Archive of Highlights from Our Collection

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.

What are the nation's parents' and early childhood educators' views on the financing of early childhood education?

Growing the demand for quality: Parents and early childhood educators talk about the financing of early learning
Metz, Dave, 07/01/2017
Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children

This webinar presents key findings from national surveys of parents and educators regarding the financing of early childhood education. The research was conducted by a bipartisan team. Topics include access to child care and early education, perceptions of quality, motivations behind program selection, and funding/advocacy for early learning.

How does the experience of stress vary among Early Head Start families?

Early Head Start families' experiences with stress: Understanding variations within a high-risk, low-income sample
Hustedt, Jason T., 09/01/2017

The federal Early Head Start program provides a relevant context to examine families' experiences with stress since participants qualify on the basis of poverty and risk. Building on previous research that has shown variations in demographic and economic risks even among qualifying families, we examined possible variations in families' perceptions of stress. Family, parent, and child data were collected to measure stressors and risk across a variety of domains in families' everyday lives, primarily from self-report measures, but also including assay results from child cortisol samples. A cluster analysis was employed to examine potential differences among groups of Early Head Start families. Results showed that there were three distinct subgroups of families, with some families perceiving that they experienced very high levels of stress while others perceived much lower levels of stress despite also experiencing poverty and heightened risk. These findings have important implications in that they provide an initial step toward distinguishing differences in low-income families' experiences with stress, thereby informing interventions focused on promoting responsive caregiving as a possible mechanism to buffer the effects of family and social stressors on young children. (author abstract)

What lessons were learned from a seven-year investment in California to improve after-school and summer learning programs?

Expanded learning for California's children: Final evaluation report of the After-school & Summer Enrichment Subprogram's investment strategy
Informing Change, 05/19/2017
Los Altos, CA: David & Lucile Packard Foundation. Retrieved from https://www.packard.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Packard-Expanded-Learning-Evaluation-Report.pdf

The assessment in this report, similar to Informing Change's earlier interim reports evaluating the Foundation's summer learning investment strategy, builds from outcomes articulated in the Subprogram's Theory of Change (see Appendix A) and addresses the following overarching question and three sub-questions: - How and to what extent has the combination of the Subprogram's three funding investments influenced California's K-12 leaders' perceptions of the contributions of after-school and summer learning to a system of learning for children? - How and to what extent have the Subprogram's investments in quality practice improved quality indicators for summer learning programs and also produced summer learning demonstration programs that are linked to the school day, after-school, and surrounding communities? - How and to what extent have the Subprogram's targeted investments in after-school and summer learning systems building improved and integrated the technical assistance available to publicly-supported after-school and summer learning programs? - How and to what extent have the Subprogram's investments in policy development and stakeholder engagement created more after-school and summer learning program resources, access, demand, and growth? (author abstract)

Check out Research Connections Resource List on building high-quality after school systems.

What are early childhood teachers' beliefs about their readiness for teaching science, technology, engineering, and mathematics?

Early childhood teachers' beliefs about readiness for teaching science, technology, engineering, and mathematics
Park, Mi-Hwa, 09/01/2017

The purpose of this study was to examine beliefs of early childhood teachers about their readiness for teaching science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, with a focus on testing for heterogeneity of such beliefs and differential effects of teacher-related factors. The results from latent class analysis of survey data revealed two latent classes of teachers, not known a priori, with significant differences in levels of teachers' beliefs about readiness to teach science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The teachers' teaching experience and their awareness of the importance of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and potential challenges in teaching science, technology, engineering, and mathematics played a differential role in the classification of teachers into latent classes. In addition, the analysis of two open-ended survey questions revealed several themes in the early childhood teachers' opinions about early childhood science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education. Study findings support the necessity for professional development practices that will enhance teachers' understanding of the importance of early childhood science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education, as well as their knowledge of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines and potential challenges of teaching science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. (author abstract)

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

How do teachers' beliefs about their literacy, math and science teaching skills relate to their classroom science practices?

Early childhood educators' self-efficacy in science, math, and literacy instruction and science practice in the classroom
Gerde, Hope K., 01/01/2017

Research Findings: Quality early science education is important for addressing the low science achievement, compared to international peers, of elementary students in the United States. Teachers' beliefs about their skills in a content area, that is, their content self-efficacy is important because it has implications for teaching practice and child outcomes. However, little is known about how teachers' self-efficacy for literacy, math and science compare and how domain-specific self-efficacy relates to teachers' practice in the area of science. Analysis of survey and observation data from 67 Head Start classrooms across eight programs indicated that domain-specific self-efficacy was highest for literacy, significantly lower for science, and lowest for math. Classrooms varied, but in general, engaged in literacy far more than science, contained a modest amount of science materials, and their instructional support of science was low. Importantly, self-efficacy for science, but not literacy or math, related to teachers frequency of engaging children in science instruction. Teachers' education and experience did not predict self-efficacy for science. Practice or Policy: To enhance the science opportunities provided in early childhood classrooms, pre-service and in-service education programs should provide teachers with content and practices for science rather than focusing exclusively on literacy. (author abstract)

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

What are the results of Maryland's 2016-2017 statewide kindergarten readiness assessment?

Readiness matters: Informing the future: Ready for Kindergarten: Maryland's Early Childhood Comprehensive Assessment System: The 2016-2017 kindergarten readiness assessment report
Ready at Five, 01/01/2017
Baltimore, MD: Ready at Five. Retrieved from http://www.readyatfive.org/school-readiness-data/readiness-matters-2017/1410-informing-the-future-full-book/file.html

This report highlights the 2016-2017 results of Maryland's statewide kindergarten readiness assessment. Statewide findings are shared, as well as those for subgroups and for each jurisdiction.

What are Ohio teachers' perceptions of their state's kindergarten readiness assessment?

Teachers' perspectives on the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment in year 2: Easier to administer but what role can it play in instruction?
Schachter, Rachel E., 06/01/2017
Columbus, OH: Ohio State University, Crane Center for Early Childhood Research and Policy. Retrieved from https://earlychildhood.ehe.osu.edu/files/2017/06/KRA-2-whitepaper.pdf

In this study, we surveyed kindergarten teachers across Ohio to examine their perceptions of the KRA during year two of implementation (Y2; 2015-2016). We also examined whether and how perceptions changed from year one of implementation (Y1; 2014-2015). Based on our findings from the Y1 survey, we focused on teachers' perceptions of: administrating the KRA, its benefits and usefulness for instruction, and purpose. (author abstract)

What are the predictors of preschool teachers' psychological well-being?

Early childhood teachers' psychological well-being: Exploring potential predictors of depression, stress, and emotional exhaustion
Jeon, Lieny, 01/01/2017

Research Findings: Early childhood teachers' psychological well-being influences the nurturing and learning classroom climate in early care and education as well as children's development. However, less is known about predictors of teachers' psychological well-being in preschool. The purpose of this study was to explore associations between potential predictors of teachers' psychological well-being--such as professional background, teaching efficacy, and work environment--and teachers' self-perceived depression, stress, and emotional exhaustion after controlling for individual demographics. A total of 1,129 teachers serving preschool-age children (3- and 4-year-olds) in the United States participated in the study. Teachers responded to a questionnaire asking about their background, work environment, and social-emotional attributes. Multiple regression analysis revealed that levels of teachers' self-efficacy and work environments are generally associated with their psychological well-being above and beyond their personal and professional backgrounds. Practice or Policy: The results of this study suggest that it is important to help teachers build teaching competence and efficacy and to prepare them to handle stressors from work environments in order to reduce their psychological burden. In addition, we suggest that positive work climates need to be created for teachers and children at the program level. (author abstract)

What lessons can be learned from an initiative in three states to support coordinated approaches to serving infants and toddlers?

Advancing state policies for infants and toddlers: Lessons learned from three states
Colvard, Jamie, 06/01/2017
Washington, DC: Zero to Three. Retrieved from https://www.zerotothree.org/document/932

Federal and state agencies already support several initiatives for infants and toddlers, such as home visiting programs, child care subsidies, and early intervention services, but access to these programs is uneven and too often out of reach. In addition, initiatives serving infants and toddlers are often managed through separate agencies and funding sources, with limited coordination to assess families' needs and provide comprehensive services that promote infant-toddler development. To address this challenge, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation provided ZERO TO THREE with a 2.5-year grant (Moving States Ahead for Infants and Toddlers) to support three states in developing and taking action toward cross-sector infant-toddler policy priorities. Beginning in 2014, ZERO TO THREE staff helped Indiana, Oregon, and Vermont bring together public and private stakeholders to focus on infants and toddlers and served as a partner and facilitator in advancing their priorities. These planning groups worked closely with existing state early childhood advisory councils that have a birth to 5 (or 8) focus, but took advantage of the opportunity to focus intentionally on better serving infants and toddlers. This brief highlights lessons learned from their experiences, as well as promising examples from other states that have focused on this age group, and offers recommendations to states embarking on similar endeavors. (author abstract)

Check out Research Connections Resource List on Research-informed policy options for infant and toddler early care and education.

How do observed child adult ratios in Texas child care centers relate to indicators of children's safety?

Child care ratios in Texas and children's safety
University of Texas at Austin. Child and Family Research Partnership, 01/01/2017
(CFRP Policy Brief B.025.0117). Austin: University of Texas at Austin, Child and Family Research Partnership. Retrieved from http://childandfamilyresearch.org/content/uploads/CFRPBrief_B0250117_ChildCareRatiosTX.pdf

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services' (DFPS) minimum ratio standards for licensed child-care centers and facilities establish the maximum number of children allowed per caregiver in a child care setting based on children's ages. Currently, the Child Care Licensing (CCL) Division of DFPS collects and reports whether a child care center has violated the minimum ratio standards set by the state, but does not collect or report the actual ratio data. In June 2016, CCL representatives collected and reported ratio data during their annual licensing inspections. Analyses of these data show that centers in which all classrooms had ratios better than the minimum standard were significantly safer compared to other centers. Ratio data should be collected on an ongoing basis to help inform whether the state's minimum ratio standards are adequate at keeping children safe. (author abstract)

How has Wisconsin's YoungStar child care quality rating and improvement system (QRIS) affected program quality and child outcomes?

Rating YoungStar: How Wisconsin's child care quality rating and improvement system measures up
Grunewald, Rob, 06/01/2017
(WPRI Report Vol. 30, No. 2). Milwaukee, WI: Wisconsin Policy Research Institute. Retrieved from http://www.wpri.org/WPRI-Files/Special-Reports/Reports-Documents/2WPRIwhitepaper_YoungStarFinalforWeb.pdf

This paper first reviews the economic case for investing in young children, including research released since the 2012 paper. The second section describes the implementation of YoungStar and includes data on participation among providers and trends regarding star ratings. The third section analyzes the progress YoungStar has made in improving the quality of child care and outcomes for children; illustrates the relative lack of high-quality programs in the state's most impoverished areas and in rural areas; provides case studies on the economic viability of high-quality centers; and offers recommendations. (author abstract)

Check out Research Connections Resource List on Quality rating and improvement system state evaluations and research.

What is the relationship of Head Start children's cognitive stimulation in the home to their nutrition, physical activity, and body mass index?

The role of cognitive stimulation at home in low-income preschoolers' nutrition, physical activity and body mass index
Bosch, Saskia Op den, 08/01/2017

Background: Early childhood obesity disproportionately affects children of low socioeconomic status. Children attending Head Start are reported to have an obesity rate of 17.9%.This longitudinal study aimed to understand the relationship between cognitive stimulation at home and intake of junk food, physical activity and body size, for a nationally representative sample of 3- and 4-year old children entering Head Start. Methods: We used The Family and Child Experiences Survey 2006. Cognitive stimulation at home was measured for 1905 children at preschool entry using items from the Home Observation Measurement of the Environment Short Form. Junk food consumption and physical activity were obtained from parent interviews at kindergarten entry. BMI z scores were based on CDC national standards. We analyzed the association between early cognitive stimulation and junk food consumption, physical activity and BMI, using multinomial and binary logistic regression on a weighted sample. Results: Children who received moderate levels of cognitive stimulation at home had a 1.5 increase in the likelihood of consuming low amounts of junk food compared to children from low cognitive stimulation environments. Children who received moderate and high levels of cognitive stimulation were two and three times, respectively, more likely to be physically active than those in low cognitive stimulation homes. No direct relationship was identified between cognitive stimulation and BMI. Conclusion: Prevention and treatment efforts to address early childhood obesity may consider strategies that support parents in providing cognitively stimulating home environments. Existing evidence-based programs can guide intervention in pediatric primary care. (author abstract)

What racial disparities in wages, benefits, and access to professional development for the early childhood workforce are documented in the National Survey of Early Care and Education?

Underpaid and unequal: Racial wage disparities in the early childhood workforce
Ullrich, Rebecca, 08/01/2016
Washington, DC: Center for American Progress. Retrieved from https://cdn.americanprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/01073800/NSECE-report2.pdf

This study discusses the low wages of the early childhood workforce, examines racial disparities in wages and workforce supports based on data from the National Survey of Early Care and Education, and provides recommendations.

Check out Research Connections collection for additional resources on the National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE).

What lessons can be learned from efforts to implement and scale up a comprehensive prevention program for children in preschool to third grade?

Scaling and sustaining effective early childhood programs through school-family-university collaboration
Reynolds, Arthur J., 09/01/2017

We describe the development, implementation, and evaluation of a comprehensive preschool to third grade prevention program for the goals of sustaining services at a large scale. The Midwest Child-Parent Center (CPC) Expansion is a multilevel collaborative school reform model designed to improve school achievement and parental involvement from ages 3 to 9. By increasing the dosage, coordination, and comprehensiveness of services, the program is expected to enhance the transition to school and promote more enduring effects on well-being in multiple domains. We review and evaluate evidence from two longitudinal studies (Midwest CPC, 2012 to present; Chicago Longitudinal Study, 1983 to present) and four implementation examples of how the guiding principles of shared ownership, committed resources, and progress monitoring for improvement can promote effectiveness. The implementation system of partners and further expansion using "Pay for Success" financing shows the feasibility of scaling the program while continuing to improve effectiveness. (author abstract)

What do annual Program Information Report (PIR) data reveal about the demographics and services for children served by Head Start, Early Head Start, and Migrant and Seasonal Head Start programs?

Defining and measuring access to high quality early care and education (ECE): Overview of the Access Guidebook [PowerPoint]
Johnson, Anna D., 12/01/2016
Bethesda, MD: Child Trends

Child Trends staff presented an overview of the contents of the publication Defining and Measuring Access to High Quality Early Care and Education (ECE): A Guidebook for Policymakers. The authors discussed the Guidebook goals which include promoting a common understanding of ECE access and providing tools for how to measure it across different types of early learning settings. These activities were described as an essential undertaking for state and local policymakers responsible for improving access. Additionally, the webinar featured researchers from two states who have applied the access definition: Herman Knopf in South Carolina and Rachel Gretencord in Connecticut. This interactive webinar offered an opportunity to learn about and discuss how stakeholders can use the definition of access and indicators in the Guidebook to help meet the criteria for equal access to ECE in their states. The ECE Access and Choices Workgroup is supported by OPRE and administered by Child Trends. The goal of our workgroup is to provide a responsive learning community of ECE scholars and practitioners. Through quarterly webinars and occasional in-person meetings, workgroup members stay abreast of new research findings and strengthen research-policy-practice connections.

Check out Research Connections collection for additional information on the Office of Head Start Program Information Report (PIR).

What challenges do families and children experiencing homelessness face in accessing quality early childhood education?

Building Early Links for Learning (BELL) Project: Learnings from focus groups on increasing access to quality early childhood education for families and children experiencing homelessness
Hurd, Kate,
Landover, MD: Cloudburst Group. Retrieved from http://www.pec-cares.org/clientfolders/pdf/BELL%20Focus%20Group%20Report_Full%20Report_FINALupdated.pdf

Many challenges are faced by parents who experience homelessness in accessing quality early childhood education for their infants and preschool aged children. This report explores these experiences as reported by both parents who experience homelessness and community-based homeless services and early childhood education providers in a series of related focus-groups conducted in Philadelphia, PA in Fall, 2016. Thirty-three homeless parents, twelve emergency housing providers, and seven early childhood education providers participated in seven parallel groups designed to facilitate dialogue that would provide direct insights into systemic issues and both personal and professional perspectives regarding access to and availability of quality early childhood care for families experiencing homelessness. Analysis of these dialogues identifies a series of key personal attitudes, systemic factors, and practical and logistical concerns that inform and influence related parental and provider behaviors. Based on these findings, this report then offers a series of recommendations for consideration in shaping local policy, practice, and training going forward. (author abstract)

Check out Research Connections collection for additional resources on Child care and early education for young children experiencing homelessness.

How does the Illinois Early Childhood Educator Preparation Pathway propose to support Illinois early childhood educators?

Advancing the Illinois early childhood education workforce: A model college and career pathway
Bernoteit, Stephanie A., 01/01/2017
(IERC 2017-3). Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Illinois Education Research Council. Retrieved from http://ierc.education/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/2017-3_EPPI_Workforce_Policy_Report-rev.pdf

This policy brief proposes a postsecondary education and career pathway model for Illinois early childhood educators. This pathway model is grounded in recommendations for the early childhood educator profession from both the National Academy of Medicine and the National Association for the Education of Young Children, as well as work from the federal Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) grant awarded to Illinois in 2013-2017. This proposed pathway model, the Illinois Early Childhood Educator Preparation Pathway, provides clarity about competencies and qualifications for various levels of employment in early childhood education. The proposed pathway also draws from best practices in career pathway development by aligning stackable credentials to two- and four-year degree programs. As a result, the Illinois Early Childhood Educator Preparation Pathway model offers resolutions to widely varying requirements for training, education, and employment across different settings which are perennial challenges in this field. It also offers those working in the field a well-defined route to furthering their competence and education that sequences and articulates coursework across institutions and improves time to degree. Finally, the proposed pathway creates new options for innovation in the field to systematically develop, assess, and recognize key professional competencies. This policy brief delineates the proposed pathway within the Illinois context, describes the underlying rationale for its development, and concludes with recommendations for Illinois policymakers and state agencies, as well as higher education, to advance full implementation of the pathway and support the realization of attendant benefits to the early childhood education profession, children and families, and the state. (author abstract)

Check out Research Connections Resource List on Early childhood career pathways.

How could apprenticeships benefit the early education workforce?

Rethinking credential requirements in early education: Equity-based strategies for professionalizing a vulnerable workforce
Mccarthy, Mary Alice, 06/01/2017
Washington, DC: New America Foundation. Retrieved from https://na-production.s3.amazonaws.com/documents/Rethinking-Credential-Requirements-ECE.pdf

Apprenticeships could be game changers in early education, frontline healthcare, and other fields where a skilled workforce is essential for reaping the rewards of public investment but where wages remain low and working conditions poor. Awareness of how apprenticeship programs are designed and delivered--and how they differ in key respects from traditional higher education programs--can help policymakers identify opportunities for strategically leveraging them to professionalize workers in critical industry sectors. The aim of this paper is to expand understanding of how apprenticeships could benefit the early education sector. (author abstract)

What are the challenges in collegiate-level education and professional development pathways for early childhood workers in Virginia?

Connecting stakeholders to bridge the divide: Upskilling Virginia's early childhood educators
Glazer, Kathy, 06/19/2017
(NAM Perspectives). Washington, DC: National Academy of Medicine. Retrieved from https://nam.edu/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Connecting-Stakeholders-to-Bridge-the-Divide-Upskilling-Virginias-Early-Childhood-Educators.pdf

Over the past 18 months, the Commonwealth of Virginia worked to fully understand and begin solving some of the issues surrounding improved educational opportunities for early childhood educators. With intentional, strategic collaboration among key stakeholders, progress has been made and changes are underway. In this paper, we share the contexts and structures that impacted these shifts, as well as some initial outcomes. (author abstract)

What do the results of a literature review reveal about early childhood mathematics education?

Towards an understanding of early childhood mathematics education: A systematic review of the literature
Linder, Sandra M., 01/01/2017

This article presents the results of a literature review spanning 15 years (2000-2015), identifying empirical research relating to early childhood mathematics education. A total of 1141 articles were identified and examined in order to determine the current state of research in terms of location, participants, research questions, and the research methodology commonly used in this body of literature. Following a discussion of the overarching view of the literature, the authors present an analysis of a subsection of the literature, focusing on practicing and prospective teachers' practice. (author abstract)

What effect does Spanish-language instruction in Head Start have on the academic achievement of Spanish-speaking dual language learners?

Spanish instruction in Head Start and dual language learners' academic achievement
Miller, Elizabeth B., 09/01/2017

Data from the Head Start Impact Study (N = 1141) and the Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey, 2009 Cohort (N = 825) were used to investigate whether Spanish instruction in Head Start differentially increased Spanish-speaking Dual Language Learners' (DLLs) academic achievement. Although hypothesized that Spanish instruction would be beneficial for DLLs' early literacy and math skills, results from residualized growth models showed there were no such positive associations. Somewhat surprisingly, DLL children instructed in Spanish had higher English receptive vocabulary skills at the end of the Head Start year than those not instructed, with children randomly assigned to Head Start and instructed in Spanish having the highest scores. Policy implications for Head Start-eligible Spanish-speaking DLLs are discussed. (author abstract)

What does the National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE) tell us about how parents make decisions about early care and education arrangements?

How do parents make decisions about ECE arrangements?
Child Care State Capacity Building Center, 01/01/2017
Fairfax, VA: Child Care State Capacity Building Center. Retrieved from https://childcareta.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/public/3_householdsearchforece_briefdraft_2017.5.7_coded.pdf

istorically, there has been a lack of nationally representative data that describe the decisionmaking process parents use when seeking early care and education (ECE) arrangements for their children. This brief describes findings from the National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE) about how families make these types of decisions. The survey was given to a sample of families who had searched for care for a young child (birth to 5 years) in the past 2 years. The brief concludes with questions for further exploration by state leaders. (author abstract)

Check out Research Connections collection for additional resources on the National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE).

How did child care subsidy eligibility, redetermination, family payment, and provider policies vary across states and territories in CITE YEAR?

Child care subsidies under the CCDF program: An overview of policy differences across states and territories as of October 1, 2015
Stevens, Kathryn, 06/01/2017
(OPRE Report 2017-46). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/ccdfdatabase2015policysummary_b508.pdf

Within the federal guidelines, States/Territories have the discretion to establish many of the detailed policies used to operate their CCDF programs. In this brief, we present some of the policy differences across the States and Territories. The policies are taken from the CCDF Policies Database, a project funded by the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation within the Administration for Children and Families. The CCDF Policies Database tracks State/Territory policies over time, with hundreds of variables tracking policies related to: - family eligibility - application and wait list procedures - family copayments - provider reimbursement rates - other provider policies This brief serves as a companion piece to the 2015 Book of Tables, providing a graphic overview of some of the policy differences across States/Territories. We describe and present policies related to: - eligibility requirements - family application, terms of authorization, and redetermination - family payments - policies for providers Finally, we provide information about additional resources from the CCDF Policies Database. (author abstract)

Check out Research Connections collection for the CCDF Policies Database.

How are researchers proposing to study promising approaches for sustaining children's preschool gains?

The challenge of sustaining preschool impacts: Introducing ExCEL P-3, a study from the Expanding Children's Early Learning Network
McCormick, Meghan P., 07/01/2017
New York, NY: MDRC. Retrieved from http://www.mdrc.org/sites/default/files/ExCEL_SustainingPreschoolImpacts.pdf

Early childhood interventions can be highly cost effective when positive impacts are sustained into adulthood. Yet while many recent preschool interventions have been found to have short-term effects on young children's language, literacy, mathematics, executive function, and social-emotional development, studies show that impacts on cognitive and academic skills tend to diminish in early elementary school -- a phenomenon commonly known as fade-out or convergence. There are a number of plausible hypotheses, but little hard evidence, on how to sustain the benefits of early childhood education. This brief introduces the ExCEL P-3 project, a study being done in partnership with the Boston Public Schools, the University of Michigan, and the Harvard Graduate School of Education, which aims to explore several leading approaches for sustaining children's early preschool gains. Two related ExCEL projects -- focusing on instructional quality (ExCEL Quality) and summer enrichment programs (ExCEL Summer) -- will be covered in later briefs in this series. (author abstract)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Parent engagement practices improve outcomes for preschool children
Bierman, Karen L., 01/01/2017
University Park: Pennsylvania State University, Edna Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center. Retrieved from http://www.rwjf.org/content/dam/farm/reports/issue_briefs/2017/rwjf432769

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

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

Vermont regulated child care program report on program closures: April 2017
Vermont. Child Development Division, 04/01/2017
Waterbury, VT: Vermont, Child Development Division. Retrieved from http://dcf.vermont.gov/sites/dcf/files/CDD/Reports/April_2017_Closed_Program_Report.pdf

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

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

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

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

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

Using contracts and grants to build the supply of high quality child care: State strategies and practices
National Center on Child Care Subsidy Innovation and Accountability, 11/01/2016
Washington, DC: National Center on Child Care Subsidy Innovation and Accountability. Retrieved from https://childcareta.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/public/contracts_paper_2017_508_compliant.pdf

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

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

The cost of preparing students for kindergarten in Southwest Florida
Augenblick, Palaich & Associates, 04/01/2017
Fort Myers, FL: Florida SouthWestern State College. Retrieved from https://www.fsw.edu/assets/pdf/soe/dean/FloridaECECostingOutStudyReport.pdf

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

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

Child care funding & finance in Pennsylvania: Budgeting for survival or paying for the true cost of quality?
Moran, Della, 06/01/2017
Philadelphia, PA: Research for Action. Retrieved from https://8rri53pm0cs22jk3vvqna1ub-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Child-Care-Funding-Finance-in-Pennsylvania-Full-Report-June-2017.pdf

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

What percentage of children is in racially isolated public school preschool programs and how does this differ by English language proficiency?

Segregation at an early age
Frankenberg, Erica, 10/01/2016
University Park: Pennsylvania State University, Center for Education and Civil Rights. Retrieved from https://cecr.ed.psu.edu/sites/default/files/Segregation_At_An_Early_Age_Frankenberg_2016.pdf

This report aims to begin to understand the extent to which young children enrolled in school-based preschools are in racially diverse settings. (author abstract)

What have we learned from quality rating and improvement systems (QRIS) that can inform future QRIS development?

Quality rating and improvement systems for early care and education programs: Making the second generation better
Cannon, Jill S., 01/01/2017
(PE-235-RC). Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation. Retrieved from https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/perspectives/PE200/PE235/RAND_PE235.pdf

Quality rating and improvement systems (QRISs) began at the end of the 1990s and have now been almost universally adopted by states and localities as an important tool to boost early child education (ECE) program quality. QRISs are at a critical point in their development and implementation. A wave of QRIS evaluations, most of which are validation studies, are becoming available, largely funded through three rounds of federal Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) grants covering QRISs in 20 states. The RTT-ELC grants have also been a key source of funds for the development and expansion of ECE QRISs. As the federal grant funds expire, states will have fewer resources available to operate their QRISs without new sources of funding. States will need to be more strategic about the allocation of funds for and within these systems to achieve their goals of expanding access to and improving the quality of ECE programs. In this perspective, we suggest some ways to accomplish this. We assess what the early childhood field has learned about QRISs as they have been widely adopted and matured, and how the field can strategically move this first generation of QRISs into a second generation. (author abstract)

What are the implications for child care accessibility of the geographic distribution of center-based early care and education programs in eight states?

Child care deserts: An analysis of child care centers by ZIP code in 8 states
Malik, Rasheed, 10/01/2016
Washington, DC: Center for American Progress. Retrieved from https://cdn.americanprogress.org/content/uploads/2016/10/01070626/ChildcareDeserts-report3.pdf

For this report, the authors collected data on the locations and capacities of all licensed child care centers in eight states. This subset of states results from the fact that while data was requested from most states, many agencies did not respond or chose not to share administrative data. The eight states that provided complete data are generally illustrative of the state of child care across the country. They include large rural and urban populations, and they exhibit geographic and demographic diversity. These relatively populous states contain one-fifth of the U.S. population under the age of 5. The administrative data on child care center locations included a ZIP code for each center. Using U.S. Census Bureau data, the authors were able to match the child care center locations with census estimates of each ZIP code's demographic, geographic, and economic characteristics. This merged data set was used to compare and analyze the prevalence of child care deserts among ZIP codes of differing types: rural, suburban, and urban; low, moderate, and high poverty; and those of varying racial and ethnic demographic profiles. (author abstract)

How do early childhood educational investments combined with investments in K-12 education affect adult outcomes for disadvantaged children?

Reducing inequality through dynamic complementarity: Evidence from Head Start and public school spending
Johnson, Rucker C., 06/01/2017
(NBER Working Paper No. 23489). Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research. Retrieved from http://www.nber.org/papers/w23489.pdf

We explore whether early childhood human-capital investments are complementary to those made later in life. Using the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, we compare the adult outcomes of cohorts who were differentially exposed to policy-induced changes in pre-school (Head Start) spending and school-finance-reform-induced changes in public K12 school spending during childhood, depending on place and year of birth. Difference-in-difference instrumental variables and sibling- difference estimates indicate that, for poor children, increases in Head Start spending and increases in public K12 spending each individually increased educational attainment and earnings, and reduced the likelihood of both poverty and incarceration in adulthood. The benefits of Head Start spending were larger when followed by access to better-funded public K12 schools, and the increases in K12 spending were more efficacious for poor children who were exposed to higher levels of Head Start spending during their preschool years. The findings suggest that early investments in the skills of disadvantaged children that are followed by sustained educational investments over time can effectively break the cycle of poverty. (author abstract)

What were the elementary school outcomes of a preschool intervention to support young children with autism?

Four-year follow-up of children in the LEAP randomized trial: Some planned and accidental findings
Strain, Phillip S., 08/01/2017

This article reports on a 4-year follow-up study from the Learning Experiences and Alternative Program for Preschoolers and Their Parents (LEAP) randomized trial of early intervention for young children with autism. Overall, participants from LEAP classes were marginally superior to comparison class children on elementary school outcomes specific to communication, adaptive behavior, social, academic, and cognitive skills. Statistically significant group differences were noted in cognitive development and social skills. However, when placement was treated as an independent variable, very large effects were seen across all outcome measures, including autism symptoms, for children who were enrolled in inclusive settings. Data from adult family members confirmed important changes in perceived quality of life. (author abstract)

Check out Research Connections Resource List for research and implications for policy on preschool inclusion.

What does existing data tell us about American Indian/Alaska Native children and families and their participation in early childhood services?

Understanding American Indian and Alaska Native early childhood needs: The potential of existing data
Malone, Lizabeth M., 05/01/2017
(OPRE Report 2017-44). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/aian_ec_needs_technical_report_may_2017_final_508.pdf

This report describes preliminary work in support of an early childhood needs assessment for American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) children prenatal to age five. The report uses existing data to describe the population of AI/AN children and families and their participation in early childhood services. This work is part of a larger AI/AN Early Childhood Needs Assessment design project (AI/AN EC Needs Assessment), conducted for the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation within the Administration for Children and Families, in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Mathematica Policy Research convened a Community of Learning (CoL) to inform three design topics on describing the AI/AN population, studying early childhood services organization and delivery, and assessing features to support community capacity for conducting needs assessments, that form the basis for a needs assessment. For more information on the design topics see the design report (Malone et al. 2016). The current report presents the process and findings from implementing Design One--describing the population of AI/AN children and families and their participation in early childhood services based on existing data sources--with a set of national survey and ACF administrative data sources. Primary Research Questions The current implementation of Design One seeks to address three research questions: - What existing data sources could help us understand AI/AN early childhood needs? - What information from these sources has been published to date? - What can we learn about AI/AN early childhood needs when conducting new analyses by using existing sources? (author abstract)

Check out Research Connections Dataset on the American Indian and Alaska Native Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey.

What is known about effective preschool social-emotional learning (SEL) programs and practices?

Promoting social and emotional learning in preschool: Programs and practices that work
Bierman, Karen L., 05/01/2017
University Park: Pennsylvania State University, Edna Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center. Retrieved from http://www.rwjf.org/content/dam/farm/reports/issue_briefs/2017/rwjf437157

This brief summarizes what is known about effective preschool social-emotional learning (SEL) programs and practices based on high-quality, rigorous research studies that utilized randomized controlled designs. These studies demonstrate that evidence-based SEL programming produces positive impacts on children's development of SE skills, enhancing their learning engagement, interpersonal relationships, behavioral adjustment, and school success. (author abstract)

Check out Research Connections Resource List on early childhood preservice training on promoting social emotional development in young children.

Is early experience in subsidized child care associated with reduced risk of grade retention for low-income elementary school children?

Is subsidized childcare associated with lower risk of grade retention for low-income children? Evidence from Child Care and Development Fund administrative records linked to the American Community Survey
Shattuck, Rachel M., 06/01/2017
(CARRA Working Paper Series Working Paper 2017-06). Washington, DC: U.S. Census Bureau, Center for Administrative Records Research and Applications. Retrieved from https://census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/working-papers/2017/adrm/carra-wp-2017-06.pdf

This study investigates whether low-income young children's experience of Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF)-subsidized childcare is associated with a lower subsequent likelihood of being held back in grades K-12. High-quality childcare has been shown to improve low-income children's school readiness. However, no previous study has examined the link specifically between subsidized care and grade retention. I do so here by matching information on children from CCDF administrative records to later observations of the same children in the American Community Survey (ACS). I use logistic regression to compare the likelihood of grade retention between CCDF-recipient children and non-recipient children who also appear in the ACS in the years 2008-2014 (N=2,284,857). I find strong evidence for an association between CCDF-subsidized care and lower risk of grade retention, especially among non-Hispanic Black children and Hispanic children. I also find evidence that receiving CCDF-subsidized center-based care in particular is associated with a lower risk of being held back than CCDF-subsidized family daycare, babysitter care, or relative care, again with the largest apparent benefit to non-Hispanic Black children and Hispanic children. (author abstract)

Did a two-year professional development program to support the development of Spanish-English dual language learners have positive impacts on preschool classroom quality and child developmental outcomes?

Early education of dual language learners: An efficacy study of the Nuestros Ninos School Readiness professional development program
Castro, Dina Carmela, 07/01/2017

The purpose of this experimental study was to assess the efficacy of the Nuestros Ninos School Readiness (NNSR) Professional Development Program, a 2-year program that includes an integrative approach to teacher professional development (PD) and a research-based, systematic intervention component aimed to promote language, literacy, and social-emotional development, and mathematics learning in pre-kindergarten Spanish-English dual language learners (DLLs). Across cohorts and experimental conditions, 56 preschool teachers and 340 Spanish-English DLLs from early childhood programs in California, Florida, and North Carolina participated in the study. Results indicate that the NNSR program had positive effects on the overall quality of early childhood classroom practices and on practices specifically focused on DLLs. Positive results were also found for children's outcomes. DLLs in treatment classrooms showed greater gains in expressive vocabulary in English than DLLs in control classrooms, and, when assessed in Spanish, gains were higher in receptive vocabulary, alphabet knowledge, writing and early mathematics. Issues of implementation fidelity and implications for using both languages of DLL children in instruction and assessment are discussed. (author abstract)

Did a science-focused professional development program increase preschool teachers' science knowledge and practices and improve children's early science skills and understanding?

Foundations of Science Literacy: Efficacy of a preschool professional development program in science on classroom instruction, teachers' pedagogical content knowledge, and children's observations and predictions
Gropen, Jess, 07/01/2017

Young children are able to benefit from early science teaching but many preschool teachers have not had opportunities to deepen their own understanding of science or to develop their pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) in relation to specific science topics and concepts. This study presents the results of efficacy research on Foundations of Science Literacy (FSL), a comprehensive professional development program designed to support teachers' knowledge of early childhood science; their PCK around 2 physical science topics (water, and balls and ramps); and their abilities to plan, facilitate, and assess young children's learning during inquiry-based science explorations. Research Findings: In a randomized trial with 142 preschool teachers and 1,004 4-year-old children, FSL teachers demonstrated significantly higher quality science teaching in general and greater PCK in the 2 physical science topics than did teachers in comparison classrooms. Furthermore, children in FSL classrooms performed significantly better than children in comparison classrooms on tasks involving floating and sinking, and an instrumental variable analysis suggests that the quality of classroom science instruction mediated the relationship between teacher participation in FSL and student outcomes. Practice or Policy: Findings support the use of comprehensive early science professional development programs designed to bolster teacher knowledge and PCK. (author abstract)

What are the factors associated with provider participation in the Massachusetts child care subsidy system?

Insights into the black box of child care supply: Predictors of provider participation in the Massachusetts child care subsidy system
Giapponi, Kate, 08/01/2017

The United States child care subsidy system relies on the voluntary participation of private providers in the market in order for low-income families to access otherwise unaffordable care. However, with few states able to pay child care providers subsidy payment rates at market value (National Women's Law Center, 2015) and increasing pressure for providers to improve their quality of care (Child Care and Development Fund [CCDF] Program, 2016), there is concern at the federal level regarding the supply of providers willing to participate in the subsidy system (CCDF Program, 2016; Schumacher, 2015). Using administrative data from Massachusetts, this study examines the factors associated with provider participation in the child care subsidy system. Findings from logistic regression analyses indicate that lower administrative capacity, higher private pay prices (in comparison to the subsidy payment rate), and higher local market household income may limit or reduce opportunities for participation in the subsidy system. Results also suggest that for-profit providers are not avoiding participating in the subsidy system, but may find participation challenging if subsidy payment rates are too low (compared to private pay prices). Additionally, although the total pool of accredited providers is small, accredited providers have greater odds of participation compared to non-accredited providers, indicating that families may have some access to quality care. These findings suggest that states should focus on identifying 1) ways to ease administrative impediments to entry into the subsidy system, 2) effective provider recruitment tactics, and 3) monetary/non-monetary incentive structures that can build a large and diverse supply of high quality subsidized care. (author abstract)

What does the latest research suggest for improving the quality of family, friend, & neighbor care?

Improving the quality of family, friend, & neighbor care: A review of the research literature
Hatfield, Bridget E., 08/01/2016
Corvallis, OR: Oregon Child Care Research Partnership. Retrieved from http://health.oregonstate.edu/sites/health.oregonstate.edu/files/occrp/pdf/improving-the-quality-of-family-friend-and-neighbor-care-2016.pdf

Numerous evidence-based strategies to support and improve the quality of FFN care have emerged across the country, within increased attention in the last five years. Most of the supports are service-based (e.g., play and learn, home-based technical assistance), with little representation from the other two support categories (relationship-based service delivery and implementation practices) presented by Bromer and Korfmacher (2016). In line with other reports (e.g., NWLC, 2016; Paulsell, Porter, & Kirby, 2010) we have organized programs into four major groupings: - Home Visiting - Collaborations with Other Early Childhood Programs - Play and Learn Groups - Education and Training It is common to combine multiple strategies in the same program. For example, some home visiting programs offer training and peer support groups. The distribution of resources is common in each category. The mixing of strategies appears to have emerged from experience of what is needed to provide support and improve quality in FFN care. Thus, while initiatives do not fit neatly into the identified groupings, clustering programs into these categories facilitates understanding and comparisons both within and across groupings. For a full description of types of resources to support FFN providers see the report from National Women's Law Center (2016). Only programs that have had an independent outside evaluation are included in this review. The information on each reviewed program is organized by a) purpose, b) responsible organization(s), c) year begun, d) target group, e) components, f) evaluation, and g) evidence of impact. Within each grouping, programs are listed in the order in which they were created, with the oldest listed first. (author abstract)

Check out Research Connections Resource List on research available in the Research Connections collection, published in 2005 or later addressing issues related to quality improvement specifically in home-based child care.

Does the combination of high-quality instructional strategies for teachers and responsive training parents enhance children's school readiness skills?

Improving school readiness of high-risk preschoolers: Combining high quality instructional strategies with responsive training for teachers and parents
Landry, Susan H., 07/01/2017

This study evaluated whether the combination of two proven interventions, one in Head Start classrooms (The Early Education Model, TEEM) and one in the home (Play and Learning Strategies, PALS) resulted in enhanced effects on at-risk 3- to 5-year-old children's school readiness skills when compared to either of these interventions alone. Teachers and parents were trained to use a responsive style and strategies that supported children's school readiness skills with the goal of providing children consistency in responsive practices across the school and home environments. The study was conducted in 77 classrooms with teachers randomized to either the TEEM (n = 39) or No TEEM (i.e., control or business as usual, n = 38) conditions. Six to eight children in each classroom were randomly assigned to either have their parents receive PALS (n = 314; 210 after attrition) or to a No PALS condition (n = 309; 221 after attrition) resulting in four conditions: TEEM/PALS, TEEM/No PALS, No TEEM/PALS, and No TEEM/No PALS. Results showed greater gains in the TEEM teachers' language and literacy instructional practices and sensitivity compared to control teachers, but there were few significant findings for child cognitive outcomes. Parents receiving PALS, as compared to those without PALS, showed greater increases across play and book reading contexts in numerous responsive behaviors linked to the attachment and socio-cultural theories. Children whose parents received PALS versus those whose parents did not showed greater gains in direct measures of print knowledge and self-regulation and in social and language skills observed during interactions with their parent. Interactive effects of TEEM plus PALS were seen for increased engagement in shared book reading but not for other cognitive or social outcomes. (author abstract)

How do parent-school relationships and their association with child behavior problems differ for same-sex and heterosexual adoptive families?

Parent-school relationships and young adopted children's psychological adjustment in lesbian-, gay-, and heterosexual-parent families
Goldberg, Abbie E., 07/01/2017

Almost no research has examined the role of parent-school relationships in relation to child psychological functioning in adoptive families or same-sex parent families, much less same-sex adoptive families. Yet adoptive families, and particularly same-sex adoptive families, may be vulnerable to marginalization in the school setting, which could have implications for child adjustment. Using parent reports, in a sample of 106 lesbian, gay, and heterosexual adoptive parent families with young children ([mean]age =3.38 years at T1 and 5.42 years at T2), this study examined T1 parent-school relationships (school involvement, parent-teacher relationship quality, parent-school contact about child problems, and perceived acceptance by other parents) and adoption-specific school experiences at T1 (i.e., parent input about classroom inclusion and parent-teacher conflicts related to adoptive family status) in relation to children's later (T2) internalizing and externalizing symptoms, controlling for T1 symptoms. Follow-up analyses assessed these predictors in relation to concurrent (T1) symptoms. Family context and demographic variables were included as controls. Parents' school involvement was negatively related to later internalizing symptoms; providing input to teachers about inclusion, and parent-teacher conflicts related to adoption, were both positively related to later internalizing symptoms. Perceived acceptance by other parents was negatively related to later internalizing and externalizing symptoms. School-initiated contact about child problems more strongly predicted higher externalizing symptoms in same-sex parent families than heterosexual parent families. Cross-sectional analyses (T1 predictors in relation to T1 child outcomes) revealed a somewhat different set of findings: most notably, parents' school involvement was negatively related to externalizing symptoms. Findings have implications for early childhood educators and school administrators who seek to improve diverse family-school partnerships to enhance children's emotional and behavioral well-being. (author abstract)

How do the benefits of an influential early childhood program vary by gender?

Gender differences in the benefits of an influential early childhood program
Garcia, Jorge Luis, 05/01/2017
(NBER Working Paper No. 23412). Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research. Retrieved from http://www.nber.org/papers/w23412.pdf

This paper estimates gender differences in life-cycle impacts across multiple domains of an influential enriched early childhood program targeted toward disadvantaged children that was evaluated by the method of random assignment. We assess the impacts of the program on promoting or alleviating population differences in outcomes by gender. For many outcomes, boys benefit relatively more from high-quality center childcare programs compared to low-quality programs. For them, home care, even in disadvantaged environments, is more beneficial than lower-quality center childcare for many outcomes. This phenomenon is not found for girls. We investigate the sources of the gender differentials in impacts. (author abstract)

What are the state-level policies for and characteristics of early childhood program leaders in the U.S.?

Closing the leadership gap: 2017 status report on early childhood program leadership in the United States
Abel, Michael B.,
Wheeling, IL: National-Louis University, McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership. Retrieved from http://mccormickcenter.nl.edu/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/2017_LEADEarlyChildhoodClearinghouse_ExecutiveSummary.pdf

This summary provides an overview of the L.E.A.D. Early Childhood Clearinghouse, a resource that collects data about early childhood program leadership. It discusses the need for the Clearinghouse and its development, including the data tracked and data sources. A national overview looks at standards, administrators, credentials, higher education, and leadership development programs. Other topics include information about state profiles, the ways in which the Clearinghouse can be used, and policy and research recommendations.

How do after school child care arrangements impact the developmental outcomes of low-income children?

The impact of after-school childcare arrangements on the developmental outcomes of low-income children
Park, Hyejoon, 02/01/2017

Even though after-school programs (hereafter ASPs) and other types of childcare arrangements have long been implemented, childcare for school-aged children remains a patchwork made up of ASPs, relative care, parental care, and self-care, also with many families opting to use some combination of these types of care. Few studies, however, have examined the impact of various childcare arrangements for school-aged children aside from those focused substantially on ASPs. This study aims to examine how five different after-school childcare arrangements, ASPs, relative care, parental care, self-care, and combinations of care, are related to the academic and behavioral outcomes among low-income, school-aged children. The present study utilized data from the National Household Education Survey Programs: after-school programs and Activities (2005) (NHES: ASPA). Multivariate logistic regressions were conducted using 717 low-income households with children who utilized one of five childcare arrangements. Children's academic performance--academic scores and whether having schoolwork problems or not--and their behavioral outcomes that included whether having behavioral problems or not and whether having experience of suspension, detention, or expulsion, were examined. Findings from the study indicate that, compared to children in ASPs, those in relative care and parental care had better academic performance (fewer schoolwork problems). Parental care was also positively associated with children's behavioral outcomes (fewer behavioral problems). The study demonstrates that relative and parental care have a more positive association with children's developmental outcomes, compared to ASPs. Based on the study findings, practice and policy implications are discussed for low-income children's development. Several methodologies are also suggested for future research. (author abstract)

What are the features of social and emotional learning programs and curricula for out-of-school time programs?

Navigating SEL from the inside out: Looking inside & across 25 leading SEL programs: A practical resource for schools and OST providers: (Elementary school focus)
Jones, Stephanie M., 03/01/2017
Cambridge, MA: Harvard University, Graduate School of Education. Retrieved from http://www.wallacefoundation.org/knowledge-center/Documents/Navigating-Social-and-Emotional-Learning-from-the-Inside-Out.pdf

Without access to detailed information about the specific content and approach of pre-packaged SEL programs, few schools and OST organizations are able to use data to aid them in selecting and implementing SEL programming, and they struggle to select and use programs that are best suited to their contexts and the specific challenges they face. There is thus a need for resources that comprehensively describe program content in a way that enables schools, OST organizations, and other practitioners tasked with developing young people's social and emotional skills to see inside programs in order to make informed decisions about SEL programs or strategies. This report addresses that need by looking inside 25 leading SEL and character education programs to identify and summarize key features and attributes of SEL programming for elementary-age children. Schools and OST organizations vary widely in their missions, structures, pedagogies, and target populations, as do SEL programs. The goal of this report is to provide schools and OST organizations with detailed information about the specific curricular content and programmatic features of each program in a way that enables them to look across varying approaches and make informed choices about the type of SEL programming that is best suited to their particular context and needs. (author abstract)

How can after school programs promote social and emotional learning?

SEL-focused after-school programs
Hurd, Noelle, 03/01/2017

Even though SEL goals are common in programs that operate outside of school time (a history we review below), only one extensive review has examined whether after-school programs that focus on social and personal development hold promise for boosting students' SEL development. In this article, we go over the findings from that analysis, paying particular attention to the features of effective programs. We also briefly review a broader set of studies that investigate the impacts of participating in SEL-focused after-school programs. To structure the article, we ask five questions specific to SEL and after-school programs: 1. Are after-school programs well suited for promoting SEL? 2. Is it realistic to expect after-school programs to affect SEL? 3. Do after-school programs affect SEL? 4. Why have findings thus far been so disappointing? 5. Where should researchers and practitioners focus in the future? We conclude with policy implications for promoting SEL via after-school programs. (author abstract)

How does a state agency-sponsored professional development system support the implementation of a Positive Behaviour Intervention and Support (PBIS) framework in early childhood programs?

Going to scale: Exploring implementation of positive behaviour intervention and supports within and across different types of early childhood programmes
Johnson, LeAnne, 01/01/2017

Despite calls to better prepare children for school entry, children with social, emotional, or behavioural needs continue to experience limited access to care that meets their needs. Despite frameworks for Positive Behaviour Intervention and Support (PBIS) that may aid in addressing children's needs, bringing those frameworks to scale in early childhood requires examination. This study explores the impact of a state agency-sponsored professional development system on the implementation of a PBIS framework by 132 educators representing seven different types of early childhood programmes (i.e. Head Start, child care centre, special education, etc.). Significant differences in implementation were observed by programme type in both the initial level of implementation and changes in implementation after receiving training and monthly coaching. Implications and future research are discussed relative to implementation supports that may need to vary by programme type when trying to bring a PBIS framework to scale in early childhood. (author abstract)

Do the ratings in Oregon's quality rating and improvement system correlate with observed program quality?

Oregon's quality rating improvement system (QRIS) validation study one: Associations with observed program quality
Lipscomb, Shannon T.,
Corvallis, OR: Oregon Child Care Research Partnership. Retrieved from http://health.oregonstate.edu/sites/health.oregonstate.edu/files/occrp/pdf/oregons_qris_validation_study1report_withappendices_jan2017.pdf

The study described in this report is the first of two studies on the validity of Oregon's QRIS. This study uses a measure of the observed quality of adult-child interactions as a benchmark against which to compare QRIS ratings. Research Questions 1. What is the quality of programs in the QRIS Validation Study, as indicated by CLASS scores and QRIS ratings? 2. How highly correlated are the QRIS domains and standards with one another? 3. How well do programs' QRIS ratings differentiate observed quality of adult-child interactions? 4. How do certain QRIS standards & indicators of interest relate to observed quality? 5. How well are other personnel measures associated with observed quality and final QRIS ratings? (author abstract)

Check out Research Connections Resource List on Quality rating and improvement system state evaluations and research.

What is the long-term impact of the Head Start program?

The long-term impact of the Head Start program
Bauer, Lauren, 08/01/2016
Washington, DC: Hamilton Project. Retrieved from http://www.hamiltonproject.org/assets/files/long_term_impact_of_head_start_program.pdf

In this Economic Analysis, we investigate the impact of Head Start on a new set of long-term outcomes, extending landmark analyses further into adulthood and considering the effect of Head Start on participants' children. Among the key takeaways of the analysis are: - Consistent with the prior literature, we find that Head Start improves educational outcomes--increasing the probability that participants graduate from high school, attend college, and receive a post-secondary degree, license, or certification. - Overall and particularly among African American participants, we find that Head Start also causes social, emotional, and behavioral development that becomes evident in adulthood measures of self-control, self-esteem, and positive parenting practices. - We find that Head Start participation increased positive parenting practices for each ethnic group and for participants whose mothers did not have a high school degree when compared with the outcomes of children who went to a preschool other than Head Start. (author abstract)

How can a family child care network in Philadelphia provide system-wide support for family child care providers?

Building a coordinated system of support for family child care: Lessons learned from Philadelphia
Porter, Toni, 03/01/2017
Chicago, IL: Herr Research Center. Retrieved from http://www.erikson.edu/wp-content/uploads/Systems-Building-Practice-Brief-Porter-Bromer-2017.pdf

This brief describes how an evaluation of a family child care network in Philadelphia led to consensus around the need to build a system-wide coordinated strategy for supporting family child care. Part of the two-year evaluation entailed bringing early childhood stakeholders, including the network, together to understand the current landscape of services for family child care providers in Philadelphia. With this goal in mind, two meetings were organized to identify gaps in services both within and across organizations, to identify their collective organizational strengths and weaknesses, and to brainstorm potential strategies for collaboration around the development of new initiatives. Collectively, the stakeholders developed the concept of a Referral Continuum, a pipeline of supports that takes providers from initial licensing through accreditation, the highest level of quality in Pennsylvania's STARS, its QRIS. Operationalizing the Continuum has the potential to enhance coordination of the early childhood system because it places provider needs rather than individual organizations' services at the center. The brief begins with a discussion of the family child care network evaluation and the impetus for the collaborative stakeholder work. The sections that follow describe the process and activities used to engage stakeholders. The brief includes tools from the project which may be helpful for other communities that seek to better coordinate their services through a similar process. (author abstract)

Does parenting stress mediate the association between child care instability and child behavior problems?

Child-care instability and behavior problems: Does parenting stress mediate the relationship?
Pilarz, Alejandra Ros, 10/01/2017

Child-care instability is associated with more behavior problems in young children, but the mechanisms of this relationship are not well understood. Theoretically, this relationship is likely to emerge, at least in part, because care instability leads to increased parenting stress. Moreover, low socioeconomic status and single-mother families may be more vulnerable to the effects of instability. This study tested these hypotheses using data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing study (N = 1,675) and structural equation modeling. Three types of child-care instability were examined: long-term instability, multiplicity, and needing to use back-up arrangements. Overall, findings showed little evidence that parenting stress mediated the associations between care instability and child behavior problems among the full sample. Among single-mother and low-income families, however, needing to use back-up arrangements had small positive associations with parenting stress, which partially mediated the relationship between that type of care instability and child externalizing behavior problems. (author abstract)

What are the key findings from the 2016 State Preschool Yearbook?

The state of preschool 2016: State preschool yearbook
Barnett, W. Steven, 01/01/2017
New Brunswick, NJ: National Institute for Early Education Research. Retrieved from http://nieer.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/YB2016_StateofPreschool2.pdf

This annual report examines access to, quality standards in, and resources devoted to state-funded preschool programs for 3- and 4-year-old children during the 2015-2016 school year. It is based on a survey of administrators of state-funded preschool programs. The report includes profiles for all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and United States territories. Key findings include a continued increase in enrollment and an increase in state funding for preschool programs by more than $564 million. A new set of quality standards benchmarks is introduced in this yearbook, with six programs meeting all of the current and two programs meeting all of the new benchmarks.

How can states adapt child care market price surveys to support state quality initiatives?

Adapting child care market price surveys to support state quality initiatives
Branscome, Kenley, 01/01/2016
Fairfax, VA: ICF International. Retrieved from https://www.icf.com/perspectives/white-papers/2015/adapting-child-care-market-price-surveys-to-support-state-quality-initiatives

Rate setting in early childhood education--and particularly in child care--is evolving as part of efforts to assure quality. This brief explores how states can adapt their child care market price surveys to meet new federal requirements and align them to better support efforts to improve the access that children have to high-quality early learning programs. It provides state administrators and other key stakeholders with an overview of the federally mandated survey and alternative methodologies, highlights current state practices and their limitations, and makes recommendations for strengthening current practices to better support broader state policy priorities in rate setting. (author abstract)

What are the differences in elementary and middle school chronic absenteeism rates between students who participated in Alabama's First Class Pre-K and those who did not?

Chronic absenteeism: Differences between First Class Pre-K students and non-First Class Pre-K students
Alabama. Department of Early Childhood Education, 12/01/2016
(First Class Pre-K Issue Brief 1). Montgomery, AL: Alabama, Department of Early Childhood Education. Retrieved from http://children.alabama.gov/uploadedFiles/File/First_Class_PreK_Absenteeism.pdf

Absenteeism has serious implications for a child's academic performance and outcomes. On average, students who are absent have been shown to have lower test scores; lower likelihood of being on track in high school, impacting their career and college readiness; lower likelihood of graduating from high school; and lower course grades, derailing their ability for college completion. The purpose of this issue brief is to examine differences in chronic absenteeism rates between students who received First Class Pre-K and those who did not, among low income students as indicated by receipt of free or reduced price lunch. (author abstract)

Check out Research Connections Resource List on attendance rates and child outcomes.

What are the opening and closing rates of early care and education establishments in Georgia?

