIS validation studies, and identifies additional resources that are available to support the development of a validation study.

How are quality and quantity of implementation measures assessed and examined in relation to early care and education program outcomes?

Measuring the quality and quantity of implementation in early childhood interventions
United States. Administration for Children and Families. Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, 04/01/2013
(Research Brief OPRE 2013-12). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved June 12, 2013, from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/quality_brief_final_001.pdf

As part of a series of briefs on implementation of early childhood interventions, this brief explores the concepts of quality and quantity in implementation science. A review of 57 journal articles on the topic found that the quantity of an intervention (e.g. dosage, intensity, and frequency) is measured more frequently than the quality of an intervention (e.g. coach/mentor's skill, engaging participants, ability to individualize, etc.). To view another article in this series see: Measuring implementation of early childhood interventions at multiple system levels.

What impact does the Early Reading First program have on the language and literacy achievement of children from diverse language backgrounds?

Impact of an Early Reading First program on the language and literacy achievement of children from diverse language backgrounds
Wilson, Sandra Jo, 07/01/2013

This study used an age-cutoff regression discontinuity design to examine the impact of a well-resourced Early Reading First prekindergarten program designed to foster the language and literacy development of 4-year-old children from low-income homes. A special challenge for the application of the language-rich curriculum and professional development package implemented in this study was the presence of a large proportion of ELL children in essentially English-speaking classrooms. We, therefore, sought to determine whether the program was effective for improving English language and literacy outcomes for English-language learners as well as native English speakers. There were large and significant differences between treatment and control groups on literacy outcomes for all students. On the literacy tasks, ELL students in the treatment groups performed nearly as well or better than non-ELL students at the beginning of kindergarten, and reached national norms on standardized tests. There were also significant program impacts on some language outcomes for all students. ELL students who received the intervention significantly outperformed ELL students in the control groups on English receptive and expressive vocabulary. On the more complex oral comprehension skills, preschool did not have a significant impact for ELL students. Intervention effects on receptive vocabulary and oral comprehension for native speakers were found only for the third cohort and were not found for expressive vocabulary. These results provide evidence that, given material supports, coaching, professional development, and the use of a language and literacy-focused curriculum, prekindergarten classrooms can enable low-SES children from diverse language backgrounds to enter kindergarten with literacy skills at or near national norms and can significantly impact some language skills. While non-native speakers of English continued to score lower on language measures than their native-speaking peers, results show that 1 year of preschool can put all children on a positive trajectory for long-term success in school. (author abstract)

How can preschool be reformed to ready children for academic achievement?

Reforming preschool to ready children for academic achievement: A case study of the impact of pre-k reform on the issue of school readiness
Brown, Christopher P., 05/01/2013

Policymakers preschool reforms that are to prepare young children for school success have sparked important conversations within the field of early childhood education over how these programs are to ready young children for school. This article presents findings from a case study that examined this issue of school readiness across a collection of pre-k programs. Doing so illustrates how preschool reforms can impact early childhood stakeholders' understanding of school readiness, what it is they do with their students in their programs, and why. Practice or Policy: These findings demonstrate how policymakers' pre-k reforms can tighten the link between preschool and elementary school in a way that prioritizes the goals of K-12 education systems. They also suggest that for those who want to expand the construct of school readiness they should do so in a way that addresses and recognizes the challenges pre-k stakeholders in local contexts face on a day-to-day basis. For policymakers, there appears to be an opportunity and willingness within the ECE community for preschool reform. They should take advantage of this willingness for change by considering policy solutions that value the complexity of the child and of the field of early education itself. (author abstract)

What impact does the quality of relationships between caregivers, parents, and children in Early Head Start have on child outcomes?

Early Head Start relationships: Association with program outcomes
Elicker, James, 05/01/2013

Interpersonal relationships among staff caregivers, parents, and children have been recommended as essential aspects of early childhood intervention. This study explored the associations of these relationships with program outcomes for children and parents in 3 Early Head Start programs. A total of 71 children (8-35 months, M=20), their parents, and 33 program caregivers participated. The results showed that caregiver-child relationships were moderately positive, secure, and interactive and improved in quality over 6 months, whereas caregiver-parent relationships were generally positive and temporally stable. Caregiver-child relationships were more positive for girls, younger children, and those in home-visiting programs. Caregiver-parent relationships were more positive when parents had higher education levels and when staff had more years of experience, had more positive work environments, or had attained a Child Development Associate credential or associate's level of education rather than a 4-year academic degree. Hierarchical linear modeling analysis suggested that the quality of the caregiver-parent relationship was a stronger predictor of both child and parent outcomes than was the quality of the caregiver-child relationship. There were also moderation effects: Stronger associations of caregiver-parent relationships with observed positive parenting were seen in parents with lower education levels and when program caregivers had higher levels of education. Practice or Policy: The results support the importance of caregiver-family relationships in early intervention programs and suggest that staff need to be prepared to build relationships with children and families in individualized ways. Limitations of this study and implications for program improvements and future research are discussed. (author abstract)

What progress are Early Childhood State Advisory Councils making in developing comprehensive early childhood systems?

Early childhood state advisory councils: Status report
United States. Administration for Children and Families, 04/01/2013
Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families. Retrieved June 6, 2013, from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/ecd/508_sac_report_3.pdf

This status update on the work of the Early Childhood State Advisory Councils examines the progress being made by these councils in developing comprehensive early childhood systems. The role of these councils is to conduct needs assessments on the quality and availability of high quality early childhood care, identify opportunities and barriers related to high quality care, and make recommendations for improving state early learning standards and outreach to ensure that young children are receiving this care. The report features a description of the councils, followed by an update on their required grant activities, including how they have been advancing early childhood systems beyond the initial grant requirements. It also focuses on the accomplishments of individual states and territories.

What impact can the Head Start Research-based, Developmentally Informed (REDI) intervention have on children's outcomes in kindergarten?

Effects of Head Start REDI on children's outcomes 1 year later in different kindergarten contexts
Bierman, Karen L., 01/01/2014

One year after participating in the Research-based, Developmentally Informed (REDI) intervention or "usual practice" Head Start, the learning and behavioral outcomes of 356 children (17% Hispanic, 25% African American; 54% girls; Mage = 4.59 years at initial assessment) were assessed. In addition, their 202 kindergarten classrooms were evaluated on quality of teacher-student interactions, emphasis on reading instruction, and school-level student achievement. Hierarchical linear analyses revealed that the REDI intervention promoted kindergarten phonemic decoding skills, learning engagement, and competent social problem-solving skills, and reduced aggressive-disruptive behavior. Intervention effects on social competence and inattention were moderated by kindergarten context, with effects strongest when children entered schools with low student achievement. Implications are discussed for developmental models of school readiness and early educational programs. (author abstract)

What impact can a coaching system have on young children's development in Pre-Kindergarten?

Impacts of a prekindergarten program on children's mathematics, language, literacy, executive function, and emotional skills
Weiland, Christina, 11/01/2013

This present study examined a new Pre-Kindergarten program, one that featured a coaching system and and a curricula with a focus on literacy, language, and mathematics, and its impact on young children's development and school readiness. The sample size consisted of over 2,000 four and five year old children in Pre-K across 69 schools in the Boston Public School (BPS) system. For children in the treatment group, teachers received coaching in various curricula with a strong focus on language, literacy, and math. The data showed that the program had positive moderate-to-large impacts on these children's language, literacy, and math skills, as well as a smaller impact on executive functioning and emotion recognition. Certain subgroups benefited more and experienced a more statistically significant impact, such as young children who qualified for the free lunch program.

What key lessons can we learn from a successful PreK-3rd program serving linguistically and culturally diverse students?

Prek-3rd's lasting architecture: Successfully serving linguistically and culturally diverse students in Union City, New Jersey: FCD case study
Marietta, Geoff, 03/01/2013
New York: Foundation for Child Development. Retrieved April 1, 2013, from http://fcd-us.org/sites/default/files/FCDCaseStdyUnionCity%20%282%29.pdf

This case study examined the prekindergarten through third grade education model in Union City, NJ , which serves linguistically and culturally diverse students. The study was based on 10 key informant interviews, observations of 12 classrooms, field notes, and a document review. The report highlights four key lessons to achieving success, including: promoting continuity between school, home, and community; developing the whole child through rigorous, locally developed curricula; promoting teacher leadership; and creating a blueprint for success (i.e. indicators across five domains of effective educational leadership).

What is the latest research on the education and professional development of early childhood teachers?

From the guest editors: Early childhood teacher education: Why does it matter? How does it matter?
Rust, Frances O'Connell, 01/01/2013

This special issue of the Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education focuses on the latest research examining the education and professional development of early childhood teachers. This issue seeks to gain a better understanding of the challenges of preparing and supporting early childhood teachers, particularly in classrooms with diverse populations. The articles in this issue range from working with infants in child care, to preparing the next generation of early childhood teachers in this dynamically changing landscape. Read the articles in this special issue: Research on early childhood teacher education: Evidence from three domains and recommendations for moving forward, Fieldwork with infants: What preservice teachers can learn from taking care of babies, Early care and education matters: A conceptual model for early childhood teacher preparation integrating the key constructs of knowledge, reflection, and practice, Early childhood teachers reconstruct beliefs and practices through reflexive action, and Preparing the next generation of early childhood teachers: The emerging role of interprofessional education and collaboration in teacher education.

Is teacher commitment to the field related to the quality of cognitive and emotional support provided in the classroom?

Teachers' commitment to the field and teacher-child interactions in center-based child care for toddlers and three-year-olds
Thomason, Amy, 05/01/2013

This study used the NICHD Study of Early Child Care data at 15, 24, and 36 months to examine the characteristics of early childhood teachers' commitment to the field and the assessed quality of teacher-child interactions in the classroom. Results indicate that overall teacher characteristics of commitment to the field predicted the quality of teachers' emotional and cognitive support provided to children. However, while variables such as years of experience, job satisfaction, and membership in a professional organization were related to teachers' interactions in terms of cognitive support they were not related to teachers' interaction in terms of emotional support. Implications and future research directions are discussed.

How does moving Pre-K from state education to a human services department affect local programs?

Quality and characteristics of the North Carolina Pre-Kindergarten Program: 2011-2012 statewide evaluation
Peisner-Feinberg, Ellen S., 03/01/2013
Chapel Hill, NC: FPG Child Development Institute. Retrieved April 1, 2013, from http://www.fpg.unc.edu/sites/default/files/resources/reports-and-policy-briefs/NCPreKEval2011-2012Report.pdf

North Carolina's More at Four Pre-Kindergarten Program, begun in the 2001-2002 school year by the state's Department of Public Instruction (DPI), in 2011-2012 became the North Carolina Pre-Kindergarten Program (NC Pre-K) under the auspices of the Division of Child Development and Early Education in the state Department of Health and Human Services. This evaluation of NC Pre-K's first year--based on statewide program information, as well as observations and teacher surveys from a random sample of 100 classrooms--found strong similarities with More at Four in recent years. Local programs' similarities included class size, curriculum, variety of settings, and characteristics of children served, though NC Pre-K served a somewhat higher proportion of children who had never before been in a program. Observed classroom quality on most global and teacher-child interaction measures were in similar medium-to-high ranges. On one dimension, instructional support as measured by the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS), NC Pre-K's classrooms scored somewhat lower than its predecessors' classrooms --though ratings for both were substantially lower on this than other aspects of teacher-child interaction.

What are children's early learning outcomes, their predictors, and classroom quality in Georgia's universal public Pre-K program?

Children's growth and classroom experiences in Georgia's Pre-K Program: Findings from the 2011-2012 evaluation study
Peisner-Feinberg, Ellen S., 02/01/2013
Chapel Hill, NC: FPG Child Development Institute. Retrieved March 4, 2013, from http://fpg.unc.edu/sites/default/files/resources/reports-and-policy-briefs/GAPreKEval2011-2012Report.pdf

This study of Georgia's free, public Pre-K Program--universally available to all the state's 4 year olds--examined child outcomes, predictors of outcomes, and classroom quality during the 2011-2012 school year. The study's random samples of 100 classrooms and 509 children randomly selected from those classrooms reflect the distribution of classroom and child characteristics across the program. About half the classrooms were in local school system sites and half in private community-based sites. Half the children were girls and half boys; 60 percent of the children were low-income; 15 percent were Latino; 9 percent were non-English speakers and 18 percent spoke limited English. Across all these characteristics, children's language and literacy, math, and behavioral skills and their general knowledge grew similarly and grew faster from fall to spring than would have been expected through normal development--though without a control group, the study could not establish clear causal links to program participation. Children with lower levels of English proficiency made the biggest gains in most domains, as did those in classrooms with higher proportions of non-English speaking children and those in school-based classrooms. Skills of Spanish-speaking dual language learners grew in both languages, but tended to show greater growth in English. 85 percent of the classrooms received medium global quality ratings as measured by the ECERS-R, and measurements of teacher-child interactions based on the CLASS were stronger on emotional support and classroom organization than on instructional support. An association between greater experience teaching Pre-K and global quality was the only factor found to be identified with a classroom strength. Among the authors' recommendations are adding bilingual supports to classroom experiences and further study to understand aspects of school-based classrooms associated with children's somewhat greater gains--including populations served and resources available.

Does numeral knowledge mediate the transition from informal to formal mathematical knowledge?

The transition from informal to formal mathematical knowledge: Mediation by numeral knowledge
Purpura, David J., 05/01/2013

This study examined whether informal mathematical knowledge contributes to the development of formal mathematical knowledge or if this relation is mediated by numeral knowledge (the ability to identify numerals and connect them to their quantities). The study sample was 206 3- to 5-year old preschool children. Results indicated that the relation between informal and formal mathematical knowledge is mediated by numeral knowledge, but only when numeral identification skills and an understanding of numeral to quantity relations are considered. Future research directions are explored.

Is subsidy receipt associated with school readiness outcomes?

Child-care subsidies and school readiness in kindergarten
Johnson, Anna D., 09/01/2013

Based on data from 1,400 children from subsidy-eligible families participating in the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort, this study examined associations (among subsidy-eligible families) between child-care subsidy receipt when children are 4 years old and a range of school readiness outcomes in kindergarten. Findings showed that subsidy receipt in preschool is not directly linked to reading or social-emotional skills, but subsidy receipt did predict lower math scores among children attending community based centers. Additional analyses also revealed that subsidies predicted greater use of center care, but that this association did not appear to affect school readiness.

Is there a relationship between arts-integrated programming in preschool and the emotional functioning of at risk low-income preschoolers?

Arts enrichment and preschool emotions for low-income children at risk
Brown, Eleanor D., 04/01/2013

Little research has been performed on the relationship between arts enrichment in preschool classrooms and the emotional functioning and regulation of low-income at-risk preschool children. Collecting data from the Settlement Music School's Kaleidoscope Preschool Arts Enrichment Program, the present study sought to understand the impact that arts enrichment programming has on the emotional expression and regulation of low-income preschoolers. The Kaleidoscope program features music, dance, and visual arts classes. The researchers found that the children in this program, compared to children in traditional preschool, had higher ratings of positive emotional expression and negative emotion regulation. Implications exist for the types of programs, specifically arts enrichment ones, that might best promote social-emotional readiness for at-risk low-income preschoolers.

Does the Child and Adult Care Food Program influence children's food intake, weight, and food security?

The Child and Adult Care Food Program and the nutrition of preschoolers
Korenman, Sanders, 04/01/2013

This study, using a sample of 4,050 4-year olds from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Birth Cohort, compared nutrition-related outcomes of preschoolers in centers participating in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) to those of similar preschoolers in non-participating centers. The study found that among low-income children, CACFP participation moderately increased consumption of milk and vegetables, and may have also reduced the prevalence of overweight and underweight children.

Is there a link between children's engagement with teachers, peers, and tasks and gains in their self-regulation?

Children's engagement within the preschool classroom and their development of self-regulation
Williford, Amanda P., 02/01/2013

Using a predominantly low-income Hispanic sample (341 preschool children enrolled in 100 preschool classrooms in the southwest) this study examined whether children's engagement with teachers, peers, and tasks was linked with gains in their self-regulatory behaviors from fall to spring. The study used a validated observation tool to capture individual children's engagement with teachers, peers, and learning tasks and activities in the classroom. Results indicated that children's positive interactions with teachers were related to gains in compliance/executive control. Additionally, children who were actively and positively engaged in classroom tasks and activities made gains in emotion regulation skills during preschool. However, there was no significant main effect of children's engagement with peers and gains in their self-regulation. Authors note that future research should examine explicitly whether the positive impacts of peer interactions need to occur within the context of positive teacher support in order to have benefits for children's development of self-regulation.

Does the Arnett Caregiver Interaction Scale distinguish between "highly" and "moderately" positive caregiver interactions?

New evidence on the validity of the Arnett Caregiver Interaction Scale: Results from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort
Colwell, Nicole, 04/01/2013

The Arnett Caregiver Interaction Scale (CIS) has been widely used in research to measure the quality of caregiver-child interactions. However, few studies have investigated evidence of its validity as a measure. Analyses of data from both 2-year-olds in home-based care and 4-year-olds in center based care revealed that the scale is not well suited to distinguish between caregivers who are "highly" versus "moderately" positive in their interactions with children, in this study. These and other findings are discussed. Researchers conclude by encouraging the further and future development of measures of child care quality by early childhood researchers.

Can an intensive birth-to-three early education program eliminate IQ and achievement gaps between low- and higher-income children?

Can intensive early childhood intervention programs eliminate income-based cognitive and achievement gaps?
Duncan, Greg, 12/01/2012
(Discussion Paper No. 7087). Bonn, Germany: Institute for the Study of Labor. Retrieved January 15, 2013, from http://ftp.iza.org/dp7087.pdf

To compare effects for low- and higher-income children of an intensive birth-to three early education program, the authors reanalyzed longitudinal data on children participating in the Infant Health and Development Program (IHDP) in the mid-1980s and those in a control group-- using the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Birth Cohort, to adjust results to reflect the larger population. Featuring weekly home visits up to age one, bi-weekly visits from age one to three, and free enrollment in a high-quality child center between ages one and three, the IHDP was found to eliminate income-based gaps in IQ and school readiness at age three, reduce gaps in IQ and achievement substantially at age five, and somewhat at age eight. The authors remind us that these encouraging results depend on the relatively expensive low student-to-staff ratios and other services of IHDP's centers, modeled on the Abecedarian approach. Further, they caution that analyses comparing impacts for Blacks and Whites and Hispanics and non-Hispanic Whites did not consistently favor minority children.

Does Head Start participation have long-term impacts on children and families?

Third Grade Follow-Up to the Head Start Impact Study: Final report
United States. Administration for Children and Families. Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, 10/01/2012
(OPRE Report 2012-45). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved January 8, 2013, from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/head_start_report.pdf

Newly entering 3- and 4-year-old Head Start applicants were randomly assigned either to a Head Start group that for one year had access to Head Start services, or to a control group that could receive any other non-Head Start services chosen by their parents. Access to Head Start improved children's preschool outcomes across developmental domains but had few impacts on children in kindergarten through 3rd grade. However, differential impacts were found for subgroups of children. At the end of 3rd grade for the 3-year-old cohort, sustained impacts were found in the cognitive domain for children from high risk households as well as for children of parents who reported no depressive symptoms. Among the 4-year-olds, sustained benefits were experienced by children of parents who reported mild depressive symptoms, severe depressive symptoms, and Black children. These and other findings are discussed by the authors.

Are there differences in early literacy skills for Spanish speaking language-minority and monolingual-English children from similar socioeconomic backgrounds?

Developmental trajectories of preschool early literacy skills: A comparison of language-minority and monolingual-English children
Lonigan, Christopher J., 10/01/2013

The purpose of this study was to examine children's early literacy skills and growth in these skills across the preschool year for a group of Spanish-speaking language-minority (LM) and a group of monolingual-English (EO) children both from comparable socioeconomic (SES) backgrounds. The sample was composed of 948 Latino and African American children who were enrolled in 30 Head Start centers in various inner-city neighborhoods of Los Angeles. Results revealed differences in the early literacy skills of Spanish-speaking LM and EO preschool children, despite the relatively equal status of children with regard to family SES. LM children scored significantly lower than the EO children on measures of oral language, print knowledge, and phonological awareness. However, differences between each group in terms of the patterns of growth in these skills over the preschool year varied by the skill measured. Implications and future research needs are identified.

What can we learn from research on coaching about improving quality rating and improvement systems?

On-site approaches to quality improvement in quality rating and improvement systems: Building on the research on coaching
United States. Administration for Children and Families. Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, 11/01/2012
(Research-to-Policy, Research-to-Practice Brief OPRE2012-40). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved December 6, 2012, from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/coaching_brief.pdf

This brief examines the research related to coaching, as well as other forms of on-site technical assistance, in child care quality rating and improvement systems (QRIS). It also identifies current activities and approaches being used in QRIS. It begins by defining these on-site quality improvement activities, with a particular emphasis on coaching. It also discusses how coaching fits into the quality improvement efforts at the state and federal levels. The research on coaching suggests that successful programs have a clearly specified model, strict procedures for staff, ongoing support and coaching, and consistent knowledge- and practice- based professional development. The brief concludes with recommendations for a multi-level approach to quality improvement in QRIS.

How can Quality Rating and Improvement Systems be strengthened by ongoing collaboration between evaluators and system planners and operators?

Indiana Paths to QUALITY: Collaborative evaluation of a new child care quality rating and improvement system
Elicker, James, 01/01/2013

A report on successive phases of evaluation of Paths to QUALITY (PTQ), Indiana's Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS), this article also describes the "developmental evaluation" process used there. In developmental evaluation, evaluators (James Elicker and colleagues at Purdue University) sustain collaboration with program planners and implementers in Indiana, who were initially stakeholders in a regional PTQ pilot, then officials in Indiana's Bureau of Child Care. Beginning in 2006, through ongoing engagement with program leaders, the Purdue evaluators helped frame questions and provide data that informed improvements to PTQ and supported its expansion to statewide. Collaborative activities included an initial evaluation of the regional pilot, validation of PTQ standards, development of a PTQ logic model and corresponding measures, creation of the central PTQ data system, and phased evaluation of statewide PTQ completed in 2011. Commentary throughout the article by Indiana's State Child Care Administrator, Melanie Brizzi, emphasizes how valuable developmental evaluation has been for PTQ. Kathryn Tout's 'Look to the Stars: Future Directions for the Evaluation of Quality Rating and Improvement Systems?' underscores the appropriateness of the approach for QRISs--complex initiatives with modifications over time.

Is there an association between concurrent multiple child care arrangements and child socioemotional skills at age 4.5?

Multiple child care arrangements and child well being: Early care experiences in Australia
Claessens, Amy, 01/01/2013

This study examined the relationship between concurrent and prior multiple child care arrangements and child socioemotional skills and behaviors at age 4.5 using a nationally representative sample of Australian children (Growing up in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children). Results indicated that the relationship between child care multiplicity and child developmental outcomes varied by children's prior child care experiences. Concurrent multiple child care arrangements were associated with lower prosocial skills and higher conduct problems for children moving from one or no child care arrangement to multiple arrangements. Among children who had concurrent multiple arrangements at age 4.5 but also had prior experience in multiple child care arrangements there was no negative effect of concurrent multiple child care arrangements.

What instruments exist that measure the quality of family-provider relationships?

Family-provider relationship quality: Review of existing measures of family-provider relationships
United States. Administration for Children and Families. Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, 11/01/2012
(OPRE Report No. 2012-47). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved December 6, 2012, from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/fprq_measures_review.pdf

Authors examine 62 measures designed to assess the quality of family-provider relationships. They also identify issues to be considered in the development of a new measure of family-provider relationship quality. Additionally, authors also identify gaps as well as promising approaches for measuring these relationships in the context of the constructs and elements that are articulated in the Family-Provider Relationship Quality conceptual model. They conclude with a discussion of some of the challenges in creating a new measure to assess the quality of family-provider relationships that can be used across settings and with culturally diverse groups of parents, providers, and programs that serve young children.

What can we learn from parents and providers about providing high quality care in low-income areas?

Providing high quality care in low-income areas in Maryland: Definitions, resources, and challenges from parents and child care providers' perspectives
Forry, Nicole D., 11/01/2012
(Publication No. 2012-45). Washington, DC: Child Trends. Retrieved December 13, 2012, from http://www.childtrends.org/Files//Child_Trends-2012_11_27_RB_Providing.pdf

This research brief, one in the Maryland Research Capacity Brief Series, examines the experience of accessing and providing high quality child care in low-income areas from the points of view of parents and child care providers. Based on data collected from twelve focus groups made up of child care directors, providers, and parents of young children in Maryland, the brief creates a comprehensive definition of high quality child care. This definition includes characteristics of the program and provider (such as staffing), features of the physical environment (such as safety measures and materials), teacher practices and learning activities, and family engagement. The brief also discusses the various challenges and barriers to achieving high quality in child care, such as inadequate resources for programs, and high cost for families. The brief concludes with recommendations to support high quality child care, with a main focus on taking advantage of resources at the state and local levels. Read the other briefs in this series: 'Subsidy continuity in Maryland'; 'Getting into the black box: How do low-income parents make choices about early care and education in Maryland?'; 'Defining school readiness in Maryland: A multi-dimensional perspective'.

What effect does quality of child care during infant-toddlerhood, and preschool have on cognitive, language and preacademic development?

Timing of high-quality child care and cognitive, language, and preacademic development
Li, Weilin, 08/01/2013

This study used data from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Study of Early Child Care to examine the effects of high- versus low-quality child care during 2 developmental periods (infant-toddlerhood and preschool). The findings indicated that quality of child care in the infant-toddler period was positively and significantly related to cognitive development, and memory. Specifically, high quality care in the infant-toddler period was associated with higher cognitive development scores at 24 months. Additionally, higher quality infant-toddler care was associated with better memory scores at 54 months for children in low-quality child care in the preschool period. Children who received high-quality child care in the preschool period obtained higher language, reading and math scores at 54 months of age. Among those who received high-quality care in preschool, those who also received high-quality infant-toddler care scored higher on reading and math compared to those who received low-quality infant-toddler care. The authors conclude that this study provides evidence supporting the importance of timing (periods of differential growth and responsiveness) for human development, and that gains need to be maintained through long-term exposure to high quality education. Additionally, they suggest a strategy of distributing child care investments across early childhood periods as opposed to focusing on one or the other (infant-toddler or preschool). Limitations of the study are also discussed.

Can reading software programs promote early literacy development in young children?

Developing tools for assessing and using commercially available reading software programs to promote the development of early reading skills in children
Wood, Eileen, 01/01/2012

This study examines the currently available reading software programs with a focus on early literacy development, and how to appropriately select, use, and measure the effectiveness of these programs. The researchers of the present study developed tools that enable early childhood teachers to implement particular software programs in their classrooms. These tools consisted of a set of reading skills, as well as an assessment of commercially-available software programs designed to promote early literacy. The results were varied with regard to the effectiveness of the software programs, as well as how developmentally appropriate they were.

Does participation in an early childhood mental health consultation model improve teachers' emotional support of children, and classroom organization?

Social-emotional development, school readiness, teacher-child interactions, and classroom environment
Heller, Sherryl S., 11/01/2012

Researchers investigated the relationship between participation in a statewide 6-month early childhood mental health consultation model and teachers' emotional support of children, and classroom organization. Participants included 445 teachers from 158 child care centers. Researchers found that the mental health consultation improved the quality of early childhood teachers' emotional support and classroom organization. Teachers with more experience and more than a high school degree tended to score higher on many aspects of classroom quality as measured by the Classroom Assessment Scoring System. Researchers suggest that the study demonstrates that mental health consultants can partner successfully with early childhood educators and provide support that enhances classroom variables associated with high-quality care and positive child outcomes. These and other findings are discussed by the authors.

How have states strengthened and reported on improvements to services for children with disabilities?

States' accountability and progress in serving young children with disabilities
Kasprzak, Christina M., 11/01/2012

The 2004 reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) introduced new reporting requirements for states' Part C Programs for Infants and Toddlers and Part B Preschool Programs. The reauthorization required states to develop State Performance Plans that, in addition to maintaining compliance with the law, described plans for improving and reporting on program performance and outcomes for children with disabilities and their families. This study, based on reports from states for Federal Fiscal Years (FFY)2005- 2008, summarizes national trends, challenges, and states' improvement efforts in four broad performance areas: (1) early identification, (2) timely provision of services in natural environments, (3) early childhood transitions, and (4) early childhood outcomes. Despite fiscal limitations, by FFY 2008, states had documented program improvements in the first three areas, and that year reported baseline data from newly developed child outcome measures. The IDEA experience can help frame and inform discussions by other federal early childhood services seeking to gather meaningful data for program improvement.

How can optimal child development be supported through Early Head Start and Head Start Programs?

Supporting optimal child development through Early Head Start and Head Start Programs: Secondary data analyses of FACES and EHSREP: An introduction
Westbrook, T'Pring, 10/01/2012

This introduction to a special issue of Early Childhood Research Quarterly, highlights the findings of 10 studies based on secondary analyses of the datasets of the Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES) and the Early Head Start Research and Evaluation Project (EHSREP). Grantees explored such diverse topics as child self-regulation, classroom quality, and parenting practices in both Head Start and Early Head Start. Additionally, these papers explore both predictors of different facets of the HS and EHS interventions and their influences on child outcomes. Other papers extend the dialog to identify subgroups or profiles of children who share common features, providing increased understanding in the early childhood field?s quest to know not just what works best,but also for whom.

What impact can a prekindergarten mathematics curriculum have on oral language and literacy skills?

The impacts of an early mathematics curriculum on oral language and literacy
Sarama, Julie, 07/01/2012

This study examined the effects of an intensive pre-kindergarten mathematics curriculum, Building Blocks, on the oral language and letter recognition of children participating in a large-scale cluster randomized trial project (Scaling-up TRIAD: Teaching Early Mathematics for Understanding with Trajectories and Technologies). The present study involved two subsets of the full original sample. The first included 1037 children for whom letter recognition scores were available. The second subset consisted of 1027 children who were assessed by the research team on a measure of oral language. The results showed no evidence that the children who were taught using the Building Blocks curriculum performed differently than control children who received the typical district mathematics curriculum on measures of letter recognition , sentence length and inferential reasoning (emotive content). However, children in the Building Blocks group outperformed children in the control group on four oral language subtests: ability to recall key words, willingness to reproduce narratives independently, use of complex utterances, and inferential reasoning (practical content). The authors conclude that there is no evidence from the study that teaching with a comprehensive early mathematics curriculum will negatively impact letter recognition or language skills of children from low-resource, urban communities.

How are states using QRIS standards to promote young children's learning?

Practices for promoting young children's learning in QRIS standards
Smith, Sheila, 09/01/2012
New York: Columbia University, National Center for Children in Poverty. Retrieved September 24, 2012, from http://www.nccp.org/publications/pdf/text_1070.pdf

Across the U.S., large numbers of young children are affected by one or more risk factors that have been linked to academic failure and poor health. Chief among them is family economic hardship, which is consistently associated with negative outcomes in these two domains. As early as 24 months, children in low-income families have been found to show lags in cognitive and behavioral development compared to their peers in higher-income families. Other risk factors, such as living in a single-parent family or low parent education levels, especially when combined with poverty, can markedly increase children's chances of adverse outcomes. Children affected by multiple risks (three or more risk factors) are the most likely to experience school failure and other negative outcomes, including maladaptive behavior. This fact sheet highlights important findings about the prevalence of children experiencing risk factors in the U.S. These findings were produced with the Young Child Risk Calculator, a tool of the National Center for Children in Poverty.

What is the feasibility of training large numbers of raters on the Classroom Assessment Scoring System

Rater calibration when observational assessment occurs at large scale: Degree of calibration and characteristics of raters associated with calibration
Cash, Anne H., 07/01/2012

Observation can be used to study children and teachers in school settings and is increasingly used at a large scale to assess and improve teacher effectiveness. However, data are limited that speak to the feasibility of training large numbers of raters to calibrate to an observation tool, or the characteristics of raters associated with calibration. This study reports on the success of rater calibration across 2,093 raters trained by the Office of Head Start (OHS) in 2008-2009 on the Classroom Assessment Scoring System(CLASS), and for a subsample of 704 raters, characteristics that predict their calibration. Researchers find that it is possible to train large numbers of raters to calibrate to an observation tool, and that rater beliefs about teachers and children predicted the degree of calibration. Implications for large-scale observational assessments are discussed.

What relationship exists between family income and early achievement across the urban-rural continuum?

Family income and early achievement across the urban-rural continuum
Miller, Portia, 08/01/2013

While much research on the topic of poverty and child development has been conducted in urban areas, less attention has been paid to this population in rural settings. The present study, using data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Birth Cohort, sought to determine what impact urban or rural setting has on the relationship between family income and early achievement. Four waves of data were collected, ranging from nine months of age to the start of Kindergarten. The researchers looked at a number of measures, including children's academic skills, family income, child characteristics, and parent and household characteristics. The results showed a more linear relationship between family income and early achievement in rural settings, while the relationship in urban areas was more nonlinear. However, the magnitude of the relationship varied. For example, in urban areas, higher family income was associated with greater early reading and math skills, but these skill improvements were more modest in rural settings.

What is the impact of maternal employment after childbirth on children's long term development in low-income families?

Does maternal employment following childbirth support or inhibit low-income children's long-term development?
Coley, Rebekah Levine, 01/01/2013

This study examined the impact of maternal employment after childbirth on children's long term development in low-income families. Specifically, the researchers focused on cognitive development and behavioral skills, and while previous studies have linked early maternal employment to reduced cognitive development, this research has focused only on White and middle class populations. For the present study, researchers used a sample of 444 African American and Hispanic low-income families. Researchers examined families where the mother returned to work within two years of child birth, and children's development and functioning at age 7. The analysis of the data revealed that low-income children whose mothers returned to work in their first 8 months showed higher levels of socio-emotional functioning relative to their peers whose mothers did not return to work. This impact was significant among African American children, with neutral effects found for Hispanic children.

What can we learn about classroom quality using three distinct observational measures?

A multi-instrument examination of preschool classroom quality and the relationship between program, classroom, and teacher characteristics
Denny, Joanna Hope, 09/01/2012

In order to better inform a statewide quality rating improvement system (QRIS), researchers carried out a statewide study of preschool classroom quality in Tennessee using 3 distinct classroom observation measures that included the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale-Revised (ECERS-R), the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS), and the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale-Extension (ECERS-E). Researchers found that Tennessee preschool classrooms that were approaching "good" quality on ECERS-R and provided a mid-to-high emotional and engaging climate as indicated by CLASS, were only minimal on the ECERS-E and CLASS Instructional Support domain. The ECERS-R, which is the measure utilized in the Tennessee QRIS, indicated a "good" rating. However, classrooms generally performed poorly on measures of instructional support and curriculum using CLASS and ECERS-E. This finding illuminates the importance of the tool selected to measure quality in state quality rating and improvement systems and has implications for policy as states work to build systems that enhance quality in early care and education.

What can we learn from the Educare implementation study?

Educare implementation study findings--August 2012
Yazejian, Noreen, 01/01/2012
Chapel Hill, NC: FPG Child Development Institute. Retrieved September 4, 2012, from http://www.fpg.unc.edu/sites/default/files/resources/reports-and-policy-briefs/FPG%20Demonstrating%20Results%20-%20August%202012%20-%20Final.pdf

Findings from an implementation study of 12 Educare schools suggests that the program is preparing at-risk children ages 0-5 for later academic success. Educare is a full-day, full-year high-quality early care and education program for at risk children ages birth to 5. The evaluation data, collected in each school from the fall of 2007 through the spring of 2011, show that more years of attendance in Educare are associated with better school readiness and vocabulary skills. Additionally, Educare children were found to enter kindergarten with average or above average socio-emotional skills.

Is there a relationship between the Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) program and school readiness?

The home instruction for parents of preschool youngsters program's relationship with mother and school outcomes
Johnson, Ursula Y., 09/01/2012

This study examined the relationship between participation in the Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) program and mothers' involvement in education at home and school, student school readiness in kindergarten, and student academic outcomes at 3rd grade. The HIPPY program is delivered to families in their home through home visits and the curriculum's focus is on language, problem solving, sensory and visual discrimination, and fine and gross motor skills. The study was conducted in two of seven Texas HIPPY sites and served primarily a minority, low-income family population. Results indicate that HIPPY mothers increased educational activities in their home with their children after 1 year of home-based intervention. Additionally, the majority of HIPPY kindergartners were rated as 'ready for school' by their kindergarten teachers. Analyses also showed that HIPPY kindergartners had higher attendance rates, enrollment, and higher promotion to 1st grade compared to other kindergartners in the school district. Finally, HIPPY 3rd graders scored significantly higher on a state-mandated math achievement test compared to their matched peers. Limitations of the study and further areas for research are also discussed.

Can the use of five-frames as an instructional tool support pre-kindergarten children's mathematical learning and development?

Developing number sense in pre-k with five-frames
McGuire, Patrick, 08/01/2012

While past research has looked at how ten-frames have been used to support math education in young children, less attention has been paid to the use of five-frames as an instructional tool. Five-frames are used to create a visual representation for numbers, one that can also be interactive for young children. The researchers find that using five-frames as an instructional tool can facilitate mathematical learning and development. Specifically, the ability to physically manipulate the five-frames support counting and the development of number sense for children in pre-kindergarten.

To what extent are the physical and psychological literacy environments of preschool classrooms associated with children's literacy gains?

The literacy environment of preschool classrooms: Contributions to children's emergent literacy growth
Guo, Ying, 08/01/2012

This study examined the relations among classroom physical literacy environments and psychological literacy environments, and children's gains in emergent literacy. Thirty preschool teachers and children enrolled in 38 centres participated in the study. Results indicate that features of the physical literacy environment did not have a direct association with children's gains in emergent literacy with the exception of quality of literacy environment being a positive and significant predictor of gains in alphabet knowledge. Additionally, results indicate that physical and psychological literacy environments are interdependent with respect to writing materials, in that the presence of writing materials was positively and significantly associated with children's growth in alphabet knowledge and name-writing ability only within the context of high-quality, instructionally supportive classrooms.

How are states using new administrative data on child care subsidy programs?

New data on child care subsidy programs
Spears, John, 08/01/2012

This research brief examines how states are using administrative data on child care subsidy programs, with a specific focus on the steps being taken in Virginia, South Carolina, and Maryland. These three states have been using the data to improve or transition their respective child care subsidy programs. Virginia is working to consolidate data to more easily identify where children attend child care with subsidy dollars. In South Carolina, work is taking place to make data more available and accessible to non-technical staff. In Maryland, this data has been linked with assessments of kindergarten readiness, which has allowed the state to better analyze and identify the outcomes that result from the subsidy program.

What can we learn from the Palm Beach County Afterschool Educator Certificate program?

Moving from afterschool training to the workplace: The second year of the Palm Beach County Afterschool Educator Certificate Program
Baker, Stephen, 01/01/2012
Chicago: University of Chicago, Chapin Hall Center for Children. Retrieved July 24, 2012, from http://www.chapinhall.org/sites/default/files/afterschool_training_to_the_workplace_7_16_12_0.pdf

This report presents findings from an evaluation of the second year of the Palm Beach County Afterschool Educator Certificate (PBC-AEC) Program, which provides after school program staff with courses on youth development and after school practice. Findings indicate overall, positive outcomes for participants. These outcomes include: practitioner understanding of seven distinct test topics; a range of ways in which their organizations support the use of PBC-AEC training; reported use by graduates of the full range of knowledge and skills taught in PBC-AEC; and PBC-AEC graduates who were surveyed between 12 and 18 months after completing training were all still in the after school field (and all but one was in the same job as at the time of training). These, and other findings, are discussed by the authors.

Is there a relationship between time spent in child care during the kindergarten year and child achievement?

Kindergarten child care experiences and child achievement and socioemotional skills
Claessens, Amy, 07/01/2012

This study used a nationally representative sample of kindergartners to examine the relationship between child care experiences during the kindergarten year and children's academic and socioemotional skills. Differences were further explored by full- and part-day kindergarten. The results indicated that across both full- and part-day kindergarten more hours of center care during the kindergarten year were associated with small improvements in math test scores for all children. Additionally, center child care was consistently related to lower teacher rated positive skills and more externalizing behaviors even after accounting for a wide range of child and family background characteristics. Limitations of the study and policy implications are also discussed.

What are parents' perceptions of quality and experiences with using subsidized child care?

Parent experiences with state child care subsidy systems and their perceptions of choice and quality in care selected
Raikes, Helen, 07/01/2012

A telephone survey of 659 parents receiving child care subsidies in 4 states showed generally positive ratings of accessibility and reliability of subsidies, but 40% of parents reported they experienced a disruption in their eligibility for subsidies. The majority of parents rated the quality of the care as excellent(73.6%), although this varied by type of care, with parents who chose registered family child care rating their overall child care quality higher than parents who chose infant center-based care.

Is there an association between preschool children's social functioning and their emergent academic skills?

The association between preschool children's social functioning and their emergent academic skills
Arnold, David H., 07/01/2012

In this study, researchers examined the relationship between social functioning and emergent academic development. They also examined gender, ethnicity, and children's feelings about school to see if those variables influenced that relationship. Data from 467 preschool children from 84 classrooms at 44 different centers were collected by researchers as part of a larger study on preventing academic and externalizing difficulties. It was found that better social functioning was associated with stronger academic development. Attention problems were related to poorer academic development, after accounting for aggression and social skills. Children' s social skills were still related to academic development after taking into account attention and aggression problems. These findings are consistent with models that suggest that children's social strengths and difficulties are independently related to their academic development. These and other important findings are presented by the authors.

What relationship exists between home visiting frequency and family involvement among home-based Head Start programs?

Home-based Head Start and family involvement: An exploratory study of the associations among home visiting frequency and family involvement dimensions
Manz, Patricia Holliday, 08/01/2012

While Head Start as a topic of study and research has received significant attention over the decades, a majority of this research has focused on the center-based component of Head Start. This study sought to fill the research gap of the home-based component of Head Start, and specifically to discover what relationship, if any, exists between home visiting frequency and family involvement. In this exploratory study, data was collected from 74 families who were enrolled in a home-based Head Start program. The researchers found that two parent families had greater levels of involvement in their child's schooling, and that Hispanic families had greater home visiting frequency compared to Caucasian and African-American families. However, the results of the study did not reveal an association between home visiting frequency and family involvement.

What should be considered when validating quality rating and improvement systems to help ensure accurate and meaningful ratings?

Validation of quality rating and improvement systems for early care and education and school-age care
United States. Administration for Children and Families. Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, 04/01/2012
(Research-to-Policy, Research-to-Practice Brief OPRE2012-29). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved June 20, 2012, from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre/cc/childcare_technical/reports/val_qual_early.pdf

This brief discusses what Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS) stakeholders should consider when validating their state's QRIS to ensure that program quality standards and measurement strategies are resulting in accurate and meaningful ratings. The authors recommend that states should develop a comprehensive validation plan that includes four approaches: examine the validity of key underlying concepts; examine the measurement strategies and the psychometric properties of the measures used to assess quality; assess the outputs of the rating process; and relate ratings to children's development.

What impact do child care subsidies have on child care quality?

Child-care subsidies: Do they impact the quality of care children experience?
Johnson, Anna D., 07/01/2012

Using the newly available and nationally representative Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort (ECLS-B) dataset, this study sought to determine what impact child care subsidies have on low-income children's access to higher quality child care. Within the dataset, the authors specifically focused on 750 low-income families that were eligible for child care subsidies. Child care quality was measured using the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale-Revised Edition (ECERS-R) for center-based settings and the Family Day Care Rating Scale (FDCRS) for home-based care. An analysis of the data revealed that children eligible for child care subsidies experienced higher quality care compared to non-recipients who do not use publicly funded child care, but still lower than non-recipients who used Head Start or public pre-K. These findings suggest that while subsidies have the ability to enhance child care quality, parents are still not accessing the highest quality care available for their children.

Can online supports enhance teachers' open-ended questioning in pre-K activities

Impact of online support for teachers' open-ended questioning in pre-k science activities
Lee, Youngju, 05/01/2012

This study examined the effects of teacher supports on enhancing teachers' open-ended questioning in pre-kindergarten activities. All participating teachers taught in a state-funded pre-kindergarten program targeting four to five-year-old children who were at-risk of later school failure. The blended teacher supports consisted of online video demonstrations of questioning techniques, and workshop activities. Teachers were randomly assigned to either a treatment group (received the curricula along with blended supports) or a control group (received the curricula only). The total sample consisted of 25 teachers. Findings revealed that the treatment group teachers used more open-ended questions than control group teachers. Additionally, students in the treatment group used a great number of different words and more complex sentences than those in the control group. The small sample size is noted as one of the limitations of the study and the authors suggest replicating the study with a larger number of participating classrooms to enable control of any school level influences. Other limitations and suggestions for future research are also presented.

Are there associations between home language and literacy practices, and children's early literacy skills in both English and Spanish?

The home literacy environment and Latino Head Start children's emergent literacy skills
Farver, Jo Ann M., 04/01/2013

Researchers examined children's early literacy skills in both English and Spanish at entry to preschool and investigated patterns of associations among these skills and their families' home language and literacy practices. Researchers found parents' literacy-related behaviors, sibling-child reading, and families' literacy resources were all associated with children's English oral language skills. Further, their English print knowledge was associated with their home resources. For the Spanish language home literacy environments, only parents' literacy-related behaviors were related to children's Spanish oral language and print knowledge skills. Researchers report no significant cross-linguistic relationships between the English home literacy environment and children's Spanish pre-literacy skills. Moreover, parents' literacy-related behaviors in Spanish were negatively related to children's English oral language and phonological awareness skills. These and other findings are discussed by the authors.

What relationship exists between early childhood education programs and adult outcomes?

Adult outcomes as a function of an early childhood educational program: An Abecedarian Project follow-up
Campbell, Frances A., 07/01/2012

This study served as the 30 year follow up to the Abecedarian Project, a randomized controlled trial that focused on low-income infants in early childhood education programs. In the original study, 111 low-income children in North Carolina experienced educational activities designed to promote positive development in a full-time child care program. These intensive activities began as early as six weeks of age and continued until Kindergarten entry. Of the 111 children who participated in the original study, 101 also participated in the 30 year follow up. The results indicated that, compared to a control group, children who participated in the Abecedarian Project completed more years of schooling (13.46 years vs 12.31 years), and also were more likely to hold full time employment. However, there was no significant difference with regard to high school graduation rates, earned income, and criminal involvement. Overall, the long-term benefits of the program seemed to be more correlated to educational outcomes than economic or social outcomes.

What were the effects of the Enhanced Early Head Start program model?

Enhanced Early Head Start with employment services: 42-month impacts from the Kansas and Missouri sites of the Enhanced Services for the Hard-to-Employ Demonstration and Evaluation Project [Executive summary]
United States. Administration for Children and Families. Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, 02/01/2012
(OPRE Report 2012-05). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved March 26, 2012, from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre/welfare_employ/enhanced_hardto/reports/kansas_missouri.pdf

This summary describes the final results of a random-assignment evaluation in Kansas and Missouri of the Enhanced Early Head Start, a two-generational program model that offered families parental employment and educational services in addition to Early Head Start (EHS) services. Findings include: EHS programs had difficulties implementing the employment enhancement services; children involved in the program were more likely to be in formal child care- particularly EHS or Head Start; and the Enhanced EHS did not have significant impacts on parental employment or economic outcomes.

What lessons can we learn about implementing teacher coaching from the Head Start CARES demonstration?

Coaching as a key component in teachers' professional development: Improving classroom practices in Head Start settings
United States. Administration for Children and Families. Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, 02/01/2012
(OPRE Report 2012-04). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved March 26, 2012, from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre/hs/cares/reports/coaching_key.pdf

This report focuses on the planning and implementation of coaching in Head Start CARES (Classroom-based Approaches and Resources for Emotion and Social Skill Promotion). The Head Start CARES demonstration is a large-scale national research study designed to test the effects of programs to enhance social-emotional development in Head Start settings over the course of a year. The demonstration randomly assigned 104 Head Start centers within 17 sites across the country to one of three social-emotional models or a comparison group. Lead teachers and teaching assistants were coached in one of the three models (Incredible Years, Preschool PATHS, or Tools of the Mind). Some of the key findings included the following: administrators need to choose the model that best suits their context; communication about the models goals, and objectives should include everyone involved in the process; successful coaches exhibited a combination of skills in 3 important areas, namely knowledge of program, general coaching and consultation skills, and knowledge and experience in early childhood development or teaching; teachers need time and privacy to reflect on implementation processes with coaches; site level administrators must be actively engaged in supporting and supervising coaching as well as general implementation processes; and building an infrastructure that allows for continuous quality assurance and monitoring is essential.

What impact has the Strong Start Pre-K learning curriculum had on preschool students' socioemotional learning?

Promoting social and emotional learning in preschool students: A study of Strong Start Pre-K
Gunter, Leslie, 06/01/2012

This evaluation examines Strong Start Pre-K, an evidence-based learning curriculum that seeks to facilitate socioemotional learning by reducing students internalizing problem behaviors. In this quasi-experimental study, 52 preschool students in Utah participated in this learning curriculum, while data collection consisted of teacher ratings across a variety of dependent variables, including emotional regulation, internalizing behaviors, and the quality of the relationship between teacher and student. An analysis of the data revealed that students who participated in this learning curriculum showed a significant decrease in internalizing behaviors, as well as an improved relationship with the teacher. The results also revealed additional positive benefits that came from booster sessions that supplemented the activities of the curriculum.

Is there evidence for the validity of the Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scale (ECERS-R)?

An assessment of the validity of the ECERS-R with implications for measures of child care quality and relations to child development
Gordon, Rachel A., 01/01/2013

Researchers assess the three aspects of the validity of the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale-Revised: response process validity, structural validity, and criterion validity, based on an analysis of data from 1,350 centers and preschools from a national longitudinal study of children. Researchers failed to find evidence that the ECERS-R measures a single global aspect of quality or six subscales of quality. On the other hand, researchers report that associations with alternative measures of quality related to developmentally appropriate practice were often significant, were moderate to large, and highest for correlations between ECERS-R factors and alternative measures of similar constructs. However, there was less evidence of criterion validity for developmental research. In other words, the ECERS-R total score and its factor scores were rarely significantly associated with child outcomes, and, when they were, the associations were small. Implications for policy, practice, and future use of this instrument are discussed.

What are optimal end-of-preschool letter-naming benchmarks for predicting first-grade literacy achievement?

How many letters should preschoolers in public programs know?: The diagnostic efficiency of various preschool letter-naming benchmarks for predicting first-grade literacy achievement
Piasta, Shayne B., 11/01/2012

The purpose of this study was to examine the utility of various letter-naming benchmarks in terms of the extent to which these predict children's successful acquisition of literacy skills in elementary school. The study was based on a sample of 371 children, enrolled in public or state-subsidized preschool programs. Children were assessed in the spring of preschool and again 2 years later during the spring of first grade. Results indicate optimal benchmarks of 18 uppercase and 15 lowercase letters when considering three literacy outcomes:letter-word identification, spelling, and passage comprehension. Limitations of the study and future research areas are also examined.

What can neuroscience research teach us about early education policies and practices?

Introduction to the special issue on neuroscience perspectives on early development and education
Twardosz, Sandra, 01/01/2012

This introduction to a special issue on perspectives on early development and education looks at how neuroscience research and perspectives are being integrated into early care and education policies and practices. While the articles in this issue focus on the various ways that this integration is taking place, it also serves as a primer for neuroscience research in general. Specific issues related to early care and education that are discussed include classroom-based learning, the different ways that young children learn, and the early childhood field and community in general. Read the articles in this special issue: Neuroscience in the capital: Linking brain research and federal early childhood programs and policies; Starting well: Connecting research with practice in preschool learning; Insights from cognitive neuroscience: The importance of executive function for early reading development and education; and Effects of experience on the brain: The role of neuroscience in early development and education.

How can CCDF help influence the health and safety of all children in child care?

What can CCDF learn from the research on children's health and safety in child care?
Banghart, Patti, 03/01/2012
(OPRE Report No. 2012-26, Child Care and Development Fund--Research Synthesis Brief Series Brief No. 03). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved April 23, 2012, from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre/other_resrch/tanf_ccdf/reports/synthesis_brief.pdf

This brief, part of a series of three Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) research syntheses, highlights the research on health and safety components in child care to inform lead agencies as they consider ways to support licensing and other systems that influence children's health and safety. The research is broadly grouped according to key CCDF health and safety categories: prevention and control of infectious disease; building and physical premises safety; and health and safety training. The research is also grouped by additional components affecting children's health -- nutrition and physical activity, health screenings and consultations, and mental health screenings and consultation. Other briefs in the series include Client-friendly strategies: What can CCDF learn from research on other systems and A summary of research on how CCDF policies affect providers.

How can levels of child care quality among family care providers inform professional development efforts?

Identifying profiles of quality in home-based child care
United States. Administration for Children and Families. Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, 04/01/2012
(Issue Brief OPRE 2012-20). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved April 23, 2012, from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre/cc/childcare_technical/reports/identifying_profiles.pdf

This research brief, sponsored by the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (OPRE) and based on the Quality Interventions for Early Care and Education (QUINCE) Partnerships for Inclusion (PFI) study, created profiles of child care quality among a sample of family child care providers. The goal of the study was to inform content for home-based provider professional development. For this report, data from observations and surveys were collected from 341 family child care providers. The data revealed that 88% of the providers fell into low or moderate quality groups; some of the main characteristics that separated providers into quality groups included amounts of experience and training, licensing status and subsidy density, provider attitudes, and membership in professional organizations.

Is there a relationship between activity settings and daily routines in a preschool classroom and children's school readiness skills?

Activity settings and daily routines in preschool classrooms: Diverse experiences in early learning settings for low-income children
Fuligni, Allison Sidle, 04/01/2012

This study examined the daily classroom routines experienced by low-income 3- and 4-year-old children in public center-based preschool programs, private center-based programs, and family child care homes. The children spent time in either a High Free-Choice pattern, in which activities were child-directed with low amounts of teacher-directed activity, or in a Structured-Balanced pattern, in which children spent equal proportions of their day engaged in child-directed free-choice activities and teacher-directed small- and whole-group activities. Results indicate that children in Structured-Balanced classrooms had more opportunities to engage in language, literacy, and math activities, while children in High Free-Choice classrooms had more opportunities for gross motor and fantasy play. Additionally, while being in a Structured-Balanced classroom was associated with children's language scores, it was not associated with measures of children's math reasoning, or socioemotional behavior. Implications and areas for further research are also highlighted.