Child policy partnership: Opening and closing of early care and education establishments
Pandey, Lakshmi, 07/06/2016
Atlanta, GA: Georgia State University, Fiscal Research Center. Retrieved from http://frc.gsu.edu/files/2016/07/Opening-and-Closing-of-Early-Care-Centers_-July-2016.pdf?wpdmdl=4723

The stability of early care and learning centers is important for understanding the supply of such care. If there is excessive activity in terms of openings and closings of establishments, there may be an impact on children and families as they search for new early care and education. Openings and closings may also signal inexperienced owners, difficult economic situations, costs of regulation and more. This policy brief documents the opening and closing of early care and education establishments using Georgia Department of Labor Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW ES202) data. These data report quarterly wages paid to employees by establishments. Addresses are included for the establishments. These data are well suited to measure rates of openings and closings for specific industries, including early care and education. (author abstract)

How does child care impact Louisiana's workforce productivity and the state economy?

Losing ground: How child care impacts Louisiana's workforce productivity and the state economy
Davis, Belinda, 05/01/2017
New Orleans, LA: Policy Institute for Children (Louisiana). Retrieved from http://media.wix.com/ugd/20d35d_476f91b779d74b74937ccdd9965d74e3.pdf

Although a wealth of research has focused on benefits for young children and local communities, less attention has been given to the benefits of quality ECE for employers and working parents. To date, we have been unable to locate Louisiana-based studies of how child care instability affects the state's workforce productivity. This study attempts to address this gap. This study was conducted in two phases. First, the Louisiana Policy Institute for Children worked with Louisiana State University's (LSU) Public Policy Research Lab, which conducted a statewide survey of households with children age 4 and under, asking these individuals a series of questions investigating the intersection between their workforce participation and child care issues. Second, the Policy Institute worked with an economist to estimate the economic impact of child care instability based on the results from the LSU survey conducted in phase one. (author abstract)

How do special education courses prepare preschool teacher candidates to work in inclusive settings?

Preparing preschool teacher candidates for inclusion: Impact of two special education courses on their perspectives
Rakap, Salih, 04/01/2017

Successful implementation of inclusive practices depends mainly on teachers' attitudes towards children with special needs and their inclusion, and teachers' willingness to work with children with special needs in their classrooms. Experiences teacher candidates have during pre-service stage might influence their perceptions towards children with disabilities and their inclusion. The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of two special education courses on (1) preschool teacher candidates' general attitudes towards inclusion, (2) their willingness to work with children with significant intellectual, physical and behavioural disabilities within inclusive classroom settings and (3) their level of comfort in interacting with children with disabilities. A four-part survey was administered to participants four times throughout the study, once before and after each course. The survey package included (1) a demographic information form, (2) the Opinions Relative to the Inclusion of Students with Disabilities Scale, (3) an adapted version of the Teachers' Willingness to Work with Children with Severe Disabilities Scale and (4) the Interaction with Children with a Disability Scale. The results showed that both special education courses positively influenced teacher candidates' attitudes, willingness and comfort levels. However, impact of the second course focused on helping teacher candidates learn and apply instructional strategies to work with children with disabilities in inclusive classrooms was much larger. Implications of the study findings in relation to future research and practice are discussed. (author abstract)

Check out Research Connections brief on preschool inclusion, key findings from research and implications for policy.

How does excessive absenteeism in Head Start affect children's academic learning?

Absenteeism in Head Start and children's academic learning
Ansari, Arya, 01/01/2017

Using nationally representative data from the Family and Child Experiences Survey 2009 cohort (n = 2,842), this study examined the implications of 3- and 4-year-old's absences from Head Start for their early academic learning. The findings from this study revealed that children who missed more days of school, and especially those who were chronically absent, demonstrated fewer gains in areas of math and literacy during the preschool year. Moreover, excessive absenteeism was found to detract from the potential benefits of quality preschool education and was especially problematic for the early learning of children who entered the Head Start program with a less developed skill set. Implications for policy and practice are discussed. (author abstract)

What does a field experiment reveal about the demand for teacher characteristics in the market for child care?

The demand for teacher characteristics in the market for child care: Evidence from a field experiment
Boyd-Swan, Casey, 04/01/2017
(IZA DP No. 10702). Bonn, Germany: Institute of Labor Economics. Retrieved from http://ftp.iza.org/dp10702.pdf

Many preschool-age children in the U.S. attend center-based child care programs that are of low quality. This paper examines the extent to which teacher qualifications -- widely considered important inputs to classroom quality -- are valued by providers during the hiring process. To do so, we administered a resume audit study in which job-seeker characteristics were randomly assigned to a large number of resumes that were submitted in response to real child care job postings in 14 cities. Our results indicate that center-based providers may not hire the most qualified applicants. For example, we find that although providers have a strong preference for individuals with previous work experience in early childhood education (ECE), those with more ECE experience are less likely to receive an interview than those with less experience. We also find that individuals with bachelor's degrees in ECE are no more likely to receive an interview than their counterparts at the associate's level, even in the market for lead preschool-age teachers. Furthermore, those revealing high levels of academic performance, as measured by grade point average, are generally not preferred by child care providers. Finally, it appears that some non-quality attributes do not influence hiring decisions (e.g., signaling car ownership), while others have large effects on teacher hiring (e.g., applicant race/ethnicity). Together, our findings shed light on the complex trade-offs made by center-based providers attempting to offer high-quality programs while earning sufficient revenue to stay in business. (author abstract)

What are the home-based literacy practices of low-income African American families with preschoolers transitioning from Head Start to kindergarten?

"We keep the education goin' at home all the time": Family literacy in low-income African American families of preschoolers
Jarrett, Robin L., 01/01/2017

Researchers have examined the impact of family on child literacy among low-income African American families and preschoolers considered to be at risk for not being ready for kindergarten. Quantitative studies identify family-parental variables associated with poorer literacy outcomes, whereas qualitative studies detail family practices that promote child literacy development. Addressing the limitations of social address variables in quantitative research, and the paucity of research on preschoolers in qualitative research, this study examines the home-based literacy practices of 20 low-income, African American families with preschoolers in Head Start transitioning to kindergarten. Using qualitative interviews informed by a resilience framework, we found that home-based literacy activities were carried out within teams of diverse kin who worked together to promote children's school readiness. Family literacy teams expanded the literacy resources available to preschoolers, providing a rich literacy environment for children's development. These findings contribute to our substantive understanding of literacy practices within low-income African American families, resilience theory, and culturally relevant home-school collaborations. (author abstract)

Do parents know "high quality" preschool when they see it?

Do parents know "high quality" preschool when they see it?
Bassok, Daphna, 01/01/2017
(EdPolicyWorks Working Paper Series No. 54). Charlottesville: University of Virginia, EdPolicyWorks. Retrieved from http://curry.virginia.edu/uploads/resourceLibrary/54_Can_Parents_Assess_Preschool_Quality.pdf

High quality early childhood education (ECE) programs can lead to substantial benefits for children, however many children are not attending programs of sufficient quality to yield meaningful developmental gains. To address this problem, states have increasingly turned to Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS), early childhood accountability systems that aim to improve ECE quality through incentives, supports, and information campaigns. Such informational interventions hinge on the assumption that parents are currently unable to assess ECE quality. This study examines the validity of this assumption, which is largely untested to date, using data from a sample of low-income families with four-year-olds attending publicly-funded ECE programs. We examine whether parents' evaluation of their child's program is explained by an extensive set of quality measures including: observational measures of the quality of classroom instruction; measures of children's learning gains; measures of structural quality; and measures of program convenience. We find that parents' evaluations of their program were not systematically related with any of the measures of quality, corroborating this key assumption of QRIS, and suggest that there may be a role for informational interventions in ECE markets. (author abstract)

How does research on the traits and skills of preschool executive function impact young children's developmental and academic outcomes?

Preschoolers' executive function: Importance, contributors, research needs and assessment options
Ackerman, Debra J., 01/01/2017
(Research Report No. RR-17-22). Princeton, NJ: Educational Testing Service. Retrieved from http://nieer.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Friedman-Krauss_Executive_Function_2017.pdf

The early education field increasingly is recognizing the key role played by young children's executive function (EF) skills, generally defined as the cognitive abilities that consciously support goal-directed behaviors. To provide the field with an overview of research conducted on this topic over the past 15 years, we review research on the traits and skills that fall under the broader umbrella of preschool EF and the role it plays in young children's developmental and academic outcomes. Also addressed are the child, environmental, activity-related, and curricular factors potentially impacting the development of EF and some EF-related topics for which additional research is needed. Finally, we provide practical and psychometric information regarding six examples of measures that focus on assessing preschoolers' EF skills. This report can serve as a resource for early childhood researchers and practitioners who are interested in understanding EF development during the early years. By highlighting some topics for which additional research is needed and providing information regarding examples of valid and reliable measures to assess EF in children ages 3-5 years, we hope this report also will serve as a springboard for future studies related to preschool EF. (author abstract) Check out Research Connections brief on Interventions to promote young children's self-regulation and executive function skills in early childhood settings.

What does the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort reveal about the child care experiences of dual language learners in the United States?

Child care experiences among dual language learners in the United States: Analyses of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort
Espinosa, Linda M., 04/01/2017

Although quality center-based child care is helpful in promoting school readiness for dual language learners (DLLs), little is known about the nonparental child care that young DLL children experience. DLL status is often confounded with immigrant status, ethnicity, and poverty. Using nationally representative data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort, we examined child care experiences with repeated cross-sectional analyses at 9, 24, and 52 months for DLL and non-DLL children. After accounting for demographic and contextual factors, we found few differences in the quality and type of child care experienced by DLL children and children who hear only English in the home. Child care experiences were more related to country of origin, ethnicity, or immigrant status than DLL status. Nonparental caregivers were more likely to speak the child's home language in home-based care than center care. Findings illustrate the importance of distinguishing among DLL status, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, country of origin, and immigrant status when considering the child care experiences of DLLs. (author abstract)

What policy and system supports for obesity prevention in early care and education settings exist in each state?

Early care and education state indicator report: 2016
National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (U.S.). Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity, 10/01/2016
Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/downloads/early-care-education-report.pdf

This Early Care and Education State Indicator Report, 2016 focuses on state policy and system supports for obesity prevention in the ECE setting and provides examples of how some states have incorporated obesity prevention into their ECE system. It presents information on 15 indicators representing seven areas from the Spectrum of Opportunities framework. State health department staff and other key ECE stakeholders can use this information to guide future ECE obesity prevention efforts and to educate decision makers about existing policy and system supports for ECE obesity prevention in their state. The indicators in this report describe activities that vary in reach but have the potential to improve ECE care statewide, thus benefiting large numbers of children. This report also contains Stories from the Field that illustrate in more detail how state agencies are working to improve the ECE setting. (author abstract)

How do child care costs differ by state?

Parents and the high cost of child care: 2016 report
Dobbins, Dionne R., 01/01/2016
Arlington, VA: Child Care Aware of America. Retrieved from http://usa.childcareaware.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/CCA_High_Cost_Report.pdf

The 10th edition of Parents and the High Cost of Child Care: 2016 includes a comprehensive literature review which describes key concerns underlying the complex issue of the high costs surrounding child care for families across the country. We provide an overview of at risk populations adversely affected by high child care costs as well as a general lack of available high-quality options. A review of child care provider workforce statistics reveals a significantly underpaid population of early educators all too often unable to cover the costs of child care for their own children. In a world where parents are unable to pay the high cost of care, child care providers are often simultaneously unable to keep their doors open - a review of cost modeling and child care financing literature is also included. As in previous years, we provide the average cost of care for each state and the percent of median income married and single parents pay for child care. This year, we found child care to be unaffordable in 49 states plus DC - Louisiana is the only state with affordable center-based infant care. Louisiana has done a great deal to make care more affordable for parents - for more information, see the Solutions section of this report. Costs and affordability percentages are reported for center-based and family child care. In addition, analyses of county-level data have been included for four states: Arizona, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and New Hampshire. As our nation's leading voice for child care, Child Care Aware(R) of America provides a full review of solutions and policy recommendations. (author abstract)

What early childhood policies and strategies support young children who have experienced trauma?

Helping young children who have experienced trauma: Policies and strategies for early care and education
Bartlett, Jessica Dym, 04/01/2017
(Publication No. 2017-19). Bethesda, MD: Child Trends. Retrieved from https://www.childtrends.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/2017-19ECETrauma.pdf

In this report, we describe early childhood trauma and its effects, offer promising strategies for ECE programs and systems to help young children who have experienced trauma, and present recommendations for state policymakers and other stakeholders looking to support trauma-informed ECE for this vulnerable group. (author abstract)

How do parent's employment instability and job characteristics impact the use of child care subsidies?

Using policy-relevant administrative data in mixed methods: A study of employment instability and parents' use of child care subsidies
Grobe, Deana, 03/01/2017

In the United States, government subsidies help low-income families pay for child care when parents are working, yet policies that tie subsidy eligibility closely to employment may result in frequent disruptions in program participation for families. This paper uses a mixed methods research design that links administrative records on families and children to data collected through surveys and in-depth interviews to examine employment instability and job characteristics of parents using child care subsidies. The results suggest that parents experience substantial employment instability (employment loss and unpredictable schedules) and that exiting the subsidy program is frequently related to employment-related eligibility factors. Overall, the use of administrative data integrated with other methods provides substantial opportunities for researchers to explore complex social phenomenon and provide insights in the evaluation of social programs. (author abstract)

What is the relationship between global quality and group engagement in toddler child care classrooms?

Exploring the relationship between global quality and group engagement in toddler child care classrooms
Hooper, Alison, 04/01/2017

Toddlers' engagement with their social and physical environment is an important aspect of their experience in early care and education programs. The purpose of this research study was to examine how global quality relates to children's engagement in toddler child care classrooms. Additionally, this study explored how toddlers' group engagement levels vary across classroom contexts, including free play, group activities, meals, transitions, and personal care routines. Thirty toddler child care classrooms participating in a statewide Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) were observed using two observational measures. Results indicate that a strong positive relationship exists between engagement and global quality. Group engagement varied significantly by classroom context, with the highest levels of engagement documented during mealtime and free play and the lowest levels of engagement documented during transitions. The findings point to the importance of using multiple measures to understand toddler experiences in group care settings. Further, the variation of children's engagement across classroom contexts suggests that more attention is needed in understanding and supporting teachers in increasing child engagement, especially during classroom transitions. (author abstract)

What are the economic returns from investing in center-based early childhood education programs?

Early childhood education to promote health equity: A Community Guide economic review
Ramon, Ismaila, 01/01/2017

Context: A recent Community Guide systematic review found that early childhood education (ECE) programs improve educational, social, and health-related outcomes and advance health equity because many are designed to increase enrollment for high-risk children. This follow-up economic review examines how the economic benefits of center-based ECE programs compare with their costs. Evidence Acquisition: Kay and Pennucci from the Washington State Institute for Public Policy, whose meta-analysis formed the basis of the Community Guide effectiveness review, conducted a benefit-cost analysis of ECE programs for low-income children in Washington State. We performed an electronic database search using both effectiveness and economic key words to identify additional cost-benefit studies published through May 2015. Kay and Pennucci also provided us with national-level benefit-cost estimates for state and district and federal Head Start programs. Evidence Synthesis: The median benefit-to-cost ratio from 11 estimates of earnings gains, the major benefit driver for 3 types of ECE programs (ie, state and district, federal Head Start, and model programs), was 3.39:1 (interquartile interval [IQI] = 2.48-4.39). The overall median benefit-to-cost ratio from 7 estimates of total benefits, based on all benefit components including earnings gains, was 4.19:1 (IQI = 2.62-8.60), indicating that for every dollar invested in the program, there was a return of $4.19 in total benefits. Conclusions: ECE programs promote both equity and economic efficiency. Evidence indicates there is positive social return on investment in ECE irrespective of the type of ECE program. The adoption of a societal perspective is crucial to understand all costs and benefits of ECE programs regardless of who pays for the costs or receives the benefits. (author abstract)

What is the meaning of the word "curriculum" when applied to working with infants and toddlers?

Working toward a definition of infant/toddler curricula: Intentionally furthering the development of individual children within responsive relationships
Chazan-Cohen, Rachel, 03/01/2017
(OPRE Report No. 2017-15). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/nitr_report_v09_final_b508.pdf

This brief is an effort to explore the meaning of the word "curriculum" when applied to working with infants and toddlers. The idea for the brief emerged from the early childhood community--specifically two groups of applied researchers funded by the Administration for Children and Families, INQUIRE and NITR. [See insert box on page 12 for more information on these groups]. These groups were getting questions from state policy makers and practitioners about the meaning of the term "empirically-based curricula for infants and toddlers," a requirement for many accountability systems. Questions included concerns about how to conceptualize curriculum in the context of working with infants and toddlers--especially how to incorporate this concept in a way that provides sufficient focus on individualization and the supportive and responsive relationships that are the hallmark of infant/toddler care and education. There was concern that use of a curriculum would by definition be developmentally inappropriate for infants and toddlers. There were also questions about how stakeholders should verify the use of a curriculum for this age group. This brief begins a discussion about the meaning of the term when applied to early education and care programs serving families with infants and toddlers, and focuses especially on how the concept of a curriculum can be incorporated into and used in programs in a way that is developmentally appropriate for this age range. (author abstract)

Using data from the National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE), which factors are associated with reduced expulsion in center-based early learning settings?

Factors associated with reduced expulsion in center-based early learning settings: Preliminary findings from the National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE)
Trivedi, Pamala, 01/06/2017
Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Human Services Policy. Retrieved from https://aspe.hhs.gov/system/files/pdf/255476/NSECEexpulsionanalysis.pdf

This brief provides new national estimates of recent early childhood expulsion rates in a range of center-based early learning settings using data from the National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE), indicating how characteristics of early care and education (ECE) centers relate to the likelihood that children are denied services due to behavior. The analysis describes how access to comprehensive services, support for professional development for ECE teachers and staff, funding source (e.g., Head Start, public pre-K, private, etc.), and program sponsorship (e.g., non-profit, government sponsored, for-profit, etc.) relate to recent expulsion rates. (author abstract)

What does research literature reveal about the effects of child care costs and availability on parental employment?

Child care and parent labor force participation: A review of the research literature
Morrissey, Taryn, 03/01/2017

Early care and education (ECE) enables parental employment and provides a context for child development. Theory suggests that lower child care costs, through subsidized care or the provision of free or low-cost arrangements, would increase the use of ECE and parents' employment and work hours. This paper reviews the research literature examining the effects of child care costs and availability on parental employment. In general, research suggests that reduced out-of-pocket costs for ECE and increased availability of public ECE increases ECE attendance among young children, and has positive impacts on mothers' labor force participation and work hours. However, there is considerable heterogeneity in findings. Among U.S. studies that report the elasticity of employment to ECE price, estimates range from -0.025 to -1.1, with estimates clustering near 0.05-0.25. This indicates that a 10 % reduction in the price of child care would lead to a 0.25-11 % increase in maternal employment, likely near 0.5-2.5 %. In general, studies using more recent data or data from non-U.S. countries find smaller elasticities than those using U.S. data from the 1990s. These differences may be due to historical and cross-national differences in ECE attendance, labor force attachment, and educational attainment among mothers with young children, as well as heterogeneity in the methodological approaches and data used across studies. More research in the U.S. using contemporary data is needed, particularly given recent changes in U.S. ECE policy. (author abstract)

How do price subsidies and tax credits care compare as forms of child care assistance

Childcare assistance: Are subsidies or tax credits better?
Gong, Xiaodong, 03/01/2017

We evaluate price subsidies and tax credits for childcare. We focus on partnered women's labour supply, household income and welfare, demand for childcare and government expenditure. Using Australian data, we estimate a joint, discrete structural model of labour supply and childcare demand. We introduce two methodological innovations -- a more flexible quantity constraint that total formal and informal childcare hours are at least as large as the mother's labour supply and the explicit inclusion of maternal childcare in the utility function as a proxy for child development. We find that tax credits are more effective than subsidies in terms of increasing average hours worked and household income. However, tax credits disproportionately benefit wealthier and more educated women. Price subsidies, while less efficient, have positive redistributional effects. (author abstract)

How does the length of child care subsidy eligibility relate to duration of subsidy receipt?

The role of policy and practice in short spells of child care subsidy participation
Davis, Elizabeth E., 01/01/2017

A major change in US child care subsidy policy in 2014 established a 12-month eligibility period for families participating in the child care subsidy program. The primary policy objective of lengthening eligibility periods was to increase the stability of child care. Previous research in a small number of states has shown that families are more likely to leave the subsidy program at the time of eligibility recertification even though they may remain eligible. Using data from the state of Maryland, this article investigates whether longer eligibility periods contribute to longer continuous subsidy receipt and the degree to which local offices follow state guidelines when setting redetermination periods. Using a Cox proportional hazards model and controlling for child, family, and provider characteristics, we show that families were substantially more likely to leave the subsidy program when their voucher was due to expire or they were scheduled to recertify eligibility. We find that the span of time allotted to families before they need to recertify eligibility varied substantially across counties in ways that were not related to child or family characteristics, despite a statewide policy allowing eligibility recertification at 12-month intervals. (author abstract)

What are the predictors of reentry among families who leave the child care subsidy program in Maryland?

Understanding churn: Predictors of reentry among families who leave the child care subsidy program in Maryland
Davis, Elizabeth E., 06/01/2017

Child care subsidies provide an important work support for low-income families, yet children often receive subsidies for only a short period of time and may cycle on and off the program. Much of the research to date on patterns of subsidy participation has focused on the duration of participation, and less attention has been paid to the dynamics of how often and how quickly children return to the program. This paper uses administrative data from Maryland to analyze the patterns of returns to the subsidy program after a break in subsidized care. We find that half of children who exited the program return to subsidy within five years, and most of those return within a few months. Returns to subsidized care are related to family circumstances, type of care, child age, and program policies related to eligibility redetermination. These factors have differential effects on the probability of returning to the same provider or a different provider, which may have important implications for the stability of children's care. (author abstract)

What do the National Household Education Surveys Program (NHES) Early Childhood Program Participation (ECPP) Surveys reveal about nonparental child care arrangements from 2001 to 2012?

The years before school: Children's nonparental care arrangements from 2001 to 2012
Redford, Jeremy, 03/01/2017
(NCES 2017-096). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved from https://nces.ed.gov/pubs2017/2017096.pdf

This Statistics in Brief examines the nonparental care arrangements of children in the United States, from birth through age 5, who are not yet enrolled in kindergarten. The report draws on data from the National Household Education Surveys Program (NHES) Early Childhood Program Participation (ECPP) Surveys of 2001, 2005, and 2012. Previous reports have shown that children's nonparental care arrangements vary by age, with higher percentages of older children participating in center care arrangements (Mamedova and Redford 2013; Mulligan, Brimhall, and West 2005). The evidence suggests that this may be because as children get older, their parents begin to focus more on their academic skills. Younger children's parents, in contrast, may be more concerned about practical factors such as cost and arrangement reliability as well as factors related to caregivers' trustworthiness and ability to form caring, home- or family-like relationships with children (Chaudry et al. 2011; Kim and Fram 2009). Given the emphasis in recent years on young children's early learning and nonparental care arrangements, it is important to better understand where children are spending their time during the years before school entry. This report presents findings on nonparental care over time, specifically on the arrangements children participate in, the time they spend in these arrangements, and the out-of-pocket expense for these arrangements. (author abstract)

How do teachers' education, credentials, and professional experience relate to beliefs about developmentally appropriate practice (DAP)?

Head Start teachers across a decade: Beliefs, characteristics, and time spent on academics
Walter, Melissa Clucas, 09/01/2017

We examined changes in teachers' beliefs regarding developmentally appropriate practice (DAP) in 2000, 2003, 2006, and 2009 using data from the Head Start Family and Child Experience Survey. In addition, we examined how teacher education, credentials, and professional experience relate to beliefs about DAP and explored how these relationships differ by cohort. We also explored teachers' reports of time spent in math and literacy focused activities. Findings indicate that after 2003, developmentally appropriate beliefs decreased significantly, while developmentally inappropriate beliefs increased. Results also showed significant increases in the frequency of literacy activity across the decade, while the frequency of math activity was more consistent. Despite these changes, teachers with more education consistently held the most appropriate beliefs. These findings indicate that teacher education may buffer against influences of pushed down curricula and increased accountability. This study also illustrates that policies at the national level have the potential to impact children's day-to-day classroom experiences. (author abstract)

What is the relationship between early child care experiences and adolescent functioning at the end of high school?

Early child care and adolescent functioning at the end of high school: Results from the NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development
Vandell, Deborah Lowe, 10/01/2016

Relations between early child care and adolescent functioning at the end of high school (EOHS; [mean] age = 18.3 years) were examined in a prospective longitudinal study of 1,214 children. Controlling for extensive measures of family background, early child care was associated with academic standing and behavioral adjustment at the EOHS. More experience in center-type care was linked to higher class rank and admission to more selective colleges, and for females to less risk taking and greater impulse control. Higher quality child care predicted higher academic grades and admission to more selective colleges. Fewer hours in child care was related to admission to more selective colleges. These findings suggest long-term benefits of higher quality child care, center-type care, and lower child-care hours for measures of academic standing at the EOHS. (author abstract)

To what extent do early care and education programs adopt policies that reflect evidence-based practices to prevent and address challenging behaviors in the early years?

An examination of the quality of discipline policies in NAEYC-accredited early care and education programs
Garrity, Sarah, 08/01/2017

The purpose of this study was to expand the knowledge base regarding discipline policies in early care and education (ECE) programs by examining the extent to which programs utilize policies that reflect the implementation of evidence-based practices to prevent and address challenging behaviors in the early years. Discipline policies were gathered from 282 programs accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and were scored using the Teaching and Guidance Policy Essentials Checklist. Overall, policies failed to address evidence-base practices, and findings are situated within the discourse on the prevalence of challenging behaviors and the troubling date on preschool suspension and expulsion rates and the current ECE context. (author abstract)

In the Research Connections collection, check out our resource list on preventing preschool expulsion.

What is the latest review of the literature on social and emotional learning for students ages 3-8?

A review of the literature on social and emotional learning for students ages 3-8: Characteristics of effective social and emotional learning programs (part 1 of 4)
O'Conner, Rosemarie, 02/01/2017
(REL 2017-245). Washington, DC: Regional Educational Laboratory Mid-Atlantic. Retrieved from https://ies.ed.gov/ncee/edlabs/regions/midatlantic/pdf/REL_2017245.pdf

Social and emotional learning (SEL) is the process by which children and adults learn to understand and manage emotions, maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. This is the first in a series of four related reports about what is known about SEL programs for students ages 3-8. The report series addresses four issues raised by the Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Mid-Atlantic's Early Childhood Education Research Alliance: characteristics of effective SEL programs (part 1), implementation strategies and state and district policies that support SEL programming (part 2), teacher and classroom strategies that contribute to social and emotional learning (part 3), and outcomes of social and emotional learning among different student populations and settings (part 4). This report identifies key components of effective SEL programs and offers guidance on selecting programs. (author abstract)

In the Research Connections collection, check out our resource list on interventions to promote young children's self-regulation and executive function skills in early childhood settings. In addition, check out the featured series on "A review of the literature on social and emotional learning for students ages 3-8."

What is the link between executive function skills, early mathematics, and vocabulary in Head Start preschool children?

Executive function skills, early mathematics, and vocabulary in Head Start preschool children
Harvey, Hattie A., 04/01/2017

Research Findings: The contribution of 3 executive function skills (shifting, inhibitory control, and working memory) and their relation to early mathematical skills was investigated with preschoolers attending 6 Head Start centers. Ninety-two children ranging in age from 3 years, 1 month, to 4 years, 11 months, who were native English or Spanish speakers were assessed for these executive function skills as well as their receptive vocabulary skills and early mathematical abilities using the Child Math Assessment (Starkey, Klein, & Wakeley, 2004), which captures an array of skills across 4 domains. Hierarchal regression analyses revealed that inhibitory control and working memory made unique contributions to children's early mathematical abilities in the domains of numeracy, arithmetic, spatial/geometric reasoning, and patterning/logical relations after we controlled for age, receptive vocabulary, and previous Head Start experience. Furthermore, receptive vocabulary also accounted for significant variance in children's early mathematical abilities above and beyond executive function skills. No group differences emerged between English-only and dual language learners on the fit of the regression models. Practice or Policy: These findings extend previous research highlighting the interface of executive function skills and mathematical learning in early childhood with further evidence to support this relationship beyond early numeracy and counting using a broad measure of critical early math skills. In addition, the intricate role of language in the development of early mathematical competence is considered. Implications of these findings for scaffolding executive function skills and vocabulary within prekindergarten math curricula are discussed, with particular consideration for children from low socioeconomic backgrounds. (author abstract)

What are the policies that States and Territories use in operating child care subsidy systems under the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF)?

The CCDF policies database book of tables: Key cross-state variations in CCDF policies as of October 1, 2015
Stevens, Kathryn, 11/01/2016
(OPRE Report 2016-94). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/ccdf_policies_database_2015_book_of_tables_final_11_23_16_b508.pdf

This report describes the policies that States and Territories use in operating child care subsidy systems under the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF). Across the country and in five outlying areas, CCDF provides federal money to States, Territories, and Tribes to subsidize the cost of child care for lower-income families. Detailed policies vary widely across jurisdictions. This report--the sixth in a series--focuses on the CCDF policies that were in place in October 2015, using data from the CCDF Policies Database. The CCDF Policies Database project produces a comprehensive, up-to-date database of CCDF policies for the 50 States, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Territories and outlying areas. The Database contains hundreds of variables designed to capture CCDF policies across time, allowing users to access policy information for a specific point in time as well as to see how and when policies change over time. The Database is funded by the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE) and maintained by the Urban Institute. The information in the Database, and thus the information in the tables, is based primarily on the documents that caseworkers use as they work with families and providers (often termed "caseworker manuals"). The initial set of manuals coded for the Database reflected policies in effect on or before October 1, 2009. Ongoing manual updates have been collected since that point in order to capture policy changes when they occur in each State/Territory. Each year the project produces a set of tables, containing selected policies from the Database (the full Database detail is also made available for public use). The tables are then reviewed by State/Territory administrators and verified for accuracy. The final tables are included in an annual report, with the current report showing the policies in effect on October 1, 2015. The information provided in the Book of Tables covers four general areas of policy: eligibility requirements for families and children; family application, terms of authorization, and redetermination; family payments; and policies for providers, including maximum reimbursement rates. (author abstract)

In the Research Connections collection, check out the latest Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) Policies Database .

What are the differential effects of various classroom characteristics on African American and non-African American preschoolers' mathematics achievement?

Differential effects of the classroom on African American and non-African American's mathematics achievement
Schenke, Katerina, 01/01/2017

We examined whether African American students differentially responded to dimensions of the observed classroom-learning environment compared with non-African American students. Further, we examined whether these dimensions of the classroom mediated treatment effects of a preschool mathematics intervention targeted at students from low-income families. Three observed dimensions of the classroom (teacher expectations and developmental appropriateness; teacher confidence and enthusiasm; and support for mathematical discourse) were evaluated in a sample of 1,238 preschool students in 101 classrooms. Using multigroup multilevel mediation where African American students were compared with non-African American students, we found that teachers in the intervention condition had higher ratings on the observed dimensions of the classroom compared with teachers in the control condition. Further, ratings on teacher expectations and developmental appropriateness had larger associations with the achievement of African American students than for non-African Americans. Findings suggest that students within the same classroom may react differently to that learning environment and that classroom learning environments could be structured in ways that are beneficial for students who need the most support. (author abstract)

What are the latest recommendations for strengthening health consultation to promote children's health in early care and education settings?

Promoting children's health in early care and education settings by supporting health consultation
Honigfeld, Lisa, 02/01/2017
Farmington, CT: Child Health and Development Institute of Connecticut. Retrieved from http://www.chdi.org/index.php/tools/required/download?file=files/8114/8600/7862/ChildCareHealthConsultationIMPACTFinal.pdf

This IMPACT provides a framework for integrating health into early learning programs through health consultation and makes recommendations for strengthening health consultation at a time when integration of health with other services is supported by health reform efforts. In preparing the current report, the team was committed to ensuring that health is supported in early care and education settings and CCHCs are well connected to pediatric primary care medical home services. The IMPACT includes: - A description of the role of health consultants in child care programs and the evolution of this professional work. - A review of state regulations related to health consultation in early care programs and the literature regarding the effectiveness of health consultation. - Critical components of a health consultancy program informed by health reform opportunities and other recent policy. - A discussion of how policies can support and integrate health consultation in early childhood and child health systems. - Recommendations for supporting and expanding the role of Child Care Health Consultants in ensuring the optimal connection between health, child care providers, and parents. (author abstract)

How far are early care and education arrangements from children's homes?

How far are early care and education arrangements from children's homes?
National Survey of Early Care and Education Project Team, 11/01/2016
(OPRE Report No. 2016-10). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/distance_to_ece_factsheet_111716_b508.pdf

Distance between a child's home and the location of a provider of early care and education (ECE) is one of the critical factors parents consider in choosing providers (in addition to cost, schedule, quality, and availability). These distances can also inform child care subsidy policies and our understanding of households' access to ECE. This fact sheet uses newly available mapping data from the National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE) to describe distances between young children's homes and where they receive regular ECE. We provide nationally representative estimates of the distances between families' homes and the regular (5 or more hours per week) nonparental care they use for children 5 years and under. We present estimates separately for infants/toddlers (birth to <3 years old) and preschoolers (3 through 5 years old), different levels of household income-to-poverty ratio, and selected types of ECE providers. (author abstract)

In the Research Connections collection, check out ourNational Survey of Early Care and Education for additional resources.

What are the recent trends in and implications of recent research concerned with educators' well-being?

Early childhood educators' well-being: An updated review of the literature
Cumming, Tamara, 09/01/2017

Researchers are increasingly recognising the connections between early childhood educators' well-being and their capacity for providing high quality education and care. The past five years have seen an intensification of research concerning early childhood educators' well-being. However, fragmentation along conceptual, contextual and methodological lines makes it difficult to clearly identify the most effective focus for future research. The purpose of this article is to identify trends in, and implications of recent research concerned with educators' well-being. Attention is given to ways recent studies address concerns raised in a review of earlier literature (Hall-Kenyon et al. in Early Child Educ J 42(3):153-162, 2014, doi:10.1007/s10643-013-0595-4), and what implications recent studies have for future research efforts concerned with educators' well-being. (author abstract)

To what extent does a randomized offer to attend Head Start affect the quality of care children receive?

Unpacking the treatment contrast in the Head Start Impact Study: To what extent does assignment to treatment affect quality of care?
Friedman-Krauss, Allison, 01/01/2017

Attending high-quality early childhood care and education (ECCE) is associated with higher cognitive and social-emotional skills, especially for children growing up in poverty, but access to high-quality ECCE is limited. This study capitalizes on the random assignment design of the Head Start Impact Study to better understand whether the randomized offer to attend Head Start, a free comprehensive child development program for low-income and at-risk children, raises the quality of ECCE in which children enroll. Multinomial logistic regression was used to isolate the intent-to-treat impacts of random assignment to Head Start on ECCE quality from impacts on enrollment in formal ECCE. Results indicate that children randomly assigned to receive Head Start (treatment), compared to children in the control group, were more likely to enroll in high-quality and, to a lesser extent, low-quality ECCE. Treatment impacts were largest at the high end of the quality distribution, were driven by increased enrollment in Head Start, and differed for 3- and 4-year-olds. These results highlight the important role of Head Start in providing high-quality ECCE for low-income children. (author abstract)

What are the benefits and costs of the universal pre-K program provided by Tulsa Public Schools?

A benefit-cost analysis of the Tulsa universal pre-k program
Bartik, Timothy J., 08/01/2016
(Center for Research on Children in the United States (CROCUS) Working Paper 19). Washington, DC: Georgetown University, Center for Research on Children in the United States. Retrieved from https://georgetown.app.box.com/s/kz9clxl6oe6bm8dqdmf6vposc5p3xnem

In this paper, benefits and costs are estimated for a universal pre-K program, provided by Tulsa Public Schools. Benefits are derived from estimated effects of Tulsa pre-K on retention by grade 9. Retention effects are projected to dollar benefits from future earnings increases and crime reductions. Based on these estimates, Tulsa pre-K has benefits that exceed costs by about 2-to-1. This benefit cost ratio is far less than the much higher benefit-cost ratios (ranging from 8-to-1 to 16-to-1) for more targeted and intensive pre-K programs, such as Perry Preschool and the Chicago Child-Parent Center (CPC) program. Comparing benefit-cost results from different studies suggests that our more modest estimates are due to two factors: 1) smaller percentage effects of pre-K on future earnings and crime in Tulsa than in Perry and CPC, and 2) smaller baseline crime rates in Tulsa than in the Perry and CPC comparison groups. (author abstract)

What are the similarities, differences, and relationships between executive function and other regulation-related skills in children ages 3-6?

Executive Function Mapping Project: Untangling the terms and skills related to executive function and self-regulation in early childhood: Project report
Jones, Stephanie M., 10/01/2016
(OPRE Report No. 2016-88). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/efmapping_report_101416_final_508.pdf

Based on a review of literature, this report looks at the similarities, differences, and relationships between executive function (EF) and other regulation-related skills primarily in children ages 3-6. It presents a map of EF and other regulation-related skills, a framework to distinguish these skills, the project's findings based on the literature review, and implications and considerations for stakeholders.

In the Research Connections collection, check out ourResource List on interventions to promote young children's self-regulation and executive function skills in early childhood settings.

How can policymakers and researchers define and measure access to high-quality early care and education?

Defining and measuring access to high-quality early care and education: A guidebook for policymakers and researchers
Friese, Sarah, 02/01/2017
(OPRE Report No. 2017-08). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/cceepra_access_guidebook_final_508_22417_b508.pdf

Establishing a common understanding of ECE access, and how to measure it across different types of early learning settings, is essential for state and local policymakers responsible for improving access. A common understanding of access allows policymakers, administrators, and researchers to communicate clearly about this important concept. A common set of measurable indicators of ECE access allow for accurate longitudinal and cross-state or intrastate comparisons, as well. The ECE Access Guidebook was developed to address the need for developing a common understanding and approach to measuring access. Ultimately, this Guidebook is intended to support states' efforts to assess the reach and effectiveness of their policy initiatives aimed at expanding ECE access. The Guidebook provides information in four sections: Clarifying and Defining Access; Describing the Indicators of Access; Measuring the Indicators of Access; and Identifying ECE Access Datasets and Sources. (author abstract)

In the Research Connections collection, check out An Overview of the Access Guidebook on defining and measuring access to high quality early care and education (ECE).

What is the estimated effect of California's minimum wage increase on child care workers' wages and the state's child care subsidy program?

Estimating the cost of raising child care workers' wages for state subsidy programs: A methodology applied to California's new state minimum wage law
Thomason, Sarah, 12/01/2016
Berkeley, CA: University of California, Berkeley, Center for Labor Research and Education. Retrieved from http://laborcenter.berkeley.edu/pdf/2016/Raising-Child-Care-Workers-Wages.pdf

In April 2016, California passed legislation to increase the state minimum wage annually until it reaches $15 an hour in 2023 for all businesses. As a result, child care centers and licensed in-home providers will be required to increase the wages of their employees who currently earn less than the new minimum wage. Because a large proportion of workers in the child care industry is low-wage, this could have a significant impact on providers. Providers with private clients may respond by raising their prices to cover the cost of the wage increase. However, the amount providers receive for caring for children covered by state child care subsidy programs is determined by state and county reimbursement rates. Without the ability to change the amount charged for caring for subsidized children, child care centers or licensed in-home facilities may not be able to cover the cost of raising workers' wages to the new minimum wage. In this memo, we describe a methodology we have developed for estimating the additional child care subsidy funding needed to cover the cost of a state minimum wage increase for programs administered by the California Department of Education (CDE) and the Department of Social Services through the CalWORKs 1 (Welfare to Work) program. (author abstract)

What are the key features of student teaching within early childhood teacher preparation programs across 2 and 4 year institutions?

Student teaching within early childhood teacher preparation programs: An examination of key features across 2- and 4-year institutions
Sumrall, Teressa Cameron, 01/01/2016

Early childhood teacher preparation programs play a critical role in preparing teachers to work with young children, yet the field knows relatively little about how these programs carry out this important function. The culminating classroom-based experience, generally termed "student teaching", is an important component in teacher preparation. The current study presents descriptive data from a survey of 103, 2- and 4-year early childhood teacher preparation programs related to key features of student teaching in these programs, including field placement sites, criteria for cooperating teachers, and student requirements. Comparisons of 2- and 4-year programs show several areas of similarity as well as some differences, with 4-year programs generally requiring more intense student teaching experiences. The findings are discussed in terms of the different foci in for 2- and 4-year programs and suggest that additional effort to strengthen and perhaps establish some consistent expectations for student teaching experiences may be useful. (author abstract)

How does family involvement during the kindergarten transition affect children's transition to kindergarten and their early school adjustment?

Influences of family involvement in kindergarten transition activities on children's early school adjustment
Kang, Jean, 01/01/2016

Transition to kindergarten can be a pivotal experience for children because of its potential long-term impact on school performance. As the importance of relationships among contextual factors surrounding a child has been recognized, many schools have made efforts to establish strong ties with families in order to make kindergarten transition experiences as seamless as possible. Our current understanding of the role of family involvement in kindergarten transitions and the specific outcomes, however, is still somewhat limited. Using a combination of quantitative and qualitative research methods, this study investigated the impact of family involvement in kindergarten transition activities on children's transition to kindergarten and their early school adjustment. Although quantitative results revealed that family involvement is not a significant predictor of children's early school adjustment, qualitative evidence suggests that families believe their involvement in kindergarten transition has a positive influence. In addition, qualitative results provide information concerning barriers, which interfered with family involvement in the transition process. Based on these findings suggestions for schools and families of young children are provided. (author abstract)

Check out Research Connections collection Resource List on Transition to kindergarten and child outcomes.

How do preschool children's attention, engagement, and recall compare between electronic and paper storybooks?

Comparing electronic and paper storybooks for preschoolers: Attention, engagement, and recall
Richter, Anna, 01/01/2017

Preschool children's attention, engagement, and communication during readings from comparable electronic and paper storybooks, and their recall of story content were assessed. Seventy-nine preschoolers listened to one story on a tablet and another in paper format. The e-book contained multimedia and interactive features that activated story-related information. Dependent measures were attention to the book, the adult, and off-task; engagement and communication; recall of story content. Language and executive functioning were assessed. Results showed that (1) the e-book took twice as long to complete, (2) children were more attentive to, and engaged in the e-book, (3) children communicated more about the device during the e-book but more about the story during the paper book, (4) there was no difference in recall by format, (5) executive functioning was a stronger predictor of attention and story recall than was age. Results were discussed in relation to the cognitive theory of multimedia learning. (author abstract)

Does evidence-based programming improve preschool classrooms and home visits?

Enriching preschool classrooms and home visits with evidence-based programming: Sustained benefits for low-income children
Bierman, Karen L., 02/01/2017

Background: Growing up in poverty undermines healthy development, producing disparities in the cognitive and social-emotional skills that support early learning and mental health. Preschool and home-visiting interventions for low-income children have the potential to build early cognitive and social-emotional skills, reducing the disparities in school readiness that perpetuate the cycle of poverty. However, longitudinal research suggests that the gains low-income children make during preschool interventions often fade at school entry and disappear by early elementary school. Methods: In an effort to improve the benefits for low-income children, the REDI program enriched Head Start preschool classrooms (study one) and home visits (study two) with evidence-based programming, documenting positive intervention effects in two randomized trials. In this study, REDI participants were followed longitudinally, to evaluate the sustained impact of the classroom and home-visiting enrichments 3 years later, when children were in second grade. The combined sample included 556 children (55% European American, 25% African American, 19% Latino; 49% male): 288 children received the classroom intervention, 105 children received the classroom intervention plus the home-visiting intervention, and 173 children received usual practice Head Start. Results: The classroom intervention led to sustained benefits in social-emotional skills, improving second grade classroom participation, student-teacher relationships, social competence, and peer relations. The coordinated home-visiting intervention produced additional benefits in child mental health (perceived social competence and peer relations) and cognitive skills (reading skills, academic performance). Significant effects ranged from 25% to 48% of a standard deviation, representing important effects of small to moderate magnitude relative to usual practice Head Start. Conclusions: Preschool classroom and home-visiting programs for low-income children can be improved with the use of evidence-based programming, reducing disparities and promoting complementary benefits that sustain in elementary school. (author abstract)

What practice elements to improve social, emotional, and behavioral outcomes of young children in early childhood classrooms have been identified in the research literature?

Identifying common practice elements to improve social, emotional, and behavioral outcomes of young children in early childhood classrooms
McLeod, Bryce D., 02/01/2017

Educators are increasingly being encouraged to implement evidence-based interventions and practices to address the social, emotional, and behavioral needs of young children who exhibit problem behavior in early childhood settings. Given the nature of social-emotional learning during the early childhood years and the lack of a common set of core evidence-based practices within the early childhood literature, selection of instructional practices that foster positive social, emotional, and behavioral outcomes for children in early childhood settings can be difficult. The purpose of this paper is to report findings from a study designed to identify common practice elements found in comprehensive intervention models (i.e., manualized interventions that include a number of components) or discrete practices (i.e., a specific behavior or action) designed to target social, emotional, and behavioral learning of young children who exhibit problem behavior. We conducted a systematic review of early childhood classroom interventions that had been evaluated in randomized group designs, quasi-experimental designs, and single-case experimental designs. A total of 49 published articles were identified, and an iterative process was used to identify common practice elements. The practice elements were subsequently reviewed by experts in social-emotional and behavioral interventions for young children. Twenty-four practice elements were identified and classified into content (the goal or general principle that guides a practice element) and delivery (the way in which a teacher provides instruction to the child) categories. We discuss implications that the identification of these practice elements found in the early childhood literature has for efforts to implement models and practices. (author abstract)

How can researchers build relationships with state partners to facilitate the effective use of administrative data for research and to inform policy?

Developing collaborative partnerships with state agencies to strengthen research using early care and education administrative data
Maxwell, Kelly, 02/01/2017
(OPRE Research Brief No. 2017-16). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/cceepra_developingcollaborativepartnerships_ccdac_508compliant.pdf

Collaborative partnerships between researchers and agency staff are mutually beneficial, and they respect and build upon the specific expertise of each partner. While collaborative partnerships may take time to develop, they not only improve the feasibility and quality of research using administrative data but also support the applicability of research to inform policy and practice. Working together, researchers and agency staff can co-construct research questions that address issues related to program operations, policies, or pressing issues in the field that can be adequately answered with administrative data. The purpose of this resource is to offer ideas to researchers about how to build relationships with state partners to facilitate the effective use of administrative data for research and to inform policy. Different contexts, histories, and institutional capacities require distinct approaches to collaboration, so we offer researchers a range of possible strategies for establishing a partnership with state agency staff. This is the first in a series of three resources designed to help researchers interested in using administrative data. The other briefs in this series are entitled Determining the Feasibility of Using State Administrative Data and Considerations in Preparing to Analyze Administrative Data to Address Early Care and Education Related Research Questions. (author abstract)

Check out Research Connections collection for more research on using administrative data and analyzing administrative data. Please also check out Research Connections Working with Administrative Data page.

What are the current measures used in quality rating and improvement systems (QRIS) validation studies?

Measures used in quality rating and improvement systems (QRIS) validation studies
Tout, Kathryn, 12/01/2016
(OPRE Research Brief No. 2016-110). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/cceepra_measures_in_qris_validation_studies_1222_508.pdf

Investments in the development or revision of state and local Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS) for early care and education have increased in recent years, due in part to the Race to the Top - Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) grants that were awarded to 20 states beginning in Fiscal Year 2011. The RTT-ELC grants included a requirement that states conduct evaluation activities to validate the rating process used by the QRIS to designate program quality levels and to assess the extent to which quality rating levels correlate with children's developmental outcomes. Though a number of QRIS had conducted evaluation studies prior to 2011, the RTT-ELC grants resulted in multiple QRIS validation studies that were launched in 2012-2015. These validation studies assess the extent to which the QRIS rating process produces meaningfully distinct ratings of program quality and if quality rating levels correlate with children's developmental outcomes. This research brief addresses the need for an aggregate picture of the methods, measures, and analytic strategies being used in QRIS validation studies by summarizing the measures that researchers are currently using or plan to use. To gather information on current QRIS validation study measures, Child Trends compiled data used to inform the Quality Initiatives Research and Evaluation Consortium (INQUIRE) validation workgroup, and reviewed published reports and research plans for RTT-ELC validation studies. A total of 19 QRIS validation studies were examined. All 19 of the validation studies are conducting analyses to assess how well items on the rating tool are working; 18 of the studies are assessing whether program quality ratings are different in meaningful ways; and, 16 studies are assessing whether quality ratings are related to measures of children's development. The Environment Rating Scales (ERS) and the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) are the most commonly used observation tools in validation studies; in contrast, the set of child development measures used in validation studies varied across state. The brief also summarizes the structural quality indicators collected in the studies, covariates used in validation analyses, and some of the challenges that have been encountered in choosing a school readiness battery. The research brief was developed to inform discussions in the INQUIRE validation subgroup meetings but is being shared widely to facilitate a common understanding among QRIS stakeholders about QRIS validation studies. (author abstract)

Do child care subsidies improve the stability and quality of child care arrangements?

Child care subsidies and the stability and quality of child care arrangements
Krafft, Caroline, 04/01/2017

Each month, the child care subsidy program helps nearly a million low-income families pay for child care. The financial support of a child care subsidy might be expected to increase stability and quality of care, which are characteristics of care that support child development. However, there are concerns that short durations of subsidy receipt may increase child care instability. Further, there is debate about whether subsidy receipt leads to the use of higher or lower quality care. In this study we use longitudinal survey data on low-income families and linked administrative data on subsidy receipt to investigate the stability and reported quality of child care arrangements. Because we observe the same children repeatedly overtime, both when they are and are not receiving child care subsidies, we use child fixed-effects models to address the selection problems that otherwise would bias the relationships among subsidy, stability, and quality. We find that when children received child care subsidies they experienced higher quality care as reported by parents. Yet there was no difference in the stability of care arrangements while receiving subsidy compared to when not receiving subsidy. Additionally, children often had multiple providers concurrently, regardless of subsidy receipt. These results suggest that child care subsidy receipt may promote positive child outcomes due to increased access to higher quality care without worsening the stability of care. (author abstract)

What are the extent and nature of low-income parents' interactions with other parents and staff at child care centers?

Low-income parents' adult interactions at childcare centres
Reid, Jeanne, 01/01/2017

Little is known about the extent and nature of low-income parents' interactions with other parents and staff at childcare centres, despite the potential for these interactions to provide emotional, informational, and instrumental support. This study interviewed 51 parents at three childcare centres in low-income neighbourhoods in New York City. Twenty-six per cent of parents reported talking with other parents at drop-off and pick-up, and another 35% reported meeting with parents outside the centre in addition to talking with them at the centre. Parents' extent of interaction was related to how long they spent at drop-off and pick-up, their participation in centre activities, and their sociability in general. All parents reported interacting with teachers and administrators, and described them more often than other parents as good sources of information and advice. We discuss the implications for parents and centre-based childcare providers. (author abstract)

How do the development and early home experiences of Latino boys from birth to kindergarten entry compare to those of other peer groups?

The development and early home experiences of young Latino boys
Cabrera, Natasha J., 02/01/2017
Bethesda, MD: National Research Center on Hispanic Children & Families. Retrieved from http://www.hispanicresearchcenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Development-and-Early-Home-Env-of-Latino-Boys.pdf

This brief compares the development and early home environment of Latino boys to those of two peer groups--white boys and Latina girls--from birth to kindergarten entry. We chose these two comparisons to understand how Latino boys' early development differs across ethnicity (compared to white boys, holding gender constant) and across gender (compared to Latina girls, holding ethnicity constant). Our focus is on the early childhood period because this is a time when children develop the foundational cognitive, language, and socio-emotional skills they need for formal schooling and for later life success, and because home and family experiences during this early period tend to have long-lasting effects on children. Understanding the nature of differences in development and early home environment can inspire interventions that would help Latino boys thrive. (author abstract)

Check out the National Research Center on Hispanic Children & Families brief series including the first demographic portrait of Latino fathers?take a peek into Latino family life to examine how mothers, fathers, and boys are faring.

How do experiences of adversity relate to indicators of child well-being in a high quality early education context?

Associations of adversity to indicators of child well being in a high quality early education context
Guss, Shannon S., 01/01/2016

Studies have shown that adversity in childhood has harmful effects on well-being across the lifespan. This study examined the prevalence of children's cumulative experiences of adversity, based on parent report, in a national sample of low-income children (N=3,208) enrolled in a high quality early childhood education (ece) program. It explored the association between family adversity that occurred within the year prior to the parents' interview and the child's well-being measured after the interview. Well-being was based on language, school readiness, and social emotional outcomes. Almost half of all families reported experiencing at least one adversity. Family adversity was associated with worse school readiness and health outcomes. Adversity had mixed associations with social-emotional outcomes and no association with language outcomes. This study also explored time enrolled in ece (dosage) as a protective or promotive factor in relation to adversity. Time in program had a positive relationship to most child outcomes and could be interpreted as a promotive factor within the context of adversity for all outcomes except behavioral concerns. (author abstract)

What are the latest methods of engaging families in early childhood education?

Family involvement in early education and child care [Special issue]
Sutterby, John A., 01/01/2016

A special issue of the journal Advances in Early Education and Day Care, focusing on methods of engaging families in early childhood education.

What are the findings from an exploratory survey of Illinois child care resource and referral specialists who work to support family child care providers?

Supporting family child care and quality improvement: Findings from an exploratory survey of Illinois child care resource and referral agency staff
Bromer, Juliet, 09/17/2016

Improved quality in home-based child care (family child care and family, friend, and neighbor care) is increasingly recognized as a vital component of early care and education service systems in the U.S. and abroad and is a target of recent federal and state policy initiatives in the U.S. This article presents data from a statewide survey of 73 child care resource and referral specialists across Illinois who work with family child care providers on a regular basis through home visiting, training, and technical assistance. Descriptive findings suggest that specialists who work with family child care providers perform a unique role in the early care and education field. The study examines job roles, common challenges and rewards, and needs for training. Specialists' training needs include understanding the unique context of family child care, home visiting, coaching, and working with families. Understanding the training and professional development needs of support staff as well as the challenges faced in carrying out this work has the potential to inform state professional development systems as well as other initiatives aimed at improving quality in this sector of the early care and education workforce. (author abstract)

Check out Research Connections brief on Quality improvement in home-based child care settings: Research resources to inform policy.

How can educators use preschool through third grade alignment and differentiated instruction to build on and sustain the positive effects of preschool?

Case studies of schools implementing early elementary strategies: Preschool through third grade alignment and differentiated instruction
Manship, Karen, 12/01/2016
Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, Policy and Program Studies Service. Retrieved from https://www2.ed.gov/rschstat/eval/implementing-early-strategies/report.pdf

Participation in high-quality preschool can improve academic, behavioral, social-emotional, and cognitive outcomes for students of varying backgrounds, including students from disadvantaged backgrounds (e.g., Andrews, Jargowsky, and Kuhne 2012; Barnett 2008; Camilli et al. 2010; Karoly and Bigelow 2005; Reynolds et al. 2007). However, some studies have found that some of these benefits do not persist into third grade (e.g., Bogard and Takanishi 2005; Li et al. 2013; Lipsey, Farran, and Hofer 2015; Puma et al. 2012). Without additional and continuous supports as children proceed through the elementary grades, participation in preschool does not inoculate against the potential challenges that children, particularly children at risk for poorer academic outcomes, may face. To explore how educators might build on and sustain the positive effects of preschool, this study examined two types of strategies that preliminary literature searches revealed as promising practices to support children's learning in early elementary school: (1) aligning instruction from preschool through grade 3 (referred to as P-3 alignment) and (2) differentiated instruction. The P-3 alignment strategy emphasizes coordination among standards, curricula, instructional practices and environments, student assessment, and teacher professional development between the preschool years and the early elementary school years. The differentiated instruction strategy focuses on teachers varying their pedagogical practices to meet the diverse needs and skills of individual students. To explore how educators use these two strategies, this study conducted a systematic literature review followed by case studies of five programs that used one or both of these two strategies. The case studies focused on the approaches programs used to implement P-3 and differentiated instruction; some of the approaches revealed may be relevent to early elementary strategies beyond the two strategies studied. This report focuses on the findings of the case studies. (author abstract)

What are the challenges of translating early childhood education and care (ECEC) longitudinal research studies into policy?

Longitudinal studies in ECEC: Challenges of translating research results into policy actions [Topical collection]
Kalicki, Bernhard,

A topical collection of articles from the International Journal of Child Care and Educational Policy, focusing on the challenges of translating early childhood education and care (ECEC) longitudinal research studies into policy in multiple countries

How do CCDF funding and policies influence the employment outcomes of low income mothers?

Effects of the CCDF subsidy program on the employment outcomes of low income mothers
Enchautegui, Maria E., 12/01/2016
Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation. Retrieved from https://aspe.hhs.gov/system/files/pdf/253961/EffectsCCSubsidiesMaternalLFPTechnical.pdf

One of the purposes of the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) is to provide parents with child care to enable their work. In FY2014, 1.4 million children (from 853,000 families) received subsidies through this program averaging $4,800 per year. Total spending on direct services was $6.6 billion in FY 2014 (most recent year available). Supporting parental employment remains an important goal of the CCDF, and recent legislative and administrative efforts have also emphasized supporting children's development and improving the quality of its programs. While research generally supports the employment benefits of child care more generally, there are a limited number of studies that have assessed the employment benefits of CCDF-funded child care in particular, and in the United States context. This study aims to fill that gap and provide a contemporary understanding of how CCDF funding and policies influence maternal employment across states. (author abstract)

How do peers' behaviors predict preschoolers' physical activity and dietary intake in child care centers?

"Monkey see, monkey do": Peers' behaviors predict preschoolers' physical activity and dietary intake in childcare centers
Ward, Stephanie, 04/01/2017

Preschoolers observe and imitate the behaviors of those who are similar to them. Therefore, peers may be role models for preschoolers' dietary intake and physical activity in childcare centers. This study examined whether peers' behaviors predict change in preschoolers' dietary intake and physical activity in childcare centers over 9 months. A total of 238 preschoolers (3 to 5 years old) from 23 childcare centers in two Canadian provinces provided data at the beginning (October 2013 and 2014) and the end (June 2014 and 2015) of a 9-month period for this longitudinal study. Dietary intake was collected at lunch using weighed plate waste and digital photography on two consecutive weekdays. Physical activity was assessed using accelerometers over five days. Multilevel linear regressions were used to estimate the influence of peers' behaviors on preschoolers' change in dietary intake and physical activity over 9 months. Results showed that preschoolers whose dietary intake or physical activity level deviated the most from those of their peers at the beginning of the year demonstrated greater change in their intakes and activity levels over 9 months, which enabled them to become more similar to their peers (all [beta] 95% CI ranged from -0.835 to -0.074). This study suggests that preschoolers' dietary intake and physical activity may be influenced by the behaviors of their peers in childcare centers. Since peers could play an important role in promoting healthy eating behaviors and physical activity in childcare centers, future studies should test interventions based on positive role modeling by children. (author abstract)

Can implementation and monitoring of a preschool physical activity intervention achieve success using web-based delivery?

Process evaluation of a preschool physical activity intervention using web-based delivery
Kennedy, Ann Blair, 02/01/2017

Background and purpose: Preschool/childcare settings offer a practical target for physical activity interventions. Online learning programs have the potential for greater public health reach and impact. The SHAPES-Dissemination (SHAPES-D) project adapted the original SHAPES in-person intervention for online delivery to teachers. The purpose of this paper is to describe the implementation monitoring and process evaluation for the SHAPES-D project. Methods: Nine preschools with 26 classrooms participated. A total of 41 teachers were trained via online learning to implement the SHAPES-D program in their classrooms. The dose received, completeness, and fidelity of implementation were assessed through website metrics, teacher surveys and interviews, and classroom observations. Results: Dose received was adequate (73%). Observed completeness and physical activity enjoyment fidelity were high (100%), although moderate-to-vigorous physical activity fidelity and social environment fidelity were low (25% each). Overall implementation was high (91%). Discussion: Results indicate that the online method of delivery is viable for dissemination. The online delivery system provides an easy method of monitoring dose received. This may be the first structural intervention to monitor dose received through web metrics. Conclusion: The adaptation of an in-person intervention to an online delivery system increases the potential for dissemination of a successful program to increase physical activity in preschool settings. (author abstract)

Check out Research Connections Off-site coaching in early childhood center-based settings for more information on this topic in our collection.

What are child care providers' beliefs and practices toward universal developmental screening?

Universal screening to promote early identification of developmental delays: Exploring childcare providers' beliefs and practices
Boh, Andrea, 01/01/2017

Despite the availability of tools for conducting universal developmental screening, only a fraction of children who could benefit from early intervention services are actually identified before reaching school age. Childcare providers are in a unique position to enhance early identification efforts. A web-based survey was distributed to all licensed childcare providers (centre- and family-based) throughout one Midwestern state to learn about their beliefs and practices associated with universal screening. Preliminary results, based on 1565 responses, indicate that only 16.3% of licensed childcares are conducting developmental screening. However, 54% reported believing it to be part of their role. In addition to this discrepancy, beliefs about their role in developmental screening were also related to other practices that are associated with early identification efforts. Implications and suggestions for practice and policy changes related to early, universal developmental screening in childcare are discussed relative to existing belief systems and professional development needs. (author abstract)

Check out Research Connections report on Child care providers' competence and confidence in referring children at risk for developmental delays.

How are preschool teachers' educational training and regularity of observational feedback associated with their social and emotional responsiveness?

Preschool teachers' professional training, observational feedback, child-centered beliefs and motivation: Direct and indirect associations with social and emotional responsiveness
Lang, Sarah N., 02/01/2017

Background Young children's social and emotional competence is a key predictor of their current and future academic and social success. Although preschool teachers are critical socializing agent of children's social and emotional development, we know little about factors associated with preschool teachers' social and emotional responsiveness. Objective This study examined how preschool teachers' educational training and regularity of receiving observational feedback were associated with teachers' social and emotional responsiveness, as mediated by more personal characteristics such as teachers' child-centered beliefs and motivation for professional development. Method We investigated direct and indirect associations using a national survey of 1129 preschool teachers in the United States. Results We found that teachers with an associate degree, compared to those without, were more likely to respond negatively to children's emotional displays. Taking child development or early education coursework was associated with less negative social guidance. Receiving regular observational feedback was associated with greater encouragement of expressing emotion and with less negative social guidance. We also found significant indirect associations. For example, teachers who received regular observational feedback had greater motivation for professional development, which in turn, predicted more positive social guidance and emotional responsiveness. Conclusions More stringent educational criteria for preschool educators and ongoing observational feedback may support teachers' optimal social and emotional responsiveness. In addition, educational training should incorporate child-centered theory and practices and observational feedback should include information specific to professional development resources. (author abstract)

What are the impacts of an intervention to improve teacher-child relationships on child stress levels?

Cortisol patterns for young children displaying disruptive behavior: Links to a teacher-child, relationship-focused intervention
Hatfield, Bridget E., 01/01/2017

Supportive and close relationships that young children have with teachers have lasting effects on children's behavior and academic success, and this is particularly true for children with challenging behaviors. These relationships are also important for children's developing stress response system, and children in child care may be more likely to display atypical cortisol patterns at child care. However, warm, supportive relationships with teachers may buffer these negative effects of child care. While many relationship-focused early childhood interventions demonstrate changes in child behavior, associations with children's stress response system are unknown. This study assessed children's activity in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis via salivary cortisol as a function of their participation in a dyadic intervention intended to improve a teacher's interaction quality with a particular child. Seventy teachers and 113 preschool children participated who were part of a larger study of teachers and children were randomly assigned at the classroom level across three intervention conditions: Banking Time, Time-Control Comparison (Child Time), and Business-as-Usual. At the end of the school year, children in the Banking Time condition displayed a significantly greater decline in cortisol across the morning during preschool compared to children in Business-as-Usual condition. These pilot results are among the first to provide preliminary evidence that school-based interventions that promote sensitive and responsive interactions may improve young children's activity in the stress response system within the child care/early education context. (author abstract)

What are the child and parenting outcomes after one year of Educare?

Child and parenting outcomes after 1 year of Educare
Yazejian, Noreen, 09/01/2017

Educare is a birth to age 5 early education program designed to reduce the achievement gap between children from low-income families and their more economically advantaged peers through high-quality center-based programming and strong school-family partnerships. This study randomly assigned 239 children (< 19 months) from low-income families to Educare or a business-as-usual control group. Assessments tracked children 1 year after randomization. Results revealed significant differences favoring treatment group children on auditory and expressive language skills, parent-reported problem behaviors, and positive parent-child interactions. Effect sizes were in the modest to medium range. No effects were evident for observer-rated child behaviors or parent-rated social competence. The overall results add to the evidence that intervening early can set low-income children on more positive developmental courses. (author abstract)

How are policy leaders and school districts achieving Pre-K-3 alignment in California's education system?

PreK-3 alignment in California's education system: Obstacles and opportunities
Valentino, Rachel A., 05/01/2016
Stanford, CA: Policy Analysis for California Education. Retrieved from http://edpolicyinca.org/sites/default/files/May%202016%20Valentino%20Stipek.pdf

Empirical evidence that horizontal alignment of policies and practices from preschool through the early elementary grades sustains the effects of quality preschool and contributes to children's learning is scarce, as discussed above, but there are nevertheless good reasons to expect benefits to such alignment. Moreover, many districts and schools in California and throughout the country are working to strengthen preK-3 alignment. The purpose of this report is to document: 1) how key district and policy leaders in California conceptualize preK-3 alignment; 2) what kinds of policies and practices districts have implemented to achieve alignment; 3) what kinds of efforts and practices have been successful and the critical ingredients of their success; and 4) the main barriers districts and schools have encountered when attempting to achieve horizontal alignment between preschool and the elementary grades. To achieve this goal, we conducted interviews with individuals across the state. (author abstract)

What promising methods and approaches to improving the quality of infant and toddler child care have been identified in the research literature?

Professional Development Tools to Improve the Quality of Infant and Toddler Care: A review of the literature
Aikens, Nikki, 11/01/2016
(OPRE Report 2016-96). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/qcciit_pd_toolsliterature_review_report_final_b508.pdf

The literature review report for the Professional Development Tools to Improve the Quality of Infant and Toddler Care (Q-CCIIT PD Tools) project summarizes the state of the field, highlighting the most promising methods and approaches for enhancing caregiver interactions with young children, particularly caregivers serving infants and toddlers, those with limited education, and those in home-based and family child care (FCC) settings. The review is not exhaustive; instead, it identifies the professional development (PD) resources and components most pertinent to the development of new PD tools and the project's conceptual framework. We begin by offering an introduction to the report that describes the methodology used to identify and screen studies included in the review (Chapter I), and provide contextual information relevant to the review (Chapter II). We then provide a summary of key findings from the literature (Chapter III) and conclude by suggesting implications of the findings (Chapter IV). (author abstract)

What are the income and employment fluctuations among low-income working families and their implications for child care subsidy policy?

Income & employment fluctuations among low-income working families and their implications for child care subsidy policy
Burgess, Kimberly, 01/01/2017
Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Human Services Policy. Retrieved from https://aspe.hhs.gov/system/files/pdf/255481/incomefluct.pdf

Some families may be eligible for child care subsidies at the beginning of a 12-month period, but lose their jobs (and not look for new work), while keeping their children in subsidized care. Others may see their incomes rise, but continue to receive subsidies while other eligible families remain unserved. Shorter redetermination periods give more families an opportunity to receive child care subsidies in these situations. On the other hand, a continuous CCDF subsidy for a full 12 months will prevent disruptions in a child's care, promoting child development and a family's economic stability. If rising incomes or job losses are only temporary experiences for families who receive subsidies, providing a full 12 month child care subsidy could be a more effective way to invest scarce resources. The critical question thus becomes: what is the actual nature of families' economic stability (or instability), and what are the implications for child care eligibility? In this brief, we address that question, examining the income and employment patterns of potentially eligible working families over a 12-month period and discussing the implications for subsidy authorization, eligibility redetermination and reporting policies. The findings of our analyses reveal that income and employment do fluctuate for many of the families that would be eligible for child care subsidies. Many who are eligible at the beginning of a 12-month period experience brief job losses or periods of increased income, only to return to work or to a lower income level within a few months' time. Thus, full implementation of 12-month subsidies will not result in subsidizing care for a significant number of parents that have either lost work long-term or sustained an income above 85 percent of State Median Income (SMI). (author abstract)

Check out Research Connections Collection for the Office of Child Care's webinar on the CCDF final rule: Understanding subsidy eligibility.

How did researchers work on developing the Examining Data Informing Teaching (EDIT), a tool to examine teachers' use of ongoing child assessment to individualize instruction?

Developing a tool to examine teachers' use of ongoing child assessment to individualize instruction
Monahan, Shannon, 11/01/2016
(OPRE Report No. 2016-103). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/40158_cpm_clin_3_report_111416final_updated_covers_b508.pdf

In 2012, the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation at the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) engaged Mathematica Policy Research and its partners to conduct a project titled "Assessing Early Childhood Teachers' Use of Child Progress Monitoring to Individualize Teaching Practices." The purpose of the project was twofold: (1) to develop a research-informed conceptual model for early childhood teachers' use of ongoing assessment to individualize instruction, and (2) to create a measure to examine this process. Prior reports describe in detail the results of a literature review, conceptual framework, and measurement plan (Akers et al. 2014; Atkins-Burnett et al. 2014). This report describes the iterative development of the Examining Data Informing Teaching (EDIT) measure. This report includes the results of a pretest study in 18 classrooms and a proposal for next steps for the EDIT. (author abstract)

What is the research evidence on the relationship of the CLASS (Classroom Assessment Scoring System) to child outcomes?

A systematic review and meta-analysis of a measure of staff/child interaction quality (the Classroom Assessment Scoring System) in early childhood education and care settings and child outcomes
Perlman, Michal, 12/30/2016

The quality of staff/child interactions as measured by the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) in Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) programs is thought to be important for children's outcomes. The CLASS is made of three domains that assess Emotional Support, Classroom Organization and Instructional Support. It is a relatively new measure that is being used increasingly for research, quality monitoring/accountability and other applied purposes. Our objective was to evaluate the association between the CLASS and child outcomes. Searches of Medline, PsycINFO, ERIC, websites of large datasets and reference sections of all retrieved articles were conducted up to July 3, 2015. Studies that measured association between the CLASS and child outcomes for preschool-aged children who attended ECEC programs were included after screening by two independent reviewers. Searches and data extraction were conducted by two independent reviewers. Thirty-five studies were systematically reviewed of which 19 provided data for meta-analyses. Most studies had moderate to high risk of bias. Of the 14 meta-analyses we conducted, associations between Classroom Organization and Pencil Tapping and between Instructional Support and SSRS Social Skills were significant with pooled correlations of .06 and .09 respectively. All associations were in the expected direction. In the systematic review, significant correlations were reported mainly from one large dataset. Substantial heterogeneity in use of the CLASS, its dimensions, child outcomes and statistical measures was identified. Greater consistency in study methodology is urgently needed. Given the multitude of factors that impact child development it is encouraging that our analyses revealed some, although small, associations between the CLASS and children's outcomes. (author abstract)

What are the effects of language and literacy focused professional development on early educators and children?

The effects of language- and literacy-focused professional development on early educators and children: A best-evidence meta-analysis
Markussen-Brown, Justin, 01/01/2017

Professional development (PD) is increasingly used to improve early childhood educators' skills and knowledge in providing quality language and emergent literacy environments for children. However, the literature does not clearly indicate the extent to which such efforts reach their goals, or whether improvements in educator outcomes translate to learning gains for children. In the current synthesis, we conducted meta-analyses to evaluate the effects of language- and literacy-focused PD on process quality, structural quality, and educator knowledge as primary outcomes. Furthermore, we estimated effects for three child outcomes: receptive vocabulary, phonological awareness, and alphabet knowledge. PD produced a medium effect for process quality and a large effect for structural quality but no effect for educator knowledge. PD also produced a small to medium effect for phonological awareness and a small effect for alphabet knowledge, but these were not predicted by gains in educator outcomes. Although course and coaching intensity and duration were related to effect sizes, the total number of PD components was the strongest predictor of process quality. The results suggested that PD is a viable method of improving language and literacy processes and structures in preschools, but effects may need to be substantial if they are to translate into higher child outcomes. (author abstract)

How do child care teachers' emotional regulation and coping strategies moderate the relationship between child care setting chaos and their responsiveness towards children?

Child-care chaos and teachers' responsiveness: The indirect associations through teachers' emotion regulation and coping
Jeon, Lieny, 12/01/2016

Teachers in early child-care settings are key contributors to children's development. However, the role of teachers' emotional abilities (i.e., emotion regulation and coping skills) and the role of teacher-perceived environmental chaos in relation to their responsiveness to children are understudied. The current study explored the direct and indirect associations between teachers' perceptions of child-care chaos and their self-reported contingent reactions towards children's negative emotions and challenging social interactions via teachers' emotional regulation and coping strategies. The sample consisted of 1129 preschool-aged classroom teachers in day care and public pre-K programs across the US. We first found that child-care chaos was directly associated with teachers' non-supportive reactions after controlling for multiple program and teacher characteristics. In addition, teachers in more chaotic child-care settings had less reappraisal and coping skills, which in turn, was associated with lower levels of positive responsiveness to children. Teachers reporting a higher degree of chaos used more suppression strategies, which in turn, was associated with teachers' non-supportive reactions and fewer expressive encouragement reactions to children's emotions. Results of this exploratory study suggest that it is important to prepare teachers to handle chaotic environments with clear guidelines and rules. In order to encourage teachers' supportive responses to children, intervention programs are needed to address teachers' coping and emotion regulation strategies in early childhood education. (author abstract)

What is the relationship between the three cognitive processes that comprise executive functioning (EF)--response inhibition, working memory, and cognitive flexibility--and individual components of mathematics and literacy skills in preschool children?

Foundations of mathematics and literacy: The role of executive functioning components
Purpura, David J., 01/01/2017

The current study investigated the relations between the three cognitive processes that comprise executive functioning (EF)--response inhibition, working memory, and cognitive flexibility-- and individual components of mathematics and literacy skills in preschool children. Participants were 125 preschool children ranging in age from 3.12 to 5.26 years ([mean] = 4.17 years, SD = 0.58). Approximately 53.2% were female, and the sample was predominantly Caucasian (69.8%). Results suggest that the components of EF may be differentially related to the specific components of early mathematics and literacy. For mathematics, response inhibition was broadly related to most components. Working memory was related to more advanced mathematics skills that involve comparison or combination of numbers and quantities. Cognitive flexibility was related to more conceptual or abstract mathematics skills. For early literacy, response inhibition and cognitive flexibility were related to print knowledge, and working memory was related only to phonological awareness. None of the EF components was related to vocabulary. These findings provide initial evidence for better understanding the ways in which EF components and academic skills are related and measured. Furthermore, the findings provide a foundation for further study of the components of each domain using a broader and more diverse array of measures. (author abstract)

What are the racial/ethnic differences in kindergartners' reading and math skills at kindergarten entry and do parents' knowledge of children's development and home-based activities mediate the relation?

Racial/ethnic differences in kindergartners' reading and math skills: Parents' knowledge of children's development and home-based activities as mediators
Sonnenschein, Susan, 01/01/2016

Despite the growing body of research on parents' beliefs and practices, relatively little is known about the relations between parents' knowledge of children's development, home-based activities, and children's early reading and math skills. This study used data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort to examine the differences in Asian, Black, Latino, and White children's early reading and math skills at kindergarten entry and whether parents' knowledge of children's development and home-based activities mediate the relation. Parents' knowledge of children's development was assessed when children were 9 months. Home-based activities, including home literacy and enrichment, were assessed when children were preschool age. Asian and White children started kindergarten with significantly higher reading and math scores than Black or Latino children. There also were significant differences across groups in the frequency of engagement in home literacy and enrichment activities. Associations between race/ethnicity and reading/math scores were mediated by parents' knowledge of children's development and home literacy activities. Discussion addresses the importance of parents' knowledge of educationally relevant activities and how to engage in such activities to foster children's reading and math skills and to close racial/ethnic gaps. Highlights - This paper examined racial/ethnic difference in children's reading and math skills in kindergarten and explores whether parents' knowledge of children's development and home-based activities mediate the relation between race/ethnicity and children's reading and math skills. - By using data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study Birth Cohort, this study found that there were systematic racial/ethnic differences in parents' knowledge of children's development, home-based activities, and children's reading and math skills at the start of kindergarten. - Parents' knowledge of children's development and home-based activities were found to mediate the association between race/ethnicity and children's reading and math skills for all groups. (author abstract)

How can career pathways offer an effective approach to address challenges and support early care and education professionals?

Accessing career pathways to education and training for early care and education (ECE) professionals
Limardo, Chrys, 10/01/2016
Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/ecd/elcpi_accessibility_10_28_ada.pdf

While there is increasing consensus regarding the competencies needed for ECE professionals, there continues to be a large disparity between policies set for minimum professional qualifications, wages earned, and access to higher educational attainments across early learning settings. Credential and wage disparities within the sector have contributed to a fractured workforce and as a result, have created a perception that educating children below the age of five outside of a school-based setting requires less expertise. With the mounting evidence presented by scientific research highlighting the importance of high quality educational experiences for children birth through five, these perceptions are rapidly changing, and with this change, the landscape of state and national credential requirements are evolving. The task will be to provide high quality training and educational opportunities, social and workforce supports, and compensation improvements to upskill and retain highly qualified incumbent ECE professionals and entice new skilled educators into the field. This report explores how career pathways can offer an effective approach to address some of these challenges and support the current and evolving landscape of the ECE sector and its most disadvantaged professionals. Comprehensive and flexible education and training programs can make it easier for individuals to acquire industry-recognized credentials and higher education degrees to advance on a career trajectory. Effective career pathways approaches can also better serve workers that may experience significant barriers to education and employment advancement (i.e., low-skilled adults, and adults with limited English proficiency). Expanding the implementation of career pathways in the ECE sector is examined as a strategy for elevating the workforce and assisting ECE professionals that have barriers to accessing credentials, higher education, and career advancement opportunities. The report will present major obstacles ECE professionals encounter as they move into, and through, career pathways; highlight career pathways approaches and strategies at the federal, state, and program level to provide examples of promising practices in serving the ECE workforce; and recommendations for next steps and considerations for career pathways implementation in the ECE sector. (author abstract)

Does integrating the iPad into low-income preschool classrooms improve science learning?

Digital media for low-income preschoolers' effective science learning: A study of iPad instructions with a social development approach
Lee, Lena, 01/01/2016

As digital media devices have been increasingly used in early childhood educational settings, this study examined whether the iPad with a Vygotskian social development approach--namely, More Knowledgeable Other--can be integrated into low-income preschool classrooms to improve science learning. An analysis of variance was used to examine the overall improvement and differences in improvement among English language learners, children with special needs, and children without special needs or English language learner status. Results showed that all participants improved their science learning abilities as a consequence of the iPad instruction. Among all groups, English language learner children benefited more than the other groups, but only with a game that had less verbal directions. There were no significant differences by gender. (author abstract)

What is the impact of play-based vs. non-play-based approaches in early childhood education on preschoolers' private speech and mastery motivation?

I think I can: Preschoolers' private speech and motivation in playful versus non-playful contexts
Sawyer, Jeremy, 01/01/2017

Vygotskian theory and empirical evidence suggest that children's private speech and pretend play contribute to their development of motivational processes. Given current U.S. preschool expansion, and resurgent debates over the merits of play-based vs. non-play-based approaches to early childhood education, this study conducted an experimental investigation of the relative impact of these contexts on preschoolers' private speech and mastery motivation (performance and persistence). 38 preschool children engaged in a challenging fishing activity in two experimental conditions (playful and non-playful) simulating pedagogical and motivational (intrinsic vs. extrinsic) characteristics of common preschool settings. Private speech was categorized as cognitive, motivational, metacognitive, playful or partially internalized, and the emotional valence of private speech was marked as positive or negative. Results indicated that preschoolers in the playful condition displayed higher mastery motivation than preschoolers in the non-playful condition. Children in the playful condition used more frequent private speech, including more frequent cognitive, playful, and positively valenced private speech. Mastery motivation was positively correlated with playful, partially internalized, and positively valenced private speech, but negatively related to motivational private speech. Mastery motivation components (performance and persistence) related to different types of private speech. Performance related positively to metacognitive private speech and negatively to motivational private speech. Persistence related positively to playful private speech. The playful condition elicited private speech categories that were associated with higher motivation levels. Findings support the use of playful and play-based pedagogy in early childhood education, and teacher modeling of motivationally beneficial forms of private speech. (author abstract)

How do early childhood educators' and home childcare providers' practices support children's play?

Respecting but not sustaining play: Early childhood educators' and home childcare providers' practices that support children's play
Lemay, Lise, 12/01/2016

This study examined and compared the extent to which early childhood educators' (ECEs) and home childcare providers' (HCPs) practices supported children's play. The sample included 50 ECEs and 20 HCPs in settings that care for 70 children at 18, 24, and 36 months old. At each time point, the childcare process quality was observed using the Educational Quality Observation Scales. Cross-sectional descriptive analysis revealed unsatisfactory scores on items that comprise the 'Adult's practices that support children's play' subscale. The item 'respects children's play' was the only exception, with scores in the satisfactory range. In addition, compared to HCPs, ECEs obtained higher scores. This study suggests that although ECEs and HCPs generally respected children's play, their interventions did not extend further to sustain play. There is a need to improve ECEs' and HCPs' practices to sustain young children's development and learning during play. (author abstract)

What does data from the Head Start Impact Study indicate about cost-effectiveness?

Evaluating public programs with close substitutes: The case of Head Start
Kline, Patrick, 11/01/2016

We use data from the Head Start Impact Study (HSIS) to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of Head Start, the largest early childhood education program in the United States. Head Start draws roughly a third of its participants from competing preschool programs, many of which receive public funds. We show that accounting for the fiscal impacts of such program substitution pushes estimates of Head Start's benefit-cost ratio well above one under a wide range of assumptions on the structure of the market for preschool services and the dollar value of test score gains. To parse the program's test score impacts relative to home care and competing preschools, we selection-correct test scores in each care environment using excluded interactions between experimental assignments and household characteristics. We find that Head Start generates larger test score gains for children who would not otherwise attend preschool and for children who are less likely to participate in the program. (author abstract)

How effective is the three-tier model of positive behavior interventions and supports for preschoolers in Head Start?

The evaluation of a three-tier model of positive behavior interventions and supports for preschoolers in Head Start
Stanton-Chapman, Tina L., 11/01/2016

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the overall effectiveness of a three-tier model of positive behavior interventions and supports (PBIS), which was developed and tested in Head Start (HS) programs. Ten HS classrooms from five HS programs participated in the current study. Results indicated that PBIS was effective in improving classroom quality as evidenced by a statistically significant change on the classroom organization domain on the Classroom Assessment Scoring System and the overall score on the Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scale-Revised. We also found that children's social skills on the Social Skills Rating System significantly increased from the pre- to post-assessment whereas problem behaviors on the Child Behavior Checklist decreased. The data described here are encouraging and add to the expanding database supporting the value of the three-tier model of PBIS. (author abstract)

What is the association between childcare attendance and obesity?

Childcare attendance and obesity risk
Isong, Inyang A., 11/01/2016

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Several observational studies have revealed that children who receive nonparental childcare are at increased risk of obesity. However, this may be due to unmeasured confounding or selection into different types of childcare. It is not well established whether this association reflects a causal effect of childcare attendance on obesity risk. We examined the effect of attending childcare on children's BMI z scores, using nationally representative data of [approximately] 10 700 children followed from age 9 months through kindergarten entry. METHODS: We first employed ordinary least squares regression to evaluate longitudinal associations between childcare attendance at 24 months and BMI z scores at kindergarten entry, controlling for child, family, and neighborhood characteristics. Because type of childcare is associated with unobserved confounding factors, we repeated the analysis by using 2 quasi-experimental approaches: (1) individual fixed effect models, which control for all observed and unobserved time-invariant confounders; and (2) instrumental variable (IV) analysis. RESULTS: At 24 months, 48.7% of children were in nonparental childcare, and 35.1% of children were overweight/obese at kindergarten entry. In ordinary least squares models, compared with children in parental care, children in nonparental childcare at 24 months had higher BMI z scores at kindergarten entry (0.08 [SE 0.03], P = .01). By contrast, fixed effects and IV models revealed no significant effect of childcare on BMI z score (fixed effects model: [beta] = 0.02 [SE 0.02], P = .62); IV model: [beta] = 1.12 [SE 0.76], P = .14). CONCLUSIONS: We found no consistent associations between nonparental childcare and obesity. Previously reported significant associations may be confounded by unobserved family circumstances resulting in selection into different types of childcare. (author abstract)

What are the biggest challenges in measuring the economic returns to early education programs?

The economic returns to early childhood education
Karoly, Lynn A., 09/01/2016

One way to assess the value of preschool education programs is to compare their upfront costs with the economic benefits they produce, measured by such outcomes as less need for special education services, improved high school graduation rates, higher earnings and less criminal activity in adulthood, and so on. What do such benefit-cost analyses tell us about the wisdom of investing in greater access to preschool? In this article, Lynn Karoly carefully reviews the evidence. First, she identifies the biggest challenges in measuring the economic returns from preschool programs. Then she summarizes the range of estimates from various benefit-cost analyses and some of the methodological differences that can account for the differences among them. Last, she explores the implications of the research for using benefit-cost analysis results to make policy decisions about preschool education. One key challenge: Although many preschool programs have been evaluated for their educational effectiveness, few have been subject to economic evaluations. Most predictive studies of preschool education's long-term economic benefits rely on benefit-cost analyses of programs that were implemented decades ago, when a far smaller proportion of children attended preschool at all, and that followed their subjects well into adult life. Although analyses of those programs suggest returns from preschool as high as $17 for every dollar invested, Karoly concludes that in today's context, it may be more realistic to expect returns in the range of $3 to $4. In the end, Karoly writes, we need to improve the quality and usefulness of economic evaluations of preschool, particularly by calculating the true economic value of preschool programs' short-term and medium-term effects in areas such as cognitive, social-emotional, and behavioral development. We could then more easily evaluate the economic benefits of a preschool program without having to wait until the participating children grow to adulthood. (author abstract)

How does instructional book-reading style and emotional quality of reading interact relate to cognitive skills in a sample of at-risk infants and toddlers?

Parent-child book-reading styles, emotional quality, and changes in Early Head Start children's cognitive scores
Cline, Keely D., 01/01/2017

Research Findings: The objective of this study was to understand how instructional book-reading style and emotional quality of reading interact and relate to cognitive skills in a sample of at-risk infants and toddlers. Participants were 81 parents and their children participating in Early Head Start programs in the rural Midwest. Correlation and multiple regression analyses were used to test the hypothesis that parental book-reading instructional style and emotional quality interact and relate to changes in children's cognitive scores for culturally and linguistically diverse families. Results included that there were variations in how book-reading qualities interacted and related to changes in child cognitive scores for families whose primary home languages were either English or Spanish. Practice or Policy: The results of this study are discussed in conjunction with findings from a previous study published in this journal that examined concurrent relationships in the same sample of Early Head Start families. Combined, findings of these studies underscore a need to further explore potentially complex patterns of relationships among parental literacy behaviors and child knowledge, concurrently and across time, for culturally and linguistically diverse families. Better understanding these patterns could inform the development and implementation of culturally sensitive intervention approaches designed to support high-quality parent-child book reading. (author abstract)

What are the trends in classroom quality and selected teacher characteristics between 2006 and 2014 based on data from the Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES)?

Tracking quality in Head Start classrooms: FACES 2006 to FACES 2014
Aikens, Nikki, 10/01/2016
(OPRE Report No. 2016-82). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/faces_tracking_quality_in_head_start_100716_b508.pdf

This brief examines data from the Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES) for trends in observed classroom quality and selected teacher characteristics (such as credentials and professional development activities) between 2006 and 2014. We also examine whether changes in selected teacher characteristics are related to changes in classroom quality. (author abstract)

How can education leaders and policymakers in the District of Columbia decrease chronic early absenteeism starting from pre-K?

Attendance counts from the start: How education leaders and policymakers in the District of Columbia can decrease chronic early absenteeism starting from pre-K
O'Keefe, Bonnie, 04/01/2014
Washington, DC: DC Action for Children. Retrieved from https://www.dcactionforchildren.org/sites/default/files/DCKIDSCOUNT_Early%20Absentee%20Policy%20Brief_April2014.pdf

This policy brief focuses on chronic early absenteeism in the District of Columbia. It discusses the consequences for achievement, issues with measuring chronic early absenteeism, the necessity of identifying and addressing the causes of absenteeism, and current policies. Furthermore, it looks at the efforts being made in two DC schools and at strategies used in other jurisdictions. The authors provide recommendations for education leaders and policymakers to address chronic early absenteeism in the District of Columbia.

Check out Research Connections brief on Attendance rates and Child Outcomes.

What are the potential impacts of minimum wage regulations on the early care and education industry in California?

The impact of minimum wage regulations on the early care and education industry in California: A study conducted for the Alameda County Early Care and Education Planning Council, Oakland, California
Welsh-Loveman, Jeremy, 05/01/2015
Oakland, CA: Alameda County Early Care & Education Planning Council. Retrieved from http://www.acgov.org/ece/documents/Welsh-Loveman_APA_5202015.pdf

This analysis looks at the ramifications of minimum wage increases on state subsidized early care and education in California, with a particular focus on Oakland and centers regulated through Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations. Topics covered include early care and education, minimum wage, wages and costs, and the consequences of minimum wage increases. The author considers ways in which centers and state policies could address the resulting cost increases and provides a recommendation for state policy.

What is the current state of research on bullying among preschool children?

Bullying: Young children's roles, social status, and prevention programmes
Saracho, Olivia N., 01/01/2017

Bullying in schools has been identified as a serious and complex worldwide problem associated with young children's victimization. Research studies indicate the frequency and effects of bullying among young children. The effects seem to be across-the-board for both bullies and victims, who are at risk of experiencing emotional, social, and academic difficulties. When preschool children first enter school, they become social members of a peer group. Preschool is the first context outside the home environment where young children encounter social problems when they interact with peers and become exposed to bullying behaviours. The purpose of this review is to present current empirical evidence about the nature and distinctive facet of bullying among preschool children. Studies trace the development of preschool bullying and its pervasiveness. This review describes young children's participation in bullying including their different roles, social status, and prevention programmes. (author abstract)

What are the reliability and validity of live and video administrations of the Classroom Assessment Scoring System-PreK (CLASS-PreK)?

Live versus video observations: Comparing the reliability and validity of two methods of assessing classroom quality
Curby, Timothy W., 12/01/2016

When conducting classroom observations, researchers are often confronted with the decision of whether to conduct observations live or by using pre-recorded video. The present study focuses on comparing and contrasting observations of live and video administrations of the Classroom Assessment Scoring System-PreK (CLASS-PreK). Associations between versions, mean differences, reliability, and predictive validity were examined. Results generally indicated high correlations between versions. Video codes were slightly lower on average than live codes. Reliability was generally acceptable in terms of Cronbach's alpha, but multigroup confirmatory factor models suggested some differences between observation types. Finally, CLASS scores based on each observation type indicated some predictive validity of children's academic achievement, but no observation type was uniformly better. The discussion focuses on why the codes might differ and the implications of those differences. (author abstract)

How do child, family, and community factors predict early learning outcomes for infant and toddler boys of color?

Predictors of infant and toddler black boys' early learning: Seizing opportunities and minimizing risks
Iruka, Iheoma U., 01/01/2017

Using the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Birth Cohort (ECLS-B) data set (U.S. Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, 2001), this study examined child, family, and community factors in the early years (infant and toddler years) to predict the cognitive and language outcomes for preschool-age Black boys in relation to Black girls and White boys. Findings indicate that Black children face many challenges, with Black boys experiencing less sensitive parenting as compared to their peers. We live in a highly complex, racialized environment. While there are universal indicators that predict children's preschool outcomes such as strong social positioning and positive parenting, there are, in addition, some indicators that are more beneficial for Black boys' early development, including a stable, less urban home environment with parents engaging in "tough love." (author abstract)

Are summer learning programs in public libraries effective for school-aged youth?

Public libraries and effective summer learning: Opportunities for assessment
Urban Libraries Council,
Washington, DC: Urban Libraries Council. Retrieved from http://www.urbanlibraries.org/filebin/documents/Public_Libraries_and_Effective_Summer_Learning_web.pdf

In addition to discussing the unique position of public libraries to provide needed summer learning opportunities and the evolution of public libraries' summer programming, this examination focuses on the assessment of summer learning programs for school-aged youth in public libraries. It considers practices and obstacles for assessing programs and their outcomes, suggests action steps for initiating assessments, and provides recommendations.

Check out Research Connections Research-to-Policy Resource List on Community-based summer learning programs for school-age children.

What are the key initiatives that have started or expanded early childhood programs and policies in New York City?

Baby & toddler takeoff: Tracking NY's surge in early childhood programs and policies
Hurley, Kendra, 07/01/2015
New York, NY: Center for New York City Affairs. Retrieved from http://static1.squarespace.com/static/53ee4f0be4b015b9c3690d84/t/55b98cabe4b0b0462f3ed192/1438223531676/Toddler+Takeoff+06.pdf

The focus of this overview is on key initiatives geared towards supporting young children's social-emotional development in New York City. The authors limit their examination to initiatives that largely have started or expanded in the past two years and that either the city or state partners with or helps fund. Specific programs and initiatives include: a program that promotes early literacy to support school readiness; the expansion of the quality rating and improvement program for early childhood education providers; therapies, including dyadic and trauma-informed, for foster care prevention; trauma training for day care teachers; and others.

What is the relationship between Minnesota's child care shortage and the decrease in in-home family child care business?

A quiet crisis: Minnesota's child care shortage
Werner, Marnie, 09/01/2016
Mankato, MN: Center for Rural Policy and Development. Retrieved from http://www.ruralmn.org/a-quiet-crisis-minnesotas-child-care-shortage/

The relationship between Minnesota's child care shortage and the decrease in in-home family child care business is examined in this analysis. Possible reasons for the decline, including workforce wages, provider expenses, and regulations, are presented, along with the consequences for families, employers, and communities. Particular focus is on rural markets and recommendations are offered regarding child care in the state.

What are the changes Kansas and Wisconsin have made to their data systems and practices as a result of the IDEA transition notification requirements?

DaSy spotlight: Data linkages between Part C and Part B - transition notification
Whaley, Kathy T., 04/01/2016
Menlo Park, CA: SRI International. Retrieved from http://dasycenter.sri.com/downloads/DaSy_papers/DUY305_TransitionSpotlight_FINAL_20160420_Acc.pdf

In light of new IDEA transition notification requirements for toddlers who may be eligible to transition from Part C to Part B services, this examination looks at the changes Kansas and Wisconsin have made to their data systems and practices. It highlights the systems of Kansas Infant-Toddler Services and the Wisconsin Birth to 3 Program and also considers implications for other states by providing recommendations regarding transition notification.

What are the recent findings on research of positive behavior support for early childhood educators/programs, with particular focus on the Pyramid Model?

Positive behavior support in early childhood programs [Special issue]
Dunlap, Glen, 11/01/2016

A special issue of the journal Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, focusing on positive behavior support for early childhood educators/programs, with particular attention centered on the Pyramid Model support framework.

Check out Research Connections collection for articles in this special issue on "Topics in Early Childhood Special Education."

What practices can support positive racial identity development in early education for African American children in Pittsburgh?

Positive racial identity development in early education: Understanding PRIDE in Pittsburgh
University of Pittsburgh. School of Education. Center for Urban Education, 01/01/2016
Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh, School of Education, Office of Child Development. Retrieved from http://www.ocd.pitt.edu/Files/Publications/RaceScan-FullReport12.pdf

The University of Pittsburgh School of Education's Office of Child Development, Center for Urban Education, and the Supporting Early Education and Development (SEED) Lab partnered to conduct an environmental scan to identify promising practices that support positive racial identity development in early education (PRIDE). The scan sought information from national literature, experts in the field, and local stakeholders, including parents, teachers, educators, and funders, with the goal of developing recommendations for implementation in Pittsburgh that could be used as a model for other cities nationally. (author abstract)

How are center-based early childhood programs supporting professional development opportunities?

Quality standards drive professional development opportunities
National-Louis University. McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership, 09/01/2016
Wheeling, IL: National-Louis University, McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership. Retrieved from http://mccormickcenter.nl.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/RN-Fall-2016-final.pdf

Based on an online survey, this study examines how professional development is implemented in center-based early childhood programs in 44 states, the District of Columbia, and American Samoa. Focusing on eleven professional development supports, it looks at the frequency of the supports offered and whether they strengthen respondents' professional competence, views on the importance of professional development, and job commitment. Findings, implications, and study limitations are discussed.

How can teachers promote the use of academic language in early childhood classrooms?

Academic language in early childhood classrooms
Barnes, Erica Marie, 07/01/2016

In this examination, the authors look at academic language and ways to foster it in early childhood classrooms. In addition to discussing academic language and its components, they share their recent study that examined teachers' language in three different instructional settings in Head Start prekindergarten classrooms in the Southeast. Drawing on their findings, the authors provide suggestions for promoting academic language development in early childhood classrooms.

What are the effects of the Pyramid Model for Promoting Young Children's Social-Emotional Competence on teachers' practices and children's social-emotional skills in early childhood classrooms?

Evaluating the implementation of the Pyramid Model for Promoting Social-Emotional Competence in early childhood classrooms
Hemmeter, Mary Louise, 11/01/2016

We conducted a potential efficacy trial examining the effects of classroom-wide implementation of the Pyramid Model for Promoting Young Children's Social-Emotional Competence on teachers' implementation of Pyramid Model practices and children's social-emotional skills and challenging behavior. Participants were 40 preschool teachers and 494 children. Using a randomized controlled design, 20 teachers received a professional development (PD) intervention to support their implementation of the practices. The 20 teachers in the control condition received workshops after all study-related data were collected. Teachers who received PD significantly improved their implementation of Pyramid Model practices relative to control teachers. Children in intervention teachers' classrooms were rated as having better social skills and fewer challenging behaviors relative to children in control teachers' classrooms. Exploratory analyses showed that children at elevated risk for behavior disorders in intervention teachers' classrooms had improvements in their observed social interaction skills relative to similar children in control teachers' classrooms. (author abstract)

What are the predictors of publicly funded early care and education (ECE) use among low-income children of immigrants?

Predictors of public early care and education use among children of low-income immigrants
Johnson, Anna D., 02/01/2017

Little is known about predictors of publicly funded early care and education (ECE) use among low-income children of immigrants. Without this knowledge, it is difficult to effectively increase participation in these public programs, which promote school readiness but are underused by children of immigrants. Using nationally representative data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study -- Birth Cohort (ECLS-B), this study attempts to identify pertinent family, child, maternal ECE preference, broader contextual, and immigrant specific characteristics predictive of ECE use among 4-year-old children in a sample of low-income children of immigrants (N [is approximately equal to] 1050). Specifically, we estimate multinomial logistic regression models predicting type of ECE (Head Start, public pre-k, subsidized ECE, unsubsidized ECE, parental care) from these characteristics. Findings suggest that even in a low-income sample, correlates of disadvantage such as low maternal education and prior receipt of public benefits are important predictors of public ECE use, as are maternal preferences for certain features of care and supply-side factors such as ECE availability. Immigrant-specific factors such as English proficiency, citizenship status, availability of non-English speaking caregivers, and generosity of state policies toward immigrants emerged as particularly salient for explaining the public ECE selection patterns of low-income immigrants. Results point to future research areas and potential policy solutions aimed at increasing public ECE use for children who may stand to benefit the most. (author abstract)

What are the benefits of early care and education for children in the child welfare system?

Benefits of early care and education for children in the child welfare system
Klein, Sacha Mareka, 11/01/2016
(A Research-to-Practice Brief, OPRE Report #: 2016-68). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/opre_2016_benefitschildwelfaresystem_v16_508.pdf

Young children birth through five years old in the United States are more likely to experience child maltreatment, subsequent child welfare system (CWS) involvement, negative developmental outcomes, and serious maltreatment-related injuries and death than older children. This research-to-practice brief provides a model for how early care and education (ECE) services can benefit this vulnerable age group by exploring emerging evidence from social science research on the effects of ECE on the CWS's goals of: (1) child safety, (2) permanency, and (3) wellbeing. The brief determines that the bulk of existing research indicates that at least some types of ECE services can help the CWS achieve its child safety and well-being goals. However, the vast majority of young children in the CWS are not utilizing ECE services despite these apparent benefits. Additional research is needed to understand the specific pathways through which ECE influences child welfare outcomes, the effects of ECE on the CWS's permanency goal, and which types of ECE arrangements are most beneficial for children in the CWS. The brief concludes by discussing several organizational practices that child welfare administrators can use to build collaborations with local ECE service providers in order to increase the enrollment of CWS-supervised-children in ECE programs. (author abstract)

How are third-grade outcomes associated with attending publicly funded preschool programs for low-income Latino children?

Differential third-grade outcomes associated with attending publicly funded preschool programs for low-income Latino children
Ansari, Arya, 09/01/2017

This study examined the third-grade outcomes of 11,902 low-income Latino children who experienced public school pre-K or child care via subsidies (center-based care) at age 4 in Miami-Dade County, Florida. Regression and propensity score analyses revealed that children who experienced public school pre-K earned higher scores on standardized assessments of math and reading in third grade and had higher grade point averages than those who attended center-based care 4 years earlier. The sustained associations between public school pre-K (vs. center-based care) and third-grade outcomes were mediated by children's kindergarten entry preacademic and social-behavioral skills, and among English-language learners, English proficiency. Implications for investing in early childhood programs to assist with the school readiness of young Latino children in poverty are discussed. (author abstract)

What factors account for the differences in Head Start program impacts between single- and multigenerational Head Start families?

Multigenerational Head Start participation: An unexpected marker of progress
Chor, Elise, 01/01/2016

One-quarter of the Head Start population has a mother who participated in the program as a child. This study uses experimental Head Start Impact Study (HSIS) data on 3- and 4-year-olds (N = 2,849) to describe multigenerational Head Start families and their program experiences. In sharp contrast to full-sample HSIS findings, Head Start has large, positive impacts on cognitive and socioemotional development through third grade among the children of former participant mothers, including improved mathematics skills and reductions in withdrawn and aggressive behavior. Evidence suggests that differences in program impacts between single- and multigenerational Head Start families are driven largely by differences in family resources and home learning environments. (author abstract)

What are the barriers to accessing high-quality early childhood education and programs for boys of color?

Unequal access: Barriers to early childhood education for boys of color
Dobbins, Dionne R., 08/01/2016
Princeton, NJ: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Retrieved from http://www.rwjf.org/content/dam/farm/reports/issue_briefs/2016/rwjf431300/subassets/rwjf431300_4

This brief examines the disparities in and barriers to access to early childhood education and to high-quality programs for boys of color, as well as highlighting existing initiatives and providing recommendations.

What are the findings from the NYC's Office of the Comptroller investigation into the provision of child care services in New York City homeless shelters?

An investigation into the provision of child care services in New York City homeless shelters
New York (N.Y.). Office of the Comptroller, 10/01/2016
New York, NY: New York (N.Y.), Office of the Comptroller. Retrieved from http://comptroller.nyc.gov/wp-content/uploads/documents/Homeless-Child-Care-Report_October.pdf

New York City is in the midst of a homeless crisis that is unparalleled in modern times. Since 2007, the number of families with children relying on the City Department of Homeless Services ("DHS") for shelter has swelled by 68 percent, from 7,624 families in August 2007 to 12,828 families in August 2016. In October 2016, the total shelter population hit a record 60,059 people, a figure that includes 23,598 children. Among this already vulnerable population, one group that stands out as being at extreme risk is homeless children, with those under the age of three facing unique challenges. Recent data from DHS shows that 13 percent of the residents in the City's shelters for families with children are children under three years of age. Given that the average length of stay in shelter for families with children is now 412 days, these young children are spending substantial portions of their early lives in DHS shelters. To better understand how the particular needs of homeless children under the age of three are being addressed, the Office of the Comptroller conducted a wide-ranging investigation into the provision of child care services within the DHS shelter system. This investigation concluded that a woefully inadequate regulatory structure results in children under three lacking the critical care and education services that are so important for their future. (author abstract)

What were the outcomes of two initiatives in Colorado to address challenging behaviors and reduce expulsions in child care?

One state's systems change efforts to reduce child care expulsion: Taking the Pyramid Model to scale
Vinh, Megan E., 11/01/2016

This article describes the efforts funded by the state of Colorado to address unacceptably high rates of expulsion from child care. Based on the results of a 2006 survey, the state of Colorado launched two complementary policy initiatives in 2009 to impact expulsion rates and to improve the use of evidence-based practices related to challenging behavior. The primary policy initiative involved the funding of a center to develop model sites, a state-level planning team, ongoing practitioner training, and certification of coaches and trainers all built around the Pyramid Model. The secondary initiative involved expanding the number of early childhood mental health consultants and modifying their reimbursement/payment formula such that direct preventative work with adult providers, consistent with the Pyramid Model, was reimbursable. A follow-up survey in 2011 showed a dramatic reduction in expulsion rates and a corollary increase in providers' teaching of prosocial skills to children with challenging behavior. (author abstract)

How is the School Readiness Tax Credit benefiting Louisiana families and communities?

Giving credit where it's due: School Readiness Tax Credits benefit Louisiana families and communities
Stoney, Louise, 10/01/2016
New Orleans, LA: Policy Institute for Children. Retrieved from http://media.wix.com/ugd/43cca3_5dd38dfb258f476b81b2432d9ee6c356.pdf

Louisiana's current fiscal crisis has called all tax credits into question. As the state examines the purpose and effectiveness of its tax credits, the Louisiana Policy Institute for Children seeks to understand the effects of one tax credit package geared towards early care and education -- the School Readiness Tax Credits. Research into these unique tax credits unequivocally finds that the School Readiness Tax Credits have been an important and effective lever in: Supporting an industry of small businesses--child care centers--that is critical for the state's families and local economies; Supporting enhanced quality in the early care and education sector; Creating greater access to higher quality care for at-risk young children; Incentivizing teachers of young children to strengthen their credentials; Increasing awareness and use of higher quality programs; Incentivizing local investment in early care and education; and Improving outcomes for Louisiana's young children. The School Readiness Tax Credits have been successful in achieving these objectives without needing ballooning investment from the state. (author abstract)

How are parents struggling with the bureaucratic rules and requirements of the U.S. child care assistance system?

Jumping through hoops and set up to fail: Parents speak out about child care assistance
Warner, Judith, 05/01/2016
Washington, DC: Center for American Progress. Retrieved from https://cdn.americanprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/02074444/JumpingThroughHoopsMAY.pdf

Our nation's child care assistance programs for low-income working families--chiefly paid for by the federal Child Care and Development Block Grant, or CCDBG, program and administered by the states--have never been funded at levels sufficient to keep pace with the level of family need. Lacking funds, states must scramble to essentially ration their child care dollars. They do this, in large part, by imposing complex and burdensome rules and requirements that trip parents up and push children out of subsidized care. As a result, only a fraction of the children who need child care assistance actually receive it. Those who do benefit from assistance suffer frequent interruptions in services due to bureaucratic snafus, missing paperwork, changes in parental work status or income, or simple human error. Low-income children, whose lives are already disproportionately marked by uncertainty and insecurity, all too often encounter that same sort of instability in their child care arrangements. And our child care assistance programs often fail in their dual purpose of setting up low-income children for a better start in life while helping parents become self-supporting through work. A growing body of research now details the ways that these systemic problems compound the damaging instability so prevalent in the lives of low-income children. Largely missing from this literature, however, is a detailed discussion of the toxic effects of our overcomplicated, underfunded, and profoundly un-family-friendly child care assistance system on parents. The stories contained in this report--based on interviews with nearly three dozen low- and middle-income parents, providers, advocates, and policy experts--fill that void by illustrating the lived experiences of parents struggling with the U.S. child care system. The interviews show that policies that purport, in the abstract, to support economic self-sufficiency often concretely function in ways that make finding and keeping work almost impossible. They also prove how programs that support parents--not just in accessing good child care but also in navigating the child care assistance system--help reduce the toxic load of day-to-day stress that now weighs on working families, with benefits for adults and children alike. (author abstract)

What are the findings from an evaluation of adding coaching strategies to North Carolina's child care health consultation program?

Adding coaching to Child Care Health Consultation (CCHC) services: Evaluation findings from North Carolina's Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge CCHC project
De Marco, Allison, 03/01/2016
Chapel Hill, NC: FPG Child Development Institute. Retrieved from http://fpg.unc.edu/sites/fpg.unc.edu/files/resources/reports-and-policy-briefs/CCHC_Evaluation_Final_Report_2016.pdf

Child Care Health Consultation is an established mechanism for promoting high quality child care environments within the domain of health and safety. Funds from the RTT-ELC grant aimed to enhance this practice by explicitly infusing coaching strategies within CCHC service delivery. This was done by: 1) developing a coaching module to provide training in the coaching process and in five specific coaching strategies; 2) hiring three Regional Coaches to be trained in the module, and to subsequently use coaching in interactions with CCHCs; and 3) training current and new CCHCs in the coaching module so that they, with support and additional coaching from their Regional Coach, could integrate coaching in their interactions with ECE providers. RTT-ELC funds supported the evaluation study, which examined the impact of the coaching module, focusing on changes in CCHC practices (i.e., support from Regional Coaches, implementing coaching) and anticipated impacts on key service delivery outputs and outcomes for ECE programs and providers. (author abstract)

What does New York City's universal pre-k program reveal about students and their development over the 2014-2015 school year?

Pre-K for All: Snapshot of student learning
Westat, Inc., 08/01/2016
New York, NY: Center for Economic Opportunity. Retrieved from http://schools.nyc.gov/NR/rdonlyres/688449CA-8003-46F0-BE1E-E2AB5F649CE2/0/Westat_Metis_BranchPreK_Study_Snapshot_of_Student_Learning_Finalrm.pdf

This "Pre-K for All: Snapshot of Student Learning" report is one in a series designed to provide DOE with information needed to make important policy and programmatic decisions. The study was conducted in the program's inaugural year in order to give the city a snapshot of student learning to improve the services provided and serve as an initial guidepost to ensure the City's efforts are in the right direction. Other reports in the series describe the program's implementation and effects on families. The academic, social, and emotional benefits of high quality pre-K have already been demonstrated by a substantial body of literature. These studies have shown that high quality pre-K is cost-effective and equips children with the cognitive skills needed for success in elementary school and beyond (Campbell, Ramey, Pungella, Sparling, & Miller-Johnson, 2002; Duncan et al., 2007; Heckman, Moon, Pinto, Savelyev, & Yavitz, 2010; McCelland, Acock, & Morrison, 2006; National Early Literacy Panel 2008; Rathbun & Zhang, 2016; Reynolds, Temple, White, Ou, & Robertson, 2011; and Weiland and Yoshikawa, 2013). Therefore, the goal of this study is not to reaffirm these benefits. Instead, this study describes the first cohort of children to participate in the program, with a focus on the skills children had at entry and their growth over the 2014-2015 study period. As such, the study is formative and descriptive in nature--it is designed to inform policy to help maximize child learning and growth. (author abstract)
Check out the Research Connections collection for additional reports on Pre-K for All.

What is the long term impact of targeted high-quality preschool and its interaction with a health intervention during infancy?