What is the relationship between instruction in Spanish in pre-kindergarten classrooms and child outcomes for English language learners?

Instruction in Spanish in pre-kindergarten classrooms and child outcomes for English language learners
Burchinal, Margaret, 04/01/2012

This study examined the relationship between the early learning skills of English language learners (ELLs)and the amount of instruction that was given in their native Language, Spanish. Specifically, the researchers focused on language, reading, and math skills, and also observed the quality of interactions between teacher and child. The sample consisted of 357 Spanish-speaking 4-year-old children at state-funded pre-kindergarten programs across 11 states, and the data was pulled from the the National Center for Early Development and Learning's (NCEDL) Multi-State Study of Pre-Kindergarten, as well as the the NCEDL-NIEER State-Wide Early Education Programs Study (SWEEP Study). The results showed that the Spanish speaking preschoolers scored higher on reading and math skills when taught these skills in Spanish, and when taught by teachers who were more sensitive and responsive to the needs of the children.

What is the current role of laboratory schools at institutes of higher education?

Introduction to the special issue on university laboratory preschools in the 21st century
Elicker, James, 03/01/2012

This Special Issue is on university laboratory preschools in the 21st century. Laboratory schools, which exist at institutes of higher education for the purposes of education, research, and service, have been prominent settings for child development and early education research for the better part of a century. However, today, as more studies on child development are conducted on larger populations and more diverse sample sizes, some are questioning the future of these schools. The articles in this special issue explore the role that laboratory schools will play in the 21st century. Read the articles in this special issue: Laboratory schools as places of inquiry: A collaborative journey for two laboratory schools'; Child development laboratory schools as generators of knowledge in early childhood education: New models and approaches'; Using a logic model to evaluate undergraduate instruction in a laboratory preschool'; Preservice teachers' emotion-related regulation and cognition: Associations with teachers' responses to children's emotions in early childhood classrooms'; How three young toddlers transition from an infant to a toddler child care classroom: Exploring the influence of peer relationships, teacher expectations, and changing social contexts'; and Creating a classroom of inquiry at the University of California at Berkeley: The Harold E. Jones Child Study Center'.

What is the impact of the Program for Infant/Toddler Care (PITC)?

Evaluation of Program for Infant/Toddler Care (PITC): An on-site training of caregivers
Weinstock, Phyllis, 03/01/2012
(NCEE 2012-4003). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance. Retrieved March 7, 2012, from http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/edlabs/regions/west/pdf/REL_20124003.pdf

This experimental study examined the Program for Infant/Toddler Care (PITC) intervention in 251 child care programs, including 92 child care centers and 159 licensed family child care homes and 936 children in Southern California and Arizona. The study looked at the impact on children's cognitive, language, social, and behavioral skills, after 6 months of full delivery of the program; it also examined child care quality 4 months after the end of the program. Results of the study showed that PITC did not have a statistically significant effect on children's cognitive/language scores or on behavior scores, nor did it have a statistically significant effect on program global quality scores. The study however, highlights the difficulties of sustained program participation in an intensive, long-term intervention.

Can a pilot mental health consultation intervention with early childhood staff enhance preschool programs' ability to support children's socioemotional development?

An intervention to increase early childhood staff capacity for promoting children's social-emotional development in preschool settings
Green, Beth L., 04/01/2012

Authors describe the development, implementation, and outcomes of a pilot intervention designed to enhance preschool programs' ability to support children's social-emotional development through their work with two Head Start programs. The intervention included the restructuring of early childhood mental health consultation services, engaging programs in mental health-specific strategic planning, providing training to program staff in early childhood mental health best practices and implementing staff wellness activities to promote a healthy organizational climate and culture. Authors report significant improvement over time in terms of reduced staff stress, increased levels of understanding of best practices in early childhood mental health, and evidence of a shared understanding of how best to meet children's mental health needs. Management and teaching staff appeared to benefit most, compare do other staff types. Ongoing strategic planning, supporting staff wellness, and effective use of mental health consultants is recommended. These and other findings are discussed by the authors.

What coaching and quality assistance strategies related to quality rating improvement systems (QRIS) are being used to improve quality in early care and education programs and home-based settings?

Coaching and quality assistance in quality rating improvement systems: Approaches used by TA providers to improve quality in early care and education programs and home-based settings
Smith, Sheila, 01/01/2012
New York: Columbia University, National Center for Children in Poverty. Retrieved February 7, 2012, from http://nccp.org/publications/pdf/text_1047.pdf

This report presents results of in-depth interviews with technical assistance providers in 17 states that have statewide Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS). The results highlight features of quality assistance they are providing as part of a QRIS, including: TA providers? efforts to strengthen different aspects of quality, the coaching methods TA providers use, and the support TA providers receive to do their work. The report presents recommendations for strengthening quality assistance in QRISs, documenting TA providers? activities and their relationship to quality improvement, and providing effective supports for the work of TA providers.

What predicts delayed school entry and kindergarten retention among linguistically and ethnically diverse children?

Child, family, and childcare predictors of delayed school entry and kindergarten retention among linguistically and ethnically diverse children
Winsler, Adam, 09/01/2012

This study drew on a sample of 13,191 4 year old children, who participated in the Miami School Readiness Project. The Miami School Readiness Project involved a large countywide, community-based sample of low-income children who were either receiving subsidies to attend childcare or attending pre-K programs in the public schools. The children were assessed for multiple dimensions of school readiness at age 4 years and then followed into their kindergarten year. This study examined the extent to which individual and child and family demographic variables (gender, age, free/reduced lunch, marital status, English language learners status, maternal education, ethnicity) are associated with delayed entry and kindergarten retention. The results indicated that delayed kindergarten entry was rare for this sample but more likely among boys, native English speakers, those with poorer school readiness, less maternal education and greater resources, and those who attended child care rather than public pre-K. After controlling for school readiness results indicated that poor students, native english speakers and those who attended public pre-K programs were less likely to be retained. Additionally, after controlling for children's actual performance in kindergarten their 1st time, Caucasian children and children with lower language and social skills at age 4 were more likely to repeat kindergarten. Limitations of the study and further research needs are also discussed.

What are the best approaches and measures for assessing Spanish?English bilingual preschoolers?

Assessing Spanish-English bilingual preschoolers: A guide to best approaches and measures
Barrueco, Sandra, 01/01/2012
Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Publishing

This new book, published by Brookes Publishing, serves as a comprehensive and exhaustive resource into the various approaches and measures available to assess the rising population of Spanish-English dual language learners in preschool in America. This resource features descriptions and analyses of 37 developmental assessments, as well as evaluations of the effectiveness of assessments, and also the instances for which each assessment is culturally and linguistically appropriate. Issues related to scoring, standardization, norming, validity, and reliability are also discussed. This book can be used by program administrators, curriculum developers, and other professionals in the field.

What can we learn about Head Start children, families, and programs from the 2009 FACES data?

Head Start children, families, and programs: Present and past data from FACES
United States. Administration for Children and Families. Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, 12/01/2011
(OPRE Report 2011-33a). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved February 13, 2012, from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre/hs/faces/reports/present_past.pdf

This OPRE-sponsored report, based on the data collected from the 2009 Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey, begins to create a picture of young children who entered Head Start programs during the Fall of 2009. This is the fifth in a series of national studies looking at Head Start programs. Data for this cohort was collected from 60 Head Start programs across the country. The report discusses findings from the data about all aspects of Head Start programs, including child characteristics, parent and family characteristics, Head Start classrooms and teachers, and resources at the community, state, and federal level. In addition, the researchers paid special attention to characteristics regarding child growth and development, and especially how these related to school readiness. (See also, the FACES 2009 datasets: ?Data tables for FACES 2009 Head Start children, families, and programs: Present and past data from FACES report'.

How does use of a comprehensive system of prevention and early intervention services relate to child and family outcomes?

Supporting low-income parents of young children: The Palm Beach County family study fifth annual report
Spielberger, Julie, 01/01/2011
Chicago: University of Chicago, Chapin Hall Center for Children. Retrieved February 7, 2012, from http://www.chapinhall.org/sites/default/files/pcb_family_study_Y5-FINAL.pdf

This study presents the final report of a 5-year longitudinal study of The Maternal Child Health Partnership (MCHP). MCHP is a comprehensive system of early intervention and prevention services for low income families developed by the Children's Services Council of Palm Beach County, Florida. The goal of the study was to investigate families' patterns of service use over time and to see if and how service use was related to child and family outcomes. The investigation was based on administrative data on family characteristics, service use, and interviews with a sample of parents. Family characteristics and service use measured prior to year 5 and maternal and child outcomes at year 5 included measures of maternal depression, parenting stress, and parenting practices (both positive and negative). Children's outcomes studied included maternal reports of children?s development in language, cognition, and social-emotional behaviors and teachers' assessments of their school readiness. Investigators found little evidence of a relationship between overall service use and maternal and child outcomes, or between specific types of services (e.g., parent information and education) and mothers' and teachers' reports of child development and school readiness. While the emerging system of care in Palm Beach County did engage many at-risk families in need of services through the MCHP, the researchers suggest many areas for improvement, including improving the quality of parenting supports, education and access to and quality of early care and education, and increasing efforts to help families stay involved with needed services over time. These and other findings and recommendations are presented by the authors.

What can we learn from Minnesota's Quality Rating and Improvement System?

Evaluation of Parent Aware: Minnesota's quality rating and improvement system pilot: Final evaluation report
Tout, Kathryn, 12/01/2011
Minneapolis, MN: Minnesota Early Learning Foundation. Retrieved April 18, 2014, from http://www.melf.nonprofitoffice.com/vertical/Sites/%7B3D4B6DDA-94F7-44A4-899D-3267CBEB798B%7D/uploads/Final_Parent_Aware_Evaluation_Report_12.15.2011.pdf

This report evaluated Parent Aware, Minnesota's quality rating and improvement system, which completed its fourth and final pilot year during the summer of 2011. A unique goal of Parent Aware was to develop and use a rating tool that would be helpful for parents as they make decisions about their children’s child care. Sponsored by the Minnesota Early Learning Foundation and produced by Child Trends, this report examined enrollment patterns, quality improvement services, school readiness, and parent perceptions of Parent Aware. The report focuses on the implementation of Parent Aware, and provides validation analyses to properly assess levels of quality. The report concludes with a synthesis of the findings as well as recommendations for future steps.

What encourages exploration of science materials in a preschool classroom?

Science in the classroom: Finding a balance between autonomous exploration and teacher-led instruction in preschool settings
Nayfeld, Irena , 11/01/2011

This study examined children's use of science materials, specifically the balance scale, in preschool classrooms during their free choice time. The study was conducted in six urban preschool classrooms in central New Jersey and consisted of three experimental classes and three control classes. After collecting baseline observations of children's presence in the science area during their free choice time, and their knowledge about the balance scale and its function, the second phase of the study included an intervention phase. Children in experimental classrooms participated in two large-group lessons about the balance scale, while the same adult conducted an interactive discussion about a different science topic in the control classrooms. Results indicated that while at baseline children did not know the scale's name or function, children's voluntary presence and exploration in the science area increased after the balance scale intervention compared to control classrooms. Additionally, children who participated in the intervention demonstrated improved knowledge about the scale's function, whereas students in the comparison group did not. Implications for policy and practice are discussed.

To what extent is the REDI preschool curriculum being sustained following a randomized controlled trial?

Examining the sustainability of an evidence-based preschool curriculum: The REDI program
Sanford DeRousie, Rebecca M., 01/01/2012

This study examined the extent to which the Research-Based, Developmentally Informed (REDI) preschool curriculum was sustained by teachers a year following a randomized controlled trial. Teacher ratings, REDI coach ratings, and teacher interviews were conducted to determine sustainability of the curriculum. Higher rates of sustainability were found for the social-emotional component (Preschool PATHS) than for the language and literacy components. Researchers suggest that while all teachers valued the program, barriers to sustained implementation included competing activity requirements and mixed messages about program commitment to the sustainability efforts. These and other results are discussed.

What effect do activity breaks have on the physical activity levels of preschoolers ?

Break for physical activity: Incorporating classroom-based physical activity breaks into preschools
Wadsworth, Danielle D., 01/01/2012

Given that research is showing that children’s behaviors are becoming more sedentary, this study examined the impact of increasing the amount of physical activity taking place in preschool classrooms. For the present study, eighteen preschoolers were given ten minute breaks in the classroom, once in the morning and once in the afternoon. During this time, the preschoolers were engaged in physical activity, and they were also wearing accelerometers to measure their level of physical activity. The results found increased levels of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA), which is important to child development. The results also showed that children experienced MVPA during these breaks rather than during their unstructured recess.

What impact would wage incentives have on the early childhood workforce?

Strengthening the early childhood workforce: How wage incentives may boost training and job stability
Bridges, Margaret, 11/01/2011

This study examined what impact wage incentives might have on strengthening the early childhood workforce. Specifically, researchers sought to determine if wage incentives might promote more in-service training and reduce teacher turnover. Over the course of three years, nearly 2,800 preschool center directors, teachers, and aides in the classroom in California's Child-care Retention Initiative (CRI) were followed and observed. Participation in CRI consisted of different combinations of wage supplements, as well as additional professional development for those who were seeking training at the college level. Researchers found that among those who participated in the program, there was a lower rate of job turnover. Further, those who participated in the program were likely to complete college-level professional development training courses. The program had its strongest effects on lower paid staff members, such as teaching aides. However, data also revealed that working in a Head Start program was consistently associated with job turnover.

Can a media-rich intervention improve the early literacy outcomes of low-income preschoolers?

Supplementing literacy instruction with a media-rich intervention: Results of a randomized controlled trial
Penuel, William R., 01/01/2012

This study examined whether a curriculum supplement using digital content from public educational television programs could improve early literacy outcomes of low-income preschoolers. The study sample consisted of 436 children in 80 preschool classrooms in California and New York. Preschool teachers were randomly assigned to implement either a media-rich early literacy intervention or to implement a media-rich supplement focused on science. The results indicate that a media-rich literacy supplement can have a positive impact on early literacy skills of preschoolers from low-income backgrounds. Additionally, teachers reported that they were able to guide the media engagement for their children as intended in the supplement. The authors conclude that incorporating literacy content from public media programming into curriculum supplements (as well as professional development) can impact early literacy outcomes of low-income children.

Are attendance rates predictive of gains in expressive language in high-quality preschool classrooms?

Children's attendance rates and quality of teacher-child interactions in at-risk preschool classrooms: Contribution to children's expressive language growth
Logan, Jessica A. R. , 12/01/2011

This set of studies examines whether daily attendance in classrooms with high-quality teacher-child interactions is associated with increased rates of language growth among children from lower socioeconomic status (SES) homes. In Study 1 the sample consisted of 129 children enrolled in 14 public needs-based preschool classrooms. In Study 2 the sample consisted of 160 children enrolled in publicly funded preschool classrooms also mainly serving children from low-income families. The results of both studies supported the hypothesis that attendance and classroom quality are positively related in predicting children's expressive language gains. Specifically, the results indicate that preschool attendance may compensate for high family risk in promoting children's language skills and social competence. Additionally, the findings indicate that classroom attendance is important within the context of high-quality classrooms for promoting language growth. Limitations and implications for future research are also presented.

Can the LEAP Model of early intervention help young children with Autism Spectrum Disorders?

Randomized, controlled trial of the LEAP model of early intervention for young children with Autism Spectrum Disorders
Strain, Phillip S., 11/01/2011

This study sought to examine what impact the Learning Experiences and Alternative Program for Preschoolers and Their Parents (LEAP) preschool model might have on young children with autism spectrum disorders. In this randomized and controlled study, the LEAP model was implemented in 28 inclusive preschool classrooms, with training and coaching given over the course of two years. Specifically, the LEAP model features additional teaching training, curriculum strategies, and practices to promote positive behaviors and social interactions. The researchers found that, compared to control classrooms, children in the LEAP classrooms had made greater progress in cognitive, language, social, and problem behavior. Further, these children showed improvements with their autism symptoms. Of note, the outcomes were not correlated to behavior at the beginning of the program, or with the socioeconomic status of the children's family. Rather, how teachers implemented the LEAP model and their thoughts about the model were correlated with child outcomes.

How well does the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) predict academic outcomes and the measurement of social interactions in classrooms serving English only and dual language learners?

Observations of teacher-child interactions in classrooms serving Latinos and dual language learners: Applicability of the Classroom Assessment Scoring System in diverse settings
Downer, Jason T., 01/01/2012

Researchers in this study examined the validity of the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) to predict academic outcomes and to measure social interactions in classrooms with English only and dual language learners. Data were collected and analyzed from 721 prekindergarten classrooms in 11 states. Direct assessments and teacher ratings of social, math, and literacy outcomes were collected for four randomly selected children in each classroom. Research suggests that teachers' emotional supportiveness, level of classroom organization, and high-quality instructional practices (as measured by the CLASS) play a role in children's developmental outcomes. The CLASS functions equally well as an assessment of the quality of teacher-child interactions in prekindergarten settings regardless of the proportion of Latino children and/or the language diversity of the children in that setting.

What high-quality practices in family-provider relationships are associated with positive family, child, and provider outcomes?

Family-provider relationships: A multidisciplinary review of high quality practices and associations with family, child, and provider outcomes
United States. Administration for Children and Families. Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, 10/01/2011
(Issue Brief OPRE 2011-26a). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved November 21, 2011, from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre/cc/childcare_technical/reports/family_provider_multi.pdf

This literature review explores practices in family engagement in children's learning and educational settings and family-sensitive care (i.e. practices that support parents and families in order to promote positive child development) and the relationship of these practices to positive child, family, and provider outcomes. The review found that the following were indicative of positive provider-family relationships: 1) provider attitudes such as respect, commitment, and openness; 2) provider knowledge on how families function, child development and effective parenting skills, and specific knowledge about the child and family; and 3) provider behaviors such as warmly supporting families and being flexible/responsive to children and families' needs, preferences, and culture. These practices were associated with positive child, family, and provider outcomes. For additional information see: ’Family engagement and family-sensitive caregiving: Identifying common core elements and issues related to measurement' & ’Quality rating and improvement systems (QRIS) and family-sensitive caregiving in early care and education arrangements: Promising directions and challenges'.

How do early childhood programs promote children's connection to and learning in natural outdoor spaces?

Young children and educators engagement and learning outdoors: A basis for rights-based programming
Blanchet-Cohen, Natasha, 09/01/2011

This study explored young children's and teacher's perspectives on engagement and learning opportunities outdoors. Participant observations, interactive activities, and focus groups with teachers in four early childhood programs in a medium sized city in Canada revealed that: there was a diversity of learning opportunities for children in natural outdoor space; the teacher's value of developmental opportunities in natural outdoor space helped to promote more learning in those settings; and a learning community of teachers that value children's learning in natural outdoor space is valuable in promoting learning outdoors.

Is there a relationship between early literacy skills and numeracy development?

Early literacy and early numeracy: The value of including early literacy skills in the prediction of numeracy development
Purpura, David J., 12/01/2011

For this study, researchers looked at whether early literacy skills could predict early numeracy skill development. Sixty-nine preschoolers between the ages of three and five were given two assessments: the Preschool Early Numeracy Skills (PENS) test and the Test of Preschool Early Literacy Skills (TOPEL). One year later, the same preschoolers were given the Preschool Early Numeracy Skills (PENS) test once again, as well as Applied Problems and Calculation subtests of the Woodcock– Johnson III Tests of Achievement. The test results found that early literacy skills were not only related to, but also predictive of numeracy skills. Specifically, vocabulary and print knowledge were predictive of future numeracy performance, but the results were less clear with phonological awareness.

How do states define and measure quality in their Quality Rating Systems?

The Child Care Quality Rating System (QRS) Assessment: Defining and measuring quality: An in-depth study of five child care quality rating and improvement systems
United States. Administration for Children and Families. Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, 08/01/2011
(OPRE Report 2011-29). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved September 28, 2011, from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre/cc/childcare_quality/five_childcare/five_childcare.pdf

This report, part of a series on Quality Rating Systems (QRS) sponsored by the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE), takes an in-depth look at 5 child care QRS programs and focuses on how to define and measure quality. The authors examined how states vary in their definitions and measurements for quality within their respective QRS programs, the reasons for such variations, how Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS) data is being used, and if QRIS data is consistent and reliable. Five QRS programs, Miami-Dade County, Florida; Illinois; Indiana; Pennsylvania; and Tennessee, were included in the report. Some of the criteria used to define and measure quality in the state programs included licensing, ratio and group size, staff qualifications, administration, accreditation, family partnerships, and environment, although there was much variation within these categories. The authors conclude by discussing the challenges that remain in finding reliable measures for quality and standardized methods for data collection and analysis. See the other reports from this series: The Child Care Quality Rating System (QRS) Assessment: Child care quality rating and improvement systems: Approaches to integrating programs for young children in two states; The Child Care Quality Rating System (QRS) Assessment: Measuring quality across three child care quality rating and improvement systems: Findings from secondary analyses; The Child Care Quality Rating System (QRS) Assessment: The Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) Evaluation Toolkit.

Can coaching early childhood special educators help them implement a comprehensive model for promoting young children's social competence?

Coaching early childhood special educators to implement a comprehensive model for promoting young children's social competence
Fox, Lise, 11/01/2011

This study examined how teaching training and coaching might help implementation of a model to promote the social competence of young children. Researchers worked with three early childhood special education teachers and coached them on the intervention practices and strategies related to the Teaching Pyramid Model, which was created as a framework to promote practices that support young child development in the social, emotional, and behavioral realms. Some of the coaching and training strategies included workshops, implementation guides, performance feedback, and other supplied materials. The researchers found a functional relationship between the teaching, coaching, and the implementation of the Teaching Pyramid Model, as the teachers were better able to incorporate some of the strategies related to the model. Implications related to implementation fidelity are discussed.

Does the quality of stimulation and support in the home moderate the effect of Early Head Start?

Does the quality of stimulation and support in the home environment moderate the effect of early education programs?
Bradley, Robert H., 11/01/2011

The purpose of the study was to determine how the quality of stimulation and support available to children at home may interact with participation in early education programs, specifically Early Head Start (EHS), to determine the course of cognitive, language, and behavioral development. The study relied on data from the national evaluation of EHS (EHSRE), which is a randomized trial of 3,001 children and families from 17 program sites. Findings from the study indicate that what children derive from participation in EHS varies based on the quality of socioemotional and learning support they receive at home. For certain outcomes (e.g. sustained attention), participation in the program appears to compensate for low levels of stimulation and support at home. However, for another outcome, achievement, there was evidence of possible "lost resources". In all cases however, the moderator effects were relatively small.

Is there a relationship between parental nonstandard work schedules and children's cognitive trajectories?

Parental work schedules and children's cognitive trajectories
Han, Wen-Jui, 10/01/2011

This study used data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY) to examine a sample of 7,105 children from ages 5 to 14. The study evaluated whether or not children's reading and math initial scores and trajectories might differ by parents' nonstandard work schedules (e.g. evenings, nights or irregular schedules). Findings indicated that having a mother who worked more years at a night shift might be related to lower reading scores, while having a father who worked more years at evening shifts might be related to lower math scores. Additionally, having a mother who worked more years at evening or night shifts might be related to slower math trajectories. In comparison, having a mother who worked more years at variable shifts was associated with significantly higher reading scores, and having a father who worked more years at night shifts was associated with significantly higher math scores. However, the results were small in magnitude. Mediation tests revealed that the some of the reasons maternal evening and night shifts may put children on a different cognitive trajectory may have to do with: maternal knowledge of children's whereabouts; eating meals together; or children doing household chores during after-school hours. Findings and implications for further research are also discussed.

What characteristics are related to the black-white achievement gap among low-income children?

Examining the black-white achievement gap among low-income children using the NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development
Burchinal, Margaret, 09/01/2011

Burchinal and colleagues use this longitudinal study to examine the Black-White achievement gap in a sample of low-income children. Participants were at 225% of the poverty threshold, which is a little more than an annual income of $49,000 for a family of four with two children. Data collection began when the children were 6 months of age and continued through fifth grade, the authors investigate how parenting, child care, school, and neighborhood characteristics are related to children’s school readiness and learning outcomes in the domains of reading and math. Although both White and Black children were low-income in this study, Black children were more likely to live with one parent in early and middle childhood, have parents with more authoritarian attitudes, receive less sensitive care at home and in child care during the early childhood years, live in more disadvantaged neighborhoods, and to attend schools with higher proportions of children from minority or poor backgrounds. Descriptive statistics indicate that children’s learning outcomes are correlated with cognitive skills at 36 months, maternal education, family income, parenting attitudes and practices, and school risk as defined by the proportion of poor or minority students attending the target child’s school. Inferential analyses indicated that an achievement gap, with Black children scoring lower, was present starting at 3 years of age. Further, results show that differences between Black and White children’s mathematics achievement decreases in the early elementary years and increases in later elementary school. This may suggest that both Black and White children begin school with few mathematics learning experiences that translate into mathematics achievement; thus, the school readiness gap in mathematics achievement is decreased. However, these gains level off over time as children continue in the elementary grades and likely have divergent educational experiences. Burchinal and colleagues also found that the quality of instruction was a stronger predictor for math achievement in Black students than in Whites. Taken as a whole, the authors suggest that a reduction in racial achievement gaps requires early educational interventions in the home and learning settings beginning in infancy and taking place through the school years.

What are the outcomes for youth participating in Providence's citywide after school system?

AfterZone: Outcomes for youth participating in Providence's citywide after-school system
Kauh, Tina J., 08/01/2011
Philadelphia: Public/Private Ventures. Retrieved August 26, 2010, from http://www.ppv.org/ppv/publications/assets/330_publication.pdf

AfterZone, is a city-wide after school program for middle-school students in Providence, Rhode Island. Evaluators examined youth program participation, engagement, and the impact of program participation on youth school- and health-related outcomes, social and personal skills, and community attitudes and awareness. Researchers analyzed surveys, school records and after school program administrative data of 763 youth from six Providence middle schools who were in the sixth grade at the start of the study. Results indicate that AfterZone yielded a broad range of benefits, including higher school attendance after one school year. While most of the observed benefits diminished by the end of the second school year, effects on attendance increased in magnitude with longer participation in the AfterZone program. These and other findings are discussed.

What are the experiences of immigrant mothers of young children in the U.S. in navigating the early care and education system?

Learning how to navigate U.S. society with young children: Experiences of immigrant mothers utilizing early childhood care and education
Vesely, Colleen K., 01/01/2011
Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Maryland, College Park

This dissertation study explored how mothers’ immigration stories influenced their adjustment to the U.S., how mothers’ experiences in their countries of origin (COO) coupled with experiences in the U.S. shaped their ideas of parenting, and finally how mothers learned to navigate the early care and education (ECE) system. Field observations and semi-structured interviews with 41 immigrant mothers with children enrolled in ECE programs in the Washington, DC area revealed: mother's immigration stories influenced their expectations of parenting in the U.S.; mothers drew from parenting ideas and practices in their COO and from the U.S. to create new distinct parenting ideas and practices; and mothers sometimes faced obstacles to securing ECE but gained important social capital as a result of utilizing ECE.

What roles do lead teachers feel assistant teachers play in prekindergarten classroom management and teaching?

Assistant teachers in prekindergarten programs: What roles do lead teachers feel assistants play in classroom management and teaching?
Sosinsky, Laura Stout, 07/01/2011

Researchers in this study surveyed lead teachers' perceptions of assistant teachers as well as differences in lead-teacher planning time in classrooms with and without assistants. The study was based on data collected from a nationally representative sample of prekindergarten classes during the 2003-2004 school year. Most classrooms had at least 1 paid assistant teacher, and classrooms with multiple assistants were more likely to be in Head Start. Lead teachers in public schools were more likely to have a bachelor’s degree or higher, to be paired with an assistant with a high school degree, and to report fewer release hours for planning than teachers in Head Start. Researchers indicated that assistant teachers were rated as most useful to teaching duties when the classroom was in a Head Start setting, when the discrepancy between the lead and assistant teachers' education was smaller, and when there were more shared release hours for planning. Implications for practice and policy point to the need for more shared planning time, guidance in the use of that time, and more support for the training of assistant teachers in their roles.

What is the level of vocabulary and math achievement of young children with disabilities from preschool through age 10?

A longitudinal view of the receptive vocabulary and math achievement of young children with disabilities
Carlson, Elaine, 08/01/2011
(NCSER 2011-3006). Washington, DC: National Center for Special Education Research. Retrieved August 25, 2011, from http://ies.ed.gov/ncser/pubs/20113006/pdf/20113006.pdf

This longitudinal study examined the vocabulary and math skills of special education preschool children. Using the nationally representative Pre-Elementary Education Longitudinal Study (PEELS), data was collected from over 3,100 children aged three to five until they were ten, using instruments, activities, and direct assessments. The study found that children with disabilities who receive preschool special education services were able to improve their skills. With regard to receptive vocabulary, young children with disabilities improved their skills from preschool to age 10, although the rate of improvement decreased as they aged. A similar pattern was found for math skills.

How do classroom dimensions predict early peer interaction among diverse children?

Classroom dimensions predict early peer interaction when children are diverse in ethnicity, race, and home language
Howes, Carollee, 10/01/2011

The researchers of this study tested a model designed to predict the peer interaction behaviors of preschool children of diverse race, ethnic, and home language backgrounds. The model itself used dimensions from the classroom, such as group size, affective climate of the classroom, teacher management, and other factors related to teacher-child relationship quality. As part of the National Evaluation of Early Head Start, eight hundred children were observed in classroom settings interacting with their peers, and the various classroom dimensions were observed as well. The researchers found that classroom dimensions had a significant impact on peer interaction behavior. For example, children in classrooms with smaller group sizes were more likely to engage in pretend play, and less likely to be a victim of peer aggression. In addition, children in these smaller classrooms were rated as less aggressive, as well as less anxious. In classrooms with lower peer climates, children were more likely to be the victim of aggressive peer behavior.

Are there differences in observed program quality for poor and low-income children enrolled in child care programs compared to their higher-income peers?

Family income, parent education, and perceived constraints as predictors of observed program quality and parent rated program quality
Torquati, Julia C., 10/01/2011

This study was based on a stratified random sample of full-day child care programs drawn from state-level child care licensing and subsidy files in four states (Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri). Observations were completed in 359 center- and home-based child care programs and surveys were received from 1313 parents whose children were enrolled in these programs. The study addressed two research questions: 1) Are poor and low-income children enrolled in programs that are comparable in quality to their higher-income peers? 2) Do poor and low-income parents perceive more constraints on their child care choices than non-low-income parents? Results indicate that programs with higher proportions of families who were low-income tended to have lower observed quality than programs with a higher proportion of non-low-income parents. Additionally, programs with more highly educated parents on average tended to have higher observed quality. However more highly educated parents tended to have lower perceptions of quality than parents in the same program with a lower level of educational attainment. Overall the study provides additional evidence of the difficulty of accessing quality child care for families with income between 100% and 200% of poverty.

How are CCDF funds being used across states and territories?

The CCDF policies database book of tables: Key cross-state variations in CCDF policies as of October 1, 2009
Minton, Sarah, 08/01/2011
(OPRE Report 2011-37). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation

This book of tables, using information collected in the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) policies database, examines the differences across CCDF programs in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and territories as of October 1, 2009. The 41 tables are grouped into five main policy areas: eligibility requirements for families and children; family application, terms of authorization, and redetermination; family payments; policies for providers, including maximum reimbursement rates; and overall administrative and quality information. Some limitations of the tables include: the inability to cover policies that vary within states; child care that is funded solely by TANF, and Tribal CCDF programs; and not all aspects of child care policy are covered including program administration and rules for child care licensing.

What does the research say regarding evaluation of early care and education practices for dual language learners?

Evaluating early care and education practices for dual language learners: A critical review of the research
Center for Early Care and Education Research: Dual Language Learners, 01/01/2011
(Research Brief No. 4). Chapel Hill, NC: Center for Early Care and Education Research: Dual Language Learners. Retrieved June 10, 2013, from http://cecerdll.fpg.unc.edu/sites/cecerdll.fpg.unc.edu/files/imce/documents/Brief%20%234%20EBP%20Final%207-15-11.pdf

This research brief, the fourth in a series from the OPRE-funded Center for Early Care and Education Research: Dual Language Learners, reviewed the literature related to evaluations of early care and education practices for dual language learners. The review focused on 24 peer-reviewed studies published in the United States from 2000-2010. The review found a wide range of practices and interventions, ranging from particular curricula and instructional techniques, to professional development activities. Further, among the studies reviewed, those interventions in which English was the primary language of instruction were found to have a greater impact on children's skills in English. Finally, further research must be performed on dual language learners in home settings, as well as children whose home language was not Spanish. ’View the other research briefs and bibliographies from Center for Early Care and Education Research: Dual Language Learners'.

What is the validity of Preschool Language Scale-4 when used with English-speaking Hispanic and European American children in Head Start programs?

Validity study of the Preschool Language Scale-4 with English-speaking Hispanic and European American children in Head Start programs
Qi, Cathy H., 08/01/2011

The results of a validation of the psychometric properties of the Preschool Language Scale-4 (PLS-4) with children from low-income families with diverse cultural backgrounds are presented in this paper. It is based on data from a sample of 440 English-speaking Hispanic and European American children aged, 3 through 5-years-old, from 41 Head Start classrooms in the Midwest. Evidence for validity is presented. Findings indicate that the PLS-4 in this study was less likely to identify a child as having a potential language delay than was the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-III. While the overall results support the validity of the PLS-4 for its intended purpose of assessing language skills with preschoolers, caution is recommended because of the possibility that it may under-identify children with potential language delays. These and other concerns are addressed. Authors stress that assessment best practice should combine the use of standardized tests with other informal language assessment, as well as clinical judgment, to gain a general picture of children's language abilities when compared with their same-aged peers.

What is the relation between caregiver education and caregiver practices related to early literacy and mathematics in family child care environments?

Family child care learning environments: Caregiver knowledge and practices related to early literacy and mathematics
Phillips, Beth M., 08/01/2011

This study examined the backgrounds, caregiving environments, practices, attitudes, and knowledge related to language, literacy and early mathematics development for preschool children among licensed or registered family child care providers in Florida. The results are based on a two part survey (the second part was mailed to those that completed the first part) that was mailed to sample participants representing the range of urban, suburban and rural areas within the state. While the overall response rate for the first part of the survey was very low (13%), the authors report that the sample did represent the full range of coalitions in the sampling frame and therefore did represent the state with respect to region and urban and rural areas. Results indicate that consistent with prior studies, home-based providers are older, less educated, work alone, and care for a wider age-range of children than center-based providers. Additionally, provider education was unrelated to performance on the knowledge assessment, whereas years of experience demonstrated some relations to caregiving practices. However, years of experience was negatively related to pedagogical knowledge. The authors conclude that policies such as increasing scholarships among family child care providers, and creating quality rating systems for these settings may be of benefit. Additionally, they suggest that what is needed is not just more training, but rather evidence-based professional development that specifically targets the early language, literacy, and math knowledge and instructional strategies of these providers.

What are the characteristics and effectiveness of feedback interventions applied in early childhood settings?

The characteristics and effectiveness of feedback interventions applied in early childhood settings
Casey, Amy M., 08/01/2011

This literature review analyzes performance feedback with educators using 19 studies that were conducted in early childhood settings. Performance feedback interventions in this case consist of ‘verbal, written, or graphical feedback’ directed at educators to promote best educator practices in the classroom. Predominantly verbal feedback was used in the studies. However, given that such feedback is temporary, notes and checklists may be advisable in addition to verbal feedback. Finding available and appropriate people to provide feedback is a challenge that researchers, supervisors and other program personnel must address. Additionally, individualized feedback based on one particular observation may inadvertently ignore overall performance; therefore more information is needed about the effectiveness of feedback on general improvement. Despite the lack of information about child outcomes and the limitations in existing studies on performance feedback, the research suggests that performance feedback intervention in early childhood classrooms is a useful addition to conventional training methods.

What are key strategies for creating a comprehensive system of supports for young children’s mental health?

Building strong systems of support for young children's mental health: Key strategies for states and a planning tool
Smith, Sheila, 06/01/2011
New York: Columbia University, National Center for Children in Poverty. Retrieved July 12, 2011, from http://nccp.org/publications/pdf/text_1016.pdf

This report describes key strategies for creating a comprehensive system of supports for young children’s mental health. It also provides examples from states that are developing and implementing these strategies, which include promoting early childhood mental health (ECMH) in home visiting and parenting programs; enhancing supports for ECMH in early care and education programs; screening parents for depression; screening children for social-emotional problems; developing a better-trained workforce to address the social-emotional needs of young children; using evidence-based practices and evaluation to promote effective ECMH programs; and supporting the well-being of exceptionally vulnerable children. Additionally, the report includes a tool that state planners can use to assess progress and plan steps toward building a strong system of early childhood mental health supports.

What were the effects of family participation on child outcomes in the New Hope employment-based poverty intervention?

The long-term effects on children and adolescents of a policy providing work supports for low-income parents
Huston, Aletha C., 09/01/2011

This longitudinal, random-assignment, experimental study of the New Hope employment-based poverty intervention examined child outcomes. The study found positive impacts on children's academic outcomes and social behavior after two and five years, but for younger children these impacts diminished at an eight-year follow up. Small positive impacts were found over time on school progress and motivation, child well-being, and parent control. The authors conclude that the most likely reason for these lasting impacts were that the New Hope families were less likely to be poor and children had spent more time in center-based child care with structured activities.

What is the 'Instructional Foundations for Kindergarten Assessment' (IFK) and how was it developed?

Constructing and resisting the development of a school readiness survey: The power of participatory research
Giovacco-Johnson, Tricia, 03/01/2011

Johnson and Buchanan (2011) describe the process for developing Wyoming’s observational assessment, the Instructional Foundations for Kindergarten (IFK), which serves as a school readiness assessment. The IFK is based on a developmental progression framework and includes 9 domains: 1) representation, 2) language, 3) reading, 4) writing, 5) number sense and operation, 6) geometric and algebraic math, 7) science, 8) relationships and self-regulation, and 9) social problem solving. Each domain includes 5 items that reflect a developmental progress of skills to ensure that all children entering kindergarten can be rated on a scale of 1 to 5. The tool is used by preschool and kindergarten teachers to understand the foundational skills that children have when they enter preschool and public school kindergarten, and this knowledge informs teachers’ understanding of how the curriculum supports children’s development in the 9 domains. The development of the IFK included semi-structured focus groups and phone interviews with kindergarten and preschool teachers, and the assessment was revised to reflect the domains that they believed were important for children’s transition from preschool to kindergarten and their academic success in kindergarten. Psychometric properties of the tool were also established with preliminary data from the teachers. The research process illustrated the importance of preschool and kindergarten teachers working together to build an early childhood system in Wyoming that supports the foundational skills for children from diverse populations and abilities. A partnership between researchers at the University of Wyoming and the Wyoming Department of Education was instrumental in developing the assessment and the next step in the process is to include families and communities in the conversation to better understand how they conceive school readiness.

What was the impact of the Home Instruction of Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) program on home learning environments?

Impact of HIPPY on home learning environments of Latino families
Nievar, M. Angela, 07/01/2011

This study examined the impact that the Home Instruction of Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) program has had on home learning environments. 54 randomly selected mothers and children between the ages of 3 and 5 participated in the program, which took place in a low-income, Spanish speaking community. The program itself consists of a home visitor coming into the home to work with the parents and help them become more involved in the learning process with their children, with a focus on math and science. The results indicated that, compared to mothers and children on the waiting list, the mothers in the HIPPY program showed higher levels of parenting self-efficacy, and the homes of these families had greater enrichment. Further, the researchers found that participation in this program was a stronger predictor than depression, stress, or maternal education. A 3rd grade follow-up revealed that children who participated in the HIPPY program showed significantly higher math achievement compared to their peers who did not participate in this program.

How can Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS) for Early Care and Education and School-Age Care be effectively evaluated?

Effective evaluation of quality rating and improvement systems for early care and education and school-age care
United States. Administration for Children and Families. Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, 06/01/2011
(Research-to-Policy, Research-to-Practice Brief OPRE 2011-11a). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved July 13, 2011, from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre/cc/childcare_technical/reports/quality_rating.pdf

This brief, sponsored by the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (OPRE), explores the means through which a Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) can be most effectively evaluated and improved. There are many beneficial reasons for evaluating a QRIS, including to inform and improve program design, to address accountability, to assess efficiency, and to examine the outcomes that result from the QRIS. The authors also stress the importance of creating a comprehensive logic model as the foundation for an effective QRIS evaluation. Once created, it can be tested as a means to answer key questions about the QRIS, the staff and providers, the parents, and other factors. In addition, stages and funding sources with regard to an evaluation are discussed. See also: ’Best practices for conducting program observations as part of quality rating and improvement systems' & ’Evaluation of quality rating and improvement systems for early childhood programs and school-age care: Measuring children's development'.

What activities and experiences lead to positive language and literacy outcomes in early childhood?

What works for early language and literacy development: Lessons from experimental evaluations of programs and intervention strategies
Chrisler, Alison, 06/01/2011
(Publication No. 2011-18). Washington, DC: Child Trends. Retrieved July 11, 2011, from http://www.childtrends.org/Files//Child_Trends-2011_06_10_FS_WWLanguage.pdf

This fact sheet examines fifteen experimentally-evaluated programs and intervention strategies that were primarily focused on improving early language and literacy skills. These programs and intervention strategies were drawn from a database of random assignment intent-to-treat studies of social interventions for children and youth. The interventions focused on strategies to directly improve specific aspects of young children's language or literacy skills (e.g. vocabulary development, print knowledge, listening skills). Overall, most of the programs and interventions strategies had mixed results (they had different outcomes for different subgroups). The fact sheet includes a table summarizing the language and literacy interventions and their impact on specific outcomes. The authors conclude with recommendations for future research.

What is the efficacy of the Teaching Early Literacy and Language (TELL) curriculum for preschoolers with speech or language impairments?

Efficacy of the TELL language and literacy curriculum for preschoolers with developmental speech and/or language impairment
Wilcox, M. Jeanne, 07/01/2011

This study looked at the efficacy of the Teaching Early Literacy and Language (TELL) curriculum, which focuses on language and literacy and is meant for preschoolers with impairments in developmental speech and language. Using random assignment, researchers divided 118 children and their 29 teachers into two groups, one in which teachers received TELL training, as well as in-class support and mentoring, and a control group. Those children in the experimental group showed higher gains compared to the control group with regard to phonological and sound awareness.

What is the relationship between cognitive flexibility, approaches to learning and academic school readiness in at-risk preschool children?

Cognitive flexibility, approaches to learning, and academic school readiness in Head Start preschool children
Vitiello, Virginia E., 05/01/2011

This study examined whether approaches to learning significantly mediated relations between cognitive flexibility (a component of executive functions) and school readiness in Head Start preschoolers. The sample consisted of 191 children from 22 Head Start classrooms, who were directly assessed on cognitive flexibility and school readiness. Cognitive flexibility is defined as the ability to shift between two or more competing tasks and previous research indicates that higher cognitive flexibility is associated with better academic school readiness. However, the pathway through which cognitive flexibility leads to better school readiness is unclear. The results of the study indicate that approaches to learning (motivation, persistence, frustration, tolerance, initiative, and a positive disposition toward learning)significantly mediated relations between cognitive flexibility and school readiness in the sample of Head Start preschoolers. Additionally further analyses revealed that 1 component of approaches to learning- attention/persistence- significantly mediated the relationship between cognitive flexibility and school readiness. The authors conclude that this study provides some evidence that improving children's cognitive flexibility may lead to improved approaches to learning, which in turn can improve academic school readiness.

Can circle time games improve children's behavioral self-regulation in preschool?

Red light, purple light: Findings from a randomized trial using circle time games to improve behavioral self-regulation in preschool
Tominey, Shauna , 05/01/2011

This study used a random assignment design to examine whether an intervention using circle time games improved behavioral self-regulation in an economically diverse sample of preschool children. Additionally, the study examined whether particpation in the intervention treatment group related to academic outcomes over the prekindergarten year. The games used required the children to pay attention and to use their working memory and practice inhibitory control. Sixty-five preschool children from two child development centers in Oregon participated in the study. While the results indicated no significant intervention effects for the overall sample post hoc analyses revealed that participation in the treatment group was significantly related to gains in self-regulation in children who started the year with low levels of these skills. Additionally, children in the treatment group also demonstrated significant gains in letter-word identification compared to children in the control group. The authors conclude that the findings provide evidence that the intervention can improve preschoolers' behavioral self-regulation and that the results could be used to inform preschool curricula.

What role does intensity play in classroom-based interventions?

Does intensity matter?: Preschoolers' print knowledge development within a classroom-based intervention
McGinty, Anita, 07/01/2011

Over the course of 30 weeks, 467 randomly selected children from 55 preschool classrooms participated in an intervention related to print knowledge and referencing. During the intervention, researchers focused on two dimensions: dose frequency and dose. With regard to dose frequency, children in the high dose frequency condition had four intervention sessions per week, while those in the low dose frequency condition had two intervention sessions per week. Dose referred to the number of different strategies discussed by teachers during each intervention session. The results showed that while children in the high dose frequency group gained more print knowledge compared to the low dose frequency group, this advantage disappeared when the dose level was intense. Further, intensity, or the increased number or strategies used by teachers, was found to improve print knowledge development, but only for the low dose intensity group. The researchers conclude that both high dose and high dose frequency can yield positive outcomes in classroom-based intervention when employed independently, but the benefits decrease when they are used together.

How do family characteristics, community factors, and preferences shape parents' child care decisions?

Child care choices of low-income working families
Chaudry, Ajay, 01/01/2011
Washington, DC: Urban Institute. Retrieved June 23, 2011, from http://www.urban.org/UploadedPDF/412343-Child-Care-Choices.pdf

Using qualitative methods, this study explores how parents' child care decision making is shaped, facilitated, or constrained by family characteristics, contextual community factors (i.e. employment, child care supply, etc.), and preferences. Interviews with community experts and stakeholders and 86 families in Providence, RI and Seattle, WA revealed: over one-third of parents were using the type of care they preferred for their child; the educational and social environment was less often a determinative factor than affordability or convenience of care; the supply of center-based care or publicly funded preschool programs was often limited; and those with greater child care difficulties included parents who worked non-standard hours, parents who are English language learners, and parents with children with special health needs.

Can a coaching-based professional development intervention improve language and literacy instruction?

An iterative approach to the development of a professional development intervention for Head Start teachers
Diamond, Karen E., 03/01/2011

This article explores a professional development intervention for Head Start Teachers that focuses on coaching teachers at language and literacy instruction. This study was based on research citing frequency of teaching participation in such interventions as having a positive impact. However, there is little research on how best to inform teachers on the specific evidence-based practices related to language and literacy instruction. Over a number of small studies, teachers were coached and educated about the specific aspects related to the intervention. The researchers found success with their iterative approach, and they concluded that for an intervention to be successful, it must be viewed as doable by the participating teachers.

What is the extent of parent-teacher agreement and reliability on the Devereux Early Childhood Assessment (English and Spanish forms)?

Parent-teacher agreement and reliability on the Devereux Early Childhood Assessment (DECA) in English and Spanish for ethnically diverse children living in poverty
Crane, Jennifer, 05/01/2011

While social-emotional competence is especially important for children living in poverty, the effective assessment of social-emotional skills is also critical. Authors report on an examination of the internal consistency, reliability, and parent-teacher agreement on the Devereux Early Childhood Assessment (DECA), English and Spanish forms. The DECA is a 37-item parent- and teacher-report instrument of children's initiative, self-control, attachment, protective factors, and behavioral concerns. It is designed for use with children 2- through 5-years-old. Research on both English and Spanish forms is based on data from a sample of 7,756 impoverished, ethnically diverse preschoolers in Miami, Florida. Results provide evidence that the English and Spanish DECA forms demonstrate reliability for examining social-emotional skills and behavioral concerns for impoverished, ethnically diverse preschoolers. Implications for research and policy are discussed.

What is the effect of Tulsa's early childhood education programs on children's socioemotional development?

Social-emotional effects of early childhood education programs in Tulsa
Gormley, Jr., William T., 01/01/2011
(CROCUS Working Paper No. 15). Washington, DC: Georgetown University, Center for Research on Children in the United States. Retrieved May 26, 2011, from http://www.crocus.georgetown.edu/reports/CROCUSworkingpaper15.pdf

This study examined the effects of Tulsa, Oklahoma's early childhood education programs on children's socioemotional outcomes. Specifically the study focused on a sample of 2,832 kindergarten students in 2006 who had participated in either the Tulsa Public Schools (TPS) pre-K program or the CAP of Tulsa County Head Start Program the previous year. These children were compared with a control group of children who had not attended either program. Results indicate that children who attended TPS pre-K exhibited less timidity and higher levels of attentiveness than Tulsa 4-year olds who did not experience this program. However, children who attended the CAP of Tulsa County Head Start program demonstrated only a marginally significant reduction in timidity. Among those who attended the TPS pre-K program, when the sample was restricted to children eligible for free lunches, only the results for increased attentiveness remained significant. The authors conclude that high-quality, school-based preschool programs can enhance social-emotional development.

Are there differences in early mathematics achievement between English-Language Learners and Native English-Speakers?

Early mathematics achievement trajectories: English-language learner and native English-speaker estimates, using the Early Childhood Longitudinal Survey
Roberts, Greg, 07/01/2011

This study estimates mathematics achievement trends through 5th grade for English-language proficient (ELP) students at the end of kindergarten. Authors compare trends across primary language groups within the ELP group, evaluate the effect of low socioeconomic status (SES) for English-language proficient students and within different primary language groups, and estimate language-group trends in specific mathematics skill areas. Authors find that SES is a more important predictor than primary language for the mathematics achievement of English-language proficient children. Additionally, they find that mathematics-related school readiness is key to explaining subsequent achievement differences, and that the readiness gap is prevalent across a broad range of mathematics-related skills.

Who uses child care subsidies?

Who uses child care subsidies?: Comparing recipients to eligible non-recipients on family background characteristics and child care preferences
Johnson, Anna D., 07/01/2011

Recent research has found that fewer than 30% of eligible low-income families are receiving child care subsidies, and the patterns and predictors of subsidy use are not fully understood. This study, sponsored by the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (OPRE), used the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study—Birth Cohort (ECLS-B) to examine which families are and are not receiving child care subsides, as well as if there are any differences between the two groups. The data revealed that those families who were receiving child care subsidies were more likely to possess more resources compared to eligible non-recipients, and that they also faced fewer hassles compared to eligible non-recipients. The findings from this study can aid child care administrators in their outreach efforts to eligible families who are not using child care subsidies.

What are the impacts of employer-supported child care?

An exploratory study of the impacts of an employer-supported child care
Morrissey, Taryn, 07/01/2011

A survey of employees (N=776) at Cornell University explored how employer-sponsored child care vouchers affected employees' satisfaction with child care and their work-life balance. Results indicated that families with preschool children, White families, and those using paid home-based care were more satisfied with their child care arrangements than those with school-age children, minority families, and those using center-based or before/after-school care. Nearly half of employees said the voucher benefited their work-life balance.

What impact does coaching have on Quality Rating and Improvement Systems?

Coaching in early care and education programs and quality rating and improvement systems (QRIS): Identifying promising features
Isner, Tabitha K., 02/01/2011
Washington, DC: Child Trends. Retrieved May 25, 2011, from http://www.childtrends.org/Files//Child_Trends-2011_04_27_FR_CoachingEarlyCare.pdf

This report highlights the impact of coaching on quality improvement in early care and education settings using information from both a literature review as well as a multi-case study of coaching in four Quality Rating Improvement Systems (QRIS). Recent research suggests that coaching and other on-site methods of professional development promote overall quality improvement in early care and education settings. A recent QRIS Compendium indicates that all 26 QRIS provide some type of on-site assistance. Key findings from the literature review note that coaching fosters global quality improvement in early care and education settings, as well as quality improvement in specific areas, i.e. language and literacy development. However, specific outcome bearing characteristics of coaching could not be identified because of inconsistencies in the reporting of features. Key findings from the multi-case study note that QRIS related coaching has advantages over the former, in terms of having measurable goals and outcomes through the use of assessments related to QRIS standards and guidelines. However, structural challenges may arise in terms of maintaining consistency of coaching across QRIS. QRIS related coaching differs from the early care and education coaching described in the literature, thus the report’s recommendations include looking at promising coaching practices identified in the literature as well as implementation science to support emerging practices.

What principles can guide state efforts to strengthen child care licensing systems?

Strong licensing: The foundation for a quality early care and education system
Payne, Amie Lapp, 05/01/2011
Lexington, KY: National Association for Regulatory Administration. Retrieved May 10, 2011, from http://www.naralicensing.drivehq.com/publications/Strong_CC_Licensing_2011.pdf

Commissioned by the National Association for Regulatory Administration, this report distills research on early care and education licensing into principles to guide states in strengthening their licensing systems. Preliminary principles cover three broad areas: the licensing statute, licensing requirements, and licensing agency. A expanded section on licensing enforcement offers principles within each broad area that aim to strengthen this crucial function.

What is the impact of the Tennessee Voluntary Pre-K Program on children's literacy, language, and math skills?

Initial results of the evaluation of the Tennessee Voluntary Pre-K Program
Lipsey, Mark W., 04/01/2011
Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University, Peabody Research Institute. Retrieved September 25, 2013, from http://peabody.vanderbilt.edu/research/pri/projects/by_content_area/tennessee_state_pre-k_evaluation/April2011_PRI_Initial_TN-VPK_ProjectResults.pdf

This report highlights the initial results of the evaluation of the Tennessee Voluntary Pre-K (TN-VPK) program. The state-wide TN-VPK program, run by the Division of School Readiness and Early Learning in the Tennessee Department of Education, is a full-day prekindergarten program for at risk four-year old children. The results thus far capture the first two years of a five-year project. Results were collected from two studies that were done--a randomized control trial (RCT) and a regression discontinuity design (RDD). The two studies conducted individual assessments of literacy, language, and math skills at both the beginning and end of the pre-k year for both TN-VPK participants and non-participants. The findings indicate that the TN-VPK program is exceedingly beneficial for children, as TN-VPK attendees showed significant gains in early literacy, language and math skills (37%-176% greater gains than non-attendees), with special gains in early literacy.

How have Title I No Child Left Behind funds been used to develop a comprehensive birth to five system?