What is the added value of preschool? Long-term impacts and interactions with a health intervention
Rossin-Slater, Maya, 09/01/2016
(NBER Working Paper No. 22700). Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research. Retrieved from http://www.nber.org/papers/w22700.pdf

We study the impact of targeted high quality preschool over the life cycle and across generations, and examine its interaction with a health intervention during infancy. Using administrative data from Denmark together with variation in the timing of program implementation between 1933 and 1960, we find lasting benefits of access to preschool at age 3 on outcomes through age 65 -- educational attainment increases, income rises (for men), and the probability of survival increases (for women). Further, the benefits persist to the next generation, who experience higher educational attainment by age 25. However, exposure to a nurse home visiting program in infancy reduces the added value of preschool. The positive effect of preschool is lowered by 85 percent for years of schooling (of the first generation) and by 86 percent for adult income among men. (author abstract)

What is the economic impact of early care and education in North Carolina?

The economic impact of early care and education in North Carolina
O'Donnell, Kelly, 10/01/2015
Greenville, SC: Institute for Child Success. Retrieved from https://www.instituteforchildsuccess.org/themencode-pdf-viewer/?file=https://www.instituteforchildsuccess.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/the_economic_impact_of_early_care_and_education_in_nc.pdf

The availability of child care is of vital importance to the US economy. Over the last two decades, however, child care has come to be recognized as more than just a support for working parents and the care and education of young children has come to mean more than just child care. We now know that high quality early care and education (ECE) helps prepare children, particularly those most at risk for poor educational outcomes, for success in school, careers, and the community. Because it contributes to the preparedness and productivity of tomorrow's workforce, ECE is crucial to our country's long-term economic health and prosperity. Society's perception of early care and education has also broadened. It is now understood that the most effective ECE is a continuum of services and supports, adapted to the specific needs of families and communities, that includes pre- and post-natal home visiting, screenings to identify health and developmental challenges in their earliest stages, interventions to address problems as they emerge, high quality child care for infants and toddlers and pre-K for three- and four-year-olds. Many analyses have demonstrated the economic importance of child care and/or pre-K. The research presented here improves upon previous efforts by assessing the economic importance of North Carolina's birth-to-five early learning continuum: home visiting, early intervention, quality child care, and pre-K. In this paper, unless otherwise noted, the term Early Childhood Education (ECE) refers to the continuum and/or any of the individual services that comprise the continuum. (author abstract)

How many American families spend more than 10 percent of their gross income on child care costs?

Child care costs exceed 10 percent of family income for one in four families
Mattingly, Marybeth J., 09/01/2016
(National Issue Brief No. 109). Durham, NH: University of New Hampshire, Carsey School of Public Policy. Retrieved from http://scholars.unh.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1287&context=carsey

Access to quality, affordable child care is critical for American working families, and it is a major focus of efforts to bring about more family-friendly workplaces. In this brief, we analyze families' child care expenses and identify, among families with young children (under age 6) who pay for child care, the share that are "cost burdened," defined here as spending more than 10 percent of their gross income on child care. Using data from the 2012-2016 Current Population Survey, we present our findings by number of children; age of youngest child; parental characteristics; family income measures; and U.S. region, metropolitan status, and state. Unless otherwise noted, families include only those with children under age 6 who had any child care costs in the previous year. (author abstract)

Did the quality of care by family, friend, and neighbor child care providers improve after the Arizona Kith and Kin Project?

The Arizona Kith and Kin Project evaluation brief #1: Improving quality in family, friend, and neighbor (FFN) child care settings [Executive summary]
Shivers, Eva Marie, 02/01/2016
Phoenix, AZ: Indigo Cultural Center, Institute for Child Development Research and Social Change. Retrieved from http://indigoculturalcenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Indigo-ASCC-Kith-and-Kin-Evaluation-FNL-2016.pdf

The overall goal for the study described in this brief was to discover whether family, friend, and neighbor child care providers enhanced the quality of care they provided young children after completing a 14-week training and support group intervention known as the Arizona Kith and Kin Project. (author abstract)

Check out in the Research Connections collection The Arizona Kith and Kin Project evaluation brief #2: Latina family, friend, and neighbor (FFN) provider characteristics and features of child care they provide and the The Arizona Kith and Kin Project evaluation brief #3: Professional development with family, friend, and neighbor providers: Implications for dual language learners for additional resources.

How does parenting education in early childhood education programs impact children's cognitive and pre-academic skills?

The added impact of parenting education in early childhood education programs: A meta-analysis
Grindal, Todd, 11/01/2016

Many early childhood education (ECE) programs seek to enhance parents' capacities to support their children's development. Using a meta-analytic database of 46 studies of ECE programs that served children age three to five-years-old, we examine the benefits to children's cognitive and pre-academic skills of adding parenting education to ECE programs for children and consider the differential impacts of: 1) parenting education programs of any type; 2) parenting education programs that provided parents with modeling of or opportunities to practice stimulating behaviors and 3) parenting education programs that were delivered through intensive home visiting. The results of the study call into question some general longstanding assertions regarding the benefits of including parenting education in early childhood programs. We find no differences in program impacts between ECE programs that did and did not provide some form of parenting education. We find some suggestive evidence that among ECE programs that provided parenting education, those that provided parents with opportunities to practice parenting skills were associated with greater short-term impacts on children's pre-academic skills. Among ECE programs that provided parenting education, those that did so through one or more home visits a month yielded effect sizes for cognitive outcomes that were significantly larger than programs that provided lower dosages of home visits. (author abstract)

What are the kindergarten readiness outcomes of the first cohort of children in Chicago Child-Parent Center slots funded through a Social Impact Bond?

Evaluation of kindergarten readiness in five child-parent centers: Report for 2014-15
Gaylor, Erika, 04/01/2016
Menlo Park, CA: SRI International. Retrieved from http://catalystchicago.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/files/2016/05/SIB-CPC_Report_FINAL_041916.pdf

The Social Impact Bond (SIB) (also referred to as Pay for Success) is a funding mechanism where private businesses support programs that are expected to have a high return on investment. Beginning in 2014-15, the IFF Pay for Success project funded additional CPC preschool slots at six CPS schools. In 2015-16, two additional sites (identified by CPS and approved by the city of Chicago) were added to the PFS project. SRI International (SRI) has been hired to conduct the evaluation of the child outcomes for this project referred to as the "SIB-CPC project". The project anticipates serving four cohorts of preschool children across the eight sites over four school years-- Cohort 1: 2014-15, Cohort 2: 2015-16, Cohort 3: 2016-17, and Cohort 4: 2017-18. This first SRI project report describes the kindergarten readiness outcomes of the first cohort of children in the SIB-CPC project. First, we briefly describe the CPC program and its expansion efforts using SIB funding, including evidence about the impacts of the CPC program model on children's school readiness and school achievement. Second, we describe how the SIB-CPC program is being evaluated. Third, we present the extent to which the SIB-CPC program goals have been achieved for the kindergarten readiness outcomes for Cohort 1. (author abstract)

How do both mothers' and fathers' home learning environment practices predict the children's early learning outcomes?

Fathers' and mothers' home learning environments and children's early academic outcomes
Foster, Tricia D., 11/01/2016

The home learning environment (HLE) that children experience early on is highly predictive of their later academic competencies; however, the bulk of this work is operationalized from mothers' perspectives. This study investigates the HLE provided by both mothers and fathers to their preschoolers (n = 767), with consideration for how parents' practices relate to one another as well as how these practices predict children's early academic outcomes. Using an SEM framework, results indicate that while, overall, mothers provide HLE activities more frequently than fathers do, both mothers ([beta] = .18, p<.05) and fathers ([beta] = .22, p<.05) make unique contributions to their preschooler's early academic skills, but only for families where mother has less than a bachelor's degree. For families where mother has a bachelor's degree or higher, the effect of father's HLE practices is not a significant predictor of children's academics when considering mother's HLE. For all families, fathers are providing a variety of HLE activities to their young children; and, although these may occur less frequently than mothers' practices, they are particularly important for the academic development of children whose mothers have less than a bachelor's degree. Practical implications are discussed. (author abstract)

Are there different trajectories in the development of behavioral self-regulation in early childhood?

The development of self-regulation across early childhood
Montroy, Janelle J., 11/01/2016

The development of early childhood self-regulation is often considered an early life marker for later life successes. Yet little longitudinal research has evaluated whether there are different trajectories of self-regulation development across children. This study investigates the development of behavioral self-regulation between the ages of 3 and 7 years, with a direct focus on possible heterogeneity in the developmental trajectories, and a set of potential indicators that distinguish unique behavioral self-regulation trajectories. Across 3 diverse samples, 1,386 children were assessed on behavioral self-regulation from preschool through first grade. Results indicated that majority of children develop self-regulation rapidly during early childhood, and that children follow 3 distinct developmental patterns of growth. These 3 trajectories were distinguishable based on timing of rapid gains, as well as child gender, early language skills, and maternal education levels. Findings highlight early developmental differences in how self-regulation unfolds, with implications for offering individualized support across children. (author abstract)

What are the findings from the evaluation of the Delaware Stars for Early Success quality rating and improvement system?

Evaluation of Delaware Stars for Early Success: Final report
Karoly, Lynn A., 01/01/2016
(RR-1426-DOEL). Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation. Retrieved from http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/research_reports/RR1400/RR1426/RAND_RR1426.pdf

In June 2013, the Delaware Office of Early Learning contracted with the RAND Corporation to conduct an independent evaluation of Delaware Stars for Early Success, the state's quality rating and improvement system (QRIS) for early learning and care programs. The purpose of the RAND evaluation was to support Delaware in its efforts to design and implement an effective, robust system for measuring and reporting on the quality of early learning and care programs in home and center settings. The evaluation further aimed to inform efforts to improve the quality of programs in ways that are beneficial for participating children and their families. The project entailed a series of interrelated research tasks designed to provide objective and rigorous empirical evidence of the extent to which rating tiers reflect relevant differences in the quality of home- and center-based programs and whether the system is operating effectively in terms of technical assistance (TA), financial support, and other features. In support of the overall evaluation goals, this final report summarizes the findings from all components of the evaluation. Our primary focus is on addressing two sets of questions central to the evaluation: Do early care and education (ECE) programs with higher ratings in the QRIS deliver higher-quality care and early learning than those with lower ratings? What is the relationship between program characteristics and quality in Delaware Stars?; Do children in programs with higher ratings in the QRIS have better learning and developmental outcomes than children in programs with lower ratings? What dimensions of Delaware Stars program ratings are most vital to child learning and developmental outcomes? These questions are examined using data collected in 2014-2015 on program quality from a sample of Delaware ECE providers, along with measures of learning for children enrolled in the sampled programs. We also report on results from a survey of the directors of the sampled providers. Other components of the evaluation are also addressed in this report, including findings regarding quality improvement supports, financial incentives, and other aspects of system performance, some of which were analyzed in more detail in two earlier reports. (author abstract)

Did attendance in public prekindergarten in Virginia predict on time promotion to and literacy achievement in middle school?

Predicting on-time promotion to and literacy achievement in eighth grade in relation to public prekindergarten in Virginia
Almarode, John, 05/01/2015
Richmond, VA: Virginia Early Childhood Foundation. Retrieved from http://www.smartbeginnings.org/Portals/5/PDFs/VECF_Predicting_On_Time_Promotion_Study_Report_Finalr.pdf

This study is the first to examine middle school outcomes for students who attended public prekindergarten in Virginia. Sixty-seven percent of students who attended Virginia public kindergarten in 2005-2006 could be followed into eighth grade in 2013-2014 (N = 77,451). This cohort was examined because it is the first to have VDOE-collected data extending across prekindergarten and into eighth grade. The study focused on on-time promotion and literacy achievement. On-time promotion predicts higher high school graduation rates, and grade retention is costly to both students and funders. Literacy represents a primary focus for prekindergarten. Statistical propensity score weighting techniques were used to estimate equivalent comparison groups between students who had attended a Virginia prekindergarten program and students whose prekindergarten experience was unknown. A host of student and school characteristics known to be related to academic achievement were accounted for in analyses in order to highlight associations just with prekindergarten enrollment. (author abstract)

Were the changes in 2016 state child care assistance policies effective in supporting families?

Red light green light: State child care assistance policies 2016
Schulman, Karen, 01/01/2016
Washington, DC: National Women's Law Center. Retrieved from https://nwlc.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/NWLC-State-Child-Care-Assistance-Policies-2016-final.pdf

This report examines states' policies in five key areas--income eligibility limits to qualify for child care assistance, waiting lists for child care assistance, copayments required of parents receiving child care assistance, reimbursement rates for child care providers serving families receiving child care assistance, and eligibility for child care assistance for parents searching for a job. These policies are fundamental to determining families' ability to obtain child care assistance and the extent of help that assistance provides, although other policies, too, have an impact on the effectiveness of state child care assistance programs in helping families. (author abstract)

How does the Shape School Task work to assess executive functions in preschoolers?

Assessing executive functions in preschoolers using Shape School task
Nieto, Marta, 09/27/2016

Over the last two decades, there has been a growing interest in the study of the development of executive functions (EF) in preschool children due to their relationship with different cognitive, psychological, social and academic domains. Early detection of individual differences in executive functioning can have major implications for basic and applied research. Consequently, there is a key need for assessment tools adapted to preschool skills: Shape School has been shown to be a suitable task for this purpose. Our study uses Shape School as the main task to analyze development of inhibition, task-switching and working memory in a sample of 304 preschoolers (age range 3.25-6.50 years). Additionally, we include cognitive tasks for the evaluation of verbal variables (vocabulary, word reasoning and short-term memory) and performance variables (picture completion and symbol search), so as to analyze their relationship with EFs. Our results show age-associated improvements in EFs and the cognitive variables assessed. Furthermore, correlation analyses reveal positive relationships between EFs and the other cognitive variables. More specifically, using structural equation modeling and including age direct and indirect effects, our results suggest that EFs explain to a greater extent performance on verbal and performance tasks. These findings provide further information to support research that considers preschool age to be a crucial period for the development of EFs and their relationship with other cognitive processes. (author abstract)

How can we measure and understand the mechanisms through which early childhood interventions impact later well-being?

Generative mechanisms in early childhood interventions: A confirmatory research framework for prevention
Reynolds, Arthur J., 10/01/2016

This article reviews methodological and analytic approaches and impact evidence for understanding the mechanisms of effects of early childhood interventions, including delinquency and violence prevention. Illustrations from longitudinal studies of preschool preventive interventions are provided. We restrict our attention to preventive interventions for children from birth to age 5, including evidence from the Chicago Longitudinal Study (CLS), which investigates the impact of an established school-based early childhood intervention. Frameworks and evidence will be organized according to the Five-Hypothesis Model (5HM), which postulates that a variety of early childhood interventions impact later well-being through the promotion of cognitive and scholastic advantages, motivational advantages, social adjustment, family support behaviors, and school supports. Recommendations are made for advancing confirmatory approaches for identifying the most effective prevention programs using identification of generative mechanisms as a major methodological criterion. (author abstract)

Is a community-based tribally delivered oral health promotion intervention effective at promoting oral health outcomes in Navajo children attending Head Start?

A cluster-randomized, community-based, tribally delivered oral health promotion trial in Navajo Head Start children
Braun, Patricia, 10/01/2016

The authors tested the effectiveness of a community-based, tribally delivered oral health promotion (OHP) intervention (INT) at reducing caries increment in Navajo children attending Head Start. In a 3-y cluster-randomized trial, we developed an OHP INT with Navajo input that was delivered by trained Navajo lay health workers to children attending 52 Navajo Head Start classrooms (26 INT, 26 usual care [UC]). The INT was designed as a highly personalized set of oral health-focused interactions (5 for children and 4 for parents), along with 4 fluoride varnish applications delivered in Head Start during academic years of 2011 to 2012 and 2012 to 2013. The authors evaluated INT impact on decayed, missing, and filled tooth surfaces (dmfs) increment compared with UC. Other outcomes included caries prevalence and caregiver oral health-related knowledge and behaviors. Modified intention-to-treat and per-protocol analyses were conducted. The authors enrolled 1,016 caregiver-child dyads. Baseline mean dmfs/caries prevalence equaled 19.9/86.5% for the INT group and 22.8/90.1% for the UC group, respectively. INT adherence was 53% (i.e., [greater than or equal to] 3 child OHP events, [greater than or equal to] 1 caregiver OHP events, and [greater than or equal to] 3 fluoride varnish). After 3 y, dmfs increased in both groups (+12.9 INT vs. +10.8 UC; P = 0.216), as did caries prevalence (86.5% to 96.6% INT vs. 90.1% to 98.2% UC; P = 0.808) in a modified intention-to-treat analysis of 897 caregiver-child dyads receiving 1 y of INT. Caregiver oral health knowledge scores improved in both groups (75.1% to 81.2% INT vs. 73.6% to 79.5% UC; P = 0.369). Caregiver oral health behavior scores improved more rapidly in the INT group versus the UC group (P = 0.006). The dmfs increment was smaller among adherent INT children (+8.9) than among UC children (+10.8; P = 0.028) in a per-protocol analysis. In conclusion, the severity of dental disease in Navajo Head Start children is extreme and difficult to improve. The authors argue that successful approaches to prevention may require even more highly personalized approaches shaped by cultural perspectives and attentive to the social determinants of oral health. (author abstract)

Check out Research Connections Early care and education in tribal communities brief for resources from the Research Connections collection.

What indicators of quality are associated with positive child outcomes for students with and without disabilities in a full-inclusion public preschool program?

Exploring the quality indicators of a successful full-inclusion preschool program
Warren, Susan R., 10/01/2016

A growing body of research and legislative policies support the importance of high-quality early intervention systems for preschool children with disabilities. Inclusion programs are viable means for providing this support, yet limited progress has been made in the past decade to increase the placements of children in inclusive settings or define quality programs. This study was a 1-year exploration into the quality indicators of a full-inclusion district preschool program identified as successful based on academic and social growth for students with and those without disabilities. An interdisciplinary team of seven researchers examined the progress of 46 students and then analyzed program quality indicators identified by the adults associated with the program as contributing to student success. Mixed methods were utilized combining quantitative measurements of student growth with qualitative analysis of perceptions regarding the children's development in the program by parents, teachers, and other school personnel. Findings indicate significant academic and social gains for both groups of children connected to specific program quality indicators. These results will inform teachers, districts, and outside agencies as they structure and implement full-inclusion programs at the preschool level. (author abstract)

Check out Research Connections Preschool Inclusion Brief for resources from the Research Connections collection.

Do the low scores for basic caregiving in infant-toddler child care settings reflect the absence of basic health practices or challenges with the scoring procedures and quality standards of the instrument?

Low quality of basic caregiving environments in child care: Actual reality or artifact of scoring?
Norris, Deborah J., 10/01/2016

Quality Rating Improvement Systems (QRIS) frequently include the Infant-Toddler Environment Rating Scale-Revised (ITERS-R) as part of rating and improving child care quality. However, studies utilizing the ITERS-R consistently report low quality, especially for basic caregiving items. This research examined whether the low scores reflected the absence of basic health practices or challenges with the scoring procedures and quality standards of the instrument. Classroom observations (N = 95) using an alternative scoring system for the ITERS-R showed that most classrooms met more indicators than the traditional scoring methods captured. Additional data collected for hand washing, diaper changing, and table washing in a subset of classroom (n = 41) indicated that few classrooms consistently met the embedded standards for the basic caregiving items. Although the additional data showed the absence of table washing and hand washing in many classrooms, more variability existed than with the traditional scoring. If the traditional scoring method of the instrument does not capture the true variability of classroom practice, its use in the field should be examined. Classrooms in centers meeting higher standards of structural quality scored better on the basic caregiving items than classrooms meeting licensing requirements. Implications for child care quality improvement efforts are discussed. (author abstract)

What factors is research identifying predictors of retention for child care workers?

Retaining early childhood education workers: A review of the empirical literature
Totenhagen, Casey J., 10/01/2016

Low retention in the child care workforce is a persistent challenge that has been associated with negative outcomes for children, staff, and centers. This article reviews the empirical literature, identifying common correlates or predictors of retention for child care workers. Searches were conducted using several databases, and articles that presented quantitative or qualitative data on retention for center-based child care workers in the United States were reviewed in detail. Seven themes emerged as potential predictors of retention: wages and benefits, job satisfaction, organizational characteristics, alternative employment opportunities, demographic characteristics, job characteristics, and education and training. Although some of the findings were mixed, increased retention was generally associated with the following: working in a publicly operated or nonprofit center that meets accreditation or policy standards, being older, maintaining a higher-level position, having more tenure and experience, receiving higher wages, and reporting higher job satisfaction. Based on these studies, child care centers should seek to increase pay, recruit staff with more experience, and aim to improve job satisfaction among staff to help increase retention. In addition, government-funded professional development incentive programs may help child care centers meet the goals of a high-quality, educated, and stable workforce. (author abstract)

What are the challenges facing gay and lesbian families in preschool environments?

Struggling to move beyond acknowledgment: Celebrating gay and lesbian families in preschool environments
Glass, Valerie Q., 05/01/2016

Our qualitative study explores three phenomena: (a) the phenomenon of being a queer parent with a child in preschool; (b) the phenomenon of being a preschool teacher or administrator when children with queer parents are present in the classroom; and (c) the phenomenon of parents' and teachers' expectations and roles in adapting classrooms to fit queer identities. Twenty-three gay- or lesbian-identified parents of preschoolers and eight preschool teachers who have had gay- or lesbian-identified families in their classrooms participated in this study. Findings indicated that these preschool teacher participants and the gay and lesbian parent participants were challenged with expectations and logistics of how and when to incorporate queer family identities into the preschool classroom. (author abstract)

What is the relationship of preschool children's sleep to the association between negative emotionality and both peer acceptance and peer rejection?

Preschool children's negative emotionality and peer acceptance: The moderating role of sleep
Lu, Ting, 11/01/2016

Preschool children's sleep was examined as a moderator of the association between negative emotionality and both peer acceptance and peer rejection. Participants were 115 children (47 percent girls, [mean] age=4.29 years, SD=.63). Preschool teachers reported on children's negative emotionality (anger/frustration, sadness, and fear). Sleep was measured objectively using actigraphy in the child's home for seven consecutive nights. Peer acceptance and rejection were assessed using children's choices in sociometric interviews. Controlling for potential confounds, moderation analyses revealed that negative emotionality predicted peer acceptance and rejection only among children with poorer sleep quality (lower sleep efficiency, more frequent wake episodes, longer sleep latency), but not better sleep quality. Findings suggest that sleep is important not only for predicting child functioning but also for moderating the adverse effects of negative emotionality on a salient indicator of interpersonal functioning for preschool age children. (author abstract)

Which provisions in federal preschool, Head Start, and child care policies affect children experiencing homelessness?

Aligning early childhood programs to serve children experiencing homelessness: A comparison of preschool, Head Start, and child care policies
Duffield, Barbara, 10/04/2016
Minneapolis, MN: National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth. Retrieved from the U.S. Administration for Children and Families Web site: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/ecd/preschool_head_start_and_child_care_policies_for_children.pdf

Within the next few months, new federal rules for preschool, Head Start, and child care will go into effect. These rules include many new policies designed to remove barriers and better support young children experiencing homelessness. This convergence and alignment of federal policies represent a critical opportunity for state and local action to better serve our youngest children experiencing homelessness. While the governance and structure of public preschool, Head Start, and Child Care and Development Fund services may differ, we are hopeful that the new emphasis on young children experiencing homelessness will bring communities together to make the most of these new provisions. To that end, we have developed the chart below, which summarizes the new most significant new rules by topic area, across three federal programs. We will update this document on an ongoing basis to reflect any new guidance or policy clarifications that may be forthcoming. (author abstract)

Check out Research Connections Research-to-Policy Resource List for reports and journal articles from the Research Connections collection on Early care and education supports for young children experiencing homelessness.

How does linking administrative data support quality improvement in early care and education programs?

Strength in numbers: Supporting quality improvement in early care and education programs through linking administrative data
King, Carlise, 09/01/2016
(Publication # 2016-36). Bethesda, MD: Child Trends. Retrieved from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation Web site: https://aspe.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/207811/StrengthinNumbersFullReport.pdf

here are several benefits of using linked data to help strengthen ECE program quality and services, but there are also many challenges that must be overcome throughout the data sharing process. This brief begins by defining the terms administrative data and linked data. We then describe benefits for ECE programs of using linked data and provide examples of how ECE programs, including Head Start programs, have linked their data to make decisions related to improving program quality and services. We draw upon information gathered from published reports as well as conversations with Head Start grantees, city-level administrators, state-level data systems specialists, state child care administrators, technical assistance providers, and researchers (please refer to the Appendix for more details). Finally, the brief highlights challenges programs encounter when attempting to link data, or to use linked data, and offers strategies to overcome the identified challenges. (author abstract)

Check out Research Connections Working with Administrative Data for more information on the Research Connections website.

How does process and structural quality compare in publicly-funded and inclusive early childhood education classrooms?

Examining quality in two preschool settings: Publicly funded early childhood education and inclusive early childhood education classrooms
Pelatti, Christina Yeager, 12/01/2016

Background Although classroom quality is an important consideration, few recent research studies have examined the process and structural quality in publicly funded early childhood education (ECE) and inclusive ECE classrooms. This study provides an important contribution to the literature by comparing two conceptualizations of quality in classrooms serving children from low-income households and those with disabilities. Objectives (1) To characterize and to determine differences with regard to process and structural quality in publicly funded ECE and inclusive ECE classrooms, and (2) to examine whether and to what extent the process quality varied when controlling for structural quality and classroom income/race variables. Method One hundred and sixty four classrooms (85 ECE, 79 inclusive) that were enrolled in two large-scale intervention studies examining a book-reading program were included in the present study. The Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS; Pianta et al. in Classroom assessment scoring system, Paul H. Brookes, Baltimore, 2008) and three detailed questionnaires were used to quantify process and structural quality, respectively. Results Results revealed quantitative differences in process quality, specifically in the emotional support dimension of negative climate as well as all dimensions of instructional support, between the two settings. In addition, teachers' education was a significant predictor of process quality, and publicly funded ECE classrooms scored over two points higher on the instructional support domain of the CLASS when controlling for other structural quality measures and income and race. Conclusions Our findings have implications for best practice guidelines and policies, particularly for classroom environments serving children with disabilities, which are discussed. (author abstract)

How does the Boston Public Schools prekindergarten program impact the school readiness of young children with special needs?

Impacts of the Boston prekindergarten program on the school readiness of young children with special needs
Weiland, Christina, 11/01/2016

Theory and empirical work suggest inclusion preschool improves the school readiness of young children with special needs, but only 2 studies of the model have used rigorous designs that could identify causality. The present study examined the impacts of the Boston Public prekindergarten program--which combined proven language, literacy, and mathematics curricula with coaching--on the language, literacy, mathematics, executive function, and emotional skills of young children with special needs (N = 242). Children with special needs benefitted from the program in all examined domains. Effects were on par with or surpassed those of their typically developing peers. Results are discussed in the context of their relevance for policy, practice, and theory. (author abstract)

Check out Research Connections Preschool Inclusion Brief for resources from the Research Connections collection.

How do child cortisol levels, parenting factors, and child care context relate to executive functions in young children?

Higher cortisol is associated with poorer executive functioning in preschool children: The role of parenting stress, parent coping and quality of daycare
Wagner, Shannon L., 01/01/2016

hild executive functions (cognitive flexibility, inhibitory control, working memory) are key to success in school. Cortisol, the primary stress hormone, is known to affect cognition; however, there is limited information about how child cortisol levels, parenting factors and child care context relate to executive functions in young children. The aim of this study was to examine relationships between child cortisol, parenting stress, parent coping, and daycare quality in relation to executive functions in children aged 3-5 years. We hypothesized that (1) poorer executive functioning would be related to higher child cortisol and higher parenting stress, and (2) positive daycare quality and positive parent coping style would buffer the effects of child cortisol and parenting stress on executive functions. A total of 101 children (53 girls, 48 boys, mean age 4.24 years [plus or minus] 0.74) with complete data on all measures were included. Three saliva samples to measure cortisol were collected at the child's daycare/preschool in one morning. Parents completed the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function - Preschool Version (BRIEF-P), Parenting Stress Index (PSI), and Ways of Coping Questionnaire (WCQ). The Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale - Revised (ECERS-R) was used to measure the quality of daycare. It was found that children with poorer executive functioning had higher levels of salivary cortisol, and their parents reported higher parenting stress. However, parent coping style and quality of daycare did not modulate these relationships. Identifying ways to promote child executive functioning is an important direction for improving school readiness. (author abstract)

What are the discrepancies in parent and teacher ratings of low-income preschoolers' social skills?

Discrepancies in parent and teacher ratings of low-income preschooler's social skills
Heyman, Miriam, 01/01/2016

Parent-teacher rating discrepancies in rating of children's social skills were examined in a low-income, ethnically diverse preschool sample, using the Social Skills Improvement System-Rating Scales [Gresham, F. M., & Elliott, S. N. (2008). Social Skills Improvement System - Rating Scales. Minneapolis, MN: Pearson Assessments]. Participants included 663 preschool children (326 male, 336 female, M = 3.51 years, SD = 0.50) rated in the Fall of their preschool year. Children were drawn from 68 classrooms in 13 preschool sites. The results indicated that mean parent ratings were significantly greater than mean teacher ratings for the Social Skills Scale. The mean parent-teacher ratings were not significantly different for the Problem Behaviours Scale. Follow-up analyses indicated that parent-teacher ratings differed across six of the seven Social Skills sub-scales. These differences were significantly associated with family income. Implications for parents, teachers, and educational policy are explored. (author abstract)

Can parent and classroom-based behavior-focused interventions improve school readiness in preschool children with externalizing behavior problems?

Beyond behavior modification: Benefits of social-emotional/self-regulation training for preschoolers with behavior problems
Graziano, Paulo A., 10/01/2016

The current study evaluated the initial efficacy of three intervention programs aimed at improving school readiness in preschool children with externalizing behavior problems (EBP). Participants for this study included 45 preschool children (76% boys; [mean age] = 5.16 years; 84% Hispanic/Latino background) with at-risk or clinically elevated levels of EBP. During the summer between preschool and kindergarten, children were randomized to receive three newly developed intervention packages. The first and most cost effective intervention package was an 8-week School Readiness Parenting Program (SRPP). Families randomized into the second and third intervention packages received not only the weekly SRPP, but children also attended two different versions of an intensive kindergarten summer readiness class (M-F, 8 a.m.- 5 p.m.) that was part of an 8-week summer treatment program for pre-kindergarteners (STP-PreK). One version included the standard behavioral modification system and academic curriculum (STP-PreK) while the other additionally contained social-emotional and self-regulation training (STP-PreK Enhanced). Baseline, post-intervention, and 6-month follow-up data were collected on children's school readiness outcomes including parent, teacher, and objective assessment measures. Analyses using linear mixed models indicated that children's behavioral functioning significantly improved across all groups in a similar magnitude. Children in the STP-PreK Enhanced group, however, experienced greater growth across time in academic achievement, emotion knowledge, emotion regulation, and executive functioning compared to children in the other groups. These findings suggest that while parent training is sufficient to address children's behavioral difficulties, an intensive summer program that goes beyond behavioral modification and academic preparation by targeting socio-emotional and self-regulation skills can have incremental benefits across multiple aspects of school readiness. (author abstract)

Do preschool teachers' financial well-being and work time supports influence children's emotional expressions and behaviors?

Preschool teachers' financial well-being and work time supports: Associations with children's emotional expressions and behaviors in classrooms
King, Elizabeth K., 11/01/2016

The current study examined associations among teachers' financial well-being, including teachers' wages and their perceptions of their ability to pay for basic expenses, and teachers' work time supports, including teachers' paid planning time, vacation days, and sick days, and children's positive emotional expressions and behaviors in preschool classrooms. Analyses controlled for teachers' education and experience, as well as classroom quality (as assessed by the CLASS). Results suggest that teachers' financial well-being is associated with children's positive emotional expressions and behaviors in classrooms. Specifically, teachers' wages positively relate to children's positive emotional expressions and behaviors in classrooms, and children in classrooms of teachers who can pay for their basic expenses exhibit more positive emotional expressions and behaviors than children in classrooms of teachers who cannot pay for their basic expenses. Implications of the effects of early childhood teachers' financial well-being on children's emotional experiences in classrooms are discussed. (author abstract)

What do child-staff ratios optimally promote peer skills in child care?

Identifying child-staff ratios that promote peer skills in child care
Iluz, Reli, 10/01/2016

Early child care policy and practice are grounded in a growing understanding of the importance of the first years of life. In earlier studies, associations between child-staff ratios and peer skills yielded inconsistent findings. The current study used data from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development (N = 1,364) to test the existence of curvilinear associations between child-staff ratios and observed peer skills at the ages of 3 and 4.5 years in order to derive optimal ratios featuring higher levels of peer skills. The findings indicated curvilinear associations between child-staff ratio during the first 3 and 4.5 years and the frequency of positive and negative peer interactions--especially positive peer interactions. Furthermore, these curvilinear associations characterized positive play with a friend at 4.5 years. Optimal child-staff ratios featuring higher levels of peer skills were somewhat lower for positive play with a friend than for the frequency of positive peer interactions. Practice or Policy: Curvilinear associations that point to an optimal value of child-staff ratio may be used to validate child care standards. Optimal child-staff ratios found in the current study coincided with recommended early care standards. (author abstract)

How does early childhood mental health consultation enhance classroom quality, and decrease the likelihood of expulsion in early childhood classrooms?

Early childhood mental health consultation: Results of a statewide random-controlled evaluation
Gilliam, Walter S., 09/01/2016

Objective: Despite recent federal recommendations calling for increased funding for early childhood mental health consultation (ECMHC) as a means to decrease preschool expulsions, no randomized-controlled evaluations of this form of intervention have been reported in the scientific literature. This study is the first attempt to isolate the effects of ECMHC for enhancing classroom quality, decreasing teacher-rated behavior problems, and decreasing the likelihood of expulsion in targeted children in early childhood classrooms. Method: The sample consisted of 176 target children (3-4 years old) and 88 preschool classrooms and teachers randomly assigned to receive ECMHC through Connecticut's statewide Early Childhood Consultation Partnership (ECCP) or waitlist control treatment. Before randomization, teachers selected 2 target children in each classroom whose behaviors most prompted the request for ECCP. Evaluation measurements were collected before and after treatment, and child behavior and social skills and overall quality of the childcare environment were assessed. Hierarchical linear modeling was used to evaluate the effectiveness of ECCP and to account for the nested structure of the study design. Results: Children who received ECCP had significantly lower ratings of hyperactivity, restlessness, externalizing behaviors, problem behaviors, and total problems compared with children in the control group even after controlling for gender and pretest scores. No effects were found on likelihood of expulsion and quality of childcare environment. Conclusion: ECCP resulted in significant decreases across several domains of teacher-rated externalizing and problem behaviors and is a viable and potentially cost-effective means for infusing mental health services into early childhood settings. Clinical and policy implications for ECMHC are discussed. (author abstract)

Check out Research Connections Preventing Preschool Expulsion brief for reports and journal articles from the Research Connections collection on the prevalence of preschool expulsions.

How are recent programs and initiatives working to meet the child care needs of low-income parents seeking education and training?

Strategies to meet the child care needs of low-income parents seeking education and training
Adams, Gina, 09/01/2016
Washington, DC: Urban Institute. Retrieved from http://www.urban.org/sites/default/files/alfresco/publication-pdfs/2000938-Strategies-to-Meet-the-Child-Care-Needs-of-Low-Income-Parents-Seeking-Education-and-Training.pdf

This report presents findings from a review of 17 programs and initiatives working to meet the child care needs of low-income parents seeking education and training. It highlights common strategies these organizations have implemented to meet the challenges of serving this population. (author abstract)

Check out Research Connections Child Care During Nonstandard Work Hours: Research to Policy Resources Brief for resources from the Research Connections collection on the supply of nonstandard hours child care, child care arrangements of parents working nonstandard hours, and access to child care subsidies of parents working nonstandard hours.

What are the effects of universal state pre-kindergarten on the child care market in Florida?

The effects of universal state pre-kindergarten on the child care sector: The case of Florida's voluntary pre-kindergarten program
Bassok, Daphna, 08/01/2016

Over the past two decades states have drastically increased their investments in pre-kindergarten programs. One major question about state investments in early childhood education programs is to what extent these initiatives create new child care options rather than crowd-out existing private child care options. We investigate this issue using Florida's universal pre-kindergarten program (VPK), a national leader with respect to preschool access, as a case study. Leveraging a 9-year panel of data we find that the introduction of Florida's VPK program expanded the size of the state's licensed child care market by 13% relative to the predicted market size. Using a synthetic control difference-in-difference approach we also show that VPK led to an increase in the percentage of 4-year-olds enrolled in formal care but a drop in the percentage of 3-year-olds enrolled in these settings. Implications are discussed. (author abstract)

Check out Research Connections A Benefit-cost Analysis of the Tulsa Universal Pre-k Program report and State Preschool Program Evaluations and Research: Research-to-Policy Resources Bibliography for a comprehensive list of evaluations and research in the Research Connections collection on state preschool programs identified in the 2016 NIEER state preschool yearbook.

How do preschool children's play experiences draw on their knowledge of popular media?

Who gets to play?: Access, popular media and participatory literacies
Wohlwend, Karen E., 03/01/2017

Early literacy is often over-simplified as a set of skills for beginning reading, an approach which overlooks the ways that children play their way into cultures, using play as a literacy that accesses popular media as rich literary repertoires of characters and storylines. This article examines how children's play reveals their participatory literacies in preschool classrooms where teachers provide play-based media literacy curricula. Participatory literacies are ways of interpreting, making, sharing and belonging in increasingly globally and digitally mediated cultures. Data are excerpted from a five-year study of literacy play in classrooms that provide a space for children to draw upon popular media repertoires as cultural capital and resources for literacy development. Mediated discourse analysis of classroom video located and analyzed children's play for use of creative and collaborative dimensions of participatory literacies. Results showed that young children drew on their media knowledge during play to fluidly improvise dialogue and story action in ways that enriched and sustained play themes and friendships over time but also allowed isolated children to gain access to play groups. (author abstract)

Do early educators' implicit biases regarding sex and race relate to behavior expectations and recommendations of preschool expulsions and suspensions?

Do early educators' implicit biases regarding sex and race relate to behavior expectations and recommendations of preschool expulsions and suspensions?
Gilliam, Walter S., 09/28/2016
New Haven, CT: Yale University, Child Study Center. Retrieved from http://ziglercenter.yale.edu/publications/Preschool%20Implicit%20Bias%20Policy%20Brief_final_9_26_276766_5379.pdf

Preschool expulsions and the disproportionate expulsion of Black boys have gained attention in recent years, but little has been done to understand the underlying causes behind this issue. This study examined the potential role of preschool educators' implicit biases as a viable partial explanation behind disparities in preschool expulsions. Participants were recruited at a large conference of early educators and completed two tasks. In Task 1, participants were primed to expect challenging behaviors (although none were present) while watching a video of preschoolers, balanced by sex and race, engaging in typical activities, as the participants' eye gazes were tracked. In Task 2, participants read a standardized vignette of a preschooler with challenging behavior and were randomized to receive the vignette with the child's name implying either a Black boy, Black girl, White boy, or White girl, as well as randomized to receive the vignette with or without background information on the child's family environment. Findings revealed that when expecting challenging behaviors teachers gazed longer at Black children, especially Black boys. Findings also suggested that implicit biases may differ depending on teacher race. Providing family background information resulted in lowered severity ratings when teacher and child race matched, but resulted in increased severity ratings when their race did not match. No differences were found based on recommendations regarding suspension or expulsion, except that Black teachers in general recommended longer periods of disciplinary exclusion regardless of child gender/race. Recommendations for future research and policy regarding teacher training are offered. (author abstract)

Check out Research Connections Preventing Preschool Expulsion brief for reports and journal articles from the Research Connections collection on the prevalence of preschool expulsions.

How do voluntary summer learning programs affect low-income urban students' academic and social-emotional outcomes?

Learning from summer: Effects of voluntary summer learning programs on low-income urban youth
Augustine, Catherine H., 01/01/2016
(RR-1557-WF). Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation. Retrieved from http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/research_reports/RR1500/RR1557/RAND_RR1557.pdf

The National Summer Learning Project, launched by the Wallace Foundation in 2011, is a six-year study offering the first assessment of the effectiveness of voluntary, district-led summer learning programs offered at no cost to low-income, urban elementary students. The study, conducted by RAND, uses a randomized controlled trial and other analytic methods to assess the effects of district-led programs on academic achievement, social-emotional competencies, and behavior over the near and long term. All students in the study were in the third grade as of spring 2013 and enrolled in a public school in one of five urban districts: Boston; Dallas; Duval County, Florida; Pittsburgh; or Rochester, New York. The study follows these students from third to seventh grade. The primary focus is on academic outcomes but students' social-emotional outcomes are also examined, as well as behavior and attendance during the school year. Among the key findings are that students with high attendance in one summer benefited in mathematics and that these benefits persisted through the following spring; students with high attendance in the second summer benefited in mathematics and language arts and in terms of social-emotional outcomes; and that high levels of academic time on task led to benefits that persisted in both mathematics and language arts. (author abstract)

Check out Research Connections Community-based Summer Learning Programs for School-age Children: Research-to-Policy Resources brief for reports and journal articles from the Research Connections collection.

What is the impact of a comprehensive teacher training model on teachers and students in bilingual Migrant and Seasonal Head Start and Head Start classrooms?

Relative effects of a comprehensive versus reduced training for Head Start teachers who serve Spanish-speaking English learners
Solari, Emily J., 10/01/2016

With increased demand for improved early childhood education services, it is important to better understand the essential professional development resources that have the greatest impact on both teacher and child outcomes. This study compared the effectiveness of two teacher-training models in bilingual Migrant and Seasonal Head Start and Head Start classrooms. Both conditions included the use of a technology-based student progress-monitoring tool. The progress monitoring provided detailed feedback on students' progress 15 across the academic year and helped organize instructional groupings. The comprehensive treatment condition included biweekly professional development sessions, in-class mentoring, and provision of classroom materials, whereas the treatment- control condition included only the provision of a limited set of classroom materials. Across multiple sites in Texas, 49 pretest and posttest teacher observations and bilingual child assessments were collected on a subsample of students (n = 387). Research Findings: Improvements in teaching behaviors were observed in both experimental conditions; no significant differences were observed between teachers across conditions. Three measures of child language and literacy growth differed significantly, favoring the comprehensive treatment model, but most outcomes did not differ significantly between groups. Practice or Policy: Implications of these mixed findings and future research directions are discussed. (author abstract)

What are the costs of delivering varying levels of quality across Ohio early learning settings?

The dollars and cents of early learning: Investing in success: A summary of findings from groundWork's Early Childhood Financing Project
GroundWork, 03/01/2016
Columbus, OH: GroundWork. Retrieved from the Alliance for Early Childhood Finance Web site: http://www.earlychildhoodfinance.org/dev/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Dollars-and-Cents-FINAL-031416.pdf

Study after study show that providing high-quality learning experiences for children growing up in poverty has among the greatest returns on investment of any government expenditure. Currently, the most Ohio reimburses any childcare provider for caring for an infant is $40 per day. Reimbursement for a preschooler is just $30. Many providers get even less. In more than a quarter of Ohio's 88 counties, reimbursement is $22 per day for an infant and $19 for a toddler. In its Early Learning Challenge Grant, Ohio set a goal of funding only high-quality early learning by 2020. To keep that commitment, it is critical to determine how much it costs to provide high-quality early learning in Ohio. That is the purpose of this analysis: to take an important step in determining The Dollars and Cents of Early Learning. (author abstract)

Check out in Research Connections collection DC's Office of the State Superintendent of Education report on modeling the cost of child care in the District of Columbia.

What are some emerging responses to the issues of child care supply and demand at parental, community, and state levels?

Child care deserts: Developing solutions to child care supply and demand
Dobbins, Dionne R., 09/01/2016
Arlington, VA: Child Care Aware of America. Retrieved from http://usa.childcareaware.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Child-Care-Deserts-report-FINAL2.pdf

This white paper explores the concepts of child care supply and demand from both the perspectives of 1) parental choices and decisions made related to finding quality child care, and 2) state- and community-level approaches to documenting and addressing child care deserts. First, we highlight the themes around parent child care journeys that emerged from a series of focus groups with parents from vulnerable populations. Next, we provide an overview of several key informant interviews conducted with selected state- and community-level studies of child care deserts. For each community, we document motivations for studying deserts, the process they undertook to collect data, the reports and/or online tools they developed, how data was used to influence policy or community change, and where readers can go for more information. The report gleans lessons learned from these efforts. We also included several snapshots of supply and demand work of other states and communities throughout this paper. Finally, we propose policy solutions to improve access to quality child care for vulnerable populations. (author abstract)

Is there a quality early childhood education access gap in the Zhejiang Province of China?

Early childhood education quality and child outcomes in China: Evidence from Zhejiang Province
Li, Kejian, 07/01/2016

Despite high rates of Chinese kindergarteners (3-6 years old) enrollment in early care and education (ECE), the quality of that care has not been widely examined. Following rapid economic growth in urban areas in the past three decades, there are growing concerns within China that families in urban and rural areas are experiencing an ECE opportunity gap. To address this concern, this study examined ECE quality and its association with child outcomes based on a relatively large sample of kindergartens in China. Using a stratified and random sampling method, the study recruited 1, 012 children (age 3-6) from 178 classrooms in Zhejiang Province, a relatively developed region with a population of over 54 million people. We used the Chinese Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale to measure ECE quality and found moderately low quality for the study sample. Also, lower quality was observed in rural than urban areas, in private than public programs, and in programs with overall low parent education than those with high parent education. One dimension of quality, teaching and interactions, predicted child outcomes in language, early math, and social cognition as measured by the Children's Developmental Scale of China (age 3-6) in hierarchical linear models. The possible sociocultural and contextual reasons for these findings and implications for policymakers and practitioners are discussed in this paper. (author abstract)

How do preschool teachers' mathematical content knowledge and their mathematical ability beliefs influence their sensitivity to mathematics in children's play in Germany?

The influence of preschool teachers' content knowledge and mathematical ability beliefs on their sensitivity to mathematics in children's play
Oppermann, Elisa, 08/01/2016

In countries with a social pedagogic tradition for early childhood education, mathematical learning typically takes place in play-based situations. Preschool teachers' ability to recognize mathematical content in children's play is therefore an important prerequisite for educational quality. The present study examines how this ability relates to other aspects of preschool teachers' professional competencies. Findings from regression analysis indicate that mathematical content knowledge (CK) predicts teachers' sensitivity to mathematical content. However, further analyses reveal that this association is mediated by preschool teachers' self-efficacy beliefs. (author abstract)

What are professionals responding to, and learning from, in early childhood professional development programs?

Conceptions of and early childhood educators' experiences in early childhood professional development programs: A qualitative metasynthesis
Brown, Christopher P., 07/01/2016

Policy makers and early childhood stakeholders across the United States continue to seek policy solutions that improve early educators' instruction of young children. A primary vehicle for attaining this goal is professional development. This has led to an influx of empirical studies that seek to develop a set of best practices for professional development. While this deductive work is important and informative, it provides limited insight into how professional development is being conceptualized, and how teachers experience, respond to, or learn from these programs. This article begins to address these issues by presenting findings from a qualitative metasynthesis of published peer-reviewed qualitative studies of professional development programs for in-service early educators in the United States. By analyzing, synthesizing, and interpreting these studies, it appears that while such programs may have a positive impact on teachers' conceptions of practice, there is a need to expand the research literature beyond identifying what works so that it includes studies examining teachers using such practices with children and investigations into teachers' knowledge of their local teaching and learning communities. This study ends by offering an interpretation of the relationship between these findings and the field of teacher education. (author abstract)

How did a statewide early childhood curriculum enhancement initiative at community colleges impact faculty and students?

Impact of a statewide early childhood curriculum enhancement initiative on community college faculty and paraprofessional students
Lynch, Kathleen Bodisch, 07/01/2016

As the number of young children with disabilities being included in diverse early childhood settings continues to increase, employing personnel with the requisite knowledge and skills to support their active participation and learning becomes of paramount importance. Because paraprofessionals frequently serve in this capacity, it is critical that their preservice training programs provide them with the information and experiences needed to work effectively in inclusive environments. In this article, we describe the development and implementation of a collaborative initiative between a major urban research university and a state's community college system and member institutions to enhance the preparation of paraprofessionals to work with young children with disabilities and their families. Supplemental content, assignments, and resources were incorporated into six core courses in the early childhood development curriculum statewide, and program administrators and instructional faculty received training and professional development to facilitate consistent use of the course modifications. We report on gains in knowledge and confidence experienced by both faculty and paraprofessional students, and we identify programmatic practices that support adoption, fidelity of implementation, and sustainability of curricular innovations. Implications of enhanced training programs for increasing access of young children with disabilities to inclusive high-quality early childhood programs are discussed. (author abstract)

Check out Research Connections Preschool Inclusion Brief for key findings from research and implications for policy and additional resources in the Research Connections collection.

Does social group membership increase STEM engagement among preschoolers?

Social group membership increases STEM engagement among preschoolers
Master, Allison, 02/01/2017

The American educational system currently yields disappointing levels of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) engagement and achievement among students. One way to remedy this may be to increase children's motivation in STEM from an early age. This study examined whether a social cue--being part of an experimental "minimal group"--increases STEM engagement in preschoolers (N = 141; 4.5-year-olds). Using a within-subjects design, participants were assigned to a group and an individual condition (counter-balanced for order) before they worked on a math task and a spatial task. Children persisted longer on, placed more pieces correctly, reported higher self-efficacy, and were more interested in the group STEM task than the individual STEM task. In addition, we conducted a continuously cumulating meta-analysis (CCMA) to combine the results of the current experiment with two previous experiments. These findings suggest that incorporating nonacademic social factors, such as group membership, into current STEM curricula could be an effective way to boost young children's STEM motivation. (author abstract)

Is Head Start effective at improving children's school readiness?

Revisiting the impact of Head Start
Montialoux, Claire, 09/01/2016
Berkeley: University of California, Berkeley, Institute for Research on Labor and Employment. Retrieved from http://irle.berkeley.edu/policybriefs/IRLE-Revisiting-the-impact-of-Head-Start.pdf

This policy brief discusses new evidence regarding the effectiveness of Head Start. Head Start is the largest federal early intervention and education program in the United States, serving almost one million children in 2015. It was created in 1965 to narrow the gap between disadvantaged and more privileged children as they entered kindergarten, by providing comprehensive programming in preschool to improve children's school readiness. Early studies of Head Start and other pre-school programs found large positive effects on both cognitive and non-cognitive skills. But the first randomized experimental study of Head Start (the Head Start Impact Study, or HSIS), conducted in 2002, indicated that the program produced smaller benefits that faded out quickly. Some have interpreted this as evidence that Head Start is ineffective. Several recent studies by Berkeley authors, however, have shown that the HSIS data, when interpreted appropriately, indicates that the program has significant benefits. Some of these benefits are persistent. When compared to at-home care, rather than to attending a similar program, attending a Head Start center generates positive effects on children's development. This implies that the social return to Head Start spending is larger than previous analyses of HSIS data suggested. Moreover, the small average effects of Head Start mask significant variation in its benefits across groups of children and across Head Start centers. These new analyses represent an important contribution to the question of under what circumstances and for whom does Head Start work best. (author abstract)

What is the role of English versus Spanish vocabulary in predicting the English literacy skills of low-income Latino English language learners?

The relative importance of English versus Spanish language skills for low-income Latino English language learners' early language and literacy development
Sonnenschein, Susan, 03/01/2017

The association between monolingual children's early language abilities and their later reading performance is well established. However, for English language learners, the pattern of associations between early language skills and later literacy is much less well understood for English language learners. This study examined language predictors of preschool, low-income Latino English language learners' (N = 112) spring vocabulary and literacy skills. Only children's English language skills at the start of preschool, not Spanish or conceptual vocabulary (child received credit for knowledge of word in either English or Spanish), were significant predictors of subsequent vocabulary and literacy scores. In addition, vocabulary and language comprehension together accounted for more variance in spring performance than vocabulary alone. Finally, data from a small subset of parents (N = 21) suggested that the children's Spanish skills were being maintained through activities at home. Discussion focuses on the application of findings to assessment and practice in the preschool classrooms. (author abstract)

What are the recent evaluation findings from Georgia's Rising Pre-Kindergarten Summer Transition Program?

Evaluation findings from Georgia's 2015 Rising Pre-Kindergarten Summer Transition Program
Early, Diane Marie, 02/01/2016
Chapel Hill, NC: FPG Child Development Institute. Retrieved from the Bright From the Start Web site: http://www.decal.ga.gov/documents/attachments/STP2015Report.pdf

A recent evaluation of Georgia's Pre-K program suggested that additional supports were needed for Georgia's growing population of children from homes where English was not the predominant language. Peisner-Feinberg, Schaaf, and LaForett (2013) found that although Spanish-speaking dual language learners (DLLs) made significant gains during the pre-k year, they entered and left pre-k significantly behind their monolingual English-speaking peers on all outcomes. Based on that finding, DECAL decided to provide a summer program to support children from homes where Spanish is the predominant language as they make the transition to pre-kindergarten. The RPre-K program operated for six weeks in June and July and was offered for free to participating families. Children in the program were from low-income families and were DLLs from homes where Spanish was the predominant language. Several components were in place to meet the program's overall goal of preparing children for success in Georgia's Pre-K. First, RPre-K class size was small, with a maximum of 14 children, and each class had both a lead and an assistant teacher. Second, the RPre-K classrooms were required to use a specific curriculum, the dual-language edition of Opening the World of Learning (OWL; Dickinson, et al., 2011), to support language development and pre-kindergarten readiness. Third, a half-time transition coach was hired for every class to help families meet transition needs and to offer parent educational activities. Finally, every classroom was required to have at least one teacher (lead or assistant) who spoke Spanish. During this third summer of implementation, DECAL funded 30 RPre-K classrooms at 21 sites in 13 counties; 57% were housed in private child care facilities and 43% were located in public schools. This represented a sizable expansion from 2014, when DECAL funded 20 RPre-K classrooms at 13 sites in 10 counties. Approximately 420 children participated in RPre-K in 2015. Table 1 (see sidebar) specifies the types of professional development provided to RPre-K lead teachers and transition coaches in the summer of 2015. The overarching purpose of this project was to provide DECAL with information that will allow them to improve the program in future years. The specific aims were to: (1) describe the quality of teacher-child interactions in RPre-K classrooms, (2) understand the amount and purposes of Spanish and English used in the classrooms; (3) provide information about participating children's growth in early academic skill, especially language, during the program; (4) describe the services provided to participating children and their families; and (5) understand reasons that attendance may be lower than during the school year. (author abstract)

Check out Research Connections Transition to Kindergarten and Child Outcomes Brief for additional resources in the Research Connections collection.

How does a job-embedded professional development initiative impact early childhood professionals?

The Ounce PDI Study: Development evaluation of a job-embedded professional development initiative for early childhood professionals
Whalen, Samuel P., 03/01/2016
Chicago, IL: Center for Urban Education Leadership. Retrieved from http://www.theounce.org/Ouncei3_UIC_EVAL_FINAL_Report_030216.pdf

he purpose of the 3-year evaluation study was to assess the effectiveness of the Ounce PDI in advancing the knowledge, skills, and dispositions of community-based early childhood leaders and teachers in relation to creating the conditions for superior developmental outcomes and kindergarten readiness for low-income, under-served students served by these community-based centers. Therefore, the evaluation pursued three broad goals: First, we intended to monitor and summarize patterns of implementation over the full span of the PDI in order to assess fidelity and feasibility of implementation. Second, we aimed to assess impacts of implementation on the professional learning of teachers, leaders, and coaches, and more distally, upon the growth and development of children in all intervention centers. Third, drawing on Improvement Sciences methodology, we planned to strike a productive balance between the roles of independent, external summative evaluator, on the one hand, and collaborative formative evaluator providing rich and timely data and feedback to the design development process. (author abstract)

How does the fidelity of implementation of an early-literacy intervention impact preschool children with disabilities in early childhood special education classrooms?