Financing a birth to five program: The Appleton Area School District model
Matthews, Hannah, 03/01/2011
Washington, DC: Center for Law and Social Policy. Retrieved April 12, 2011, from http://www.clasp.org/admin/site/publications/files/financingbirthtofive.pdf

In 2006, the Appleton Area School District (AASD), located in Appleton, Wisconsin, created a Birth-Five Coalition to address the needs of the community's low-income children. The AASD's Coalition, which includes parents, local businesses, the local university, and district officials, used Title I and ARRA IDEA funds to provide young children and their families with a range of supports. In the five years since its inception, the Coalition has been able to leverage its resources to offer a Books for Babies literacy program, parent education workshops, a Parents as Teachers home visitation program, and Title I preschool. The Coalition also placed a Birth-Five Site Resource Coordinator in each of its five target schools (all of which have a high percentage of poor or ELL families) who offers extra supports to all families in these schools. The AASD's success in creating a strong focus on birth-five programming is due in part to the Coalition's ability to harness multiple state and federal funding streams, as well as their success in garnering philanthropic support. Its accomplishments are also due to a shared understanding of the importance of the first three years of a child's life, and the AASD's initiatives prove that, with meaningful linkages among key stakeholders, school districts can improve the lives of their youngest students.

What amount of TANF and CCDBG funds did states spend on child care in 2009?

Child care assistance in 2009: Spending update
Matthews, Hannah, 03/01/2011
Washington, DC: Center for Law and Social Policy. Retrieved April 12, 2011, from http://www.clasp.org/admin/site/publications/files/childcareassistance2009.pdf

This paper breaks down state child care spending in FY 2009. In 2009, Congress implemented the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) in an effort to combat some of the effects of the economic crisis. Two billion dollars were added to the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) for that year yielding a $7 billion total of state received CCDBG funds. Although the one-time ARRA funding helped in FY 2009, states still experienced a decrease in child care spending for that year.

What role do heritage schools play in the lives of young immigrant children and their families?

Korean immigrant mothers' perspectives: The meanings of a Korean heritage language school for their children's American early schooling experiences
Kim, Jinhee, 06/01/2011

This ethnographic study explored the difficulty of understanding and accepting a new culture for immigrant families in America with young children. Nine Korean immigrant families in America with at least one young child were studied over the course of one academic year. Each child in this study attended a heritage school, and the researcher sought to determine what perception the Korean mothers and guardians held of early education in America, as well as what impact the heritage schools had on the families. Results showed that these heritage schools helped decrease the detachment between the children and their mothers and guardians, serving as a support system and a safety net for these families. The study went on to say that early education teachers with a deep knowledge and understanding of cultural perspectives of children's behavior can help support positive development and well-being.

How can policymakers, researchers, and practitioners improve and sustain early childhood development programs in a global context?

Quality of early childhood development programs in global contexts: Rationale for investment, conceptual framework and implications for equity
Britto, Pia Rebello, 01/01/2011

While children's early years have emerged as a public policy focus around the world, much of the investment has focused on increasing access to services rather than on the quality of early childhood programs. Without a commitment to quality, children and families will not achieve the outcomes intended. This paper provides a conceptualization of quality across settings and identifies future directions for quality of early childhood programs globally. Additionally, the authors present implications for research and a discussion of how policymakers, practitioners, and researchers can work together to improve early childhood development program quality.

How effective are home visiting programs in tribal communities?

Assessing the evidence of effectiveness of home visiting program models implemented in tribal communities: Final report
United States. Administration for Children and Families. Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, 02/04/2011
Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved March 24, 2011, from http://homvee.acf.hhs.gov/TribalReport.pdf

This report, sponsored by the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (OPRE), examines the existing literature on home visiting models that have been implemented in tribal communities. Studies on indigenous populations both within and outside of the United States were included in this review. This report focuses on three main topics within the literature: the cultural relevance of new and existing models; the implementation challenges faced by programs; and the challenges of conducting studies on these program models.

What lessons can be learned from New York and Ohio about Pre-K expansion?

Perspectives on the impact of pre-k expansion: Factors to consider and lessons from New York and Ohio
Schilder, Diane, 01/01/2011
(Preschool Policy Brief Issue 21). New Brunswick, NJ: National Institute for Early Education Research. Retrieved March 24, 2011, from http://nieer.org/resources/policybriefs/22.pdf

This National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) report takes a look at the recent efforts in New York and Ohio to expand their state funded Pre-K programs, and the lessons that can be learned by other states looking to do the same. The authors found six factors that have an important impact on the quality and supply of of child care for low-income families: legislation and related regulations; funding stability; braiding funding sources; coordination at the state and local levels; staff capacity and expertise at the state level; and alignment of program standards and assessments. Policy recommendations from the report include increasing coordination and collaboration with Head Start, offering technical assistance to providers and local agencies, and creating a consistent funding stream.

What roles do parenting and early intervention play in the development of social skills in young children?

Developmental pathways to integrated social skills: The roles of parenting and early intervention
Ayoub, Catherine, 03/01/2011

This study used dynamic skill theory to explain the factors and mediating forces behind the development of language and self-regulation skills of young children. In the present study, young children from over 3,000 families were measured at 14, 24, and 36 months of age. The researchers found multiple factors that have a negative influence on young children's development, including the level of parental stress and the number of parent–child interactions. The study also found that Early Head Start can offset these risk factors and help parents to raise healthy children.

Is having a child with behavior problems and/or a chronic illness associated with child care-related employment problems?

The impact of child care problems on employment: Findings from a national survey of US parents
Montes, Guillermo, 01/01/2011

A study conducted by the Children's Institute surveyed a nationally representative sample of 1,431 households, with children age 0 to 13 and with at least one employed parent, on child care-related employment problems. Forty-six percent of parents reported a child care-related employment change, with 27% needing to change their work schedule and 21% had absences from work. Having a child with behavior problems or a serious chronic health condition was associated with double to triple odds of many child care-related employment problems.

Do teachers’ beliefs and teaching practices change with the use of the Every Day in Pre-K: Math Curriculum?

An evolution of mathematical beliefs: A case study of three pre-K teachers
Herron, Julie, 10/01/2010

With the use of a pre- and post-design methodology, Herron conducted individual interviews, observations, and informal conversations with three pre-kindergarten teachers who worked with academically at-risk children (children were 4-years old). Prior to the study, the teachers in this study did not use a mathematics curriculum and instead teachers designed their math activities. Although causal claims cannot be made from the findings in this study, after the implementation of the Every Day in Pre-K: Math curriculum Herron notes the following: (1) the length of mathematics discussion in whole group and small group setting increased, (2) the instructional minutes spent on math increased, and (3) the type of mathematics questions changed from simple yes/no questions to investigative questions (e.g., can you explain this to me). In addition to changes in instructional practices, teachers’ beliefs about what appropriate mathematics consists of for prekindergarten children changed. Specifically, teachers originally stated that counting skills and recognizing some shapes were most important for school readiness. However, after the implementation of the mathematics curriculum teachers reported that children should have an understanding of numbers including counting and being able to determine the quantity of a set as well as experience with patterning and problem-solving. A major implication of this study is that the implementation of an effective mathematics curriculum can improve teachers’ practices and shape their beliefs so that they better reflect what research shows young children are capable of in mathematics.

How can states use indicators for social-emotional development to build better early childhood systems?

State-level indicators for social-emotional development: Building better systems
Isakson, Elizabeth A., 02/01/2011
New York: Columbia University, National Center for Children in Poverty. Retrieved March 11, 2011, from http://nccp.org/publications/pdf/text_997.pdf

Research has consistently demonstrated the importance of social-emotional development during the early childhood years, in terms of both positive development outcomes and school readiness. This report discusses the process of creating indicators at the state level that promote the social and emotional development of young children, and also provides a framework for such a process that can be used by state policymakers. It suggests various indicators, including proportion of children under age 6 who receive behavioral screenings, proportion of preschool and child care settings with access to mental health consultation, and many others. The report notes the importance of creating such a system, which can be used as a tool at the state level by policymakers.

What impact does full-day kindergarten have on English language learners?

The effect of attending full-day kindergarten on English learner students
Cannon, Jill S., 03/01/2011

As the U.S. population grows more diverse, an increasing amount of young children enter school speaking a first language other than English. Past research has shown that these children are at a disadvantage compared to their English speaking peers. This study sought to assess what impact full-day kindergarten might have on English language learners' achievement rate, retention rate, and fluency in English. The researchers examined data on nearly 160,000 students in the Los Angeles area between 2001 and 2008. The results showed that, in fact, full-day kindergarten has little significant impact on English language learner outcomes. However, one significant finding of note was that English language learner students who attended full-day kindergarten were 5% less likely be held back a year between kindergarten and 2nd grade.

What kinds of early childhood indicators can states use to guide policy decisions?

Early childhood indicators: Making the most of measurement
Murphey, David A., 12/02/2010
(Early Childhood Highlights Vol. 1, Issue 5, Publication No. 2010-18). Washington, DC: Child Trends. Retrieved March 11, 2011, from http://www.childtrends.org/Files//Child_Trends-2011_02_24_ECHH_ECIndicators.pdf

This paper highlights the growing use of indicators by states to monitor the development, health and well-being of children. Specifically, the paper highlights the appropriate and inappropriate ways to use indicators for making policy decisions. Population measures of well-being, community assessment of risk levels, and measuring the efficiency of systems (by examining infrastructure components) are all appropriate uses of indicators. Common misuses of indicators include: confusing measures of funding with child well-being indicators; confusing measures of performance with indicators; and confusing population indicators with program accountability. The author further identifies some important considerations for selecting and interpreting appropriate indicators.

Which elements of a professional development system do family child care providers' find most beneficial?

Family child care providers' perspectives regarding effective professional development and their role in the child care system: A qualitative study
Lanigan, Jane, 03/01/2011

This qualitative study examined three questions regarding family child care providers and professional development: what encourages professional development participation; which professional development components according to family child care providers result in better quality improvements?; and how do family child care providers see their role in the Child Care System? The results of the study were based on focus groups conducted annually for 3 years with 54 family child care providers who were part of a Family Child Care Professional Development Network in Washington State. The professional development components included: monthly mentor visits; 10 monthly professional development meetings; and access to an Early Learning Library. The professional development elements that family child care providers identified as beneficial included: small class size, use of the same instructor and mentor throughout, and investigating a single topic over 10 months and having the opportunity to apply it through homework. Additionally, while the majority of family child care providers viewed themselves as professionals who filled a niche in the early learning field some felt that center-based providers, regulators and families viewed them as babysitters rather than professionals.

How are Head Start children faring in Kindergarten?

ACF/OPRE report: Head Start children go to kindergarten
United States. Administration for Children and Families. Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, 12/01/2010
Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved February 16, 2011, from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre/hs/faces/reports/hs_kindergarten/hs_kindergarten.pdf

This OPRE sponsored report uses the Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES) 2006 data to look at young children in Kindergarten who were previously in Head Start. Specifically, children in this data collection entered Head Start in 2006. The report discusses characteristics of the schools, the teachers, the classrooms, and the children themselves. In addition, it examines any possible association between the beginning of Head Start and the end of Kindergarten with regard to skills and school readiness of the children. See also: 'Data tables for FACES 2006 Head Start children go to kindergarten report'.

Do low quality home and child care environments play a role in young children's social-emotional development?

Double Jeopardy: Poorer social-emotional outcomes for children in the NICHD SECCYD experiencing home and child-care environments that confer risk
Watamura, Sarah, 01/01/2011

This study used data from National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Early Child Care Research Network (NICHD SECCYD) to examine the role that home environments and child care environments play in young children's social-emotional development. The authors used a longitudinal approach, examining data of children at 24, 36, and 64 months old, while focusing particularly on children who were in low quality home and child care environments. Children in the group tended to have low levels of prosocial behavior, as well as a high level of problem behaviors as reported by the mothers of the children. However, the results also showed that high-quality child care could still have a positive effect on children coming from low-quality home settings.

How do girls benefit from out-of-school time programs with a focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics?

STEM out-of-school time programs for girls
Chun, Katie, 01/01/2011
(Research Update: Highlights from the Out-of-School Time Database No. 5). Cambridge, MA: Harvard Family Research Project. Retrieved February 4, 2011, from http://hfrp.org/content/download/3847/105424/file/ResearchUpdate5-STEM-012611-FINAL.pdf

This research update highlights findings on out-of-school time (OST) programs that focus on girls' involvement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Six STEM OST programs are examined (serving youth in middle school and high school) some of which are targeted at girls exclusively, and some which include both boys and girls with a focus on girls. Of the six programs, five used a non-experimental design and one had a quasi-experimental design. The results indicate that the STEM OST programs resulted in increased confidence in math skills, improved attitudes toward and engagement in math, and increased plans to attend or enroll in college. There are also several challenges faced by STEM OST programs for girls including: a lack of consensus on measuring impacts of OST programs focused on STEM due to the limited body of research; STEM OST programs often compete for time and resources with many different curricular components; STEM OST programs require ongoing technical training in the subject matter; and STEM OST programs often struggle to engage girls who do not initially express an interest in STEM. The authors conclude with a list of successful strategies for engaging girls in STEM OST programs based on the evaluations. These include: establishing measurable goals specific to the STEM objectives; appointing a leader to oversee STEM programming; customizing STEM experiences for a specific demographic of the target population; building personal connections with girls to help sustain their engagement; and making STEM activities accessible to all.

What kind of standards can help prevent childhood obesity in early care and education programs?

Preventing childhood obesity in early care and education programs: Selected standards from Caring for our children: National health and safety performance standards; Guidelines for early care and education programs, 3rd edition
American Academy of Pediatrics, 01/01/2010
Aurora, CO: National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care. Retrieved January 27, 2011, from http://nrckids.org/CFOC3/PDFVersion/preventing_obesity.pdf

This report, developed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, looks at the role that early care and education programs can play in preventing childhood obesity. First, the report discusses standards in early care and education programs that, when implemented, can help to prevent childhood obesity. Standards for nutrition, physical activity, and screen time are featured, and rationales for the particular standards are also provided. In addition, the report explains how the standards can be used by parents, caregivers, as well those at the marcosystem level (such as regulators, researchers, and policy makers) to prevent childhood obesity.

Does early childhood mental health consultation contribute to a reduction of problem behaviors in young children?

The evidence base for mental health consultation in early childhood settings: A research synthesis addressing children's behavioral outcomes
Perry, Deborah F., 11/01/2010

This research synthesis examines the impact of early childhood mental health consultation on the reduction of problem behaviors and the improvement of social skills in young children through changes in the classroom environment and teacher practices. It is based on a meta-analysis of 14 rigorous studies. While approaches to consultation, qualifications of the consultants, and intensity of the services provided varied, early childhood mental health consultation services were consistently associated with a reduction in teacher-reported externalizing behaviors. Findings related to reductions in internalizing behaviors were mixed. Prosocial behavior was reported to be improved by the majority of studies where teachers report on this domain. Recommendations for future research include: improvement of research study quality through the inclusion of independent assessments of children's behaviors; a call for the examination of key components of effective consultation; and the study of consultant qualifications and characteristics that may lead to child behavior change.

What do datasets and ratings scales tell us about the quality of child care settings in Australia?

Identifying high-quality centre-based childcare using quantitative data-sets: What the numbers do and don't tell us
Fenech, Marianne, 12/01/2010

This study examined quantitative data collected from 74 Australian child care centers over a 5 year period. The data was collected using the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale-Revised and Infant-Toddler Environment Rating Scale instruments, as well as Australia's Quality Improvement and Accreditation System. The researchers found that, over time, the data on low-quality child care centers showed high-variability, while the data on high-quality child care centers showed more consistency. These results have significant implications, as these data guide the development of child care policy.

How can the social-emotional skills of young children contribute to academic success?

"Plays nice with others": Social-emotional learning and academic success
Denham, Susanne A., 09/01/2010

This article proposes a model that demonstrates how the social-emotional skills of young children contribute to their academic success. The proposed model focuses on the developmental tasks that serve as benchmarks in early childhood, such as engaging in a positive way with others, or properly managing emotions. Ideally, children will develop behaviors that will meet their short term and long term developmental needs, which the authors refer to as "effectiveness in interaction." Other social-emotional skills discussed include self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, responsible decision making, and relationship skills. The authors go on to discuss correlations between the aforementioned skills and academic success.

What encourages continued use of a preschool curriculum among teachers?

Sustainability of a preschool curriculum: What encourages continued use among teachers?
Lieber, Joan, 10/01/2010

This study examines factors that influence teachers' continued implementation of a new preschool curriculum. It is based on data from 33 Head Start teachers and 10 prekindergarten teachers who participated in Children's School Success (CSS), a five year longitudinal evaluation of a comprehensive preschool curriculum for children who were at risk for school failure. Of the 43 teachers, 11.6% maintained full use of the CSS curriculum in the follow-up year, 60.4% used portions of the curriculum, and the remainder had discontinued using the curriculum. Findings highlight the complexity of the change process in the adoption and sustainability of educational innovations. Curricular characteristics, teacher characteristics, and administrative and resource factors facilitated sustainability efforts. However, these factors also limited sustained curriculum use, in some instances. Authors conclude that the importance of having a good "match" between a curricular innovation and contextual variables can play a crucial role in early childhood education settings for sustaining curricular innovation.

What are the implications of child care instability for low-income children and families?

Child care instability: Definitions, context, and policy implications
Adams, Gina, 10/01/2010
Washington, DC: Urban Institute. Retrieved January 13, 2011, from http://www.urban.org/UploadedPDF/412278-child-care-instability.pdf

This report examines child care instability, which refers to changes in a child care arrangement. Possible changes can include an arrangement ending, or the use of multiple arrangements. Research has shown that child care instability can affect the healthy development of children, and children who experience child care instability can be at greater risk for poor developmental outcomes. The report goes on to discuss a number of causes behind child care instability, including a parent's change of employment or financial situation, work schedule, or dissatisfaction with the current arrangement. Finally, the role that CCDF voucher subsidies can play in addressing child care instability is considered, as are policy recommendations that can lead to more stable child care arrangements.

Are there foundational cognitive skills that are linked to later mathematics achievement?

Pathways to mathematics: Longitudinal predictors of performance
LeFevre, Jo-Anne, 11/01/2010

The purpose of this article was to examine the cognitive underpinnings for mathematical competence. This study is important because it provides insight about the foundational skills children need to be successful in mathematics. Three cognitive areas, quantity, linguistic, and spatial skills, and their relation to later mathematics outcomes were assessed for preschool or kindergarten children and then again two years later. Results show that the three cognitive areas map on to different mathematics skills: 1) linguistic skills were related to number naming; 2) quantitative skills were related to non-linguistic tasks where children manipulate quantities with concrete objects, but they do not label or link them to number names or symbols; and 3) spatial attention skills were linked to number naming and children’s understanding of magnitude. Findings from this study are an important start for early childhood curricula and assessment design so that they support mathematics education. Findings also support previous research that shows differential performance for children with disabilities depending on the mathematical requirements of the assessment.

How have states implemented early learning guidelines for infants and toddlers?

Putting standards into practice: States' use of early learning guidelines for infants and toddlers
Gebhard, Barbara, 11/01/2010
Washington, DC: Zero to Three, Policy Center. Retrieved January 7, 2011, from http://main.zerotothree.org/site/DocServer/States__Use_of_ELG_for_IT_FINAL.pdf?docID=11861

This paper summarizes the results of interviews with representatives from eight states (Arkansas, California, Maine, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia) on their implementation of Early Learning Guidelines (ELG) for infants and toddlers. While the Good Start, Grow Smart initiative required all states to develop voluntary ELG for preschoolers, many states have voluntarily created ELG specifically for infants and toddlers or for the birth-to-5 age range. This paper highlights several issues that states must consider in implementing these guidelines such as: how should the state disseminate the ELG; how can early care and education providers be trained in using ELG; and how can the ELG be embedded into existing professional development and quality improvement systems? Examples of how states are addressing these questions are provided.

Is there an association between Head Start participation and school readiness in urban settings?

Head Start and urban children's school readiness: A birth cohort study in 18 cities
Zhai, Fuhua, 01/01/2011

This longitudinal study used data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study to investigate links between Head Start participation and school readiness. Over 2800 young children from 18 urban cities were included in the data. The researchers discovered that children who had participated in Head Start showed greater levels of social competence as well as higher cognitive ability. However, it did not have an impact on children's problem behaviors. The results of the study held true across both gender and race/ethnicity.

What conceptual frameworks can help us understand parental child care decisionmaking?

Conceptual frameworks for child care decision-making
United States. Administration for Children and Families. Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, 10/01/2010
Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved January 14, 2011, from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre/cc/childcare_technical/reports/conceptual_frameworks/conceptual_frameworks.pdf

This white paper, based on the December 2008 Working Meeting on Child Care Decision making convened by the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE), discusses the frameworks for understanding parental child care decisionmaking. Multiple elements can affect parental child care decisionmaking, including parental preferences for type of care, parental knowledge and beliefs, the needs of the children, and the options within the community. This paper examines three distinct frameworks for looking at child care decisionmaking: a rational consumer choice framework, a heuristics and biases framework, and a social network framework. The paper concludes with a discussion of the accommodation model, which incorporates the three aforementioned frameworks.

Is there a correlation between preschool behavior problems and literacy outcomes in Kindergarten and 1st grade?

Preschool behavior problems in classroom learning situations and literacy outcomes in kindergarten and first grade
Bulotsky-Shearer, Rebecca J., 01/01/2011

This study sought to determine if a correlation existed between children’s behavior and literacy outcomes. Researchers observed 2,682 4 year old children in Head Start, examining their behavior during learning situations, peer interactions, and teacher interactions. Cognitive skills of the children in Head Start, Kindergarten, and 1st grade were also taken into effect. The results showed that regardless of the setting, children who exhibited more behavior problems in preschool were more likely to have lower literacy outcomes in Kindergarten and 1st grade.

What teaching practices can promote language and literacy among dual language learners in early care and education?

Enhancing teaching practices to improve language and literacy skills for Latino dual-language learners
FPG Child Development Institute, 11/01/2010
(FPG Snapshot No. 62). Chapel Hill, NC: FPG Child Development Institute. Retrieved December 10, 2010, from http://www.fpg.unc.edu/~snapshots/FPG-Snapshot-62.pdf

This summary paper presented findings from a research study examining the effect of Nuestros Ninos, an intervention to improve language and literacy teaching practices for young dual language learners (DLLs). The purpose of the research study was to examine whether there are specific teaching practices learned through professional development programs that are effective for promoting language and literacy among DLLs. Nuestros Ninos provided a professional development intervention and consisted of: a series of training institutes; ongoing support from a bilingual consultant to help teachers implement new teaching strategies; and opportunities for discussion with other teachers through regular meetings. The findings indicated that the intervention produced better overall outcomes for the teachers however, more time and research maybe needed to generate improvements in outcomes for DLLs. Specifically, the intervention led to improvements in the quality of teachers' language and literacy practices for all children and those specific to working with Latino DLLs. Additionally, the children showed gains in phonological awareness in Spanish and English. Research on the intervention continues and researchers will be able to assess the effect of the intervention on teachers and young DLLs over two years of participating in the program. To see the full article on which this summary paper is based go to: Effects of a professional development program on classroom practices and outcomes for Latino dual language learners.

Which skills matter for school readiness?

Fine motor skills and early comprehension of the world: Two new school readiness indicators
Grissmer, David, 09/01/2010

The purpose of this study was to examine if motor skills and general knowledge of the world contribute to children’s school readiness. This study extends the work of Greg Duncan and colleagues (2007) which showed that early mathematics, reading, and attention were significant predictors of later mathematics and reading achievement. Duncan and colleagues also found that problem behaviors and social skills were not significant predictors of later achievement. The current paper used 3 of the same data sets used in the earlier study, the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study- Kindergarten Cohort, the British Birth Study, and the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, and found that attention, fine motor skills, and general knowledge (e.g., comprehension of the physical and social science facts) were strong predictors of later mathematics, reading, and science scores. The authors suggest that these indicators are as important as early mathematics and reading. Earlier work done by the National Education Goals Panel (NEGP) supports this assertion, for example, when they called for a focus on five school readiness indicators that include physical well-being and motor development and cognition and general knowledge including mathematics and science (Kagan, Moore, and Bredekamp 1995).

Which children are most likely to be identified as having special needs?

Demographic factors associated with the early identification of children with special needs
Guarino, Cassandra M., 11/01/2010

The purpose of this study was to examine which demographic factors were related to pre-kindergarten children being identified as having special education needs. Guarino and collagues used data from the California Department of Education. Findings showed that girls were less likely to be identified early than boys. Further, African American children were less likely to be identified early than children from other racial/ethnic groups. The authors also found that children who were English language learners were less likely to be identified before kindergarten. Hypotheses for why they found these effects include cultural bias, differences in family structure and related resources, and language barriers. The authors note that delayed identification can place children on a less promising achievement trajectory. Finally, children in foster care were more likely to be identified early, which was attributed to the requirement that they are taken to a physician for evaluation.

Does gender salience influence young children’s play behavior in preschool classrooms?

Differing levels of gender salience in preschool classrooms: Effects on children's gender attitudes and intergroup bias
Hilliard, Lacey J., 11/01/2010

In this study, researchers examined to what extent varying levels of gender salience have an effect on preschool classrooms. To conduct this study, two preschools were selected and assigned as either high-salience classrooms or low-salience classrooms. Teachers in the experimental high-salience classrooms group took various actions, such as dividing the class into boys and girls, using gender specific language, and other means to foster gender salience in the classroom. 57 children were measured for gender attitude and intergroup bias at the beginning and end of a two week period. The researchers found that children in classrooms with high gender salience demonstrated greater knowledge of gender stereotype, including decreased play time with the opposite gender and less favorable rating of their peers of different gender. However, children's own activity and occupational preferences remained unaffected.

What lessons can be learned about integrating early and elementary education from Montgomery County Public Schools?

Lessons for prek-3rd from Montgomery County Public Schools: An FCD case study
Marietta, Geoff, 12/01/2010
New York: Foundation for Child Development. Retrieved November 30, 2010, from http://www.fcd-us.org/sites/default/files/FINAL MC Case Study.pdf

This report by the Foundation for Child Development looks at the successes of Montgomery County, Maryland, at not only increasing the reading proficiency rate for 3rd graders, but also reducing the reading achievement gap between white children and minority children from pre-kindergarten to 3rd grade. This was accomplished by setting a goal of having 80% of students college ready by graduation, and to begin working on this goal during the early learning stages of a child’s life. Further, district-wide strategies were created at the early learning level to meet this goal, as seven math and reading related “keys” were created on the path towards being college ready. Additionally, the programs and services involved in early learning were integrated with the county’s K-12 strategies. Parent involvement also played a crucial role at each stage. Finally, teachers were supported but also held accountable to ensure consistency and effectiveness, and the county continued to look for ways to improve the present strategies. Also see: Linking learning: Congress should follow New Jersey's lead on early learning.

What are the benefits of preschool for different groups of children?

Do Black and Hispanic children benefit more from preschool?: Understanding differences in preschool effects across racial groups
Bassok, Daphna, 11/01/2010

Using the nationally representative Early Childhood Longitudinal Study Birth Cohort data set, Bassok finds that 4-year old children who were 130% below the poverty line, but attend preschool have higher literacy scores than children in parental care, regardless of their racial/ethnic background. And, among the non-poor, for Black and Hispanic children from Spanish speaking families, the returns on attending preschool were larger. Overall, the findings suggest that preschool is especially beneficial to poor children, and that poor and non-poor Black and Hispanic children benefit from preschool. The study suggests that universal preschool is beneficial because it will provide learning supports for poor children and also middle-class children, who benefit as well.

What specific cognitive processes are related to children’s mathematics achievement?

Preschool executive functioning abilities predict early mathematics achievement
Clark, Caron A. C., 09/01/2010

Clark and colleagues (2010) used a prospective longitudinal study to assess 4- and 6-year old New Zealander children’s executive function and mathematical competence. Executive function refers to the ability to self regulate cognitive activities (e.g., maintaining attention) and overt goal-directed behavior (e.g., choosing appropriate problem-solving strategies). Findings from this study have implications for early intervention programs targeting children who are at-risk for mathematics difficulties. The researchers investigate specific executive function abilities when children are 4-years-old and the relation to mathematics achievement at 6-years old. They find inhibitory control (i.e., focusing on the appropriate aspect of an exercise while ignoring another) and shifting (i.e., ability to focus on different dimensions of stimuli, such as, shape after completing an exercise that focuses on color) is predictive of children’s later mathematics achievement. Further, Clark and colleagues find that when entered into the same model, more basic cognitive processes and socioeconomic status, do not predict mathematics achievement. This suggests that there is something unique about inhibitory control and shifting as they relate to later mathematics achievement. The authors note two curricula that show promise for enhancing executive function skills: PATHS and Tools of the Mind.

Does the Foundations of Learning intervention help teachers support children's behavioral and emotional development?

The Foundations of Learning demonstration: Making preschool more productive: How classroom management training can help teachers
Morris, Pamela A., 11/01/2010
New York: MDRC. Retrieved November 19, 2010, from http://www.mdrc.org/publications/573/full.pdf

A random assignment impact evaluation of preschool classrooms in Newark, New Jersey examined the effects of the Foundations of Learning (FOL) teacher training intervention on children's behavioral and emotional development and classroom management. The study found: FOL improved teacher's ability to address children's behavior and provide a positive emotional climate; it improved teacher's management of classroom time; FOL reduced children's conflicts with teachers and peers; and while the effects on children did not persist a year later in kindergarten, teachers continued to use the new strategies they learned.

Are disadvantaged 4-year-olds better served by Head Start or by state-funded pre-K programs?

Head Start's comparative advantage: Myth or reality?
Gormley, Jr., William T., 08/01/2010

The purpose of this study was to examine the comparative advantages of Head Start and State Pre-k programs for preparing young children for school. Using data from Tulsa, Oklahoma, the authors compare a high-quality Head Start program and a high-quality state-funded pre-K program in terms of early literacy, early math, social-emotional, and health effects. Findings indicate that the school-based pre-K program is more effective in improving early literacy outcomes, while Head Start is more effective in improving health outcomes. Additionally, the two programs are comparable with regard to math learning. In terms of social-emotional effects the school-based pre-K program showed a comparative advantage over Head Start in one outcome measure--attentiveness. The authors suggest that high-quality Head Start and school-based pre-k programs have important lessons to learn from each other.

How applicable is the literature on literacy interventions for ethnically-diverse young children?

A descriptive review and meta-analysis of family-based emergent literacy interventions: To what extent is the research applicable to low-income, ethnic-minority or linguistically-diverse young children?
Manz, Patricia Holliday, 10/01/2010

This study examines how applicable the current evidence-based literature surrounding family emergent literacy interventions is to preschool-age children and families from diverse ethnic, linguistic and socio-economic backgrounds. Manz and her colleagues conducted a descriptive literature review of 31 published articles and intervention studies that satisfied specific criteria. In addition, they conducted a meta-analysis with a subset of studies (n=14) that utilized quasi-experimental or experimental designs. The two-pronged review revealed that studies tended to either omit key information about participants (e.g., ethnicity, socio-economic status) or lack diverse samples (e.g., Latino children, children whose first language is something other than English), making it difficult to generalize the growing body of literature to more diverse populations. Recommendations for enhancing the literate base are provided.

What must be done to support our nation's young children in child care?

10 years post-Neurons to Neighborhoods: What's at stake and what matters in child care?
Phillips, Deborah A., 10/19/2010
Paper presented at the Celebration of the 20th Anniversary of CCDBG

In this speech commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), Deborah Phillips highlights the importance of child care, as well as what must be done in order to improve child care. Evidence clearly shows the long-term benefits that high-quality child care can provide for young children, as well as the consequences that exist for children who do not receive this kind of child care. Drawing upon biological research on the brains of young children, this speech argues that high quality child care is vitally important so that young children have positive early experiences, which tend to produce positive outcomes in the future. It also stresses some of the core components found in high quality child care: sensitive caregivers, positive interactions between caregivers and children, program structure, and others. The speech also touches on the need to improve salaries for early childhood teachers, as well as the importance of quality improvement efforts for child care programs.

What on-site assistance and professional development strategies are states using with their Quality Rating and Improvement Systems?

Features of professional development and on-site assistance in child care quality rating improvement systems: A survey of state-wide systems
Smith, Sheila, 10/01/2010
New York: Columbia University, National Center for Children in Poverty. Retrieved October 8, 2010, from http://nccp.org/publications/pdf/text_970.pdf

Based on interviews with state child care administrators, Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) directors, and/or directors of QRIS professional development activities from 17 states, this study aimed to learn more about the systems' on-site coaching/technical assistance and professional development strategies. States reported a range of supports for center- and home-based providers preparing for initial QRIS assessments. After providers receive ratings, most states made on-site assistance available to centers and homes at all levels of quality. Even in states that targeted lower-rated providers, relatively small percentages of these providers actually received on-site assistance. The most common focus of on-site assistance was improvement of the environment; important domains--e.g. language, early literacy, math--were addressed less frequently. The most commonly reported activity during on-site visits was discussion with staff; observing and modeling interactions with children happened less often. The content areas of group professional development were similar to those of on-site assistance, with training to improve the environment cited most often. Most states reported using formal training curricula, most offered some group training formally tied to on-site assistance, and almost all tailored training to specific roles in child care settings. The report concludes with recommendations based on these and other findings.

What effect are America's early childhood policies having on young children and their families?

Investing in young children: New directions in federal preschool and early childhood policy
Haskins, Ron, 09/01/2010
Washington, DC: Brookings Institution, Center on Children and Families. Retrieved October 14, 2010, from http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/Files/rc/reports/2010/1013_investing_in_young_children_haskins/1013_investing_in_young_children_haskins.pdf

Published by the Center on Children and Families of the Brookings Institute, and the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER), this publication explores the major policies that are affecting the nation's young children and their families. Chapters in this volume, written by some of the country's leading scholars in early childhood policy, focus on a variety of different programs and issues, including Head Start, Early Head Start, and home visiting. Within these major topics, child care subsidies, state pre-kindergarten, government funding, and program coordination issues are discussed. Future recommendations for early childhood policies are also provided at the conclusion of the publication. View the other articles in this publication: Head Start: Strategies to improve outcomes for children living in poverty; Strengthening home-visiting intervention policy: Expanding reach, building knowledge; The Nurse-Family Partnership; Coordinating America's highly diversified early childhood portfolio; Ten ideas for improving Early Head Start--and why the program needs them; Getting the most out of Early Head Start: What has been accomplished and what needs to be done; and Leave no (young) child behind: Prioritizing access in early childhood education .

Does storybook reading with parents ease morning transition for toddlers in child care?

Investigating toddlers' and parents' storybook reading during morning transition when parents leave toddlers at child care
Lee, Boh Young, 01/01/2010

The purpose of this study was to examine whether storybook reading with parents eases morning transitions for young children as well as fosters their literacy development. Additionally, the study examined whether storybook reading with parents during morning transition affects the relationship between parents and teachers. Fifteen 2 to 3 year old toddlers, their parents, and teachers in a child care center in an urban setting participated in the study. All participants were White and non-Hispanic. Results from the study suggest that storybook reading with parents during morning transition times: facilitates smooth morning transitions; may lead to children engaging in independent reading; and allows direct/indirect interactions between parents and teachers. The author concludes that the study provides evidence that there is strong relationship between parent-child-teacher interactions in the classroom and literacy development. Additionally, the author suggests that unlike previous research which indicates that in order to ease separation anxiety parents should keep goodbyes short, this study indicates that parents spending time with children reading books can help make the morning transition smoother. Limitations of the study and future research needs are also discussed.

How can states link early childhood and school-based data systems?

Many missing pieces: The difficult task of linking early childhood data and school-based data systems
Bornfreund, Laura, 10/01/2010
Washington, DC: New America Foundation. Retrieved October 8, 2010, from http://earlyed.newamerica.net/sites/newamerica.net/files/policydocs/NAF_ManyMissingPieces.pdf

This brief discusses the need for and barriers to integrating early childhood and school-based data systems in states. Several initiatives for more and better data and federal grants (i.e. the Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems grants) have helped states move toward a state longitudinal education data system, but currently no state has fully integrated data from all early childhood systems with k-12 data. Barriers identified include: lack of resources, lack of common student ID, lack of coordination between ECE and k-12 departments, incompatible data systems, and student privacy concerns and regulations.

How have American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds affected state child care assistance policies?

State child care assistance policies 2010: New federal funds help states weather the storm
Schulman, Karen, 09/01/2010
Washington, DC: National Women's Law Center. Retrieved September 30, 2010, from http://www.nwlc.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/statechildcareassistancepoliciesreport2010.pdf

The most recent annual analysis of state child care assistance policies by the National Women's Law Center (NWLC) showed no significant changes in most states from February 2009 to February 2010. Thanks largely to a major infusion of funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (AARA) into the Child Care and Development Block Grant, most states were able to maintain their income eligibility and co-payment levels for parents, reimbursement rates for child care providers, and keep their waiting lists from expanding--even as they were cutting other programs. As states exhaust AARA allocations, however, some are beginning to plan cuts in their child care assistance programs. NWLC collected data for this analysis from state child care administrators in the fifty states and District of Columbia.

What do we know about Head Start programs across the country?

ACF-OPRE report: A year in Head Start: Children, families and programs
United States. Administration for Children and Families. Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, 10/01/2010
Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved September 12, 2012, from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre/hs/faces/reports/year_final/year_final.pdf

This ACF-OPRE report takes a comprehensive look at Head Start programs across the country. Using the Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES) 2006 data, the report details the demographics of children in Head Start, as well as information about their families, the Head Start centers, the practices within the classroom, the characteristics and qualifications of the staff members, and child and family outcomes. Data was gathered through direct child assessments, interviews with parents and teachers, classroom observations, and population estimates, and the findings are included in both this publication as well as the data tables. View the FACES 2006 Data Tables.

What do we know about Head Start programs across the country?

ACF-OPRE report: Data tables for FACES 2006 A year in Head Start report
United States. Administration for Children and Families. Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, 10/01/2010
Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved October 22, 2010, from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre/hs/faces/reports/year_data_tables/year_data_tables.pdf

This ACF-OPRE report takes a comprehensive look at Head Start programs across the country. Using the Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES) 2006 data, the report details the demographics of children in Head Start, as well as information about their families, the Head Start centers, the practices within the classroom, the characteristics and qualifications of the staff members, and child and family outcomes. Data was gathered through direct child assessments, interviews with parents and teachers, classroom observations, and population estimates, and the findings are included in both this publication as well as the data tables. View the FACES 2006 Data Tables.

What are the challenges of supporting and measuring implementation fidelity in a five-state consultation study?

Treatment fidelity challenges in a five-state consultation study
Wesley, Patricia W., 07/01/2010

This articles describes one approach to enhancing, supporting, and measuring fidelity in a five-state randomized study of an on-site consultation model (Partnerships for Inclusion --PFI) used to improve the quality in child care programs. Procedures to enhance and support fidelity included: collaborating with state liaisons who had direct contact with consultants, standardizing consultant training, and using multiple methods of communication during implementation. Treatment fidelity tests found the overall implementation of the PFI model to vary widely by consultant and the level of specific indicators central to the model to be very low.

Do changes in home learning environment impact young children's language and academic skills?

The nature and impact of changes in home learning environment on development of language and academic skills in preschool children
Son, Seung-Hee, 09/01/2010

The purpose of this study was to examine home learning environmental changes during school transition and how those changes affect the development of language and academic skills in preschool children. Based on a sample of 1,018 children and their parents from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development, this study examined the natural occurrence of changes in the home learning environment at 36 and 54 months of age. Findings revealed that overall a substantial number of parents improved their home learning environment quality as their children approached school entry. However, the degree of change contributed to the children's language development but not their academic skills. Additionally, home changes were more likely to be observed from mothers with more education and work hours, and those with fewer depressive symptoms. Implications of these findings for designing early intervention programs are discussed.

What is the relationship between Kindergarten test scores and later adult earnings?

How does your kindergarten classroom affect your earnings?: Evidence from Project STAR
Chetty, Raj, 09/01/2010
(NBER Working Paper Series No. 16381). Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research. Retrieved September 30, 2010, from http://www.nber.org/papers/w16381.pdf

In the past, researchers have found little or no correlation between children’s test scores in Kindergarten and their corresponding test scores in high school. The researchers of the present study sought to find a relationship between children’s Kindergarten test scores and their earnings as adults. In this study, 12,000 children in Tennessee’s STARS program were followed from age 5 to age 27, while researchers examined their test scores as Kindergarteners, as well as their adult outcomes. The study found that those who had higher test scores in Kindergarten were more likely to have attended college, own a home, begun saving for retirement, and had greater incomes than those who did not test as well in Kindergarten. The researchers concluded that those who experienced higher Kindergarten quality were more likely to experience better outcomes.

How did Head Start programs implement the I AM Moving, I AM Learning program?

Efforts to meet children's physical activity and nutritional needs: Findings from the I Am Moving, I Am Learning implementation evaluation: Final Report
United States. Administration for Children and Families. Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, 02/01/2010
Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved September 3, 2010, from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre/hs/eval_move_learn/reports/implement_moving_learning/implement_moving_learning.pdf

This study examines how participating Head Start programs implemented the obesity prevention program enhancement called I AM Moving, I AM Learning (IM/IL) and looks at the sustainability of continuing the program. Interviews were conducted with IM/IL program coordinators and teachers/home visitors in 26 Head Start programs (who completed an initial implementation survey), and site visits and classroom observations were completed with a selection of 13 of the programs. Findings included: program staff reported having increased children's movement time and improved food choices; all of the programs reported that they plan to expand their efforts in the following year; and some of the programs (mostly larger programs and those with a home-visiting component) were targeting children, parents, and staff.

Is there a relationship between child care quality, extent and type, and low-income children's development of behavior problems?

Child care and the development of behavior problems among economically disadvantaged children in middle childhood
Votruba-Drzal, Elizabeth, 09/01/2010

The purpose of this study was to examine whether there are long-lasting associations between the developmental quality, extent, and type of child care settings low-income children experience and the development of their behavior problems into middle childhood. Additionally, the study examined whether these associations varied by gender and race/ethnicity. The study was based on data drawn from the Three City-Study, a longitudinal, multi-method study examining the well-being of low-income children and families following welfare reform. The study found that higher levels of child care quality were linked to moderate reductions in externalizing behavior problems, and was particularly protective against the development of behavior problems for boys and African American children. However, child care type and extent of child care were generally unrelated to behavior problems in middle childhood. The authors conclude that these findings provide further evidence of the need for policy and programmatic efforts to increase low-income families' access to high-quality child care.

How does parents' use of number words influence children’s later mathematical understanding?

What counts in the development of young children's number knowledge?
Levine, Susan Cohen, 09/01/2010

In this observational study, Levine and colleagues demonstrate how the number talk of 44 parents from low and high socio-economic backgrounds is significantly related to their children’s later cardinal number knowledge (e.g., understanding that when counting one, two, three, four ducks, the word four refers to the set of ducks). Cardinal number knowledge is a critical aspect of young children’s mathematical development because of its relation to counting and the ability to solve number problems. The authors show that parents’ use of number words when toddlers were between the ages of 14 and 30 months was related to children’s cardinal knowledge at 46 months. The relationship between parents’ number word use and children’s cardinal knowledge was significant above and beyond socio-economic status. This suggests that parents use of number words while children are toddlers is a key factor in supporting children’s mathematical understanding at 4 years of age, and mathematical understanding during early childhood is related to elementary academic outcomes.

How do different forms of classroom engagement affect children’s school readiness gains in Pre-Kindergarten?

Children's classroom engagement and school readiness gains in prekindergarten
Chien, Nina C., 09/01/2010

This study sought to determine how different types of child engagement can affect children’s school readiness gains in Pre-Kindergarten. The researchers observed 2,751 children enrolled in public Pre-Kindergarten programs and assessed their gains depending on the type of engagement in the classroom. The researchers identified four main profiles of engagement: free play, individual instruction, group instruction, and scaffolded learning. Results indicated that children engaged in free play showed smaller gains compared to other children, and that poor children fared better than non-poor children when receiving individual instruction.

How susceptible are CCDF programs to fraud and abuse?

Child Care and Development Fund: Undercover tests show five state programs that are vulnerable to fraud and abuse
United States. Government Accountability Office, 09/01/2010
(GAO-10-1062). Washington, DC: United States, Government Accountability Office. Retrieved September 23, 2010, from http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d101062.pdf

To examine the potential for fraud in CCDF programs, workers from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) posed as parents and relatives and attempted to gain child care assistance for fictitious children. This was tried twice in each of five states. One state successfully defended against both attempts, two states had more mixed results, and two were unsuccessful. Typically, the GAO workers were able to obtain assistance by using social security numbers of deceased individuals. This report also provides recommendations for states for protecting against fraud, including more stringent verification of applicant information and provider billings.

What do we know about the quality of home-based care and initiatives to improve it?

Supporting quality in home-based child care: Final brief
United States. Administration for Children and Families. Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, 03/31/2010
Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved September 3, 2010, from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre/cc/supporting_quality/reports/supporting_brief/supporting_brief.pdf

This brief highlights the findings from four reports on the prevalence, demographics, and quality of home-based caregivers as well as initiatives to improve quality. Findings indicate: home-based care is widely used particularly for very young children; the quality tends to be poor to mediocre (depending on the assessment measure used) but caregivers tend to be positively engaged and provide safe environments; and there are 96 initiatives in the field to support quality in home-based care which offer a wide range of service delivery strategies. For further information, view the four full reports: A review of literature on home-based child care: Implications for future directions: Final, A compilation of initiatives to support home-based child care, Supporting quality in home-based child care: A compendium of 23 initiatives, Supporting quality in home-based child care: Initiative design and evaluation options.

What is the relationship between child care center directors' characteristics, beliefs, decision making, and observed quality?

Understanding quality in context: Child care centers, communities, markets, and public policy
Rohacek, Monica, 01/01/2010
Washington, DC: Urban Institute. Retrieved August 13, 2010, from http://www.urban.org/UploadedPDF/412191-understand-quality.pdf

This study explored child care center directors' beliefs about quality and barriers they face in improving the quality of care, and how their beliefs are tied to observed quality in the classrooms. Thirty-eight center directors in four county sites across the U.S. were interviewed, and classroom quality was observed using the CLASS and ECERS-R. Interviews and observations revealed that centers with observed high-quality classrooms had certain characteristics in common. These common characteristics were: directors who focused on children’s higher‐level needs rather than on safety or other basic needs; directors whose decisions were shaped by their intrinsic beliefs about quality, learning, and child development rather than based on instinct or experience; directors who experienced less financial strain; and directors who had high expectations for teachers and emphasized the importance of their wages and professional development.

How do early life experiences affect lifelong health?

The foundations of lifelong health are built in early childhood
National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, 07/01/2010
Cambridge, MA: Harvard University, Center on the Developing Child. Retrieved August 13, 2010, from http://developingchild.harvard.edu/index.php/download_file/-/view/700/

This groundbreaking report by Jack Shonkoff and the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University examined how experiences in early childhood can affect health and developmental outcomes throughout the lifespan. The report discussed the experiences in early childhood that provide a foundation for a healthy life, including stable and responsive relationships, supportive physical environments, and good nutrition. The paper illustrated how crucial early experiences are to health later in life, as positive experiences can produce positive outcomes, while negative experiences can produce negative outcomes. For example, maltreatment in early childhood can cause irregular physiological effects, which the paper has linked to having an increased chance of diabetes as an adult. Overall, the paper stresses a biodevelopmental framework that links the biology and experiences of young children to their adult outcomes.

Does maternal employment in the first year impact children's socioemotional and cognitive development in the first 7 years?

First-year maternal employment and child development in the first 7 years
Brooks-Gunn, Jeanne, 08/01/2010

This study used data from the first 2 phases of the NICHD Study of Early Child Care to examine the link between maternal employment in the first year of a child's life and cognitive, social and emotional outcomes for these same children at age 3, 4.5 and in first grade. Additionally, the study examined to what extent these associations varied by the child's gender and temperement, or the mother's occupation; and how mother's earnings, the home environment, and type and quality of child care mediate these outcomes. The study compared non-Hispanic White and African American children whose mothers worked full time, part time, or did not work in the 1st year. Based on their results the authors conclude that on average, the associations between 1st year maternal employment and later cognitive, social, and emotional outcomes for children are neutral when factors such as maternal earnings, the home environment, and child care are taken into account. Additionally, they note that this is particularly likely to be the case when the mother's employment is part time rather than full time. The authors conclude with a discussion of the implications of their findings for 3 proposed types of policies: extending paid parental leave, giving parents the right to request part time or flexible work schedules, and providing more support for good quality child care.

Can measurement characteristics affect ECERS-R scores and program funding?

How measurement characteristics can affect ECERS-R and program funding
Hofer, Kerry G., 06/01/2010

This study examines the extent to which ECERS-R scores are affected by scoring method and characteristics of the observation based on a secondary analysis of data from over 250 classrooms. Results indicate that total scores are stable across scoring methods and the correlations between scores using different scoring methods are high. However, there is a great deal of movement in rank, whether relative to other classrooms, to the ECERS-R quality categories, or to a state funding cut-score, when the scoring method was altered. The author demonstrates how the effects of these measurement attributes have important implications for policy, particularly when ECERS-R scores are tied to program funding.

How does parental involvement affect the educational outcomes of young children in poverty?

Poverty, race, and parental involvement during the transition to elementary school
Cooper, Cary, 07/01/2010

This study examined the relationship between parent involvement and education outcomes of young children for families that are living in poverty. Using data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten Cohort, the researchers discovered that parents living in poverty were less involved in their children’s school than parents not living in poverty. Interestingly, parents living in poverty participated in home learning activities with their children just as frequently as parents not living in poverty. However, this improved academic performance, specifically reading skills, for Hispanic children living in poverty, but not for African American children living in poverty.

How do parents’ perceptions of teachers’ responsiveness to children affect child outcomes in the classroom?

Parent?school relationships and children's academic and social outcomes in public school pre-kindergarten
Powell, Douglas R., 08/01/2010

The study looked at two dimensions of the relationship between parents and school: parent involvement in their child’s school, and parent perception of the teacher’s level of responsiveness. The present study focused on 13 pre-kindergarten classrooms in the Midwest, with researchers observing the quality of the interactions between teacher and child. Within these classrooms, 140 children were assessed to determine their school readiness and social skills, and their parents were assessed to determine their involvement with the school and their perceptions of their child's teachers. The results found a positive correlation between parental school involvement and children’s math skills and social skills. Further, the researchers found a positive relationship between parents’ perceived teacher responsiveness to their children and children’s reading skills and social skills.

How much did unionization of home-based child care grow between 2007 and 2010?

Getting organized: Unionizing home-based child care providers: 2010 update
Blank, Helen, 06/01/2010
Washington, DC: National Women's Law Center. Retrieved September 7, 2010, from http://www.nwlc.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/gettingorganizedupdate2010.pdf

Updating an earlier report on unionization of home-based child care providers who participate in state subsidy programs--both regulated family child care providers and regulation-exempt family, friend, and neighbor providers--this follow-up report from the National Women's Law Center charts growth of the movement between February 2007 and March 2010. In 2007, unions had secured the right to organize and negotiate on behalf of home-based providers in 7 states, and contracts had been negotiated in just 3. By 2010, these numbers had risen to 14 and 12. While the legislature in only 1 state had funded its contract in 2007, contracts in place in most states in 2010 had been funded. All 12 of these contracts covered increases in home reimbursement rates; 9 expanded home providers' access to training; a few provided state assistance in accessing health insurance--though even fewer provided state contributions toward premiums; several addressed problems in state payment processes. In three more states, bills authorizing unionization were passed by legislatures, but vetoed by governors. In an additional state, unions obtained authority to organize and negotiate with local governments. The report provides detailed information on the developments in each of these states.

What types of home visiting programs are effective?

What works for home visiting programs: Lessons from experimental evaluations of programs and interventions
Kahn, Jordan, 07/01/2010
(Publication #2010-17). Washington, DC: Child Trends. Retrieved July 30, 2010, from http://www.childtrends.org/Files//Child_Trends-2010_7_1_FS_WWHomeVisitpdf.pdf

This literature review synthesizes the findings from multiple random assignment experimental evaluations examining the impact of various intervention programs with a home visiting component. Home visiting is not a single intervention but rather an approach to service delivery and can vary by target population, goals or outcomes, level and intensity of services, the type of visitor delivering the service, and the frequency and duration of visits. Drawing on 66 random assignment studies that included a home visiting program component, the authors find: 1) For programs serving early childhood, high-intensity programs were effective for one or more child outcomes; 2) Among programs serving preschool-age children, there were no consistently effective practices, but using trained non-professionals and conducting weekly home visits produced mixed results; 3) For children aged 6 to 11 years old, providing families referrals to other services has mostly not been found to work; and 4) For programs serving adolescents, programs using trained non-professionals as visitors and programs with longer durations showed positive impacts. The authors conclude that further research is needed on program costs and costs versus benefits.

How effective is the "Read It Again!" Curriculum on the language and literacy scores of academically at-risk children?

Language and literacy curriculum supplement for preschoolers who are academically at risk: A feasibility study
Justice, Laura M., 04/01/2010

This study explored the potential benefits and effectiveness of a specialized language and literacy curriculum on academically at-risk preschoolers. The low-cost curriculum, titled "Read It Again!", featured 30 lessons to be used over a 15 week period and includes 15 commercial storybooks. The curriculum was implemented by 11 preschool teachers, while an additional 9 teachers were used as the control group. The results showed that children who received the "Read It Again!" curriculum showed higher language and literacy scores, with a medium to large effect size. This curriculum could be used as an effective tool by teachers who otherwise are not receiving much professional development.

What is the influence of neighborhoods and schools on reading achievement of African American and Hispanic Children?