Fidelity of implementation for an early-literacy intervention: Dimensionality and contribution to children's intervention outcomes
Guo, Ying, 10/01/2016

This study examined fidelity of implementation (FOI) in the context of an early-literacy intervention involving 83 early childhood special education (ECSE) teachers and 291 three- to five-year old children with disabilities in their classrooms. Adherence, dosage, participant responsiveness, and program differentiation were assessed as multiple dimensions of FOI. Results demonstrated that a three-factor model of adherence and dosage, participant responsiveness, and program differentiation offered the best fit to the data to represent FOI. Further, program differentiation significantly related to children's early-literacy gains, and the effects of the intervention on children's gains in early literacy were fully mediated by program differentiation. Findings have implications for the design of effective early-literacy interventions and also for theorizing the construct of FOI. (author abstract)

Check out Research Connections Preschool Inclusion Brief for additional resources in the Research Connections collection.

What are the afterschool program experiences of children and families living in communities of concentrated poverty?

America After 3PM special report: Afterschool in communities of concentrated poverty
Afterschool Alliance, 08/01/2016
Washington, DC: Afterschool Alliance. Retrieved from http://www.afterschoolalliance.org/AA3PM/Concentrated_Poverty.pdf

Given the promising role afterschool programs can play in addressing the inequities faced by families living in communities of concentrated poverty, and with the rise in the number of people living in communities of concentrated poverty, this special America After 3PM report examines the afterschool program experience of children and families living in communities of concentrated poverty in regard to participation, access, activities and satisfaction. (author abstract)

What is the current capacity of city afterschool systems to collect and use data to inform their decisions and system-building activities?

Connecting the dots: Data use in afterschool systems
Spielberger, Julie, 04/01/2016
Chicago: University of Chicago, Chapin Hall Center for Children. Retrieved from the Wallace Foundation Web site: http://www.wallacefoundation.org/knowledge-center/Documents/Connecting-the-Dots-Data-Use-in-Afterschool-Systems.pdf

With support from The Wallace Foundation, nine cities across the country are participating in the Next Generation Afterschool System-Building Initiative, a multi-year effort to strengthen the systems that support access to and participation in high-quality afterschool programs for low-income youth. The nine cities were selected in part because they already had a solid foundation for an afterschool system that included strong city leadership and mayoral commitment. This interim report documents how these cities used data to inform and improve their afterschool systems over a two-year period from 2012 through 2014. (author abstract)

What are the financial costs of interrupting a career to care for one's own child full time?

Calculating the hidden cost of interrupting a career for child care
Madowitz, Michael, 06/01/2016
Washington, DC: Center for American Progress. Retrieved from https://cdn.americanprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/17091517/ChildCareCalculator-methodology.pdf

To help families calculate the financial costs of interrupting a career so a parent can become a full-time caregiver, the Center for American Progress has developed a simple, customizable interactive tool. The single most important contribution this tool makes, and the most important lesson for families using the tool, is placing these financial tradeoffs in the economic framework of opportunity costs, or costs people incur when they lose out on potential gains. (author abstract)

How are families accessing child care using public transportation?

Transit-accessible child care study
Valorose, Jennifer, 06/01/2016
St. Paul, MN: Wilder Research Center. Retrieved from http://www.wilder.org/Wilder-Research/Publications/Studies/Transit-Accessible%20Child%20Care/Transit-Accessible%20Child%20Care%20Study%20-%20Prepared%20for%20Metro%20Transit,%20Full%20Report.pdf

Metro Transit's Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Office contracted with Wilder Research in the fall of 2015 to conduct a study on transit-accessible child care, particularly the ability of families to access child care via public transportation. Anecdotally, the TOD Office believed many transit riders opt to stop using transit once they have kids and lower-income families who rely on transit have fewer child care options due to the location of child care relative to their homes and workplaces. The study focused on addressing the following questions, with are addressed in the following pages of the report. 1. How many child care facilities in our region are within easy walking distance of high-frequency transit stops? (See "The Twin Cities child care market" on page 2.) 2. What is the capacity and availability of open slots in these facilities relative to the number of children living in these areas? Is the "supply" of transit-accessible child care adequate? (See "Transit-accessible child care in the Twin Cities" on page 3.) 3. What barriers do transit users face in accessing child care facilities and using transit with children? (See "Transportation barriers to accessing child care" on page 10.) 4. What are potential strategies for increasing the capacity and/or quality of transit-accessible child care facilities? (See "Recommendations" on page 15.) (author abstract)

What was the role of the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) in supporting access to high-quality child care in states, tribes, and territories during fiscal years 2014 and 2015?

Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) report to congress FY 2014-2015
United States. Office of Child Care,
Washington, DC: U.S. Office of Child Care. Retrieved from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/occ/report_to_congress_fy2014_2015.pdf

The report provides information about the role of the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF), which is authorized under the CCDBG Act, in improving access to high-quality child care in states, territories, and tribes. This report covers fiscal years 2014 and 2015. While the program's authorizing statute was reauthorized during this period, the law had not yet been implemented in many states. The data and analysis contained in this report are from a variety of sources, including administrative data about children and families receiving CCDF services. Some data was not yet available at the time this report was drafted in accordance with the statutory submission deadline, but that data will be posted online. This report includes highlights of CCDF program activities, information on activities states and territories are doing to improve the quality of child care across the country, and an overview of the Administration for Children and Families' Technical Assistance and Research projects. The report closes with a look to the future. (author abstract)

What are the latest school-level strategies for messaging, engaging parents, and responding to absences in DC public schools?

Improving prekindergarten attendance: School-level strategies for messaging, engaging parents, and responding to absences in four DC public schools
Katz, Michael, 06/01/2016
Washington, DC: Urban Institute. Retrieved from http://www.urban.org/sites/default/files/alfresco/publication-pdfs/2000844-Improving-Prekindergarten-Attendance.pdf

Over the past decade, there has been an increased focus on attendance and reducing absenteeism in schools. Driven in part by continued research on the negative impact of absenteeism on school performance, future attendance, truancy, and dropout rates, local, state, and federal education agencies have begun to take action. While much of this work has targeted the elementary years, researchers and districts alike have started to focus on curbing absenteeism before the start of kindergarten. Data suggest that early grade levels see some of the worst absenteeism rates, and early attendance issues are associated with future absenteeism and negative academic outcomes (Balfanz and Byrnes 2013; Connolly and Olson 2012; Ehrlich et al. 2014). Early grade levels can also set a family's expectations for attendance and the family-school relationship, and intervening early can help establish better attendance patterns that persist throughout children's academic careers. Though many school districts begin their efforts in kindergarten, some forward-thinking districts, like District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS), have begun to track and address chronic absenteeism in prekindergarten. This report is part of a multiphase project of the Urban Institute, working with the Early Childhood Education Division (ECED) of DCPS, examining absenteeism in their prekindergarten program and strategies to address it (Katz, Adams, and Johnson 2015; Dubay and Holla 2015). This collaboration with ECED includes the input and support of the family services team, who provide wraparound services for families with children in the universal prekindergarten program. (author abstract)

Check out Research Connections Attendance Rates and Child Outcomes Fact Sheet and this related report from the Urban Institute for additional resources in the Research Connections collection.

What are the policies and practices that Preschool Development Grant (PDG) states are exploring and implementing to mitigate suspension and expulsion?

Suspension & expulsion in Preschool Development states: Policies and practices
Preschool Development and Expansion Grant Technical Assistance Program,
Washington, DC: Preschool Development and Expansion Grant Technical Assistance Program. Retrieved from https://pdg.grads360.org/services/PDCService.svc/GetPDCDocumentFile?fileId=21290

There is growing unease about suspension and expulsion of children at the preschool level. Preschoolers are expelled at three times the rate of K-12 students (Gilliam, 2005). Boys--particularly African-American boys--comprise a disproportionate number of these cases, a fact that has caused concern among parents, policymakers, and advocates alike. These suspensions and expulsions have broad-ranging impacts on children and families across the country. States that received the Preschool Development Grant (PDG) funding have begun to explore and implement policies and practices to mitigate this growing problem. This brief is intended to serve as a resource to these and other states. It sets the stage by detailing why preschool expulsion and suspension rates should matter to states. There is a discussion of relevant federal and state policies as well as various state practices used to impact this issue. The brief concludes with appendices that include excerpts of PDG states' policies or guidelines, and descriptions of their preventive practices. (author abstract)

Check out Research Connections Preventing Preschool Expulsion Fact Sheet for additional resources in the Research Connections collection.

What are the findings from Wisconsin's Early Child Care Study on the validity of YoungStar QRIS for children's school readiness?

Validation of the QRIS YoungStar rating scale: Report 2: Wisconsin Early Child Care Study findings on the validity of YoungStar rating for children's school readiness
Magnuson, Katherine A., 03/01/2016
Madison: Wisconsin, Department of Children and Families. Retrieved from http://dcf.wisconsin.gov/youngstar/pdf/FINAL-Part-2-Validation-Study-Full-Report-2016.pdf

The Wisconsin Early Child Care Study (WECCS) is a validation study undertaken to better understand whether Wisconsin's YoungStar Child Care Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) rating scale is functioning as intended. That is, the study is designed both to explore whether the rating scale is able to differentiate programs according to their levels of observed quality and whether children who attend more highly rated programs gain more in terms of school readiness over the course of a school year than children attending programs rated at lower levels. This report focuses only on the second validity question about whether YoungStar rating predicts differing levels of school readiness among children ages 3 to 5. (author abstract)

Check out Research Connections Quality Rating and Improvement State Evaluations and Research Fact Sheet and this related report from Washington's Department of Early Learning for additional resources in the Research Connections collection.

Do specific early number skills mediate the association between executive functioning skills and mathematics achievement?

Specific early number skills mediate the association between executive functioning skills and mathematics achievement
Fuhs, Mary Catherine Wagner, 08/01/2016

A growing literature reports significant associations between children's executive functioning skills and their mathematics achievement. The purpose of this study was to examine if specific early number skills, such as quantity discrimination, number line estimation, number sets identification, fast counting, and number word comprehension, mediate this association. In 141 kindergarteners, cross-sectional analyses controlling for IQ revealed that number sets identification (but not the other early number skills) mediated the association between executive functioning skills and mathematics achievement. A longitudinal analysis showed that higher executive functioning skills predicted higher number sets identification in kindergarten, which in turn predicted growth in mathematics achievement from kindergarten to second grade. Results suggest that executive functioning skills may help children quickly and accurately identify number sets as wholes instead of getting distracted by the individual components of the sets, and this focus on sets, in turn, may help children learn more advanced mathematics concepts in the early elementary grades. (author abstract)

How are children's language and mathematics skills influenced by their duration in Head Start?

One year or two?: The impact of Head Start enrollment duration on academic achievement
Youn, Min-Jong, 01/01/2016

This study examined the impact of Head Start duration on children's language and mathematics skills based on the nationally representative sample of the Head Start, Family and Children Experiences Survey (FACES, 2009). Analysis of the FACES (2009) revealed that children who attended Head Start for two years displayed substantial advantages both in language and math skills compared to one-year attendees by the time they left Head Start. These advantages were sustained until the end of kindergarten with a slight reduction of the effect sizes. This study adds to the growing body of evidence that a longer exposure from an earlier age to a public preschool program plays a significant role in improving the academic skills of children from economically disadvantaged families. (author abstract)

What is the correlation between primary early care and education arrangements and achievement at kindergarten entry?

Primary early care and education arrangements and achievement at kindergarten entry
Rathbun, Amy, 06/01/2016
(NCES 2016-070). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved from http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2016/2016070.pdf

This Statistical Analysis Report builds upon prior work by using the most recently available data to explore relationships between children's primary care and education arrangements the year before kindergarten and their academic skills and learning behaviors at kindergarten entry, after accounting for child and family background characteristics. In the report, ECE arrangements are classified into five groups: (1) center-based care (including day care centers, Head Start programs, preschools, prekindergartens, and other early childhood programs), (2) home-based relative care, (3) home-based nonrelative care, (4) multiple arrangements (i.e., children who spent an equal amount of time in each of two or more types of arrangements), and (5) no ECE arrangement on a regular basis (i.e., children who had no regularly scheduled care arrangement and mainly received care only from their parents). Information for this report comes from the nationally representative National Household Education Surveys Program (NHES) and the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010-11 (ECLS-K:2011) data collections. (author abstract)

How does work-related stress impact the personal well-being of child care providers?

Childcare providers: Work stress and personal well-being
Faulkner, Monica R., 09/01/2016

Childcare providers face multiple work-related stressors. Small studies of childcare providers have suggested that providers have high levels of depression compared to the general population. However, unlike other caregiving professions, the research examining childcare providers is sparse, and there is little information to inform practices and policies to support childcare providers. This study identifies specific work-related stressors for childcare providers and examines the impact of those work-related stressors on their personal well-being. A total of 26 home-based and centre-based providers participated in seven focus groups in Central Texas. Themes from the focus groups identify parental interaction as the most prominent stressor for providers followed by the public perception of providers as "babysitters." Providers also discussed the impact of stress on their personal well-being manifesting through exhaustion, sleep disturbances, and physical health problems. (author abstract)

How has Tulsa's Community Action Project (CAP) Head Start program influenced middle-school academic outcomes and progress?

The effects of Tulsa's CAP Head Start program on middle-school academic outcomes and progress
Phillips, Deborah A., 08/01/2016

This study presents evidence pertinent to current debates about the lasting impacts of early childhood educational interventions and, specifically, Head Start. A group of students who were first studied to examine the immediate impacts of the Tulsa, Oklahoma, Community Action Project (CAP) Head Start program were followed-up in middle school, primarily as 8th graders. Using ordinary least squares and logistic regressions with a rich set of controls and propensity score weighting models to account for differential selection into Head Start, we compared students who had attended the CAP Head Start program and enrolled in the Tulsa Public Schools (TPS) as kindergarteners with children who also attended TPS kindergarten but had attended neither CAP Head Start nor the TPS pre-K program as 4-year-olds. CAP Head Start produced significant positive effects on achievement test scores in math and on both grade retention and chronic absenteeism for middle-school students as a whole; positive effects for girls on grade retention and chronic absenteeism; for white students on math test scores; for Hispanic students on math test scores and chronic absenteeism, and for students eligible for free lunches on math test scores, grade retention, and chronic absenteeism. We conclude that the Tulsa CAP Head Start program produced significant and consequential effects into the middle school years. (author abstract)

How can relationship-based care practices be included in infant-toddler care?

Including relationship-based care practices in infant-toddler care: Implications for practice and policy
Sosinsky, Laura Stout, 05/01/2016
(OPRE Report No. 2016-46). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/nitr_inquire_may_2016_070616_b508compliant.pdf

This brief describes relationship-based care practices and the research support for a focus on relationships in infant and toddler care. We emphasize two specific relationship-based care supports - primary caregiving and continuity of care. We then present practice considerations for child care directors and owners regarding adopting or enhancing relationship-based care practices, and discuss the implications of state standards for incorporating these practices into programs that serve infants and toddlers. This brief focuses on implementation and standards in center-based settings because family child care homes are already structured to support relationship-based care practices from infancy through age three due to small numbers of children and caregivers. However, considerations for implementation of relationship-based care practices in centers may also be relevant to group child care homes serving infants and toddlers. (author abstract)

Check out Research Connections Infant and Toddler Child Care quality Measures Bibliography and our Research-to-Policy Resource List on Research-informed Policy Options for Infant and Toddler Early Care and Education for additional resources in the Research Connections collection.

What are early childhood administrators' attitudes and experiences in working with gay and lesbian (GL) parented families?

Early childhood administrators' attitudes and experiences in working with gay- and lesbian-parented families
Church, Julie, 01/01/2016

This study examined the attitudes, preparation, and comfort of early childhood administrators in working with gay and lesbian (GL) parented families and the use of GL inclusive practices within centers. Data were gathered from 203 participants in the state of North Carolina using an online survey. Overall, administrators held a positive attitude towards GLs. Specifically, administrators with higher levels of education held a more positive attitude towards lesbians than gay men. Attitudes also correlated highly with administrator's comfort in working with GL parented families and use of inclusive practices within their center; however, it did not correlate with preparation or training in the field. Participants who identified themselves as very religious had lower scores on all measures used within the study, compared to administrators who were somewhat religious or not religious. Finally, most of the inclusive strategies implemented within centers were perfunctory, which required minimal change and effort by administrators. (author abstract)

Is there a correlation between preschool attendance and academic school readiness among young children of Asian and Hispanic immigrant mothers?

Preschool and academic school readiness among young children of Asian and Hispanic immigrant mothers
Lee, RaeHyuck, 01/01/2016

Preschool is an important developmental context for children of immigrants that can help them succeed in later life. In this study, we examine the association between preschool and academic school readiness among young children of Asian or Hispanic immigrant mothers. A secondary data analysis was conducted using data (n [is approximately] 1,550) collected in the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort. Results show that attending preschool (mostly prekindergarten or other center-based care) was associated with better academic school readiness at the year of participation among children of both Asian and Hispanic immigrant mothers; such beneficial associations were found at kindergarten entry among Asian children, but not Hispanic children. Furthermore, more-pronounced beneficial influences of preschool on academic school readiness were found at the year of participation among children of home language mothers in both groups, but such more-pronounced benefits were gone at kindergarten entry in both groups. These findings suggest that the differences between the two groups in maintaining the benefits from preschool may be associated with different home environments. Future research is needed to look specifically at the mechanisms of how attending preschool is related to academic school readiness among children of immigrants. (author abstract)

Is there a link between student-teacher relationships, executive functioning (EF), and early school readiness among preschoolers with externalizing behavior problems (EBP)?

Executive functioning and school readiness among preschoolers with externalizing problems: The moderating role of the student-teacher relationship
Graziano, Paulo A., 07/01/2016

The objective of this study was to examine the student-teacher relationship as a potential moderator of the link between executive functioning (EF) and children's early school readiness among a clinical sample of preschoolers with externalizing behavior problems (EBP). Participants for the study included 139 preschool children (75.54% boys, [mean] age = 5.01 years, 84.94% Hispanic/Latino) with at-risk or clinically elevated levels of EBP. The student-teacher relationship was assessed using the Student-Teacher Relationship Scale. School readiness data were composed of standardized achievement test scores and teacher reports of kindergarten readiness. EF was measured via parent and teacher reports along with standardized measures of EF, including the Head-Toes-Knees-Shoulders task and 4 standardized subtests from the Automated Working Memory Assessment. Poorer student-teacher relationship quality was predictive of lower teacher-reported kindergarten readiness and higher academic impairment. Main effects were qualified by an interaction between EF and student-teacher relationship quality such that worse EF (parent/teacher reports and standardized performance) was only associated with lower teacher-rated kindergarten readiness for children with poorer student-teacher relationship quality. Practice or Policy: EF appears to be an important predictor of school readiness for preschool children with EBP, particularly for children experiencing poorer student-teacher relationships. (author abstract)

Check out Research Connections Interventions to Promote Young Children's Self-Regulation and Executive Function Skills in Early Childhood Settings for additional resources in the Research Connections collection.

What is the relationship between mathematical language skills and early numeracy?

Mathematics and language: Individual and group differences in mathematical language skills in young children
Purpura, David J., 07/01/2016

The development of early numeracy knowledge is influenced by a number of non-mathematical factors--particularly language skills. However, much of the focus on the relation between language and early numeracy has utilized general language measures and not domain-specific measures of mathematical language. The primary purpose of this study was to determine if the variance accounted for by general language skills in predicting numeracy performance was better accounted for by mathematical language. Further, age- and parental education-related differences in mathematical language performance were explored. Using a sample of 136 3- to 5-year-old preschool and kindergarten children ([mean] = 4.28 years, SD = 0.67 years), a series of mixed-effect regressions were conducted. Results indicated that although general language performance was initially a significant predictor of numeracy performance, when both mathematical language and general language were included in the model, only mathematical language was a significant predictor of numeracy performance. Further, group-difference analyses revealed that children from families where both parents had less than a college education performed significantly lower on mathematical language than their peers; and even by 3-years-old, children have acquired a substantial body of mathematical language skills. Implications and future directions are discussed. (author abstract)

Do early domain-specific and domain-general cognitive abilities influence children's reading and mathematics achievement?

Predicting children's reading and mathematics achievement from early quantitative knowledge and domain-general cognitive abilities
Chu, Felicia W., 05/25/2016

One hundred children (44 boys) participated in a 3-year longitudinal study of the development of basic quantitative competencies and the relation between these competencies and later mathematics and reading achievement. The children's preliteracy knowledge, intelligence, executive functions, and parental educational background were also assessed. The quantitative tasks assessed a broad range of symbolic and nonsymbolic knowledge and were administered four times across 2 years of preschool. Mathematics achievement was assessed at the end of each of 2 years of preschool, and mathematics and word reading achievement were assessed at the end of kindergarten. Our goals were to determine how domain-general abilities contribute to growth in children's quantitative knowledge and to determine how domain-general and domain-specific abilities contribute to children's preschool mathematics achievement and kindergarten mathematics and reading achievement. We first identified four core quantitative competencies (e.g., knowledge of the cardinal value of number words) that predict later mathematics achievement. The domain-general abilities were then used to predict growth in these competencies across 2 years of preschool, and the combination of domain-general abilities, preliteracy skills, and core quantitative competencies were used to predict mathematics achievement across preschool and mathematics and word reading achievement at the end of kindergarten. Both intelligence and executive functions predicted growth in the four quantitative competencies, especially across the first year of preschool. A combination of domain-general and domain-specific competencies predicted preschoolers' mathematics achievement, with a trend for domain-specific skills to be more strongly related to achievement at the beginning of preschool than at the end of preschool. Preschool preliteracy skills, sensitivity to the relative quantities of collections of objects, and cardinal knowledge predicted reading and mathematics achievement at the end of kindergarten. Preliteracy skills were more strongly related to word reading, whereas sensitivity to relative quantity was more strongly related to mathematics achievement. The overall results indicate that a combination of domain-general and domain-specific abilities contribute to development of children's early mathematics and reading achievement. (author abstract)

What is the nature of children's early exposure to geometric shapes?

Geometric toys in the attic?: A corpus analysis of early exposure to geometric shapes
Resnick, Ilyse, 07/01/2016

Preschoolers' experiences with shapes are important because geometry is foundational to aspects of mathematics and it is now part of the Common Core for school-readiness. Exposure to shapes also provides experiences that are key to developing spatial thinking more broadly. Yet achieving a strong conceptual understanding of geometric categories can extend well into elementary school (Satlow and Newcombe, 1998) despite a general sense that many kindergarten children "know their shapes." The extended time period may be partially a product of the nature of the spatial input to which children are exposed. This study characterizes the geometric input preschoolers receive from three sources: shape books, sorters, and interactive digital content. These shape materials were examined for the types of shapes they include. Shapes were further classified as canonical (e.g., equilateral triangles) vs. non-canonical (e.g., isosceles or scalene), and whether the shape was presented as a geometric form vs. everyday object and in isolation vs. embedded in a scene. The quantity of shape terms was documented for each shape material. The level of sophistication of associated shape language was assessed by tracking the presence of geometric adjectives and explicit definitions. Findings suggest that children are exposed to a limited number of shape categories and very few non-typical variants within those categories. Shapes were typically labeled with only a single generic identifier (e.g., triangle) and few of the materials provided explicit definitions, geometric adjectives (e.g., scalene), or identified similarities and differences across shapes. Findings suggest a need for more thoughtful design of shape learning materials to provide variety and evoke discussion of their defining properties. (author abstract)

How are recent U.S. policies supporting the development of children who are dual language learners in early childhood programs?

Policy statement on supporting the development of children who are dual language learners in early childhood programs
United States. Department of Health and Human Services,
Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Retrieved from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/ecd/dll_policy_statement_final.pdf

The purpose of this policy statement is to support early childhood programs and States by providing recommendations that promote the development and learning of young children, birth to age five, who are dual language learners (DLLs). The statement also provides support to tribal communities in their language revitalization efforts within tribal early childhood programs. (author abstract)

Check out Research Connections Supporting parent engagement in linguistically diverse families to promote young children's learning: Implications for early care and education policy for additional resources in the Research Connections collection.

How do state licensing regulations compare to best practices in preventing human norovirus infections in child-care centers?

A review of state licensing regulations to determine alignment with best practices to prevent human norovirus infections in child-care centers
Leone, Cortney M., 05/01/2016

Objectives. Close, frequent contact between children and care providers in child-care centers presents many opportunities to spread human noroviruses. We compared state licensing regulations for child-care centers with national guidelines written to prevent human noroviruses. Methods. We reviewed child-care licensing regulations for all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia in effect in June 2015 to determine if these regulations fully, partially, or did not address 14 prevention practices in four topic areas: (1) hand hygiene, (2) exclusion of ill people, (3) environmental sanitation, and (4) diapering. Results. Approximately two-thirds (8.9) of the 14 practices across all state regulations were partially or fully addressed, with few (2.6) fully addressed. Practices related to exclusion of ill people and diapering were fully addressed most often, while practices related to hand hygiene and environmental sanitation were fully addressed least often. Conclusion. Regulations based on guidelines for best practices are one way to prevent the spread of human noroviruses in child-care facilities, if the regulations are enforced. Our findings show that, in mid-2015, many state child-care regulations did not fully address these guidelines, suggesting the need to review these regulations to be sure they are based on best practices (author abstract)

What are the best practices in creating and adapting quality rating and improvement system (QRIS) rating scales?

Best practices in creating and adapting quality rating and improvement system (QRIS) rating scales
Burchinal, Margaret, 05/01/2016
(OPRE Research Brief 2016-25). Washington DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/cceepra_qris_531_508compliant_66_b508.pdf

The brief summarizes an analysis that uses the data from six large studies of early care and education to simulate state QRIS ratings. The results suggest that QRIS ratings can achieve their desired goal of predicting gains in child outcomes when attention is paid to the psychometric principles of scale development including: dimensionality (ensuring that a scale represents one, not multiple dimensions), selecting items with strong evidence, and scoring items using established criteria for cut points. (author abstract)

Check out the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation's accompanying report Quality Rating and Improvement Systems: Secondary Data Analyses of Psychometric Properties of Scale Development available in the Research Connections collection.

What is Head Start's impact on cognitive outcomes for children in foster care?

Head Start's impact on cognitive outcomes for children in foster care
Lee, Kyunghee, 03/01/2016

Using the Head Start Impact Study data, this secondary data analysis examines Head Start's impact on cognitive outcomes for children in foster care. Out of 4442 children, 162 children in foster care were selected to examine the following study questions. (1) Do children in foster care who enrol in Head Start have different child and family characteristics than those who do not participate in Head Start? (2) Do children in foster care who participate in Head Start have higher reading and math scores at ages five to six? (3) Do child and family characteristics moderate Head Start's impact on reading and math scores of children in foster care at ages five to six? There was no main Head Start impact on reading and math scores for children in foster care. However, Head Start impact was found for the child's gender and the caregiver's age. Girls who participated in Head Start obtained higher reading and math scores than boys. Children cared for by older caregivers had higher math scores than those cared for by younger caregivers. Baseline variables such as ethnicity, special needs status and cognitive skills prior to Head Start enrolment were directly associated with math and reading scores at ages five to six. (author abstract)

Is there a correlation between the quality of play and children's cognitive and language development?

Sustaining the support in four-year-olds in childcare services with the goal of promoting their cognitive and language development
Bigras, Nathalie, 01/01/2016

This paper aims to describe the quality of play as offered by early childhood educators working with four-year-olds within an educational childcare service. It also aims to identify the correlation between the quality of play support and a child's cognitive, language and socioemotional development. Finally, it focuses on the factors associated with the quality of play support provided by educational childcare centres and the characteristics of the educators involved. The sample included 170 educators working with four-year-olds. Results show that higher quality of play are linked with higher cognitive and language development. Other factors with a positive impact on play include: group of eight children, higher educator-to-child ratios, groups with male educators and groups whose personnel have followed more than 24 hours of in-service training and who express positive feelings towards their work. The discussion addresses the significance of these findings in childcare services. (author abstract)

Does the expansion of a multi-site early childhood development program impact school readiness, attendance, and parental involvement for low-income children?

Multi-site expansion of an early childhood intervention and school readiness
Reynolds, Arthur J., 07/01/2016

OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the impacts of the expansion of an evidence-based full- and part-day early childhood development program on multiple indicators of school readiness, attendance, and parental involvement for a large cohort of low-income children. METHODS: This study involved the end-of-preschool follow-up of a nonrandomized, matched-group cohort of 2630 predominantly low-income, ethnic minority children who enrolled in the Midwest Child-Parent Centers (CPC) or alternative preschools in the fall of 2012 in 31 schools in Chicago, Illinois. The program provides comprehensive education, family support, and health services. In the preschool component assessed in this study, 1724 children aged 3 to 4 years in all 16 Chicago centers enrolled in the program. The comparison group included 906 children of the same age who participated in the usual preschool services in 14 matched schools. RESULTS: Relative to the comparison group who enrolled in the usual preschool services and adjusted for covariates, CPC participants had higher mean scores on all performance-based assessments of literacy (59.4 vs 52.4; P = .001), socioemotional development (57.0 vs 51.8; P = .001), and physical health (34.5 vs 32.1; P = .001). They also had higher ratings of parental involvement in school (5.3 vs 4.0; P = .04). Group differences also translated into higher rates of meeting national assessment norms. Program estimates were similar for children attending new and established CPCs and according to age, race/ethnicity, and family income status. CONCLUSIONS: The findings show that expansion of the program to new schools and more diverse populations is feasible and effective in promoting school readiness skills and parental involvement. (author abstract)

Are mindfulness-based programs effective in early childhood settings to enhance preschoolers' executive functioning?

Two-year impact of a mindfulness-based program on preschoolers' self-regulation and academic performance
Thierry, Karen L., 08/01/2016

Students experienced a mindfulness program designed to enhance their self-regulation in prekindergarten and kindergarten. At the end of the 1st year of the program, these students showed improvements in teacher-reported executive function skills, specifically related to working memory and planning and organizing, whereas students in a business as usual control group showed a decline in these areas. No difference between the groups' receptive vocabulary was found in prekindergarten. At the end of kindergarten, the mindfulness group had higher vocabulary and reading scores than the business as usual group. Practice or Policy: These findings suggest that mindfulness practices may be a promising technique that teachers can use in early childhood settings to enhance preschoolers' executive functioning, with academic benefits emerging in the kindergarten year. (author abstract)

Check out Research Connections Interventions to promote young children's self-regulation and executive function skills in early childhood settings brief for additional resources in the Research Connections collection.

What are the findings from the Assessing the Implementation and Cost of High-Quality ECE (ECE-ICHQ) project?

Assessing the implementation and cost of high quality early care and education: A review of the literature
Caronongan, Pia, 04/01/2016
(OPRE Report 2016-31). Washington DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/ece_ichq_lit_review_final_508compliant.pdf

This report summarizes the findings of a literature review conducted as part of the Assessing the Implementation and Cost of High-Quality ECE (ECE-ICHQ) project funded by the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation within the Administration for Children and Families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The project's goal is to create a technically sound and feasible instrument that will provide consistent, systematic measures of the implementation and costs of education and care in center-based settings that serve children from birth to age 5. The ultimate measures will inform research, policy, and practice by improving understanding of variations in what centers do to support quality, their associated costs, and how resources for ECE may be better aligned with expectations for quality. We reviewed the literature and research syntheses in three areas--ECE quality, implementation science, and ECE costs--to create a conceptual framework that will guide measurement development. (author abstract)

Are obesity prevention initiatives effective in child care facilities?

Communities putting prevention to work: Results of an obesity prevention initiative in child care facilities
Natale, Ruby, 07/01/2016

Obesity is a significant public health issue affecting even our youngest children. Given that a significant amount of young children are enrolled in child care, the goal of this project was to evaluate the effectiveness of a child care facility-based obesity prevention program. Over 1,000 facilities participated in the study. The intervention consisted of teacher trainings and technical assistance focused around the implementation of four policies: snack, beverage, physical activity, and screen time. Changes in teacher's attitudes and beliefs, as well as improvements in healthy lifestyle practices, were assessed. Results revealed significant improvements in child care center practices, such as: (1) the amount of health-related lessons provided to students increased t(664) = -6.09, P < 0.00; (2) the amount of outdoor physical activity increased t(702) = -3.83, P < 0.000; (3) the amount of screen time decreased t(686) = -2.52, P < 0.01; (4) the amount of juice served decreased t(577) = -7.38, P < 0.000; and (5) the amount of junk food decreased t(568) = -2.73, P < 0.006. The findings from this study can be easily disseminated and potentially serve as a model for improving the quality of nutrition and physical activity practices in child care facilities. (author abstract)

Is the shared-book reading approach effective in improving low-income preschoolers' word knowledge, conceptual development, and content knowledge?

Improving low-income preschoolers' word and world knowledge: The effects of content-rich instruction
Neuman, Susan B., 06/01/2016

This study examined the efficacy of a shared book-reading approach to integrating literacy and science instruction. The purpose was to determine whether teaching science vocabulary using information text could improve low-income preschoolers' word knowledge, conceptual development, and content knowledge in the life sciences. Teachers in 17 preschool classrooms and 268 children participated; nine classrooms were assigned to treatment, eight to control. The treatment group received a science-focused shared book-reading intervention, 4 days a week, 12-15 minutes daily for 12 weeks, while the control group continued with business as usual. Results indicated statistically and practically significant effects on children's word, concepts, and content knowledge and knowledge of the information text genre compared to the control group. However, we recognize the potential confound of district with treatment condition as a major limitation of the study. (author abstract)

How do contextual factors influence teachers' traditional and student-centered tablet computer practices?

The influence of TPACK contextual factors on early childhood educators' tablet computer use
Blackwell, Courtney K., 07/01/2016

Tablet computers are increasingly becoming commonplace in classrooms around the world. More than half of early childhood educators in the U.S. now have access to tablets, making it imperative to understand how they are using the device and what influences such use. The current study draws on survey data from 411 preschool educators serving 3- to 5-year-olds in school-based, center-based, and Head Start preschool programs to investigate how TPACK contextual factors (e.g., student background, teacher attitudes, and school support) influence teachers' traditional and student-centered tablet computer practices. Results suggest that teacher-level factors--especially positive attitudes toward technology--are most influential. Overall, this study emphasizes the need for preschool teachers and teacher educators to understand and address the critical contextual factors of tablet computer use in preschool education. Implications for education policy include expanding traditional funding models beyond technology access to provide on-going educator support, and developing new initiatives that encourage novel professional development models based on the same learned-centered practices that teachers are encouraged to use themselves. (author abstract)

How does a video-feedback intervention promote positive parenting and children's well-being in home-based child care in the Netherlands?

Randomized video-feedback intervention in home-based childcare: Improvement of children's wellbeing dependent on time spent with trusted caregiver
Groeneveld, Marleen G., 08/01/2016

Background The childcare environment offers a wide array of developmental opportunities for children. Providing children with a feeling of security to explore this environment is one of the most fundamental goals of childcare. Objective In the current study the effectiveness of Video-feedback Intervention to promote Positive Parenting-Child Care (VIPP-CC) was tested on children's wellbeing in home-based childcare in a randomized controlled trial. Methods Forty-seven children and their caregivers were randomly assigned to the intervention group or control group. Children's wellbeing, caregiver sensitivity, and global childcare quality were observed during a pretest and a posttest. Results We did not find an overall intervention effect on child wellbeing, but a significant interaction effect with months spent with a trusted caregiver was present. Children who were less familiar with the caregiver showed an increase in wellbeing scores in both the intervention and control group, but for the group of children who were more familiar with the caregiver, wellbeing increased only in the intervention group. Conclusions Although there was no overall effect of the VIPP-CC on children's wellbeing, the VIPP-CC seems effective in children who have been cared for by the same trusted caregiver for a longer period of time. (author abstract)

What is the extent of center-based early care and education (ECE) participation among children receiving child welfare services?

Child welfare supervised children's participation in center-based early care and education
Klein, Sacha Mareka, 09/01/2016

Research suggests that early care and education (ECE) services, particularly center-based ECE, may help prevent child maltreatment and also mitigate some of the negative developmental outcomes associated with child maltreatment. There is also preliminary evidence to suggest that ECE could reduce the likelihood that maltreatment allegations will be substantiated by child welfare authorities and/or result in children being placed in out-of-home care. However, little is known about rates of ECE participation among children receiving child welfare services, nor the factors that determine ECE participation for this population. Data from the first wave of the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Wellbeing II, a nationally representative sample of children referred to the United States (U.S.) child welfare system (CWS) for suspected maltreatment, were used to measure the frequency with which 0-5 year olds participate in center-based ECE. Additionally, logistic regression analyses explored the effects of maltreatment type, substantiation, and children's living arrangements (i.e., with parents, relatives, or foster parents) on this outcome, controlling for a range of child and family covariates associated with ECE participation in the general population. Results indicate that less than a third of 0-5 year olds receiving child welfare services in the U.S. are participating in center-based ECE. Among the various categories of maltreatment type measured, being reported to the CWS for suspected physical abuse was associated with decreased odds of center-based ECE participation; however, other types of maltreatment, substantiation, and living arrangement were unrelated to center-based ECE participation. These findings suggest that, despite recent efforts by the U.S. federal government to promote ECE participation for CWS-supervised children, the vast majority of young children in the U.S. CWS are not receiving center-based ECE, and physically abused children are particularly disadvantaged when it comes to accessing these services. (author abstract)

What is consistency in nutrition practices at child care centers serving low-income children before and after South Carolina implemented mandatory nutrition standards?

Comparative evaluation of a South Carolina policy to improve nutrition in child care
Neelon, Sara E. Benjamin, 06/01/2016

Background Policies to promote healthy eating in young children appear promising, but are largely untested. Recently, South Carolina implemented mandatory nutrition standards governing child-care centers serving low-income children. Objective This study evaluated consistency with the standards before and after the policy took effect. Design This study evaluated consistency with the nutrition standards in South Carolina, using North Carolina--a state not making policy changes--as the comparison. The research team conducted assessments in a longitudinal sample of centers and a cross-sectional sample of children before and approximately 9 months after the standards took effect. Participants/setting Trained observers recorded foods and beverages served to 102 children from 34 centers in South Carolina and 90 children from 30 centers in North Carolina at baseline. At follow-up, the research team observed 99 children from 33 centers in South Carolina and 78 children from 26 centers in North Carolina. Intervention The policy was implemented in April 2012 and included 13 standards governing the nutritional quality of foods and beverages served to children, and staff behaviors related to feeding children in care. Main outcome measures The outcome was consistency with each standard at follow-up in South Carolina compared with North Carolina, controlling for baseline consistency and other covariates. Statistical analyses performed Logistic regressions were conducted to evaluate consistency with each standard, adjusting for baseline and potential confounders. Results Compared with North Carolina, centers in South Carolina were more likely to be consistent with the standard prohibiting the use of food as a reward or punishment (odds ratio=1.22; 95% CI 1.11 to 1.61; P=0.03). Two centers in South Carolina met all 13 standards at follow-up compared with none in North Carolina. No other differences were observed. Conclusions New standards modestly improved nutrition practices in South Carolina child-care centers, but additional support is needed to bring all centers into compliance with the current policies. (author abstract)

What are the country-specific benefits of early intervention services and early childhood inclusion for children with disabilities?

Early childhood inclusion in the United Kingdom
Blackburn, Carolyn, 07/01/2016

A policy-to-practice paper is presented of early childhood inclusion in England. The article aims to report the benefits of early intervention services and early childhood inclusion for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), document the chronology of policy development, and discuss research evidence about policy-to-practice considerations for early childhood inclusion. Policy development for children with SEND in England has been informed by international human rights and European inclusion agendas and has been significantly revised and reformed recently with a new Children and Families Act (2014), which places families at the center of individual education, health, and care plans for children SEND. The article discusses the practicalities of delivering policy initiatives for children with SEND in a diverse and fragmented early childhood market and suggests possible future directions for policy and practice. (author abstract)

This collection on Early Childhood Inclusion includes reports from Turkey, Spain, Aotearoa New Zealand, Israel, Croatia, Australia, and Austria. All records on these country-specific benefits are available in the Research Connections collection.

How does linking administrative data with data from the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) Policies Database illustrate the impact of policy variations across states?

Quality thresholds, features, and dosage in early care and education: Secondary data analyses of child outcomes [Special issue]
Burchinal, Margaret, 06/01/2016

A special issue of the journal Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, focusing on the relationship between children's development and quality levels, quality features, and the extent of children's exposure to early care and education, based on secondary data analyses of eight large-scale studies of preschool children.

For more information on Implications of Child Care and Development Block Grant reauthorization for state policies, check out these OPRE reports Changes to Requirements for Ongoing Eligibility, Changes to Requirements for Legally Unregulated Child Care Providers, and Changes to Job Search Policies.

What approaches have Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Midwest Region states supported in developing and implementing quality rating and improvement systems?

Development and implementation of quality rating and improvement systems in Midwest Region states
Faria, Ann-Marie, 06/01/2016
(REL 2016-143). Washington, DC: Regional Educational Laboratory Midwest. Retrieved from http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/edlabs/regions/midwest/pdf/REL_2016143.pdf

This report describes common and unique approaches that Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Midwest Region states have adopted in developing and implementing their quality rating and improvement systems (QRISs). A QRIS is a method for assessing, improving, and communicating the quality of early childhood education and care providers. The study examined the ways that Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge grants have shifted the QRIS landscape and how states have been influenced by the grant process in developing their QRISs, incorporating observations into their QRISs, using alternate pathways to ratings, and incentivizing providers to participate in QRISs. The report provides a knowledge-sharing outlet for states in the REL Midwest Region and beyond that may inform potential QRIS revisions. (author abstract)

Check out Research Connections Quality Rating and Improvement System State Evaluations and Research Bibliography List for additional resources in the Research Connections collection.

Does Head Start impact socio-emotional outcomes for children who have experienced violence or crime?

Head Start's impact on socio-emotional outcomes for children who have experienced violence or neighborhood crime
Lee, Kyunghee, 05/01/2016

Using Head Start Impact Study Data, this study examines Head Start's impact on socio-emotional outcomes for children who have experienced violence or crime. The children were divided into two groups: children who had ever experienced violence or crime and those who had not. The baseline characteristics for children, effects of violence on children, and the moderation effects of Head Start were examined. Child and family risk factors were associated with more experience of violence or crime, which negatively affected their socio-emotional outcomes. This was more prevalent for children living in rural areas and for White children. Enrollment in Head Start was positively associated with children's socio-emotional outcomes, with greater impact on those who had ever experienced violence or crime. (author abstract)

Check out Research Connections Head Start Impact Study (HSIS) bibliography list for additional resources in the Research Connections collection.

How are undergraduate pre-service teachers faring with direct and video-based performance feedback and tiered supports in early Head Start?

Preparing undergraduate pre-service teachers through direct and video-based performance feedback and tiered supports in Early Head Start
Kennedy, Adam S., 07/01/2016

Video-based peer coaching and tiered supports were used to promote pre-service teachers' developmentally appropriate adult-child interactions during a semester-long learning module focusing on education, care, and early intervention for infants and toddlers. Undergraduate majors (n = 19) in their second year of an early childhood teacher education program were enrolled in a field-based birth-to-three experience. The module under study took place during one of eight semesters of guided field based apprenticeship, with classroom teachers and early childhood faculty providing constant direct supervision and field-based instruction. Faculty collaborated with Early Head Start teachers to implement a system of tiered supports including universal, targeted, and intensive strategies and interventions derived from principles of multitiered systems of support; video-based peer coaching served as a support at each level of this framework. The field-based module took place in Early Head Start classrooms, where candidates were assessed weekly on developmentally appropriate practice using the CLASS (LaParo et al. in Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) manual, toddler. Paul H. Brookes, Baltimore, 2012). Peer coaching groups provided weekly feedback on uploaded video clips of student-led classroom activities. These supports positively influenced undergraduates' interaction behaviors; interviews revealed dimensions of their personal and professional growth. Implications for teacher preparation and further research are discussed. (author abstract)

Check out Research Connections Off-site Coaching Early Childhood Center-based Settings Brief for additional resources in the Research Connections collection.

What is the association between provider income and non-compliance with state-mandated child care regulations among family day care homes (FDCH) in Connecticut?

Health and safety in family day care homes: Association between regulatory non-compliance and lower median income
Rosenthal, Marjorie S., 05/01/2016

Objectives To determine frequency of noncompliance with child care regulations among family day care homes (FDCH) and identify the role of income in compliance. Methods We analyzed non-compliance in 746 routine, unannounced inspection and re-inspection reports of FDCH collected by the Connecticut Department of Public Health licensing specialists in 2007-2008 and linked results to median income of zip code data. We grouped the 83 state regulations into 12 regulation categories, analyzed 11 categories, and used latent class analysis to classify each FDCH as high or low compliance for each category. We used logistic regression analysis to estimate the odds ratios of low compliance. Results Among the 746 FDCH inspections (594 first inspections and 152 re-inspections), we found high rates of non-compliance in inspection regulations in immunizations (32.9 %), water temperature (35.6 %) and hazards (30.0 %). Among the 11 regulation categories, 4 categories (indoor safety, emergency preparedness, child/family/staff documentation, and qualifications of provider) had regulations with high noncompliance. Median household income of FDCH zip code was lower for re-inspection sites than for inspection sites ($34,715 vs. $57,118, p<0.0001) and FDCH in the lowest quartile of income had greater odds of low compliance in indoor safety (OR 1.86, 95 % CI 1.04, 3.35, p<0.05). Conclusions The majority of FDCH were in compliance with the majority of regulations, yet there are glaring noncompliance issues in inspections and re-inspections and there are income-based inequities that place children at higher risk who are already at high risk for suboptimal health outcomes. (author abstract)

What is the association between quality of teacher-child interactions and preschool children's school readiness skills?

Thresholds in the association between quality of teacher-child interactions and preschool children's school readiness skills
Hatfield, Bridget E., 07/01/2016

The present study examines the extent to which the association between school readiness skills and preschool classroom quality is higher in classrooms in which quality is above a threshold than when quality is below that threshold. A sample of 222 teachers and 875 children participated in a large, multi-site study. Classroom quality was defined as effective teacher-child interactions and measured by the Classroom Assessment Scoring System. Children's language, literacy, and inhibitory control were assessed in the fall and spring. Using predetermined thresholds for high quality, associations between quality and children's skills in inhibitory control and phonological awareness were greater when CLASS Emotional Support was rated higher, while associations between quality and skills in literacy (phonological awareness and print knowledge) were greater in classrooms in which CLASS Classroom Organization scores were higher. Effect sizes were moderate to large (d = 0.43-0.84) for associations between outcomes and quality in the higher quality ranges. Empirical approaches to identify thresholds, indicated relations between inhibitory control and both Classroom Organization and Emotional Support as higher when teacher-child interactions were rated as more effective. These results contribute to emerging evidence that features of classroom experience, such as qualities of teacher-child interactions, are more strongly associated with higher levels of children's school readiness skills when the nature of those experiences (i.e., interactions) are in the upper ranges of the distribution. However, the evidence reported herein do not warrant recommendations for specific thresholds and inconsistencies in the study's findings in comparison to previous research require further investigation before direct implications for thresholds in quality would be warranted. (author abstract)

What are the patterns of family engagement among low-income Latino families of preschool children?

Ecocultural patterns of family engagement among low-income Latino families of preschool children
McWayne, Christine M., 07/01/2016

For the 5 million low-income Latino children in the United States who are disproportionately impacted by the numerous risk factors associated with poverty, it is essential to identify proximal protective factors that mitigate these risks and bolster the academic and social skills that are foundational to a successful transition into formal schooling. Using ecocultural theory as a lens to guide this work, the present study: (a) described patterns of culture-contextualized family engagement among a low-income, Latino sample, and (b) examined relations between these patterns, family demographic factors, and children's language and social skills in preschool. Across Spanish and English language subsamples, we found evidence that there is heterogeneity in patterns of family engagement within and across language groups, such that different forms of family engagement defined the high engagement profiles in particular. We also found that demographic factors (such as child gender, family structure, and parental education and employment) predicted these patterns differentially across language groups, and that these patterns related to children's social and language skills in meaningful ways. Findings provide directions for future research, theory, and practice with this heterogeneous cultural group. (author abstract)

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Understanding the program effectiveness of early mathematics interventions for prekindergarten and kindergarten environments: A meta-analytic review
Wang, Aubrey H., 07/01/2016

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

Early childhood education and care policy review: Norway
Engel, Arno, 01/01/2015
Paris: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Retrieved from http://www.oecd.org/edu/school/Early-Childhood-Education-and-Care-Policy-Review-Norway.pdf

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Can we re-think monitoring systems for early care and education, in order to better support children?s health, safety, and development?

Coordinated monitoring systems for early care and education
Maxwell, Kelly, 03/01/2016
(OPRE Research Brief No. 2016-19). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/coordinated_monitoring_systems_in_early_care_and_education.pdf

Early care and education providers are subject to monitoring by multiple agencies and organizations. In this brief, we first provide an overview of monitoring and the major early care and education monitoring systems. We then offer possible goals for a coordinated monitoring system and describe some approaches to addressing those goals. We also describe 11 dimensions that are important to consider in planning monitoring coordination efforts. We highlight the efforts of two states, Ohio and Rhode Island, that are working to coordinate their early care and education systems. The appendix provides an overview of eight major early care and education monitoring systems. This publication has a companion tool, Mapping the Early Care and Education Monitoring Landscape (Maxwell, Sosinsky, & Tout, 2016), to help leaders better understand the current monitoring systems and plan future coordination efforts. (author abstract)

Check out Research Connections instrument Mapping the Early Care and Education Monitoring Landscape.

What is the latest research on early care and education (ECE) workforce education and credentials, and trends in state requirements regarding ECE teachers?

Early childhood teacher education policies: Research review and state trends
Schilder, Diane, 04/01/2016
New Brunswick, NJ: Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes. Retrieved from http://ceelo.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/ceelo_policy_report_ec_teach_education_policies_final_for_web_2016_04.pdf

The 2015 Institute of Medicine and National Research Council's Transforming the Workforce report highlights the state's role in creating a pathway for early care and education (ECE) teachers to acquire the needed education and professional development to meet the demands of their important role. Research shows that ECE teachers' skills and competencies are predictive of child outcomes and that education with specialization in early childhood development is correlated with child outcomes. This paper provides policymakers with a review of published research on ECE workforce education and credentials as well as research on the current status of ECE wages, recruitment and retention challenges, and promising practices. It summarizes trends in state requirements regarding ECE teachers with bachelor's degrees and specialized certification, licensure, or endorsements of pre-K teachers. Examples of state funding sources and strategies to increase the percentage of ECE teachers with bachelor's degrees and ECE credentials are included. Moreover, the paper describes promising practices employed by some states designed to retain educated and credentialed ECE teachers. The paper concludes with recommended actions and strategies, based on research and state suggestions, regarding approaches that states can use to recruit and retain teachers with bachelor's degrees and ECE credentials. (author abstract)

Are there associations between infant/toddler workforce preparation, program quality, and child outcomes?

Examining the associations between infant/toddler workforce preparation, program quality and child outcomes: A review of the research evidence
Epstein, Dale J., 03/01/2016
(OPRE Research Brief No. 2016-15). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/cceepra_evidencereviewreportandtables_508compliantfinalupdated.pdf

One of the factors associated with high-quality early care and education is the qualifications of teachers and caregivers working with young children. However, due in part to the large variation in teacher and caregiver preparation pathways and requirements across states and settings, it can be difficult to determine the specific effects of teacher education and credentials on practice or child outcomes. This brief summarizes the findings from an evidence review conducted to address the research question: What evidence do we have from the research literature about associations between infant/toddler teacher and caregiver preparation (e.g., education, credentials, etc.) and improvements in quality and child outcomes? A review of the recent literature (most published between 2005 and 2015) identified 31 studies that had relevant information to address the research question. The scant evidence that is available regarding associations between infant/toddler teacher and caregiver preparation and outcomes is generally positive, but still somewhat mixed. This is true regardless of whether the preparation is indicated by educational attainment, degree type (e.g., concentration or major in early childhood or a related field), or training. There is insufficient evidence to support conclusions on the associations between state infant/toddler credentials and observed quality or child outcomes in the studies reviewed. The broader literature focused on teachers and caregivers of children ages zero to 5 also reveals mixed findings. Much of the literature focuses on educational degrees without more refined assessment of individual competencies or the content of coursework or training. Also, current data sources do not make it easy to look for minimum or baseline levels of preparation associated with quality care and child outcomes. More research is needed examining the associations between state credentials and required core competencies within the credentials and observed quality and outcomes. Such research would help to inform policy priorities and practice, with the goal of improving outcomes for our very youngest children and their families. (author abstract)

Are there associations among parental education, weekly work hours, child behaviors, and parental daily hassles and parents desires for continuity between home and child care?

How much do they need to be the same?: What parents believe about continuity between home and childcare environments
Baumgartner, Jennifer, 07/01/2017

This study explores the associations among parental education, weekly work hours, child behaviours, and parental daily hassles and parents desires for continuity between home and childcare. Data were collected using questionnaires from 82 parents with a child attending centre-based childcare in the Midwestern US. Results indicate that parent education and work hours are directly and indirectly related to the desire of continuity of practice between home and childcare programme and parental daily hassles. Path analysis results show higher parental education decreases parents desire for continuity of practices, while more weekly work hours increases parents desire for continuity of practices. Additional findings related to education, parental daily hassles and child behaviours are reported. Future research should investigate the perceptions of parents and the fit between the offerings of the centre and parental expectations for both familial and child adjustment. (author abstract)

What are the professional development activities of the nation's infant/toddler (I/T) workforce, based on nationally-representative data collected by the National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE)?

Describing the preparation and ongoing professional development of the infant/toddler workforce: An analysis of the National Survey for Early Care and Education Data
Madill, Rebecca, 03/01/2016
(OPRE Report No. 2016-16). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/cceepra_secondary_analysis_508final_b508.pdf

The analyses presented in this brief describe the professional development activities of the nation's infant/toddler (I/T) workforce, based on nationally-representative data collected by the National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE; NSECE Project Team, 2012). The goal of this brief is to help the field better understand the strengths and needs of the I/T workforce in center-based as well as home-based early care and education (ECE) programs. Findings are presented separately for I/T teachers and caregivers in center-based and home-based settings. Results indicate that I/T teachers and caregivers tended to have low levels of education; furthermore, endorsements such as the Child Development Associate Credential (CDA) or state certifications were uncommon. However, most of the I/T workforce had some exposure to college coursework. Among I/T teachers and caregivers in center-based programs, participation in professional development activities varied both by extent of previous education and whether the degree was in ECE or a related field. In general, participation in professional development activities was most common among teachers and caregivers with higher levels of education. For home-based I/T teachers and caregivers, professional development activities tended to be one-time workshops as opposed to more intensive forms of professional development, such as a workshop series or coaching. Only at higher levels of education did a substantial proportion of home-based I/T teachers and caregivers report meeting regularly with others who were looking after children. Professional development for home-based I/T teachers and caregivers tended to focus on health and safety and curriculum. Professional development for center-based I/T teachers and caregivers tended to focus on health and safety and supporting children's social-emotional development. Time release and other supports for professional development varied by education level for both center-based and home-based I/T teachers and caregivers. However, only 15 percent of home-based I/T workforce reported having received financial support for professional development in the past 12 months. Findings are discussed in terms of implications for professional development systems. (author abstract)

What are the interests and needs for quality improvement (QI) among licensed family child care providers in California?

Licensed family child care providers and quality improvement: Interests and barriers: Fact sheet number 2
California Child Care Research Partnership Team, 01/01/2016
Los Angeles: California State University, Northridge. Retrieved from http://www.areyouinpartnership.com/uploads/1/2/4/5/12457666/ayi_factsheet2_qi_pd_03_01_16.pdf

This fact sheet provides key information about licensed family child care providers' interests and needs for quality improvement (QI) -- actions that can directly improve the experiences of children in their care -- and professional learning -- steps to improve their own capacity and indirectly impact QI. Specifically, it describes the responses of the providers who participated in the California Child Care Research Partnership during the first two project years (2013-14 and 2015-16). (author abstract)

Check out Research Connections Topic of Interest for additional resources in the Research Connections collection.