Family, neighborhood, and school settings across seasons: When do socioeconomic context and racial composition matter for the reading achievement growth of young children?
Benson, James, 05/01/2010

In this study, Benson and Borman examine how reading achievement is related to season (i.e., school year or summer); racial/ethnic composition of neighborhood and school; and family and neighborhood socioeconomic status (SES). The authors used kindergarten and first grade data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study Kindergarten Cohort (ECLS-K) to measure reading achievement, and neighborhood and racial/ethnic data came from the 2000 Census. Major findings from the study suggest that the school year is the main time period when the achievement gap widens, not the summer months. Specifically, students from low-SES backgrounds were at a disadvantage for reading growth when compared to middle SES peers. Conversely, other studies suggest that summer learning loss is a critical factor in the socioeconomic achievement gap. The authors also found school racial/ethnic composition was related to reading achievement growth during first grade where students attending schools with a high minority percentage were at a disadvantage. Neighborhood racial/ethnic composition was less of an influence during the school year, but it was still a significant factor in reading achievement, especially for Hispanic students in first grade. That is, children in higher percentage minority neighborhoods had lower reading growth. Benson and Borman suggest that policies aimed at equalizing educational outcomes should look at ways to replicate the advantages present in socially advantaged neighborhoods and schools.

Does home enrichment mediate the relationship between maternal education, and children's reading and mathematics achievement?

How home enrichment mediates the relationship between maternal education and children's achievement in reading and math
Yaghoub-Zadeh, Zohreh, 07/01/2010

In this study, researchers examine how various aspects of home enrichment at age 4 mediates the relationship between maternal education and children's achievement in reading and math in the first grade. The research is based on a secondary analysis of 1,093 children. Data is drawn from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development longitudinal database. Specific aspects of home enrichment are examined such as learning materials, learning stimulation, parental responsiveness, modeling of social maturity, and variety in experience. Mediation models are also tested for boys and girls separately. Results indicate that all 5 aspects of home enrichment mediate the association between maternal education and reading achievement, and 4 aspects of home enrichment mediated this association for math achievement. Some aspects of home enrichment were gender specific. Implications for policy, practice, and future research are discussed.

What is the association between teacher-child relationship quality and children's externalizing behaviors?

Teacher-child relationships and children's externalizing behaviors in Head Start
Whittaker, Jessica E. Vick, 07/01/2010

A study of 100 children in 10 Head Start classrooms examined the associations between teacher-child relationship quality and children's externalizing behaviors, as well as teacher, student, and classroom characteristics. Observations and teacher questionnaires revealed that teacher-child conflict, dependency, and positive relationships significantly predicted children's externalizing behaviors, with conflict being the strongest predictor. Teacher experience and child age were also associated with the quality of teacher-child relationships.

What strategies are effective in recruiting and retaining male minority youth?

Recruiting and retaining older African American and Hispanic boys in after-school programs: What we know and what we still need to learn
Kauh, Tina J., 01/01/2010
Philadelphia: Public/Private Ventures. Retrieved July 16, 2010, from http://www.ppv.org/ppv/publications/assets/323_publication.pdf

The purpose of this review was to identify the strategies most commonly used by after-school programs with high rates of recruitment and retention of older African American and Hispanic boys. Additionally, recommendations for advancing the after-school field's understanding of how to effectively reach this population are included. In reviewing the literature on recruitment and retention, the author finds that while much of the research to date has relied primarily on asking staff which practices they believe to be most instrumental in recruiting and retaining older youth, there has been little empirical testing. One study that quantitatively links program practices to retention rates identifies the following strategies: having staff that were well informed about the youth; providing leadership opportunities; having regular staff meetings to discuss program issues; and housing programs in large community based organizations. While this research pertains to participation among youth more broadly, there is very little research focused on older minority boys. However, based on interviews with executive staff from 10 after-school programs with a high rate of success in recruiting and retaining older minority boys, the author concludes that the same strategies that work for adolescents more broadly largely overlap with those for targeting older minority boys. The author's recommendations for how after-school programs can increase recruitment and retention among older minority boys and further the field's understanding, include: conducting a needs assessment; demonstrating cultural competence; and documenting program practices that work. Lastly, in terms of future research, the author highlights the need for evaluations of high-participation programs, and assessment of the quality of programs and youth outcomes.

What was the impact of Seeds to Success, a quality rating and improvement system?

The Seeds to Success Modified Field Test: Findings from the impact and implementation studies
Boller, Kimberley, 06/28/2010
Princeton, NJ: Mathematica Policy Research. Retrieved June 28, 2010, from http://www.mathematica-mpr.com/publications/PDFs/EarlyChildhood/seeds_to_success_mft.pdf

Researchers at Mathematica conducted an implementation and impact evaluation of Seeds to Success, a quality rating and improvement system (QRIS), as part of an initiative in two Washington state communities to develop and implement high-quality, community-wide early learning initiatives. Seeds to Success included a coaching model, and financial incentives in an effort to improve child care quality. Results were based on pre- and post-treatment program observations, staff surveys, and interviews with 14 randomly assigned child care centers and 52 randomly assigned family child care providers. The study found that family child care providers in the treatment group were not more likely than providers in the control group to be enrolled in an education or training program. However, significantly more center-based lead teachers in the treatment group than in the control group attended college courses at least weekly. Additionally, higher child care observed quality was found in the treatment group compared to the control group.

Are there differences in process quality between center-based and family-based care settings?

A comparative study of structural and process quality in center-based and family-based child care services
Bigras, Nathalie, 06/01/2010

This study examines both process and structural quality, and predictors of process quality in 53 center-based and 36 family-based regulated child care settings serving children 18 months old or younger in Montreal. The study found that family-based child care settings were lower in process quality than center-based child care. Results indicate that certain structural variables could contribute to increasing levels of process quality. The researchers recommend targeting child care workers and family-based child care providers who work with children under 18 months old and where the adult-child ratio is higher than 1:5 with specialized training. Additionally, they suggest that Family-based child care providers should be encouraged to increase their educational level, especially those with only a high school diploma. Finally, the authors recommend further research in this area.

How have narratives been used as tools to promote school readiness?

Narratives as learning tools to promote school readiness
Currenton, Stephanie M., 05/01/2010

This special issue of Early Education and Development features studies that have examined how narratives can be used in the classroom as tools to promote school readiness. More specifically, the research questions address how the narrating style of families can prepare children for classroom instruction and promote school readiness. The various studies explored these themes in different classes, race/ethnicities, and cultures. View the articles in this special issue: 'Telling stories and making books: Evidence for an intervention to help parents in Migrant Head Start families support their children's language and literacy ', 'Something to say: Children learning through story', 'Maternal elaborative reminiscing increases low-income children's narrative skills relative to dialogic reading ', 'Teachers' interactions during storybook reading: A rural African perspective', and '"The seesaw is a machine that goes up and down": Young children's narrative responses to science-related informational text '.

Where does full-day kindergarten fit within the PreK-3rd grade continuum?

Prek-3rd: Putting full-day kindergarten in the middle
Kauerz, Kristie, 06/01/2010
(PreK-3rd Policy to Action Brief No. 4). New York: Foundation for Child Development. Retrieved April 23, 2013, from http://fcd-us.org/sites/default/files/FINAL%20Kindergarten%20Brief.pdf

This article examines the research around the benefits of full day kindergarten (FDK) and concludes that given that the research demonstrates gains in early reading, early math, and in social competence and creative problem solving skills, FDK should be an integral part of PreK-3rd efforts. The authors suggest that FDK serves as an important bridge between the early childhood and early elementary years. Unfortunately, there are many states that do not currently require school districts to provide even a half-day of kindergarten and only 12 states require school districts to provide FDK. The authors conclude with several recommendations for moving FDK to the middle of education reform including establishing FDK as an integral part of the education system, and improving the quality of FDK.

What do states include in their early learning guidelines?

A review of school readiness practices in the states: Early learning guidelines and assessments
Daily, Sarah, 06/17/2010
(Early Childhood Highlights Vol. 1, Issue 3, Publication No. 2010-14). Washington, DC: Child Trends. Retrieved June 17, 2010, from http://www.childtrends.org/Files/Child_Trends-2010_06_18_ECH_SchoolReadiness.pdf

This brief reviews the purpose and content of state Early Learning Guidelines (ELGs) and offers suggestions for effective early learning guidelines. Findings include: all 50 states have ELGs for preschool-age children (ages 3-5); 24 states have them for infants and toddlers (age 0-3); all 50 states included guidelines for language and early literacy; 49 states include guidelines for early math; and all but two states include guidelines on social-emotional development and physical health development. The authors suggest that early learning guidelines should have a holistic view of child development, be aligned with K-12 standards, be developmentally appropriate, and consider the challenges of assessments.

What are the major differences between preschool English learners and preschool English speakers within the classroom?

A comparison of teacher-related classroom conduct, social skills, and teacher-child relationship quality between preschool English learners and preschool English speakers
Luchtel, Molly, 04/01/2010

This study examined the major differences between preschool English learners and preschool English speakers within the classroom. Specifically, the authors focused on classroom conduct, social skills, and the quality of relationship between teacher and child. For the current study, 1,034 caregivers, 1,034 children, and 743 teachers were observed. The results indicate that teachers rated English learners more positively than English speakers in a variety of categories, including relationship quality and classroom conduct.

How have researchers studied social competence and math achievement in Latino kindergarteners?

The social competence of Latino kindergartners and growth in mathematical understanding
Galindo, Claudia, 05/01/2010

Using teacher reports from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study – Kindergarten data set, Galindo and Fuller investigate Latino children’s social competencies, and examine the relationship between social competencies, problem behaviors, and math outcomes. Findings show that, as a whole, Latino children are lower than White children on their levels of social competency with the children in the lowest three income quintiles driving this finding. Further, variation in social competencies exists for Latino children from different cultural backgrounds. For example, Puerto Rican children had the widest social competency disparity when compared to White children, while Cuban children showed few differences in comparison to White children. Additionally, social competencies where a stronger predictor of math achievement than problem behaviors, and children from bilingual homes had more growth in math than those from monolingual English only homes. The ecocultural and developmental risk frameworks are used to interpret findings.

To what extent do Early Childhood Teachers use Informational Texts in their classrooms?

Informational text use in preschool classroom read-alouds
Pentimonti, Jill M., 05/01/2010

The purpose of this study was to analyze the types of texts read in early childhood (EC) classrooms and to examine the topics that these texts addressed and the extent to which these matched local state standards. Previous research on informational texts has demonstrated that students benefit in terms of language skills, content area knowledge, and reading and engagement with topic. The study was based on written reading logs from 84 teachers participating in a study called 'Project Sit Together and Read (STAR) in classrooms in Ohio and Virginia. All the classrooms served at-risk students. The results indicate that the majority of texts used in the classroom were narratives (82%), while expository or informational texts accounted for only 4% of the texts. Further, the researchers estimate that informational read alouds only occurred for approximately 55 seconds per day for each teacher during the 30 week period. Implications of these findings and future recommendations are included.

How can today's demand for and supply of early care and education services be surveyed effectively across the country?

Design phase of the National Study of Early Child Care Supply and Demand (NSECCSD): Final report
United States. Administration for Children and Families. Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, 01/31/2010
Chicago: National Opinion Research Center. Retrieved June 15, 2010, from the U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation Web site: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre/cc/design_phase/nsccsd_final.pdf

Commissioned by the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation in the Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, this report lays out design options for a federally funded National Survey of Early Care and Education anticipated to be launched in 2011. The first such nationally representative study in more than 20 years, its proposed design features three inter-related surveys: a demand survey of parents of children birth to age 13, a supply survey of formal providers (center-based and regulated home-based), and--unlike previous national studies--a supply survey of informal home-based providers. To capture the local nature of child care and facilitate joint analysis of data from the three surveys, the design calls for samples of providers to be drawn (in all 50 states and the District of Columbia) from small geographic areas including and surrounding the smaller areas from which parent household samples are drawn. To support understanding of the breadth of child care and early education policy, the design emphasizes all sources of public subsidy--direct to families, as well as to programs such as Head Start and state pre-K.

Does remote delivery of a professional development intervention have the same effects as on-site delivery?

Effects of an early literacy professional development intervention on Head Start teachers and children
Powell, Douglas R., 05/01/2010

The purpose of this study was to the examine the effects of a literacy focused professional development intervention, titled 'Classroom Links to Early Literacy', on classrooms and children. Additionally, the study examined whether there were differential effects between delivering the intervention remotely (through technology) versus in-person. The study provided two sets of randomized controlled trial comparisons of a one-semester professional development intervention with Head Start teachers in 24 centers in a midwest state. Results indicated that the intervention had positive effects on general classroom environment and classroom supports for early literacy and language development. Also the intervention had positive effects on children's letter knowledge, blending skills, writing and concepts about print. However, the study found no intervention effects on teachers' instructional practices aimed at promoting children's vocabulary knowledge and use of language during large group time. Lastly, the study found no differential effects of remote versus on-site delivery of literacy coaching suggesting that remote delivery could provide a promising and cost-effective alternative to in-person delivery.

Where does sexuality fit in early childhood education?

Editorial [Introduction to a special issue of Australasian Journal of Early Childhood]
Semann, Anthony, 03/01/2010

This special issue of the Australasian Journal of Early Childhood features research on sexuality and gender roles in early childhood education. The articles explore sexuality in early childhood through a range of theories, such as queer theory, poststructuralism and feminism, and discuss issues of curriculum, identity, gender, literacy, teacher education and working with families. View the articles in this special issue: ’The tug of war: When queer and early childhood meet', ’(Re)marking heteronormativity: Resisting practices in early childhood education contexts', ’Gay mothers and early childhood education: Standing Tall', ’Kiss and tell: Gendered narratives and childhood sexuality'.

Can preschool improve child health outcomes?

Can preschool improve child health outcomes?: A systematic review
D'Onise, Katina, 05/01/2010

Researchers have completed a review of the literature on child health effects of center-based preschool intervention programs for healthy 4 year olds beyond the preschool years. In this review from 37 studies published between 1980 to July 2008, researchers found no effects of preschool interventions on children's health generally. However, there was some evidence for obesity reduction, greater social competence, improved mental health and crime prevention. Reviewers encourage methodological rigor to advance the research agenda in this important research area moving forward. These and other findings are discussed.

What can we learn from research on the implementation of early childhood education programs?

The importance of doing well in whatever you do: A commentary on the special section, “Implementation research in early childhood education”
Durlak, Joseph A., 07/01/2010

This special issue of Early Childhood Research Quarterly focuses on conclusions drawn from research on the implementation of programs in early childhood settings. In this commentary, the major findings of the research included in the special issue are discussed, including that implementation is a multi-dimensional construct, it can influence outcomes, and it must be evaluated. Additionally, this commentary highlights what can be learned from the research to improve future implementation. View the research in this special issue: ’Understanding Head Start children's problem behaviors in the context of arrest or incarceration of household members', 'Stability and change in early childhood classroom interactions during the first two hours of a day', 'Implementation quality: Lessons learned in the context of the Head Start REDI trial', 'Implementation of a relationship-based school readiness intervention: A multidimensional approach to fidelity measurement for early childhood', 'Examining different forms of implementation and in early childhood curriculum research', 'Implementation fidelity of MyTeachingPartner literacy and language activities: Association with preschoolers’ language and literacy growth', 'Research on the implementation of preschool intervention programs: Learning by doing', 'Home-school differences in beliefs, support, and control during public pre-kindergarten and their link to children's kindergarten readiness', 'Predicting teacher participation in a classroom-based, integrated preventive intervention for preschoolers'.

How can professionals plan successful transitions from Early Intervention to pre-school services?

Selecting appropriate assessment instruments to ensure quality transition services
Pang, Yanhui, 06/01/2010

Transitions for 3-year-olds and their families from Early Intervention services they have been receiving through Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (typically coordinated services from several agencies) to new preschool services (in school-based Part B programs, centers, or homes) are critical events in the lives of children and families. This article argues that transition planning with families needs to be informed by broad data from non-standardized assessments that capture families’ “perceptions, priorities, and needs,” as well as by data from standardized assessments focused on children’s skills, aptitudes, and interests. It describes 10 non-standardized family survey instruments, several developed by individual states, which address this need.

Is the Family Map interview helpful in identifying risk of unintended injury in the homes of preschool children attending Head Start?

Head Start and unintended injury: The use of the Family Map interview to document risk
Whiteside-Mansell, Leanne, 06/01/2010

This study examined the usefulness of the Family Map assessment tool for identifying the risk of unintentional injury of children in the homes of Head Start families. During home visits in the Fall and the Spring, Head Start teachers used the tool to assess safety-related parenting behaviors. Study results indicated that a large number of preschool children were at risk for various unintended injuries including: accessible poisons and dangerous objects, low parental monitoring, and vehicle safety. Fewer children were at risk during the second assessment in the Spring, suggesting that the home visits and participation in Head Start may help to reduce risk.

Do high levels of Classroom Organization and Emotional Support relate to positive changes in Instructional Support?

Stability and change in early childhood classroom interactions during the first two hours of a day
Curby, Timothy W., 07/01/2010

Using data from 693 pre-k classrooms, the purpose of this study was to examine the extent to which domains of classroom interactions are stable over the first two hours of a day. Secondly, the study examined whether domains of classroom interactions, namely Instructional Support, Classroom Organization and Emotional Support) change and relate to one another over the first two hours of the day. Findings indicated that: children experienced consistent quality in classroom interactions during the first two hours of the day; Classroom Organization and Emotional Support were not related to changes in Instructional Support; and Classroom Organization and Emotional Support were positively related to one another over time. The results demonstrated that teachers and children form a consistent way of interacting with one another, however high stability does not necessarily mean high quality interactions as the study found low levels of Instructional Support. Further the findings suggest that Instructional Support operates independently of Classroom Organization and Emotional Support. Lastly, higher quality Classroom Organization was associated with higher quality Emotional Support. This finding suggests that teachers who create close emotional relationships with their students benefit in the form of more smoothly functioning classrooms. Limitations and future research directions are also examined.

How do nonrelative child care experiences in the early years influence adolescent development?

Do effects of early child care extend to age 15 years?: Results from the NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development
Vandell, Deborah L., 05/01/2010

A study conducted by the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) explored the relationship between experiencing non-relative child care during ages 0- 4 1/2 and functioning at age 15 in 1,364 children. The study found that both quality and quantity of child care were associated with adolescent functioning. Higher quality care predicted better academic achievement and youth reports of less externalizing behavior, while more hours of non-relative care were linked to risk taking and impulsivity at age 15.

What qualities can affect the implementation process for a relationship-based school readiness intervention?

Implementation of a relationship-based school readiness intervention: A multidimensional approach to fidelity measurement for early childhood
Knoche, Lisa, 07/01/2010

In this study, 65 early childhood professionals were observed via videotape performing home visits, as part of the Getting Ready project, which is an intervention that promotes school readiness. The different strategies of these professionals were examined, as was the effectiveness of their strategies. The study found that those who adhered more strictly to the strategies of the intervention were better able to implement it effectively. In addition, positive correlations were found between the age of the professional, years of experience, and quality of intervention delivery.

What are the associations between levels of stress and aspects of care quality, child behavior, and child sex in family day care compared to home care?

The rise in cortisol in family day care: Associations with aspects of care quality, child behavior, and child sex
Gunner, Megan, 05/01/2010

This study examined the relationships between cortisol levels, a stress indicator, and child care quality, sex, and child behavior, for 151 children ages 3- through 5-years-old. Increases were noted in the majority of children (63%) at family day care, with 40% classified as a stress response compared to levels at home. Intrusive over-controlling family home care was associated with cortisol rise. These and other important findings are reported.

What are the potential effects of poverty reduction policies in Connecticut?

Estimating the potential effects of poverty reduction policies
Zedlewski, Sheila R., 03/01/2010

The development of a poverty measure based on National Academy of Science (NAS) recommendations and simulations of the effects of a variety of policy changes on poverty in Connecticut are presented in this paper. The new measure accounts for income as well as nondiscretionary work and out-of-pocket health expenses on net family income. It uses an updated measure of basic needs costs, and captures differences in the cost of living across states. Researchers use 2005 and 2006 Connecticut Current Population Survey data. The model simulates benefits, and then changes in benefits from Supplemental Security Income, Supplemental Nutritional Assistance, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, and Medicaid on family income and poverty. Housing assistance, WIC, and LIHEAP are accounted for and federal and state payroll taxes, and child care expenses are included in the model. Authors examine the relationship between poverty policies and program participation, and the effect of changes in policy on employment. Challenges encountered when estimating the effects of policies on poverty as well as implementing the NAS at the state level are discussed.

On what basic elements can Quality Rating Systems be compared and evaluated?

The Child Care Quality Rating System (QRS) Assessment: Compendium of quality rating systems and evaluations
United States. Administration for Children and Families. Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, 04/01/2010
Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved May 14, 2010, from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre/cc/childcare_quality/compendium_qrs/qrs_compendium_final.pdf

As more and more states have built Quality Rating Systems (QRS), the need for systematic, comparative information on these systems has continued to grow. This Compendium addresses the need, with descriptions of 26 QRS--19 statewide and 7 local or pilot. Information is presented in two ways, through cross-QRS matrices and through individual QRS profiles. The Compendium’s comprehensive set of information elements includes: eligibility of programs to participate, whether participation is voluntary, proportion of eligible programs participating, distribution of programs across rating levels, structure of rating system, quality categories included in system, rating process, use of observational measures, aligned quality improvement opportunities, incentives, outreach, linkages to other early childhood systems (subsidy, Head Start, state Pre-K, as well as Professional Development systems), and approaches to evaluation.

What are the policy implications for using an accumulation approach in early childhood settings?

Family socioeconomic status and consistent environmental stimulation in early childhood
Crosnoe, Robert, 05/01/2010

In this study the authors use a contextual systems framework to examine how children, ages birth through 6 years, exposure to cognitive stimulation in the home, in preschool child care, and 1st grade classrooms was related to their reading and mathematics achievement. Crosnoe and colleagues found that across socioeconomic circumstances, children had higher math achievement when they were consistently stimulated in all 3 environments, and they had higher reading achievement when they were consistently stimulated in child care and at home. Not surprisingly, children from more affluent families were more likely to be in 3 environments that were stimulating, while low-income children were not. A policy implication from this work is that early intervention programs that target a single setting (e.g., parenting) may be less effective than those that target consistently across multiple settings. A multi-setting approach may be especially important for vulnerable children and families.

How are out-of-school time programs engaging older youth at the city level?

Engaging older youth: Program and city-level strategies to support sustained participation in out-of-school time
Deschenes, Sarah, 04/01/2010
Cambridge, MA: Harvard Family Research Project. Retrieved April 29, 2010, from http://www.hfrp.org/content/download/3627/102254/file/EngagingOlderYouth-042710.pdf

Recent research has demonstrated the importance of out-of-school time programs in facilitating positive youth development. This report examines what kinds of out-of-school time programs are best able to achieve and maintain high participation and retention. Researchers examined the characteristics of high-participation programs, as well as what makes these programs stand out from other less successful ones, and what strategies cities and communities are using to support these programs. The results indicate that the most successful out-of-school time programs provide leadership opportunities for the youth, have a responsible and engaged staff, are community based, have at least 100 youth enrolled, and hold regular staff meetings. Implications from this study are discussed, as are recommendations for how out-of-school time programs can increase their participation and retention rates.

What does the government currently spend on pre-kindergartners and kindergartners?

Federal expenditures on pre-kindergartners and kindergartners in 2008: (Ages 3 through 5)
Kent, Adam, 03/01/2010
Washington, DC: Urban Institute. Retrieved April 12, 2010, from http://www.urban.org/UploadedPDF/412059_federal_expenditures_prek.pdf

This report examines federal expenditures on children ages 3 through 5, by examining over 100 federal programs through which the government devotes money to children. In addition, the report provides state and local spending comparison estimates. Key findings are that: the federal government and state and local governments spend almost equal amounts on pre-kindergartners and kindergartners; programs focusing on the care and education of 3 to 5 year olds represent about 23 percent of total federal expenditures; and in 2008 federal expenditures on pre-kindegartners and kindergartners totaled $60.5 billion. Additionally, based on short-term projections spending on children ages 3 to 5 will increase as a percentage of GDP in 2009 and 2010, however by 2012 federal expenditures are projected to be lower than 2008 levels as a percentage of GDP. While the report provides detailed information about expenditures it does not analyze the efficiency or success of any the programs but rather provides a baseline for future comparisons and analysis of high-return public investments.

What is the condition of state-funded preschool programs?

The state of preschool 2009: State preschool yearbook
Barnett, W. Steven, 01/01/2009
New Brunswick, NJ: National Institute for Early Education Research. Retrieved August 16, 2012, from http://nieer.org/sites/nieer/files/2009%20yearbook.pdf

The National Institute for Early Education Research's (NIEER) annual review of state-funded preschool programs for 3- and 4-year-old children showed slower progress than previous years in expanding state preschool programs. Based on a 50 state survey of administrators of state-funded preschool programs of the 2008-2009 program year, NIEER found: overall enrollment in preschool increased slightly by 81,593 children at all ages; 29 states had increases in the percent of 3- and 4-year-olds enrolled in state pre-K programs, while 9 states decreased; about a third of state-funded pre-K children attended preschool in a private program; after adjusting for inflation, state funding per child declined in 24 of 38 states with a state-funded preschool program; and 24 states met seven or more of NIEER's quality benchmarks while most states met at least five benchmarks.

How have American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds supported state child care efforts?

Supporting state child care efforts with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds
Schulman, Karen, 04/01/2010
Washington, DC: National Women's Law Center. Retrieved September 18, 2013, from http://www.nwlc.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/SupportingStateChildCareEffortsWithARRA.pdf

This report from the National Women's Law Center discusses how funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act have gone towards supporting child care efforts in the states. The legislation provided a $2 billion increase for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), which includes $255 million for improving quality in child care, $93.6 million of which is to be targeted to infant and toddler programs. Throughout the country, states are using the money in various ways to support child care efforts. For example, at least ten states are using the funds to maintain child care assistance for families, while at least fourteen states are using the funds to reduce or eliminate waiting lists for child care assistance. Further, many states are using the money to expand child care assistance for families in need, and in other states, money is being spent on quality improvement programs, professional development programs, and on the development of state early learning guidelines.

What are the needs of early childhood settings in non-Abbott districts of New Jersey?

New Jersey Preschool Expansion Assessment Research Study (PEARS): Statewide report
Friedman, Allison H., 12/01/2009
New Brunswick, NJ: National Institute for Early Education Research. Retrieved April 26, 2010, from http://nieer.org/pdf/PEARS-Statewide-Report-3-5-10.pdf

In this report, Friedman and colleagues describe the results of a needs assessment of the New Jersey Preschool Expansion Project, which targets non-Abbott programs. Unlike the court-mandated Abbott Preschool Programs which provide high-quality preschool education for the highest poverty districts in state, the current School Reform Act of 2008, is targeted to all at-risk 3 and 4 year olds. The authors provide descriptive results about the current capacity and quality of child care centers, Head Start programs, and school district preschool programs. Relevant findings include a description of the number of children that can be served within the identified districts, the early childhood education experience of administrators and center directors, educational background and credentials of the teaching workforce, and the basic environmental quality of classrooms. Friedman and colleagues make recommendations about how the findings from the needs assessment can be used to effectively implement the New Jersey preschool expansion project.

How does the food stamp dependent care deduction help families with child care costs?

The food stamp dependent care deduction: Help for families with child care costs
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (Washington, D.C.), 03/01/2010
Washington, DC: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Retrieved March 30, 2010, from http://www.cbpp.org/files/3-23-10fa.pdf

This report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities discusses the food stamp dependent care deduction and how it helps families with child care costs. Prior to 2008, the dependent care deduction had a maximum cap of $175 per month per child. However, a new law passed in late 2008 eliminated this cap, allowing families to now deduct all eligible dependent care costs. For many families, this means larger food stamp benefits. However, many families who are eligible are not claiming the deductions, so many households are not receiving the full benefits.

What are the key features of the Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening for Preschoolers [PALS-PreK] and how is it being used?

Increased implementation of emergent literacy screening in pre-kindergarten
Invernizzi, Marcia, 04/01/2010

Early literacy assessments must be broad-based, easy to administer and interpret, and be beneficial to teachers. In this article, the Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening for Preschoolers (PALS-PreK) is described as one measure meeting these criteria. The PALS-PreK instrument is now among one of the most widely used state preschool assessments in the United States. Ease of administration and interpretation, as well as sensitivity in providing feedback on strengths and areas of need, were reported as favorable aspects of the tool by teachers in a statewide survey. Other selected findings from the use of the tool in Virginia are also presented.

What is the impact of the Early Head Start Research and Evaluation Project on young children with disabilities?

Meeting needs of young children at risk for or having a disability
Peterson, Carla A., 04/01/2010

This study sought to determine if the needs of young children at risk for a disability, were being met. In the current study, the researchers examined 3,001 families living in poverty from the Early Head Start Research and Evaluation Project. The data showed that while the majority of the young children were at risk for one or more disabilities, very few of the families were receiving services from IDEA Part C, which entitles young children to early intervention services. The study concluded that young children enrolled in Early Head Start were less likely to have cognitive and language delays, and that collaboration with partners in the communities is one of the most effective ways to help young children at risk for a disability.

What literacy screening tools can be used to identify preschool children at risk of later reading difficulties?

Identifying preschool children at risk of later reading difficulties: Evaluation of two emergent literacy screening tools
Wilson, Shauna B., 01/01/2010

Screening tools can be a practical way to meet the goals of identifying children at very high risk, those that are most in need of targeted instructional activities, or those who have not responded to the basic classroom-wide curriculum. Two emergent literacy screening tools are evaluated in this article. Revised Get Ready to Read! (GRTR-R) and the Individual Growth and Development Indicators (IGDIs). In this study, the GRTR-R was shown to be a more accurate screening tool for children’s overall emergent literacy skills than was the IGDIs. However, the study did not support the use of either the GRTR-R or the IGDIs for identifying children with at-risk status in a specific domain of emergent literacy (i.e., oral language, phonological awareness, print knowledge). Therefore, the authors conclude that these screening measures should be used only to identify a broad classification of risk status, and additional in-depth measures would need to be employed to identify children’s patterns of strengths and weaknesses in specific emergent literacy skills.

What was the experience of early education and medical professionals who collaborated to prepare early childhood teachers to work in inclusive settings?

Education and medical professionals collaborating to prepare early childhood teachers for inclusive settings
Trepanier-Street, Mary, 01/01/2010

This article describes the first 3 years of collaboration between the University of Michigan's early childhood teacher education program and the Oakwood Healthcare Center hospital's program for families of children with special needs. The goal of the collaboration was to prepare teachers to work with children with and without disabilities in inclusive settings. Students in the teacher preparation program had the opportunity to: increase their level of comfort working with children with special needs; design and implement developmentally appropriate activities for the children and their families; and observe and learn about the various roles of the members of the transdisciplinary team.

What are the effects of accountability and quality rating systems on early education in Asia?

Accountability and quality in early childhood education: Perspectives from Asia
Wong, Margaret, 03/01/2010

In this special issue of Early Education and Development, accountability and quality in early childhood education are examined from the Asian perspective. The recent economic growth in Asia has triggered a growing interest and body of research in early childhood education, with a focus on accountability and quality. The articles in this special issue examine these topics in various Asian countries, and focus on aspects of early childhood education that, until recently, have mostly been studied in the West. See the other articles in this special issue: 'From external inspection to self-evaluation: A study of quality assurance in Hong Kong kindergartens'; 'Preschool quality and the development of children from economically disadvantaged families in India'; 'Leadership for school improvement: Exploring factors and practices in the process of curriculum change'; 'Accountability and quality in early childhood education: Perspectives from Asia'; 'Exploring assessment and accountability for children's learning: A case study of a Hong Kong preschool'; and 'Evaluation of the Kindergarten Quality Rating System in Beijing'.

What type of professional development model can improve pre-kindergarten services for culturally and linguistically diverse children and their families?

Teachers, families, and communities supporting English language learners in inclusive pre-kindergartens: An evaluation of a professional development model
Hardin, Belinda J., 01/01/2010

The purpose of this study was to implement and evaluate a high-quality professional development model with a goal of improving pre-kindergarten services for English Language Learners (ELL) and their families. The professional development program included three interactive training sessions and three on-site classroom coaching visits. The evaluation of the project included an assessment of the training sessions and coaching, and participants' self-assessments through checklists, focus groups and surveys. Twenty-four classrooms in 17 elementary schools in central North Carolina were chosen to participate. The percentage of children in each classroom who were ELL ranged from 27 to 83 percent. A total of 15 different languages were spoken by the children. Forty-eight teachers and teacher assistants participated in the professional development program. The interactive training sessions that were part of the professional development program covered three topics: strategies for identifying cultural practices; instruction techniques and classroom strategies that support second language acquisition; and effective methods for strengthening teacher, family and community relationships. The coaching visits consisted of doctoral student coaches conducting on-site classroom visits following the interactive training session. Results indicated that the teachers had a positive response to the format and information presented at the training sessions. Additionally, the teachers were highly satisfied with the coaching visits. Overall the professional development model was effective in improving services for ELL children and their families as evidenced by the teachers applying new strategies, learned during the program, in the classroom. Additionally, there was a shift toward more frequent interactions between the teachers, children and their families.

What are the patterns in identification, and academic and developmental outcomes for children with disabilities?

Patterns in the identification of and outcomes for children and youth with disabilities
Blackorby, Jose, 01/01/2010
(NCEE 2010-4005). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance. Retrieved February 22, 2010, from http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/pubs/20104005/pdf/20104005.pdf

A national study of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was recently released. In 2005, states reported that 7,013,238 children ages birth through 21 years had been identified for early intervention and special education services under IDEA. In this report researchers address questions related to the variation in the percentage of children identified as eligible (and no longer eligible) for early intervention services over time, by age, gender, race/ethnicity, and disability categories under IDEA. Additionally, the researchers examine how developmental and academic outcomes for children with disabilities compare with those for children not identified for services under IDEA. The findings are presented for the three age groups covered under IDEA: infants and toddlers (birth through age 2), preschool-age children (ages 3 through 5), school-age children, and youth with disabilities (ages 6 through 21).

How does a partnership between Head Start and child care providers affect the quality of care inside the classroom?

Child care quality study: The impact of Head Start partnership on child care quality: Final report
Schilder, Diane, 01/01/2009
Newton, MA: Education Development Center. Retrieved February 24, 2010, from http://prekimpact.edc.org/data/HSPartnershipFinalReport.pdf

This study sought to determine if center based child care programs that had formed partnerships with Head Start had higher levels of quality in their classrooms than child care programs that did not form partnerships. More than 600 children and over 200 child care centers in Ohio were observed, and staff members in these child care centers were surveyed in this study. The results showed that those child care centers that had partnered with Head Start had significantly higher observed classroom quality than comparison classrooms. Further, the longer the partnership lasted, the higher the observed quality.

What are the best practices in out of school time programs, and which practices should be avoided?

Practices to foster in out-of-school time programs
Moore, Kristin A., 01/01/2010
(Research-to-Results Brief #2010-02). Washington, DC: Child Trends. Retrieved March 4, 2010, from http://www.childtrends.org/Files//Child_Trends-2010_01_28_RB_Practices2Foster.pdf

Based on a growing amount of research stressing the important role that out of school time plays in the lives of young children, Child Trends has produced two briefs, one describing the practices that best promote positive development in out of school time, and the other indicating what practices might inhibit this growth. Some of the recommended practices include creating and maintaining caring relationships between the adults and children, focusing on all aspects of the child (academic achievement, mental and physical health, social and emotional development), and involving families. Some practices to avoid include lecturing the children, scaring the children, focusing solely on bad behavior, and high staff turnover. View the related brief here: 'Practices to avoid in out-of-school time programs'

Is the child care sector a stimulus for economic development?

Child care multipliers: Stimulus for the states
Warner, Mildred, 01/01/2009
Ithaca, NY: Linking Economic Development and Child Care Research Project. Retrieved February 21, 2010, from http://economicdevelopmentandchildcare.org/documents/publications/159.pdf

This brief highlights the results of a report examining the linkage effects of the child care sector in the regional economy. Linkage or multiplier effects enable economic developers to assess which economic sectors will have the greatest impact on the regional economy given an increase in demand for the sectors' output. Analysis reveals that child care is a good economic development investment both for its direct effect on employment and due to its high linkage effects in the regional economy. The author concludes that given the importance of the child care sector in supporting parent workers and its role in the human development of future workers it is an important target for economic stimulus and development policy.

Is the Individualized Classroom Assessment Scoring System (inCLASS) a reliable and valid measure for observing preschooler's classroom behavior?

The Individualized Classroom Assessment Scoring System (inCLASS): Preliminary reliability and validity of a system for observing preschoolers’ competence in classroom interactions
Downer, Jason T., 01/01/2010

This study examined the psychometric properties of the Individualized Classroom Assessment Scoring System (inCLASS), an observation tool that targets children's interactions in preschool classrooms with teachers, peers, and tasks (i.e. engagement within tasks and self-reliance). Testing the inCLASS with 145 children (ages 3-5), enrolled in 44 classrooms across 20 different preschool programs in one mid-Atlantic state, researchers found solid inter-rater reliability, normal distributions, and demonstrated construct validity. These findings suggest that the inCLASS has the potential to capture patterns of interaction children experience in the preschool classroom.

How do parents work within the flexibility available at home and work to make the best possible child care choices?

Solving the childcare and flexibility puzzle: How working parents make the best feasible choices and what that means for public policy
Emlen, Arthur, 01/01/2010
Boca Raton, FL: Universal-Publishers

Bringing together insights from his four decades of research on child care from parents' point of view, in this volume Arthur Emlen shows that parents need flexibility in at least one of three realms--their work life, family life, or child care. In finding their unique "flexibility solutions," for example, some parents with a great deal of flexibility at home and work can utilize child care programs with inflexible hours, while others need flexible care arrangements to accommodate their demanding schedules. Further, Emlen documents parents' ability to judge the quality of care, not simply assess its flexibility. The more flexibility parents have, the better quality care they are able to use. Thus, Emlen argues, public policy should work to promote flexibility in the workplace, and--acknowledging parents' need for flexibility and ability to recognize quality--work to enhance quality in the diverse array of child care arrangements that they use.

What is the current body of research regarding obesity interventions for children aged 0 to 5?

Interventions to prevent obesity in 0-5 year olds: An updated systematic review of the literature
Hesketh, Kylie D., 02/01/2010

In this systematic review of the literature, the authors examined the research on childhood obesity interventions and assessed the quality of the studies. Twenty-three studies on the topic of child obesity (including diet, physical activity, and sedentary behavior) interventions were examined, ranging in date from 1995 to 2008. The interventions varied widely. Most of the interventions took place in child care centers and home settings, and some targeted socioeconomically disadvantaged children. The review found that the evidence base for child obesity interventions has been growing more rapidly in recent years, but still remains small compared to similar research examining obesity in school aged children. The studies examined had mixed results, as some had positive effects, while others did not impact children’s behavior.

How did a parent engagement intervention affect the social-emotional competencies of Head Start students?

Parent engagement and school readiness: Effects of the “Getting Ready” intervention on preschool children's social-emotional competencies
Sheridan, Susan M., 01/01/2010

Researchers at the Nebraska Center for Research on Children, Youth, Families and Schools conducted a randomized trial with 220 Head Start students to examine the impact of a parent engagement intervention (Getting Ready). The intervention was created to improve children's social-emotional competence and school readiness through strategies that build parent-child and parent-professional (family-school) relationships. The study found the intervention improved interpersonal competencies (i.e., attachment, initiative) but did not affect behavioral concerns (such as anger/aggression and self-control).

How can a new biodevelopmental framework guide future early childhood policy?

Building a new biodevelopmental framework to guide the future of early childhood policy
Shonkoff, Jack P., 01/01/2010

In this article, Dr. Jack Shonkoff challenged the field to strengthen the impact of current best practices in early childhood by applying lessons from recent advances in biological and behavioral sciences. He offered an integrated, biodevelopmental framework to promote greater understanding of the antecedents and causal pathways that lead to disparities in health, learning, and behavior in order to refine theories of change to address significant threats in the early years of life and drive innovation in early childhood policies and programs.

Is the Banking Time intervention effective at supporting teacher-child relationships in Head Start classrooms?

Banking time in Head Start: Early efficacy of an intervention designed to promote supportive teacher-child relationships
Driscoll, Katherine C., 01/01/2010

This study evaluated the effectiveness of the Banking Time intervention, designed to improve teacher-child relationships. The intervention featured one-on-one meetings between the teacher and the child, which consist of play sessions led by the child and facilitated by the teacher. For present study, 116 children and 29 Head Start Teachers participated, with children randomly assigned to intervention or control groups. Through pre and post intervention ratings, as well as coded videotaped sessions between the teacher and the child, the study revealed the Banking Time intervention had a positive, albeit modest, effect on teacher-child relationships. Specifically, teachers felt closer with the children, and children exhibited a higher tolerance for frustration and fewer conduct problems.

How does child care quality differ in inclusive and non-inclusive classrooms?

Differences in child care quality for children with and without disabilities
Grisham-Brown, Jennifer, 01/01/2010

This study compared child care quality between inclusive settings, or classrooms that serve one or more children with disabilities, and non-inclusive settings, which do not serve any children with disabilities. As a part of Kentucky’s KIDS NOW initiative, data related to classroom quality were gathered through surveys and interviews with directors and teachers, as well as through observations of classrooms. The results found that classrooms serving children with disabilities, or inclusion classrooms, were of higher quality than non-inclusive classrooms. Further, the observed language and literacy scores in inclusion classrooms were higher than those of non-inclusion classrooms.

How does early education intervention affect outcomes in young adults who experienced cumulative risks in early childhood?

Early educational intervention, early cumulative risk, and the early home environment as predictors of young adult outcomes within a high-risk sample
Pungello, Elizabeth Puhn, 01/01/2010

This study examined the long-term effects of early educational intervention in a child care setting, multiple risk exposure occurring in the first 5 years of life (i.e., early childhood period), and the early home environment in relation to key outcomes in young adulthood. The key outcome variables in early adulthood include educational attainment, teen parenthood, criminal activity, and employment. The sample was drawn from the Abecedarian and CARE projects and consisted of individuals who were born into low-income families, almost all African American. Treatment and control groups were followed from infancy through young adulthood, 20 to 25 years of age. Findings indicated that cumulative risk during early childhood negatively predicted educational attainment, specifically high school graduation, employment, and avoidance of teen parenthood. Positive effects of participating in the intervention were found for educational attainment, specifically attending college and skilled employment. The authors suggest that within a high-risk sample, early risk exerts the greatest influence on basic accomplishments such as graduating high school, while the early intervention had the largest impact on higher-level accomplishments, such as college attendance. The findings also indicated that high quality child care buffered the treatment children against the long-term effects of a poor quality home environment on educational attainment.

Can implementation of the Foundations of Learning program improve preschool quality and classroom management?

Promoting preschool quality through effective classroom management: Implementation lessons from the Foundations of Learning demonstration
Lloyd, Chrishana M., 12/01/2009
New York: MDRC. Retrieved January 22, 2010, from http://www.mdrc.org/publications/534/full.pdf

This report examined the practical aspects of implementing the Foundations of Learning program in order to improve the quality of preschool, as well as to improve effective classroom management. It focused on the implementation of this program in Newark, New Jersey, one of test sites, with Chicago being the other site. The four core components of the FOL program included teacher training, classroom-level consultation, stress management for teachers, and individualized child-centered consultation. The results showed that the program had been implemented quite well in Newark, as the quality of teaching training workshops was high, stress management workshops were effective, and teachers embraced the FOL techniques and were better able to address the social and emotional needs of the children. These results have implications for those who are doing similar preschool intervention program design, as all aspects of the preschool, including program design, staffing, management, and professional development need to be considered when implementing a new program.

How can home visiting models be expanded to include kinship caregivers and family, friend, and neighbor child care providers?

Extending home visiting to kinship caregivers and family, friend, and neighbor caregivers
Hoffmann, Elizabeth, 12/01/2009
Washington, DC: Center for Law and Social Policy. Retrieved January 21, 2010, from http://www.clasp.org/admin/site/publications/files/homevisitingkinshipffn.pdf

The Center for Law and Social Policy interviewed representatives from 6 national home visiting models to explore how these models might support kinship caregivers (i.e. relatives raising related children) and family, friend, and neighbor (FFN) child care providers. While some models said they do not provide home visiting services for kinship caregivers, most said they do and treat the kinship caregiver like a parent. Some models also noted that they try to include parents in the home visit with the kinship caregiver. All but one of the national models said that they make home visits to FFN providers, and many said that these visits also include the parent. Recommendations for expanding home visiting to kinship caregivers and FFN providers included: expanding investments in home visiting to reach these caregivers, sharing best practices across models for working with these caregivers, collecting data and conducting research evaluation to improve home visiting services, and offering technical assistance to programs providing home visitation.

How effective are web based hypermedia resources at coaching pre-kindergarten teachers?

Use of a case-based hypermedia resource in an early literacy coaching intervention with pre-kindergarten teachers
Powell, Douglas R., 02/01/2010

This study examined the effectiveness of web based hypermedia resources at coaching pre-kindergarten teachers on strategies pertaining to early literacy interventions with at-risk preschoolers. 33 Head Start teachers were given access to an online video library discussing and showing examples of topics such as reading, writing, phonological sensitivity, individualization, and more, and each video was approximately 2-3 minutes in length and paired with written notes. Through these online resources, coaches were able to provide feedback to the teachers who submitted feedback. The core measurements of the study were the amount of time teachers spent using the resources, as well as their written feedback. Results revealed that teachers did in fact take advantage of the resources, and also that they viewed these resources favorably. Implications exist for the future use of web based hypermedia resources as a tool to facilitate professional development for early childhood teachers.

Does universally available prekindergarten increase preschool enrollment and maternal labor supply?

Preschoolers enrolled and mothers at work?: The effects of universal prekindergarten
Fitzpatrick, Maria Donovan, 01/01/2010

Analyzing restricted access data from the 2000 Census, this study examined the effects of the universally available state prekindergarten programs in Georgia and Oklahoma on overall preschool enrollment and maternal labor supply. Preschool enrollment in the two states was 14-17% higher for children whose fourth birthdays fell the 100 days before the fall 1999 enrollment cutoffs than for those with birthdays in the 100 days after. The largest enrollment effects came in rural areas, with smaller but still statistically significant effects in urban areas. Surprisingly, universal prekindergarten had little effect of the labor force participation of most mothers. Possible explanations are that earlier studies that generally found effects of child care subsidization on maternal labor supply used data from 20-40 years ago when female labor supply was more elastic and other forms of child care subsidy were less available.

What is the effect of rich explanation during reading practices on the English vocabulary acquisition of preschool English language learners?

ELL preschoolers' English vocabulary acquisition from storybook reading
Collins, Molly F., 01/01/2010

This experimental study of 80 immigrant preschool students, whose native language is Portuguese, examined how the provision of rich explanation, which is defined as multiple exposures to a new word as well as multiple learning strategies, affected students' English vocabulary acquisition during storybook reading and home-reading practices. Researchers found that rich explanation and the frequency of home reading made significant contributions to sophisticated word learning and English vocabulary acquisition.

What are the characteristics of programs that use out-of-school time to improve students' academic achievement?

Structuring out-of-school time to improve academic achievement
Beckett, Megan, 07/01/2009
(NCEE 2009-012). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance. Retrieved January 13, 2010, from http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/pdf/practiceguides/ost_pg_072109.pdf

Using the What Works Clearninghouse standards of evidence, the expert panel authoring this report provided five recommendations for elementary and middle school educators, who use out-of-school time (OST) to improve student academic achievement. This practice guide drew from the evidence in 22 studies that include school-based before and after school programs, summer school, and supplemental education services. Additionally, the studies reviewed for this guide are representative of low-income students in urban communities who attend low-achieving schools. Recommendations 1 and 2 addressed how to design an OST program by considering the alignment between the OST program and schools, and recruiting and retaining students who are at risk for academic failure. Recommendations 3 and 4 provided guidance about instructional practice where students receive individualized instruction and are offered highly engaging learning activities. Recommendation 5 focused on the use of evaluation as a mechanism for schools and districts to identify effective OST programs.

How can communities maximize flexible funding for early childhood systems planning?

Mapping fiscal resources in South Hampton Roads Virginia to support school readiness: Regional summary
Finance Project (U.S.), 09/01/2009
Washington, DC: Finance Project (U.S.). Retrieved January 21, 2010, from http://www.financeproject.org/publications/RegionalSummary.pdf

In this regional summary, The Finance Project (TFP) examined the effectiveness for financing of early childhood systems that accomplish the school readiness goals of South Hampton Roads communities. For this project, the authors focused on the $65 million in non-entitlement funding of these five cities because local agencies in the region administered and had more flexibility to target this funding toward the specific goals of the communities’ Collaborative Action Plans. Findings indicated that 81% of the non-entitlement public funding went to early care and education programming, while 14% and 5% went to health services and family support services, respectively. In conjunction with these findings, TFP provided an analysis of the effectiveness for financing for early childhood services addressing the issues of program capacity, maximization of all available resources, identification of flexible federal funds, stability of funding, and coordination of services. Examples of programs with effective funding were briefly described and suggestions for how city and regional leaders could maximize existing resources were provided.

How is Early Head Start influencing school readiness?

The impact of Early Head Start on school readiness: New looks
Bradley, Robert H., 11/01/2009

This introduction to a special issue of Early Education and Development discusses recent findings based on data from the Early Head Start Research and Evaluation (EHSRE) study. Each article within the special issue focuses on a different topic under the umbrella of Early Head Start and school readiness, and the conclusions drawn from the data analyses discuss how EHS programs can meet their two main goals for low-income children: school readiness and lifelong productivity. See the other articles from this special issue: 'Mixed approach programs in the Early Head Start Research and Evaluation Project: An in-depth view,', 'Keeping kids on track: Impacts of a parenting-focused Early Head Start program on attachment security and cognitive development,', 'Center-based Early Head Start and children exposed to family conflict,', and 'Low-income children's school readiness: Parent contributions over the first five years,'.

How did Australia adapt Canada's population measure of early childhood development and implement it nationwide?

The process and policy challenges of adapting and implementing the Early Development Instrument in Australia
Goldfeld, Sharon, 11/01/2009

The rise of community-level efforts across Australia to integrate early childhood services in health, education, and family support underscored the need for better local data to understand children's development and the effectiveness of interventions to enhance it. This article describes the planful steps taken over several years by leading research organizations and key state-level policymakers to adapt Canada's Early Development Instrument (EDI) for use in Australia. Teachers complete EDI checklists during children's first year of school, with data aggregated at the community level rather than used for individual assessments. Steps included piloting the EDI in one of Australia's eight states/territories, item analysis of the pilot results for each of the EDI's five domains (Physical Health and Well-Being, Social Competence, Emotional Maturity, Language and Cognitive Skills, and Communication Skills and General Knowledge) to test that the psychometric properties established with Canadian children held for Australian children, adaptation of the EDI to create the Australian Early Development Index (AEDI), and a national pilot of the AEDI--greatly facilitated by teacher's use of a web-based data entry system. As tests of AEDI validity and reliability continue, in 2009, Australia began roll out of the Index as the national measure of early childhood development. Both states and localities have already begun using national pilot results in planning and evaluation. Analyses of results from Canada and Australia also point to the EDI's potential use in making international comparisons.

How effectively have researchers studied play?

Research on children’s play: Analysis of developmental and early education journals from 2005 to 2007
Cheng, Mei-Fang, 01/01/2010

This review of 57 selected educational and developmental journal articles on play published between 2005 and 2007 found a need for more careful use of the word "play" in early education and child development studies. Studies’ focus on play varied, with more than half using play as a context to study another variable rather than study play itself. Major themes of the studies with play as a principal research focus included: children’s play activities, play and literacy, and play-based learning. Overall, this review suggests there has not been a strong research focus on play in peer-reviewed articles.

How does the social acceptance of preschoolers with disabilities vary?

Classroom quality and social acceptance of preschoolers with disabilities
Aguiar, Cecilia, 01/01/2010

The study examined how preschoolers with disabilities were treated by other children in their classrooms, and also considered if classroom quality affected their treatment. Data were collected through interviews and observations in 64 inclusive preschool classrooms from 28 schools in Lisbon, Portugal. While there was no relationship found between social acceptance of preschoolers with disabilities and classroom quality, the results did reveal correlations with age and severity of disabilities, as those who had more severe disabilities, as well as those who were younger, were more socially accepted.

What impact are Head Start programs having on children's school readiness and parent's practices?

Head Start Impact Study final report
United States. Administration for Children and Families. Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, 01/01/2010
Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved January 14, 2010, from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre/hs/impact_study/reports/impact_study/hs_impact_study_final.pdf

Mandated by Congress to determine Head Start’s impact on children’s school readiness and on parental practices that support children’s development, the Department of Health and Human Services commissioned this nationally representative, longitudinal study. A randomly selected sample of 2,559 3-year-olds and 2,108 4-year olds newly entering Head Start in the 2002-03 program year—and corresponding control groups of children permitted to receive any non-Head Start services in their communities that year—were followed through their pre-school, kindergarten, and first grade years. The sample was drawn from 383 Head Start centers, operated by 84 grantees/delegate agencies, in 23 states—all randomly selected. After a year of access to Head Start, 3-year-olds showed positive impacts in the four program domains measured—cognitive, social-emotional, health status/services and parenting practices; for 4-year-olds, impacts came mostly in language/literacy elements of the cognitive domain. By the end of first grade, Head Start and control group children were at similar levels on many measures.

What are Head Start programs doing to fight child obesity?

A national survey of obesity prevention practices in Head Start
Whitaker, Robert C., 12/01/2009

Child obesity is a significant risk factor for young children, and low-income child are often the most at risk. 15% to 25% of children served by Head Start are obese, so it is important that Head Start programs make an effort to fight child obesity. This study sought to determine what Head Start programs were doing to fight obesity and promote child health. Administrators from all Head Start programs were sent the Study of Healthy Activity and Eating Practices and Environments in Head Start (SHAPES) survey. With nearly 90% of programs responding, it was found that Head Start programs were taking steps to fight child obesity, with practices that are often above federal guidelines. 70% of the responding programs served only 1% or nonfat milk, 94% served fruit other than fruit juice, and 97% served vegetables beyond fried potatoes. Further, a majority of programs did not have vending machines, which often contain unhealthy snacks, and a majority of programs gave children at least 30 minutes of gross motor activity each day.

How are early childhood educators being prepared for multicultural classrooms?

Preparing early childhood teachers for multicultural classrooms
FPG Child Development Institute, 09/01/2009
(FPG Snapshot #58). Chapel Hill, NC: FPG Child Development Institute. Retrieved December 1, 2009, from http://www.fpg.unc.edu/~snapshots/Snap58.pdf

As our nation continues to grow more diverse, early childhood educators must be prepared to work in multicultural classrooms. This short brief outlines the results of a recent study looking at how the current generation of new early childhood teachers is being prepared to meet these challenges. 416 bachelor's degree programs that prepare early childhood educators were studied. Bachelor's degree programs that include early childhood teacher preparation are now offering more courses on linguistic and cultural diversity, although there has been a more profound increase in cultural diversity classes than linguistic diversity classes. The results also showed course offerings varied by region, as programs in rural areas have fewer course offerings on these topics. Finally, increasing recruitment of diverse early childhood educators will better prepare the next generation to deal with the challenges of a multicultural classroom.

Which employees participate in employer-supported child care?

Employer-supported child care: Who participates?
Morrissey, Taryn, 12/01/2009

This exploratory study surveyed Cornell University employees with children on their use of and experiences with the university-supported child care voucher program. Survey results indicated: a greater proportion of hourly staff, female employees, and those with large families reported use of vouchers; parents with pre-school children were more likely to use the vouchers than parents of infants and school-age children; respondents using vouchers were more likely to use formal child care settings; and employees who learned about the voucher program through a personal contact such as a supervisor were more likely to participate in the program.

How much television are preschool children watching in child care settings?

Preschool-aged children’s television viewing in child care settings
Christakis, Dimitri Alexander, 12/01/2009

Past estimates of the amount of time preschool-aged children spent watching television relied heavily of parental reporting. However, these estimates only measured the amount television watched at home. This study sought to determine how much television preschool-aged children watch in child care settings. Data were gathered through telephone surveys of licensed child care programs in Washington, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Florida. The results indicated that besides infants, preschool children were watching more television than previously assumed. This was especially true among children in home-based child care, who watched nearly two hours more television per day than those in center-based care.

Do pre-service early childhood teacher beliefs change over time?

Early childhood prospective teacher pedagogical belief shifts over time
Vartuli, Sue, 10/01/2009

This longitudinal study of early childhood teachers’ educational beliefs, conducted by University of Kansas researchers, revealed that prospective teachers' beliefs became more learner-centered as a result of participation in a pre-service teacher education program. Findings after a year of employment further demonstrated that these changes are relatively enduring Findings also reinforce that teacher educators need to provide opportunities for prospective teachers to reflect on beliefs and practices as they apply course content in classroom environments. It is through the prospective teachers’ implementation of course ideas in assignments and in practice that their beliefs were able to be changed.

Do hierarchical models capture the social competence of preschool children?

Hierarchical models of social competence in preschool children: A multisite, multinational study
Vaughn, Brian E., 11/01/2009

While developmental psychologists have long agreed that achieving social competence is vitally important for young children, there has been less agreement about how to properly measure this attribute. This study sought to create a stronger, more encompassing measure of social competence. Using five samples of various measurements of social competence (defined to include: behavioral, cognitive, and affective skills; social engagement and motivation; and peer acceptance) of preschool children in U.S, Dutch, and Portuguese populations, researchers tested a multilevel factorial model to see if it accurately captured social competence. Results showed that the model fit the observed data well. In two groups, teachers' ratings were also examined as correlates of social competence indicators. The results of this study set a potential foundation for how future researchers could measure social competence in young children.

What do early childhood teachers need to know to teach mathematics effectively?

From the editors: Math achievement and early childhood teacher preparation
Benner, Susan M., 10/01/2009

In this editorial, Benner and Hatch report that, on average, U.S. children lag behind their international counterparts in mathematics achievement, and this phenomenon is especially problematic for low-income children who show lower performance than their more affluent peers. The authors note that high quality and intensive instruction in mathematics during the early years will help children get off to a strong start in school and stay on track, which is particularly important to children who are at-risk for school failure. However, the evidence shows that many early childhood classrooms do not include much mathematics, and teachers instead focus on language, social-emotional, and physical development. Teachers' own discomfort with the subject and a lack of opportunities to learn about early childhood mathematics are likely reasons. Benner and Hatch offer ideas and refer readers to recommendations from the National Research Council report, Mathematics learning in early childhood: Paths toward excellence and equity (NAP, 2009), for guidance on how to improve teacher education and young children’s mathematics outcomes. For example, the authors point out the need for coursework and practicum requirements that reflect the content knowledge and pedagogy necessary for effective mathematics instruction.

What is the relationship between home contexts and out-of-school activity participation among low-income children?

Do neighborhood and home contexts help explain why low-income children miss opportunities to participate in activities outside of school?
Dearing, Eric, 11/01/2009

Children who are raised in low-income families are at a higher risk for a variety of health and mental health issues, including developmental delays. Some of these problems can be alleviated through out-of-school and enrichment programs. This study sought to determine how neighborhood and home environments play affect participation of low-income children in out-of-school activities. Data were gathered from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, Child Development Supplement, which measured 1,420 elementary school-age children, as well as from interviews with caregivers on the topics of activity participation and home characteristics. The results showed that family income was positively correlated with out-of-school activity participation, and that low-income children were least likely to participate. Just as important, however, was the finding that the affluence of the neighborhood of the child, not just the income of the family itself, played an important meditating factor that affected children’s activity participation.

How does gender affect young children’s outdoor play activities?

Preschool children's outdoor play area preferences
Holmes, Robyn M., 12/01/2009

This study examined the outdoor play activities of young children. Forty preschool aged children were observed on a playground to determine if gender affected their choice of activity. Controlling for gender, the researchers observed in which areas the children played. The overall results, which both corresponded and contradicted with previous pieces of research, demonstrated that boys were more likely to play on swings and the jungle gym, while girls showed a stronger preference towards the sandbox. Future research could measure gender differences on different kinds of playgrounds and microspaces, as well as which activities were more likely to have cross-gender play.

What is the current state of Oklahoma’s Pilot Early Childhood Program?

Oklahoma’s pilot early childhood program birth through three years: Description, evaluation, and policy implications
Horm, Diane M., 10/01/2009

This article discusses Oklahoma’s public-private partnership to expand and promote services to children aged birth to three and their families. Since 2006, this pilot program, funded by the state as well as by private donations, has been serving low-income young children throughout Oklahoma. It has expanded rapidly, serving 139 classrooms in 2008 compared to just 90 in 2007. The article describes the various aspects of the program, including centers' eligibility to participate, staffing requirements, and training and technical assistance. Evaluations have revealed initial success in expanding and enhancing services for infants and toddlers, all while maintaining high quality within classrooms. This program can serve as a model for other states' infant and toddler programs.

What are the demographic characteristics, developmental skills, and school and out-of-school child care arrangements of children born in the United States as they enter kindergarten in 2001?

The children born in 2001 at kindergarten entry: First findings from the kindergarten data collections of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Birth Cohort (ECLS-B): First look
Flanagan, Kristin Denton, 10/01/2009
(NCES 2010-005). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved October 31, 2009, from http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2010/2010005.pdf

The Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Birth Cohort (ECLS-B) is representative of the approximately 4 million children born in the United States in 2001. The study was designed to provide information on a birth cohort and its experiences leading up to and including kindergarten entry. Information first was collected from children and their parents when the children were about 9 months of age. Additional waves of data collection were conducted when the children were about 2 years of age, about age 4 (preschool), and when they were in kindergarten (ages 5 and 6). The central goal of the ECLS-B is to provide a comprehensive and reliable set of data that may be used to describe and to better understand children’s early development; their home learning experiences; their experiences in early care and education programs; their health care, nutrition, and physical well-being; and how their early experiences relate to their later development, learning, and success in school. This report offers a “first look” at latest data collected. The purpose of this First Look report is to introduce new NCES survey data through the presentation of selected descriptive information.

What is the role of early education in the effort for sustainable development?

Editorial: Education for sustainable development in early childhood
Siraj-Blatchford, John, 01/01/2009

This introductory article to the special issue of the International Journal of Early Childhood on sustainable development presents several domains for inclusion in children's early learning, including: social development, economic development, and environmental protection. See the articles in this journal for strategies and international examples of incorporating sustainable development principles into early learning.

Do data-based feedback and support for Head Start teachers improve instructional and managerial practices?

Improving instruction in Head Start preschool classrooms through feedback and support to teachers
Boat, Mary Barbara, 10/01/2009

This study examined the use of using data-based feedback and support practices among 5 Head Start settings, using the Instructional and Caring Contacts (ICC) observation system. The ICC measured strategies such as: intentional instruction, interactive reading, incidental teaching, conversations, positive attention, teacher managerial: non-instructional, teacher managerial: positive and instructional, and student engagement. Individual teacher outcomes varied but results suggest that professional development with individualized data-based feedback can improve teacher use of effective instructional practices.

Which factors play a role in early childhood educators’ decisions to remain in the field?

Retention of staff in the early childhood education workforce
Holochwost, Steven J., 10/01/2009

Recent research has shown how a low staff turnover rate is a crucial component to maintaining quality in early childhood classrooms. This paper examined which factors can most affect early childhood educator turnover rates. Nearly 850 early childhood educators were measured using the Early Care and Education Workforce Survey. The results showed that four personal factors--marital status, age, experience, and education--had a significant impact on the educators’ decisions to remain in the field. Further, the availability of benefits was found to be a more significant factor for teachers remaining in the field than salary.

How much did states spend on child care from CCDBG and TANF in federal fiscal year 2007?

Child care assistance in 2007
Matthews, Hannah, 09/21/2009
Washington, DC: Center for Law and Social Policy. Retrieved October 22, 2009, from http://www.clasp.org/admin/site/publications/files/childcareassistance2007.pdf

States' child care spending from federal and state Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) funds and from federal and state Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) sources reached $13 billion in federal fiscal year 2007, the highest level ever. According to state reports to the federal government, 31 states increased spending over 2006, most notably California--without whose $862 million increase national spending would have remained flat. (States may spend CCDBG funds for several years after they are appropriated.) Nineteen states and the District of Columbia cut spending in 2007. Despite the overall increase in spending, the Center on Law and Social Policy estimates that the national number of children served dropped to 2.2 million, a quarter million fewer than at the start of the decade, reflecting rising child care costs in many states.

What effect does teacher training have on children’s preschool experience?

Can teacher training in classroom management make a difference for children's experience in preschool?: A preview of findings from the Foundations of Learning demonstration
Morris, Pamela A., 09/01/2009
New York: MDRC. Retrieved October 8, 2009, from http://www.mdrc.org/publications/527/full.pdf

This paper previews the findings of a recent evaluation that sought to determine if interventions that train preschool teachers to do a better job of supporting behavioral and emotional development had any significant effect on children's behavior. The article focuses specifically on findings from Newark, where teachers from 26 schools were provided with teacher interventions, and an additional 25 schools served as the control group. Teacher interventions were conducted over the course of the school year and consisted of four components: teacher training, classroom-level consultation, stress management, and individualized child-centered consultation. The results revealed that teachers who received interventions improved their ability to address children’s behavior, as well as improved their ability to provide a positive emotional climate in the classroom. Classroom productivity, lesson preparation, and the amount of instruction time also improved, as teachers could spend less time dealing with children’s poor behavior and more time teaching.

Does the sequence and timing of child care type impact the cognitive and social-emotional outcomes of young children?

Sequence of child care type and child development: What role does peer exposure play?
Morrissey, Taryn, 01/01/2010

This study examined the relationship between the timing of child care type and peer exposure over the first 4 ½ years of life and children’s social-emotional and cognitive outcomes at school entry and the first two years of school. The study used longitudinal data from the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development’s Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development (NICHD SECCYD). Children in the study were classified into four main groups: Continuous Home-Based Care- these children attended nonparental home-based care both before and after 36 months of age; Continuous Center Care- these children attended center care both before and after 36 months of age; Home-Center Sequence- these children began center care between 36 and 60 months of age and attended nonparental home-based care before 36 months of age; and Other- these children had not attended any nonparental care before 60 months. Results indicate that children in the Home-Center sequence group may experience the cognitive benefits of center care without the increased behavioral problems generally associated with sustained center care. Children who experienced Continuous Center Care displayed more caregiver or teacher reported internalizing and externalizing problems compared to those in the Home-Center sequence group. Additionally, children who experienced Continuous Home-based Care scored lower than those who experienced a Home-Center sequence on standardized cognitive outcomes at 54 months and in first grade. However, these same children were rated as significantly more popular among peers during the early elementary years compared to those who experienced a Home-Center sequence. The authors conclude that there is no single type or sequence of child care that is optimal for child development but that these effects vary across behavioral, cognitive and social domains. They suggest that additional research that examines peer exposure and other mediating factors that impact child care type and child development is needed.

What practices support the transition to public preschool programs?

Practices that support the transition to public preschool programs: Results from a National Survey
Rous, Beth, 01/01/2010

Early adjustment to preschool for very young children and their families is very important and public preschool enrollment is on the rise. However, there is little data on practices used by public preschool teachers to ease the transition to preschool. The use of 25 possible transition practices to support children's entry into public prekindergarten is examined based on a national survey of 2,434 public school prekindergarten teachers. Findings suggest that training on the use of specific transition practices, classroom composition, and school context are related to the use of transition practices by public school preschool teachers. The most common practices used by preschool teachers included talking with parents after school starts, talking with parents before school starts and sending a letter to parents after school starts. The least common transition practices for preschool teachers included visits to incoming children’s programs, calling the child after school starts and a letter to the child after school starts. The authors highlight limitations of the study and suggest the need for more research on the various types of transition practices and their effects on young children and families.

What positive impacts can summer learning programs have for low-income children and youth?

What works for summer learning programs for low-income children and youth: Preliminary lessons from experimental evaluations of social interventions
Terzian, Mary, 09/01/2009
(Publication No. 2009-41). Washington, DC: Child Trends. Retrieved October 2, 2009, from http://www.childtrends.org/Files//Child_Trends-2009_09_01_FS_WWSummerLearning.pdf

While children from low-income, urban neighborhoods are more likely than their more affluent peers to lose ground in math and reading over the summer, effective summer learning programs can potentially reverse this trend. This fact sheet synthesizes evaluations of 11 summer learning programs across the country. Findings were mixed. While results showed that gains in reading and math achievement were possible, summer learning programs had little correlation with high school completion or future employment. Based on these findings, a number of recommendations for summer learning programs are proposed, including hiring experienced teachers to teach academic lessons, limiting class size to 15 students, teaching content that compliments typical curricular standards, providing individual support in addition to group learning, creating curricula that are both hands-on and applicable to the real world, and making the program fun and enjoyable. Future research should examine how involving parents can affect summer learning programs, as well as how to develop more effective summer learning programs for younger, elementary school children.

How did welfare reform affect the academic performance of low-income children?

The effects of welfare reform on the academic performance of children in low-income households
Miller, Amalia R., 09/01/2009

The effects of welfare reform in the 1990's on the academic achievement of low-income children were examined using a decade of nationally representative mathematical test score data, as reported in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). In comparing test scores of children in low-income and higher income families, no evidence was found that welfare reform negatively affected academic outcomes. Rather, gains in scores were found even when controlling for other factors, and greater gains were found in states with larger initial welfare caseloads and larger reductions in welfare cases. These education gains are consistent with previous studies of welfare reform.

Can an arts enrichment program impact the school readiness of children at risk?

Arts enrichment and school readiness for children at risk
Brown, Eleanor D., 01/01/2010
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This article examines the effect that an arts enrichment program can have on school readiness for low-income children. Two studies were performed to determine the effectiveness of such a program. In Study 1, the school readiness skills of 194 children were measured before and after their participation in the Kaleidoscope arts enrichment program. Some of the techniques used with this program include learning through music, creative movement, and visual arts classes. The results showed that children who participated in this program demonstrated greater school readiness skills. Further, the researchers discovered that children who participated in the program for two years showed more significant improvements than those who only participated for one year. Study 2 yielded similar results, revealing that children participating in the arts enrichment program showed higher vocabulary skills than children at a preschool without an arts enrichment program.

What is the impact of New Mexico's state-funded Pre-Kindergarten on the school readiness of four year olds?

Continued impacts of New Mexico PreK on children's readiness for kindergarten: Results from the third year of implementation
Hustedt, Jason T., 09/01/2009
New Brunswick, NJ: National Institute for Early Education Research. Retrieved September 25, 2009, from http://nieer.org/pdf/NewMexicoRDD0909.pdf

This paper analyzed the impact of New Mexico’s state-funded Pre-Kindergarten (currently in its third year of implementation) on children’s readiness for kindergarten. Specifically, the vocabulary, math, and literacy skills of 1,333 pre-K children from across New Mexico were measured and compared to students who were not enrolled in state pre-K. New Mexico’s state pre-K program in particular features regulations that promote high quality, such as maximum class sizes of 20 and maximum staff-child ratios of 10:1, as well as teacher credential requirements and comprehensive family support services. Since the program began during the 2005-2006 school year, funding from the state has nearly tripled to $14 million, and enrollment has more than doubled from 1,538 to 3,570 four year olds. The report found that New Mexico’s pre-K program has had a positive effect on enrolled four year olds, as they scored higher on math and literacy assessments than those who did not attend state pre-K. These students in turn, had the skills that better prepared them for Kindergarten.

What are the dynamics of child care subsidy use in New York City?

The duration and dynamics of child care subsidy use in New York City: Children aged 0-5
Gardner, Margo, 07/15/2009
New York: Columbia University, National Center for Children and Families. Retrieved September 4, 2009, from http://www.policyforchildren.org/pdf/Child%20Care%20Subsidy%20Use%20-%20Children%20Aged%200-5.pdf

This study documents the average length of subsidy spells, average number of spells, and average length of gaps between spells for children ages 0-5 in New York City over a three-year period (calendar years 2006-2008). NYC’s child care subsidy program serves eligible families receiving public assistance (TANF); income-eligible, low-income families; and families with special needs. Unlike most programs across the country, NYC administers subsidies through a mix of contracts with regulated settings (used by 43% of these children) and vouchers for regulated or legally exempt settings (57%). The study found the average length of an uninterrupted period of subsidy receipt for all young children to be 12 months. (Average spell lengths in this study cannot be compared with the medians calculated in some earlier studies.) Averages for regulated care were longer (12 months) than for unregulated care (9 months); averages were longer for contracted than other regulated settings (13 versus 9 months). Children from TANF families had the shortest average spells (8 months versus 15 for all others). Seventy-two percent of all children had only one spell during the three years, with children from TANF families more likely to have more than one spell. For children with multiple spells, the average gap lasted five months. A companion study documents these subsidy dynamics for children 6-13, see The duration and dynamics of child care subsidy use in NYC: children aged 6-13.

What approaches can help high risk preschoolers avoid later academic failure?

Approaches to individualizing supports for high-risk preschoolers [Special issue]
Smith, Sheila, 07/01/2009

This special issue of NHSA Dialog focuses on approaches to meeting the learning needs of preschoolers who are at high risk of later reading difficulties and academic failure. The introductory paper briefly reviews research that provides a rationale for focusing on children's language and early literacy skills in preschool and emerging approaches to promoting the school readiness of struggling learners in preschool, including preschool Response to Intervention models and differentiated instruction. Five other papers present approaches to providing extra supports to the highest risk preschoolers in classrooms participating in Early Reading First projects, and preliminary evidence of their potential efficacy. A final paper analyzes similar and varied features across the different approaches and directions for future research.

Can young children be taught verbs through video?

Live action: Can young children learn verbs from video?
Roseberry, Sarah, 09/01/2009

This study examined the ability of children aged 30-42 months, in suburban Philadelphia, to learn verbs from video. The study tested three different ways for children to learn: video supported by live interaction; video alone; and video supported by video delivered interaction. The results indicate that learning verbs from video is possible for children older than 3 years but is challenging for children under the age of 3 even with social interaction. Live social interaction appears to be the most conducive for children under the age of 3. Given the growing trend towards television programs for children 3 and younger these findings suggest that for children younger than 3 there is no verb-learning benefit from watching videos unless they receive social support.

How do child care providers across settings help parents manage the demands of work and family?

The work-family support roles of child care providers across settings
Bromer, Juliet, 07/01/2009

This qualitative study examined the work-family support roles of 29 caregivers (16 family, friend, and neighbor caregivers, 7 family child care providers, and 6 center-based providers) in the Chicago area caring for low-income children. Work-family support was defined as the informal and formal services offered by child care providers and programs to help parents manage the daily logistics and economics of work and family life (e.g. extended day and overnight hours or flexible financial payments). Providers (particularly FFN providers) report giving substantial logistical support such as offering flexible hours of care and providing transportation or going grocery shopping for families. They also offered economic supports such as flexible fees and help with subsidies. FFN caregivers offered the most consistent and generous family-work supports. FCC providers and center-based teachers also offered parents a range of supports, although their abilities to help parents were constrained by professional guidelines, program policies, and institutional constraints.

Do generation, race/ethnicity, and national origin influence the school readiness of low-income immigrant children?

The early developmental competencies and school readiness of low-income, immigrant children: Influences of generation, race/ethnicity, and national origins
De Feyter, Jessica Johnson, 10/01/2009

This study examined the school readiness skills of 2194 low-income immigrant children receiving subsidies in Miami, Florida. Specifically, the study focused on how generation of immigration (e.g. first vs. second), race/ethnicity, and national origin related to children’s readiness for kindergarten. The study relied on the Learning Accomplishment Profile-Diagnostic (LAP-D) to measure language and cognitive skills, and teacher-reports on the Devereux Early Childhood Assessment (DECA) to measure socio-emotional protective factors and behavior concerns. The results indicate that regardless of region or country of origin, teachers rated first-generation immigrant children as strongest, compared to second generation and non-immigrant children, in terms of socio-emotional skills and behavior. However, in terms of cognitive and language skills non-immigrant children performed better than first and second generation immigrant children. The authors suggest that given the strong emphasis that teachers place on social skills and behavior for success in kindergarten, these skills in immigrant children could be an important asset to build upon when they enter kindergarten to help overcome any disadvantages in academic domains.

What is the quality of Tulsa's prekindergarten and Head Start classrooms?

Inside the pre-kindergarten door: Classroom climate and instructional time allocation in Tulsa's pre-K programs
Phillips, Deborah A., 07/01/2009

This study of the quality of Tulsa prekindergarten and Head Start classrooms compared the quality of classrooms in Tulsa with the quality of prekindergarten and Head Start classrooms from 11 states. Tulsa classrooms received significantly higher scores for various dimensions of Instructional Support and Classroom Organization, and devoted significantly more time to academic instruction, notably Literacy and Math Activities. Other findings as well as questions for further research are presented.

How does parental involvement in children’s schooling differ across cultures?

Parental involvement in children's schooling: Different meanings in different cultures
Huntsinger, Carol S., 10/01/2009

This article examines the different roles that parental involvement in children’s schooling can play depending on the particular culture. In this study, 40 European American and 40 Chinese American families were examined over a 4 year period, beginning in Kindergarten. Researchers explored three different types of parent involvement: communicating, volunteering at school, and learning at home. Data was collected via telephone interviews and questionnaires, and the results indicated that European American parents were more likely to volunteer in school, while Chinese American parents were more likely to spend time teaching their children at home. Chinese American parents used teaching methods that were more drill and practice-oriented than did the European American parents and contrary to conventional wisdom, the Chinese American children liked school better and liked the school subject of reading significantly better than did European American children. In terms of report cards, Chinese American parents preferred the traditional letter grades, whereas European American parents preferred report cards without letter grades. Lastly, the teaching methods of both parent groups showed stability over time.

What are the experiences of lower-incidence immigrant groups in Chicago in accessing Illinois' universal preschool program?

Fulfilling the promise of Preschool for All: Insights into issues affecting access for selected immigrant groups in Chicago
Adams, Gina, 01/01/2009
Washington, DC: Urban Institute. Retrieved August 26, 2009, from http://www.urban.org/uploadedpdf/411934_fulfilling.pdf

Researchers at the Urban Institute examined the experiences and perspectives of lower-incident immigrant groups in Chicago in accessing Illinois' universal preschool program, Preschool for all (PFA). Lower‐incidence immigrant groups are those that are not as numerous as Mexican immigrants, or immigrants from Latin America, that make up the majority of the immigrant population in Illinois. Results from the two focus groups with Nigerian parents, two focus groups with Pakistani parents, and interviews with PFA providers indicated that: working patterns and PFA settings chosen differed between the two immigrant groups; families who enrolled their children in PFA community-based settings were less aware of PFA than families using PFA school-based care; parents discussed how language issues, application requirements, and cultural sensitivity did affect their access to PFA and desire to enroll; and parents seeking PFA school-based settings (mostly Pakistani families) faced limited slots and waiting lists more than parents seeking community-based settings.

What is the relationship between name writing and letter knowledge in early literacy learners?

Name writing and letter knowledge in preschoolers: Incongruities in skills and the usefulness of name writing as a developmental indicator
Drouin, Michelle, 07/01/2009

This study examined the relationship between name writing and letter knowledge in children’s early literacy development to see whether name writing ability is a useful developmental indicator. The study included 114 children from five local child care centers in the Midwest. The results indicated that name writing was significantly related to children’s letter knowledge. However, 47 % of the children showed incongruities in their name writing and name-specific letter-recognition skills. Specifically, there were those that could write their names but not recognize the letters in their names and those that could recognize the letters in their names but not write them. In comparing these two groups, the study found that children with superior name-specific letter recognition had significantly higher letter knowledge scores than the children with superior name writing scores. Thus writing one’s name did not appear to correspond to a literacy advantage. The authors conclude that name writing should be used as a measure of mechanical skill only and not as a means to assess children’s conceptual knowledge. Additionally, they recommend that name writing should be paired with a letter knowledge assessment to get more accurate information about the status of the child’s literacy skills.

What is the relationship between respite care and academic achievement for children with disabilities?

How is taking care of caregivers of children with disabilities related to academic achievement?
Barnard-Brak, Lucy, 04/01/2009
Child and Youth Care Forum, Volume 38, Number 2 (April 2009), 91-102

This study examined the relationship between respite care for caregivers of children with disabilities and the academic achievement of those children. Respite care offers a break from care-giving for parents or other care providers and has been associated with lower levels of caregiver stress. Data from the nationally represented Special Education Elementary Longitudinal Study (SEELS), which pertains to achievement of children with disabilities aged 6 through 12, was studied to determine if such a relationship existed. The researched revealed that, over time, there was a significant and positive effect on the academic achievement of children with disabilities when their parents or caregivers received respite care. This study has implications for policymakers who are trying to shift resources towards respite care and make it more accessible and available to those who might require it.

How active are preschoolers inside and outside of the classroom?

Social and environmental factors associated with preschoolers' nonsedentary physical activity
Brown, William H., 01/01/2009

This study examined the physical activity behaviors of preschool children inside and outside the classroom to determine if the environment can affect the level of activity. Four hundred and seventy-six children from 24 preschools in South Carolina were observed over a 5-6 hour period. The observations were categorized as stationary/motionless, stationary with limb or trunk movement, slow easy activity, moderate activity, and vigorous activity. The results indicated that when observed inside, 94% of the observations were categorized as one of the two stationary categories. The results differed when the observations took place outside, as only 61% of the observations were labeled stationary, while 27% were labeled as slow easy activity, and the remaining 17% as moderate or vigorous activity. Further, over 80% of the observations showed that activity was teacher-initiated, and when observed outside, children were most likely to show non-sedentary physical activity in solitary play. This study has implications for teachers, researchers, and policymakers who are working to promote positive physical health for young children, as well as those in the fight against child obesity.

What does the existing research say about transitioning to preschool special education services?

Transition to preschool special education: A review of the literature
Malone, Delia G., 07/01/2009

This article reviews the existing literature on the topic of transitioning to preschool special education services between the age of two and a half years and three years. The authors sought to answer important questions within the spectrum of preschool special education, including determining the conceptual frameworks, definitions, and requirements of an age 3 transition, as well as factors and practices that contribute to making this transition as smooth as possible. Finally, the authors discussed what future research is needed to maximize the chance of a smooth transition. A review of the literature reveals that while legislation has existed since the mid 1970s to identify, locate, and evaluate children who might have special needs, the transition is not always smooth. The main barrier is often the eligibility of the child for the Individuals with Difficulties Education Act (IDEA) services. Future research should examine other factors that affect this transition, including the culture of the child and the family, as well as the age of the child at referral, and the source of referral.

How do gender differences in self-regulation relate to gender differences in academic achievement in kindergarten?

Early gender differences in self-regulation and academic achievement
Matthews, J. S., 08/01/2009

This study examined whether gender differences in self-regulation appear in kindergarten and whether gender and self-regulation predict achievement in 5 academic domains at the end of the kindergarten year. The study relied on the Head-Toes-Knees- Shoulders task (HTKS) and the Child Behavior Rating Scale (CBRS), a teacher report of classroom self-regulatory behavior, to assess behavioral self-regulation. Additionally, 5 academic achievement outcomes in the areas of math, general knowledge, letter-word identification, expressive vocabulary, and sound awareness were measured using the Woodcock-Johnson III Test of Achievement. Results indicated that girls had higher scores than boys on both the HTKS and the CBRS. However in terms of academic achievement the study found no significant gender differences in the 5 areas of early achievement. Self-regulation did however predict math and sound awareness. The study also found that the bottom 10% of boys scored considerably worse on behavioral self-regulation assessments than the bottom 10% of girls. Additionally, this group of boys showed fewer gains on the HTKS over the course of the year compared with all other students. However, due to the small number of boys in this group, further analyses to assess achievement implications for this group were not possible. The authors suggest that it is important for future research to incorporate a specific focus on poorly regulating boys and their achievement outcomes in kindergarten and in elementary and middle-school grades. It is important to determine whether the achievement gap between boys and girls in later years, identified in previous literature, might be a result of early gender differences in self-regulation.

How do sleep habits impact the development of cognitive skills in preschoolers?

Growth of cognitive skills in preschoolers: Impact of sleep habits and learning-related behaviors
Jung, Eunjoo, 07/01/2009

This study relied on a longitudinal research design to determine how the growth of cognitive skills of at-risk children (ages 3-5 years) attending public preschool programs is influenced by sleep problems and learning- related behaviors. A total of 67 children were included and measures included the Differential Ability Scales and A Sleep Questionnaire with 12 items from the Child Behavior Checklist. In the study children’s amount of nighttime sleep was found to be generally lower, with 60% reported to be getting less than 8-9 hours of sleep and 12% of the sample getting less than 6-7 hours. The results from the study indicated that children who were reported to have 8 hours or more of nighttime sleep had significantly higher cognitive scores than children with 7 hours or less. Additionally, children with more than 10 hours of sleep showed a pattern of higher cognitive skills at school entry than did children with 9 hours or less of sleep. Children who enter preschool with good sleep habits and/or strong learning-related behaviors show growth in cognitive skills and achieve more gains in cognitive skills than do children with poorer sleep habits. By 5 years of age, the cognitive scores of these children are still higher than those of children with poorer sleep habits and learning-related behaviors. The authors suggest that future research could examine the differences between 9 hours or less and 10 hours or more of sleep on children’s cognitive skills development using a larger sample. Additionally, longitudinal research examining children’s growth trajectories into early elementary school as well as the growth patterns of children prior to age 3 in relation to sleep habits could help identify precursors of cognitive development difficulties in young children.

Do children experience similar levels of quality from pre-k to kindergarten?

Quality in kindergarten classrooms: Observational evidence for the need to increase children’s learning opportunities in early education classrooms
La Paro, Karen M., 07/01/2009

Using data from the National Center for Early Development and Learning's (NCEDL) Multi-State Study of Pre-kindergarten, and observational assessments, researchers investigated the ways in which program and teacher characteristics contribute to the content and quality of children's experiences in kindergarten. The study found: kindergarten classrooms were of moderate quality but with low levels of instructional supports; the quality of interactions between teachers and children was fairly consistent between pre-k and kindergarten; and kindergarteners spent more time in instructional activities such as literacy and math compared to other academic areas such as science and social studies. In terms of predictors of kindergarten classroom, program characteristics, such as adult:child ratio and length of school day, along with teacher psychological variables were found to be stronger predictors of quality than teacher experience and educational background.

How do early childhood teacher education practices differ in countries around the world?

[A special issue of the Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education]
Szente, Judit, 07/01/2009

This short article introduces a special issue of the Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education. The special issue examines early childhood teacher education practices in countries around the world, including Cyprus, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Nigeria, China, South Korea, Jordan, Pakistan, and Canada. Articles addressed a variety of different topics, including but not limited to early childhood teacher preparation, working with special needs and diverse populations, family and community engagement, early childhood education curriculum, program design and implementation, and learning theories for young children. More specifically, the articles featured in this special issue examine ECE quality in China, training and development in Cyprus, Korea, and Kenya, teacher qualifications and teaching methods in Nigeria, and teacher support in Guinia-Bissau. (See: Exploring the quality of early childhood education in China: Implications for early childhood teacher education; In-service early childhood teachers reflect on their teacher training program: Reconceptualizing the case of Cyprus; Kindergarten teachers’ professional training and their social status in Korea; Supporting early childhood teachers in Guinea-Bissau; Teacher qualification and instructional delivery modes at the preschool level in Nigeria; and Teacher training for early childhood development and education in Kenya.

What types of professional development programs for teachers of at-risk prekindergarten children leads to the greatest improvements in outcomes?

Effectiveness of comprehensive professional development for teachers of at-risk preschoolers
Landry, Susan H., 05/01/2009

This study compared the effectiveness of “business as usual” to that of 4 professional development (PD) programs that targeted teachers of at-risk preschool children. Across 4 states, 158 schools (262 classrooms) were randomly assigned to 1 of the 4 PD conditions or business as usual. Specifically, some teachers received both in-classroom mentoring and detailed, instructionally linked feedback concerning children’s progress in language and literacy. Some teachers received no mentoring but did receive the detailed, instructionally linked feedback concerning children’s progress. Some teachers received in-classroom mentoring but only limited feedback on children’s progress, which was not linked to curricular activities. Finally, some teachers received no mentoring and only limited feedback concerning children’s progress. All 4 PD conditions included the same year-long, facilitated online course that emphasized language and literacy instruction, practice of learned material in one’s classroom, and participation in online message boards with fellow teachers. The condition that included online coursework combined with mentoring and detailed, instructionally linked feedback yielded the greatest improvements in teaching behavior and children’s school readiness compared to the other conditions.

Who uses child care subsidies in Illinois, Maryland, and Texas and how does use of subsidies affect employment outcomes?

Employment outcomes for low-income families receiving child care subsidies in Illinois, Maryland, and Texas
Goerge, Robert, 08/18/2009
Chicago: University of Chicago. Chapin Hall Center for Children

This study sought to determine what factors contribute to low-income families participating in child care subsidy programs, as well as what effect this participation had on employment outcomes. Using Census data from the American Community Survey, the researchers analyzed the data of nearly 1 million subsidy-eligible families in Illinois, Maryland, and Texas from 2001 to 2003, looking specifically at their employment status and use of the TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families) program. The data showed that 22% of families eligible for Illinois’ subsidy program participated, about three times the rates in Maryland (8%) and Texas (7%). More specifically, 31% of Illinois eligible single parents received child care subsidies, while only 5% of two-parent families participated. In Illinois, single parents in urban areas were more likely to participate than those in rural areas, while the opposite trend held true in Maryland and Texas. Across all three states, younger parents and minority parents were more likely to participate. With regard to TANF, families participating in child care subsidy programs were more likely also to receive TANF benefits. Finally, those participating in child care subsidy programs were more likely to have longer employment spells. This study has implications for federal and state policymakers as it gives a more comprehensive look at who is using child care subsidies, as well as how subsidies affect employment.

How has new funding affected Indiana's full-day kindergarten programs?

Snapshots of Indiana's full-day kindergarten programs before and after the state's funding increase for the program
Lovell, Rachel, 07/01/2009
(REL Technical Brief, REL 2009-No. 013). Washington, DC: Regional Educational Laboratory Midwest. Retrieved July 23, 2009, from http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/edlabs/regions/midwest/pdf/REL_2009013.pdf

This brief examined the effects and changes on Indiana's full-day kindergarten following the state legislature’s decision to increase its funding. The funding for full day kindergarten nearly quadrupled from 2006 to 2007, increasing from $8.5 million to $33.5 million. Various positive changes occurred as a result of the funding, including a 20% increase in enrollment. This increase was more significant in areas of high poverty. Further, the percentage of minority students increased, as well as those who receive free or reduced price lunches.

How do the United States and other countries approach early education for children aged three to eight years old?

Issues in education for children three to eight in six countries
Clifford, Richard M., 01/01/2009
(Issues in PreK-3rd Education No. 6). Chapel Hill, NC: FPG Child Development Institute, FirstSchool. Retrieved June 30, 2009, from http://www.fpg.unc.edu/~firstschool/assets/six_countries.pdf

This issue brief examines how various countries, such as France, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Sweden and the United States meet the educational needs of young children, specifically those ages three to eight. After profiling the early education systems in each of these countries, the authors suggest some commonalities among these various countries. These commonalities include: agreement across countries in terms of what is important for young children; recognition of the need to balance a strong educational intervention with the need for children to have a good quality of life; recognition that the provision of services is both for the benefit of mothers in the paid labor force and due to the impact of early learning on later success in school; concern about the transition that children face as they move between early childhood education and care and elementary school; interest in a number of countries in preserving a distinct early childhood sector; and lastly relying on different levels of government to support early childhood education and for policies that establish and govern the programs. The authors suggest that a lot can be learned from the policy solutions proposed by other countries in facing common challenges.

How can quality improvement be supported in early childhood teacher education?

Quality improvement in early childhood teacher education: Faculty perspectives and recommendations for the future
Hyson, Marilou, 03/01/2009

This descriptive study, based on surveys of Early Childhood Education (ECE) degree program administrators and faculty in U.S. colleges and universities, explored ways to support quality improvement in ECE programs. Results of the surveys showed: faculty relied on national standards (e.g. NAEYC) for designing programs; faculty lacked an awareness of early childhood research; implementing quality curriculum effectively was faculty members main strategy for enhancing student competency; and developing new ways to assess student competencies was a major quality improvement activity identified. Other program priorities included building faculty capacity and accreditation. (For further information and reactions to this article see: Put "academic content" in early childhood education and early childhood teacher education: A response to Hyson et al; Moving toward a more robust research agenda: A response to Hyson et al; and Early childhood faculty and the language of research: Evidence for improvement: A response to Hyson et al).

What is the relationship between non-maternal child care and children’s socio-emotional development?

The socio-emotional effects of non-maternal childcare on children in the USA: A critical review of recent studies
Jacob, Jenet I., 07/01/2009

This article presents a review of studies published between 1998 and 2006 that examine the relationship between non-maternal child care and children’s socio-emotional development. The studies examine how the quantity, quality, type and timing of non-maternal child care interact with factors of family background and child characteristics to affect indicators of social-behavioral outcomes. The findings indicate that more hours per week in non-maternal child care and entry into non-maternal child care during the first year of life are the most significant predictors of negative social-emotional adjustment. Additionally, group non-maternal child care and multiple changes in child care setting are associated with more negative social-behavioral adjustment, particularly at younger ages. While being in high quality non-maternal child care predicts more positive social-behavioral adjustment this has smaller effect sizes than quantity. When home background is taken into consideration, maternal sensitivity is the strongest predictor of socio-emotional adjustment in maternal, caregiver, observer and teacher reports. Lastly, extensive non-maternal child care is associated with decreased parental sensitivity. The article also reviews the methodological approaches and measurement issues in these various studies and discusses policy implications of the findings.

How can an early foreign language learning project affect the language abilities of kindergartners?

Implementation and evaluation of an early foreign language learning project in kindergarten
Griva, Eleni, 08/01/2009

This study sought to determine the potential positive effects of a foreign language project for early learners. The project was conducted in Greece, where English is typically taught when children are nine years old. This study, however, worked with kindergartners in order to see the effects of beginning the foreign language learning process earlier in life. 32 kindergartners participated in the study over the course of 8 months, beginning with a 3 month warm up phase consisting of vocabulary exposure, followed by a 5 month phase with 12 intervention sessions, each containing play activities focusing on a particular category of words, such as colors or animals. Results indicated that the kindergartners had significant increases in word production as well as an increased level of comprehension.

How is infant and toddler care impacted by preschool education policy?

Does preschool education policy impact infant/toddler care?
Ackerman, Debra J., 03/01/2009
(Preschool Policy Brief Issue 20). New Brunswick, NJ: National Institute for Early Education Research. Retrieved June 30, 2009, from http://nieer.org/resources/policybriefs/21.pdf

This policy brief takes a look the current policy trends in early childhood education and the supply and demand of child care, as well as giving policy recommendations for the future. Over the past 35 years, the supply of child care has vastly increased in order to keep pace with demand. However, only a small fraction of this new supply is considered high quality child care, which often can be quite expensive yet is proven to promote positive developmental outcomes. The demand has risen dramatically over the past four decades due to the increased number of women in the workforce, thus requiring more child care for their young children. In fact, the number of women in the workforce with children under 18 has risen from 47% in 1965 to 71% in 2005. Thankfully, child care has kept up, as the number of licensed child care centers has increased nearly six times during the same 30 year span. The brief goes on to discuss the policies and programs that are helping these child care centers achieve and maintain high quality, such as the Child Care Development Fund (CCDF). Policy recommendations focus not only on the quantity of funding but also the way it should be used to ensure high quality in child care centers.

Are the developmental needs of young children in the child welfare system being met?

Children at risk in the child welfare system: Collaborations to promote school readiness
Ward, Helen D., 04/01/2009
Portland, ME: Edmund S. Muskie School of Public Service, Institute for Child and Family Policy. Retrieved June 24, 2009, from http://muskie.usm.maine.edu/schoolreadiness/CAR%20Final%20Report,%20for%20website.pdf

Researchers at the University of Southern Maine examined the extent to which the developmental needs of young children in the child welfare system are being met by coordinated efforts of the child welfare, early intervention, preschool special education, and early care and education systems. Analysis of the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-being (NSCAW) data and a case study of key stakeholders in Colorado revealed: a high prevalence of developmental problems among children 0 to 5 in the child welfare system with few receiving needed early intervention services and low levels of enrollment in ECE programs. Additionally, there were many collaboration challenges across systems serving these children identified by the Colorado stakeholders. Collaboration challenges included: child welfare caseworkers' and foster parents' limited training in child development and awareness of ECE programs; formal developmental screenings were rare; and there was a lack of information for ECE, early intervention, and special education programs on the needs of children in the child welfare system and how to address those needs.

How do beliefs about important early learning experiences compare among public and private center staff and family child care providers?

A qualitative study of early childhood educators’ beliefs about key preschool classroom experiences
Lara-Cinisomo, Sandraluz, 03/01/2009

The belief systems of early childhood educators have important implications for the experiences of the children in their care. To understand and compare the kinds of early learning experiences that early educators in different settings consider important, this study conducted 11 focus groups in Los Angeles County—3 with staff from publicly funded centers (e.g. Head Start and public-school-based), 4 with staff from private centers, and 4 with family child care providers affiliated with networks. In all, 75 participated—25 from public centers, 19 private centers, 31 family child care. Qualitative analysis of session transcripts revealed 3 main dimensions of pre-school experiences all groups deemed important—teacher-child interactions, learning environments, and children’s learning opportunities. Within each dimension, further analysis revealed component factors. Variation across settings was greater at the factor level than the dimension level. For example, on teacher-child interactions, all the public center groups discussed the importance of being supportive of children, encouraging individualization, and being a role model; these topics emerged less frequently in the other two groups. On learning environments, more family child care than center focus groups brought up age appropriateness, teacher resourcefulness, and having clear rules and consequences.

What are the potential opportunities for school districts to spend ARRA funds on early education?

Title I early education: Models for using ARRA funds
Center for Law and Social Policy, 01/01/2009
Washington, DC: Center for Law and Social Policy. Retrieved June 5, 2009, from http://childcareandearlyed.clasp.org/Title%20I_ARRA.pdf

The brief illustrates the potential ways that school districts can spend American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) funds on early education. ARRA includes $13 billion in funding for Title I of No Child Left Behind (NCLB), and this can be put towards early childhood programs. The brief serves as a resource for school districts by providing ideas and suggestions on how this money can be spent. Some of these ideas include expanding existing programs such as Head Start or State Pre-K or improving various aspects of child care centers (such as increasing teacher salaries, upgrading the facilities, or offering greater professional development). Examples of the various ways school districts and communities have already used the funding are given, and additional resources are provided.

How can children’s nutrition be improved in schools and in out-of school time programs?

Research-based recommendations to improve child nutrition in schools and out-of-school time programs
Wandner, Laura, 05/01/2009
(Publication No. 2009-27). Washington, DC: Child Trends. Retrieved May 29, 2009, from http://www.childtrends.org/Files//Child_Trends-2009_05_27_RB_ChildNutritionOST.pdf

This brief summarizes the current guidelines and recommendations for child nutrition, specifically for children in elementary and middle school, and provides information for schools and out-of-school time programs about how to measure child nutrition. Previous findings indicate that more than 8 in 10 children have a poor diet and that approximately 80 percent of children do not eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables. Additionally, data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten revealed that in 2004-2005 more than half of schools in the study sold sweets on school property and nearly half of these schools offered salty snacks, sports drinks and sodas. The authors recommend the following strategies for schools and out-of-school time programs to improve children’s nutrition: provide children with more healthy food options; implement program’s to improve children’s nutrition, e.g. teaching children how to read food labels; and getting parents involved in children’s nutrition.

How well are Educare progams preparing at-risk children for kindergarten?

Promising early returns: Educare implementation study data: April 2009
Yazejian, Noreen, 01/01/2009
Chapel Hill, NC: FPG Child Development Institute. Retrieved May 29, 2009, from http://www.fpg.unc.edu/~bounce/assets/pdf/Promising_Early_Returns_4_14_09.pdf (no longer accessible as of January 18, 2013)

Preliminary data show that at-risk children emerge from Educare programs better prepared to succeed in kindergarten. Moreover, the earlier they begin, the better prepared they are. Educare operates state-of-the-art, full-day, full-year centers for children birth to five years of age in low-income communities in several cities. School-readiness scores on the Bracken Basic Concepts Scale for kindergarten-bound children from Educare centers in Chicago, Denver, Milwaukee, Omaha, and Tulsa approached the national average for all children and, for children in Educare for 3 to 5 years, they exceeded the national average. Children from the five centers also scored better on the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test than most other low-income children. Further, Educare's infant/toddler classrooms received higher average quality ratings on the Infant Toddler Environmental Rating Scale than those in a recent national study. Additionally, ratings for Educare's preschool classrooms on the Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scale-Revised were at the top of the range observed in other national studies. Future evaluation of Educare includes plans for a randomized control study of the Educare model.

Is child care in the first three years of life associated with emotional and behavioral problems for children in England?

Experiences of childcare in England and socio-emotional development at 36 months
Barnes, Jacqueline, 10/01/2010

The purpose of this study was to examine whether child care in the first three years of life, for children living in England, is associated with emotional and behavioral problems at age three, taking into account parental and family factors. The study focused on both home-based and center-based care. The sample consisted of 1016 families and use of child care was investigated at 3, 10, 18 and 36 months. Findings indicated that there was no effect of the amount and type of child care on disruptive behavior at 36 months. Rather the main predictors were maternal minority ethnic background and previous harsh maternal behavior. Compliance and expressiveness were predicted by maternal sensitivity. Expressive behavior was also associated with more child care from 19 to 36 months, specifically nanny or nursery care.

How do education and training of Latina family child care providers relate to pre-academic experiences of children in their care?

Predictions of children's experiences with Latina family child care providers
Zuniga, Stephen, 03/01/2009

This observational study of 115 Mexican heritage family child care providers from lower-income California communities, and 460 children in their care, tested findings based on earlier research conducted with white, middle-class providers and children. Though most providers in the study had a high school education or less, all were currently participating in workshop training and 45 percent had taken part in previous training. In addition to the Adult Involvement Scale and the Family Day Care Rating Scale (FDCRS), the study used measures to enhance the cultural congruence of its concept of quality. The researchers observed providers' scaffolding, "interactions that build on the child's interests," and expanded their definition of pre-academic activities to include "warm and positive adult-child relationships" and "interactions around everyday activities," such as cooking and gardening. Largely consistent with earlier research, providers with more formal education and previous training tended to use more scaffolding and to have higher global quality FDCRS scores. Providers who had participated in previous training were also more likely to exhibit responsive involvement and offer pre-academic activities.

How do peer interactions affect children's language development in pre-kindergarten?

Peer effects on children’s language achievement during pre-kindergarten
Mashburn, Andrew J., 05/01/2009

This study examined the associations between peers' expressive language skills and children's development of expressive and receptive language during pre-kindergarten. Children’s ability level, classroom characteristics, and frequency of interactions were taken into account as mediating influences. The study looked at 1,812 four year olds in over 450 pre-k programs across 11 states, taking data from two previous large scale pre-k studies: the National Center for Early Development and Learning’s (NCEDL) Multi-State Study of Pre-Kindergarten, and the NCEDL–NIEER State-Wide Early Education Programs Study. Results showed a positive correlation between peers' expressive language ability and children’s language achievement during the pre-k year, as well as a connection between higher levels of emotional support inside the classroom and increased language achievement. These associations were found to be stronger with children who began the pre-k year with high levels of receptive language ability. Implications from this study include ways to design pre-k classrooms that would maximize children’s language development and achievement.

How can market conditions affect the quality of non-profit child care centers?

The nonprofit advantage: Producing quality in thick and thin child care markets
Cleveland, Gordon, 06/01/2009

This article discusses the various advantages of nonprofit child care, as well as the market conditions in which nonprofit child care centers are most able to thrive in producing quality within the classroom. It compares non-profit child care centers in both thick and thin markets, hypothesizing that the quality of centers in thick markets, or areas where child care is in high demand, will be greater than that of centers in thin markets, where this demand is lower. The study used the ITERS (Infant–Toddler Environment Rating Scale) and ECERS-R (Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale—Revised) scales, to measure classroom quality. Findings indicate that in thick markets, greater funds exist that can be used in different ways to increase quality, whereas in thin markets where demand is lower, quality can often suffer.

How is quality child care conceptualized among Indigenous populations in Australia?

Australian indigenous perspectives on quality assurance in children's services
Hutchins, Teresa, 03/01/2009

This study examines how Indigenous populations in Australia conceptualize quality child care. Additionally, this research explores issues associated with incorporating Indigenous child care services into an integrated quality assurance system. Qualitative data were collected using focus groups, community consultations, and interviews with 202 Indigenous childcare providers and 210 state and territory government representatives from across Australia. The study found that there is a general disconnect between Indigenous desires and needs, and the conventional assumptions that support the Quality Improvement and Accreditation System (QIAS) in Australia.

Does the Infant-Toddler Environment Rating Scale-Revised Edition accurately measure childcare quality in a high-stakes context?

Examining the psychometric properties of the Infant-Toddler Environment Rating Scale-Revised Edition in a high-stakes context
Bisceglia, Rossana, 04/01/2009

The psychometric properties of the Infant–Toddler Environment Rating Scale-Revised Edition (ITERS-R) were examined using 153 classrooms from child-care centers where resources were tied to center performance. Findings indicate that rather than measuring six distinct measures of quality the ITERS-R measures one global aspect of quality. Additionally, two shortened subsets of the instrument demonstrated almost identical psychometric properties as the full scale. In terms of policy implications, the authors suggest that since the ITERS-R items are highly correlated with one another, changes to a few items may increase the overall score and thus inaccurately estimate the quality provided by a center. For this reason the authors suggest that in high stakes settings, it is best to use the full ITERS-R in conjunction with other quality-measures. Additional instruments of child-care quality that capture the multidimensionality of quality are greatly needed, especially given their increasing use in high-stakes settings.

Are there cultural similarities and differences in preschool quality in Sweden and South Korea?

A cross-cultural study of preschool quality in South Korea and Sweden: ECERS evaluations
Sheridan, Sonja, 04/01/2009

The aim of the study was to explore cross-cultural similarities and differences between Swedish preschools and South Korean childcare centers using localized versions of the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale (ECERS). Interacting dimensions of quality, including national curricula, the child, the teacher, and the learning context were included. Findings indicate that there are some differences in preschool quality that might be interpreted as culturally derived and are understandable when the socio-cultural contexts and the national pedagogical goals for preschool are taken into consideration. In particular, the results highlight the importance of physical space in both countries as it seemed to create different opportunities for children to play, relax, and learn in a variety of ways. Future research is needed to determine the interdependency between different quality dimensions within and between countries, in order to gain further knowledge about preschool quality.

What is the impact of kindergarten number competence on children’s rate of growth and mathematics achievement?

Early math matters: Kindergarten number competence and later mathematics outcomes
Jordan, Nancy C., 05/01/2009

This study examines the predictive relationship between children’s early number competence (i.e., understanding the meaning of numbers and number relationships) and their math achievement from first through third grade. Participants included children from six schools serving low- and middle-income families in the same district (n = 378). Children’s number competencies related to counting, number comparisons, and calculation were assessed six times, from the beginning of kindergarten to the middle of first grade. Then children’s mathematics achievement (i.e., written computation and applied problem solving) was assessed five times from the end of first grade through the end of third grade. Sequential process growth curve ing was used to estimate the relationships among variables, including the rate of growth in both early number competence and mathematics level on children’s later mathematics achievement. Results suggested that there is a strong and significant relationship between early number competence and mathematics achievement. Kindergarten number competence predicted rate of growth in mathematics achievement between 1st and 3rd grades. Furthermore, rate of growth in early number competencies predicted mathematics performance level in 3rd grade. Low-income children’s rate of growth and mathematics achievement in 3rd grade was lower than their middle income counterparts, however, their relatively weak kindergarten number competence affected their performance and growth. Results of this study underscore the impact of kindergarten number competence on children’s developmental trajectories and later mathematics achievement. The findings suggest that improving young children’s number competence should be a priority in early care and education settings.

What do we know about quality and existing measures in child care and early education settings?

What we know and don't know about measuring quality in early childhood and school-age care and education settings
Child Trends, 05/01/2009
(Publication No. 2009-12, OPRE Issue Brief No. 1). Washington, DC: Child Trends. Retrieved May 20, 2009, from http://www.childtrends.org/Files//Child_Trends-2009_5_20_RB_WhatWeKnow.pdf

This brief answers three key questions concerning the measurement of quality: what aspects of quality are important to measure?; what aspects of quality are well covered by existing measures?; and what measurement strategies are most effective in state quality improvement and rating systems? Firstly, in order to determine what aspects of quality are important to measure it is important to determine the purpose, e.g. providing parents with a broad picture of quality or determining how well the early care environment is fostering English skills for English language learners etc. While at present we do not know the full collection of measures appropriate for every purpose, work on measures development is in process. Secondly, in terms of existing measures of quality, we know that quality in early care and education settings can be measured through structural measures (group size, ratio etc.), process measures (caregiver-child interactions etc.), or global measures (physical features, routines, and interactions). However, we don't know how best to capture aspects of quality that are related to children's development in specific domains, such as language and literacy, social and emotional development, health, early mathematics etc. Additionally, more research is needed to develop and refine a set of measures that are appropriate with diverse children in diverse settings. Lastly, in terms of effective measurement strategies in state quality rating systems, we know that most states are developing or implementing quality rating systems that combine the use of global measures of quality and structural measures. However, we do not know how well the combinations of quality measures and the levels of quality that states delineate, predict children's development. The brief further highlights issues for ongoing research and dialogue.