What is the role of parent education and parenting knowledge in children's language and literacy skills among White, Black, and Latino families of varying socioeconomic status?

The role of parent education and parenting knowledge in children's language and literacy skills among White, Black, and Latino families
Rowe, Meredith L., 03/01/2016

This study investigated the role of parenting knowledge of infant development in children's subsequent language and pre-literacy skills among White, Black and Latino families of varying socioeconomic status. Data come from 6,150 participants in the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort. Mothers' knowledge of infant development was measured when children were 9 months old, and child language and pre-literacy skills were measured during the fall of the preschool year prior to Kindergarten when children were approximately four years old. Mothers' knowledge of infant development was uniquely related to both maternal education and race/ethnicity. Reported sources of parenting information/advice also varied by education and race/ethnicity and were related to parenting knowledge. Further, controlling for demographic factors, parenting knowledge partially mediated the relation between parent education and child language and pre-literacy skills, and this relation differed by race/ethnicity. One way to eliminate socioeconomic status achievement gaps in children's early language and literacy skills may be to focus on parents' knowledge of child development, particularly in Latino families. (author abstract)

What can we learn from research literature on emergent literacy skills for preschool children with Autism Spectrum Disorder?

A systematic review of the literature on emergent literacy skills of preschool children with autism spectrum disorder
Westerveld, Marleen F., 05/01/2016

A wealth of research has been conducted into emergent literacy (i.e., precursors to formal reading) skills and development in typically developing (TD) children. However, despite research suggesting children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are at risk of reading challenges, limited research exists on their emergent literacy. Thus, we aimed to systematically review emergent literacy research with this population. Database searches from 1995 to 2015 yielded three articles that met inclusion criteria. Results suggested both strengths and challenges in emergent literacy skills in children with ASD. Significant links between emergent literacy skills and both oral language and nonverbal cognition were also found. The findings highlight the need for further research; future directions and implications are discussed. (author abstract)

What are the key factors that affect parental preschool choices and challenges among families experiencing homelessness?

A qualitative assessment of parental preschool choices and challenges among families experiencing homelessness: Policy and practice implications
Stillman, Lindsey, 03/01/2016
Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Policy Development and Research. Retrieved from https://www.huduser.gov/portal/portal/sites/default/files/pdf/parental-preschool-choices.pdf

Quality preschool education has a critical effect on later academic success, yet only a small percentage of young children experiencing homelessness are enrolled in preschool and little is known about the challenges and decisionmaking processes that affect these children's participation in preschool. This paper responds to this knowledge gap. Using a modified grounded theory approach to analyze interviews and focus groups with 28 formerly homeless families, the authors find that key factors influencing preschool enrollment are housing stability, access to social-support networks, parental response to early learning environments, and the types of facilitative support for preschool enrollment received during interactions with early childhood and social service systems. These findings are integrated into a socioecological framework that describes the parental experience of preschool choice. The paper concludes with a series of policy and practice recommendations that may help facilitate preschool enrollment among families experiencing homelessness. (author abstract)

Check out Research Connections Preschool Inclusion brief for additional resources in the Research Connections collection.

How did the states in the Work Support Strategies initiative change policies to streamline access to Medicaid, SNAP, and child care assistance?

Changing policies to streamline access to Medicaid, SNAP, and child care assistance: Findings from the Work Support Strategies evaluation
Isaacs, Julia B., 03/01/2016
Washington, DC: Urban Institute. Retrieved from http://www.urban.org/sites/default/files/alfresco/publication-pdfs/2000668-Changing-Policies-to-Streamline-Access-to-Medicaid-SNAP-and-Child-Care-Assistance-Findings-from-the-Work-Support-Strategies-Evaluation.pdf

This report describes and analyzes the experiences of the six states involved in the WSS initiative as they leveraged policy change to streamline and align families' access to work supports. A broad range of policies are analyzed here, from legislative and regulatory changes to revising wording of guidance in a state policy manual or asking local agencies to implement policies that were sitting on the books but not put into practice. This range includes policies that stem from other initiatives but are viewed by the states as furthering the WSS goals. Policy change was always part of a broader package that included technological innovations and business process improvements, the subject of companion reports. (author abstract)

What are the patterns of child care subsidy use and stability of subsidized care arrangements in Illinois and New York?

Patterns of child care subsidy use and stability of subsidized care arrangements: Evidence from Illinois and New York
Pilarz, Alejandra Ros, 06/01/2016

Given the prevalence of short child care subsidy spells and program churning documented in prior studies, researchers and policymakers have been concerned about the implications of discontinuity in subsidy receipt for the stability of children's care arrangements. Yet little research has studied the stability of subsidized arrangements or how subsidy discontinuity relates to changes in subsidized providers. Using child care subsidy program administrative records from a cohort of children in four diverse sites across Illinois and New York states, this study examines patterns of subsidy use and stability of subsidized care arrangements, as well as the relationship between the two. Results suggest that the length of states' eligibility periods is related to the duration of subsidy spells; however, significant variation in patterns of subsidy use within states suggests that local level factors are also important. Results show that subsidy discontinuity is related to children experiencing more total changes in subsidized providers. Focusing on provider changes across spells, we also find that the timing of subsidy exits, the length of gaps in subsidy receipt, and within spell provider instability are each related to whether or not children re-enter the program with a different subsidized provider after a break in subsidy receipt. We discuss these findings' implications for understanding how new program requirements established in the 2014 reauthorization of the Child Care and Development Block Grant may matter for subsidy continuity and care stability. (author abstract)

What was the state of state-funded preschool programs during the 2014-2015 school year?

The state of preschool 2015: State preschool yearbook
Barnett, W. Steven, 01/01/2016
New Brunswick, NJ: National Institute for Early Education Research. Retrieved from http://nieer.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Yearbook_2015_rev1.pdf

This annual report examines access to, quality standards in, and resources devoted to state-funded preschool programs for 3- and 4-year-old children during the 2014-2015 school year. It is based on a survey of administrators of state-funded preschool programs. The report includes profiles for all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and United States territories. Key findings show a modest increase in enrollment, with the most growth occurring among the 3-year old population. Six programs gained a quality standards benchmark, with West Virginia and Mississippi being the newest states to earn all ten benchmarks. State funding for pre-K increased, with two-thirds coming from New York, due largely from investments in New York City's full-day preschool. Four states reported reductions in spending. This yearbook survey includes, for the first time, two sets of supplemental questions that focus on states' policies to support pre-K dual language learners and the pre-K workforce.

Do children's early language and literacy outcomes vary in Head Start programs in urban and rural communities?

Differential effectiveness of Head Start in urban and rural communities
McCoy, Dana Charles, 03/01/2016

Recent research suggests that Head Start may be differentially effective in improving low-income children's early language and literacy skills based on a number of individual- and family-level characteristics. Using data from the Head Start Impact Study (n = 3503; 50% male, 63% treatment group), the present study extends this work to consider program impact variation based on centers' location in urban versus rural communities. Results indicate that Head Start is more effective in increasing children's receptive vocabulary (as measured by the PPVT) in urban areas and their oral comprehension (as measured by the Woodcock-Johnson Oral Comprehension task) in rural areas. Additional analyses suggest that related characteristics of the center -- including concentration of dual language learners and provision of transportation services -- may underlie these associations. Implications for research on program evaluation and policy are discussed. (author abstract)

Check out Research Connections Head Start Impact Study (HSIS) bibliography list for additional resources in the Research Connections collection.

What universal and targeted self-regulation interventions can be used within human service programs supported by the Administration for Children and Families?

Self-regulation and toxic stress report 3: A comprehensive review of self-regulation interventions from birth through young adulthood
Murray, Desiree W., 02/01/2016
(OPRE Report #2016-34). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/acf_report_3_approved_fromword_b508.pdf

The overarching aim of this review was to inform the selection and use of self-regulation interventions within human services programs supported by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF). For that reason, our focus was on universal and targeted interventions that could be used within the existing infrastructure of those human services programs, with particular attention to vulnerable populations living in adversity or with specific risk characteristics. (author abstract)

Check out Research Connections Research-to-Policy brief for additional resources in the Research Connections collection.

What are the outcomes from the Wolf Trap's Early STEM/Arts program?

Arts integration: A promising approach to improving early learning
Ludwig, Meredith J., 02/01/2016
Washington, DC: American Institutes for Research. Retrieved from http://www.air.org/system/files/downloads/report/Arts-Integration-Wolf-Trap-February-2016.pdf

In 2010, Wolf Trap Foundation received a $1.15 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education's Arts in Education Model Development and Dissemination Program (AEMDD) to develop a program that would apply Wolf Trap's PD approach to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), with a focus on mathematics. The Early Childhood STEM Learning Through the Arts (Early STEM/Arts) program was the subject of a four-year study conducted by American Institutes for Research (AIR) in partnership with Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia. This brief summarizes the findings from the three reports that were produced as a result of the AEMDD grant, providing additional insights into the outcomes from Wolf Trap's Early STEM/Arts program (Goff & Ludwig, 2013; Ludwig & Goff, 2013; Ludwig & Song, 2015). (author abstract)

What are the psychosocial influences upon the workforce and professional development participation of family child care providers?

Psychosocial influences upon the workforce and professional development participation of family child care providers
Swartz, Rebecca Anne, 10/01/2016

Background Family child care is commonly used in the US by families, including by those receiving child care subsidies. Psychosocial influences upon the workforce and professional development participation of family child care providers (FCCPs) have implications for the investment of public dollars that aim to improve quality and stability of child care. Objective We examined psychosocial influences upon workforce and professional development participation of FCCPs. We hypothesized lower levels of psychosocial stress and higher levels of peer support would be associated with less consideration of exit. We hypothesized that those providers embracing a greater sense of themselves as ECE professionals and reporting the support of professional peers would have greater participation in professional development. Methods This study employed the use of administrative survey data in path modeling. Results Multivariate analyses of survey data indicated that psychosocial stress had a significant, positive association with consideration of exit. In contrast, perceived peer support had a significant, negative association with consideration of exit. A stronger sense of identity as an early care and education professional had a significant, positive association with professional development participation as measured by training hours completed in the past year. The support of professional peers was not observed to have a significant association with professional development participation. Conclusion Results suggest the importance of considering psychosocial factors in planning workforce development and educational programs for FCCPs. This may include developing supports to help FCCPs cope with the psychosocial stress of care work, build professional identities, and connect with peer providers to promote stability and quality caregiving in the ECE workforce. We propose additional qualitative research aimed at understanding the context of FCC care as a mechanism for informing the development of these supports. (author abstract)

Is the U.S. Department of Education's Ready to Learn Program promoting school readiness through multiple media platforms?

Special section: Lessons from the US Department of Education's Ready to Learn Program
Fisch, Shalom M., 01/01/2016

A special section of the Journal of Children and Media, focusing on the promotion of school readiness through the use of multiple media platforms, as supported by the United States Department of Education's Ready to Learn program. For more articles from the Journal of Children and Media and/or related to this topic, check out Research Connections collection.

How are collaborations partnering to meet the child care needs of parents in education and training?

Partnering to meet the child care needs of parents in education and training: Four profiles of collaboration
Derrick-Mills, Teresa, 04/01/2016
Washington, DC: Urban Institute. Retrieved from http://www.urban.org/sites/default/files/alfresco/publication-pdfs/2000750-Partnering-to-Meet-the-Child-Care-Needs-of-Parents-in-Education-and-Training-Four-Profiles-of-Collaboration.pdf

Child care can be a major challenge for low-income parents who want to participate in education or training to improve their employability and future earnings. One promising approach is to develop collaborations between those who provide education and training services to families and those involved in meeting their child care needs. This report profiles four innovative collaborations working to bridge this gap. Two of these are between colleges and child care resource and referral (CCR&R) agencies; these partnerships focus on helping student parents understand and find child care options. The other two are between state child care subsidy agencies and state agencies that run education and training programs; these partnerships focus on helping parents get child care subsidies so they can participate in education and training. This report is written for two audiences: for education and training providers looking for new ways to help their students/clients with children succeed, and for child care support organizations looking for new ways to reach parents and meet their child care needs. These profiles provide useful insights into how, by working together, these organizations can support the needs of two generations as the parents strive to improve their ability to provide for their families. (author abstract)

What was the state of child care assistance spending and participation in 2014?

Child care assistance spending and participation in 2014
Matthews, Hannah, 03/01/2016
Washington, DC: Center for Law and Social Policy. Retrieved from http://www.clasp.org/resources-and-publications/publication-1/CC-Spending-and-Participation-2014-1.pdf

This brief provides analysis of national trends for spending and participation in CCDBG- and TANF-funded child care in federal fiscal year (FY) 2014--October 1, 2013 to September 30, 2014--based on the most recent state-reported data available from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). This is the last year of data that precedes reauthorization of CCDBG. (author abstract)

Can children's child care experiences predict cortisol levels across infancy and toddlerhood?

Child care and cortisol across infancy and toddlerhood: Poverty, peers, and developmental timing
Berry, Daniel, 02/01/2016

Evidence suggests that relations between child care and children's development--behaviorally and physiologically--likely differ between children from high- versus low-risk contexts. Using data from the Family Life Project (N=1,155), the authors tested (a) whether within- and between-child differences in children's child care experiences (i.e., quantity, type, caregiver responsivity, and peer exposure) were predictive of their cortisol levels across infancy and toddlerhood and (b) whether these relations differed for children experiencing different levels of environmental risk. They found some evidence of such interactive effects. For children from high-risk contexts, within-child increases in child care hours were predictive of cortisol decreases. The inverse was evident for children from low-risk contexts. This relation grew across toddlerhood. Whereas a history of greater center-based child care was predictive of heightened cortisol levels for low-risk families, this was not the case for children from high-risk families. Irrespective of risk, greater peer exposure (between children) was associated with lower cortisol levels. (author abstract)

Is there an association between social-behavioral readiness in kindergarten and grade retention, receipt of academic support services, and suspensions/expulsions?

The costly consequences of not being socially and behaviorally ready by kindergarten: Associations with grade retention, receipt of academic support services, and suspensions/expulsions
Bettencourt, Amie, 03/01/2016
Baltimore: Baltimore Education Research Consortium. Retrieved from http://baltimore-berc.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/SocialBehavioralReadinessMarch2016.pdf

This report examines the relationships between social-behavioral readiness in kindergarten as measured by the Maryland Model for School Readiness (MMSR) and three costly school outcomes for City Schools' students through third grade: being retained in grade, receiving additional services and supports through an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or 504 plan, and being suspended or expelled from school. Relationships were examined in two cohorts of 4,462 and 4,602 students. After controlling for a number of important variables, we found significant relationships between social and behavioral readiness in kindergarten and all three school outcomes. Specifically, by third grade, students assessed as not socially and behaviorally ready in kindergarten were significantly more likely to be retained in grade, receive services and supports through an IEP or 504 plan, and be suspended or expelled. These results were consistent across both cohorts of students. In addition, boys were significantly more likely than girls to be assessed as not socially and behaviorally ready for school and to experience all three academic problems. (author abstract)

What is California's local approach to raising quality in early childhood programs?

California's local approach to raising quality in early childhood programs
Crow, Sarah, 11/01/2015
Berkeley, CA: Opportunity Institute. Retrieved from http://static1.squarespace.com/static/55f70367e4b0974cf2b82009/t/5670a919b204d506600d41cb/1450223897346/Child_Care_Brief_4-13-15.pdf

This report is based on a literature review and interviews with local and state administrators. The aim is not a comprehensive county-by-county analysis of QRIS, but rather to highlight common themes emerging across counties. The ten counties interviewed for this report were chosen for their geographic, cultural, and economic diversity, as well as for their high numbers of children ages zero to five living below the poverty line who are potentially impacted by a quality rating system. The goal of this report is to provide a current picture of California's QRIS, and offer recommendations as the state expands its efforts in quality rating. It describes the common components of quality in early childhood settings, reviews California's distinctive approach to QRIS, and discusses the resulting implications for stakeholders. Finally, we offer recommendations for future efforts to improve quality in the state.Check out Research Connections Resource List for additional information on Quality Rating and Improvement System State Evaluations and Research.

What are the best practices from the field of early childhood mental health consultation to help reduce the impact of stressors on young children?

Addressing early adversity through mental health consultation in early childhood settings
Perry, Deborah F., 02/01/2016

The science of early childhood adversity has advanced in recent years, documenting long-term consequences of exposure to traumatic events and toxic stress for health and development. Sequelae of toxic stress exposure can be mitigated by the buffering effect of a caregiver who can help young children manage their reactivity to these early stressors. Interventions are needed to build the capacity for caregivers (including the early childhood workforce) to build resilience in young children exposed to early adversity. This article shares best practices from the field of early childhood mental health consultation (ECMHC) as a strategy to help reduce the impact of stressors on young children. ECMHC embedded with child care, focused on children in foster care, and lessons learned from early work on ECMHC in home visiting are highlighted as examples of interventions to build the buffering capacities of important adults in children's lives. Policy recommendations are offered for integrating mental health services into early childhood settings to build resilience in high-risk children and families. Check out Research Connections Resource List for additional information on preventing preschool expulsion.

What are some challenges and practices that Head Start school partnerships continue to face in implementing and sustaining transition relationships?

Creating effective transitions: Lessons from Head Start-school partnerships
Fuentes, Yvette Sanchez, 12/21/2015
Washington, DC: Center for American Progress. Retrieved from https://cdn.americanprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/21072325/HeadStartPartnership.pdf

Eight years after the requirement to implement official legal relationships, understanding of how Head Start programs and local schools are developing and sustaining transition relationships can help inform the broader early education field. To get a better sense of how the requirement is being implemented in communities, the Center for American Progress conducted interviews with multiple Head Start directors and transition managers, or with deputies and their counterparts, in local schools and school districts across the Midwest, the Southwest, and Southern United States. These interviews revealed a set of best practices and highlighted some barriers and challenges that programs continue to face in implementing these transition processes. As public preschool programs continue to expand around the country, federal and state policymakers can learn from the implementation of the Head Start requirement. (author abstract)

Is there an impact on the health of grandparents caring for grandchildren in Europe?

The impact of caring for grandchildren on the health of grandparents in Europe: A lifecourse approach
Di Gessa, Giorgio, 03/01/2016

Grandparents are becoming an increasingly important source of childcare. However, caring for grandchildren may have negative health consequences particularly for grandparents with intensive commitments such as those with primary care responsibilities. To date most studies on this issue are based on cross-sectional data and do not take earlier life circumstances into account. Thus, it is not known whether (or to what extent) the relationship between grandparental childcare and health is due to cumulative advantage or disadvantage throughout the lifecourse or to the impact of grandchild care per se. Employing data from waves 1-3 of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe we investigated the longitudinal relationship between grandparental childcare (i.e. intensive and non-intensive) and health once cumulative histories of advantage or disadvantage are taken into account. We used latent class analysis to categorise respondents according to childhood socio-economic and health conditions drawing on life history information. Experiences in adulthood (e.g. periods of ill health) were also captured. We created a latent continuous physical health variable based on self- and observer-measured indicators. OLS regression was used to explore the association between physical health at wave 2 and grandparental childcare at baseline, controlling for conditions in childhood and adulthood, and for health and socio-economic characteristics. We found a positive longitudinal association between grandchild care and health even after earlier life health and socio-economic conditions were taken into account. However, this significant association was found only for grandmothers, and not grandfathers. Our results suggesting the health benefits of grandchild care are important given the widespread provision of grandparental childcare in Europe. However, further research on underlying mechanisms and causal pathways between grandchild care and grandparent health, as well as on gender differences in the pattern of association, is needed. (author abstract)

What are the effects of the Preschool Inclusion Program on teacher outcomes in Turkey?

The effects of the Preschool Inclusion Program on teacher outcomes in Turkey
Sucuoglu, Nimet Bulbin, 10/01/2015

The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of a teacher training program on teacher outcomes. The teachers' knowledge and attitudes regarding inclusion, classroom management strategies, and their relationships with children both with and without disabilities were evaluated using self-report instruments. In addition, their classroom behaviors were evaluated by independent observers. The teacher education program included a variety of topics related to inclusion and effective strategies for inclusive classrooms. The data were collected prior to the education, after the completion of the program, and 6 months afterwards. The results indicated that the teacher program seemed to have moderate-to-large effects on all teacher outcomes, but the changes in their classroom behaviors were minimal. (author abstract)

What are the challenges in accessing early childhood education and care for children in refugee families in Massachusetts?

Challenges in accessing early childhood education and care for children in refugee families in Massachusetts
Gross, Jeff, 03/01/2016
Washington, DC: Migration Policy Institute. Retrieved from http://www.migrationpolicy.org/sites/default/files/publications/FCD-Gross-FINAL.pdf

This report begins with an overview of ECEC service provision in the United States. It then describes refugee populations in Massachusetts and how refugee families access child-care services, including the process of obtaining child-care vouchers and connecting with ECEC providers. It reviews the challenges to ECEC access faced by refugee families and then explores the strengths and weaknesses of the existing ECEC system, including the frameworks of case management, public benefits, and provider referrals that shape access to ECEC services. Next, the report examines national, state, and local initiatives that seek to improve how refugees access ECEC services, and how stakeholders can work together more effectively to strengthen this process. Finally, it offers a set of Massachusetts-specific policy and program recommendations for resettlement agencies, the Massachusetts Office for Refugees and Immigrants (ORI), the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care (MDEEC), and other state agencies to help address system barriers in this area and provide refugee families access to the widest possible range of ECEC options. (author abstract)

How does children's compliance moderate the relationship between classroom quality and classroom cooperation?

Caregiver responsiveness during preschool supports cooperation in kindergarten: Moderation by children's early compliance
Pratt, Megan E., 05/01/2016

The current study examined how children's parent-reported compliance at age 3 (36 months) moderated the effects of 2 dimensions of directly observed early care and education (ECE) process quality (positivity/responsivity and cognitive stimulation) during the prekindergarten year (54 months) on teacher reports of children's classroom cooperation in the fall of kindergarten. Compliance at 36 months and cooperation in kindergarten are operationalized as overt, behavioral aspects of self-regulation as appraised by parents and teachers. The sample consisted of 996 children from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development who attended formal or informal ECE settings during the prekindergarten year. Results indicated that children with low compliance at age 3 tend to demonstrate stronger cooperation skills by kindergarten when they experience more positivity/responsivity from their ECE caregivers. Main effects of positivity/responsivity and cognitive stimulation on classroom cooperation were not detected for the overall sample. Practice or Policy: The discussion addresses the importance of preparing and empowering ECE providers to help young children who enter the preschool period struggling with behavioral aspects of self-regulation, such as compliance, to improve these skills through positive and responsive caregiving. (author abstract)

How do teachers and preschoolers respond to each other's utterances during sociodramatic play?

Teachers' responsiveness to preschoolers' utterances in sociodramatic play
Meacham, Sohyun, 04/01/2016

This descriptive study used sequential analysis to examine both preschool teachers' responsiveness to children's utterances in sociodramatic play and the children's responses to their teachers' utterances. Eleven teachers in a Head Start program were videotaped while interacting with children in the dramatic play center. Salient findings of this study are threefold: (a) Teachers' responsiveness and the children's responsiveness to their teachers' talk varied substantially, (b) the children responded frequently to the teachers' topic-continuing utterances, and (c) the children responded frequently in the pretend play mode when teachers extended the children's utterances following the topics initiated by the children. Practice or Policy: The current study contributes to the extant research by providing a more fine-grained analysis of children's response modes in the sociodramatic play context. In addition, the current study suggests that teacher education and that practice and policies supporting teaching quality should consider emphasizing the details of teacher-child interaction in the dramatic play center at the utterance level. (author abstract)

Is classroom quality in Head Start a moderator between temperamental regulation and early math and literacy skills for children at varying levels of cumulative economic risk?

Child temperamental regulation and classroom quality in Head Start: Considering the role of cumulative economic risk
Rudasill, Kathleen Moritz, 01/01/2017

There is growing recognition that cumulative economic risk places children at higher risk for depressed academic competencies (Crosnoe & Cooper, 2010; NCCP, 2008; Sameroff, 2000). Yet, children's temperamental regulation and the quality of the early childhood classroom environment have been associated with better academic skills. This study is an examination of prekindergarten classroom quality (instructional support, emotional support, organization) as a moderator between temperamental regulation and early math and literacy skills for children at varying levels of cumulative economic risk. The sample includes children enrolled in Head Start programs drawn from the FACES 2009 study. Three main findings emerged. First, for lower and highest risk children, more instructional support was associated with better math performance when children had high levels of temperamental regulation but poorer performance when children had low temperamental regulation. Second, among highest risk children, low instructional support was protective for math performance for children with low temperamental regulation and detrimental for those with high temperamental regulation. Third, for highest risk children, high classroom organization predicted better literacy scores for those with high temperamental regulation. Children with low temperamental regulation were expected to perform about the same, regardless of the level of classroom organization. Implications are discussed. Check out Research Connections Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES) bibliography list for additional resources in the Research Connections collection.

Are mothers' and fathers' language and literacy practices associated with children's kindergarten skills across linguistically diverse households?

Independent contributions of mothers' and fathers' language and literacy practices: Associations with children's kindergarten skills across linguistically diverse households
Sims, Jacqueline, 05/01/2016

Home language and literacy inputs have been consistently linked with enhanced language and literacy skills among children. Most studies have focused on maternal inputs among monolingual populations. Though the proportion of American children growing up in primarily non-English-speaking homes is growing and the role of fathers in early development is increasingly emphasized, less is known about these associations in primarily non-English-speaking households or how mothers and fathers independently contribute to children's skills. Using a subsample of data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort (N = 5,450), this study assessed the frequency of maternal and paternal inputs during early childhood and their prospective connections with children's English language and literacy skills at age 5 across White, Mexican, and Chinese children from linguistically diverse households. Analyses revealed significant differences in inputs by ethnic/language group membership and significant associations between both maternal and paternal inputs and children's skills. These associations did not differ across ethnic/language group membership. Practice or Policy: These results point to the importance of promoting rich home language and literacy environments across diverse households regardless of the language in which they take place or the parent from which they derive. (author abstact)

How do adults pose questions about target vocabulary study words during shared storybook reading with young Hispanic dual language learners enrolled in Head Start?

Shared storybook reading in Head Start: Impact of questioning styles on the vocabulary of Hispanic dual language learners
Walsh, Bridget A., 05/01/2016

This study examined various ways of asking questions about target vocabulary words during shared storybook reading with young Hispanic dual language learners enrolled in Head Start. The study examined the demand level and placement of adults' questions during shared storybook reading. The research design incorporated five conditions; namely, adults' (a) low demand and interrupting questions, (b) high demand and interrupting questions, (c) low demand and non-interrupting questions, (d) high demand and non-interrupting questions, and (e) a control. Participants were 57 children with Spanish as the primary language spoken to children in the home with most of their parents identifying as having been born in a Latin American country. The present study suggests that demand level rather than interrupting status accounts for more differences in children's novel vocabulary expressive scores, with children in the high demand group scoring higher than those in the low demand group. (author abstract)

How do state funded pre-k programs approach family engagement?

State approaches to family engagement in pre-K programs
Dahlin, Melissa, 03/01/2016
New Brunswick, NJ: Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes. Retrieved from http://ceelo.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/ceelo_policy_brief_family_engagement_2016_03_final_web.pdf

Family engagement is an integral part of a successful early childhood system. But what does family engagement mean and what does it look like? What actions can states take to best guide and support districts and programs in designing and implementing aligned and effective family engagement plans? This brief focuses on approaches to family engagement in state funded pre-K programs and the important role family engagement plays in ensuring family members are welcomed as supporters as children's first teachers in early childhood programs and as children transition to the K-12 school years. (author abstract)

What are the indicators of progress to support integrated early childhood professional development systems?

Build it better: Indicators of progress to support integrated early childhood professional development systems
National Association for the Education of Young Children, 03/01/2016
Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children. Retrieved from http://www.naeyc.org/files/naeyc/Build%20It%20Better_For%20Web.pdf

In 2015, NAEYC responded to requests to help state teams define indicators of progress toward a well-qualified, professional early childhood educator workforce and toward stronger professional development systems, ultimately resulting in this resource. These PD system indicators were developed with a national advisory panel using the Blueprint framework. Cross-sector teams from seven states piloted draft indicators in a self-assessment survey format that could be used to generate multiyear timelines with measureable goals and benchmarks (see "PD System Indicators Survey Instrument"). (author abstract)

How does the Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships (EHS-CCP) expand access to high-quality care for infants and toddlers and their families?

Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships: Growing the supply of early learning opportunities for more infants and toddlers: Year one report, January 2015--January 2016
United States. Administration for Children and Families, 01/01/2016
Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families. Retrieved from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/ecd/ehs_ccp_report.pdf

This report examines first year data from Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships (EHS-CCP), an initiative that aims to expand access to high-quality care for infants and toddlers and their families. Topics covered include: an overview of the grantees; technical assistance and support; start-up activities; supportive Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) state policies; early successes and lessons learned; and research and evaluation activities.

What are the findings from the final report of the Oregon Contracted Slots Pilot program evaluation?

Contracted Slots Pilot program evaluation: Final report
Weber, Roberta B. (Bobbie), 11/01/2015
Corvallis: Oregon State University, Family Policy Program. Retrieved from http://health.oregonstate.edu/sites/default/files/occrp/pdf/cs-final-report-11-30-2015.pdf

Since 2000 DHS had contracted with providers of Oregon Head Start Prekindergarten (OHSPK) programs to ensure stable care in programs of documented quality to children whose parents met both Head Start and ERDC eligibility requirements. In the fall of 2012 the Contracted Slots program was expanded to include Oregon Programs of Quality (OPQ) and the Contracted Slots policies were revised (See Appendix B). The quality of OPQ programs had been documented. OPQ was a forerunner of Oregon's Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) that enables child care and education programs to document the level of quality they offer. The expansion of contracting to include community-based programs of documented quality (OPQ programs) provided families' increased access to continuous care in quality programs. The three key goals for the three-year pilot were: -Children have access to continuous quality care and education; -Families have continuity of quality child care and education to support their employment, and -Providers have stable funding in serving children and families experiencing low incomes in programs of documented quality. (author abstract)

Can one year of Head Start benefit parents as a function of their initial parenting behaviors?

Parenting gains in Head Start as a function of initial parenting skill
Ansari, Arya, 10/01/2016

Using data from the Head Start Impact Study (n = 3,696), this article examines whether one year of Head Start differentially benefited parents as a function of their initial parenting behaviors. Four outcomes are examined, namely, parents' rates of engaging in cognitive stimulation, reading to their child, and spanking, as well as their depressive symptoms. In general, most parents demonstrated improvements in their reading practices and cognitive stimulation regardless of their parenting behaviors at baseline. However, depressive symptoms and spanking behavior showed improvements only among parents who began the Head Start program with the most depressive symptoms and the most frequent spanking, respectively. These findings suggest that treatment-induced changes in parenting can vary by parents' incoming attributes and that heterogeneity of effects should be considered. Implications for Head Start and other parenting interventions are discussed. (author abstract) Check out Research Connections Head Start Impact Study (HSIS) bibliography list for additional resources in the Research Connections collection.

What are the links between preschool children's social skills and observed pretend play in outdoor childcare environments?

Links between preschool children's social skills and observed pretend play in outdoor childcare environments
Li, Jiayao, 01/01/2016

As one of the most advanced play forms in childhood, pretend play often demonstrates positive associations with children's development. However, results from research that examines the association between social skills and pretend play are mixed, especially when the complexity of pretend play is taken into account. Moreover, few studies on pretend play are conducted in outdoor environments; a setting which affords many opportunities for engagement in pretend play and unstructured social interactions. By observing children's outdoor pretend play, the primary purpose of this study was to investigate the relationships between different types of pretend play and children's social skills. Twenty-eight children from high quality childcare centers in a southeast suburban area were observed during outdoor free play time. Using a reliable time sampling protocol, each child's play was observed and recorded for a total of 45 min to an hour over a 2-week time period. Lead teachers rated children's social skills in the areas of cooperation, self-control, and assertiveness. Results showed high amounts of pretend play behavior overall, and differential relationships between the type of pretend play children engaged in and children's social skills. Surprisingly, these relationships were not associated with gender. Findings are discussed in light of the value of pretend play to promote social skill development and the potential for outdoor contexts specifically to encourage these play behaviors. (author abstract)

What does the Learning about Infant and Toddler Early Education Services (LITES) evaluation reveal for programs supporting infant and toddler early learning in out-of-home early care and education settings?

Learning About Infant and Toddler Early Education Services (LITES): A systematic review of the evidence
Monahan, Shannon, 12/01/2015
Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation. Retrieved from https://aspe.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/186281/LITESsystematic.pdf

The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), in partnership with the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, funded Mathematica Policy Research and its partners to conduct the Learning About Infant and Toddler Early Education Services (LITES) project. LITES aimed to identify effective and replicable program models to support infant and toddler early learning in out-of-home early care and education (ECE) settings to inform future research, policy, and program directions at the federal, state, and local levels. LITES had two main components: (1) a systematic review to identify effective program models to support infant and toddler early learning in out-of-home ECE settings, and (2) a scan of the field for program models that are compelling but lack rigorous research examining impacts on children's developmental outcomes. For both components, we examined infant and toddler early learning models that targeted children's cognitive, language, or social-emotional/behavioral development. For the systematic review, we conducted a comprehensive literature review to identify studies with eligible research designs, rated the quality of the studies, and examined evidence of effectiveness on children's outcomes. In contrast, for the compelling models scan, we identified models through a nomination process and discussion with experts in the field. This report focuses on the systematic review; a second report focuses on findings from the compelling models scan (Del Grosso et al., 2015). (author abstract)

What are the challenges and opportunities that arise as household records from the NSECE are matched to CCDF administrative data from the State of Illinois to form a combined database of survey and administrative data?

Examining child care subsidy receipt: An analysis of matched NSECE and Illinois administrative data
National Survey of Early Care and Education Project Team, 02/01/2016
(OPRE Report #2016-12). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation Retrieved from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/exploratory_analysis_of_matched_il_data_030316_toopre_508compliant.pdf

The National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE) team undertook an innovative approach to calculate CCDF program participation. Using probabilistic record linkage methods, the household records from the NSECE were matched to CCDF administrative data from the State of Illinois to form a combined database of survey and administrative data. That combined database allowed creation of CCDF program participation variables from NSECE households' over-time records in the childcare subsidies program. The unified database created from this exercise resembles one from a cross-sectional survey that, by asking retrospective questions, identifies households' recent participation in social programs (CCDF, in our case). But the unified database has the advantage of a more accurate participation variable from administrative data than would have been obtained from a survey self-report. (author abstract)

How does access to formal and informal early education of Turkish-origin children in Germany influence their German language acquisition?

Formal and informal early education of Turkish-origin children in Germany
Becker, Birgit, 01/01/2016

A lack of adequate German language skills is often discussed as a major reason for the disadvantage of children of immigrants in the German educational system. This article analyses the access to formal and informal early education of Turkish-origin children in Germany and the influence of these early education contexts on the children's German language acquisition. We use the frequency of stimulating parent-child activities as an indicator of informal education and the attendance in language instruction programmes at preschool as an indicator of formal education. The empirical results show that the frequency of parent-child activities in Turkish-origin families depends on parents' social background and German language skills. Language instruction programmes in preschools are most frequently used by children who most likely need such programmes: children with low levels of German language skills. For the development of German language skills, parent-child activities seem to be most important.

Does a Canadian study prove that child care services reduce the social inequalities in academic performance up to early adolescence?

Child care services, socioeconomic inequalities, and academic performance
Laurin, Julie C., 12/01/2015

Objective: To determine if child-care services (CCS) at a population level can reduce social inequalities in academic performance until early adolescence. Methods: A 12-year population-based prospective cohort study of families with a newborn (n = 1269). Two CCS variables were estimated: "intensity" (low, moderate, and high number of hours) and "center-based CCS type" (early onset, late onset, and never exposed to center-based CCS). Results: Children from low socioeconomic status (SES) families who received high-intensity CCS (any type), compared with those who received low-intensity CCS, had significantly better reading (standardized effect size [ES] = 0.37), writing (ES = 0.37), and mathematics (ES = 0.46) scores. Children from low-SES families who received center-based CCS, compared with those who never attended center care, had significantly better reading (ES early onset = 0.68; ES late onset = 0.37), writing (ES early onset = 0.79), and mathematics (ES early onset = 0.66; ES late onset = 0.39) scores. Furthermore, early participation in center-based CCS eliminated the differences between children of low and adequate SES on all 3 examinations (ES = -0.01, 0.13, and -0.02 for reading, writing, and mathematics, respectively). These results were obtained while controlling for a wide range of child and family variables from birth to school entry. Conclusions: Child care services (any type) can reduce the social inequalities in academic performance up to early adolescence, while early participation in center-based CCS can eliminate this inequality. CCS use, especially early participation in center-based CCS, should be strongly encouraged for children growing up in a low-SES family.

What is the current understanding of the relationship between infant/toddler development and school readiness?

Developmental foundations of school readiness for infants and toddlers: A research to practice report
Horm, Diane M., 02/01/2016
(OPRE Report No. 2016-07). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/opre_nitr_school_readiness_report_v05cover_title.pdf

This report summarizes research about development during the first three years in order to highlight areas that are foundational for later school readiness and success. This information can be used as a guide by programs to inform their practices and policies and to help programs think about their own theories of change or strategies for continuous improvement and what outcomes they are most focused on improving for young children. Until recently the term school readiness has typically been applied to preschool-aged children, but it is now increasingly being used in relation to infants and toddlers. With this shift comes the knowledge that birth to age 3 is a time of unparalleled growth and change that provides special opportunities to support school readiness, and school readiness for this age group must be defined with those particular characteristics in mind.

Is Minnesota's quality rating and improvement system, Parent Aware, an effective rating tool?

Parent Aware: Minnesota's quality rating and improvement system: Initial validation report
Tout, Kathryn, 02/01/2016
Minneapolis, MN: Child Trends. Retrieved from http://www.childtrends.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Parent-Aware-Validation-and-Letter-3-2016.pdf

Parent Aware is Minnesota's Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) for early care and education (ECE) programs. The purpose of the Parent Aware Initial Validation Study is to examine the extent to which the rating process and the four star quality ratings that are awarded are fair, accurate and meaningful. The findings will be used to inform improvement of Parent Aware as it continues to expand across Minnesota. The validation study analyzes multiple sources of evidence including observations of quality in 325 Parent Aware-rated programs and direct assessments of developmental skills in nearly 1,200 children in both the fall and spring of their year before kindergarten. The study was conducted with all program types participating in Parent Aware: licensed family child care programs and child care centers (including those with national accreditation), Head Start programs, and school-based prekindergarten programs. Approximately two-thirds of the children in the study are from low-income families (with incomes at or below 185% of the federal poverty level). The findings address the effectiveness of the rating tool overall, the Accelerated Pathway to Rating process offering a Four-Star rating for programs that meet external quality standards aligned with Parent Aware, and the rating process for different program types.

What is the nature of executive function of Spanish-speaking language-minority preschoolers and the correlation to their academic skills and classroom behaviors?

Executive function of Spanish-speaking language-minority preschoolers: Structure and relations with early literacy skills and behavioral outcomes
Lonigan, Christopher J., 04/01/2016

Young children's executive function (EF) is increasingly recognized as an important construct associated with development in cognitive and socioemotional domains. To date, however, few studies have examined EF in populations of language-minority children. In this study, 241 Spanish-speaking language-minority preschoolers who ranged in age from 38 to 69 months ([mean] = 54.23 months, SD = 6.17) completed three tasks designed to measure inhibitory control (IC) and four tasks designed to measure working memory (WM). Children completed assessments of their vocabulary skills, early literacy skills, and behavioral self-regulation in both English and Spanish, and their classroom teachers completed three behavior rating measures. Children were classified as more proficient in English or Spanish based on their scores on the vocabulary measures, and all IC and WM measures were administered in the children's more proficient language. Results of confirmatory factor analyses supported a two-factor model of EF for both groups of children as well as strong measurement and structural invariance across groups. Children's EF was substantially related to the language, early literacy, and behavioral self-regulation measures as well as teacher ratings of inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity. For children with more proficient English, EF was associated with skills in both English and Spanish; however, for children with more proficient Spanish, EF was associated primarily with skills in Spanish. These results provide evidence of strong correspondence for EF measured in Spanish-speaking language-minority preschoolers and monolingual preschoolers, and they identify a potential key factor that can enhance understanding of development in this population of children.

Are mealtime best practice guidelines for child care centers associated with children?s dietary intake?

Are mealtime best practice guidelines for child care centers associated with energy, vegetable, and fruit intake?
Kharofa, Roohi Y., 02/01/2016

Background: Mealtime best practices for obesity prevention in child care have been developed from experimental studies and expert opinion. Our objective was to describe adherence to best practices in child care centers and to evaluate the association between mealtime practices and children's dietary intake. Methods: We conducted an observational study of 349 preschoolers, ages 36 to 72 months, from 30 child care centers in Cincinnati, Ohio (November 2009 to January 2011). Trained observers recorded providers' behaviors related to six mealtime best practice recommendations and documented children's intake (n = 60 group lunches). General linear mixed models were used to evaluate the association between practice use and children's total energy (caloric consumption) and fruit and vegetable consumption. Results: Adherence to individual mealtime best practices was variable (0%-77%). Staff sitting with children at lunch was associated with lower energy intake and higher vegetable intake. Staff eating some of the same foods was associated with higher energy intake and higher vegetable intake. Staff encouraging children to try new/less-favorite foods more than once was associated with lower fruit intake. Staff having general conversations with children (not addressed in recommendations) was associated with lower vegetable intake. Family-style meal service, staff talking about healthy foods, and staff helping children assess hunger before seconds were not significantly associated with intake. Conclusions: Few mealtime best practices were associated with dietary intake. Given the number of meals children consume in child care and the prevalence of childhood obesity, efforts to identify mealtime practices that improve children's dietary intake are crucial for obesity prevention.

How are the twin efforts of the Partnerships Program for Early Childhood Mental Health and Project LAUNCH supporting children and educators in rural Appalachia?

Creating trauma-informed schools for rural Appalachia: The Partnerships Program for enhancing resiliency, confidence and workforce development in early childhood education
Shamblin, Sherry, 03/01/2016

Poverty lack of resources and pervasive adversity threaten the healthy social and emotional development of many children living in rural Appalachia. Despite these traumatic stressors, however, Appalachian residents have proven surprisingly resilient and responsive to intervention. This article describes the twin efforts of the Partnerships Program for Early Childhood Mental Health and Project LAUNCH, a community-university-state initiative, to transform school systems by establishing enduring partnerships within and across schools and agencies, pooling and disseminating critical resources, and strengthening the skills, confidence and capacity of the early childhood education workforce. This article describes the three-tiered framework of services implemented at the schools, with special emphasis on its trauma-informed training for educators combined with trauma-specific mental health interventions delivered on site. Despite a modest sample size, results indicate significant pre-improvement/post-improvement in teacher confidence and hopefulness in positively impacting challenging child behaviors; a decrease in the negative attributes of the preschool learning environment; and increased teacher ratings of child resilience as measured by the Devereux Early Child Assessment. Program limitations and future directions for creating trauma-informed Appalachian schools are discussed.

Is narrative language intervention an effective approach to improving language skills of diverse preschoolers?

Tier 2 language intervention for diverse preschoolers: An early-stage randomized control group study following an analysis of response to intervention
Spencer, Trina D., 11/01/2015

Purpose: The first purpose of this study was to explore the use of a whole class, test-teach-test, dynamic assessment of narratives for identifying participants. The second purpose was to examine the efficacy of a Tier 2 narrative language intervention for culturally and linguistically diverse preschoolers. Method: A dynamic assessment was conducted with students from 3 Head Start classrooms. On the basis of the results of the dynamic assessment, 22 children were randomly assigned to treatment (n = 12) and control (n = 10) groups for intervention. Participants received a small-group (4:1), differentiated, narrative intervention for 15-20 min, twice a week, for 9 weeks. Interventionists used weekly progress monitoring data to explicitly focus on individualized narrative and linguistic targets. Results: The treatment group showed significant improvement over the control group on proximal and distal measures of narrative retells, with large effect sizes. Group differences on a measure of children's language in the context of personal stories were not statistically significant. Conclusions: This early-stage study provides evidence that narrative language intervention is an effective approach to improving the language skills of preschoolers with diverse language needs. Furthermore, the evidence supports the use of dynamic assessment for reducing overidentification and identifying candidates for small-group language intervention. Check out Research Connections Key Topic Resource List for additional information on Response to Intervention and Other Approaches for Using Ongoing Assessment to Guide Individualized Instruction in Early Education.

What is the association between sleep duration and school readiness of Chinese preschoolers?

Sleep duration and school readiness of Chinese preschool children
Tso, Winnie, 02/01/2016

bjectives To examine the average sleep duration in Chinese preschoolers and to investigate the association between sleep duration and school readiness. Study design This is a cross-sectional study that included 553 Chinese children (mean age = 5.46 years) from 20 preschools in 2 districts of Hong Kong. Average daily sleep duration in the last week was reported by parents and school readiness as measured by the teacher-rated Chinese Early Development Instrument (CEDI). Results Most Chinese preschoolers had 9-10 hours of sleep per day. Only 11% of preschoolers had the recommended 11-12 hours of sleep per day. This group was associated with more "very ready" CEDI domains. Sleep deprivation ([less than or equal to] 7 hours per day) was associated with a lower CEDI total score, lower scores in the emotional maturity and language/cognitive domain, and prosocial behaviors subdomain but a greater score in the hyperactivity/inattention subdomain. Children with a lower family socioeconomic index, lower maternal education level, infrequent parent-child interactions, and who used electronic devices for more than 3 hours per day had shortened sleep durations. Conclusions Optimal sleep duration was associated with better school readiness in preschool children, whereas sleep deprivation was associated with lower school readiness, more hyperactivity and inattention, and less prosocial behavior.

What are the socialization priorities for preschoolers of contemporary Chinese parents'?

Contemporary Chinese parents' socialization priorities for preschoolers: A mixed methods study
Ren, Lixin, 11/01/2016

This mixed methods study focused on the socialization goals for preschool-aged children among parents from three small-sized cities located in northeastern China. A total of 154 parents with preschool-aged children completed questionnaires measuring parental socialization goals for children's social-emotional competence and academic achievement. Quantitative results showed that parents generally placed more importance on children's social-emotional skills than academic skills. Ten mothers were selected from the sample and participated in a semi-structured qualitative interview to help understand reasons for parents' prioritization of social-emotional well-being over academic performance. Four themes emerged, including parents' concerns about children's psychological well-being under excessive academic pressure, their desires to 'protect' children's childhood, their awareness of children's individual differences in intelligence and talent in learning, and their belief that good grades did not guarantee future success in life. Our findings highlight the importance of using mixed methods to deepen understanding of contemporary Chinese parents' child-rearing ideologies.

How do existing large-scale data sets support the study of Hispanic families? utilization of early care and education?

Using existing large-scale data to study early care and education among Hispanics: Project overview and methodology
Crosby, Danielle A., 03/01/2016
(Publication No. 2016-08). Bethesda, MD: National Research Center on Hispanic Children and Families. Retrieved from http://www.childtrends.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/ECE-Series-Brief-No.-1.pdf

To promote the well-informed and strategic use of data for building the knowledge base about Latinos' ECE access and utilization, the interrelated briefs in this series provide summary information and data tables that can be used by researchers to select the studies, samples, and variables most appropriate for their research questions. This is the first of four briefs in this series. It describes the project methodology and summarizes key design features of the selected data sets, including the availability of sociodemographic indicators of particular relevance to studying Hispanic populations. For more information on this topic check out these reportsfrom the National Research Center on Hispanic Children and Families.

What are the early health development and risk characteristics of young children in deep poverty?

Young children in deep poverty
Ekono, Mercedes, 01/01/2016
New York: Columbia University, National Center for Children in Poverty. Retrieved from: http://www.nccp.org/publications/pdf/text_1133.pdf

This fact sheet compares the early health, development, and risk characteristics of young children in deep poverty to children in families that are poor, but not deeply poor, and to families that are not poor.

How did two training programs educate child welfare and preschool staff on the importance of early care and education for maltreated children?

Early care and education for children in the child welfare system: Evaluations of two training programs
Klein, Sacha Mareka, 01/01/2016

Despite evidence that early care and education services benefit at-risk children, they remain underutilized by families in the child welfare system. This article describes two training programs developed to educate child welfare and childcare/preschool staff about the importance of early care and education for maltreated children and how to access these services. A combined total of 274 trainees completed knowledge tests about this topic and significant pre- to post-training improvements indicate that both training programs effectively increased participants' knowledge about this important topic. In addition, improvement in self-assessed competency was observed for participants in one program, and positive changes in attitudes and anticipated practice behavior regarding childcare for foster children were observed among participants in the other.

Does recent state-level data by race and ethnicity reflect differential access to Head Start and Child Care and Development Block Grant funded child care?

Disparate access: Head Start and CCDBG data by race and ethnicity
Schmit, Stephanie, 02/01/2016
Washington, DC: Center for Law and Social Policy. Retrieved from http://www.clasp.org/resources-and-publications/publication-1/Disparate-Access.pdf

This brief highlights state-level data by race and ethnicity about differential access to Head Start preschool, Early Head Start (EHS), and Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG)-funded child care, analyzed here for the first time. The brief also identifies potential policy implications and the gaps in the data that limit our ability to more comprehensively analyze the findings.

Are two years of Head Start more effective than one year of Head Start followed by pre-K?

Head Start at ages 3 and 4 versus Head Start followed by state pre-K: Which is more effective?
Jenkins, Jade Marcus, 03/01/2016

As policymakers contemplate expanding preschool opportunities for low-income children, one possibility is to fund 2, rather than 1 year of Head Start for children at ages 3 and 4. Another option is to offer 1 year of Head Start followed by 1 year of pre-K. We ask which of these options is more effective. We use data from the Oklahoma pre-K study to examine these two "pathways" into kindergarten using regression discontinuity to estimate the effects of each age 4 program, and propensity score weighting to address selection. We find that children attending Head Start at age 3 develop stronger prereading skills in a high-quality pre-kindergarten at age 4 compared with attending Head Start at age 4. Pre-K and Head Start were not differentially linked to improvements in children's prewriting skills or premath skills. This suggests that some impacts of early learning programs may be related to the sequencing of learning experiences to more academic programming.

Can sixty minutes of physical activity per day included within preschool academic lessons improve early literacy?

Sixty minutes of physical activity per day included within preschool academic lessons improves early literacy
Kirk, Stacie M., 03/01/2016

Background: The effects of increases in physical activity (PA) on early literacy skills in preschool children are not known. Methods: Fifty-four African-American preschool children from a low socioeconomic urban Head Start participated over 8 months. A 2-group, quasi-experimental design was used with one preschool site participating in the PA intervention and a second site participating as the control site. The PA program was designed to promote 300 minutes/week of moderate to vigorous PA academic lessons. Academic achievement related to early literacy and phonological awareness in the areas of rhyming and alliteration were assessed at baseline, 4 and 8 months. Results: Over 8 months, rhyming significantly (p <.01) improved in the PA group (173 +/-12%) compared with the controls (28+/-8%) resulting in between group differences at 8 months (p <.01). Alliteration significantly (p <.01) improved in the PA group (52+/-16%) compared with controls (13+/-5%), resulting in between group differences at 8 months (p <.01). As minutes of exposure to moderate to vigorous PA increased, the change in picture naming (R[squared] =.35, p <.05), alliteration (R[squared] =.38, p <.05), and rhyming (R[squared] =.42, p <.05), increased. Conclusion: A teacher-directed PA program is effective at increasing PA and improving early literacy. Check out Research Connections Topic of Interest for additional information on Physical activity in Early Care and Education Settings.

What are the changes in state funding for pre-K programs from fiscal year 2014-2015 through fiscal year 2015-2016?

State pre-k funding for 2015-16 fiscal year: National trends in state preschool funding
Parker, Emily, 01/01/2016
Denver: CO: Education Commission of the States. Retrieved from http://www.ecs.org/ec-content/uploads/01252016_Prek-K_Funding_report-1.pdf

An examination of changes in state funding for prekindergarten programs from fiscal year 2014-2015 through fiscal year 2015-2016.

What are the significant 2015 state legislative enactments in early care and education?

Early care & education 2015 state legislative action
National Conference of State Legislatures,
Denver, CO: National Conference of State Legislatures. Retrieved from http://www.ncsl.org/documents/cyf/NCSL_2015_ECE_Enacted_Legislation.pdf

The National Conference of State Legislatures' (NCSL) Early Care and Education Project in the Children and Families Program tracks introduced and enacted legislation related to child care, early education and parent engagement and support. During the 2015 legislative session, lawmakers introduced nearly 900 bills on the topic of early care and education. Of those, 124 bills have been signed into law in 39 states. This report provides an overview of the significant 2015 legislative enactments in the following major topic areas: child care (subsidy, quality, and access), early childhood workforce, pre-K/ and school readiness, early childhood governance and systems, early childhood services, data strategies, home visiting and parent education, and finance strategies and appropriations. The largest number of legislative enactments occurred in the topic area of child care.

What are the social and emotional benefits of arts participation in early childhood?

The arts in early childhood: Social and emotional benefits of arts participation: A literature review and gap-analysis (2000-2015)
Menzer, Melissa, 12/01/2015
Washington, DC: National Endowment for the Arts, Office of Research & Analysis. Retrieved from https://www.arts.gov/sites/default/files/arts-in-early-childhood-dec2015-rev.pdf

The goal of this literature review, then, was to synthesize contemporary research, published from 2000 through 2015, on the links between arts participation and early childhood social-emotional development. Arts-related empirical research focusing on the early childhood period is an emerging field, and one that inspired the NEA in 2004 to publish an evidence-based guide for parents about the value of arts participation early in life. Like that earlier report (Imagine! Introducing Your Child to the Arts), this one focuses on typically developing populations. The research herein is based on 18 empirical articles that were identified as relevant, that tested for statistically significant relationships between the arts and social-emotional development, and that meet the inclusion criteria for this review. The articles came from various peer-review research journals in the fields of psychology and education. (author abstract)

What is the classroom age composition and the school readiness of 3 and 4 year-olds in the Head Start program?

Classroom age composition and the school readiness of 3- and 4-year-olds in the Head Start program
Ansari, Arya, 01/01/2016

The federal Head Start program, designed to improve the school readiness of children from low-income families, often serves 3- and 4-year-olds in the same classrooms. Given the developmental differences between 3- and 4-year-olds, it is unknown whether educating them together in the same classrooms benefits one group, both, or neither. Using data from the Family and Child Experiences Survey 2009 cohort, this study used a peer-effects framework to examine the associations between mixed-age classrooms and the school readiness of a nationally representative sample of newly enrolled 3-year-olds (n = 1,644) and 4-year-olds (n = 1,185) in the Head Start program. Results revealed that 4-year-olds displayed fewer gains in academic skills during the preschool year when they were enrolled in classrooms with more 3-year-olds; effect sizes corresponded to 4 to 5 months of academic development. In contrast, classroom age composition was not consistently associated with 3-year-olds' school readiness.

Can intervention programs in child care promote the quality of caregiver-child interactions?

Do intervention programs in child care promote the quality of caregiver-child interactions?: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials
Werner, Claudia D., 02/01/2016

This meta-analysis reports on the effectiveness of targeted interventions focusing on child care professionals to improve child care quality, caregiver interaction skills, and child social-emotional development. Within randomized controlled trials, interventions are moderately effective in improving overall caregiver-child interactions (k=19, Hedges' g= 0.35) and in improving child care quality on the classroom level (k=11; Hedges' g=0.39), the caregiver level (k=10; Hedges' g=0.44), and the child level (k=6; Hedges' g= 0.26). Based on these findings, the implementation of evidence-based targeted interventions on a larger scale than currently exists may lead to better social-emotional development for children under the age of 5 years. There remains, however, an urgent need for more and larger randomized controlled trials with a solid design and high quality measures in order to shed more light on which child care components for which children are most critical in supporting children's socio-emotional development.

Does the Success by Six Initiative improve quality for child care centers in Greater Philadelphia?

Improving quality for child care centers in Greater Philadelphia: An evaluation of Success By 6: Final report
Warner-Richter, Mallory, 02/01/2016
(Publication #2016-07). Washington, DC: Child Trends. Retrieved from http://www.childtrends.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/2016-07SuccessBySixReport.pdf

This report is a review of the Success By 6 quality improvement initiative, designed to increase the quality ratings of select Philadelphia-area child care sites from 2 stars to 3 stars within the Keystone STARS quality rating and improvement system of Pennsylvania.

What are the predictors and prevalence of educational intervention utilization among U.S. preschool aged children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD)?

Prevalence and correlates of educational intervention utilization among children with autism spectrum disorder
Bilaver, Lucy Mackey, 02/01/2016

This study examined the prevalence and correlates of educational intervention utilization among U.S. preschool aged children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) prior to recent policy changes. The analysis was based on a nationally representative longitudinal survey of children receiving special education services during the 2003-2004 school year. All children with parent or teacher identified ASD over a 3-year study period were analyzed. Outcomes included utilization of speech therapy, occupational therapy, behavior therapy, and mental health services by service sector. The analysis revealed low rates of behavioral therapy and mental health services. Parents reported that the overwhelming majority of services were received inside school only. This study identified gaps in the provision of services for young children with ASD.

What are the findings from the 2015 National Agricultural Workers Survey for Migrant and Seasonal Head Start-eligible families?

Migrant and Seasonal Head Start supplement to the National Agricultural Workers Survey: 2015 report
United States. Administration for Children and Families. Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, 03/01/2015
(OPRE Report No. 2015-115). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/2015_mshs_supplement_to_naws_report_ii_1_2016_pdf_compliant.pdf

In December of 2007, OHS turned to the National Agricultural Workers Survey (NAWS), a relevant Federal resource that collects data annually on farmworker populations, to explore regional population demographics for MSHS-eligible families. In addition to reporting on the demographics of the families, the NAWS team created and piloted a Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Supplement asking about MSHS-eligible families' child care utilization, demographics and history. This report provides the following: National and regional estimates of MSHS-eligible children, and trends in the population distribution across regions (using 2009-2011 NAWS data); Descriptive information from the NAWS on MSHS-eligible parents and comparison data from slightly higher income families (using 2007-2011 NAWS data); Descriptive information from the NAWS MSHS Supplement on childcare and experiences with and barriers to participating in MSHS (using 2008-20011 NAWS data).

What are we teaching the teachers?

What are we teaching the teachers?: Child development curricula in US higher education
Buettner, Cynthia K., 02/01/2016

Early childhood educators are expected to provide quality education to young children based on national standards, but the extent to which these standards are incorporated into teacher education programs is not well established. Objective The purpose of this study was to examine curriculum coverage of recommended quality standards in early childhood teacher education programs and to compare 2- and 4-year degree programs. Methods We conducted an online survey with 175 university early childhood education program directors in the US. Results More than 60 % of the programs covered child development, program and classroom management, families and community, academic instruction and curricula, and observation and assessment in more than one entire required course. However, areas such as maintaining professionalism and promoting children's social and emotional development were less frequently covered in required courses and were discussed in only one or several class sessions. Associate programs were more likely to focus on skill development through practicum work, but were less likely than 4 year programs to require a formal student teaching experience. A few differences emerged in the curriculum content in bachelor's and associate programs. Bachelor's programs appeared to focus on knowledge, including academic instruction and curricula and observation and assessment, and associate programs appeared to be focused on practices, including program and classroom management. Conclusions Findings highlight under-taught areas such as professionalism and promoting social and emotional learning and significant differences in associate and bachelor's degree programs. Additional research should be conducted on pre-service training to assure that training results in teachers who improve the quality of early childhood programs. (author abstract)

How do parents of children with and without disabilities select preschools?

How do caregivers select preschools?: A study of children with and without disabilities
Glenn-Applegate, Katherine, 02/01/2016

Little is known about how parents and other caregivers conceptualize preschool quality, or what factors they prioritize when selecting a preschool. Caregivers of children with disabilities have the additional challenge of finding a preschool that can address their children's special needs. Objective We explored the factors caregivers valued when selecting a preschool for their children, how these factors categorized into structural, process, and familial quality, and how caregiver characteristics related to preschool selection factors. We also compared caregivers' preschool selection factors with the observed quality of their children's preschool classroom. Methods In this study, 407 caregivers with children in 54 early childhood special education classrooms completed surveys regarding how they selected their children's preschool. Classroom quality was assessed for each classroom, and compared to caregivers' preschool selection factors. Results Findings showed that caregivers prioritized interpersonal teacher characteristics and safety when selecting preschools. Caregivers' felt that process elements of quality were more important than structural or familial elements of quality. Caregivers whose child had a disability were more likely to prioritize structural elements of quality than caregivers whose child did not have a disability. No relationship was found between caregivers' preschool selection factors and the quality of the classrooms in which their children were enrolled. Conclusion These findings provide insight for those wishing to make preschool programs more amenable to the needs of caregivers, particularly those of children with disabilities. Understanding caregivers' preschool selection factors also deepens the theoretical understanding of preschool quality. (author abstract)

What are the numbers and characteristics of children who were eligible for and who received child care subsidies in fiscal year 2012?

Estimates of child care eligibility and receipt for fiscal year 2012
Chien, Nina C., 11/01/2015
Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Human Services Policy. Retrieved from https://aspe.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/153591/ChildEligibility.pdf

Based on federal parameters that determine permissible eligibility, an estimated 14.2 million children were eligible to receive child care subsidies in 2012. Roughly 2.2 million children, or 15 percent of federally-eligible children, received subsidized care through CCDF or related government funding streams in an average month of fiscal year 2012. Rates of coverage vary by age and poverty status. Poorer children were more likely to receive subsidies than less poor children. Younger children were also more likely to receive subsidies than older children. While current funding levels do not meet the child care needs of all working parents, poorer children and children not yet in school are more likely to receive child care subsidy assistance, suggesting that funds are generally targeted to those most in need. (author abstract)

Which early childhood education programs are most effective for children?

Early childhood education
Elango, Sneha, 12/12/2015
(Working Paper No. 2015-017). Chicago: University of Chicago, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Global Working Group. Retrieved from http://humcap.uchicago.edu/RePEc/hka/wpaper/Elango_etal_2015_early-childhood-education.pdf

This paper organizes and synthesizes the literature on early childhood education and childcare. In it, we go beyond meta-analysis and reanalyze primary data sources in a common framework. We consider the evidence from means-tested demonstration programs, large-scale means-tested programs and universal programs without means testing. We discuss which programs are effective and whether, and for which populations, these programs should be subsidized by governments. The evidence from high-quality demonstration programs targeted toward disadvantaged children shows beneficial effects. Returns exceed costs, even accounting for the deadweight loss of collecting taxes. When proper policy counterfactuals are constructed, Head Start has beneficial effects on disadvantaged children compared to home alternatives. Universal programs benefit disadvantaged children. (author abstract)

What are the specific features or processes that optimize the group care experience for infants and toddlers, their families, and caregivers?

Infants and toddlers in group care [Special issue]
Norris, Deborah J., 02/01/2016

A special issue of the journal Early Education and Development, focusing on center-based infant and toddler care quality, as well as family-caregiver relationship dynamics. To read more articles featured in this Special Issue of Early Education and Development, please click here.

Does pen or keyboard based writing training influence reading and writing performance in preschool children?

Handwriting or typewriting?: The influence of pen- or keyboard-based writing training on reading and writing performance in preschool children
Kiefer, Markus, 10/01/2015

Digital writing devices associated with the use of computers, tablet PCs, or mobile phones are increasingly replacing writing by hand. It is, however, controversially discussed how writing modes influence reading and writing performance in children at the start of literacy. On the one hand, the easiness of typing on digital devices may accelerate reading and writing in young children, who have less developed sensory-motor skills. On the other hand, the meaningful coupling between action and perception during handwriting, which establishes sensory-motor memory traces, could facilitate written language acquisition. In order to decide between these theoretical alternatives, for the present study, we developed an intense training program for preschool children attending the German kindergarten with 16 training sessions. Using closely matched letter learning games, eight letters of the German alphabet were trained either by handwriting with a pen on a sheet of paper or by typing on a computer keyboard. Letter recognition, naming, and writing performance as well as word reading and writing performance were assessed. Results did not indicate a superiority of typing training over handwriting training in any of these tasks. In contrast, handwriting training was superior to typing training in word writing, and, as a tendency, in word reading. The results of our study, therefore, support theories of action-perception coupling assuming a facilitatory influence of sensory-motor representations established during handwriting on reading and writing. (author abstract)

Can peer play behaviors impact the rate of growth in academic readiness for children in Head Start?

Peer play as a context for identifying profiles of children and examining rates of growth in academic readiness for children enrolled in Head Start
Bell, Elizabeth R., 07/01/2016

Research has shown that early interventions are most successful when they have a comprehensive focus that is individualized to children's needs. The present study employed a person-centered approach to identify profiles, or subgroups, of children displaying early patterns of peer play behaviors in an ethnically and linguistically diverse Head Start program, and examined the academic trajectories of these children during one school year. Four profile groups were identified, and analyses revealed that these profiles were invariant across ethnicity and dual language learner status. Most children were represented in a group who engaged in behaviors that facilitated peer interactions. These children had the highest academic skills across the preschool year. Interestingly, children in a profile characterized by a combination of play interaction skills and play disruption had the second highest academic skills throughout the year compared with children in a profile characterized by below-average play interaction skills but low disruptive behavior during play. A small number of children were represented in a profile characterized by low interactive, disconnected, and high disruptive behavior with peers and had the lowest academic skills throughout the year. The mean differences in academic skills across profiles of peer play behaviors remained the same across the year. These findings have implications for future research and educational practice surrounding the role of peer play in the Head Start classroom. (author abstract)

What role does intervention fidelity play in explaining the impact of a preschool teacher professional development program on child outcomes?

Opening the black box: Intervention fidelity in a randomized trial of a preschool teacher professional development program
Mendive, Susana, 01/01/2016

Un Buen Comienzo [A Good Start] was a professional development program implemented with prekindergarten and kindergarten teachers in Chilean public schools serving low-income families. In a randomized trial, the program showed moderate to large impacts on classroom quality but no impacts on targeted child outcomes. To unpack these findings, we examined intervention fidelity (IF) in both treatment and control groups. Specifically, the study examined (a) whether teachers in the treatment group showed greater fidelity to teaching practices prescribed by the intervention, as measured by dosage and adherence, at the end of prekindergarten and the end of kindergarten, than their control-group counterparts; and (b) whether language and literacy instructional dosage predicted gains in children's language and literacy outcomes at the end of prekindergarten and the end of kindergarten. IF data were coded minute by minute from videotapes of study classrooms collected at the beginning of prekindergarten, the end of prekindergarten, and the end of kindergarten. There were significant and large impacts of the intervention on dosage and adherence. Additionally, small but statistically significant associations were found between 2-year accumulated overall program dosage and children's reading and writing skills at the end of kindergarten. Results reveal that teacher practices changed in response to the intervention, but that increases in time spent on language and literacy instruction were not very substantial. This pattern may explain the absence of an overall impact on children's skills in the experimental study. Findings have implications for the design of both future preschool interventions and IF studies. (author abstract)

Does the First Step to Success early intervention program help children who are at risk of being diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder?

First Step to Success: Applications to preschoolers at risk of developing autism spectrum disorders
Frey, Andy, 12/01/2015

Preschool children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) may not always be recognized as such during their early years, but some of their behavioral problems may nonetheless prompt a referral for behavioral intervention. Whether such an intervention brings any benefit has not been well studied. We identified a subsample of 34 preschool children at risk for autism spectrum disorder from a large randomized controlled trial (N = 126) of the First Step to Success program. Children at risk of developing ASD demonstrated significant improvements on seven of 11 outcome measures and on a responder analyses based on symptom severity. Process and fidelity measures also suggested that First Step was both feasible and socially acceptable. Implications for early intervention for children at risk of developing ASD are discussed. (author abstract)

Which early care and education centers participate in Head Start or public pre-kindergarten?

Which early care and education centers participate in Head Start or public pre-kindergarten?
National Survey of Early Care and Education Project Team, 09/01/2015
(OPRE Report #2015-92a). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation Retrieved from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/hs_pk_technical_report_final_092515_b508.pdf

Newly released data from the National Survey of Early Care and Education provide a unique opportunity to understand Head Start and Public Pre-K offerings within the context of all center-based ECE to children age five and under. These two prominent initiatives involve almost 40 percent of all ECE centers nationally. Most centers receiving any Head Start or Public Pre-K funding are also serving young children through other ECE services such as parent-funded preschool. In fact, 25 percent of centers with Head Start (but no Public Pre-K) funding and 45 percent of centers with Public Pre-K (but no Head Start) funding are also supported with private funds. Fewer than one in five centers with Head Start or Public Pre-K funding are operated by a public school district. The NSECE data indicate that ECE centers nationally are a diverse group in terms of size, auspice, mix of public/private funding, and other characteristics; the same can be said for centers receiving any Head Start or Public Pre-K funds. (author abstract)

Is early childhood mental health consultation effective in rural communities?

Early childhood mental health consultation: An evaluation of effectiveness in a rural community
Vuyk, M. Alexandra, 01/01/2016

Little research has been done to evaluate the effectiveness of early childhood mental health consultation (ECMHC) in rural, applied settings. In this mixed-methods study, we evaluated an approach to ECMHC used in rural Southwest Kansas with individualized services for childcare providers. Twenty-nine home-based and center-based childcare providers completed measures on provider growth, perceptions of child outcomes, and satisfaction with sessions. In total, 162 data points were collected and analyzed using multilevel growth models. In addition, 16 providers participated in qualitative interviews. Both home-based and center-based providers reported very high satisfaction with consultation sessions which increased with time, although home-based providers showed significantly higher satisfaction than did center-based providers. Provider growth, encompassing personal well-being, scheduling and transitions, connections with parents, and positive discipline strategies increased significantly over time. Child outcomes, encompassing prosocial behavior, resilience, and overall well-being also improved significantly in providers' perception. ECMHC as conducted in Southwest Kansas appears to have a positive effect on childcare providers and the children in their care. (author abstract)

Check out Research Connections Topic of Interest for additional information on Preventing Preschool Expulsion.

Do the emergency childcare needs of healthcare workers impact their likelihood to work during a pandemic?

Emergency childcare for hospital workers during disasters
Charney, Rachel L., 12/01/2015

Objectives: The objectives were to determine the impact of emergency childcare (EC) needs on health care workers' ability and likelihood to work during a pandemic versus an earthquake as well as to determine the anticipated need and expected use of an on-site, hospital-provided EC program. Methods: An online survey was distributed to all employees of an academic, urban pediatric hospital. Two disaster scenarios were presented (pandemic influenza and earthquake). Ability to work based on childcare needs, planned use of proposed hospital-provided EC, and demographics of children being brought in were obtained. Results: A total of 685 employees participated (96.6% female, 79.6% white), with a 40% response rate. Those with children (n = 307) reported that childcare needs would affect their work decisions during a pandemic more than an earthquake (61.1% vs 56.0%; t = 3.7; P < 0.001). Only 28.0% (n = 80) of those who would need childcare (n = 257) report an EC plan. The scenario did not impact EC need or planned use; during scheduled versus unscheduled shifts, 40.7% versus 63.0% reported need for EC, and 50.8% versus 63.2% reported anticipated using EC. Conclusions: Hospital workers have a high anticipated use of hospital provided EC. Provisions for EC should be an integral part of hospital disaster planning. (author abstract)

Does self-regulation help compensate for poor math ability in kindergarten?

Moderating effects of executive functions and the teacher-child relationship on the development of mathematics ability in kindergarten
Blair, Clancy, 02/01/2016

Academic preparedness, executive function abilities, and positive relationships with teachers have each been shown to be uniquely important for school readiness and success in the early elementary grades. Few studies, however, have examined the joint influence of these readiness variables on early school outcomes. Using data from a prospective longitudinal sample of 1292 children and families in predominantly low-income and rural communities, we found that executive function at child age 48 months and a higher quality relationship with the kindergarten teacher each uniquely moderated the effect of math ability in preschool on math ability at the end of kindergarten. This effect was seen for math ability as measured by the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten (ECLS-K) mathematics assessment battery but not the Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Achievement Applied Problems subtest. For children with lower math ability in preschool as assessed by the ECLS-K Math battery, higher executive function abilities and a more positive relationship with the kindergarten teacher were each associated with a higher than expected level of math ability in kindergarten. Conversely, lowest levels of math ability in kindergarten were observed among children with low math ability in preschool and poor executive function or a less positive relationship with the kindergarten teacher. (author abstract)

Check out Research Connections Topic of Interest for additional information on Interventions to promote young children's self-regulation and executive function skills in early childhood settings.

Can family characteristics and the length of children's enrollment in Migrant Head Start affect children's health outcomes?

The impact of Head Start enrollment duration on migrant children's health outcomes
Lee, Kyunghee, 11/01/2015

The purpose of this study is to examine whether family characteristics and the length of children's enrollment in Migrant Head Start affects children's health treatment. Children in the Michigan Migrant Head Start were classified depending on years of enrollments: One year (n = 638), two years (n = 293), and three or more years (n = 426). Logistic regression analyses were conducted to examine whether the probability of children receiving health treatment differed depending on years of enrollment. There is a higher health treatment rate among children who attended Head Start for multiple years than for those who attended for one year. Children's special needs status, of siblings, ethnicity, parental educational level, and marital status were related to preventative dental and physical health treatment outcomes. Although the primary goal of Head Start is school readiness rather than health improvement, migrant and seasonal farmworker children are likely to receive more health treatment if they attend more years of comprehensive intervention, such as Head Start, for positive physical and dental health. (author abstract)

Can approaches to learning function as a moderator of the association between Head Start classroom quality and children's academic skills?

Classroom quality and academic skills: Approaches to learning as a moderator
Meng, Christine, 12/01/2015

The purpose of this study was to examine whether approaches to learning moderated the association between child care classroom environment and Head Start children's academic skills. The data came from the Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES--2003 Cohort). The dataset is a nationally representative longitudinal study of Head Start children. The sample was selected using the stratified 4-stage sampling procedure. Data was collected in fall 2003, spring 2004, spring 2005, and spring 2006 in the first year of kindergarten. Participants included 3- and 4-year-old Head Start children (n = 786; 387 boys, 399 girls; 119 Hispanic children, 280 African American children, 312 Caucasian children). Head Start children's academic skills in letter-word identification, dictation/spelling, and mathematics at the 4 time points were measured by the Woodcock-Johnson Achievement Battery tests. Approaches to learning in fall 2003 was measured by the teacher report of the Preschool Learning Behaviors Scale. Child care classroom quality in fall 2003 was measured by the revised Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale. Results of the linear mixed effects models demonstrated that approaches to learning significantly moderated the effect of child care classroom quality on Head Start children's writing and spelling. Specifically, positive approaches to learning mitigated the negative effect of lower levels of classroom quality on dictation/spelling. Results underscore the important role of approaches to learning as a protective factor. Implications for early childhood educators with an emphasis on learning goals for disengaged children are discussed. (author abstract)

Check out Research Connections FACES Dataset for additional information on this topic.

How are child care centers spatially distributed across the U.S.?

Enhancing disaster management: Development of a spatial database of day care centers in the USA
Singh, Nagendra, 09/01/2015

Children under the age of five constitute around 7% of the total U.S. population, and represent a segment of the population that is totally dependent on others for day-to-day activities. A significant proportion of this population spends time in some form of day care arrangement while their parents are away from home. Accounting for those children during emergencies is of high priority, which requires a broad understanding of the locations of such day care centers. As concentrations of at risk population, the spatial location of day care centers is critical for any type of emergency preparedness and response (EPR). However, until recently, the U.S. emergency preparedness and response community did not have access to a comprehensive spatial database of day care centers at the national scale. This paper describes an approach for the development of the first comprehensive spatial database of day care center locations throughout the U.S. utilizing a variety of data harvesting techniques to integrate information from widely disparate data sources followed by geolocating for spatial precision. In the context of disaster management, such spatially refined demographic databases hold tremendous potential for improving high-resolution population distribution and dynamics models and databases. (author abstract)

Is there inequality in access to preschool quality?

Inequality in preschool quality?: Community-level disparities in access to high-quality learning environments
Bassok, Daphna, 01/01/2016

In recent years, unequal access to high-quality preschool has emerged as a growing public policy concern. Because of data limitations, it is notoriously difficult to measure disparities in access to early learning opportunities across communities and particularly challenging to quantify gaps in access to high-quality programs. Research Findings: Using unique data from Georgia's universal prekindergarten program, this study provides empirical evidence of the relationship between community characteristics and the availability of high-quality preschool opportunities. We show that in Georgia, a national leader with respect to preschool access as well as quality, there are still meaningful differences in quality across communities. Low-income and high-minority communities offer state preschool classrooms that are rated significantly lower on a widely used and validated measure of classroom process quality. Practice or Policy: This process quality gap is troubling given the positive relationship between our process quality measure and children's learning. Note that we do not see similar gaps in structural measures of quality, which are the aspects of quality more often regulated but are also weaker, inconsistent predictors of children's learning. Implications for policy are discussed. (author abstract)

What is the child care landscape across the U.S.?

Parents and the high cost of child care: 2015 report
Fraga, Lynette M., 01/01/2015
Arlington, VA: Child Care Aware of America. Retrieved from http://usa.childcareaware.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Parents-and-the-High-Cost-of-Child-Care-2015-FINAL.pdf

Parents and the High Cost of Child Care: 2015 Report updates the previous report and uses 2014 data to describe the average fees families are charged for legally operating child care centers and family child care homes in each state and the District of Columbia. Additionally, the report analyzes the following elements of child care in the United States: Context The report describes changing demographics on many fronts and highlights the benefits of investing in child care. Cost Child care costs differ by state and urban area. The report evaluates the differences in child care across the United States and assesses what is driving these costs. Access Many parents are unable to access high-quality, affordable child care for their children. The report addresses methods through which stakeholders can expand this access. (author abstract)

What are the environmental influences on preschoolers' physical activity levels in early-learning facilities?

Environmental influences on preschoolers' physical activity levels in various early-learning facilities
Vanderloo, Leigh M., 10/01/2015

This study aimed to: (a) compare the physical activity (PA) levels (i.e., moderate-to-vigorous PA [MVPA] and total PA [TPA]) of preschoolers in 3 different early-learning environments (center-based childcare, home-based childcare, and full-day kindergarten [FDK]); and (b) assess which characteristics (e.g., play equipment, policies, etc.) of these settings influenced preschoolers' PA. Method: Twenty-seven facilities (9 centers, 10 homes, and 8 FDK) participated in this study. Participants (aged 2.5-5 years; n = 297) were fitted with Acticale[TM] accelerometers for 5 consecutive days during childcare/school hours to assess their PA. The Environment and Policy Assessment and Observation (EPAO) tool was used to objectively examine the PA environment of all participating facilities. Finally, demographic questionnaires were administered to preschoolers' parents/guardians. Results: Preschoolers in FDK accumulated significantly more MVPA (p < .05; 3.33 min/hr) than those in center- (1.58 min/hr) and home-based (1.75 min/hr) childcare, and they accumulated significantly more TPA (p < .05; 20.31 min/hr) than those in center-based childcare (18.36 min/hr). For FDK, the Active Opportunities, Sedentary Opportunities, Sedentary Environment, and Fixed Play Environment subscales of the EPAO significantly impacted both MVPA and TPA. For center-based childcare, only the Sedentary Environment subscale was found to impact MVPA and TPA. No subscales influenced children's MVPA or TPA in home-based childcare. Conclusions: This research underscores the need to encourage/support preschoolers' active behaviors in early-learning settings, particularly for those in center- and home-based childcare. Furthermore, this article highlights environmental and staff characteristics on which future PA programming should focus. (author abstract)

Check out Research Connections Topic of Interest for additional information on Physical activity in Early Care and Education Settings.

Increasing logico-mathematical thinking in low SES preschoolers

Increasing logico-mathematical thinking in low SES preschoolers
Kirkland, Lynn, 07/01/2015

Traditionally, children in low socioeconomic status (SES) inner-city areas in the United States lack experiences that prepare them for academic success, especially in math and science. The purpose of this research was to determine the extent to which a constructivist curriculum emphasizing logical thinking produces higher level thinking in low-SES preschool children. Fifty preschool children participated in the study and were pre- and posttested using Piagetian tasks. Results indicated that 84% of the students in the experimental group progressed at least one level, but only 36% of the control group progressed at least one level. Implications of the study are that implementing higher order thinking activities could result in improved logico-mathematical thinking in low-SES preschoolers. (author abstract)

Does Math Shelf improve at-risk preschoolers' mathematics performance?

Math Shelf: A randomized trial of a prekindergarten tablet number sense curriculum
Schacter, John, 01/01/2016

Research Findings: Effective preschool mathematics instruction is especially important for low-income children. Previous research demonstrates that low-income children enter kindergarten behind their middle-income peers. They receive less mathematics support at home and from public preschools. The aim of this study was to test Math Shelf, a tablet intervention designed to improve at-risk preschoolers' mathematics performance. A total of 100 children participated in a randomized controlled trial in a large urban Head Start center. Intervention students played Math Shelf on tablet computers for 6 weeks, whereas comparison students played the most downloaded and best reviewed preschool math apps on tablets for an equal amount of time. During game play, graduate student researchers supervised intervention and comparison students in separate rooms. Intervention and comparison groups did not differ on pretest assessments. Math Shelf students performed statistically significantly better (Cohen's d = 0.57) than comparison students at posttest. Practice or Policy: Math Shelf results suggest that teachers can enhance low-income preschoolers' mathematics knowledge in a relatively short amount of time by incorporating developmentally appropriate tablet interventions. (author abstract)

What are the findings from the Baby Nutrition and Physical Activity Self-Assessment for Child Care (Baby NAP SACC) study?

Child care provider adherence to infant and toddler feeding recommendations: Findings from the Baby Nutrition and Physical Activity Self-Assessment for Child Care (Baby NAP SACC) study
Blaine, Rachel E., 06/01/2015

Background: Identifying characteristics associated with the Institute of Medicine's (IOM) recommended feeding practices among infant and toddler care providers in child care centers could help in preventing childhood obesity. Methods: In 2009, at baseline in a pilot intervention study of 29 licensed Massachusetts child care centers with at least 50% of enrolled children identified as racial minorities, 57 infant and 109 toddler providers completed feeding questionnaires. To assess provider adherence to six IOM-recommended behaviors, we used cluster-adjusted multivariable logistic regression models including provider type (infant or toddler), race, education, and center Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) participation. Results: In multivariable analysis, CACFP participation was associated with providers sitting with children at meals (odds ratio [OR], 5.2; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.2-21.7), offering fruits and vegetables (OR, 3.3; 95% CI 1.7-6.2), and limiting fast food (OR, 3.5; 95% CI, 1.8-6.7). Providers at centers serving meals family style were less likely to allow children to leave food unfinished (OR, 0.27; 95% CI, 0.09-0.77). Infant providers were more likely than toddler providers to sit with children at meals (OR, 6.98; 95% CI, 1.51-32.09), allow children to eat when hungry (OR, 3.50; 95% CI, 1.34-9.16), and avoid serving sugary (OR, 8.74; 95% CI, 3.05-25.06) or fast foods (OR, 11.56; 95% CI, 3.20-41.80). Conclusions: CACFP participation may encourage IOM-recommended feeding practices among infant and toddler providers. Child care providers may benefit from education about how to feed infants and toddlers responsively, especially when offering foods family style. Future research should explore ways to promote child-centered feeding practices, while addressing barriers to providing children with nutrient-rich foods. (author abstract)

What is the relationship between child care subsidies and employment outcomes of low-income families?

Child care subsidies and employment outcomes of low-income families
Ha, Yoonsook, 12/01/2015

This study examined the relationship between mothers' child care subsidy use and their earnings and labor force attachment. Using Wisconsin administrative data, this study examined 48 months of subsidy use for mothers who became eligible for child care subsidies between March 2000 and February 2001 (n = 8984). Comparing subsidy-eligible mothers who received subsidies and those who were eligible but did not, we estimated the likelihood of experiencing an increase (or decrease) in earnings and the likelihood of experiencing an increase (or decrease) in the number of quarters employed. We used multinomial regression models to estimate each economic outcome separately and used logistic regression models to estimate both of the outcomes together. In both separate and joint analyses of earnings and quarters employed, we found that subsidy receipt was associated with an increase in the probability of an increase in earnings and/or number of quarters employed and a decrease in the probability of a decrease in quarters employed. However, in general, these associations were only significant when mothers received a subsidy for 12 months or more. These findings suggest the importance of identifying potential barriers to subsidy use, as stable receipt of subsidies may contribute to parents' economic well-being. (author abstract)

What are the effects of a responsiveness-focused intervention in family child care homes on children's executive function?

Effects of a responsiveness-focused intervention in family child care homes on children's executive function
Merz, Emily C., 01/01/2016

Caregiver responsiveness has been theorized and found to support children's early executive function(EF) development. This study examined the effects of an intervention that targeted family child care provider responsiveness on children's EF. Family child care providers were randomly assigned to one of two intervention groups or a control group. An intervention group that received a responsiveness-focused online professional development course and another intervention group that received this online course plus weekly mentoring were collapsed into one group because they did not differ on any of the outcome variables. Children (N = 141) ranged in age from 2.5 to 5 years (mean age = 3.58 years; 52% female). At pretest and posttest, children completed delay inhibition tasks (gift delay-wrap, gift delay-bow) and conflict EF tasks (bear/dragon, dimensional change card sort), and parents reported on the children's level of attention problems. Although there were no main effects of the intervention on children's EF, there were significant interactions between intervention status and child age for delay inhibition and attention problems. The youngest children improved in delay inhibition and attention problems if they were in the intervention rather than the control group, whereas older children did not. These results suggest that improving family child care provider responsive behaviors may facilitate the development of certain EF skills in young preschool-age children. (author abstract)

Check out Research Connections Topic of Interest for additional information on Interventions to Promote Young Children's Self-Regulation and Executive Function Skills in Early Childhood Settings.

Is child care burden associated with the risk of child maltreatment?

Child care burden and the risk of child maltreatment among low-income working families
Ha, Yoonsook, 12/01/2015

Studies suggest that a substantial proportion of low-income working mothers experience work disruptions and parental stress related to child care, which may lead to increases in the risk of physical and psychological abuse and neglect of children. However, little research has examined the relationship between child care burden and the risk of child maltreatment among low-income working families. Using the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study 3-year data, this study explores how child care burden is associated with the risk of child maltreatment (physical aggression, psychological aggression, and neglectful behavior) among low-income working mothers. We find that instability in child care arrangements is likely to increase mothers' physical and psychological aggression, while not having someone reliable for emergency child care is likely to increase mothers' neglectful behaviors. Findings also show that the risk of child maltreatment related to child care burden measures is more significant for single mothers than married mothers. Potential policy implications are discussed. (author abstract)

Is Head Start cost-effective?

Evaluating public programs with close substitutes: The case of Head Start
Kline, Patrick, 10/01/2015
(NBER Working Paper No. 21658). Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research. Retrieved from http://www.nber.org/papers/w21658.pdf

This paper empirically evaluates the cost-effectiveness of Head Start, the largest early-childhood education program in the United States. Using data from the Head Start Impact Study (HSIS), we show that Head Start draws roughly a third of its participants from competing preschool programs that receive public funds. This both attenuates measured experimental impacts on test scores and reduces the program's net budgetary costs. A calibration exercise indicates that accounting for the public savings associated with reduced enrollment in other subsidized preschools substantially increases estimates of Head Start's rate of return, defined as the after-tax lifetime earnings generated by an extra dollar of public spending. Control function estimation of a semi-parametric selection model reveals substantial heterogeneity in Head Start's test score impacts with respect to counterfactual care alternatives as well as observed and unobserved child characteristics. Head Start is about as effective at raising test scores as competing preschools and its impacts are greater on children from families less likely to participate in the program. Expanding Head Start to new populations is therefore likely to boost the program's rate of return, provided that the proposed technology for increasing enrollment is not too costly. (author abstract)

What are home literacy beliefs and practices among low-income Latino families?

Home literacy beliefs and practices among low-income Latino families
Davis, Heather S., 07/01/2016

The aim of this study was to explore within-group patterns of variability in the home literacy environments (HLEs) of low-income Latino families using latent profile analysis. Participants were (N = 193) families of Latino preschoolers enrolled in a larger study. In the fall of 2012, mothers filled out a family literacy practices inventory, a literacy beliefs inventory, and a socio-demographic questionnaire. Results revealed three psychometrically distinct HLE profiles. Profile 1 (37%), labelled Low Beliefs, Low Practices (LBLP), was characterized by very low incomes, low caregiver education, reading infrequently to children, primarily speaking Spanish and reported lowest literacy beliefs and practices. Profile 2 (16%), labelled Moderate Beliefs, Moderate Practices (MBMP), was also low income, had few books in the home, read in both English and Spanish to their children, and held moderately facilitative literacy beliefs and practices. Profile 3 (47%), labelled High Beliefs, High Practices (HBHP), reported the highest literacy beliefs and practices, highest percentage English-speaking, read more often to children, and had more books in the home. These findings highlight considerable variability in terms of literacy beliefs and practices among Latino families. The profiles have practical relevance in terms of children's readiness at school entry and working with their families. (author abstract)

What are the findings in the Austin Two-Generation Pilot project?

Austin Two-Generation Pilot Project evaluation
Juniper, Cynthia, 08/01/2015
Austin: University of Texas at Austin, Ray Marshall Center for the Study of Human Resources. Retrieved from http://sites.utexas.edu/raymarshallcenter/files/2015/10/final_final_Austin_Two_Generation_Evaluation_Report_Sept_2_2015.pdf

The project evaluated in this report, the Austin Two-Generation Pilot Project, provided English as a Second Language classes three mornings a week in the spring semester 2015 for adults with children enrolled in two different Austin Independent School District sites: Uphaus Early Childhood Center and Linder Elementary school. The project was designed to gain an understanding of the implementation process and participant experience of a two-generation project in Austin, TX to inform future two-generation project development in the region. This two-generation pilot project was evaluated using the following means: a review of student goal setting forms, an interview with the ESL teacher, student surveys and focus group transcripts, a classroom observation, student attendance related to a pre- and post-test of student English literacy skills, and a comparison of the spring semester school attendance of the Uphaus children whose parents participated in the project, to the larger group of Uphaus students. Participants indicated that their primary reason for participating in the program was to help their children with homework and to learn to use a computer for work and finding a job. Parents identified that quality child care services for their younger children were essential to their participation in the program. Parents reported increasing the amount of time they spend reading to their children, listening and talking to their children each day after school, reading the school newsletter, talking with their child's teacher and attending parent events. The majority of participants experienced improvements in listening (77%), pronunciation (61%), speaking (61%), and writing (77%) as a result of their participation in the class. (author abstract)

How do child care providers interpret 'reasonable suspicion' of child abuse?

How childcare providers interpret 'reasonable suspicion' of child abuse
Levi, Benjamin H. (Benjamin Horowitz), 12/01/2015

Childcare providers are often "first responders" for suspected child abuse, and how they understand the concept of "reasonable suspicion" will influence their decisions regarding which warning signs warrant reporting. Objective The purpose of this study was to investigate how childcare providers interpret the threshold for reporting suspected abuse, and to consider the implications of these findings for professional training and development. Method A convenience sample of 355 childcare providers completed the Reasonable Suspicion of Child Abuse survey to quantify what likelihood of child abuse constitutes "reasonable suspicion." Responses were examined for internal consistency, evidence of a group standard, and associations with professional and personal demographics. Results On a Rank Order Scale, responses for what constitutes "reasonable suspicion" ranged from requiring that abuse be "the" most likely cause (8 %) of an injury, to the second most likely (9 %), third (18 %), fourth (18 %), to even the seventh (8 %) or eighth (5 %) most likely cause of an injury. On a numerical probability scale, 21 % of respondents indicated that "abuse" would need to be [greater than or equal to] 83 % likely before reasonable suspicion existed; 40 % stated that a likelihood between 53-82 % was needed; 27 % identified the necessary likelihood between 33-52 %; and 12 % set a threshold between 1-32 %. Conclusions The present finding that no consensus exists for interpreting "reasonable suspicion" suggests that a broadly accepted interpretive framework is needed in order to help prepare childcare providers to know when to report suspected abuse. (author abstract)

Are policies that promote labor force participation of women with children effective?

The effectiveness of policies that promote labor force participation of women with children: A collection of national studies [Special section]
Cascio, Elizabeth U., 10/01/2015

A special section of the journal Labour Economics, focusing on the effectiveness of policies promoting labor force participation of women around the years of childbearing.

Check out more articles from the October issue of Labour Economics.

What is the role of child care subsidies in the lives of low-income children?

The role of child-care subsidies in the lives of low-income children
Johnson, Anna D., 12/01/2015

In the United States, federally funded child-care subsidies offer a unique opportunity to influence low-income children's early education and, in so doing, affect their development. To understand the role of child-care subsidies in children's lives, we must answer the following questions about their impact: How does receiving subsidies affect (a) the type of care children receive, (b) the quality of care children receive, and (c) their developmental outcomes? Theoretically, the answers to these questions should cohere, yet they do not; though subsidies increase exposure to the type and quality of care known to predict more optimal outcomes for children, the direct effect of subsidies on outcomes has been null or negative. In this article, we review research on child-care subsidies to describe its inconsistencies and offer explanations, a timely endeavor in light of the 2014 reauthorization of legislation on child-care subsidies. (author abstract)

Check out Research Connections Topic of Interest for additional information on the Child Care and Development Block Grant Reauthorization.

What are the trends around preschool discipline?

Point of entry: The preschool-to-prison pipeline
Adamu, Maryam, 10/01/2015
Washington, DC: Center for American Progress. Retrieved from https://cdn.americanprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/08000111/PointOfEntry-reportUPDATE.pdf

This report highlights the trends around preschool discipline. It first details the interconnected factors that augment these trends, including the rise of zero-tolerance policies and mental health issues in young children while also exploring some of the factors that cause suspensions and expulsions. These factors include the implicit biases of teachers and school administrators and how these biases affect their perceptions of challenging behaviors; the lack of support and resources for teachers; and the effect of teacher-student relationships. Finally, this report will provide recommendations and approaches to increase the protective factors available to ensure that young children stay in school and reap the full benefits of early learning while simultaneously supporting schools and teachers to actively resist the criminalization of African American youth. (author abstract) Check out school expulsion and Interventions to promote self-regulation for additional information and resources from Research Connections.

What type of early childhood coaching literature is available to improve the effectiveness of coaching and the preparation of coaches who serve in early childhood settings?

Applying an evidence-based framework to the early childhood coaching literature
Artman-Meeker, Kathleen, 11/01/2015

Professional development (PD) is a critical pathway for promoting the use of evidence-based intervention practices in early childhood (EC) settings. Coaching has been proposed as a type of PD that is especially promising for job-embedded learning. A lack of consensus exists regarding evidence-based EC coaching strategies and what types of support coaches need to implement these strategies. In this literature review, we analyzed the EC coaching literature in terms of coaching strategies shown to improve EC practitioners' use of effective intervention practices, coaching model components and strategies, the rigor and quality of the research, and the preparation provided to coaches in the identified articles. We conclude with recommendations for enhancing the effectiveness of coaching and improving the preparation of coaches who serve in EC settings. (author abstract) Check out here for additional resources and information on off-site coaching in early childhood settings.

What are the rates of parents' persistence and certification in a two-generation education and training program?

Parents' persistence and certification in a two-generation education and training program
Sabol, Terri J., 11/01/2015

Two-generation programs provide education and training services for parents while their children attend early childhood education programs. This study examines the rates of persistence and certification of parents in one of the only two-generation interventions in the country under study, CareerAdvance(R), which offers training in the healthcare sector to parents while their children attend Head Start (n=92). Results indicate that 16 months after enrolling in CareerAdvance(R), 76% of participants attained at least one workforce-applicable certificate of the program and 59% were still in the program. The majority of parents who left the program during the 16 months had attained a certificate (68%). Parents with high levels of material hardship were more likely to attain a certificate and stay enrolled in the program, and parents with higher levels of psychological distress were less likely to attain a certificate in the same time period. Implications for future two-generation programming are discussed. (author abstract)

Are English language learner children at greater risk for developing reading problems?

Evaluation of the utility of the Revised Get Ready to Read! for Spanish-speaking English-language learners through differential item functioning analysis
Farrington, Amber L., 09/01/2015

Children who are Spanish-speaking English-language learners (ELLs) comprise a rapidly growing percentage of the population in U.S. schools. To determine which of these children have weaker emergent literacy skills and are in need of intervention, it is necessary to assess emergent literacy skills accurately and reliably. In this study, 1,318 preschool children were administered the Revised Get Ready to Read! (GRTR-R), and item-response theory analyses were used to evaluate and compare the item-level characteristics of the measure. Results of differential item functioning (DIF) analysis identified significant DIF for seven items. Correlational analysis demonstrated that ELL children's scores on the GRTR-R were more strongly related to oral language skills than were non-ELL children's scores. These results support the use of the GRTR-R as a screening tool for identifying ELL children who are at risk for developing reading problems. (author abstract)

How has Mississippi's child care quality rating and improvement system, Quality Stars program fared?

Evaluation of Mississippi child care Quality Stars program: Final report
De Marco, Allison, 07/29/2015
Jackson: Mississippi, Division of Early Childhood Care & Development. Retrieved from http://www.mdhs.ms.gov/media/308151/MS-QRIS-Evaluation-Master-Final-Report_.pdf

In May 2014 the Mississippi Department of Human Services, Division of Early Childhood Care and Development (DECCD) contracted with the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute (FPG) to evaluate Mississippi's quality rating and improvement system (QRIS), Quality Stars. The goal of the evaluation was to examine the policies, processes, and implementation of Quality Stars, which is a building block 5-level tiered, statewide voluntary system whose stated goal is "to improve and communicate the level of quality in licensed child care and educational settings across the state." Quality Stars was designed to evaluate quality in child care and early education facilities through assessment in five areas: 1) program administration, 2) learning environments, 3) staff development, 4) parent involvement, and 5) evaluation. (author abstract) Check out here for additional resources and information on Quality rating and improvement state evaluations and research.

What is the state of early childhood higher education in California?

Teaching the teachers of our youngest children: The state of early childhood higher education in California, 2015
Austin, Lea J. E., 10/01/2015
Berkeley: University of California, Berkeley, Center for the Study of Child Care Employment. Retrieved from http://www.irle.berkeley.edu/cscce/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/California-HEI-Narrative-Report.pdf

In the 2013-14 academic year, researchers from CSCCE implemented the Early Childhood Higher Education Inventory, which consists of three modules: a mapping of the population of higher education programs within a state; an online program survey completed by the degree/credential program leader (e.g., dean or coordinator); and an online faculty survey completed by individual faculty members. The program findings reported here are drawn from a final sample of 116 associate, 35 bachelor's, and 19 master's degree programs, and 47 multiple subject credential programs. With respect to multiple subject credential programs, the Inventory examined course content related to a limited number of topics and field-based learning experiences. (author abstract)

Are preschoolers getting enough physical activity in home-based child care?

Physical and sedentary activity levels among preschoolers in home-based childcare: A systematic review
Vanderloo, Leigh M., 06/01/2015

Background: Although preschoolers' physical activity in center-based childcare has received considerable attention, less is known regarding this group's activity levels within home-based childcare. This review aimed to explore and synthesize the literature on preschoolers' physical and sedentary activity levels in home-based childcare. Outdoor playtime was also examined to contribute to the understanding of preschoolers' activity levels within this particular setting. Methods: Nine online databases were searched for peer-reviewed, English-language, primary studies that quantitatively measured physical and sedentary activity levels of preschoolers attending home-based childcare. Studies were excluded if they were nonprimary research, if they lacked a preschool-aged sample, if they did not quantitatively measure physical or sedentary activity, or if they took place in an ineligible environment. Results: Seven articles were included in this review: 3 had objective measures of activity levels, and 4 relied on nonobjective measures. Accclerometry data suggest that preschoolers' average sedentary, moderate-to-vigorous, and total physical activity levels in home-based childcare ranged from 39.5 to 49.6, 1.8 to 9.7, and 10.4 to 33.8 min/hr, respectively. Outdoor playtime appears to be inconsistent in home-based childcare. Conclusion: Physical activity among preschoolers attending home-based childcare appears to be relatively low and widely varied. Sedentary time has received less attention in home-based childcare settings. Future research examining activity levels in this unique environment is warranted. (author abstract)

What are parental expectations of STEM opportunities in after school programs?

Full STEM ahead: Afterschool programs step up as key partners in STEM education
Afterschool Alliance,
Washington, DC: Afterschool Alliance. Retrieved from http://www.afterschoolalliance.org/AA3PM/STEM.pdf

The America After 3PM survey has been conducted in 2004, 2009, and 2014, revealing changes over a decade in availability and access to afterschool programs during the critical hours of 3 to 6 p.m.--the hours after school ends and before parents typically return from work. Building on the 2004 and 2009 surveys and recognizing the growing emphasis on STEM learning in afterschool programs, the 2014 America After 3PM survey included several specific questions about afterschool STEM programming. In this survey, we defined the constituent topics in STEM as follows: (1) science learning opportunities; (2) technology and engineering learning opportunities (such as building robots, designing bridges or solving environmental problems); and (3) math learning opportunities (such as math games, puzzles or working with geometric shapes). Our goal was to probe for respondents' views on programs that went beyond homework help, especially in mathematics. However, we recognize that parents and providers may define STEM in subjective ways and it is difficult to enforce a rigorous and consistent definition of STEM in a household survey. Therefore, some of the findings about the nature of programming and the frequency might be not as cleanly demarcated from homework-related programs as we might wish. (author abstract)

How do Latino preschoolers from low-income families fare in publicly-funded early care and education programs?

Preparing low-income Latino children for kindergarten and beyond: How children in Miami's publicly-funded preschool programs fare
Ansari, Arya, 09/01/2015
(Publication No. 2015-40). Bethesda, MD: National Research Center on Hispanic Children and Families. Retrieved from http://www.childtrends.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Hispanic-Center-MSRP-Brief-FINAL.pdf

To address questions regarding the influence of early care and education programs on Latino children's early academic development, we analyzed data from the Miami School Readiness Project (MSRP) in Miami-Dade County, Florida, which has a large Latino population. The MSRP represents a unique, large administrative data source that has followed, over time, children who participated in various types of publicly-funded early care and education programs at age four. Two of these programs are the focus of this brief: public-school- based pre-K, and center-based programs that accepted child care subsidies. These programs, referred to hereafter as public school pre-K and center-based care, respectively, were offered in a variety of settings and by a variety of sponsors. In this brief, we examine how well low-income Latino children who attended these two program types were prepared for kindergarten and how they performed academically by the time they were in third grade. (author abstract). Check here for additional information and resources from the National Research Center on Hispanic Children and Families.

How was the Hawaii P-3 initiative implemented and what were its outcomes?

Final report on the Hawai'i P-3 evaluation
Zellman, Gail L., 01/01/2015
(RR-1100-PPE). Santa Monica, CA: Rand Corporation. Retrieved from http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/research_reports/RR1100/RR1100/RAND_RR1100.pdf

This document reports the findings from RAND's five-year evaluation of the Hawai'i P-3 initiative, which began in 2009 and formally ended in 2014, although some activities continue at the time of this writing in May 2015 under a no-cost extension from the funder. These findings include both qualitative and quantitative assessments of the initiative's implementation and outcomes. (author abstract)

Is high quality child care out of reach for working families?

High quality child care is out of reach for working families
Gould, Elise (Elise Lorraine), 10/06/2015
(EPI Issue Brief No. 404). Washington, DC: Economic Policy Institute. Retrieved from http://www.epi.org/files/2015/child-care-is-out-of-reach.pdf

This paper uses a number of benchmarks to gauge the affordability of child care across the country. It begins by explaining how child care costs fit into EPI's basic family budget thresholds, which measure the income families need in order to attain a modest yet adequate standard of living in 618 communities. The report then compares child care costs to state minimum wages and public college tuition. Finally, to determine how child care costs differ by location and family composition, the paper reconstructs budgets for two-parent, two-child families in 10 locations to include the higher cost of infant care, compares these families' child care costs to those of families without infants, and compares costs for both family types with metro area median incomes. (author abstract) For additional research on the price of child care see Prices charged in early care and education: Initial findings from the National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE) and Parents and the high cost of child care: 2014 report

Did the Tennessee Voluntary Prekindergarten program help children make greater academic and behavioral gains in school?

A randomized control trial of a statewide voluntary prekindergarten program on children's skills and behaviors through third grade: Research report
Lipsey, Mark W., 09/29/2015
Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University, Peabody Research Institute. Retrieved from http://peabody.vanderbilt.edu/research/pri/VPKthrough3rd_final_withcover.pdf

In 2009, Vanderbilt University's Peabody Research Institute, in coordination with the Tennessee Department of Education's Division of Curriculum and Instruction, initiated a rigorous, independent evaluation of the state's Voluntary Prekindergarten program (TN-VPK). TN-VPK is a full-day prekindergarten program for four-year-old children expected to enter kindergarten the following school year. The program in each participating school district must meet standards set by the State Board of Education that require each classroom to have a teacher with a license in early childhood development and education, an adult-student ratio of no less than 1:10, a maximum class size of 20, and an approved age-appropriate curriculum. TN-VPK is an optional program focused on the neediest children in the state. It uses a tiered admission process with children from low-income families who apply to the program admitted first. Any remaining seats in a given location are then allocated to otherwise at-risk children including those with disabilities and limited English proficiency. The evaluation was funded by a grant from the U. S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences (R305E090009). It was designed to determine whether the children who participate in the TN-VPK program make greater academic and behavioral gains in areas that prepare them for later schooling than comparable children who do not participate in the program. It is the first prospective randomized control trial of a scaled up state-funded, targeted pre-kindergarten program that has been undertaken. The current report presents findings from this evaluation summarizing the longitudinal effects of TN-VPK on pre-kindergarten through third grade achievement and behavioral outcomes for an Intensive Substudy Sample of 1076 children, of which 773 were randomly assigned to attend TN-VPK classrooms and 303 were not admitted. Both groups have been followed since the beginning of the pre-k year. (author abstract)

What works for reducing problem behaviors in early childhood?

What works for reducing problem behaviors in early childhood: Lessons from experimental evaluations
Carney, Rachel, 08/01/2015
(Publication #2015-32). Bethesda, MD: Child Trends. Retrieved from http://www.childtrends.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/2015-32WhatWorksProblemBehaviors.pdf

This research brief synthesizes experimental evaluations of 50 programs. The evaluations assessed program impacts on externalizing behaviors and/or internalizing behaviors among children ages birth to five. Evaluations of twenty-six programs assessed externalizing behaviors exclusively; 23 program evaluations assessed both externalizing and internalizing behaviors; and one assessed internalizing behaviors exclusively. Most of the evaluations focused on preschool children, or those ages three to five. (author abstract)

What are the long-run impacts of a universal child care program on non-cognitive skills in young children and their life outcomes?

Non-cognitive deficits and young adult outcomes: The long-run impacts of a universal child care program
Baker, Michael, 09/01/2015
(NBER Working Paper No. 21571). Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research. Retrieved from http://www.nber.org/papers/w21571.pdf

Past research has demonstrated that positive increments to the non-cognitive development of children can have long-run benefits. We test the symmetry of this contention by studying the effects of a sizeable negative shock to non-cognitive skills due to the introduction of universal child care in Quebec. We first confirm earlier findings showing reduced contemporaneous non-cognitive development following the program introduction in Quebec, with little impact on cognitive test scores. We then show these non-cognitive deficits persisted to school ages, and also that cohorts with increased child care access subsequently had worse health, lower life satisfaction, and higher crime rates later in life. The impacts on criminal activity are concentrated in boys. Our results reinforce previous evidence on the central role of non-cognitive skills for long-run success. (author abstract)

How does child care regulation affect the cost and quality of child care?

Regulation and the cost of child care
Thomas, Diana W., 08/01/2015
Arlington, VA: Mercatus Center. Retrieved from http://mercatus.org/sites/default/files/Thomas-Regulation-Child-Care.pdf

Female labor market choices depend on the availability, affordability, and quality of child care. In this paper, we evaluate different regulatory measures and their effect on both the quality and the cost of child care. First, we analyze data on regulations and costs to estimate the effect of regulatory measures on the cost of child care. Next, we summarize the existing literature on the effect of regulation on child care quality. We find that regulation intended to improve quality often focuses on easily observable measures of the care environment that do not necessarily affect the quality of care but that do increase the cost. Thus, we find that the regulatory environment could be improved by eliminating costly measures that do not affect quality of care. (author abstract)

How do face-to-face and webcam literacy compare as coaching strategies for teachers with struggling readers?

The Targeted Reading Intervention: Face-to-face vs. webcam literacy coaching of classroom teachers
Vernon-Feagans, Lynne, 08/01/2015

The targeted reading intervention (TRI) is a professional development program for rural kindergarten and first grade classroom teachers to help them provide effective reading strategies with struggling readers. In two randomized controlled trials, the TRI was delivered two ways: (1) literacy coaches provided support for classroom teachers through face-to-face classroom meetings or (2) coaches provided support to classroom teachers through live webcam technology. The purpose this study was to examine how face-to-face versus webcam coaching was related to teacher and struggling reader outcomes. Regression results suggested greater benefits with webcam literacy coaching for teacher fidelity and efficacy. Both struggling reader groups made equivalent gains across literacy measures, although there were greater gains on one child literacy measure in the webcam group. (author abstract)

How do early childhood teachers' psycho-social characteristics and their attitudes towards challenging students impact classroom quality?

Early childhood teachers' well-being, mindfulness, and self-compassion in relation to classroom quality and attitudes towards challenging students
Jennings, Patricia A., 08/01/2015

Early childhood teachers are instrumental in creating socially and emotionally supportive learning environments for young children. However, there is a paucity of research examining teachers' psychosocial characteristics in relation to the dimensions of quality learning environments. Furthermore, little is known about the relationship between teachers' psychosocial characteristics and their attitudes about children whose behavior they find challenging. The present study examined data from 35 preschool teachers' self-reports of well-being, mindfulness, and self-compassion in relation to observations of classroom quality and ratings of semi-structured interviews about a child chosen by the teacher as most challenging. Mindfulness, self-compassion, personal efficacy, and positive affect were associated with emotional support while emotional exhaustion and depersonalization were negatively associated with emotional support. Depression was negatively associated with emotional support, classroom organization, and instructional support. With regard to the interview ratings, mindfulness and efficacy were positively associated with perspective-taking and sensitivity to discipline, and depersonalization was negatively associated with sensitivity to discipline. While further research is needed to ascertain causality, these results suggest that teachers' psychosocial characteristics may impact their ability to create and maintain optimal classroom environments and supportive relationships with challenging students. Furthermore, they point to the need for research to examine professional development designed to promote mindfulness, reduce distress, and support teachers' social and emotional competence and well-being. (author abstract)

What are the effects of Head Start on early literacy skills of English language learners compared to their peers?

Literacy-related school readiness skills of English language learners in Head Start: An analysis of the School Readiness Survey
Park, Yujeong, 10/01/2015

he purpose of this study is to examine the effects of Head Start on early literacy skills relevant to school readiness of English language learners compared to their peers. The comparisons of literacy outcomes were conducted between English language learners and non-English language learners when both groups participated and were not in Head Start. A total of 47 covariates were involved in propensity score analysis, and average treatment effects for the treated individuals were used to estimate the literacy outcome differences from the comparisons. The results indicated that early literacy outcomes of English language learners and non-English language learners were significantly different in recognizing alphabetic letters and rhyming words regardless of whether or not both English language learners and non-English language learners attend in Head Start. Being in Head Start did not contribute to reducing the gap between English language learners and non-English language learners. Finally, the limitations of this study and future directions for research and practice are discussed. (author abstract)

QRIS Standards

QRIS quality standards web sites
National Center on Child Care Quality Improvement, 04/01/2015
(No. 437). Fairfax, VA: National Center on Child Care Quality Improvement. Retrieved from https://childcareta.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/public/437_1504_qris_standards_websites.pdf

The following tables provide the Web sites for States' QRIS standards compiled by the National Center on Child Care Quality Improvement (NCCCQI). States often have multiple sets of standards for specific types of early care and education providers, such as child care centers, family child care (FCC) homes, and school-age programs. (author abstract)

What are the characteristics of family child care providers who engage in online professional development programs?