What lessons can be learned from states that offer publicly funded preschool programs?

Providing preschool education for all 4-year-olds: Lessons from six state journeys
Ackerman, Debra J., 03/01/2009
(Preschool Policy Brief Issue 18). New Brunswick, NJ: National Institute for Early Education Research. Retrieved May 22, 2009, from http://nieer.org/resources/policybriefs/19.pdf

This report examines the journeys of six states (NY, GA, IL, FL, OK, WV) towards providing preschool education for all 4-year-olds. These states vary in terms of when their programs began and what percentage of preschoolers are enrolled in public pre-K. The report summarizes the experience of each of these states and the six key decisions that all these states confronted in offering public pre-K, namely: should a program start small or be open to all?; which auspices should be involved?; how might collaboration among auspices be facilitated?; what kind of governance and funding stream would work best?; what level of educational effectiveness is desired?; and is there an adequate supply of sufficiently credentialed teachers to staff programs throughout the state? The report also offers lessons for other states looking to implement a public pre-k system. The key lessons are: in order to move the policy agenda having support from a key political figure, such as a governor or state superintendent, is important; increasing access requires creating the capacity to support this access; collaborating among auspices has it benefits but also raises challenges in terms of determining who should be in charge when programs operate in different state departments or receive different funding streams; increasing capacity requires consistent political support and reliable funding mechanisms; and lastly, states need to provide time and opportunities for pre- and post-implementation decision making.

What is the magnitude of the relationship between early care and education quality and child outcomes?

Early care and education quality and child outcomes
Burchinal, Margaret, 05/01/2009
(Publication No. 2009-15, OPRE Research-to-Policy Brief No. 1). Washington, DC: Child Trends. Retrieved May 22, 2009, from http://www.childtrends.org/Files//Child_Trends-2009_5_21_RB_earlycare.pdf

This study used two analytic strategies to examine the relationship between early care and education quality and child outcomes: 1. A meta-analysis of studies in peer-reviewed journals or evaluation reports; and 2. A secondary analysis of data from four large studies of early care and education. The meta-analysis summarized 97 findings from 20 research projects with the goal of estimating the strength of the relationship between classroom quality measures and child outcomes. Results suggested that children in higher-quality early care and education programs tended to have modestly higher academic, language, and social skills outcomes. Stronger associations were found for academic and language outcomes than for social outcomes, and for younger children (2- and 3-year olds) versus older children (4-year olds). The results of the secondary analysis of data from four studies (i.e., NICHD Study of Early Child Care, Cost, Quality, and Outcomes Project; National Center for Early Learning and Development Pre-K Evaluation; and Head Start Family and Child Experiences Study) also indicated that various quality measures had modest associations with achievement, language, and social skills for low-income children. Furthermore, results revealed that measures of specific classroom practices were better predictors of child outcomes than global measures of quality, especially when there was alignment between the practice being measured and a specific child outcome. Finally, analyses revealed that children from low-income families benefited from higher-quality care, but larger effects were seen when quality was measured at the good to high range. Researchers present implications of the findings for policy, programs, and new research on the measurement of quality.

How does a new structured observation assessment measure self-regulation in kindergartners?

A structured observation of behavioral self-regulation and its contribution to kindergarten outcomes
Ponitz, Claire E. Cameron, 05/01/2009

Self-regulation behavior and kindergarten outcomes were measured in 323 kindergartners in two U.S. sites using the Head-Toes-Knees-Shoulders (HTKS) assessment. Results showed considerable variability in HTKS scores and that behavioral regulation in the fall predicted better outcomes in the spring and better teacher-rated classroom self-regulation. Gains in behavioral regulation also predicted gains in mathematics but not literacy.

How can new federal stimulus funds from the ARRA help promote second-generation QRIS systems?

A stimulus for second-generation QRIS
Satkowski, Christina, 04/01/2009
Washington, DC: New America Foundation. Retrieved May 1, 2009, from http://www.newamerica.net/files/042609qris.pdf

This brief recommends ways states can use stimulus funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to build or expand components of Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS) and steps the federal government can take to help promote the best use of stimulus funds for QRIS. Recommendations for state use of stimulus funding include: to fund initial research to inform the development of a QRIS; to build an interactive database for states ready to launch a QRIS; to include infant and toddler centers, home-based caregivers, and afterschool programs; and to fund a QRIS validation study. The federal government could assist states by offering clear guidance on effective use of these funds for QRIS or provide states with incentives to incorporate QRIS data and other early childhood data into an integrated state longitudinal data system.

Are private safety-nets for low-income mothers positively associated with children's socioemotional adjustment?

Low-income mothers' private safety nets and children's socioemotional well-being
Ryan, Rebecca, 05/01/2009

This study uses longitudinal data from the Fragile Families and Child Well-being Study and the National Evaluation of Welfare-to-Work Strategies to examine the associations between material and instrumental support available to low-income mothers and children's socioemotional adjustment. The study focuses on material support, defined as cash or in-kind financial assistance, and instrumental support, defined as help in caregiving, transportation etc. Findings indicate that the availability of material and instrumental support is positively associated with children’s socioemotional adjustment.

What influences child care choice in urban China?

Early childhood education and care in urban China: The importance of parental choice
Nyland, Berenice, 05/01/2009

A review of the U.S. and Chinese literature on child care choice, as well as a parent survey conducted across several cities in China, reveals similar child care choice patterns across the U.S. and China. Survey findings showed that child care choice was related to the employment status, gender, age, level of education and income level of the parent, and views regarding the needs of the child. Like other countries, child care choice and provision in China changes as the child ages.

How much do child care subsidies decrease out-of-pocket child care expenses for low-income families?

The impact of child care subsidies on low-income single parents: An examination of child care expenditures and family finances
Forry, Nicole D., 03/01/2009

This study evaluated the impact of child care subsidies on parents' child care payments and the percentage of household income spent on child care using multivariate analysis with two data sets (from the Wait List study and the Fragile Families and Child Well-Being study) and descriptive and qualitative data on parents' perspectives. Child care subsidies were found to decrease families' out-of-pocket costs per child and subsidy recipients had lower financial burden. Additionally, half of parents who received a child care subsidy thought this resource positively affected their finances as well as their ability to afford formal care.

How can science readiness in preschool classrooms be improved?

Science in the preschool classroom: A programmatic research agenda to improve science readiness
Greenfield, Daryl B., 03/01/2009

This article focuses on preschool science, an important but under researched school readiness domain. There is considerable activity surrounding quality science in early childhood classroom practices, including state standards, curricula with science activities, and an extensive literature on potential best practices. However, there is very little empirical research focused on the effectiveness of these practices. Preliminary results from three studies on Head Start classroom practices related to young children's science readiness, and a discussion of standards, curricula, literature, and research on quality science practice in preschool-year classrooms is presented. The article concludes witha discussion of future directions, emphasizing the need to focus on science in pre-school classrooms and the critical role that science education can potentially play in improving early childhood classroom practices and child outcomes.

Can the quality of teacher-child interactions be validly assessed in toddler classrooms?

Measuring the quality of teacher-child interactions in toddler child care
Thomason, Amy, 03/01/2009

This study examines whether an adapted version of the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS; Pianta, La Paro, & Hamre, 2008) can be validated for use in toddler classrooms. There are few instruments that have been developed to study the quality of care in toddler classrooms. According to the authors, the measures that are designed for this purpose (e.g., ITERS; Harms, Cryer, & Clifford, 2003) do not assess all of the dimensions of quality in toddler care settings. The CLASS was designed to assess the quality of teacher-child interactions in pre-kindergarten classrooms, and scores on the CLASS have been linked to child outcomes. In this study, the CLASS was adapted to measure teacher-child interactions in 30 toddler classrooms. The toddler version included the same six dimensions as the CLASS Pre-K measure: positive climate, negative climate, teacher sensitivity, regard for student perspective (renamed regard for child perspective), behavior management (renamed behavior guidance), and language development. A scoring manual including indicators and examples specific to toddlers was developed based on a literature review related to toddler development and developmentally appropriate practice in toddler classrooms. Construct validity was established through the review of existing measures and research on toddler development. Validity was also established by examining the relations between classroom ratings, program star ratings, teacher education level, group size and teacher-child ratio, which all were significantly correlated with CLASS Toddler scores. Membership in a professional organization was also related to CLASS Toddler ratings. The researchers conclude that adequate validity for this measure was established, and suggest the need for further research that predicts child outcomes based on the quality of teacher-child interactions in toddler classrooms.

How can federal, state, and local governments increase learning opportunities for young Hispanic children?

Young Hispanic children: Boosting opportunities for learning
Society for Research in Child Development, 01/01/2009
Social Policy Report Brief, 23(2). Retrieved April 22, 2009, from http://www.srcd.org/index.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_download&gid=565

This brief summarizes a longer Social Policy Report, 'Early Educational Opportunities for Children of Hispanic Origins'. The authors cite the need for research and policies directed at improving educational opportunities for young Hispanic children, based on the growing achievement gap in reading and math between this group and their White and Asian American peers from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. Based on empirical evidence, recommendations are provided to federal, state, and local governments for boosting learning opportunities for Hispanic children ages 3- to 8-years old. Specifically, at the federal level, the authors recommend expanding dual language programs, increasing the number of preschool and early elementary teachers proficient in English and Spanish, recruiting Spanish speakers to serve as classroom language specialists, and expanding national and international databases that track students’ academic performance. Recommendations for state governments include collaborating with local communities to offer high quality care at different times of the day and week to meet families’ scheduling needs, providing Hispanic 3- and 4-year old children access to free, state-funded, high-quality preschool programs, offering preschool teachers pay and benefits that are equal to that of public school teachers, and establishing information and evaluation systems for district and state education departments. Finally, local governments are advised to collaborate with federal and state governments and Hispanic organizations to give parents information on early care and learning opportunities to boost Hispanic children’s enrollment.

Does birth weight influence the impact of early intervention on children prenatally exposed to cocaine?

Effectiveness of early intervention for children prenatally exposed to cocaine: Moderating effects of low birth weight on behavioral outcomes
Bono, Katherine E., 05/01/2009

This study examines the influence of low birth weight on the effects of early intervention to improve cognitive, language, and behavioral outcomes among children prenatally exposed to cocaine. Three hundred and sixty five children who participated in the Lindsay Ray Intervention Project from 1991 to 2003 were observed including 164 children in Center-based programs, 146 in Home-based programs, and 54 in the Primary Care group. Two standardized tests were administered to children at 36 months of age (Bayley Test of Mental Development and the Reynell Developmental Language Scales) and parental input was measured using the Child Behavior Problem Checklist and the Adaptive Social Behavior Inventory. Findings suggest that among children prenatally exposed to cocaine, those who have a low birth weight could benefit more from early intervention than those with a normal birth weight.

What are the characteristics of Fall 2006 Head Start children and families, and their home and classroom environments?

Beginning Head Start: Children, families and programs in fall 2006: FACES 2006 baseline report
Tarullo, Louisa B., 12/01/2008
Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved April 24, 2009, from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre/hs/faces/reports/beginning_hs/beginning_hs.pdf

The Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES) is a tool for measuring Head Start Program Performance at the national level. Characteristics of Head Start children and families (enrolled in Fall 2006), and their home and Head Start classroom environments are presented. Included are measures of children's cognitive, physical, and socio emotional development in addition to Head Start classroom curricula and activities. Socioeconomic risk continues to impact upon on a wide variety of developmental measures. Findings are based on data collected from a sample of 60 Head Start programs, 135 centers, 410 classrooms, 365 teachers, and 3,315 children and their parents.

What does the Pre-Elementary Education Longitudinal Study (PEELS) reveal about preschool-aged children with disabilities and their early school transitions and social behavior?

Early school transitions and the social behavior of children with disabilities: Selected findings from the Pre-Elementary Education Longitudinal Study: Wave 3 overview report from the Pre-Elementary Education Longitudinal Study (PEELS)
Carlson, Elaine, 01/01/2009
(NCSER 2009-3016). Washington, DC: National Center for Special Education Research. Retrieved March 6, 2009, from http://ies.ed.gov/ncser/pdf/20093016.pdf

Wave three data collection of the Pre-Elementary Education Longitudinal Study (PEELS) examined a national sample of 3,014 children with disabilities ages 3 through 5. Study findings include: 70 percent of children made a transition to a new program, grade, or school; teacher reports did not show any statistically significant differences in the ease of children's transition to kindergarten by demographic characteristics but Hispanic parents were more likely to report their children having a "somewhat hard" or "very hard" transition compared to parents of Black or White children; school support and involvement was associated with both parent and teacher reports of easier transitions for children; and over the three years of data collection parents reports of children's behavior changed significantly showing improved social skills.

What were the effects of three language and literacy interventions implemented in child care centers serving low-income children in Miami-Dade County?

Evaluation of Child Care Subsidy Strategies: Findings from an experimental test of three language/literacy interventions in child care centers in Miami-Dade County: Final report
United States. Administration for Children and Families. Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, 01/01/2009
Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved March 18, 2009, from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre/cc/upgrade_miami_dade/reports/three_language/three_language.pdf

The Project Upgrade study examined the effects of three language and literacy interventions implemented across 164 child care classrooms in Miami-Dade County in which classrooms were randomly assigned to one of the three interventions or the control group. Findings show that the interventions had significant impacts on teacher behavior and interactions supporting children's literacy; two of the three interventions had impacts on children's literacy outcomes; children in two treatment groups had higher literacy scores closer to national norms; the interventions resulted in more time in the classroom devoted to language and literacy; and teacher's educational background did not modify the impacts of the intervention on child outcomes.

What evidence-based practices are important for out-of-school time programs?

Staff selection: What's important for out-of-school time programs?: Part 1 in a series on implementing evidence-based practices in out-of-school time programs: The role of frontline staff
Metz, Allison J. R., 02/01/2009
(Publication No. 2009-04). Washington, DC: Child Trends. Retrieved February 11, 2009, from http://www.childtrends.org/Files//Child_Trends-2009_02_11_RB_StaffSelection.pdf

This brief, part of a series on implementing evidence-based practices (EBPs) in out-of-school time programs, discusses how staff selection is one of six necessary components for implementing EBP’s effectively. Based on a review of research the authors suggest both formal qualifications (e.g., education, background, certification, and experience) and less measurable personal and interpersonal characteristics (e.g., commitment, communication skills, and attitudes toward youth) may be important when recruiting staff. Other briefs in the series discuss staff training (see 'Training out-of-school time staff: Part 2 in a series on implementing evidence-based practices in out-of-school time programs: The role of frontline staff,') and staff coaching (see 'Using coaching to provide ongoing support and supervision to out-of-school time staff: Part 3 in a series on implementing evidence-based practices in out-of-school time programs: The role of frontline staff,')

What are the national trends for access, quality, and spending on state funded preschool in the United States?

The state of preschool 2008: State preschool yearbook
Barnett, W. Steven, 01/01/2008
New Brunswick, NJ: National Institute for Early Education Research. Retrieved July 16, 2011, from http://nieer.org/sites/nieer/files/2008yearbook.pdf

The 2008 State Preschool Yearbook is the sixth in a series of annual reports profiling state-funded prekindergarten programs in the United States. This latest Yearbook presents data on state-funded prekindergarten during the 2007-2008 school year. The Yearbook is organized into three major sections. The first section offers a summary of the data, and describes national trends for enrollment in, quality of, and spending on preschool. The second section presents detailed profiles outlining each state's policies with respect to preschool access, quality standards, and resources for the 2007-2008 program year. The last section of the report contains appendices, which are available online only, and include tables that provide the complete 2007-2008 survey data obtained from every state, as well as Head Start, child care, U.S. Census and special education data. The annual survey of state-funded preschool programs shows impressive expansion in enrollment and spending. However, the recession may reverse this trend, curtailing early education opportunities for children in lower and middle-income families.

How does the length of day in kindergarten influence instructional quality and academic achievement among a linguistically diverse student population?

How do linguistically diverse students fare in full- and half-day kindergarten?: Examining academic achievement, instructional quality, and attendance
Hall-Kenyon, Kendra M., 01/01/2009

This research investigated the influence of full-day and half-day kindergarten on instructional quality and academic achievement with specific attention to linguistically diverse students and children’s attendance patterns. Ninety-six students from two schools in Utah in full and half-day kindergartens were observed. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected using the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS); the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test III (PPVT-III); and semi-structured interviews with teachers and administrators. This study found no difference in quality of instruction in full and half-day kindergarten. However, data revealed that students in full-day programs had greater academic gains in literacy than in mathematics. Additionally, full-day programs positively influenced language development among English Language Learners (ELL) more than their English-speaking peers.

What are the benefits of school-based integration of services?

The case for school-based integration of services: Changing the ways students, families and communities engage with their schools
Grossman, Jean Baldwin, 01/01/2009
Philadelphia: Public/Private Ventures. Retrieved March 18, 2009, from http://www.ppv.org/ppv/publications/assets/267_publication.pdf

This review outlines what is known about the impacts of individual school-based services (e.g., health services, out-of-school time activities, and family supports) on child and family outcomes, and proposes a for offering integrated services. The authors define complementary learning experiences as those that occur in multiple contexts and settings through the coordination of existing school services with nonschool and community resources. They note that services should not only be coordinated, but also co-located. Research on co-locating services for children and families within the school setting has suggested positive impacts on youth and family access, involvement, feelings of connection, and children’s academic and behavioral outcomes. However, in their review of the literature, the authors found no examples of broad-based integrated school-based services that co-locate health care, out-of-school time activities and family support programs. Instead, most of the research has focused on the co-location of only one or two types of services. Although these initiatives have shown positive impacts, the authors suggest that providing integrated services across all areas would have a much greater impact on children and families, and that this might ultimately protect disadvantaged youth from experiencing negative outcomes.

Do multiple child-care arrangements affect children's behavioral outcomes?

Multiple child-care arrangements and young children's behavioral outcomes
Morrissey, Taryn, 01/01/2009

This study examined the association between changes in the number of concurrent nonparental child care arrangements and changes in children's behavioral outcomes at ages 2 and 3. The study was based on longitudinal data from the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development. Previous research has indicated that child care instability has negative impacts on children's social adjustment. However, much of the previous research has not distinguished between the impact of long-term child care instability and multiple concurrent arrangements. This study found that increases in the number of arrangements were related to increases in children's behavior problems and decreases in prosocial behaviors. Additionally child gender was found to moderate this relationship; an increase in number of arrangements was associated with an increase in disruptive behaviors among s.

Do child gender and ethnicity moderate teacher-child relationship quality and children's behavioral adjustment in preschool?

The role of child gender and ethnicity in teacher-child relationship quality and children’s behavioral adjustment in preschool
Ewing, Allison R., 01/01/2009

This study examined the role of child gender, child ethnicity, and teacher-child ethnic match in moderating the link between teacher-child relationship quality (closeness, conflict, and dependency) and children's classroom behavioral adjustment. The study was based on a sample of 301 children enrolled in Head Start classrooms in Southern Arizona and Northern California and 25 lead teachers. Results of the study indicated that teacher-child closeness was more strongly associated with positive behavioral adjustment for s as compared to boys. Secondly, teacher-child conflict was found to be a stronger predictor of hostile-aggressive behavior for boys than s. In terms of ethnicity and teacher-child ethnic match the study found that closeness, conflict, and dependency in the teacher-child relationship had similar effects on Non-Hispanic White and Mexican-origin children's behavioral adjustment. Additionally, teacher-child ethnic match did not moderate these effects.

Is caregiver's stress related to the quality of their caregiving?

Cortisol levels of caregivers in child care centers as related to the quality of their caregiving
de Schipper, Elles J., 01/01/2009

This study examines whether caregiver stress, as measured by salivary cortisal levels, is related to the quality of caregiving. The study also explores whether caregiver stress mediates the impact of two predictors of caregiving behavior: (a) higher physical workload and, (b) a higher number of children under age two in the child care group, and caregiving quality. The study included 221 female caregivers from the Netherlands who were visited in their classrooms by trained researchers. Researchers took three saliva samples during the course of a morning and videotaped 3 sessions with the caregiver – two while the caregiver was engaged in structured play with a small group and one during unstructured interactions with the whole class during lunch. The videos were coded for caregiver-child interactions and the caregivers' behavior throughout the morning was rated during live observations. Saliva samples were assessed for cortisol levels. Data analysis revealed that higher cortisol levels predicted lower quality caregiving. However, higher cortisol levels did not mediate the relation between the two predictors (higher physical workload and more children under age two) and lower-quality caregiving. Researchers suggest the need for more research on what causes higher cortisol levels, and their relationship to caregiving quality.

Report of the National Early Literacy Panel: What early skills and interventions lead to better reading, writing, or spelling outcomes?

Developing early literacy: Report of the National Early Literacy Panel: A scientific synthesis of early literacy development and implications for intervention
National Center for Family Literacy, 01/01/2008
Washington, DC: National Institute for Literacy. Retrieved December 10, 2012, from http://lincs.ed.gov/publications/pdf/NELPReport09.pdf

The National Early Literacy Panel (experts in literacy and early childhood education appointed by the National Center for Family Literacy and supported by the National Institute for Literacy), set out in 2002 "to identify interventions, parenting activities, and instructional practices that promote the development of children's early literacy skills." Based on a meta-analysis of 500 published research articles, the NELP report identifies six early literacy skills strongly correlated with later literacy: alphabet knowledge, phonological awareness (i.e. detection, manipulation, or analysis of auditory aspects of spoken language), rapid automatic naming of letters or digits, rapid automatic naming of objects or colors, writing or writing name, and phonological memory. Five additional skills found to be more moderately correlated with later literacy include: concepts about print, print knowledge, reading readiness, oral language, and visual processing. The panel found a range of interventions effective in imparting various patterns of these skills--teaching how to crack the alpabetic code, shared reading, parent and home programs, preschool and kindergarten programs, and language-enhancement interventions. Insufficient data in the studies prevented conclusive analyses of the impact of race or socioeconomic status on the effectiveness of various interventions. The panel also notes that many of the most effective instructional strategies were carried out by researchers or their agents, not by typical early childhood teachers. The panel recommends that future research address these limitations, as well as make greater use of experimental designs.

2007 Child Care Licensing Study: What are the latest state data available on child care licensing?

The 2007 Child Care Licensing Study: Final report
National Child Care Information Center (U.S.), 02/01/2009
Lexington, KY: National Association for Regulatory Administration. Retrieved September 12, 2012, from http://www.naralicensing.org/2007_Licensing_Study

A report produced by the National Child Care Information and Technical Assistance Center (NCCIC) and the National Association for Regulatory Administration (NARA) provides a compilation of 2007 data from all 50 states on child care licensing programs and policies, and the regulation for child care centers, small family child care (FCC) homes, and large/group FCC homes. Data was gleaned from a survey distributed to all state child care licensing agencies and follow-up questions to clarify states’ responses were posed. This four-part report presents a national summary and an overview of data collected along with 50-State Data Tables and State Profiles. This report serves as a reference for researchers and suggests that more research is needed to examine the most reliable policies, procedures and regulations that will protect children.

What does it cost to operate high quality Out of School Time programs?

The cost of quality out-of-school time programs
Grossman, Jean Baldwin, 01/01/2009
Philadelphia: Public/Private Ventures. Retrieved February 6, 2009, from http://www.ppv.org/ppv/publications/assets/271_publication.pdf

To understand the costs of operating quality Out of School Time (OST) programs, the report presents data from 111 OST programs in six cities. Only established programs, with high capacity, high participation, appropriate staff/youth ratios, and other research-based structural characteristics associated with quality are included. Ranges of costs per slot are calculated for programs serving elementary and middle school children and for programs serving teens; for school-year and summer programs; and by day and hour. Including costs both for out-of-pocket expenses and in-kind contributions, the ranges reflect variations in program focus and other characteristics, including geographic location. An on-line calculator enables policymakers and program operators to estimate costs for various program types in their cities

Do social-emotional difficulties in early childhood predict the development of later depressive symptoms?

Social-emotional problems in early childhood and the development of depressive symptoms in school-age children
Meagher, Susan, 01/01/2009

This longitudinal study examines whether various social-emotional difficulties in early childhood predict the development of depressive symptoms in later childhood. The study also explores gender differences in the development of depressive symptoms. Participants included 56 children and their preschool teachers from seven childcare centers. Teachers reported on children’s internalizing and externalizing behaviors, and classroom videotapes were used to measure children’s displays of negative affect. In follow-up assessments three and-a-half years later, children completed a self-report measure of depressive symptoms. Results showed that teacher-reported internalizing behaviors, broadband externalizing behaviors, and aggressive behaviors did not predict later depressive symptoms. In contrast, atypical behaviors and social problems were predictive of later depressive symptoms for boys and girls. However, observed levels of negative affect during preschool and delinquent behavior were stronger predictors for girls than boys. Researchers suggest that the gender differences may be due to differences in socialization such that girls may face greater social consequences for delinquent behavior than boys. These findings highlight the important role of teachers and classroom observation in the early identification of children at risk for developing psychopathology.

How do racial-ethnic differences in family structure and parenting practices impact on child outcomes?

Ethnic variation in the association between family structures and practices on child outcomes at 36 months: Results from Early Head Start
Iruka, Iheoma U., 01/01/2009

Based on data from the Early Head Start Research and Evaluation (EHSRE) project, this study examined racial-ethnic differences in family organization and home life and how these related to children’s receptive language, cognitive development, and problem behaviors at 36 months of age. Additionally, the study examined whether this relation varied by race/ethnicity among poor families and their children. Findings suggest that racial-ethnic based differences in family structure, parenting practices, and the quality of the home environment did not translate into differences in children’s developmental outcomes, except for variations in mother’s employment status or use of nonmaternal childcare, which was related to more problem behaviors among Hispanic and White children when compared to their Black peers. In all groups, regardless of race-ethnicity, higher developmental outcomes were associated with sensitive, responsive parenting and a cognitively stimulating home environment.

What is the relationship between affiliation with a staffed network and quality of family child care?

Staffed support networks and quality in family child care: Findings from the Family Child Care Network Impact Study: Executive summary
Bromer, Juliet, 12/01/2008
Chicago: Herr Research Center. Retrieved February 13, 2009, from http://www.erikson.edu/downloads/cmsFile.ashx?VersionID=3521&PropertyID=78

This study examines the relationship between affiliation with a staffed network and quality of family child care (FCC) among affiliated providers in Chicago. Staffed networks are defined as programs that provide services and support to FCC providers affiliated with the network. The study included 150 licensed FCC providers including affiliated providers, unaffiliated providers, and a third group of providers affiliated with a provider-led association. The study finds that FCC providers affiliated with a staffed network have significantly higher quality scores than unaffiliated providers. More specifically the study found that providers in networks with specially trained coordinators--a coordinator who participated in a customized post-baccalaureate certificate program in infant studies--had higher quality scores than providers affiliated with associations. Additionally the study finds that networks that facilitate regular and supportive communication with providers through meetings, telephone help and opportunities to give feedback have a greater effect on the quality of care than networks that lack these methods of interaction. Lastly, the study finds that services such as referrals to external trainings, free materials, peer mentoring and business help do not have a significant relationship to quality. A policy brief titled The Family Child Care Network Impact Study: Promising Strategies for Improving Family Child Care Quality is also available and offers a series of recommendation for governments and stakeholders to improve the quality in family child care sites through investment in staffed networks of providers.

Can early childhood mental health consultations assist children and families that demonstrate behavioral problems?

A pilot study of early childhood mental health consultation for children with behavioral problems in preschool
Upshur, Carole C., 01/01/2009

This research examines the mental health consultation pilot project Together for Kids (TFK) which combines a program-focused consultation for individual children with family-focused therapeutic services. The study observed 136 children with externalizing behavior problems along with teachers and families associated with four urban community child care centers and one Head Start program serving children ages three to five years old in Massachusetts. Results from this study suggest the TFK project is a valuable intervention approach for preschool children that demonstrate clinically significant behavioral issues. Total hours of individual care showed a positive relationship with child behavior. Additionally, findings suggest the TFK project assisted in decreasing the rate of children suspended or expelled from child care programs.

What are the characteristics of children, teachers, and classrooms in Chicago's publicly supported preschool programs?

The Chicago Program Evaluation Project: A picture of early childhood programs, teachers, and preschool-age children in Chicago: Final external report
Ross, Christine, 12/01/2008
Princeton, NJ: Mathematica Policy Research. Retrieved February 13, 2009, from http://www.mathematica-mpr.com/publications/PDFs/early%20childhood/chicagoearlychildhood08.pdf

This study examines a representative sample of 711 four-year-olds and 95 classrooms and teaching staff in three types of publicly supported early childhood programs in Chicago during the 2006-2007 school year. Programs include half-day, school-year prekindergartens in Chicago Pubic Schools (CPS); half-day, school-year Head Starts in CPS and community-based organizations; and full-day, full-year programs in community-based organizations, funded by Head Start in combination with the Child Care and Development Fund. Among the children (with some variation by program type), the study found high proportions of English Language Learners (ELL), high levels of family demographic risk, and below average levels of vocabulary and math achievement at the start of the program year. Teachers were generally well-educated and satisfied with their careers. Consistent with Head Start and prekindergarten programs nationally, classrooms exhibited high to middle levels of emotional support and provisions for learning and middle to low levels of instructional support. Higher levels of instructional support were associated with higher levels of teacher education, though not with more hours of professional development. Children at highest academic risk made fall-to-spring gains in vocabulary, early literacy, and math--with ELL children showing the largest average gains. Gains, however, were not large enough to bring the children up to national averages. The extent of children’s gains was not associated with higher levels of emotional and instructional support, pointing to the importance of family and other influences related to children's progress unmeasured by the study.

What do we know about early brain development and what are the policy implications?

Connecting neurons, concepts, and people: Brain development and its implications
Thompson, Ross A., 12/01/2008
(Preschool Policy Brief Issue 17). New Brunswick, NJ: National Institute for Early Education Research. Retrieved February 6, 2009, from http://nieer.org/resources/policybriefs/17.pdf

This paper provides a synthesis of the research on early neurobiological development and suggests various policy recommendations. While the study of human brain development is still in its infancy, several new technologies are allowing for more direct examination of brain functioning than older approaches. The main principles of early brain development as highlighted in the paper are: the most significant changes in brain architecture occur prenatally; brain development is life-long, cumulative, and integrated; critical periods are exceptional not typical; the brain incorporates experience into its developing architecture and thus chronic stress in early childhood can be incorporated into the developing architecture of the brain and result in long-term negative consequences; the developing brain is an active organ that grows through its own activity; and developmental neuroscience provides greater insight into the hazards to avoid than opportunities for enrichment. The policy recommendations outlined in the paper include: government and business should support prenatal and well-child health care, good nutrition and efforts to eliminate children’s exposure to harmful toxins; early prevention is better and less costly than later treatment so health care services and preschools should ensure early screenings and services; sensitive interactions with engaged adults do more to promote brain development than any toy, CD or DVD; preschools should encourage child-oriented discovery over adult-directed instruction; since social-emotional and cognitive development are intertwined preschool programs should focus on both; and given that exposure to chronic early stress can be harmful, mental health experts should help preschool staff learn to identify problems and refer children and families to services as needed.

Does age of onset and/or persistence of language difficulties impact young children’s school readiness?

School readiness among children with varying histories of language difficulties
Justice, Laura M., 03/01/2009

This secondary analysis of longitudinal data examines whether (a) persistent language problems during childhood predict lower school readiness, and (b) the timing of language problems predict lower school readiness beyond any effects of persistence. Children’s expressive and receptive language abilities were assessed at 15, 24, 36, and 54 months of age by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development’s Early Child Care Research Network . A total of 1,064 children were assessed. Based on their scores, children were identified at each time point as either having language difficulties or not. Researchers tested whether three predictors: persistence of language difficulties, expressive language difficulty at school entry, and receptive language difficulty at school entry were associated with children’s school readiness skills (i.e., academic skills, social skills, and behavioral problems). Results suggested that persistence of language difficulty was not significantly associated with children’s competencies in kindergarten. However, the timing of language difficulties was a significant predictor of school readiness such that children who had language difficulties at 54 months had lower academic, social, and behavioral skills than other children. Although the timing of both types of language difficulties were significant predictors, the timing of receptive language difficulties was a stronger predictor than expressive language difficulties for five out of six outcomes. Researchers suggest that children’s language abilities right before kindergarten entry are key predictors of their school readiness, and that it is important to identify children who may need additional support.

What are parents' patterns of priority in child care decision-making?

Profiles of choice: Parents’ patterns of priority in child care decision-making
Kim, Jinseok, 01/01/2009

Data from the National Household Education Survey of Early Childhood was used to examine parental priorities in selecting child care. Parents’ importance ratings of seven choice factors (i.e., location; cost; reliability; learning activities; spending time with other children; operation hours; and number of other children) were analyzed using latent class analysis. Findings revealed class 1 (35%) thought all seven choice factors were very important; class 2 (18%) considered practical factors to be the most important; class 3 (9%) did not rate any of the factors as very important; and class 4 (37%) emphasized learning and quality factors as highly important. After controlling for socio-demographic factors, those who rated learning factors as very important tended to select center-based care, while those who prioritized practical factors tended to select home-based care.

Can the Pre-K Mathematics curriculum encourage math knowledge among Head Start and state-funded preschoolers?

Effects of a pre-kindergarten mathematics intervention: A randomized experiment
Klein, Alice, 01/01/2008

This randomized controlled study measured the impact of the curriculum Pre-K Mathematics on children’s early math knowledge. Researchers observed 278 economically disadvantaged children from Head Start and state-funded preschools in California and New York. Two sets of measures were implemented: the Parent and Home Environment Measures and the Teacher Practice and Classroom Measures. This study found that economically disadvantaged children demonstrated significant gains in mathematical knowledge when teachers utilized the Pre-K Mathematics curriculum.

Does Oklahoma’s Pre-K Program benefit Hispanic students?

The effects of Oklahoma’s pre-K program on Hispanic children
Gormley, Jr., William T., 12/01/2008

The objective of this study was to determine to what extent Hispanic students benefit from a high-quality pre-K program, and which Hispanic students benefit the most. Hispanic students in Tulsa, Oklahoma were tested in August 2006 prior to the start of the school year. Oklohoma offers a high-quality universal pre-K program that reaches 70 percent of four-year-olds in the state. The study found that Hispanic students experienced substantial improvements in prereading, prewriting, and premath skills. Additionally, Hispanic students who spoke Spanish at home or whose parents were born in Mexico benefited the most.

Does the Family Check-Up increase parents’ positive behavioral support and children’s school readiness competencies in early childhood?

Collateral benefits of the Family Check-Up on early childhood school readiness: Indirect effects of parents’ positive behavior suppor
Lunkenheimer, Erika S., 11/01/2008

This longitudinal intervention study examines the effects of the Family Check-Up (FCU) on parents’ positive behavior support and children’s school readiness competencies. High-risk families enrolled in the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Nutrition Program (N = 731) were randomly assigned to either a control group or an intervention group. Parents in both groups participated in three 2.5 hour home-visits when children were 2, 3, and 4 years-old to assess parents’ positive behavior support and children’s language skills and inhibitory control. The intervention group also received the FCU, a three-session intervention during which therapists support parents’ parenting practices and connect them with additional parent training services. To test the effects of the Family Check-Up on parents’ positive behavior support and child outcomes, the authors performed longitudinal structural equation modeling. Results revealed that families in the intervention group showed improvements in positive behavior support from children aged 2 to 3, which lead to gains in children’s inhibitory control and language development from age 3 to 4. These findings suggest that parents’ positive behavior support can be impacted by a brief intervention, which can lead to benefits for children. However, the authors caution that effect sizes were small to modest. They call for further refinement of the FCU intervention to specifically target parenting behaviors known to be associated with children’s school readiness skills.

What characteristics do parents value in non-parental child care arrangements?

Parental perceptions of characteristics of non-parental child care: Belief dimensions, family and child correlates
Gamble, Wendy C., 02/01/2009

This study surveyed 220 respondents with children in non-parental care to determine what parents value in terms of characteristics of non-parental child care arrangements. Parents were asked to indicate which child care characteristics from a list, were important to them and whether these qualities affected their decision to enroll their child. Results were analyzed and six factors were identified as influencing decisions: practical concerns, institutional structure, curriculum, scheduling, child centered orientation, and school readiness. Those parents who judged their children to have a more difficult temperament were less likely to value school readiness or curriculum options, while parents who judged their children to be more developmentally advanced emphasized school readiness and curriculum options as more important. The authors conclude that parents have a more coherent and deeper view of important child care characteristics than previously thought and that in addition to economic and safety features, parents are concerned about their children’s developmental needs and school readiness.

Is there consensus regarding certification requirements for early childhood special educators?

State certification requirements for early childhood special educators
Stayton, Vicki, 01/01/2009

Based on interviews with state administrators overseeing the provision of early intervention services to children with special needs, as well as on analyses of state certification requirements as described on states’ websites, this study found that there is little consensus among states regarding the certification requirements for early childhood special educators (ECSE). While four-fifths of the states demand some type of certification in this area, requirements vary in terms of: the age range covered, with some states not even including the early childhood years; the type of certification model followed and corresponding training; the availability of multiple routes to certification; and the extent to which standards are included as content base for certification. Findings suggest limited adherence to recommendations of professional associations. Participants indicated that certification requirements are developed and revised in response to changes in the field, community needs, and legislative mandates through a process that is often cumbersome and slow and which may not fully include key stakeholders with expertise in early childhood special education.

What were the third year evaluation outcomes of the Palm County, Florida Early Childhood Cluster Initiative?

Getting ready for school: The Early Childhood Cluster Initiative of Palm Beach County, Florida: Program implementation and early outcomes: Year 3 report
Spielberger, Julie, 01/01/2009
Chicago: University of Chicago, Chapin Hall Center for Children. Retrieved February 18, 2010, from http://www.chapinhall.org/sites/default/files/year%203%20final%20report.pdf

This is the third year report of the Early Childhood Cluster Initiative (ECCI), a high-quality preschool education program for low-income children in Palm Beach County, Florida. The Chapin Hall evaluation consisted of surveys (of parents, teachers, and principals), program observations, child assessments, school administrative records, and program documents. The evaluation found that program quality was highest in its third year particularly in the area of adult-child interactions; program staff & teachers felt positively about the program and its effect on children; parent's ratings of their children's readiness for school were positively rated to their level of participation in the program; and finally, school readiness data (using the FLKRS) for the second cohort of ECCI graduates indicated that 91 percent were "ready" for kindergarten.

How do eligible recipients and non-recipients of child care subsidies differ?

Who are the eligible non-recipients of child care subsidies?
Herbst, Chris M., 09/01/2008

Data from the 2002 National Survey of American Families was used to compare eligible recipients and eligible non-recipients of child care subsidies. The study found that families with younger children and families receiving welfare benefits were more likely to receive subsidies. Low parental awareness of subsidies, difficulty navigating the subsidy system, and state rationing (setting eligibility priorities) were the primary reasons for low child care subsidy use among eligible families.

How do child and classroom characteristics influence the development of a child’s social competence?

Entering a new peer group in ethnically and linguistically diverse childcare classrooms
Howes, Carollee, 11/01/2008

This study examines the potential influence of child and classroom characteristics on the development of peer social competence among 170 ethnically diverse children. Thirty-eight different classrooms were observed in programs that generally serve low-income children in a large, urban, ethnically, and racially diverse city. The children were observed twice with their peers and teachers; once at the start of their classroom experience and six months later. The average age of the children was 35.4 months at time of entry. After six months the study found that, both students who did not have classroom contact with peers of the same ethnic heritage, and those who spoke a different language at home than the dominant language used in the classroom, generally struggled with peer interaction.

Do out-of-school time programs improve school engagement?

Assessing school engagement: A guide for out-of-school time program practitioners
Lippman, Laura, 10/01/2008
(Publication No. 2008-39). Washington, DC: Child Trends. Retrieved December 31, 2008, from http://www.childtrends.org/Files//Child_Trends-2008_10_29_RB_SchoolEngage.pdf

This brief summarizes research on the effect of out-of-school time programs on school engagement. School engagement is defined as: involvement in academic and learning tasks; relationships with teachers, peers and academics; and an investment in learning. Research shows that school engagement improves students’ academic performance, promotes school attendance, and inhibits risky youth behaviors. Additionally, students are more likely to be engaged if they have challenging and interesting tasks, adequate structure, support from adults at their school, opportunities for active learning and learning with peers, and support for autonomy. The research shows that children who regularly attend high-quality after-school programs are more likely to be engaged in school and are attentive in class compared to those who do not attend such programs. This effect was found to be especially strong for students from low-income families. Lastly, in terms of assessing engagement in school, the authors suggest that out-of-school time programs may want to utilize established student self-report measures to help identify youth who are not engaged in school in order to tailor services. The report goes on to highlight several specific measures of school engagement.

How do early childhood mental health consultations influence the ability of staff to manage difficult behavior in early childhood settings?

The evidence base for mental health consultation in early childhood settings: Research synthesis addressing staff and program outcomes
Brennan, Eileen M., 11/01/2008

This article explores early childhood mental health consultations for center staff and the impact on program-level outcomes. Through an examination of 26 recent studies in published and unpublished research, the authors found that mental health consultations can assist in building staff capacity to address children’s difficult behavior. Moreover, consultations may: improve the ability of staff to promote social and emotional development in the classroom; increase teacher self-efficacy; and reduce staff stress and turnover. Mixed findings among the studies suggest an unclear relationship between improving the overall quality of the childcare environment and mental health consultations.

What challenges did grantees of the 2006 Head Start Oral Health Initiative encounter during programming?

Strategies for promoting prevention and improving oral health care delivery in Head Start: Findings from the Oral Health Initiative evaluation: Vol I. Final technical report
United States. Administration for Children and Families. Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, 10/01/2008
Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved December 12, 2008, from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre/hs/eval_oral_health/reports/lessons_vol1/lessons_vol1.pdf

The Office of Head Start, Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. and Altarum conducted a two-year evaluation of the implementation of the 2006 Head Start Oral Health Initiative (OHI). This report examines the implementation strategies and challenges encountered by Head Start programs that received funding for OHI. Data sources used for the evaluations include telephone interviews with program directors and staff, a record-keeping system that noted characteristics of beneficiaries, and site visits. Findings indicated that: implementing the program required more staff than planned; one-quarter of children enrolled were infants and toddlers and the remaining were preschoolers; and local partnerships with dental providers increased access to oral health care for children and families.

Which instruments are most appropriate to measure the quality of mathematics teaching in early childhood?

An analysis of instruments that measure the quality of mathematics teaching in early childhood
Kilday, Carolyn R., 02/01/2009

This analysis reviews nine instruments designed to measure mathematics teaching quality. Each instrument is described and evaluated based on its theoretical basis, foci, psychometrics, and appropriateness for administration in early childhood settings. To identify measures, a literature search was conducted and published research on quality teaching and mathematics knowledge was reviewed. Additionally, recommendations were sought from experts in the field. With some exceptions, the authors note an absence of theoretical bases or clear explanations of goals of the measures. The measures, although sharing a common goal, measure different constructs. Some measures focus on the design and implementation of math content, while others assess correctness of mathematics content and interactions between teachers and students. The instruments vary in the time, personnel, and training required for use. Finally, psychometric information is not available for many of the measures, however those that do include documentation of psychometric properties show good predictive validity and high inter-rater reliability estimates. Based on their review, the authors recommend three instruments for use in early childhood settings: the Classroom Observation of Early Mathematics – Environment and Teaching (COEMET), the Reformed Teaching Observation Protocol (RTOP), and the Inside the Classroom Observation Protocol. The authors note a lack of measures designed specifically to assess the quality of mathematics teaching in pre-kindergarten, and recommend instrument development in this area.

How can computer programs promote emergent literacy?

Using Clicker 5 to enhance emergent literacy in young learners
Parette, Howard P., 02/01/2009

This paper cites the small, but growing, literature that supports the use of computer-based technologies to help develop emergent literacy skills in young learners, particularly those with disabilities. It describes "grid writing" software programs which present students with a "point and click learning scaffold" from which they choose words or pictures from a limited number of possibilities on the screen. These programs support the concurrent and interrelated acquisition of reading and writing skills as literacy emerges. The paper then focuses on one such program, Clicker 5, used in over 90% of the schools in the United Kingdom and increasingly in the U.S., describing its use in promoting phonemic awareness, word recognition, print concepts, alphabetic principles, and comprehension.

What types of conflict resolution interventions are being conducted at the early education level?

Introduction to the special issue: Conflict resolution
Harkins, Debra A., 11/01/2008

This introduction to a special issue on ‘Conflict Resolution’ presents a brief summary of the four articles included in the issue. The first study titled “Conflict in the Classroom: Gender Difference in the Teacher-Child Relationship” explores the social dynamics between teachers and young students in the classroom in an upper socioeconomic community. The second study, “Safe Kindergarten: Promotion of Communication and Social Skills Among Kindergartners”, examines a conflict resolution program being evaluated for use with young children. The third article titled “Emerging Empowerment: Conflict Resolution Intervention and Preschool Teachers’ Reports of Conflict Behavior” focuses on community-based intervention of conflict resolution strategies with teachers. The final paper, “Shifting Spaces and Emerging Voices: Participation, Support, and Conflict in One School Administrative Team”, studied community-based interventions with school directors. The first two papers suggest that the potential for violence in our culture is pervasive in all settings and that interventions with young children are necessary and the last two articles demonstrate the vital role of teachers and administrators in addressing the systemic issue of conflict resolution in schools.

How reliable and valid are language, literacy, and math ratings based on the Work Sampling for Head Start checklist?

Assessing language, literacy, and mathematics skills with Work Sampling for Head Start
Meisels, Samuel J., 11/01/2008

The first research on use of the Work Sampling System (WSS) with preschoolers, this study examines the reliability and validity of the language, literacy, and mathematics sub-scales of Work Sampling for Head Start (WSHS), a modification of the WSS checklist. WSS is a curriculum-embedded teacher observation conducted to inform instructional decisions. It is used extensively in Head Start and for preschool assessments by several states. This study was conducted with 112 English speaking, 3- and 4-year-old children in 16 Head Start and other preschool classrooms participating in Early Learning First in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Analyses found high internal consistency within the three sub-scales. They also found moderate correlation between children's WSHS ratings and results for the Tests of Early Reading and Early Mathematics Ability--Third Editions, associations that held up after controlling for sex, age, race/ethnicity, and SES. Thus, WSS and similar low-stakes assessments built on teacher observations can provide valuable and accurate information.

What are the effects of all-day kindergarten on children’s academic performance?

Is all-day kindergarten better for children's academic performance?: Evidence from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study
Chang, Mido, 12/01/2008

This study examined the long-term effects of all-day kindergarten programs on children’s academic performance in reading and mathematics using three waves of data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study (ECLS). The study further examined whether the effects varied as a result of teacher curricular activities relating to reading and mathematics. The study found that children in all-day kindergarten programs demonstrated higher scores and higher growth rates in both reading and mathematics compared to children attending half-day kindergarten programs. Additionally, the study found that teachers in all-day kindergarten programs offered the children more activities related to reading and mathematics. However, the findings indicated that while the more frequent reading activities in all-day kindergarten were directly related to students’ high reading performance the more frequent math activities were not associated with high math scores. The authors acknowledge that in considering these findings it is important to note that since this is not an experimental study, the direct causal-effect link between the kindergarten program and student achievement levels should not be inferred. The authors call for more studies focusing on ethnic, cultural and home backgrounds of children when considering the effect of kindergarten program type. Lastly, they note that the quality of all-day kindergarten programs should be considered in future studies.

What are the 2007 patterns of participation in the Child Care and Development Block Grant?

Child Care and Development Block Grant participation in 2007
Matthews, Hannah, 11/01/2008
Washington, DC: Center for Law and Social Policy. Retrieved December 10, 2008, from http://www.clasp.org/publications/ccdbgparticipation_2007.pdf

According to the Center for Law and Social Policy's (CLASP) analysis of the preliminary 2007 Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) administrative data, the number of children receiving CCDBG assistance increased in 2007; more than half of children were cared for in center-based care; age groups served remained consistent (children ages 0-5 comprised 65% of children served); 83% of children received assistance through vouchers; and most families receiving CCDBG were low-income, working families who made co-payments. For further information on infants and toddlers served through the CCDBG see CLASP's additional brief Infants and toddlers in the Child Care and Development Block Grant program: 2007 update

What assessment tools can be used across countries to measure students' knowledge prior to school entry?

Measuring what students entering school know and can do: PIPS Australia 2006-2007
Wildy, Helen, 12/01/2008

This paper discusses findings from a multi-country study that firstly, examined the reliability of the Performance Indicators in Primary Schools Baseline Assessment (PIPS-BLA) and secondly, evaluated student’s level of knowledge prior to starting formal schooling. PIPS-BLA assessment was administered to 1000 students in England, Scotland, New Zealand, and Australia in their first weeks of schooling one-year prior to their enrollment in formal schooling. This instrument evaluated reading, mathematics, and vocabulary performance of students and findings suggest the PIPS-BLA assessment is a reliable instrument. The study found developmental trends to be similar; however, data suggests Scotland students outperformed in vocabulary; and girls outperformed boys in reading and vocabulary.

What are the federal Reading First program's impacts on classroom instruction and reading achievement?

Reading First impact study: Final report
Gamse, Beth, 11/01/2008
(NCEE 2009-4038). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance. Retrieved December 3, 2008, from http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/pdf/20094038.pdf

This congressionally mandated study evaluated Reading First, a $1 billion a year federal initiative to help all children read at or above grade level by the end of the third grade. Using a quasi-experimental design, the evaluation assessed Reading First's impact on student reading achievement and classroom instruction across three school years in 248 schools in 13 states. The study found positive, statistically significant impacts on the amount of instruction time spent on phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehesion, as well as on professional development in scientifically based reading instruction and other practices promoted by Reading First. Like the intermin report, however, the final report found no statistically significant impacts on student reading comprehension--as measured by the Reading Comprehension subtest from the Sanford Achievement Test 10--in grades one, two, or three. In one school year, Reading First did produce a positive, significant impact on decoding among first graders. Exploratory analyses did not yield systematic insights into factors that could account for these findings.

How can students' social-emotional school readiness be improved in Head Start classrooms?

Promoting academic and social-emotional school readiness: The Head Start REDI program
Bierman, Karen L., 11/01/2008

This article reports on child outcomes of a one-year enriched intervention program that tracked 356 four-year old children using multimethod assessments (randomized-controlled design with multi-informant, multimethod measurement). Forty-four Head Start classrooms in Pennsylvania were either, randomly assigned to an enriched intervention strategy using the Head Start REDI intervention targets, or, experienced normal classroom conditions. This study found children in the enriched intervention classrooms demonstrated greater gains in vocabulary, emergent literacy, emotional understanding, social problem solving, social behavior, and learning engagement compared to those in the non-enriched classrooms. Based on these findings, the authors argue that integrating current curricula with research-based curriculum materials and teaching strategies can improve children’s social-emotional school readiness.

What can be done to improve preschool and kindergarten mathematics education?

Mathematics education for young children: What it is and how to promote it
Ginsburg, Herbert P., 01/01/2008

This policy report examines preschool and kindergarten mathematics education by specifically exploring three topics: young children’s mathematics ability; content and components of mathematics education; and teacher readiness. The report suggests that learning mathematics occurs regardless of direct assistance and is developmentally appropriate for young children. Mathematics content taught in early education was found to vary on a wide spectrum and components range from play to organized curriculum. Additionally, the authors found teachers’ training in early mathematics education is inadequate and they conclude by arguing for the improvement of training of both pre-service and in-service teachers. The report provides additional policy recommendations for improving mathematics education for young children.

Do teacher-child relationships influence changes in children’s cortisol levels?

Children's cortisol and the quality of teacher-child relationships in child care
Lisonbee, Jared A., 11/01/2008

This study examined cortisol changes in a sample of 191 four year-olds from a selection of twelve child care centers in two communities in Southeastern United States. The children's saliva was tested in the mornings and afternoons on two days at child care, and before and after a teacher-child interaction session outside the classroom. The study found associations between teacher child relationships and children’s physiological functioning. Specifically, reports of teacher-child relationship conflict were related to cortisol increases during a teacher-child interaction session, and teacher reports of child overdependence predicted increases in cortisol levels across the child-care day.

Are preschool-aged children engaging in adequate levels of physical activity?

The physical activity levels of preschool-aged children: A systematic review
Tucker, Patricia, 10/01/2008

This paper summarizes findings from a systematic review of research on the physical activity levels of preschool children, aged 2-6 years. A total of thirty-nine studies from seven countries were reviewed. The countries included in the review were the United States, Scotland, Australia, Chile, Finland, Belgium and Estonia. While the current recommendation by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) is that preschoolers engage in at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day, the author found that only 54% of the participants in the studies reviewed achieved this. Further, preschool boys were found to be more physically active than preschool girls. The author notes that a limitation to the review was the lack of a uniform assessment method for physical activity levels as not all the studies used the NASPE guidelines to define physical activity. The author concludes that interventions that support and promote physical activity for preschoolers are necessary, particularly for preschool girls, and that there is a need for a more unified measure of activity levels.

What is the influence of race/ethnicity on the type of child care selected and the age a child first enters non-parental care?

Race/ethnicity and the start of child care: A multi-level analysis of factors influencing first child care experiences
Fram, Maryah Stella, 10/01/2008

Using retrospective data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten Cohort (ECLS-K), U.S. Census data, and a regional California market rate survey, this study conducted a series of multi-level discrete time hazard models to explain the timing and type of child care chosen among a cohort of California families. Possible race/ethnicity patterns in child-care decision making at the individual and neighborhood levels were explored. The study found Hispanic mothers, those with more siblings, and those in households where a non-English language is spoken tended to start child care later; and children in higher income homes and those whose parents have higher prestige jobs tend to start child care earlier. At the same time, on an individual level, the delay in start of care for Hispanic children is mediated by household socioeconomic characteristics. On a neighborhood level however, parents who lived in census tracts with higher proportions of Hispanic households on average began care at a later age, even after accounting for individual attributes.

Do children experience changes in the quality of their non-maternal child care arrangements over their first few years?

The ups and downs of child care: Variations in child care quality and exposure across the early years
Hynes, Kathryn, 10/01/2008

Using data from the NICHD Study of Early Child Care, this study examined patterns of child care quality and family demographic and socioeconomic characteristics across children's changing child care arrangements within their first few years. Results showed that few children experienced continuous high levels of quality or continuous low levels of quality. Rather, children experienced varying levels of quality. Children from low-socioeconomic levels tended to experience more low-quality care, but children who were not poor experienced both low-quality and high-quality care.

Can a web-based professional development system improve the quality of teacher-child interactions in pre-kindergarten classrooms?

Effects of web-mediated professional development resources on teacher-child interactions in pre-kindergarten classrooms
Pianta, Robert C., 10/01/2008

This study examines the impact of a web-based system of professional development in improving teacher-child interactions. A sample of 113 teachers from state-funded pre-kindergarten programs were assigned to either the My Teaching Partner Consultation condition or the Web Only condition. All teachers participated in a training workshop and had access to web-based versions of the My Teaching Partner-Language and Literacy Curriculum and the Preschool PATHS-Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies social emotional curriculum. In addition, teachers in the Web Only condition had access to video-clip exemplars of high-quality interactions. Alternatively, teachers in the Consultation condition received support, over the course of a year, from a consultant. Consultants provided individualized feedback on teacher-submitted videos of their implementation of instructional activities. Feedback explicitly focused on teacher-child interactions and the children’s cues and responses. Results revealed that teachers in the Consultation condition showed significantly greater increases in the quality of their interactions with children than did those in the Web Only condition. The greatest effects of consultation were found in the highest poverty classrooms. The authors note that the findings of this study have implications for the design of systems of professional development, and targeting efforts to teachers in high-poverty classrooms.

What major themes are emerging from research and evaluation of out-of-school time programs and initiatives?

Research update: Highlights from the out-of-school time database
Harris, Erin, 09/01/2008
(No. 3). Cambridge, MA: Harvard Family Research Project. Retrieved September 19, 2008, from http://www.hfrp.org/content/download/3223/95452/file/update3.pdf

This Research Update highlights key themes emerging from 13 recent reports added to the Harvard Family Research Project’s Out-of-School Time (OST) Program Research and Evaluation Bibliography. The author focuses on two main themes emerging from the reports: data collection and evaluation for continuous program improvement; and benefits to middle and high school youth in OST programs. In terms of continuous improvement, the author describes how various programs have used evaluations to make programmatic changes and then the outlines some of the reasons that programs conduct evaluations including: to get feedback from key stakeholders; to seek parent’s perspectives; to inform other after school initiatives; and to improve the workforce. The author suggests that there is a growing trend for OST program evaluations to include informing program improvements as one of their goals. Secondly, while much of the OST research has focused on elementary school-age children, stakeholders are beginning to see the value of these programs for improving outcomes for older youth in the areas of academics, prevention and workforce readiness. The studies focusing on older youth reveal that OST programs can: encourage leadership skills and behavioral changes; improve academic outcomes; and promote gains in workforce skills (e.g. self-motivation, communication, problem solving etc).

How does peer enrollment in preschool influence cognitive and non-cognitive outcomes in later school years?

Cognitive and non-cognitive peer effects in early education
Neidell, Matthew, 08/01/2008
(NBER Working Paper Series No. 14277). Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research. Retrieved October 29, 2008, from http://www.nber.org/papers/w14277.pdf

This working paper examines the influence of preschool peer enrollment on children’s cognitive and non-cognitive outcomes during kindergarten and early elementary years. Using a fixed effects and value-added approach the authors examined data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten Class of 1998-99 (ECLS-K). The findings revealed a positive relationship between peer preschool enrollment and increased math and reading scores in kindergarten. Additionally, this research found the influence of preschool peer enrollment on non-cognitive outcomes to be statistically insignificant. The authors warn against ignoring the positive spillover effects of peer enrollment in preschool on outcomes in later school years, suggesting there are encouraging social benefits experienced during preschool years.

How is the Massachusetts child care voucher system perceived by participating families, providers, and resource and referral agencies?

A study of the Massachusetts child care voucher system: Impact on children, families, providers, and resource and referral agencies
Washington, Valora, 04/01/2008

This study examines the Massachusetts voucher system and its effects on key actors involved in the voucher transaction. The authors used multiple methodologies to address their inquiry: in-depth interviews; voluntary surveys; case studies; and information gleaned from both a statewide provider’s forum and from an economic analysis of time spent on the voucher administration. The report found that in general all actors—families, providers, and resource and referral agencies—felt the voucher system provided an important service to families in need. However, the authors noted several challenges including: vouchers do not take into account discontinuity of care such as school breaks; parents continue to struggle in finding child care for their children despite vouchers; the current system does not cover the full cost of care; the system is a challenge for non-English speakers; and resource and referral agencies are spending less time with each family due to state budget cuts.

How is Head Start continuing to evolve?

Head Start's evolving model of collaboration, early education, and family support: Comments from the guest editor
Gilliam, Walter S., 01/01/2008

Authors of this special issue of Infants & Young Children examine the ongoing evolution of Head Start's multi-facted services. Zaslow reflects on year-one findings from the Head Start Impact Study in the context of Head Start's long history of learning from research. Noting that Early Head Start serves just 3 percent of those eligible, Knitzer challenges federal and state governments to bring policies into sync with what research tells us infants and toddlers need. Gilliam explores new opportunities for collaboration between Head Start and public school Pre-K. Lamb-Parker and her co-authors describe two strengh-based approaches to children's mental health used in Head Start settings. Henrich and Gadaire discuss changes in parent involvement approaches as parents' circumstances have changed. Condon and Spieker describe the multiple benefits of a University-Early Head Start collaboration to strengthen parent-child attachments. Finally, Britto and Gilliam explore commonalities and differences between Head Start in the U.S. and early childhood programs in developing countries.

What is the impact of a comprehensive professional development program on preschool classroom literacy environments?

Impact of professional development on the literacy environments of preschool classrooms
Grace, Cathy, 09/01/2008

This longitudinal study examines the impacts of a comprehensive professional development program on preschool classroom literacy environments. Forty classrooms were equally divided into a treatment and control group. The treatment group received mentoring by early childhood specialists, professional development training, and literacy materials, whereas the control group received only literacy materials. The Early Language and Literacy Classroom Observation (ELLCO) Toolkit was used to assess changes in the classroom environments in the treatment and control classrooms. Although all classrooms began the study with low ELLCO scores indicating poor quality literacy environments, treatment classrooms showed an increase in quality over time, while control classrooms showed little or no increase. For treatment classrooms, year 2 gains were much more substantial than year 1, and by year 3, these classrooms reached the highest score possible on the ELLCO. Results suggest that ongoing comprehensive professional development can significantly improve the quality of classroom literacy environments. The authors note that additional longitudinal studies are needed to determine how factors such as duration of training, intensity of training, and mentoring/coaching activities impact changes in classroom literacy environments. They suggest that results of these types of studies have implications for creating uniformity in professional development requirements across state child care licensing systems.

How can early interventions address the growing polarization in American society?

Schools, skills, and synapses
Heckman, James J., 06/01/2008
(NBER Working Paper Series No. 14064). Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research. Retrieved October 29, 2008, from http://www.nber.org/papers/w14064.pdf

This paper examines a growing trend in American society whereby more American born youth are graduating from college than ever before at the same time that graduation rates from high school for American born youth are lower than they were 40 years ago. Additionally relatively more American children are being born into disadvantaged families compared to 50 years ago. The authors argue that there is a growing skills problem in America, which is resulting in a slowdown in productivity. The authors suggest that gaps in cognitive and noncognitive skills between the advantaged and disadvantaged emerge early and can be traced to adverse early environments. In this context the family plays a powerful role in shaping outcomes and current social policy does not adequately focus on family. The authors highlight evidence that early interventions can partially compensate for the effects of early adversity and discuss practical issues that arise in designing and implementing early childhood interventions.

How well are early childhood programs complying with health and safety standards?

Assessing health and safety in early care and education programs: Development of the CCHP Health and Safety Checklist
Alkon, Abbey, 11/01/2008

This study of the California Childcare Health Program (CCHP) Health and Safety Checklist, in 127 early childhood education programs in five counties in California, found that the assessment tool is both valid and reliable for measuring recommended national health and safety standards. Checklist observations showed high compliance with food preparation and eating, emergency preparedness, and infant/toddler sleep conditions. Low compliance was found with outdoor/indoor equipment and hand washing routines.

How does a family interaction program in Hawaii affect relationships between preschoolers and their family caregivers?

Tutu and Me: Assessing the effects of a family interaction program on parents and grandparents
Porter, Toni, 07/01/2008
New York: Bank Street College of Education, Institute for a Child Care Continuum. Retrieved June 20, 2014, from http://www.familyfriendandneighbor.org/pdf/Hawaii_TuTu_and_Me-Porter_2008.pdf

Tutu and Me, a traveling preschool program in Hawaii, uses a "Play and Learn" approach to help families prepare their children for school. Operating in 18 predominately native Hawaiian communities on 4 islands, the program serves 900 pairs of children and their grandparent caregivers (tutu) or parents (makua). This study uses pre- and post-observations with the Child Care Assessment Tool for Relatives (CCAT-R) to evaluate changes in the quality of -child interactions over the 11-month program year of twice weekly, two-hour sessions. Findings from a sample of 58 pairs show improvements in bidirectional and unidirectional communication and in caregiver engagement, though not in nuturing. Improvements are statistically signficant for pairs with children under age three, not for those with children three and older. Positive impacts are also stronger for parents than for grandparents.

What constitutes effective teaching in early education and how can professional development systems, quality rating systems, and state competencies be linked?

Ensuring effective teaching in early childhood education through linked professional development systems, quality rating systems and state competencies: The role of research in an evidence-driven system
Howes, Carollee, 01/01/2008
Charlottesville, VA: National Center for Research on Early Childhood Education. Retrieved October 15, 2008, from http://www.ncrece.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/ncrecewhitepaper2008.pdf

This white paper summarizes the National Center for Research in Early Childhood Education's symposium on what constitutes effective teaching in early education and how professional development systems (PDS), quality rating systems (QRS), and early childhood education competencies (ECEC) can be linked. Three overall themes emerged from the symposium: most PDS are not systemically linked to child, program, or teacher outcomes; there are little or no linkages between PDS, QRS, and ECEC in any given state; and there is little alignment between state policy, program implementation, and evidence that supports those policies and programs. Recommendations from the symposium include a call for more evidence based research of each system (i.e. PDS, QRS, and ECEC), and the need for research to document and further understand the benefits of linking these systems.

How are States promoting family economic security?

Staying afloat in tough times: What states are and aren't doing to promote family economic security
Fass, Sarah, 08/01/2008
New York: Columbia University, National Center for Children in Poverty. Retrieved October 15, 2008, from http://www.nccp.org/publications/pdf/text_833.pdf

This report highlights some of the ways that state-level policies can help families cope with economic difficulties. The report emphasizes the importance of family income for children’s development and notes that low family income can limit children’s cognitive development and can contribute to social, emotional and health problems. The authors note three types of state policies that can help low-wage workers: work support, such as child care assistance and health insurance; income support, such as minimum wage laws, reducing tax burdens, and access to paid leave; and asset development and protection, which help families accumulate assets. The report then highlights the policy choices that states are making and suggests that more needs to be done by the federal government to ensure that full-time work combined with public benefits is sufficient for a family to cover it’s basic expenses and support child development.

Child Care and Development Fund State and Territory Plans FY 2008-2009

Child Care and Development Fund: Report of state and territory plans FY 2008-2009
United States. Child Care Bureau,
Washington, DC: U.S. Child Care Bureau. Retrieved October 15, 2008, from the National Child Care Information and Technical Assistance Center Web site: http://nccic.acf.hhs.gov/pubs/stateplan2008-09/index.html (no longer accessible since February 12, 2012)

This Child Care Bureau report provides an overview of the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) state and territory plans for FY 2008-2009. The report summarizes state trends in administering child care assistance, services offered (e.g. provider payments, eligibility criteria, service priorities, etc.), parental rights and responsibilities, activities to improve the quality and availability of child care, and health and safety requirements.

Are there differences in parental conceptions of school readiness based on ethnicity and socioeconomic status?

Parental conceptions of school readiness: Relation to ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and children’s skills
Barbarin, Oscar, 09/01/2008

This study examines the associations among parents’ school readiness beliefs, demographic characteristics (i.e., ethnicity and socioeconomic status), and children’s school readiness. Participants included 452 4-year-old children enrolled in the National Center for Early Development and Learning (NCEDL) Multi-State Study of Public Sponsored Pre-K Programs. Parents were interviewed about their conceptions of readiness. Children were given direct assessments of their skills across domains. Findings revealed that parents considered ability to name objects, letters, or numbers in their conceptions of school readiness, but gave little focus to inferential skills. Readiness beliefs were not related to ethnicity. Most of the findings showed that socioeconomic status was not related to readiness beliefs, however, employed parents endorsed every readiness belief at a higher rate than unemployed parents. Finally, readiness beliefs about the importance of independence, social competence, nominal knowledge, and inferential skills were positively related to children’s skills. The authors cite the need for more informational programs for parents on the importance of higher order cognitive skills and ways to support them in children.

Do neighborhood characteristics affect child care decisions?

Neighborhood characteristics and child care type and quality
Burchinal, Margaret, 09/01/2008

This study used data from the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods to examine the extent to which community characteristics relate to the selection of child care. The results of the study suggest that community characteristics are related to family decisions about the type of child care used. In communities with a higher density of social networks and low collective efficacy, children were more likely to be in parental or relative care and less likely to be in home-based child care with unrelated s. When collective efficacy was higher, children were more likely to be cared for by unrelated s in child care homes. Additionally, the study found that while center care quality was lower in disadvantaged neighborhoods, quality was higher in the publicly funded center programs in these neighborhoods. Lastly, structural disadvantage was more negatively related to quality when mothers had less education. The authors suggest the importance of investing in public programs, such as Head Start and public pre-kindergarten, to ensure that children in disadvantaged neighborhoods have access to these higher quality center programs.

How do teacher-child social interactions influence English language development?

Influences of teacher-child social interactions on English language development in a Head Start classroom
Piker, Ruth A., 10/01/2008

This study, part of a larger 2-year ethnographic study of a Head Start classroom, examined the teacher-child interactions between two teachers (one monolingual in English and one bilingual in Spanish) and 17 children, 90% of whom primarily spoke Spanish. Through a series of ethnographic observations and video recordings of interactions, the study found that English as a curriculum and procedural language was supported but there was limited encouragement of children's spoken English. The authors recommend that teachers assist English language learners in building social relationships that support and encourage sharing, playing, and spending time with English speakers.

What do we know about early childhood policy and practice in the Asia Pacific region?

Policy change in early childhood in the Asia Pacific region: The guest editors’ introduction to the special issue
Rao, Nirmala, 01/01/2008

This article provides a general introduction to a special issue in the International Journal of Early Childhood on the Asia Pacific region. This research issue examines diverse topics as they pertain to the Asia Pacific region and early childhood policy and practice. Topics include: development of, and implications for the Early Learning and Development Standards (ELDS) in eight countries ; a comparative examination of curricular practices in Chinese kindergartens ; perceptions of the early childhood education voucher system in Hong Kong; a critical examination of India’s child development strategies and policies ; policy analysis of the links between scientific evidence and policy in Lao PDR; and a critique of the Te Whâriki curriculum in New Zealand and its relationship to consumerism. The editor notes three common global themes that the authors mention: the importance of integrating national values into early childhood policy and practice; the holistic nature of children’s growth and development; and the importance of quality programming. The issue also includes a UNESCO-UNICEF Asia-Pacific policy review of achieving the first goal of the global Education For All (EFA) initiative that concerns early childhood education. Additionally, a sixty-year overview of selected projects initiated by the World Organization for Early Childhood Education (OMEP) is included.

How can states conduct more accurate and cost effective child care market rate surveys?

Study of market prices: Validating child care market rate surveys
Grobe, Deana, 09/01/2008
(Technical Report) Corvallis: Oregon State University Family Policy Program

Offering guidance to states, this technical report compares the representativeness of child care price findings from various data sources, data collection methods, and sampling strategies commonly used in market rate surveys. Data sources examined include R&R, licensing, and subsidy databases. Subsidy databases were found to be the least complete, while R&R and licensing datbases vary in completeness from state to state. Methods of collecting price data include R&Rs' routine administrative updates of their data, special mail surveys of facilites, and special telephone surveys of facilities. Rigor and timeliness were found to matter more than choice of method. Samples needed to be stratified by type of care and location. Other technical issues examined include: identifying submarkets based on age of child and schedule, as well as care type and location; defining communities geographically; converting prices from mode to mode (e.g. hourly to daily to weekly); and analyzing prices by facility or by slot. The report concludes with a checklist for states to evaluate the effectiveness and costs of their survey methodologies.

Have state child care assistance policies improved over the past year?

State child care assistance policies 2008: Too little progress for children and families
Schulman, Karen, 09/01/2008
Washington, DC: National Women's Law Center. Retrieved August 16, 2012, from http://www.nwlc.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/StateChildCareAssistancePoliciesReport08.pdf

This analysis of changes in state child care assistance policies from February 2007 to February 2008 reveals that although some states improved their policies, the large majority of states made little progress or regressed. Data for this issue brief were collected by the National Women's Law Center from state child care administrators in the fifty states and District of Columbia, and focus on four key areas including: income eligibility limits; waiting lists; copayments; and reimbursement rates. Although several states made progress in expanding income eligibility, lowering parent copayments, and/or raising reimbursement rates, many states failed to move forward, or slid backwards. For example, nine states raised their income eligibility limits for child care assistance to surpass inflation, and twenty-five increased their limits enough to keep pace with inflation; however three states decreased their limits, and fourteen did not sufficiently increase their limits to keep pace with inflation. The authors discuss findings in light of recent state budget cuts, and conclude that families may continue to face challenges in obtaining child care assistance.

What have we learned from five of the first state child care quality rating and improvement systems (QRIS)?

Child-care quality rating and improvement systems in five pioneer states: Implementation issues and lessons learned
Zellman, Gail L., 01/01/2008
(MG-795-AECF/SPF/UWA). Santa Monica, CA: Rand Corporation. Retrieved September 17, 2008, from http://rand.org/pubs/monographs/2008/RAND_MG795.pdf

This RAND study interviewed key stakeholders in five states (OK, CO, NC, PA, and OH) who were “early adopters” of a quality rating system (QRS) to identify major implementation issues and lessons learned. Some of the findings include: there was general consensus among states on what elements of quality belong in a QRS; states differed on their inclusion of parent involvement assessments, child-staff ratios, or national accreditation; the use of component measures is strongly affected by cost; and parent and provider interest in QRS increased over time. Several policy recommendations are also given for developing and refining a QRS.

How does preschool participation affect school readiness for children in Slovenia?

The effect of preschool on children’s school readiness
Marjanovic Umek, Ljubica, 08/01/2008

The study examines 219 children throughout Slovenia during their first three months of first grade; 159 attended preschool, and 60 did not. All were tested using standard Slovenian tests of school readiness, language development, and intellectual development. In findings parallel to those of researchers in other countries, the authors find preschool to positively affect school readiness for children of parents--fathers as well as mothers--with the lowest levels of education, but not for children of more highly educated parents. Whatever their parents' education levels, children with higher scores in language competence and intellectual development have higher levels of school readiness.

What do we know about the correlates and consequences of chronic absenteeism in early schooling?

Present, engaged, and accounted for: The critical importance of addressing chronic absence in the early grades
Chang, Hedy Nai-Lin, 09/01/2008
New York: Columbia University, National Center for Children in Poverty. Retrieved September 12, 2008, from http://www.nccp.org/publications/pdf/text_837.pdf

A new report synthesizing lessons learned from secondary analyses of data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Cohort, the existing research literature, and efforts by practitioners, researchers, and funders in local communities suggests that thousands of early elementary students in the U.S. are academically at-risk because of extended absences from school. Across the country, approximately one in ten kindergartners and first graders skip almost one month or more of school over the course of a year. Schools and districts in some localities suffer from even higher levels of absenteeism. Chronic absenteeism in kindergarten is related to lower academic performance in first grade for all children and in fifth grade for poor children. The report discusses ways in which schools, communities and families can join forces to closely watch and promote attendance, as well as to identify and address the multiple child, family, school, and community factors that contribute to chronic absenteeism.

What is an assistive technology toolkit, and how can it promote inclusion?

Using an assistive technology toolkit to promote inclusion
Judge, Sharon, 10/01/2008

This article describes an assistive technology toolkit that was designed to support young children with disabilities. The included tools are not designed for individual children, but instead are available as needed to all children in a classroom. The toolkit was developed based on the recommendations of early childhood special education practitioners, and incorporates tools to facilitate young children’s participation in activities involving communication (e.g., visual schedule, picture communication symbols, picture symbol display books/boards, etc.), movement (e.g., positioning devices, adaptive seating, adaptive tables and desks), and interaction with materials (e.g., adaptive scissors, pencil grips, talking books, etc.). The toolkit was designed so that it can be easily assembled and implemented by early childhood professionals, and most of the included tools are low-tech. The authors suggest that creative use of an assistive technology toolkit can increase the effectiveness of inclusive programs for children with disabilities, thereby supporting children’s social, emotional, and cognitive development.

What dispositions are essential for teachers as they as they work with families?

Dispositions toward families and family involvement: Supporting preservice teacher development
Baum, Angela C., 06/01/2008

This article highlights six dispositions among early childhood teachers that can help develop empowering relationships with families. The following dispositions are identified: adopting a positive attitude toward families and the family-school relationship process; adopting an empowerment perspective of parents and families; engaging parents and families as partners in the total learning and growth process; valuing and supporting the cultural and social diversity of parents and families; demonstrating a commitment to effective communication; and envisioning the teacher as a learner. Additionally, the author suggests strategies for developing early childhood teacher education that may help nurture the six dispositions among preservice teachers.

How do caregiver-child relations impact children’s experiences in child care?

Relationship-focused child care practices: Quality of care and child outcomes for children in poverty
Owen, Margaret T., 03/01/2008

A study of child care program practices designed to provide a continuous, positive relationship between caregiver and child in 12 full-day, child care centers serving low income, minority three-and four year olds found that programs following these relationship-focused practices had parents who were more satisfied with the program, and reported more positive relations with providers as well as more child compliance at home. However, no consistent benefit of relationship-focused practices was found for cognitive school readiness, receptive language, or child behavior problems. Interestingly, African American children in relationship-focused programs received more talk, affection, physical restriction, and more responsiveness from caregivers and were more engaged with the latter, whereas Latino children did so in non-relationship-focused centers.

What knowledge do child care workers have about early brain development?

Childcare workers’ knowledge about the brain and developmentally appropriate practice
Zambo, Debby, 06/01/2008

This study surveyed 59 child care workers from three child care centers in Arizona. The purpose of the study was to determine: where child care workers get their information about early brain development; what the child care workers knew about the brain in terms of sensitive periods, development, and harm; and what knowledge the child care workers had about developmentally appropriate practice. The results indicated that for the child care workers the most common source of information about the brain and its development were workshops, followed by magazines, and the internet. Secondly, the child care workers knew more about what was harmful for early development but less about sensitive periods and brain development. Lastly, in terms of developmentally appropriate practice, the child care workers knew more about the importance of interacting with children but less about learning, environment and the classroom. Based on the findings the authors suggest the importance of providing child care workers with access to workshops on brain development and learning and to high quality research based magazines and web sites.

Are there significant and meaningful benefits to full-day kindergarten?

A developmental perspective on full- versus part-day kindergarten and children’s academic trajectories through fifth grade
Votruba-Drzal, Elizabeth, 07/01/2008

Based on data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study’s Kindergarten Cohort, researchers examined advantages in math and reading at the end of kindergarten related to attending full-day versus part-day programs, and whether these gains, if any, were maintained over the elementary school years. The study followed an ecological approach that took into account the multiple out-of-school contexts in which children live, as well as the heterogeneity in the development of academic skills. Important differences were found in the characteristics of children attending full- versus part-day programs. Primarily, children in full-day programs were more often Black and socioeconomically disadvantaged than those in part-day programs. Findings suggest modest yet significant academic benefits of full- versus part-day programs at the end of kindergarten. These benefits, however, tend to subside during the elementary school career, and are no longer observed at the end of third grade. Researchers discuss how this fade-out relates to the socio-economic and racial characteristics of children in each type of program, as well as to differences in the quality of the schooling experience during the elementary years.

Do child care and public pre-kindergarten programs improve the school readiness gains of low income ethnically diverse children?

School readiness gains made by ethnically diverse children in poverty attending center-based childcare and public school pre-kindergarten programs
Winsler, Adam, 07/01/2008

This study examines the school readiness gains made by low-income ethnically diverse children attending center-based child care and public pre-kindergarten programs prior to kindergarten entry in Miami-Dade County. The sample, consisting of 3838 4 year-olds, was drawn from children participating in the Miami School Readiness Project who were either: receiving subsidies to attend center-based child care; attending free Title 1 public school pre-k programs; or attending fee-supported public school pre-k programs. The findings revealed that though children receiving subsidies to attend child care programs started their pre-k year at below national norms in the areas of language, cognition and fine motor skills, they made notable gains and were performing around the national average by the end of the year. Similarly children in Title 1 pre-k programs made considerable gains in all domains of school readiness except behavior problems. However this group began and ended at a slight advantage and had steeper gains over time in language and cognitive skills compared to children in center-based child care programs.

What are lessons from Rhode Island's mentoring program for early childhood professionals?

Mentoring in early childhood professional development: Evaluation of the Rhode Island Child Development Specialist Apprenticeship program
Uttley, Clarissa M., 07/01/2008

Through its Quality Child Care Initiative, the U.S. Department of Labor has supported apprecenticeship programs for early care and education professionals in more than 39 states. This two-part study of Rhode Island's apprenticeship program provides insights for design and for evaluation of programs in other states. In Rhode Island's two-year program, apprentices working at centers accredited by the National Association for the Education of Children completed 4,000 on-the-job training hours supervised by mentor teachers. They also completed 24 community college credits in general and early childhood education, while mentors completed a university course on Supervision in Early Childhood Settings. Pre/post observations using the Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scale-Revised Edition conducted in 15 classrooms staffed by apprentices showed significant improvements in six months. Surveys and open-ended interviews with a subset of 12 apprentice-mentor dyads suggested higher satisfaction among apprentices and mentors working in the same classroom and/or with the same age group. Also, apprentices reported greater challenges than mentors in meeting their combined higher education and center responsibilities, as well as in balancing their family commitments with the demands of the program.

Does the percentage of children receiving child care subsidies influence program quality?

Child care subsidy and program quality revisited
Antle, Becky F., 01/01/2008

This study examines the relationship between the percentage of children that receive subsidized child care and its potential influence on program quality in early childhood centers in Kentucky. Interviews of center directors were conducted at 110 child care centers from different geographic regions in Kentucky and classroom observations were performed using standardized measures of quality, language, and literacy. Findings suggest there is no relationship between the subsidy density and program quality in infant classrooms. However, the study found that program quality in preschool settings decreased when percentage of children receiving subsidized child care increased.

Does quality differ in preschool classrooms that are inclusive of children with disabilities compared with those that are not?

Quality in inclusive preschool classrooms
Hestenes, Linda L., 01/01/2008

Two studies in North Carolina compared the quality among inclusive and non-inclusive preschool classrooms. The first study found that classrooms which included children with disabilities had higher global quality (using the ECERS-R) and scored higher on dimensions of materials/activities and language/interactions. The second study did not find any differences in global quality (also using the ECERS-R) but showed higher quality teacher-child interactions (as measured by the Teacher Child Interaction Scale [TCIS]).

How can states promote continuity of care for infants and toddlers?

Continuity of care: Charting Progress for Babies in Child Care research-based rationale
Schumacher, Rachel, 08/01/2008
(Recommendation No. 3). Washington, DC: Center for Law and Social Policy. Retrieved August 29, 2008, from http://www.clasp.org/publications/cp_rationale3.pdf

This article presents a summary of the research on the importance of continuity of care for infants and toddlers and suggests ways that states can promote this approach. Research indicates that secure attachments for infants early on provide a strong foundation for later learning and development and that a secure attachment between infants and their child care providers can complement the relationship between parents and young children. Furthermore for children in child care centers a higher number of changes in providers in the earliest years has been linked to more behavior problems at ages four and five. The ‘continuity of care’ approach can ensure a more secure relationship between caregivers and young children in center-based programs by keeping children with the same providers over the first three years of their lives. States can promote a ‘continuity of care’ approach in several ways: through licensing policies that require centers to allow children to remain with their primary caregivers from entry to age three; through quality enhancement initiatives that ensure that state Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS) address continuity of care for infants and toddlers; and through subsidy policies that raise payments to centers and family child care homes that implement continuity of care strategies.

Is the Tools of the Mind curriculum effective in improving the self-regulatory skills of of 3- and 4-year-old children?

Educational effects of the Tools of the Mind curriculum: A randomized trial
Barnett, W. Steven, 07/01/2008

This study examined the impact of the Tools of the Mind (Tools) curriculum on classroom quality and 3- and 4-year-old children’s social behavior, language, and literacy growth. The Tools curriculum is designed to help children develop self-regulatory skills through teacher-scaffolded play. Additionally, there is a focus on building children’s literacy and mathematics skills. Teachers and children from a low-income school district with a high proportion of non-English-speaking families were randomly assigned to either a Tools classroom (88 children) or a control classroom (122 children). Results suggested that, compared with the control classrooms, Tools classrooms scored significantly higher on levels of classroom quality, and children in the Tools classrooms had lower reported problem behaviors. Though small initial impacts on language development were found, there were not statisically significant. The authors suggest that the Tools curriculum is effective in improving children’s self-regulatory skills and shows promise in enhancing learning and development.

Do students learn about personal cleanliness in preschool?

Personal cleanliness activities in preschool classrooms
Obeng, Cecilia Sem, 08/01/2008

This study examines personal health-related activities introduced in classrooms by preschool teachers in Indiana. Questionnaires completed by 112 preschool teachers in Indiana found that instructions on proper hand-washing methods, coughing, and a discussion on germs were the health topics the most integrated into classroom discussion. However, additional findings suggest bathroom sanitation, keeping things out of the mouth, and dental hygiene are less likely to be incorporated into classroom discussion. The author argues for making health education a key component of preschool teacher training.

What types of mathematical language are used in early childhood settings, how often?

Mathematical language in early childhood settings: What really counts?
Rudd, Loretta, 08/01/2008

This study examined the frequency and types of mathematical language used by a sample of 11 teachers in a high quality child development center with children aged birth to five years. Overall the teachers in the study used a large percentage of number and spatial references. However, there was a lack of reference to higher-level mathematical concepts such as “operations”, “patterns”, and “display”. The teachers rarely discussed shapes of objects, the order of objects, or added and subtracted objects. The study also found that the types of mathematical language used varied by years of child care experience. Teachers with more than 4 years of child care experience used more spatial and measurement references, while those with less than 4 years of child care experience used more number references. Lastly, the study also found that there was a lack of any planned activities around mathematical concepts, rather concepts were mentioned during play. The authors conclude that there is a need for further professional development and training for teachers in order for them to prepare children to learn mathematical concepts in elementary school.

What factors influence parental involvement in early childhood home visiting programs?

Parent involvement in early childhood home visiting
Korfmacher, Jon, 08/01/2008

This review of the home visiting intervention research reveals that parental involvement is typically measured by several factors such as: amount of contact, frequency of visits and duration of family participation. High levels of parent involvement in home visiting were most associated with: home visitors with more experience; home visitor's support of and comfort with the program ; the amount of training and supervision a home visitor receives; and the structure and content of programs. Parental factors such as family context, demographic features, motivation, and psychological functioning also influenced involvement. Future research should explore why and how families choose to spend their time in home visiting services.

What can be learned from the implementation of the Head Start National Reporting System?

Implementation of the Head Start National Reporting System: Spring 2006: Final report
United States. Administration for Children and Families. Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, 02/01/2008
Princeton, NJ: Mathematica Policy Research. Retrieved August 13, 2008, from http://www.mathematica-mpr.com/publications/pdfs/NRS_Headstart_2006.pdf

This report describes results from the year 2 Quality Assurance Study (QAS) of the Head Start National Reporting System (NRS). It documents the experiences of Head Start programs with NRS implementation and is based on data collected during visits to a nationally representative sample of 35 Head Start programs. The study was designed to assess the quality of training, child assessment, and data entry, as well as to gain local program perspectives on the NRS, all in an effort to support the enhancement of quality and utility of the NRS. Implications of the findings from the QAS are outlined, and suggestions offered for the improvement of implementation of early childhood assessments which can be applied beyond the context of the NRS and Head Start. Suggestions include: understand and explicitly state the purpose of assessments, provide programs with guidance on how to use the results of assessments, ensure that adequate training is conducted and provide refresher trainings, and continue to improve assessment instruments.

What does an evaluation of the Colorado Qualistar Early Learning quality rating and improvement system (QRIS) show about the quality in participating centers and family child care homes and children's outcomes?

Assessing the validity of the Qualistar Early Learning quality rating and improvement system as a tool for improving child-care quality
Zellman, Gail L., 01/01/2008
(MG-650-QEL). Santa Monica, CA: Rand Corporation. Retrieved July 1, 2008, from http://www.rand.org/pubs/monographs/2008/RAND_MG650.pdf

An evaluation of the Colorado Qualistar Early Learning quality rating and improvement system (QRIS) conducted by RAND studied a sample of 65 centers and 38 family child care homes participating in state quality improvement initiatives. While study design and implementation issues preclude definitive conclusions, the evaluation found some evidence for the validity of the Qualistar QRIS; mixed support for QRIS program components (including child-staff ratios, staff and director training and education, accreditation) as measures of provider quality; and a lack of association between system components and child outcomes.

What contributes to preschool staff's likelihood of reporting suspected maltreatment in the homes of children?

Suspected child maltreatment: Preschool staff in a conflict of loyalty
Svensson, Birgitta, 08/01/2008

The study examined the actions of Swedish preschool staff when suspecting child maltreatment in the child’s home. A questionnaire surveying staff of 189 child groups in community preschools revealed that staff reported cases of suspected maltreatment to Child Protective Services (CPS) only 30 percent of the time. Staff reported that they would be most likely to report if they felt confident their suspicions were correct and if they felt confident about who they should tell. Non-compliance with Swedish legal mandates to report maltreatment may be associated with staff’s conflicts of loyalty to the family and feeling a lack of support from child protective services and psychologists.

Does eliminating all risks in outdoor play hinder child development?

Outdoor play: Does avoiding the risks reduce the benefits
Little, Helen, 06/01/2008

This literature review examines how changing urban settings in Australia and other Western societies may influence the type of physical outdoor play available for children. The author suggests that positive risk-taking experiences may be beneficial to a child’s learning and development, and encourages the management of risk in outdoor settings rather than elimination of healthy play opportunities.

Which preschool curricula show positive impacts on school readiness?

Effects of preschool curriculum programs on school readiness: Report from the Preschool Curriculum Evaluation Research initiative
Preschool Curriculum Evaluation Research Consortium, 07/01/2008
(NCER 2008-2009). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Research. Retrieved August 15, 2008, from http://ies.ed.gov/ncer/pubs/20082009/pdf/20082009.pdf

This efficacy evaluation funded by the National Center for Education Research, Institute of Education Sciences examined 14 preschool curricula, implemented by 12 Preschool Curriculum Evaluation Research (PCER) initiative teams. Using an experimental design, preschool centers or classrooms, serving predominantly low income children, were randomly assigned to either an intervention or control curricula. Evaluators used a common set of measures to assess the impact of the individual curricula on student outcomes (i.e., behavior and early language, literacy, and math skills) and preschool classroom outcomes (i.e., classroom quality, teacher-child interactions, and instructional practices). Two out of 14 curricula showed statistically significant impacts on student outcome measures in preschool. In kindergarten, four curricula showed statistically significant impacts on student outcomes (however three out of the four showed no impact in the prekindergarten year). Only one curriculum showed impacts on student outcomes in both prekindergarten and kindergarten. Eight curricula showed significant impacts on classroom-level measures and seven showed no impacts.

How do parents’ rate the school readiness of their children?

Parents' reports of the school readiness of young children from the National Household Education Surveys Program of 2007: First look
O'Donnell, Kevin, 08/01/2008
(NCES 2008-051). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved August 14, 2008, from http://nces.ed.gov//pubs2008/2008051.pdf

This report presents data from the School Readiness Survey (SR) of the 2007 National Household Education Surveys Program (NHES: 2007). Children in the sample were 3 years through 6 years of age and were not enrolled in kindergarten. The SR addressed topics such as: participation of young children in preschool or other center-based care; parental plans for kindergarten enrollment and what they should do to prepare their children for kindergarten; children’s developmental accomplishments; and family activities in and outside of the home. Key findings include that overall 58 percent of children ages 3 to 6 were reported to be in preschool or daycare and 89 percent of children had parents who planned to enroll them in kindergarten on-time. In terms of school readiness skills, according to their parents 93 percent of children had speech that was understandable to a stranger, 87 percent could hold a pencil, 63 percent could count to 20 or higher, 60 percent could write their first name and 32 percent could recognize all the letters of the alphabet. Parents were also asked about what skills they thought were important to teach their children in preparing them for kindergarten. The most commonly reported were sharing, teaching the alphabet, teaching numbers, reading, and how to hold a pencil.

What level of qualification is necessary for effective teaching of preschool children?

Formal education, credential, or both: Early childhood program classroom practices
Vu, Jennifer A., 05/01/2008

An examination of classroom quality and teacher involvement in 231 preschool classrooms across 122 different agencies (private, for-profit; private, non-profit; Head Start; and California Department of Education sponsored) found that the teacher's education and credential level and the credential level of the program director predicted classroom quality. Moreover, teacher BA's did predict quality in private, nonprofit programs, Head Start programs, and for-profit child care programs, but were less predictive of quality in state sponsored classrooms.

What is the impact of pre-kindergarten participation on school readiness and academic performance in early schooling?

Impacts of New Mexico PreK on children's school readiness at kindergarten entry: Results from the second year of a growing initiative
Hustedt, Jason T., 06/01/2008
New Brunswick, NJ: National Institute for Early Education Research. Retrieved June 25, 2008, from http://nieer.org/resources/research/NewMexicoRDD0608.pdf

A number of recent studies add to the growing literature evidencing the positive impact of high-quality early education experiences on school readiness and academic performance in kindergarten and first grade. An evaluation of New Mexico's PreK initiative suggests that this state-funded preschool program for 4 year olds, which is offered through a variety of public and community-based providers, boosts considerably children's receptive vocabulary, early literacy, and early math skills at kindergarten entry. The 5-year longitudinal study of Arkansas Better Chance (ABC), a state-funded child care and early education program for low income preschool-age children, points to the significant effects of this high quality program on children’s language, math and literacy skills at the beginning and end of kindergarten, as well as at the end of first grade. A study of the impact of two widely recognized high quality early education initiatives, Oklahoma's universal prekindergarten program and Tulsa’s Head Start program, on children's early reading, writing, and math skills indicates that these programs significantly improved children’s cognitive development. Expressed in monthly equivalents, participation in these programs enhanced reading by six to nine months, pre-writing skills by three to seven months, and pre-math skills by five months.

What is the impact of the Reading First Program on student reading achievement and classroom instruction?

Reading First Impact Study: Interim report
Gamse, Beth, 04/01/2008
(NCEE 2008-4016). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance. Retrieved June 30, 2008, from http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/pdf/20084016.pdf

This study presents preliminary findings on the impact of the Reading First Program on student reading achievement and classroom instruction. The reading first grants were made to states between July 2002 and September 2003 and by April 2007 states had awarded subgrants to 1809 school districts. This report presents data for 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 and is based on findings from 17 school districts and one state program. On average the Reading First Program did not have a statistically significant impact on students’ reading comprehension test scores in grades one, two or three. The program increased the total class time spent on five essential components of reading instruction, these were primarily phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, and comprehension. Lastly, impacts on student engagement with print were mixed with second grade classrooms seeing a reduction in the percentage of students engaged with print while impacts on first grade classrooms were not statistically significant. The final report will include three years of follow-up on students’ reading comprehension and teachers’ classroom instruction.

What policy options would allow low-income parents to work and support their children’s development?

Family security: Supporting parents' employment and children's development
Boots, Shelley Waters, 07/01/2008
(New Safety Net Paper 3). Washington, DC: Urban Institute. Retrieved July 16, 2008, from http://www.urban.org/UploadedPDF/411718_parent_employment.pdf

This paper presents a discussion of a policy framework that integrates parental work and children’s development. The authors assert that children have four basic developmental needs: stability, health, nurturing and structured activities. The authors suggest that in order for these needs to be met parents need access to affordable quality child care, paid time off to care for their children, and comprehensive family supports. The authors set forth a ‘Family Security’ policy approach that recommends various policies to: guarantee child care; address child care quality; provide afterschool support; ensure flexibility at work for parents; provide employer financed paid sick and family leave; fund Head Start and Early Head Start programs; and expand Early Head Start programs to serve as a hub for coordinating developmental services for low-income children aged 0-3.

What are good indicators of performance and outcomes for comprehensive early childhood systems?

State indicators for early childhood
Columbia University. National Center for Children in Poverty, 01/01/2008
(Project Thrive Short Take No. 7). New York: Columbia University, National Cetner for Children in Poverty. Retrieved June 27, 2008, from http://www.nccp.org/publications/pdf/text_822.pdf

This "short take" describes characteristics of strong indicators and proposes a set of indicators for State Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems (ECCS), drawn from an analysis of other key national indicator sets and a comparative review of state ECCS plans. Good indicators communicate clearly to a wide audience, convey important information about results (as well as associated risks), and are based on timely data, routinely available. Based on these criteria, 36 selected indicators measure overarching outcomes, population-based risks, and outcomes in four broad program areas: health and medical homes, special needs, social-emotional and mental health, and early care and education. No indicators were found for an important fifth area, parenting education and famly support.

How have kindergarten teachers responded to the mandates of No Child Left Behind?

Kindergarten teachers making “street-level” education policy in the wake of No Child Left Behind
Goldstein, Lisa S., 05/01/2008

This article presents findings from a qualitative study examining the instructional decisions of four kindergarten teachers in a Texas school district in response to the requirements of No Child Left Behind (NCLB). The author contends that the teachers serve as ‘street-level’ education policymakers who are interpreting the mandates set forth in NCLB and making their own decisions about curriculum and instruction. The teachers interpret the requirements of their state and school districts based on their professional beliefs and strategic knowledge and create ‘classroom policy’ appropriate to their contexts. In this study the teachers came from high performing schools with principals who were willing to allow the teachers to interpret the content standards and instructional planning guides. The author concludes that these findings support the existing literature that recognizes the importance of teacher autonomy in promoting good teaching and positive student learning. The author acknowledges however, that the study focused on experienced teachers working in high performing schools and therefore more research is needed on the instructional policy-making experiences of kindergarten teachers in low-performing schools.

North Carolina’s More at Four Pre-kindergarten Program deemed a success.

Evaluation of the North Carolina More at Four pre-kindergarten program: Children's longitudinal outcomes and program quality over time (2003-2007)
Peisner-Feinberg, Ellen S., 01/01/2008
Chapel Hill, NC: FPG Child Development Institute. Retrieved July 24, 2008, from http://www.fpg.unc.edu/~mafeval/pdfs/year_6_key_findings.pdf

The evaluation of North Carolina’s More at Four Pre-kindergarten Program, a state-funded program for at-risk children designed to promote their school success, yields positive results regarding the characteristics of this program and its impact on child outcomes in pre kindergarten and kindergarten. Based on monthly service reports, classroom observations and individual child assessments, results suggest that this initiative continues to cater to high risk and high need children and is implemented by a greater number of credentialed teachers. Pre-kindergarten classrooms in this initiative were of higher overall quality than the classrooms attended by children in kindergarten, had higher quality literacy environments, and exposed children to more sensitive interactions with their teachers. Children, particularly those with the greatest need, experienced gains in all outcome areas – language and literacy, math, general knowledge, and behavioral skills. These findings are consistent with those of previous evaluations of this program.

Do pre-k programs that meet high state quality standards promote positive long-term outcomes?

Evaluation of the North Carolina More at Four pre-kindergarten program year 6 report (July 1, 2006-June 30, 2007): Children's longitudinal outcomes and program quality over time (2003-2007)
Peisner-Feinberg, Ellen S., 02/01/2008
Chapel Hill, NC: FPG Child Development Institute. Retrieved May 18, 2008, from http://www.fpg.unc.edu/~mafeval/pdfs/year_6_final_report.pdf

This report from the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina summarizes an evaluation of the state-funded More at Four Pre-Kindergarten Program in North Carolina. More at Four serves at-risk 4-year olds through the provision of high quality, classroom-based, pre-k educational programs. The evaluation examines the quality of the program and its long-term effectiveness through a longitudinal study of two cohorts of children over the pre-k and kindergarten years. The report found that More at Four facilitates significant developmental growth from the program year through the end of kindergarten including improvement in: language and literacy skills; math skills; general knowledge; and behavioral skills. Conversely, problem behaviors showed no change and remained just below the average expected score for children in the same age range.

What is the current status of infants and toddlers in the Child Care and Development Block program?

Infants and toddlers in the Child Care and Development Block Grant program
Matthews, Hannah, 08/04/2008
Washington, DC: Center for Law and Social Policy. Retrieved August 14, 2008, from http://www.clasp.org/publications/ccdbg_infants_and_toddlers_snapshot_final.pdf

The Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) provides funds for child care subsidies for low-income working families and funds to improve child care quality. States are expected to contribute additional funds to those allotted by the federal government, and are given flexibility in designing their own policies and programs. Fiscal year 2006 data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Child Care Bureau show that infants and toddlers represent over a quarter (about 28 percent) of all children receiving CCDBG. There is variation by state in the percent of children receiving CCDBG who are infants and toddlers. Arkansas serves the greatest proportion (55 percent); California serves the smallest share (19 percent). Compared with other infants and toddlers from low-income families, those who receive child care assistance are more likely to be in center-based care. Funds earmarked to improve the quality of infant and toddler care comprise only a small portion of federal and state CCDBG expenditures (about 1 percent), and are used by states for a range of services (e.g., technical assistance, financial incentives, wage supplements, etc.).

Is small group instruction effectively utilized in early childhood classrooms?

When fewer is more: Small groups in early childhood classrooms
Wasik, Barbara A., 06/01/2008

This article presents recommended guidelines for small group management in early childhood settings and highlights potential benefits drawn from research-based best practices. The author suggests that small group instruction can increase the opportunity for quantity and quality interaction with s and children, which may allow for positive cognitive, social, and emotional outcomes in addition to a potential positive influence on language development. Moreover, small groups may provide a greater opportunity for teachers to observe a child’s performance on tasks and interactions with others. The author notes that small group instruction is currently underutilized and improperly implemented and proposes guidelines for integrating small groups into the classroom.

What are the characteristics, services and performance of preschoolers with disabilities?

Changes in the characteristics, services, and performance of preschoolers with disabilities from 2003-04 to 2004-05: Wave 2 overview report from the Pre-Elementary Education Longitudinal Study (PEELS)
Carlson, Elaine, 01/01/2008
(NCSER 2008-3011). Washington, DC: National Center for Special Education Research. Retrieved June 30, 2008, from http://ies.ed.gov/ncser/pdf/20083011.pdf

The Pre- Elementary Education Longitudinal Study (PEELS), a U.S. Department of Education longitudinal study of a nationally representative sample of 3,104 three-to-five year olds with disabilities, conducted direct assessments of children, phone interviews with parents, and mail questionnaires with teachers or service providers. PEELS is the first study to examine the characteristics of this subpopulation, the services received, their into formal schooling, and their academic and adaptive skills performance over time. Findings suggest that most of the preschoolers in the sample are identified as having speech and language impairments. While an important number of children are declassified, that is, no longer eligible for special education services, particularly if they attend small school districts, close to fourth-fifths of the preschoolers in the study remained classified over time. Over one-fifth of children who remained classified had a change in their classification. Speech or language therapy was the most commonly received service, followed by occupational therapy, and assistance by a special educator. Most children receiving services improved in their assessments in letter-word identification, social skills, and motor skills, performing closer to the norm-population average.

How does child care use by low-income families vary across states?

Child care use by low-income families: Variations across states
Lippman, Laura, 06/01/2008
(Publication No. 2008-23). Washington, DC: Child Trends. Retrieved June 2, 2008, from http://www.childtrends.org/Files//Child_Trends-2008_07_02_RB_ChildCareLowIncome.pdf

An analysis of the 2003, 50 state National Survey of Children's Health reveals: the use of nonparental child care among low-income families varies greatly across the states, ranging from 38% in Nevada to 76% in Louisiana; among low-income children in any type of child care arrangement nationwide, 57% are in center-based care and 75% are cared for in a home-based care setting (children can participate in more than one setting); and nationwide 17% of low-income families whose children are in nonparental care experienced job problems due to child care (percentages ranged from 6% in Idaho to 32% in Virginia).

Does the Personal Learning Plan Method used in undergraduate early childhood education courses increase student competencies?

Inquiry-based early childhood teacher preparation: The Personal Learning Plan method
Malone, D. Michael, 06/01/2008

This research presents an evaluation of the Personal Learning Plan (PLP) method used in undergraduate early childhood education courses. D. Michael Malone of the University of Cincinnati summaries PLP as a learner-centered and inquiry-based instruction method that may help promote skills associated with the professional standards, general knowledge, and attitudes concerning children with disabilities and their families. Using formative and summative evaluation tools, research found a general overall satisfaction among undergraduate students with a preference for the PLP method over other approaches. Moreover, the evaluation tools found the PLP method may support student understanding and competence. However, more research is needed to determine the method’s cost-effectiveness.

What is the current status of electronic instruction for early childhood educators?

EC e-learning: A national review of early childhood education distance learning programs
Center for the Child Care Workforce, 01/01/2007
Washington, DC: Center for the Child Care Workforce. Retrieved January 13, 2010, from http://www.ccw.org/storage/ccworkforce/documents/publications/EC_E_Learning.pdf

The study describes a sample of 73 programs that deliver instruction electronically to early childhood educators--through video, audio, computer, and/or multimedia communications. While not exhaustive, the sample represents the present range of distance learning providers and programs. Providers include four-year colleges and universities, two-year colleges, state collaborations, online colleges, for-profit companies, nonprofit organizations, and multi-site education and care providers. Typically offering college-level education, both credit and non-credit, programs offer a range of credentials including degrees, CDAs, and other professional credentials and certificates. The study concludes with a list of strategies programs employ to address the lack of prerequisite academic or technological skills in many early childhood students.

Does the ‘Head-to-Toes’ task provide a direct assessment of children’s behavioral regulation?

Touch your toes! Developing a direct measure of behavioral regulation in early childhood
Ponitz, Claire E. Cameron, 04/01/2008

This study examined the ‘Head-to-Toes Task’ to determine if it was a reliable and valid measure of behavioral regulation (defined as attention, working memory and inhibitory control) and if it was sensitive to developmental, and individual differences. The task required children, aged 3-6 years, to play a game where they had to touch their heads and then touch their toes. The results indicated variability in scores by age with younger children receiving lower scores than older children. In examining child characteristics the results indicated small effect sizes for gender, parent education, being administered the task in Spanish, and membership in a minority group. The authors conclude that the ‘Head-to-Toes’ task is a valid and reliable measure for assessing children’s behavioral regulation.

How does food insecurity impact infant and toddler development?

Nourishing development: A report on food insecurity and the precursors to school readiness among very young children
Children's Sentinel Nutrition Assessment Program, 02/01/2008
Boston: Children's Sentinel Nutrition Assessment Program. Retrieved May 28, 2008, from http://www.c-snap.org/upload/resource/nourishing_development_2_08.pdf

The Children’s Sentinel Nutrition Assessment Program (C-SNAP), a network of pediatric and public health researchers, conducted a study to examine the developmental risk of food insecurity among children aged 4 months to 3 years. While research has demonstrated that food insecurity is linked to various child health problems and results in developmental delays for school-aged children, there is little research on the impacts on children aged 0-3 years. This report finds that underweight infants and toddlers are 166% more likely to be at developmental risk compared to normal weight infants and toddlers. Further, infants and toddlers from food insecure families are 76% more likely to be at developmental risk than those from food secure families. The authors recommend the expansion of funding for various family support programs to prevent food insecurity among low-income families.

Is the Child/Home Environmental Language and Literacy Observation (CHELLO) a valid and reliable new measure for home-based settings?

CHELLO: The Child/Home Environmental Language and Literacy Observation
Neuman, Susan B., 04/01/2008

This study tested the validity and the reliability for the Child/Home Environmental Language and Literacy Observation (CHELLO), a new measure to assess the quality of language and literacy environments in home-based settings, based on the structure of the Early Language and Literacy Classroom Observation (ELLCO). The CHELLO demonstrated content validity and appeared to capture language and literacy practice in these settings. Analysis of the internal consistency of items on both the Literacy Environment Checklist and the Observation tool found moderate to strong correlations, based on administering the CHELLO with 128 home-based providers.

What kinds of challenges do early childhood teachers encounter when working with culturally diverse communities?

Special themed issue on multicultural teacher education in honor of Leslie R. Williams [Special issue]
Ramsey, Patricia G., 04/01/2008

Dedicated to the late journal editor, Leslie Williams, this special issue of the Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education examines her contributions to multicultural early childhood teacher education, addressing specific questions that early childhood teachers often face when working with diverse populations. Kennedy’s qualitative study examines strategies to promote fluency in academic writing in English among linguistically diverse students and suggests that a collaborative, interactive and discursive student-centered methodology significantly improved participants’ writing. Mevorach’s study sheds light on the little cultural awareness evidenced by preschool teachers, as well as on the importance of being culturally aware in order to support and teach children from different cultural backgrounds. uggests that giving preservice early childhood teachers a guided experience with s who are not native speakers of English strengthens teachers’ confidence when working with parents who speak English as a second language. Szente shows that a service learning component with culturally and linguistically diverse children as partial requirement for an introductory level course in early childhood education provides valuable experiences to preservice teachers. Representing a radical departure from existing scholarship on parent involvement, which disregards parents’ knowledge, Doucet’s study reveals parents’ active, purposeful role in their children’s education, as well as their valuable knowledge, which is often ignored by teachers and other professionals.

What does the research tell us about key characteristics of quality after-school programs for preteens?

Putting it all together: Guiding principles for quality after-school programs serving preteens
Metz, Rachel A., 04/01/2008
Philadelphia: Public/Private Ventures. Retrieved May 12, 2008, from http://www.ppv.org/ppv/publications/assets/234_publication.pdf

This resource discusses six guiding principles – focused and intentional strategy; sustained exposure; supportive relationships; family engagement; cultural competence; and continuous program improvement – that, according to recent research, should inform after-school programming for preteens. These principles were selected because of their documented relation to positive emotional and behavioral health outcomes and the feasibility of their implementation at a program level. After-school programs for preteens are particularly important because youth at this age need environments that help them develop long term healthy behaviors. Thus programs must draw on youth development strategies to provide engaging and attractive academic, recreational and/or enrichment activities.

What are the experiences of providers caring for children in the subsidy system?

Child care voucher programs: Provider experiences in five counties
Adams, Gina, 01/01/2008
Washington, DC: Urban Institute. Retrieved May 20, 2008, from http://www.urban.org/UploadedPDF/411667_provider_experiences.pdf

This study-- conducted by the Urban Institute and funded by the Child Care Bureau and the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (OPRE)—surveyed 407 licensed centers and 534 family child care providers across 5 counties in 4 states caring for children receiving subsidies, and interviewed administrators, experts, staff, and individual providers to explore providers' experiences with the child care subsidy system. Findings from the study include: a majority of centers across the sites care for children receiving subsidies, and caring for these children helped centers fill their slots; subsidies were usually a reliable source of revenue; many providers thought the subsidy rates were comparable to what they would receive from private-pay parents but believed that rates overall were too low; and while many providers had good experiences with the subsidy agency and policies, they experienced some challenges. Also see companion studies on Child Care Vouchers and Unregulated Family, Friend, and Neighbor Care and on Child Care Centers, Child Care Vouchers, and Faith-Based Organizations.

How have states expanded and enhanced Early Head Start services?

Building on the promise: State initiatives to expand access to Early Head Start for young children and their families
Schumacher, Rachel, 04/01/2008
Washington, DC: Center for Law and Social Policy. Retrieved May 9, 2008, from http://www.clasp.org/publications/building_on_the_promise_ehs.pdf

The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) and Zero To Three interviewed state leaders and found that 20 states have expanded and enhanced federal Early Head Start (EHS) services. States implemented one or more of the following approaches: extending the day/year of EHS services; expanding the capacity of existing EHS programs to serve a greater number of children and pregnant women; helping child care providers meet EHS standards; and supporting EHS partnerships with center-based and home-based providers to improve the quality of care.

What approaches encourage children's tolerance and respect for diversity?

Promoting tolerance and respect for diversity in early childhood: Toward a research and practice agenda: A view from the field
Romero, Mariajose, 05/01/2008
New York: Columbia University, National Center for Children in Poverty. Retrieved May 16, 2008, from http://www.nccp.org/publications/pdf/text_814.pdf

Profiles of 40 organizations dedicated to promoting diversity, tolerance, and respect for diversity (DTRD) among children from birth to ten years of age, supplemented by interviews with representatives of 10 of the organizations, reveal a wide range of approaches to DTRD education across the country. Most work with teachers or caregivers; some also work with parents and children; none work directly with children under 6. Despite much variation, all share an appreciation for differences within--not simply between--social groups. The companion Report of a Meeting of DTRD researchers, policymakers, evaluators, practitioners, and funders outlines next steps in research, policy, and practice needed to incorporate perspectives from the field into the U.S. early childhood agenda.

What distinguishes effective after-school programs?

Improving after-school programs in a climate of accountability
Society for Research in Child Development, 01/01/2008
Social Policy Report Brief, 22(2). Retrieved April 18, 2008, from http://www.srcd.org/documents/policy/sprbrief_afterschool_programs.pdf (no longer accessible as of September 18, 2013)

This brief developed by the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) summarizes a longer report entitled After-School Programs and Academics: Implications for Policy, Practice, and Research by Robert Granger of the William T. Grant Foundation. This study found the same research that shows high quality after-school programs can lead to positive academic, social, and emotional outcomes also reveals that many conventional after-school programs do not produce these results. Observational research suggests that the most effective after-school programs feature long-term projects, use their communities as a resource, are largely driven by their students, focus on interactions between and among staff and students, develop their staff, and have explicit goals. Research-supported intervention strategies are needed to improve programs' success.

New Child Care and Development Fund Report (CCDF) to Congress for FY 2004 and FY 2005

Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) report to Congress for FY 2004 and FY 2005
United States. Child Care Bureau,
Washington, DC: U.S. Child Care Bureau. Retrieved April 16, 2008, from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ccb/ccdf/rtc/rtc2004/rtc_2004_2005.pdf

This report summarizes and analyzes information on the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) for Fiscal Years 2004 and 2005. In both years, over $11 billion was available for child care through CCDF and other federal and state sources. Approximately 2.4 million children were served each month with these combined funds. Data were drawn from: biennial State plans for FY 2004 and FY 2005; State CCDF expenditure reports for FY 2004 and FY 2005; and administrative data about the families and children receiving CCDF services in both years. The report also describes the Child Care Bureau’s research and technical assistance efforts in these years.

The state of preschool 2007: State preschool yearbook

The state of preschool 2007: State preschool yearbook
Barnett, W. Steven, 01/01/2007
New Brunswick, NJ: National Institute for Early Education Research. Retrieved August 8, 2012, from http://nieer.org/sites/nieer/files/2007yearbook.pdf

The National Institute for Early Education Research's (NIEER) annual review of access, quality, and resources in state-funded preschool programs for the 2006-2007 program year found that average state spending per child rose; over a million children attended state-funded pre-k; access for three-year olds rose; and several states improved their quality standards based on NIEER's Quality Standards Checklist. Large disparities ,however, persist between state programs.

How do tribal CCDF grantees learn about child care market rates in tribal areas?

Tribal child care and development fund grantees: Market rate surveys and other child care practices and policies
Weber, Roberta B. (Bobbie), 08/01/2007
(Child care policy research brief). Corvallis: Oregon State University Family Policy Program. Retrieved August 14, 2013 from http://health.oregonstate.edu/sites/default/files/sbhs/pdf/tribal-brief-final.pdf

In federal fiscal year 2005, 261 tribes or tribal consortia served 22,677 children with tribal CCDF dollars. 239 (92%) of these tribal grantees responded to a survey about their child care and market rate survey practices. Only 12% of tribes reported conducting their own child care market rate surveys, while 70% used survey results from the states in which they were located and 18% used other data sources. Almost two-thirds of tribal grantees had their own reservations and half operated a tribal child care center--characteristics that were significantly associated with conducting a market rate survey. High proportions of child care costs covered by tribal and federal funds present challenges to tribes and states surveying market rates in tribal areas, where few facilities may operate in an open market.

What familial factors are associated with the use of multiple child care arrangements?

Familial factors associated with the use of multiple child-care arrangements
Morrissey, Taryn, 05/01/2008

The use of multiple child care arrangements by a sample of 759 families with children under 5 with employed mothers from the NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development was examined. Children more likely to be in multiple arrangements were: pre-school age children, those primarily in informal care, those living in cohabitating or single-parent households, those whose mothers were employed for 40 hours or fewer per week, those whose mothers who were less satisfied with their child’s primary child care arrangement, and children in a higher quality primary arrangement. Family income level did not have a significant association to multiple arrangements.

How can playing number board and card games help pre-schoolers develop basic numeric skills?

Number games, magnitude representation, and basic number skills in preschoolers
Whyte, Jemma Catherine, 03/01/2008
Developmental Psychology, 44(2), 588-596

This experiment compared effects on development of basic numeric skills in pre-school age children of playing a linear number board game, a non-linear number card game, or a linear color board game. Forty-five children, mean age 3.8 years, from four nursery school classes in Aberdeen, Scotland were randomly assigned to play one of the three games, each specially designed for the experiment. Children assigned to the linear number board game showed improvement in all areas tested: counting, number naming, understanding of magnitude, and estimating on a number line--pointing to the importance of spacial cues in estimation. Those in the non-linear number card game improved in all areas except estimation. Those playing the linear color board game showed no significant improvements in these skills.

How can after-school programs improve students’ academic achievement?

What matters, what works: Advancing achievement after school
James Irvine Foundation, 02/01/2008
San Francisco: James Irvine Foundation. Retrieved February 11, 2008, from http://www.irvine.org/assets/pdf/pubs/evaluation/WhatMatters_Insight.pdf

This brief highlights key findings from an independent evaluation of the Communities Organizing Resources to Advance Learning (CORAL) after-school programs in California and is based on a full report entitled Advancing Achievement: Findings from an Independent Evaluation of a Major After-School Initiative. The evaluation found: a positive relationship between children’s reading success and high-quality literacy programs; a child’s sense of belonging to an after-school program may encourage positive attitudes towards learning and school; English language learners may benefit from after-school programs as much as their English proficient peers; high attendance at after school programs is possible; overall satisfaction with CORAL’s program among both students and parents; and CORAL’s program costs were similar to other after-school programs. Data were collected from a variety of sources between 2004 and 2006.

New Census Bureau findings on child care arrangements.

Who's minding the kids?: Child care arrangements: Spring 2005/Summer 2006
Laughlin, Lynda L., 08/01/2010
(Current Population Reports, P70-121). Washington, DC: U.S. Bureau of the Census. Retrieved August 25, 2010, from http://www.census.gov/prod/2010pubs/p70-121.pdf

These detailed tables from the Census Bureau show child care arrangements and costs for children under15 years old in the United States in the spring of 2005, based on data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) 2004 panel. Highlights include data showing that nearly half of preschoolers are cared for by relatives.

How successful were Head Start programs in implementing an obesity prevention program enhancement?

Results from the "I Am Moving, I Am Learning" stage 1 survey: Final interim report
United States. Administration for Children and Families. Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, 10/25/2007
Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved March 14, 2008, from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre/hs/eval_move_learn/reports/stage1_survey/stage1_survey.pdf

An implementation evaluation of the "I Am Moving, I Am Learning" (IM/IL) obesity prevention program enhancement was conducted with 53 Head Start programs. A survey of staff who participated in the program training showed that nearly all of the Head Start programs (96%) implemented the curriculum; programs implemented more enhancements related to physcial activity than nutrition; and almost half the Head Start programs considered themselves successful in implementing IM/IL.

How does access to early childhood learning programs differ between rural and urban settings?

Assessing capacity: Early childhood education in rural New York State [Draft]
Sipple, John W., 12/01/2007
Ithaca, NY: Cornell University, Community and Rural Development Institute. Retrieved March 14, 2008, from http://devsoc.cals.cornell.edu/cals/devsoc/outreach/cardi/publications/upload/01-2008-reference1.pdf

This study from Cornell University examines the complex early education and care system in New York state, with a focus on rural communities. Its findings suggest: availability of center-based care for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers is greater for more affluent and more educated populations, and in school districts with higher test scores; state regulated family child care and state-sponsored pre-kindergarten programs are more common for less affluent and less educated populations, and in school districts with lower test scores; and rural school districts with poorer populations and a shortage of space per student appear to offer fewer state funded pre-kindergarten programs. Data are drawn from NY State Education Department, NY State Office of Children and Families Services and U.S. Census.

What positive outcomes can after school programs achieve and how?

After school programs in the 21st century: Their potential and what it takes to achieve it
Little, Priscilla, 02/01/2008
(Issues and Opportunities in Out-of-School Time Evaluation No. 10). Cambridge, MA: Harvard Family Research Project. Retrieved February 29, 2008, from http://www.gse.harvard.edu/hfrp/content/projects/afterschool/resources/issuebrief10/issuebrief10.pdf

Reviewing 10 years of experimental and quasi-experimental evaluation and research on a range of after school programs, the Harvard Family Research Project found ample evidence that program participation can improve children's academic, social/emotional, and health and wellness outcomes, as well as help prevent criminal, drug, and sexual activities. Not all programs achieve positive outcomes. Those that do are distinguished by sustained participation, quality programming--structured, supervised, intentional, and led by well-prepared staff--and partnerships with families, schools, and other community organizations. A Research Companion matrix accompanying the report displays findings from all the studies cited.

Detailed report summarizes state and territory Child Care and Development Fund plans

Child Care and Development Fund: Report of state and territory plans FY 2006-2007
United States. Child Care Bureau,
Washington, DC: U.S. Child Care Bureau. Retrieved February 11, 2008, from the National Child Care Information Center Web site: http://nccic.acf.hhs.gov/pubs/stateplan2006-07/stateplan.pdf (no longer accessible since February 12, 2012)

This report summarizes states' and territories' plans to implement their Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) block grants from October 2005 through September 2007. Sections describe various approaches lead CCDF agencies take to administration, consulting/coordinating with other agencies, child care services offered, application and other parent processes, activities to improve child care quality and availability, health and saftery requirements for child care providers. Special sections detail strategies to create and implement early learning guidelines and to reduce improper payments.

Do children spend too much time in out-of-school activities?

The over-scheduling myth
Mahoney, Joseph L., 02/01/2008
(Publication No. 2008-12). Washington, DC: Child Trends. Retrieved February 29, 2008, from http://www.childtrends.org/Files//Child_Trends-2008_02_27_Myth.pdf

This brief highlights research showing that fewer than one in ten children can be considered "over-scheduled" with out-of-school activities, while about 40 percent of children do not participate in any organized out-of-school activities. It also discusses children's motivations for participating in out-of-school activities and the positive outcomes associated with their involvement. For high-risk children, lack of participation in out-of-school activities contributes to poor outcomes.

How can preschool education alleviate challenging behaviors?

Challenging behaviors and the role of preschool education
McCabe, Lisa A., 12/01/2007
(Preschool Policy Brief Issue 16). New Brunswick, NJ: National Institute for Early Education Research. Retrieved February 11, 2008, from http://nieer.org/resources/policybriefs/16.pdf

This policy brief balances a review of research on associations between participation in child care and early education and challenging behaviors with a summary of research showing how appropriate preschool education can reduce children's risk of developing these behaviors. Effective, research-based preschool social skills curricula are discussed and their commonalities identified: Incredible Years Teacher Training Program; Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies (PATHS); Positive Behavior Support; Second Step; Self Determination Intervention; and Social-Emotional Intervention for At-Risk 4-Year-Olds. This brief calls for development of more high quality early care and education programs that attend to the social-emotional needs of young children.

Do Head Start’s benefits to society outweigh its financial costs?

Head Start's benefits likely outweigh program costs
Society for Research in Child Development, 01/01/2007
Social Policy Report Brief, 21(3). Retrieved February 29, 2008, from http://www.srcd.org/documents/policy/sprbrief_early_childhood_education.pdf

This brief from the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) summarizes a longer report entitled The Benefits and Costs of Head Start by Jens Ludwig of the University of Chicago and Deborah Phillips of Georgetown University. The authors argue that benefit-cost analysis is a more appropriate method for measuring the success of social programs than other benchmarks. Their review of Head Start research suggests that even small, short-term educational benefits can generate larger, long-term economic and other benefits that outweigh the program’s costs.

What strategies have state and local subsidy agencies developed to support parents in the subsidy process?

Designing subsidy systems to meet the needs of families: An overview of policy research findings
Adams, Gina, 01/01/2008
Washington, DC: The Urban Institute. Retrieved February 5, 2008, from http://www.urban.org/UploadedPDF/411611_subsidy_system.pdf

This synthesis of several Urban Institute reports highlights the ways state and local subsidy agencies support parents in the subsidy process. Strategies reported mostly by state subsidy administrators and other experts are organized into overall service delivery, simplifying application and redetermination procedures, and assisting parents through changes in their circumstances. Suggested steps for subsidy agencies to improve subsidy access and retention are also included.

Does infant temperament influence the effect of parenting styles on child outcomes in first grade?

Infant temperament moderates relations between maternal parenting in early childhood and children’s adjustment in first grade
Stright, Anne D., 01/01/2008
Child Development, 79(1), 186-200

The study examined whether the effects of parenting styles on child outcomes depend on infants’ temperament, analyzing data from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Study of Early Child Care, in which observations of mothers’ parenting style and children’s development were conducted at six different times from infancy to first grade. The study found that children who experienced emotional and autonomy support from their parents had greater academic competence, better social skills, and better relationships with teachers and peers in first grade, than children experiencing poor quality parenting. Additionally, the effect of maternal parenting on first-grade adjustment was stronger for children who had difficult temperaments as infants--those who were prone to negative emotional expression, low adaptability, high activity, and low emotional regulation.

Does supporting dual language acquisition facilitate later English proficiency among young English language learners?

Challenging common myths about young English language learners
Espinosa, Linda M., 01/01/2008
(FCD Policy Brief Advancing PK-3 No. 8). New York: Foundation for Child Development. Retrieved April 11, 2011, from http://www.fcd-us.org/sites/default/files/MythsOfTeachingELLsEspinosa.pdf

This brief reviews research from a variety of disciplines on dual language development and the impact of different educational approaches on English Language Learners (ELL) ages 3 to 8 years. Contrary to popular belief, research provides strong backing to the benefits of promoting and supporting dual language acquisition among ELL children. In fact, existing research shows the detrimental consequences of transitioning young ELL children into English before they have mastered their first language; children in English-only classrooms or transitioned to English instruction before demonstrating proficiency in their own language seldom achieve levels of English fluency as high as those who have the opportunity to learn both languages. The brief discusses the need for programs to adapt and respond to the needs of ELL children, particularly as they vary in terms of home language, social and economic resources, age, and home language fluency, among others.

Do neighborhood and family risk affect children's use of their time outside school?

Family and neighborhood risks: How they relate to involvement in out-of-school time activities
Moore, Kristin A., 02/01/2008
(Publication No. 2008-06). Washington, DC: Child Trends. Retrieved February 6, 2008, from http://www.childtrends.org/Files//Child_Trends-2008_02_05_Risks.pdf

This fact sheet reports the findings of a study of the impact of family and neighborhood risks on participation of 6-to-17 year olds in out-of-school time activities, based on data from the National Survey of Children’s Health. While results suggest that both types of risks are related to children’s involvement in out-of-school time programs, children in high-risk families are the least likely to engage in these, regardless of the extent of risk in their neighborhoods.

How can preschoolers be effectively screened for socio-emotional problems?

Preschoolers benefit from mental health screening
FPG Child Development Institute, 01/01/2008
(FPG Snapshot No. 50). Chapel Hill, NC: FPG Child Development Institute. Retrieved February 6, 2008, from http://www.fpg.unc.edu/%7Esnapshots/snap50.pdf

A study by the Frank Porter Graham Child Development institute indicates that preschoolers can benefit from an inexpensive mental health screening tool. The tool, ABLE, was developed by Dr. Oscar Barbarin and is designed to identify children with self-regulation problems. The screening tool has two levels. The first asks parents and teachers about concerns they have related to a child’s attention, behavior, language and emotions in early childhood settings. If a serious concern is identified, the second level provides a scale to enable teaching staff to make the case for intervention. Used in the Multi-State Study of Quality of Public Pre-K programs and the Pre-K Mental Health Screening Study, ABLE was found to be a valid and reliable instrument for use in preschool screening of children at risk of socio-emotional problems. The complete findings are published in the journal article titled ‘Mental health screening of preschool children: Validity and reliability of ABLE’.

Why is it important to address maternal depression in promoting children's school readiness?

Reducing maternal depression and its impact on young children: Toward a responsive early childhood policy framework
Knitzer, Jane, 01/01/2008
(Project THRIVE Issue Brief No. 2). New York: Columbia University, National Center for Children in Poverty. Retrieved January 31, 2008, from http://www.nccp.org/publications/pdf/text_791.pdf

This policy brief highlights how widespread maternal depression is, especially among low-income women; how maternal depression, alone or in combination with other risk factors, can have a negative, often unrecognized impact on children's school readiness; and that family-focused approaches to treating maternal depression, initiated in doctors' offices and early childhood programs may be effective strategies. Examples of such initiatives, as well as state efforts to reduce maternal depression, are discussed.

How do maternal and family risks relate to early school absenteeism?

The influence of maternal and family risk on chronic absenteeism in early schooling
Romero, Mariajose, 01/01/2008
New York: Columbia University, National Center for Children in Poverty. Retrieved January 31, 2008, from http://www.nccp.org/publications/pdf/text_792.pdf

Using data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, the National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP) examines the prevalence of risk factors associated with negative impacts on a child’s development and success in early schooling. Risk factors include: poverty, teenage and/or single parenting, low levels of maternal education, receipt of welfare, unemployment, poor maternal health, food insecurity, and large family size. This report suggests that maternal and family risks are positively correlated to a student’s absences from early schooling, which are known to affect learning negatively. Moreover, cumulative exposure to risk factors may predict chronic absence in early schooling. Additional findings include: kindergarteners with three or more risks generally miss more days of school than their peers with zero risks; the impact of cumulative risk on school attendance generally lessens as a child proceeds through elementary school; and students identified as the most vulnerable tend to have the greatest exposure to cumulative risk.

How does neighborhood disadvantage translate into poor outcomes for children?

Neighborhood disadvantage: Pathways of effects for young children
Kohen, Dafna E., 01/01/2008
Child Development, 79(1), 156-169

Based on the Canadian National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth (NLSCY), a national, longitudinal study of children from birth to 11 years of age, this report examines the mechanisms by which the socio-economic status of neighborhoods affects the verbal ability and behavior problems of four-and five-year olds. The study suggests that disadvantaged neighborhoods have little cohesion, which in turn is associated with poor family functioning and high maternal depression, both charactertistics that result in less consistent and more punitive parenting, as well as little literacy stimulation, all of which impact on verbal ability and behavior problems.

How do the economic benefits of early care and education overall compare with those of prekindergarten alone?

Why early care and education deserves as much attention, or more, than prekindergarten alone
Morrissey, Taryn, 01/01/2007

The authors review research on the economic impacts of early care and education for children of all ages and of prekindergarten programs for children ages 3 and 4. Taking an ecological perspective, they compare impacts of the two approaches on regional economies (macrosystems), parents' lifes (exosystems), and children's development (microsystems). Based on their analysis of findings in all three realms, they conclude that investments in early care and education broadly conceived yield greater economic benefits than investments in prekindergarten alone. They call for comprehensive early care and education policies, of which prekindergarten is an important part.

What is the influence of classroom behavior problems on preschool readiness outcomes for Head Start children?

An investigation of classroom situational dimensions of emotional and behavioral adjustment and cognitive and social outcomes for Head Start children
Bulotsky-Shearer, Rebecca J., 01/01/2008
Developmental Psychology, 44(1), 139-154

This paper describes findings from two studies that examine the influence of two types of behavior problems (child-level and classroom situational) on a set of preschool readiness outcomes for low-income preschool children. The first study identifies three situational dimensions associated with preschool emotional and behavioral problems: structured learning, peer interaction, and teacher interactions. The findings revealed that younger children and boys experienced the greatest difficulties across all three situations. The second study investigates the relationship between the three situational dimensions and a set of school readiness outcomes. Findings indicated that children who experienced early situational difficulties had lower social and classroom learning outcomes. The authors suggest that in practice using situational dimensions along with child behavioral dimensions may provide a more comprehensive understanding for developing appropriate interventions.

Does quality of infant care differ in diverse non-parental settings?

The quality of different types of child care at 10 and 18 months: A comparison between types and factors related to quality
Leach, Penelope, 02/01/2008
Early Child Development and Care, 178(2), 177-209

A study in England compared quality of care in four non-parental settings for 307 infants at 10 months old and 331 infants at 18 months old: familial home-based care (grandparent or relative); non-familial home-based care in the child’s home (nanny); non-familial home-based care in another home (child-minder); and nursery settings. Among the study’s findings: observed quality was generally comparable in the three home-based settings and lower in nurseries, cost and the quality of care were generally unassociated, and mothers’ satisfaction was positively related to quality for home-based child care though not for nurseries.

How do structural and process features of quality compare across child care types?

Structural and process features in three types of child care for children from high and low income families
Dowsett, Chantelle J., 01/01/2008
Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 23(1), 69-93

Observation data from the NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development were used to compare structural and process features of quality for children age 2, 3, and 4.5 years in center-based care, family child care, and relative care. Across age groups, centers had the highest child:adult ratios and the biggest group sizes, as well as better educated and more well trained caregivers. Children in centers also experienced more cognitive stimulation and less television viewing, but also fewer language interactions with adults. At age 2, global quality ratings were highest for relative care, but centers had the highest global quality ratings for children at age 4.5.

How does child care type relate to parents’ missed work and job exits?

Child care and work absences: Trade-offs by type of care
Gordon, Rachel A., 02/01/2008
Journal of Marriage and Family, 70(1), 239-254

Based on data from the NICHD Study of Early Child Care, which followed children in nine states from birth through three years of age, this study examined how child illness and child care provider unavailability affect maternal employment, depending on the type of child care used. Mothers relying on large care settings, particularly centers and family child care, miss work most often because of child illness but are less likely to exit employment for this reason; whereas those using small providers, particularly nonrelatives, more often skip work because of provider unreliability. Among the latter group, low-income mothers in these circumstances are more likely to quit their jobs.

What is early mathematics education and how can it be promoted?

Mathematics education for young children: What it is and how to promote it
Ginsburg, Herbert P., 01/01/2008

This research discussion shows that children have a greater capapcity for early mathematical learning than previously assumed. Young children's mathematical thinking can include numbers and operations, shape, space, measurement, pattern, and sometimes even abstract understanding. An organized curriculum should be an essential part of early childhood mathematical education. To become more comfortable with math education, teachers need training and support to implement curricula and to help enhance the school readiness of young children, particularly from families with low social and economic status.

What questions should we ask next about relationships between teacher preparation and outcomes for pre-kindergarten children?

Teacher education and PK outcomes: Are we asking the right questions?
Bogard, Kimber, 01/01/2008
Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 23(1), 1-6

Recent studies finding no consistent relationships between teacher degrees, majors, or certifications and the cognitive outcomes for children in public pre-kindergarten programs raise crucial new policy-relevant research questions. First, in examining relationships between these teacher factors and student outcomes, reseachers need to take the many variations in pre-service course work, student teaching, and state certification requirements into account. It is also essential to examine what teachers know and observe what they do in their classrooms. In addition to measuring children's pre-academic outcomes, it is also important to measure the social and emotional development that underlies their learning, and to measure outcomes throughout their early elementary years, not simply over the course of their pre-kindergarten year.

What strategies support successful operation of pre-kindergarten programs in child care centers?

A center piece of the preK puzzle: Providing state prekindergarten in child care centers
Schulman, Karen, 11/01/2007
Washington, DC: National Women's Law Center. Retrieved December 12, 2007, from http://www.developingchild.net/pubs/sb/pdf/Early_Child_Care.pdf

One-third of children receiving state pre-kindergarten services are in community settings outside public schools--primarily child care centers and Head Start programs. Based on interviews in 14 states with directors of child care centers that operate publicly supported pre-kindergarten programs, the report examines challenges involved, strategies to address them, and overall impacts of pre-kindergarten on centers. Financial issues include implications of different funding mechanisms (from school districts, the state, or local councils), funding levels, and policies around blending pre-kindergarten and child care funds. Personnel challenges include recruiting, retaining, and educating qualified staff, often in competition with schools. The directors also report on maintaining collaborative relationships with school districts, implementing curriculum and child assessment requirements, and working with local planning councils.

What is the quality of language and literacy instruction in at-risk preschool classrooms?

Quality of language and literacy instruction in preschool classrooms serving at-risk pupils
Justice, Laura M., 01/01/2008
Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 23(1), 51-68

A study of the quality of language and literacy instruction in 135 publicly funded preschool classrooms serving at-risk children found the quality of instruction low, with few teachers using evidence-based strategies associated with accelerated language development. Moreover, few structural characteristics of teachers or classrooms were associated with the quality of instruction. Lastly, while teachers adhered closely to the implementation of the language and literacy curriculum this was not associated with quality of instruction. The authors discuss the implications of these findings for the professional development of teachers.

Can high-quality afterschool programs improve academic and behavioral outcomes for low-income students?

Outcomes linked to high-quality afterschool programs: Longitudinal findings from the Study of Promising Afterschool Programs
Vandell, Deborah L., 10/01/2007
Irvine: University of California, Irvine, Department of Education. Retrieved january 13, 2010, from http://www.gse.uci.edu/childcare/pdf/afterschool/PP%20Longitudinal%20Findings%20Final%20Report.pdf

A two year study that followed close to 3,000 low-income ethnically diverse elementary and middle school students from eight states found that regular participation in high quality afterschool programs was associated with increases in standardized test scores and reductions in behavior problems. In contrast occasional participation in unstructured extra-curricula activities coupled with low levels of supervision was associated with developmental risks.

Are the effects of early maternal and nonmaternal child care on child outcomes independent from family and social contexts?

Nonmaternal care in infancy and emotional/behavioral difficulties at 4 years old: moderation by family risk characteristics
Cote, Sylvana, 01/01/2008
Developmental Psychology, 28(2), 155-168

Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth, which followed Canadian children from birth through four years of age, this study examines whether the impact of nonmaternal care during the first year of life on emotional problems and physical aggression prior to entering formal schooling may differ depending on family and child characteristics, particularly risk exposure, child temperament, and sex. Results suggest that among children from low-risk families, those cared for by mothers exhibited less physical aggression at four years of age than those cared for by others. Similar results were obtained regarding emotional problems, but only for girls. Findings may be limited to the Canadian context where, as a result of 6–12 months paid parental leave policies at the birth of a child, the overwhelming majority of mothers chose maternal care.

Does enrollment in state-funded pre-Kindergarten programs increase children’s academic and social-behavioral skills at kindergarten entry?

Ready to learn?: Children's pre-academic achievement in pre-kindergarten programs
Howes, Carollee, 02/01/2008

This study drew on data from the National Center for Early Development and Learning Multi-State Study of Pre-Kindergarten and the State-Wide Early Education Programs Study and examined nearly 3,000 children from 700 randomly selected state-funded pre-Kindergarten classrooms in eleven states. The study found that children in the pre-K programs made small but significant gains on standardized measures of language, literacy and math from the fall to the spring of their pre-K year. Additionally, growth in children’s academic skills and behaviors was related to the quality of classroom instruction and not to structural features.

How do employment issues and working environments for subsidized and non-subsidized home-based child care providers compare?

Family home childcare providers: A comparison of subsidized and non-subsidized working environments and employee issues
Shriner, Michael, 02/01/2008
Early Child Development and Care, 178(2), 165-176

548 registered home-based childcare providers in a large southeastern state completed a survey on their experience as a home-based provider. The study found that non-subsidized providers reported being a provider for significantly longer periods of time, had higher incomes, and provided less evening and weekend care than providers caring for children receiving subsidies. Both subsidized and non-subsidized providers had similar levels of educational attainment, and subsidized providers were more aware of both national accreditation programs and of the child development associate credential for family child care providers.

Brief sounds alarm on prevalence of prekindergarten expulsion

Implementing policies to reduce the likelihood of preschool expulsion
Gilliam, Walter S., 01/01/2008
(FCD Policy Brief Advancing PK-3 No. 7). New York: Foundation for Child Development. Retrieved January 17, 2013, from http://fcd-us.org/sites/default/files/ExpulsionBriefImplementingPolicies.pdf

Based on findings from the National Prekindergarten Study, this policy brief sounds the alarm on the prevalence and predictors of expulsion from prekindergarten (PK). A severe form of dealing with children’s challenging behaviors in early education settings, expulsion in PK is most frequent among older children, African Americans, and boys, and disturbingly more common in state-funded PK programs than in K-12 grade classrooms. Less than one-fifth of states in the U.S. requires any documentation of the expulsion, and only four states demand that agencies give any assistance to the expelled preschooler. PK expulsion rates appear to be higher in classrooms with a large number of students, high teacher/student ratios, and long school days, as well as when teachers suffer job stress and depression. Recommendations address alternatives to expulsion, specifically the availability of early childhood mental health consultation, and steps to improve the working conditions of early childhood teachers, among others.

What is the impact of the New York State Universal Pre-Kindergarten (UPK) program on centers that do not receive UPK funds?

Implementing New York's universal pre-kindergarten program: An exploratory story of systemic impacts
Morrissey, Taryn, 01/01/2007
Early Education and Development, 18(4), 573-596

This study examines the effects that the New York State Universal Pre-Kindergarten (UPK) program has on New York community-based early care and education centers that do not receive UPK funds. The study focuses on impacts on enrollment, teacher recruitment and retention. Phone interviews were conducted with directors of community-based early care and education centers state-wide that currently do not receive UPK funds. Quantitative and qualitative descriptive data suggest that 4-year-old and total enrollment has decreased in non-UPK programs since the introduction of New York’s UPK program. Additionally, data reveal challenges to teacher recruitment and retention have increased for non-UPK programs.

How are relationships among schools, parents, and child care changing in Western Europe and the United States?

Scrutinizing the balance: Parental care versus educational responsibilities in a changing society
Smit, Frederik, 01/01/2008
Early Child Development and Care, 178(1), 65-80

Two complementary international comparative studies--a literature review and a survey of European and Amercan experts--examined changing relationships among schools, parents, and child care in eight countries: the Netherlands, Belgium (Flanders), Germany, England, France, Sweden, and the United States. Across these countries, the studies found schools' educational tasks and parents' parental tasks increasingly intertwined--particularly as early care and education services have expanded. In most countires, they found need for stronger coordination among schools, care facilities, parents, and communities, as well as recent initiatives to improve coordination.

What was Child Care and Development Block Grant participation during 2006?

Child Care and Development Block Grant participation in 2006
Matthews, Hannah, 08/08/2008
Washington, DC: Center for Law and Social Policy. Retrieved August 14, 2008, from http://www.clasp.org/publications/ccdbgparticipation_2006.pdf

Preliminary estimates from the 2006 administrative data for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) show that the number of children receiving CCDBG assistance slightly increased in 2006; the majority of children (57%) who received assistance were in center–based care; and in 2006 the majority (92%) of families receiving CCDF assistance were employed or in a training program.

New compendium describes measures of quality in early care and education settings

Quality in early childhood care and education settings: A compendium of measures
United States. Administration for Children and Families. Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, 11/01/2007
Washington, DC: Child Trends.

This compendium reviews measures of the quality of early care and education settings to provide comparable information one existing measures that may be useful to researchers, practitioners, and policymakers. Measures were included if they were used in early care and education settings; had information on their psychometric properties; and were available for use. Profiles describe the purpose of the measure; the population and setting for which they are intended; procedures for administration; psychometric properties; as well as underlying constructs and scoring.

Do early care and education practitioners and policymakers agree on the knowledge and skills preschool teachers should possess?

Differing discourses on early childhood teacher development
Lobman, Carrie, 10/01/2007
Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education, 28(4), 367-380

Researchers at Rutgers University Graduate School of Education found differences between early education practitioners’ perspectives on teacher preparation and current policy standards. Preschool teachers, professional development providers, and representatives of two and four-year colleges (involved in NJ's P-3 certification program) across the state of New Jersey participated in focus groups, in which they stressed knowledge of developmentally appropriate practice as the most essential knowledge for preschool teachers as well as emotional aspects of caring (i.e. that the teacher love/like being with children are also important. Few stressed curriculum or content knowledge (except literacy) or knowledge of diversity.

How are local school districts using Title I funds for early childhood education?

Title I and early childhood programs: A look at investments in the NCLB era
Ewen, Danielle, 10/01/2007
(Child Care and Early Education Series Paper No. 2). Washington, DC: Center for Law and Social Policy. Retrieved October 10, 2007, from http://clasp.org/publications/ccee_paper2.pdf

Nearly half a million low-income children receive early childhood education services through local school districts, funded by Title I of the No Child Left Behind Act. Based on interviews with early education and Title I administrators in 30 school districts across the county, this report describes an array of district models for using this source of early childhood funding. Capitalizing on the flexibility of Title I funds, districts often use them in partnership with other early childhood funding to add services or to expand program hours or number of children served.

What are the economic and social benefits of prekindergarten investments?

Enriching children, enriching the nation [Individual state fact sheets]
Lynch, Robert G., 07/01/2007
Washington, DC: Economic Policy Institute. Retrieved July 17, 2007, from http://www.epi.org/books/enriching/states/all-states.pdf

These state fact sheets are based on 'Enriching Children, Enriching the Nation,' an analysis by the Economic Policy Institute. Across the 50 states, the Institute estimates that providing a voluntary, high-quality, publicly funded prekindergarten education targeted to serve the poorest 25 percent of three- and four-year-old children, would generate rapidly growing annual benefits that would surpass the annual costs of the program within six years, and by the year 2050 annual benefits to society would exceed the costs of the program by a ratio of 12 to 1. The Institute estimates that a voluntary, high-quality, publicly funded, universal prekindergarten education program serving all three- and four-year-olds would produce even greater annual budgetary, earnings, and crime benefits than would a targeted program.

What center-based teacher characteristics and supports are linked to quality care and teachers' intention to remain in the field?

Teacher education, motivation, compensation, workplace support, and links to quality of center-based child care and teachers’ intention to stay in the early childhood profession
Torquati, Julia C., 04/01/2007
Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 22(2), 261-275

A study conducted by the Midwest Child Care Research Consortium examining the career choices of center-based providers in four states showed that providers having a CDA, specific coursework or training in early childhood, or better compensation predicted higher observed quality. While years of education were linked to better compensation, they were not significantly associated with better quality. Moreover, a provider’s compensation did not predict intention to stay in the field.

What are implications of the growing number of English Language Learners in U.S. schools?

Assessment considerations for young English language learners across different levels of accountability
Espinosa, Linda M., 08/11/2007
Philadelphia: National Early Childhood Accountability Task Force. Retrieved November 30, 2007, from http://www.pewtrusts.org/uploadedFiles/wwwpewtrustsorg/Reports/Pre-k_education/Assessment%20for%20Young%20ELLs-Pew%208-11-07-Final.pdf

The authors discuss implications of demographic trends changing the racial, ethnic, and linguistic composition of the school-age population in the U.S. and of research on the processes of dual language acquisition during the preschool years. They consider implications for the type and timing of instructional practices within classrooms, and for the assessment strategies needed to promote learning and development of English Language Learners (ELLs), conduct early detection and intervention, monitor and evaluate programs, and gather benchmark data for accountability purposes. Challenges of assessing ELL students are examined, along with recommendations for policy and practice toward developing comprehensive and integrated assessment systems for ELL students across the different levels of accountability.

Does race/ethnicity influence disadvantaged mothers' child care arrangements?

The influence of race/ethnicity on disadvantaged mothers’ child care arrangements
Radey, Melissa, 07/01/2007
Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 22(3), 379-393

This study examines the primary child care arrangements of a sample of largely low-income working mothers of one-year olds from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study. Findings reveal that while there is an association between race/ethnicity and child care arrangement type, it is primarily accounted for by mothers' socieconomic, household, job, and immigrant status. However, associations between arrangement type and marital and poverty status are dependent on race/ethnicity. The authors conclude that disadvantage has a differential impact on child care arrangements across racial/ethnic groups.

What accounts for higher-quality early education in Tulsa, Oklahoma’s publicly funded four-year-old classrooms?

Classroom quality and time allocation in Tulsa's early childhood programs
Phillips, Deborah A., 03/30/2007
(CROCUS Working Paper No. 9). Paper presented at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Boston. Retrieved November 30, 2007, from the Georgetown University, Center for Research on Children in the United States Web site: http://www.crocus.georgetown.edu/reports/CROCUSworkingpaper9.pdf

An assessment of the Tulsa, Oklahoma universal public pre-kindergaraten program showed that compared to assessments of other school-based public pre-k programs across the nation, Tulsa's public pre-k classrooms scored higher on instructional support and devoted more time to pre-literacy, pre-math, and science activities. Among the Tulsa public pre-k classrooms, teachers with more years of experience showed better classroom management, and Spanish-speaking teachers had higher emotional support scores.

What should states include in accountability systems for prekindergarten programs?

Taking stock: Assessing and improving early childhood learning and program quality
National Early Childhood Accountability Task Force, 01/01/2007
Philadelphia: Pew Charitable Trusts. Retrieved November 7, 2007, from http://www.pewtrusts.org/uploadedFiles/wwwpewtrustsorg/Reports/Pre-k_education/task_force_report1.pdf

The National Early Childhood Accountability Task Force recommends that state accountability systems for prekindergarten programs include children’s learning and program quality standards, a program rating and improvement system, a professional development system, and a data management and reporting system. The Task Force also recommends that prekindergarten accountability and improvement goals be aligned with those of the early elmentary grades (kindergarten through grade 3).

How does the well-being of family caregivers affect children's academic achievement?

Caregiver well-being affects academic achievement
FPG Child Development Institute, 08/01/2007
(FPG Snapshot No. 48). Chapel Hill, NC: FPG Child Development Institute. Retrieved May 18, 2007, from http://www.fpg.unc.edu/%7esnapshots/snap48.pdf

This report summarizes findings from, 'Children Enrolled in Public Pre-K: The Relation of Family Life, Neighborhood Quality, and Socio-Economic Resources to Early Competence,' a Frank Porter Graham Institute study focused on 501 children enrolled in public pre-K in five states. Findings indicate that caregiver well-being--defined as parental education, household income, and self perception of financial status--accounted for differences in children's language, math and behavioral skills. Children from households where family caregiver well-being was high, entered pre-K with more developed language and math skills and fewer behavioral problems. Additionally, the study found that regardless of family income, children living in higher quality neighborhoods had stronger language skills than children living in lower quality neighborhoods.

What accounts for different findings on the effects of maternal employment on child outcomes?

Maternal employment and child cognitive outcomes: The importance of analytic approach
Burchinal, Margaret, 09/01/2007
Developmental Psychology, 43(5), 1140-1155

This article compares two reports that studied the effects of maternal employment on child cognitive outcomes using the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Study of Early Child Care dataset. The two reports drew different conclusions, with Brooks-Gunn et al. (2002) finding that early maternal employment has negative effects on children’s cognitive outcomes in their first 3 years and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Early Child Care Research Network finding that early nonmaternal care is not related to children’s cognitive outcomes in these years. The authors conclude that the different findings of the two reports are attributable to differences in the data analysis approaches employed. They further conclude that the finding that early maternal employment has negative effects on children’s cognitive outcomes is overstated as a result of the analytic approach used.

What is the relation between behavioral regulation and early academic skills?

Links between behavioral regulation and preschoolers' literacy, vocabulary, and math skills
McClelland, Megan, 07/01/2007

Using a direct measure of behavior, this study examined the relation between children’s behavioral regulation and emergent literacy, vocabulary, and math skills during the year prior to formal schooling in order to determine whether growth in the former predicted gains in the latter. Crucial for early school success, behavioral regulation involves paying attention, following instructions, and inhibiting inappropriate actions, and requires attention, working memory, and inhibitory control, which are known as the cognitive cool components of executive function. Findings suggest that after accounting for differences in age, gender, and native language, children with higher behavioral regulation performed better in all academic areas throughout the prekindergarten year. Behavioral regulation improved significantly during the year; children showing the greatest growth in behavioral regulation also experienced greater gains in all academic areas. In short, the study lends support to the notion that behavioral regulation is a key component of school readiness.

What are the most promising educational practices for diverse learners from pre-kindergarten through third grade?

Early school success: Equity and access for diverse learners: Executive summary
Buysse, Virginia, 01/01/2007
Chapel Hill, NC: FPG Child Development Institute. Retrieved November 19, 2007, from http://www.fpg.unc.edu/%7efirstschool/assets/FirstSchool_Symposium_ExectuiveSummary_2007.pdf

This summary presents conclusions and recommendations from a symposium on the most promising educational practices for diverse learners, sponsored by FirstSchool, a learning community at the Frank Porter Graham Institute and the University of North Carolina working to build a new framework for educating young children three to eight years of age. The first section examines the literature on culturally responsive teaching, pedagogy, and teacher preparation as they relate to the educational achievement of racial, cultural, and socioeconomically marginalized children. The second describes educational practices associated to Response to Intervention (RTI) and Recognition and Response (R&R) models, which emphasize high quality curriculum and instruction and the systematic assessment of research-based interventions. The third section discusses the current context for the education of young English language learners (ELL) and sums up research on evidence-based practices for young ELLs. The fourth paper examines the Building Blocks inclusion model, which supports children with special needs in the general education classroom.

What is the impact of a Storytelling Curriculum on the vocabulary and literacy skills of young children?

One authentic early literacy practice and three standardized tests: Can a storytelling curriculum measure up?
Cooper, Patricia M., 07/01/2007
Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education, 28(3), 251-275

This article describes a study examining the effect of a “Storytelling Curriculum” on the early language and literacy development of prekindergarten and kindergarten children over the course of the school year. The study compared 3 control and 3 treatment public school classrooms and included both children from low-income families and English-language learners. Compared to participants in the control groups, children that participated in the “Storytelling Curriculum” showed significant improvement in both literacy skills and vocabulary knowledge. The authors conclude that the “Storytelling Curriculum” may offer an alternative to a ‘skills-centered’ curriculum.

What are elements of successful strategies to sustain financing for out-of-school programs?

Snapshots of sustainability: Profiles of successful strategies for financing out-of-school time programs
Finance Project (U.S.), 09/01/2007
Washington, DC: Finance Project. Retrieved Novemebr 19, 2007, from http://www.financeproject.org/Publications/SustainabilityProfilesOST.pdf

This analysis of 32 out-of-school time initiatives that have sustained their work identifies a range of successful financing strategies: maximizing federal and state funding, creating and accessing dedicated revenue, charging fees, and maximizing in-kind revenue. To carry out these strategies, initiatives have built community support, cultivated key champions, and demonstrated and communicated results. Examples and lessons are drawn from profiles of the initiatives.

What are parents' concerns as their children move from early childhood programs to kindergarten?

Transition to kindergarten: Family experiences and involvement
McIntyre, Laura Lee, 08/01/2007
Early Childhood Education Journal, 35(1), 83-88

This survey of 132 families in a Northeastern urban school district whose children had completed early childhood education programs and were beginning kindergarten found most parents wanted greater involvement in their child's transition. Approximately 80 percent, for example, wanted more information about academic expectations in kindergarten and their child's new teacher. Families qualifying for government assistance were much less likely to be involved in transition activities. Includes recommendations for early childhood and elementary educators on working together with families.

What are school readiness patterns for young Hispanic children?

Para nuestros ninos: The school readiness and academic achievement in reading and mathematics of young Hispanic children in the United States
National Task Force on Early Childhood Education for Hispanics, 06/01/2007
Tempe, AZ: National Task Force on Early Childhood Education for Hispanics. Retrieved November 28, 2007, from http://www.ecehispanic.org/work/june_task.pdf

Analysis of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Cohort (ECLS-K) by the National Task Force on Early Childhood Education for Hispanics found that Hispanic children scored well below non-Hispanic white children on reading and math readiness scores. These differences in reading and math readiness were strongly correlated to social class differences between Hispanic and non-Hispanic white children (a higher percent of Hispanic children were from low-income families). Hispanic children continued to lag behind through the fifth grade although gaps in scores were smaller. Hispanic children with limited or no knowledge of English at the start of kindergarten lagged behind whites in reading scores at the end of fifth grade.

How do the educational effectiveness of two-way immersion and monolingual English immersion programs compare for Hispanic pre-schoolers?

Two-way and monolingual English immersion in preschool education: An experimental comparison
Barnett, W. Steven, 07/01/2007
Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 22(3), 277-293

This experimental study compared the effects of two-way, Spanish/English immersion (TWI), and monolingual English immersion (EI) on the expressive and receptive language, emergent literacy skills, cognitive skills, and achievement of mostly Hispanic three- and four-year olds who spoke Spanish as the primary home language. Programs were observed and rated in terms of their quality, supports for early literacy, and supports for English-language learners. Findings suggest that all children, regardless of program, experienced considerable progress on English language vocabulary, literacy, and mathematics. Only children in the TWI program made substantial gains in Spanish receptive language relative to age norms, and did so without sacrificing their development in the English language, whereas those in the EI program experienced losses in Spanish receptive language relative to age norms. No differences between programs were found in Spanish expressive language.

How can technology enhance shared reading experiences among children and adults?

Promoting early literacy for diverse learners using audio and video technology
Skouge, James R., 08/01/2007
Early Childhood Education Journal, 35(1), 5-11

The authors review technology and media supports that can be used by librarians and classroom teachers to promote shared reading experiences among children and adults, as well as discuss challenges and opportunities in the use of these technologies with special needs children and children from immigrant families.

Did children gain from New Jersey's Abbott Preschool Program?

The Abbott Preschool Program Longitudinal Effects Study (APPLES): Interim report
Frede, Ellen, 06/01/2007
New Brunswick, NJ: National Institute for Early Education Research. Retrieved June 19, 2007, from http://nieer.org/resources/research/APPLES.pdf

This interim report describes the impacts through kindergarten of participation in the New Jersey Abbott Preschool Program, a publicly-funded, high- quality preschool for children in high poverty school districts. Classroom observations and direct child assessments indicate that classroom quality improved; children who attended the program (across public schools, private settings, and Head Start) showed substantial gains in language, literacy, and mathematics; and children who attended the program for two years (at both age 3 and 4) showed greater gains than children who only attended for one year (at age 4).

How do teacher's education and training affect program quality?

Early childhood teachers' preparation and the quality of program outcomes
Saracho, Olivia N., 01/01/2007
Early Child Development and Care, 177(1), 71-91

An analysis of 40 studies, conducted between 1989 and 2004, examining the relationship between the preparation of early childhood teachers and the quality of their preschool programs finds that the quality of programs improves with better-educated teachers and that teachers holding a bachelor's degree and teachers with specialized early childhood training were more responsive towards children and provided activities that were more likely to promote children's language and literacy.

What is the impact of the Early Reading First program on teacher and child outcomes?

National evaluation of Early Reading First: Final report [Executive summary]
National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, 05/01/2007
(NCEE 2007-4007). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance. Retrieved June 13, 2007, from http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/pdf/20074007_execsumm.pdf

The Early Reading First program (ERF) was created by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. It is designed to improve the language and literacy development of preschool children from low-income families, and teacher practices. The national evaluation of the ERF program found that the program had positive impacts on teacher and classroom outcomes including hours of professional development that teachers received, various teacher practices, and more general aspects of classroom quality. In looking at child outcomes, the ERF program had a positive impact on children's print and letter knowledge but not on oral language or phonological awareness.

Do nonstandard maternal work schedules in low-income families affect children's behavioral outcomes?

Nonstandard schedules and young children's behavioral outcomes among working low-income families
Joshi, Pamela, 02/01/2007
Journal of Marriage and the Family, 69(1), 139-156

Data drawn from the Welfare, Children, and Families: A Three-City Study, which examines low-income working mothers and their children aged 2-4 years, indicate that young children whose mothers work a nonstandard work schedule compared to those working a standard work schedule show more externalizing behavior problems. Additionally, the negative effects of maternal nonstandard work schedules on externalizing behavior are higher for girls than for boys. There are several mediating factors that affect children's externalizing and internalizing behaviors, which include parenting stress and the presence of other adults residing in the home.

How can states improve children's early success?

State early childhood policies: Improving the odds
Stebbins, Helene, 05/01/2007
New York: Columbia University, National Center for Children in Poverty. Retrieved May 21, 2007, from http://www.nccp.org/publications/pdf/text_725.pdf

This brief examines state-level policies across the United States and D.C. that affect the healthy development and school readiness of young children by highlighting effective current policies, offering proposals for strategically addressing the needs of young children, and provides full comparative state data tables.

Do effects from preschool on children's academic abilities persist in elementary school years?

The persistence of preschool effects: Do subsequent classroom experiences matter?
Magnuson, Katherine A., 01/01/2007
Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 22(1), 18-38

Using data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten cohort (ECLS-K), this study finds that children entering public schools demonstrate higher levels of academic skills if they attended preschool compared to children who did not. The effects of preschool persist through the spring of third grade, and are actually larger than those demonstrated in first. Also, classroom experiences in primary school, in terms of class size and instruction level, can mitigate these effects. Children who did not have previous preschool experiences tend to catch up to children who did when immersed in small classes with high levels of instruction.

What is known about child care usage patterns and quality of care for low-income children?

Early care and education for children in low-income families: Patterns of use, quality, and potential policy implications
Adams, Gina, 05/01/2007
Washington, DC: Urban Institute. Retrieved June 27, 2007, from http://www.urban.org/UploadedPDF/411482_early_care.pdf

A review of research in four areas: child care usage patterns among children from low-income families; quality of care for children from low-income families; quality of child care and its effect on child development; and the policy context shaping child care and early education quality. Also includes a discussion of the policy context that shapes the quality of child care and early education, and makes recommendations for where federal and state efforts should focus.

How do bilingual preschool children perform in early literacy?

Dual language and literacy development of Spanish-speaking preschool children
Paez, Mariela M., 03/31/2007
Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 28(2), 85-102

The Early Childhood Study of Language and Literacy Development of Spanish-speaking Children examined a sample of bilingual children in Massachusetts and Maryland, and a comparison group of monolingual Spanish-speaking children in Puerto Rico. The study found that while bilingual children in the sample performed better in early literacy skills than in oral language skills in both English and Spanish, on average their early literacy skills were below monolingual norms. The findings also demonstrated that for bilingual children their skills were stronger in English than in Spanish, except for phonological awareness. For the monolingual group Spanish oral language skills were stronger but they scored lower in phonological awareness skills.

Can child care reduce risk of depression?

Can child care impact risk for depression
FPG Child Development Institute, 05/01/2007
(FPG Snapshot No. 46). Chapel Hill, NC: FPG Child Development Institute. Retrieved June 8, 2007, from http://www.fpg.unc.edu/%7Esnapshots/snap46.pdf

Findings from the Abecedarian Project, an intensive early childhood program offered for children from poor families, indicate that young adults who received full-time, year-round, center-based educational child care from infancy to age five reported fewer symptoms of depression compared to similar young adults who had not. There were no significant differences in the home environments of children in either the treatment or control group, indicating that the child care program appeared to offset the negative effects of lower quality home environments on depressive symptoms.

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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