Gateway to quality: Online professional development for family childcare providers
Durden, Tonia, 07/01/2016

High-quality family childcare (FCC) can positively influence all areas of a child's growth and development. Thus, it is important to invest in efforts to increase quality, including providing professional development to enhance the skills of those caring for children in their homes. This study explores the characteristics of FCC providers who engage in an online professional development program. Findings show that a majority of these providers are female, had at least a high school diploma, and are licensed or registered. Content areas most frequently selected for professional development include ways to support children's social, emotional, physical, and intellectual development. The frequency of access and range of coursework completed implies that online learning is accessible for the FCC workforce audience and has the capacity to meet state requirements for professional development. Future directions to extend this research are discussed. (author abstract)

Are number-related home activities and math talk contributors to early math development in Head Start children?

Math talk during informal learning activities in Head Start families
Ramani, Geetha B., 07/01/2015

Children from low-income backgrounds are at risk for lower mathematical achievement. However, early numerical knowledge amongst children from lower-income families varies widely. Understanding sources of this variation could identify areas to intervene to reduce SES-related differences in math skills. Two sources of this variation were examined in Head Start families: (1) caregivers' and children's talk related to math during a dyadic interaction, and (2) caregiver reports of number-related experiences at home. Frequency of engaging in number-related activities at home predicted children's foundational number skills, such as counting. However, caregivers' talk during the interaction about more advanced number concepts for preschoolers, such as cardinality and ordinal relations, predicted children's advanced number skills that build on these concepts, such as numerical magnitude understanding. Findings suggest that the quantity and quality of number-related experiences that occur in the home can contribute to the variability found in low-income preschoolers' numerical knowledge. (author abstract)

What are the predictors of the school-and home-based educational involvement of Afro-Caribbean and Latino immigrant parents with young children?

Family and teacher characteristics as predictors of parent involvement in education during early childhood among Afro-Caribbean and Latino immigrant families
Calzada, Esther J., 10/01/2015

Parent involvement is a robust predictor of academic achievement, but little is known about school- and home-based involvement in immigrant families. Drawing on ecological theories, the present study examined contextual characteristics as predictors of parent involvement among Afro-Caribbean and Latino parents of young students in urban public schools. Socioeconomic disadvantage was associated with lower home-based involvement. Several factors were associated with higher involvement, including parents' connection to their culture of origin and to U.S. culture, engagement practices by teachers and parent-teacher ethnic consonance (for Latinos only). Findings have implications for promoting involvement among immigrant families of students in urban schools. (author abstract)

What are the impacts of preschool teachers' traditional gender role attitudes on children's reading related skills?

Reading is for girls!?: The negative impact of preschool teachers' traditional gender role attitudes on boys' reading related motivation and skills
Wolter, Ilka, 08/24/2015

According to gender stereotypes, reading is for girls. In this study, we investigated the role of preschool teachers in transmitting such gendered expectations. We suggest that boys are less motivated to read in preschool, and less competent in reading 1 year later in primary school, if their preschool teacher holds a traditional gender role attitude than if the teacher has egalitarian beliefs. In 135 independent dyads of a female preschool teacher (N=135) and one boy (n=65) or one girl (n=70) we measured teacher's gender role attitude, child's reading related motivation as well as precursors of reading skills in preschool, and child's reading skills at the end of first grade in primary school. As expected, the more traditional preschool teachers' gender role attitude was, the weaker was boys' motivation to (learn to) read while girls' motivation was unrelated to teachers' gender role attitude. In either gender, motivation in preschool predicted reading skills at the end of first grade. (author abstract)

What are the effects of Head Start on parenting outcomes for children living in non-parental care?

The effect of Head Start on parenting outcomes for children living in non-parental care
Pratt, Megan E., 10/01/2015

We examined the effect of Head Start on parenting outcomes for children living in nonparental care, or living with someone other than biological, adoptive, or step-parent. Data came from the Head Start Impact Study, a nationally representative and randomized controlled trial of Head Start-eligible children and families. Parenting outcomes included receipt of supportive services, receipt of home visiting, parental involvement at home and at school, and frequency of spanking. Regression analyses indicated positive effects of Head Start on receipt of supportive services and home visiting, and on decreases in spanking, as well as marginal effects on greater preschool-based parent involvement (e.g., attending conferences and workshops and classroom volunteering). No effect was detected of Head Start on home-based involvement (i.e., frequency parent-child book reading and enrichment activities). These findings add to an emerging line of research suggesting that early childhood programs, such as Head Start, may be an effective and practical way of supporting non-parental families with preschool-aged children. Findings also identify potential areas for improvement in supporting non-parental families and the need for more research to further understand the role of early care and education in the lives of nonparental families. (author abstract)

Is there a difference in infant feeding practices of parents in the WIC supplemental nutrition program who are and are not enrolled in child care?

Comparison of feeding practices in infants in the WIC supplemental nutrition program who were enrolled in child care as opposed to those with parent care only
Kim, Juhee, 09/01/2015

Background: The environment or setting to which an infant is exposed is crucial to establishing healthy eating habits and to preventing obesity. This study aimed to compare infant feeding practices and complementary food type between parent care (PC) and childcare (CC) settings among infants receiving the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). Materials and Methods: This study sampled 105 dyads of mothers and infants between 2 to 8 months of age from a WIC office in Central Illinois. Mothers completed a cross-sectional survey to assess their infant feeding practices and demographic characteristics. CC was defined as infants receiving 10 hours or more per week of care from a nonparental caregiver. Results: Almost half of the infants (44%) were enrolled in CC. Infants in CC had an average of 29 hours of care per week compared with 0.64 hours in the PC group (p < 0.01). There were no differences between the two groups in age, sex, race/ethnicity, preterm birth, and birth weight. Overall, there were no significant differences in breastfeeding initiation and duration. The average age at formula introduction was earlier for PC infants (0.90 +/- 1.16 months) than for CC infants (1.66 +/- 1.64 months) (p = 0.03). PC infants stopped breastfeeding at 1.96 +/- 1.15 months compared with 2.31 +/- 1.64 months for CC infants (p = 0.080). Among complementary foods introduced to infants, the primary food type was infant cereal, followed by baby food of fruits and vegetables, 100% fruit juice, and meat-based baby food. The timing of introduction and the types of complementary foods were similar between study groups. Conclusions: CC use is not a significant influence on breastfeeding rates, introduction of complementary foods, and types of complementary foods; however, it does influence when formula is introduced. The findings support the need for infant nutrition education and breastfeeding promotion targeting WIC mothers, regardless of their pattern of CC. (author abstract)

To what extent can preschool teachers achieve implementation fidelity when using a language and literacy curriculum?

A comprehensive examination of preschool teachers' implementation fidelity when using a supplemental language and literacy curriculum
Piasta, Shayne B., 10/01/2015

Recent curriculum studies raise a number of questions concerning teachers' implementation fidelity, including the extent to which fidelity to multiple curriculum components is achieved and measured and the extent to which fidelity serves as a mechanism for impacting children's learning. Objective Within the context of a language and literacy curriculum supplement designed for use at scale, we investigated (1) teachers' fidelity across the multiple dimensions identified in the literature (e.g., Dane and Schneider in Clin Psychol Rev 18(1):23-45, 1998) and interrelations among these dimensions and (2) associations between measures of fidelity and the language and literacy gains made by children. Method We examined the fidelity of 74 preschool teachers implementing Read It Again!. Multiple measures of adherence, exposure, quality of delivery, and participant responsiveness were collected across the year of implementation, and children's (n = 295) language and literacy gains were directly measured. Results Descriptive statistics demonstrated generally high implementation fidelity across all dimensions. Correlational analyses showed few interrelations among fidelity measures and few associations with child gains. Conclusions Findings suggest that teachers can exhibit fidelity to multi-componential language and literacy curricula designed for wide-scale use. Findings also support fidelity as a multidimensional construct and suggest that researchers utilize multiple measures to capture both within- and between-teacher variation in fidelity, while also pursuing additional studies to better understand the measurement and functioning of fidelity to inform future work. (author abstract)

Are physical exercises and gestures effective in helping preschool children learn foreign language vocabulary?

Effects of integrated physical exercises and gestures on preschool children's foreign language vocabulary learning
Mavilidi, Myrto-Foteini, 09/01/2015

Research suggests that integrating human movement into a cognitive learning task can be effective for learning due to its cognitive and physiological effects. In this study, the learning effects of enacting words through whole-body movements (i.e., physical exercise) and part-body movements (i.e., gestures) were investigated in a foreign language vocabulary task. Participants were 111 preschool children of 15 childcare centers, who were randomly assigned to one of four conditions. Participants had to learn 14 Italian words in a 4-week teaching program. They were tested on their memory for the words during, directly after, and 6 weeks after the program. In the integrated physical exercise condition, children enacted the actions indicated by the words to be learned in physical exercises. In the non-integrated physical exercise condition children performed physical exercises at the same intensity, but unrelated to the learning task. In the gesturing condition, children enacted the actions indicated by the words to be learned by gesturing while remaining seated. In the conventional condition, children verbally repeated the words while remaining seated. Results confirmed the main hypothesis, indicating that children in the integrated physical exercise condition achieved the highest learning outcomes. Implications of integrated physical exercise programs for preschool children's cognition and health are discussed. (author abstract)

How does early childhood teacher education shape the experiences of pre-service teachers of color?

Race, isolation, and exclusion: What early childhood teacher educators need to know about the experiences of pre-service teachers of color
Cheruvu, Ranita, 06/01/2015

Historically, in the United States, early childhood teacher education has been a discursive space dominated by White, English-monolingual, middle class perspectives. By and large, this space has remained unexamined even as the field acknowledges the need for more early childhood teachers of color. This study seeks to gain insights into the perspectives of pre-service teachers of color as they navigate this Eurocentric space. To do so, it addresses the following question: In what ways does early childhood teacher education shape the experiences of pre-service teachers of color? By looking closely at the perspectives of four pre-service teachers of color in predominantly White private institutions of higher education in large urban centers, this study seeks to address the pressing need to illuminate the experiences of students of color in early childhood pre-service teacher education programs, especially regarding the ways in which they negotiate becoming teachers in such a normed space while battling both socially-imposed and self-internalized deficit conceptions of their own identities as individuals and developing teachers. (author abstract)

What are the features of teacher-coach conversations during early childhood coaching sessions?

Coaching conversations in early childhood programs: The contributions of coach and coachee
Jayaraman, Gayatri, 10/01/2015

Studies to date have linked early childhood (EC) coaching to child, family, and teacher outcomes but have not investigated "what" is happening in a coaching conversation. This exploratory study specifically unpacks nuances associated with the coaching conversation process and associations between the EC coaches' behaviors and coachees' participation during conversations. The results highlight conversation behaviors used by both EC coaches and coachees and how these behaviors may be associated with each other in building partnerships and promoting collaborative practices. The conversational behaviors of 24 EC coach-coachee dyads were investigated by reviewing video-taped sessions of their meetings using a reliable Early Childhood Coaching Conversations coding system. Results indicated much variability in the use of conversation behaviors. Bivariate correlations provided a hint of possible conversation behaviors associated with relationship building and a "shared ownership" process during coaching conversations. Implications for future work in research and practice are discussed. (author abstract)

What are the long-term impacts on health and healthy behaviors of the Perry Preschool Project and the Carolina Abecedarian Project?

The effects of two influential early childhood interventions on health and healthy behaviors
Conti, Gabriella, 08/01/2015
(NBER Working Paper No. 21454). Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research. Retrieved from http://www.nber.org/papers/w21454.pdf

his paper examines the long-term impacts on health and healthy behaviors of two of the oldest and most widely cited U.S. early childhood interventions evaluated by the method of randomization with long-term follow-up: the Perry Preschool Project (PPP) and the Carolina Abecedarian Project (ABC). There are pronounced gender effects strongly favoring boys, although there are also effects for girls. Dynamic mediation analyses show a significant role played by improved childhood traits, above and beyond the effects of experimentally enhanced adult socioeconomic status. These results show the potential of early life interventions for promoting health. (author abstract)

Can a training and mentoring program for child care center directors improve administrative practices and classroom quality?

Enhancing child care quality by director training and collegial mentoring
Doherty, Gillian, 03/01/2015

Although considerable evidence confirms that a director with good leadership and administrative skills is vital for developing and sustaining a high-quality child care program, many directors assume the role with little management experience or training. This paper reports on a training program in Canada that combined a formal curriculum to increase director administrative knowledge and skills with a mentoring component emphasizing peer support and collegial learning, delivered in a way that enabled participants to continue working full time. The participants in each of the 28 locations across the province formed study groups with facilitators and held monthly three-hour meetings for a year. During the meetings the participants and their facilitators discussed specific aspects of center administration and their implications for practice. Between meetings participants engaged in self-reflection, shared reflective journals, and worked as a group or in pairs on assignments such as doing a critical analysis of a case study. Graduates showed significant improvement in their administrative practice as measured by the PAS (t[57] = 4.31, p < .001) and in the global classroom quality in their centers as measured by the ECERS-R (t[57]= 3.32, p < .01). Eighteen months after graduation, members of all study groups reported ongoing contact with each other (e.g., seeking and receiving assistance and working on joint projects). These reports confirm the program's success in developing local, ongoing director support networks. (author abstract)

What is the relationship of teachers' perceptions of children's literacy skills to children's literacy gains during kindergarten?

Sociodemographic inequality in early literacy development: The role of teacher perceptual accuracy
Ready, Douglas D., 10/01/2015

Previous research has established that student learning is influenced by how accurately teachers perceive student academic ability. But studies rarely investigate the degree to which inaccuracies in teacher perceptions exacerbate demographic inequality in academic ability. Using a sample of almost 14,000 children from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Cohort, we found that children whose literacy skills are overestimated by their teachers typically gain more literacy skills during kindergarten. Conversely, children whose skills are underestimated learn less. It is important to note that the skills of socioeconomically disadvantaged children are on average underestimated. As a result, inequalities in kindergarten literacy development stem in part from the links between teacher misperceptions and student background. We also explored the extent to which these relationships operate through practices associated with ability grouping. We found instructional grouping to be a weak facilitator of the link between teacher perceptions and student learning, suggesting the need for further research that identifies the social and structural classroom characteristics that link teacher perceptual accuracy to student learning. (author abstract)

How has the field designed, delivered, and measured the effects of professional development for early childhood educators?

An analytic study of the professional development research in early childhood education
Schachter, Rachel E., 11/01/2015

The goal of this study was to examine empirical research on the design, delivery, and measurement of the effects of professional development (PD) for early childhood educators in order to provide insight into what the field has accomplished as well as suggest directions for future PD programs and research. Through the use of rigorous inclusion criteria outlined by S. M. Wilson, R. E. Floden, and J. Ferrini-Mundy (2001), 73 studies were included and analyzed. On average, 25% (M = 12.68, SD = 9.99) of references in each study were specifically about PD. The majority of studies (n = 39) targeted some form of language and literacy instruction, whereas only 5 studies targeted math and 1 study targeted science. A total of 35 different delivery mechanisms were used to provide PD, with 40 studies including some form of coaching and 45 including training workshops. The studies used a wide range of methods to measure PD-related outcomes: 51% (n = 37) of studies examined changes in teacher practice, 18% (n = 13) measured changes in teachers' knowledge, 40% (n = 29) measured changes in children's learning, and 11% (n = 8) measured changes in children's behavior. Practice or Policy: Based on the results of this study, there are 4 major ways in which PD for early childhood educators can be developed. Researchers and providers of PD should (a) continue to draw from multiple resources to inform PD implementation designs, (b) include more diversity in the content of instruction targeted by PD, (c) experiment with innovative formats for delivering PD, and (d) create better means of evaluating PD. (author abstract)

Does participation in the Child and Adult Care Food Program reduce child food insecurity?

The Child and Adult Care Food Program and food insecurity
Heflin, Colleen, 03/01/2015

The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) provides cash reimbursement to family day care, child-care centers, homeless shelters, and afterschool programs for meals and snacks served to children. Despite young children's known vulnerability to fluctuations in nutritional intake, prior literature has largely neglected the contributions of the CACFP to reducing household food insecurity. Using data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort (ECLS-B), we examine the association between CACFP provider participation and food insecurity, controlling for the nonrandom selection process into child-care centers that participate in CACFP. We find that accessing child care through providers that participate in the CACFP results in a small reduction in the risk of household food insecurity. Given the known cognitive and health consequences associated with food insecurity during early childhood, our results indicate the importance of improving access to the CACFP. (author abstract)

What are the patterns of child care subsidy use and stability and how do they relate to the continuity of child care arrangements?

Determinants of subsidy stability and child care continuity: Final report for the Illinois-New York child care research partnership
Henly, Julia R., 08/01/2015
Washington, DC: Urban Institute. Retrieved from https://ssascholars.uchicago.edu/sites/default/files/ccrp/files/2015.08.13_ccrp_phase_1_final_report_finalized.pdf

Despite a growing awareness of subsidy instability, knowledge remains limited regarding its determinants and how families and their child care providers respond to a break in program enrollment. In an effort to address this knowledge gap and to support policy efforts to improve the design and delivery of child care assistance to low-income families, researchers from the University of Chicago and the Urban Institute partnered with state child care administrators in Illinois and New York to conduct a study examining the factors that contribute to instability in families' receipt of child care subsidies and how this instability may affect the continuity of their care arrangements. This mixed-methods multiyear (2010-14) study, known as the Illinois-New York Child Care Research Partnership Study (IL-NY CCRP): Phase 1, analyzed the subsidy and child care experiences of a new cohort of subsidy clients residing in four diverse sites in Illinois and New York that represent both large and small urban centers and both rural and suburban counties. The study used longitudinal state administrative data of child care payment records in combination with newly collected subsidy client data from telephone surveys and in-depth qualitative interviews. This research report discusses key findings from the administrative and survey components of the study; a companion report, Determinants of Subsidy Stability and Child Care Continuity: Findings from the Qualitative Substudy of the Illinois-New York Child Care Research Partnership, presents key findings from the qualitative study component. (author abstract). This study is the product of a project funded by the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation: Determinants of Subsidy Stability and Continuity of Child Care in Illinois and New York.

What factors are associated with the reading readiness of Latino children who attend nonmaternal care during the year before kindergarten?

Beyond the black-white test score gap: Latinos' early school experiences and literacy outcomes
Delgado, Enilda A., 01/01/2015

Data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Survey-Birth Cohort are used to analyze the factors that lead to the reading readiness of children who participate in nonparental care the year prior to kindergarten (N = 4,550), with a specific focus on Latino children (N = 800). Stepwise multiple linear regression analysis demonstrates that reading scores are significantly influenced by the type of care provided the year prior to kindergarten, the caregiver's education and beliefs about kindergarten readiness, as well as access to books and a computer in the home. Furthermore, mother's level of education and marital status are important predictors of reading aptitude. (author abstract)

What is the effect of training and coaching on teachers' implementation of instructional practices associated with an intervention to prevent emotional/behavioral disorders?

Measuring teacher implementation of the BEST in CLASS intervention program and corollary child outcomes
Conroy, Maureen A., 09/01/2015

This study is part of a larger randomized efficacy trial examining the impact of Behavioral, Emotional, and Social Training: Competent Learners Achieving School Success (BEST in CLASS), a Tier 2 intervention that targets the prevention of emotional/behavioral disorders in young, high risk children. In this investigation, we examined teachers' implementation and maintenance of instructional practices in early childhood classrooms and the corollary relationships between teacher implementation of the specific instructional practices associated with BEST in CLASS and child engagement and problem behaviors. Fifty-three teachers (26 in treatment and 27 in comparison) and 130 preschool-aged children (66 in treatment and 64 in comparison) participated. Findings indicated that teachers' who received training and coaching in the BEST in CLASS intervention increased their use of specific instructional practices in comparison with teachers in the control condition. In addition, children whose teachers' received the BEST in CLASS intervention demonstrated increased engagement and a decrease in problem behaviors in comparison with those children who were in the control group. Positive teacher-child interactions increased and negative teacher-child interactions decreased in the intervention group in comparison with the control group. Results are discussed in relation to measuring teachers' implementation of instructional practices and implementation science. (author abstract)

What is the relationship of the number of hours infants spend in child care to infant-mother attachment?

Very extensive nonmaternal care predicts mother-infant attachment disorganization: Convergent evidence from two samples
Hazen, Nancy Lynn, 08/01/2015

We examined whether a maximum threshold of time spent in nonmaternal care exists, beyond which infants have an increased risk of forming a disorganized infant-mother attachment. The hours per week infants spent in nonmaternal care at 7-8 months were examined as a continuous measure and as a dichotomous threshold (over 40, 50 and 60 hr/week) to predict infant disorganization at 12-15 months. Two different samples (Austin and NICHD) were used to replicate findings and control for critical covariates: mothers' unresolved status and frightening behavior (assessed in the Austin sample, N=125), quality of nonmaternal caregiving (assessed in the NICHD sample, N=1,135), and family income and infant temperament (assessed in both samples). Only very extensive hours of nonmaternal care (over 60 hr/week) and mothers' frightening behavior independently predicted attachment disorganization. A polynomial logistic regression performed on the larger NICHD sample indicated that the risk of disorganized attachment exponentially increased after exceeding 60 hr/week. In addition, very extensive hours of nonmaternal care only predicted attachment disorganization after age 6 months (not prior). Findings suggest that during a sensitive period of attachment formation, infants who spend more than 60 hr/week in nonmaternal care may be at an increased risk of forming a disorganized attachment. (author abstract)

What features of early childhood education programs are associated with Latino children's early language and literacy development?

Improving Latino children's early language and literacy development: Key features of early childhood education within family literacy programmes
Jung, Youngok, 06/01/2016

Noting the lack of research on how early childhood education (ECE) programmes within family literacy programmes influence Latino children's early language and literacy development, this study examined key features of ECE programmes, specifically teacher-child interactions and child engagement in language and literacy activities and how these features relate to Latino children's early language and literacy development. Participants were 181 Latino children (3-5 years old) from low-income families enrolled in 22 ECE programmes within family literacy programmes. Teacher-child interactions were of medium quality on socioemotional support and low quality on instructional quality. Latino children spent about 20% of their day engaged in language and literacy activities. Multilevel regression analysis results showed that the length of Latino children's engagement in language and literacy activities in ECE programmes was more strongly related to their English oral language skills and alphabet knowledge than the quality of teacher-child interactions. (author abstract)

How do housing instability and homelessness influence parents' preschool choices?

Parental preschool choices and challenges when young children and their families experience homelessness
Taylor, Jamie, 09/01/2015

Encouraging stable preschool enrollment is a critically important policy response for ameliorating the negative impacts of housing instability and homelessness on young children. To contribute to the evidence base for preschool and family support policies, this article investigates how housing instability and homelessness influences parental preschool choices. Using a modified grounded theory approach to analyze transcripts of interviews and focus groups with 28 families who had experienced homelessness, we find that for formerly homeless parents, the most important factors influencing preschool enrollment are housing stability, social networks, attitudes about preschool education, history of trauma, and the type of support received during interactions with social service systems. We integrate these findings into a socio-ecological model that can guide the development of policy responses that encourage preschool enrollment among families experiencing homelessness. (author abstract) Also see Research Connections' related recent Research-to-Policy Resource List: Early care and education supports for young children experiencing homelessness.

What is toxic stress and how does it relate to self-regulation?

Self-regulation and toxic stress: A review of ecological, biological, and developmental studies of self-regulation and stress
Hamoudi, Amar, 02/01/2015
(OPRE Report No. 2015-30). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/acf_report_2_rev_022415_final_508.pdf

The goal of this report is to clarify how stress may impact the development of self-regulation. We will first operationalize stress and self-regulation as they are relevant to our empirical literature review, drawing from research across several scientific disciplines. Then we will discuss different perspectives of how stress and self-regulation interact and influence each other. From this foundation, we will identify important questions in the literature that we attempt to address with a methodical and comprehensive empirical review of human and nonhuman studies of stress and self-regulation. Following a summary of key findings, our report concludes with limitations of the current literature in this area and implications for interventions, the topic of the next report in this series. (author abstract) A recent special issue of the journal Early Education and Development explores self-regulation across different cultural contexts.

Who minds the kids when mom works a nonstandard schedule?

Who minds the kids when Mom works a nonstandard schedule?
Enchautegui, Maria E., 07/01/2015
Washington, DC: Urban Institute. Retrieved from http://www.urban.org/sites/default/files/alfresco/publication-pdfs/2000307-Who-Minds-the-Kids-When-Mom-Works-a-Nonstandard-Schedule.pdf

Growing shares of US workers operate on nonstandard schedules, with the majority of their work hours falling outside the traditional workday. Such workers who also have children have special child care needs because they require nontraditional child care hours. In this brief, we first give a background of what we know about nonstandard workers, their child care, and the associated policy environment. Then, we provide an up-to-date account of the prevalence of nonstandard work and the child care arrangements of low-income parents (those earning below 200 percent of the federal poverty level [FPL]) working nonstandard schedules; for this we use data from the 2008 panel of the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP). We seek to inform development of work and child care policies that best fit the needs of these workers and their children in ways that advance child and family well-being. (author abstract)

What do we know about how early childhood teachers use ongoing assessment?

What do we know about how early childhood teachers use ongoing assessment?
Akers, Lauren, 06/01/2015
(OPRE Brief #2015-60). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/what_do_we_know_about_how_early_childhood_teachers_use_ongoing.pdf

Recently, practitioners, researchers, and policymakers have placed greater emphasis on early childhood education (ECE) teachers' use of ongoing assessments to track children's progress and tailor instruction to each child's unique strengths, needs, and interests. Ongoing child assessment involves repeated assessments and observations of a child's performance and progress over time. Using ongoing child assessment to tailor or individualize instruction for each child is considered a best practice in early education programs and is a requirement in the Head Start Performance Standards. To learn more about the use of ongoing assessment in early education, the Office of Planning, Research & Evaluation funded a project in fall 2012 to explore how teachers use children's data to tailor instruction for each child. The project's goals are to (1) review the existing literature and develop a conceptual framework of ECE teachers use of ongoing child assessment to individualize instruction and (2) create a measurement tool to examine this process further. This brief summarizes findings from the review of the literature on ongoing assessment in early childhood, including what we know, what we still need to learn, and some recommended practices for using assessments to support children's learning and development. (author abstract) Two related briefs were also released Tailored teaching: The need for stronger evidence about early childhood teachers' use of ongoing assessment to individualize instruction, and What does it mean to use ongoing assessment to individualize instruction in early childhood?. Research Connections also produced an annotated bibliography of resources in its collection on Response to Intervention: Response to Intervention and other approaches for using ongoing assessment to guide individualized instruction in early education: A Key Topic Resource List.

Do kindergarten teachers' ratings of children's prosocial skills predict key adolescent and adult outcomes?

Early social-emotional functioning and public health: The relationship between kindergarten social competence and future wellness
Jones, Damon, 11/01/2015

Objectives. We examined whether kindergarten teachers' ratings of children's prosocial skills, an indicator of noncognitive ability at school entry, predict key adolescent and adult outcomes. Our goal was to determine unique associations over and above other important child, family, and contextual characteristics. Methods. Data came from the Fast Track study of low-socioeconomic status neighborhoods in 3 cities and 1 rural setting. We assessed associations between measured outcomes in kindergarten and outcomes 13 to 19 years later (1991-2000). Models included numerous control variables representing characteristics of the child, family, and context, enabling us to explore the unique contributions among predictors. Results. We found statistically significant associations between measured social-emotional skills in kindergarten and key young adult outcomes across multiple domains of education, employment, criminal activity, substance use, and mental health. Conclusions. A kindergarten measure of social-emotional skills may be useful for assessing whether children are at risk for deficits in noncognitive skills later in life and, thus, help identify those in need of early intervention. These results demonstrate the relevance of noncognitive skills in development for personal and public health outcomes. (author abstract)

What is the overall effect of early care and education programs on children's externalizing behavior problems?

Maximizing the potential of early childhood education to prevent externalizing behavior problems: A meta-analysis
Schindler, Holly S., 06/01/2015

Early childhood education (ECE) programs offer a promising mechanism for preventing early externalizing behavior problems and later antisocial behavior; yet, questions remain about how to best maximize ECE's potential. Using a meta-analytic database of 31 studies, we examined the overall effect of ECE on externalizing behavior problems and the differential effects of 3 levels of practice, each with increasing specificity and intensity aimed at children's social and emotional development. In short, we found that each successive level of programs did a better job than the prior level at reducing externalizing behavior problems. Level 1 programs, or those without a clear focus on social and emotional development, had no significant effects on externalizing behavior problems relative to control groups (ES=.13 SD, p < .10). On the other hand, level 2 programs, or those with a clear but broad focus on social and emotional development, were significantly associated with modest decreases in externalizing behavior problems relative to control groups (ES= -.10 SD, p < .05). Hence, level 2 programs were significantly better at reducing externalizing behavior problems than level 1 programs (ES= -.23 SD, p < .01). Level 3 programs, or those that more intensively targeted children's social and emotional development, were associated with additional significant reductions in externalizing behavior problems relative to level 2 programs (ES= -.26 SD, p < .05). The most promising effects came from level 3 child social skills training programs, which reduced externalizing behavior problems half of a standard deviation more than level 2 programs (ES= -.50 SD, p < .05). (author abstract)

Is there a bidirectional link between English language expressive vocabulary and self-regulation skills for monolingual and dual language learner preschoolers?

Bidirectionality in self-regulation and expressive vocabulary: Comparisons between monolingual and dual language learners in preschool
Bohlmann, Natalie L., 07/01/2015

Significant differences in language and self-regulation skills exist among children when they enter formal schooling. Contributing to these language differences is a growing population of dual language learners (DLLs) in the United States. Given evidence linking self-regulatory processes and language development, this study explored bidirectional associations between English expressive vocabulary and self-regulation skills for monolingual English and DLL preschool children (N = 250) from mixed-income families in Los Angeles. Across three time points, findings provide initial support for bidirectionality between these developing skills for both monolinguals and DLLs. Results provide strong empirical support for vocabulary serving as a leading indicator of self-regulation skills in preschool. Findings also suggest that early self-regulation skills play a particularly important role for vocabulary development. (author abstract)

What education gaps based on socioeconomic status, race, and gender exist among children prior to kindergarten entry?

Inequalities at the starting gate: Cognitive and noncognitive skills gaps between 2010-2011 kindergarten classmates
Garcia, Emma, 06/17/2015
Washington, DC: Economic Policy Institute. Retrieved from http://s4.epi.org/files/pdf/85032c.pdf

Using recent data from a younger cohort of kindergarten students--the National Center for Education Statistics' Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten class of 2010-2011 (hereafter, ECLS-K 2010-2011 NCES), this paper delineates an updated picture of education inequalities among our youngest children in school. We produce a comprehensive analysis of gaps in both cognitive and noncognitive skills among this cohort of children. We conclude with a discussion of the research and policy implications of these findings. (author abstract)

How are the characteristics of family child care providers associated with their nutrition-related practices and attitudes?

An assessment of nutrition practices and attitudes in family child-care homes: Implications for policy implementation
Tovar, Alison, 06/01/2015

Introduction Family child-care homes (FCCHs) provide care and nutrition for millions of US children, including 28% in Rhode Island. New proposed regulations for FCCHs in Rhode Island require competencies and knowledge in nutrition. We explored nutrition-related practices and attitudes of FCCH providers in Rhode Island and assessed whether these differed by provider ethnicity or socioeconomic status of the enrolled children. Methods Of 536 licensed FCCHs in Rhode Island, 105 randomly selected FCCH providers completed a survey about provider nutrition attitudes and practices, demographics of providers, and characteristics of the FCCH, including participation in the federal Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). No differences between CACFP and non-CACFP participants were found; responses were compared by provider ethnicity using [chi-squared] tests and multivariate models. Results Nearly 70% of FCCHs reported receiving nutrition training only 0 to 3 times during the past 3 years; however, more than 60% found these trainings to be very helpful. More Hispanic than non-Hispanic providers strongly agreed to sitting with children during meals, encouraging children to finish their plate, and being involved with parents on the topics of healthy eating and weight. These differences persisted in multivariate models. Discussion Although some positive practices are in place in Rhode Island FCCHs, there is room for improvement. State licensing requirements provide a foundation for achieving better nutrition environments in FCCHs, but successful implementation is key to translating policies into real changes. FCCH providers need culturally and linguistically appropriate nutrition-related training. (author abstract)

What are the relationships of social competence and social preference to bullying roles among preschool children?

Bullying in preschool: The associations between participant roles, social competence, and social preference
Camodeca, Marina, 07/01/2015

The different roles of bullying participation (bully, follower, victim, defender of the victim, and outsider) have not been investigated in preschool children. The aims of this study were to use a peer-report measure to assess these roles and to investigate their associations with social competence among pre-schoolers. We also explored whether status among peers, indicated by being socially preferred, mediates the relationship between social competence and bullying roles. Three hundred twenty 3- to 6-year-old children participated in the study. Bullying roles and social preference were assessed by means of peer reports, whereas social competence was investigated with a Q-Sort methodology, based on observations in classrooms. Bullying was also assessed by means of teacher reports. The results showed quite a clear distinction among roles and a correspondence between peer and teacher assessments, except for the role of outsider. The role of defender was positively associated with social competence, whereas the other roles were negatively associated. In a subsample, social preference statistically predicted the role of bully and mediated between social competence and bullying. The findings are discussed in terms of the importance of assessing bullying and its correlates at a very young age, although roles may further develop when children grow up. (author abstract)

How do children's self-regulation and engagement vary among classroom grouping, play, and transition contexts?

Understanding children's self-regulation within different classroom contexts
Timmons, Kristy, 02/01/2016

In this study, children's self-regulation was observed, along with other social and academic activities in kindergarten classrooms during whole group, small group, transition and play contexts. We examined how children's self-regulation and engagement differed among classroom grouping, play and transition contexts. Results showed that students respond to opportunities for self-regulation significantly more often in small group and play contexts. Similarly, children demonstrate the highest engagement in play and small group contexts. Given that adults and other children comprise an important part of the environment for children's self-regulation, we also examined whether there were differences in the number of interactions children have with other children and educators across academic, social and play activities, and how these interactions broke down by classroom context. Findings have practical implications for educators working in early years settings; classroom grouping, play and transition contexts set the scene for children's engagement and opportunities to self-regulate. (author abstract)

What were the academic and socioemotional outcomes for participants in an after school program for Mexican immigrant children?

The Bridge Project: Connecting home, school, and community for Mexican immigrant children
McElvain, Cheryl Marie, 01/01/2015

This study examines the academic and psychosocial effects of the Bridge Project after-school program on 25 prekindergarten through 6th-grade English language learner Mexican immigrant children and their families living in an affordable housing complex in the San Francisco Bay Area. The results of the study show that the program increased the children's reading comprehension by an average of 2.8 grade levels and increased children's English proficiency an average of 2.8 California English Language Development Test levels over a 2-year period. Parents also observed their children's growth in confidence, social skills, motivation, responsibility, and the ability to ask questions. (author abstract)

What were the effects on children's early literacy skills of a response to intervention approach to literacy instruction in preschool classrooms?

Response to instruction in preschool: Results of two randomized studies with children at significant risk of reading difficulties
Lonigan, Christopher J., 01/01/2016

Although response-to-instruction (RTI) approaches have received increased attention, few studies have evaluated the potential impacts of RTI approaches with preschool populations. This article presents results of 2 studies examining impacts of Tier II instruction with preschool children. Participating children were identified as substantially delayed in the acquisition of early literacy skills despite exposure to high-quality, evidence-based classroom instruction. Study 1 included 93 children ([mean] age = 58.2 months; SD = 3.62) attending 12 Title I preschools. Study 2 included 184 children ([mean] age = 58.2 months; SD = 3.38) attending 19 Title I preschools. The majority of children were Black/African American, and about 60% were male. In both studies, eligible children were randomized to receive either 11 weeks of need-aligned, small-group instruction or just Tier I. Tier II instruction in Study 1 included variations of activities for code- and language-focused domains with prior evidence of efficacy in non-RTI contexts. Tier II instruction in Study 2 included instructional activities narrower in scope, more intensive, and delivered to smaller groups of children. Impacts of Tier II instruction in Study 1 were minimal; however, there were significant and moderate-to-large impacts in Study 2. These results identify effective Tier II instruction but indicate that the context in which children are identified may alter the nature of Tier II instruction that is required. Children identified as eligible for Tier II in an RTI framework likely require more intensive and more narrowly focused instruction than do children at general risk of later academic difficulties. (author abstract)

How did Spanish vocabulary-bridging technology-enhanced group reading contribute to the vocabulary development of English language learners in a migrant summer program?

Spanish vocabulary-bridging technology-enhanced instruction for young English language learners' word learning
Leacox, Lindsey, 06/01/2014

This study examined preschool and kindergarten English language learners (ELLs) attending a migrant summer programme and their vocabulary word learning during both adult-read and technology-enhanced repeated readings. In a within-subject design, 24 ELLs (four to six years old) engaged in repeated readings in a control and a treatment condition. In the control condition, small groups of children listened to an adult-read storybook, reading in English with incidental vocabulary exposure. In the treatment condition, a technology-enhanced English shared reading with Spanish-bridging vocabulary instruction (TESB) was provided with adult mediation in an electronic book (e-book). TESB consisted of multiple vocabulary strategies including a preview of target vocabulary words and audio-recorded Spanish vocabulary definitions embedded throughout the e-book. Research suggests that even brief vocabulary interventions increase word learning (NICHHD, 2000), and accordingly, results have revealed that children make gains in both conditions through incidental exposure (Elley, 1989) and explicit vocabulary instruction (Biemiller and Boote, 2006). Significantly, more word learning gains were made in the TESB treatment condition than in the adult reading condition, as measured by researcher-developed tasks on English receptive knowledge and English naming performance. Significant pre- to post-test differences demonstrated modest growth. Educational implications are discussed, as even short interventions can lead to vocabulary gains using vocabulary strategies to support learning. (author abstract)

How do teacher and classroom supports promote kindergarten adjustment for low-income children?

Classroom and teacher support in kindergarten: Associations with the behavioral and academic adjustment of low-income students
Lee, Phyllis, 07/01/2015

For socioeconomically disadvantaged children, a positive experience in kindergarten may play a particularly important role in fostering the behavioral adjustment and learning engagement necessary for school success. Prior research has identified supportive student-teacher relationships and classroom emotional support as two features of the classroom context that can promote student adjustment; however, very few studies have examined these two aspects of the classroom context simultaneously. Given their modest intercorrelations, these dimensions of classroom context may have both unique and shared associations with child progress. This study followed the cases of 164 children as they transitioned from Head Start into elementary school, and regressions revealed significant unique associations between each type of kindergarten support and children's aggressive behaviors, social withdrawal, learning engagement, and emergent literacy skills in first grade, controlling for their prekindergarten adjustment. In addition, learning engagement significantly mediated the association between a supportive relationship with the kindergarten teacher and first-grade literacy skills. (author abstract)

What is the role of learning-related behaviors in the relationship of executive function to academic achievement?

Executive function skills and academic achievement gains in prekindergarten: Contributions of learning-related behaviors
Nesbitt, Kimberly Turner, 07/01/2015

Although research suggests associations between children's executive function skills and their academic achievement, the specific mechanisms that may help explain these associations in early childhood are unclear. This study examined whether children's (N =1,103; [mean] age = 54.5 months) executive function skills at the beginning of prekindergarten (pre-K) predict their learning-related behaviors in the classroom and whether these behaviors then mediate associations between children's executive function skills and their pre-K literacy, language, and mathematic gains. Learning-related behaviors were quantified in terms of (a) higher levels of involvement in learning opportunities; (b) greater frequency of participation in activities that require sequential steps; (c) more participation in social-learning interactions; and (d) less instances of being unoccupied, disruptive, or in time out. Results indicated that children's learning-related behaviors mediated associations between executive function skills and literacy and mathematics gains through children's level of involvement, sequential learning behaviors, and disengagement from the classroom. The implications of the findings for early childhood education are discussed. (author abstract)

What are recent developments in the education and preparation of early childhood teachers?

The future of early childhood teacher education in a time of changing policy, standards, and programming [Special issue]
Ryan, Sharon, 03/01/2015

This special issue of the Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education, focuses on early childhood teacher preparation and standards in the areas of teachers' knowledge base and practical experience. Articles in this issue include: From the guest editors: Early childhood teacher education in a time of change, Preparing early childhood professionals for relationship-based work with infants, What knowledge is shaping teacher preparation in early childhood mathematics?, "Heroic victims": Discursive constructions of preservice early childhood teacher professional identities, and Teacher preparation in changing times: One program's journey toward re-vision and revision.

How do dimensions of teachers' literacy instruction in Head Start classrooms differ across two large-group activities?

Examining the content of Head Start teachers' literacy instruction within two activity contexts during large-group circle time
Zhang, Chenyi, 07/01/2015

Large-group circle time is an important component of many preschool classrooms' daily schedules. This study scrutinized the teaching content of Head Start teachers' literacy instruction (i.e., the types of literacy concept embedded within the instruction, lexical characteristics of teachers' talk, and elaborations on literacy knowledge) in two different large-group activity contexts (book reading and nonbook reading) that occur during large-group circle time at the beginning and the end of fall semester. Change in teachers' literacy instruction across the semester and within each context was examined. Results indicated that teachers engaged in more literacy instruction in the nonbook reading context than during book reading. Teachers provided more vocabulary instruction than code-related instruction during book reading, but a similar amount of each type of instruction during nonbook reading. More vocabulary instruction occurred in winter than in fall, whereas the lexical characteristics of teachers' talk and elaborations of newly introduced literacy knowledge remained stable. This study provides an approach to distinguishing different components of teachers' literacy instructions. The findings point to the potential of efforts to strengthen teachers' evidence-based literacy instruction during non-book-reading group activities. (author abstract)

To what extent has the cost of child care in the U.S. increased over time?

The rising cost of child care in the United States: A reassessment of the evidence
Herbst, Chris M., 05/01/2015
(Discussion Paper No. 9072). Bonn, Germany: Institute for the Study of Labor. Retrieved from http://ftp.iza.org/dp9072.pdf

Anecdotal evidence suggests that the cost of child care in the U.S. has increased substantially over the past few decades. This paper marshals data from a variety of sources to rigorously assess the issue. It begins by using nationally representative survey data to trace the evolution in families' child care expenditures. I find that the typical family currently spends 14 percent more on child care than it did in 1990. This is less than half the increase documented in previous work. Interestingly, low-income families spend the same amount or less on child care, while their high-income counterparts spend considerably more. Despite this divergence, families at all income levels allocate the same share of income to child care as they did several decades ago. The next section of the paper draws on establishment- and individual-level data to examine trends in the market price of child care. The evidence suggests that after persistent, albeit modest, growth throughout the 1990s, market prices have been essentially flat for at least a decade. In the paper's final section, I analyze several features of the child care market that may have implications for prices, including the demand for child care, the skill-level of the child care workforce, and state regulations. A few findings are noteworthy. First, I show that child care demand stagnated around the same time that market prices leveled-off. Second, although the skill-level of the child care workforce increased in absolute terms, highly-educated women increasingly find child care employment less attractive than other occupations. Finally, child care regulations have not systematically increased in stringency, and they appear to have small and inconsistent effects on market prices. Together, these results indicate that the production of child care has not become more costly, which may explain the recent stagnation in market prices. (author abstract)

What is the relationship between parents' support for early learning and children's academic skills and preschool enrollment and how does this vary by parents' nativity status?

Immigration and the interplay of parenting, preschool enrollment, and young children's academic skills
Ansari, Arya, 06/01/2015

This study tested a conceptual model of the reciprocal relations among parents' support for early learning and children's academic skills and preschool enrollment. Structural equation modeling of data from 6,250 children (Ages 2 to 5) and parents in the nationally representative Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort revealed that parental support for early learning was associated with gains in children's academic skills, which, in turn, were associated with their likelihood of preschool attendance. Preschool experience then was associated with further gains in children's early academic competencies, which were then associated with increased parental support. These patterns varied by parents' nativity status. Specifically, foreign-born parents' support for early learning was directly linked with preschool enrollment, and the association between the academic skills of children and parental support was also stronger for foreign-born parents. These immigration-related patterns were primarily driven by immigrant families who originated from Latin America, rather than Asia, and did not vary by immigrants' socioeconomic circumstances. Together, these results underscore the value of considering the synergistic relations between the home and school systems, as well as "child effects" and population diversity, in developmental research. (author abstract)

What are the characteristics of immigrant and refugee members of the early childhood education and care workforce?

Immigrant and refugee workers in the early childhood field: Taking a closer look
Park, Maki, 04/01/2015
Washington, DC: Migration Policy Institute. Retrieved from http://www.migrationpolicy.org/sites/default/files/publications/ECEC-Workforce-Report.pdf

This report, based on analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau's most recent 2011-13 American Community Survey (ACS) data, aims to fill gaps in knowledge about ECEC workforce trends and, in particular, the large and growing share of immigrants in this field. The report's primary objective is to gain a better understanding of the unique characteristics of immigrant workers in order to ensure that their needs are reflected in policy efforts that seek to expand and improve ECEC services for young children. It begins with a brief overview of trends in the immigrant-origin child population (ages 5 and under) who are eligible to enroll in ECEC programs, and then provides a demographic and socioeconomic description of the ECEC workforce in the United States with an emphasis on those who are foreign born. It concludes with a discussion of policy implications and opportunities to facilitate the recruitment, retention, and achievement of immigrant ECEC workers as part of an overall effort to improve the quality of the early childhood workforce. (author abstract)

What is the relationship of length of enrollment in Migrant Head Start to children's weight outcomes?

Effect of enrollment length in Migrant Head Start on children's weight outcomes
Lee, Kyunghee, 05/01/2015

The purpose of this study is to examine whether the length of children's enrollment in Migrant Head Start affects children's weight outcomes. Children in the Michigan Migrant Head Start program were classified depending on years of enrollments: one year (n = 638), two years (n = 293), and three or more years (n = 426). Logistic regression analyses were conducted to examine whether the probability of children having overweight or obesity differed depending on years of enrollment. There is a lower obesity rate among children who attended Head Start for multiple years than in those who attended for one year. Among children who attended for one year, those who enrolled for more weeks were more likely to be overweight than those who enrolled for fewer weeks. Children with special needs, those with more siblings, and those on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) had a lower obesity rate. Although the primary goal of the Head Start Program is school readiness rather than health improvement, migrant and seasonal farmworkers' children might need more years of comprehensive intervention, such as Head Start, to prevent obesity by making full use of the beneficial nutrition programs. SNAP access and other culturally competent practices could also reduce the obesity rate. (author abstract)

How does a large group narrative intervention in Head Start affect children's narrative language and comprehension outcomes?

Large group narrative intervention in Head Start preschools: Implications for response to intervention
Spencer, Trina D., 06/01/2015

This study investigated the effect of a large group narrative intervention on diverse preschoolers' narrative language skills with aims to explore questions of treatment efficacy and differential response to intervention. A quasi-experimental, pretest/posttest comparison group research design was employed with 71 preschool children. Classrooms were randomly assigned to treatment and comparison conditions. Intervention consisted of explicit teaching of narrative structure via repeated story retell practice, illustrations and icons, and peer mediation. Children's narrative language and comprehension were assessed at Pretest, Posttest, and 4 weeks after treatment. Statistically significant differences between treatment and comparison groups were found on retell and story comprehension measures. A priori classification criteria resulted in 28 percent of the participants identified as Minimal Responders on the story retell measure and 19 percent as Minimal Responders on the story comprehension measure. Children who were dual-language learners did not have a different pattern of response than monolingual English speakers. Low-intensity narrative intervention delivered to a large group of children was efficacious and can serve as a targeted language intervention for use within preschool classrooms. A culturally and linguistically appropriate, dynamic approach to assessment identified children for whom intensified intervention would be recommended. (author abstract)

How do different facets of executive control predict preschool children's social competence and classroom adjustment?

"No-o-o-o peeking": Preschoolers' executive control, social competence, and classroom adjustment
Denham, Susanne A., 04/01/2015

The goals of this study were to evaluate (1) how specific aspects of executive control, briefly assessed, predict social competence and classroom adjustment during preschool and (2) differences between two aspects of executive control, according to child's age, socioeconomic risk status, and gender. The facets of executive control were defined as cool executive control (CEC; affectively neutral, slow acting, and late developing) and hot executive control (HEC; more emotional, fast acting, and early developing). Two hundred eighty-seven 3- to 5-year-old children from private child care and Head Start centers were directly assessed during executive control tasks, and preschool teachers provided information on their school success. Aspects of executive control varied with age, socioeconomic risk, and gender. Specifically, older children performed better on CEC tasks across three age levels; for HEC tasks, change was seen only between 3-year-olds and 4-year-olds. Children of mothers with less formal education performed less well on CEC than those whose mothers had more education; girls performed better than boys on HEC tasks. Further, facets of executive control were differentially related to later social competence and classroom adjustment. HEC predicted social competence, whereas CEC uniquely predicted classroom adjustment. Implications for everyday practice and specific curricula formulation are discussed. (author abstract)

How was Arizona able to pass its Success by Six legislative package?

Arizona's "Success by Six" legislative package: A historic case of strategic framing
Nagasawa, Mark, 04/01/2015

This account of what, at first glance, might seem like a narrow and obscure historical case of one U.S. state's preschool program is a vehicle for raising questions about how early childhood policies have developed in other locales, for the contemporary policies and programs that exist around the world are the result of efforts by many unrecognized actors. In addition to opening up new lines of inquiry, consideration of historical cases such as this one complicates and enriches the field's collective memory. Furthermore, a more diverse and theorized use of history in early childhood education (ECE) can have practical uses. Toward this end, ideas from strategic frame analysis are used to explain how passage of Arizona's Success by Six agenda was possible in what is commonly thought of as a politically conservative state. This analysis shows that rather than a simple matter of supporters and opponents, Success by Six ultimately became possible not because of the expected allies, but rather because of the unexpected ones who were engaged through child advocates' coalition building and skillful strategic communications, made possible by a favorable social climate--a key factor that is not often considered by ECE advocates when presenting their arguments. (author abstract)

What are trends in the activities of the State Advisory Councils on Early Childhood Education and Care?

Early childhood state advisory councils: Final report
United States. Administration for Children and Families, 05/01/2015
Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families. Retrieved from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/ecd/sac_2015_final_report.pdf

This report summarizes the activities of the State Advisory Councils on Early Childhood Education and Care that were funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The legislation required that recipient states and territories engage in seven activities: conduct needs assessments, address federal-state coordination, increase program participation and outreach, assess the capacity and effectiveness of higher education opportunities for staff, and establish recommendations for early learning standards, data collection, and professional development systems. For each of these seven activities, national trends have been identified based on the activity reports of multiple states. Additionally, the activities and accomplishments within each state and territory are profiled.

How do states include early childhood teachers in state educator evaluation systems?

State teacher evaluation systems: Fifty state scan on resources for early childhood teachers
Horowitz, Michelle, 05/01/2015
New Brunswick, NJ: Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes. Retrieved from http://ceelo.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/ceelo_state_scan_teacher_evaluation_ece_2015_may.pdf

Purpose: This 50-state analysis provides a national view of how states include early childhood teachers in state educator evaluation systems. This scan was developed to follow up on the findings reported in CEELO's policy report, How are Early Childhood Teachers Faring in State Teacher Evaluation Systems?, which analyzed 11 states' early childhood teacher evaluation policy and practice in depth. Methodology: CEELO reviewed state websites to identify the status of implementation, whether early childhood teachers are included, and related news or resources. Intended Audience and Use: This information is meant to provide stakeholders with information on resources pertinent to early childhood teachers in state educator evaluation systems as they are supported to improve their practice. Disclaimer: State information is continually updated and so this scan may not be exhaustive of all relevant materials. A state's main webpage is often the best source for current information. (author abstract)

How is the classroom writing environment of Head Start classrooms associated with children's early writing skills?

Classroom writing environments and children's early writing skills: An observational study in Head Start classrooms
Zhang, Chenyi, 07/01/2015

This study examined the classroom writing environment in 31 Head Start classrooms, and explored the relations between the writing environment, children's (N = 262) name-writing, and children's letter knowledge using pathway analysis. Our analyses showed that Head Start classrooms provided opportunities (i.e., writing materials and teachers' facilitation) for children to develop early writing skills, though many classrooms lacked writing props (e.g., letter and word cards) for guiding children's writing attempts. Teacher-child writing interactions occurred at a low frequency. The writing environment had a direct association with children's name-writing skill, and children's name-writing skill was positively related to their letter knowledge. Further discussion of the findings and future directions for research are presented. (author abstract)

Can center-based childcare reduce the odds of early chronic absenteeism?

Can center-based childcare reduce the odds of early chronic absenteeism?
Gottfried, Michael A., 07/01/2015

This study was the first to position itself in the intersection on research on center-based care and on chronic absenteeism. Given the growth in the utilization of center-based care and given the recent vocalized policy concerns of the detrimental effects of chronic absenteeism in early school years, this study inquired as to whether attending center-based care predicted differential odds of early absence patterns. Using a newly-released national large-scale study of children (the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study--Kindergarten Class of 2010-2011), the findings indicated that children who attended center-based care in prekindergarten had lower odds of being chronically absent in kindergarten. The conclusions were consistent even after employing multiple methodological approaches (fixed effects, propensity score matching) as well as exploring multiple definitions of chronic absenteeism, though were not differentiated by socioeconomic status. Additional noteworthy findings are discussed, including the significance of children's internalizing symptoms and parental mental health. (author abstract)

Does professional development of preschool teachers improve child socioemotional outcomes?

Does professional development of preschool teachers improve child socio-emotional outcomes?
Jensen, Bente, 03/01/2015
(Discussion Paper No. 8957). Bonn, Germany: Institute for the Study of Labor. Retrieved from http://ftp.iza.org/dp8957.pdf

From 2011 to 2013 a randomized controlled trial has been run in Danish preschools to obtain evidence on improvements of early childhood education by providing training to the preschool teachers. The purpose of the intervention is to improve child socio-emotional outcomes (measured by SDQ), especially for socially disadvantaged children. The intervention preschools received extra training of the preschool teachers, whereas control preschools did not receive any training. The results show improvements in several subscales of the SDQ scale. However, the intervention proves less beneficial for socially disadvantaged children, in particular as a consequence of unfavorable preschool characteristics. (author abstract)

What are the effects of a teacher-implemented classroom-based activity break on physical activity participation and time on-task in a preschool-age population?

Preschoolers' time on-task and physical activity during a classroom activity break
Webster, E. Kipling, 02/01/2015

This study examined the acute effects of a 10-min teacher-implemented classroom-based activity break (AB) on physical activity participation and time on-task in a preschool-age population. 118 ([mean] age = 3.80 +/- 0.69 years) students from one preschool served as participants. The intervention took place over 4 days: 2 days AB were conducted and 2 days typical instruction occurred. Physical activity was monitored via accelerometry and time on-task was measured by direct observation. Results demonstrated that AB led to a higher percent of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) during the AB ([mean] = 29.7%, p < .001). Breaks also promoted more on-task behavior (F1,117 = 18.86, p < .001) following the AB. Specifically, the most off-task students before the break improved on-task behavior by 30 percentage points (p < .001). Percent of school day MVPA was also higher during AB days (t117 = 3.274, p = .001). Findings indicate teachers may improve time on-task postbreak for preschoolers with a short bout of physical activity in the classroom, especially in children who are the most off-task. In addition, classroom-based AB resulted in marginal increases in MVPA during breaks that influenced whole day activity. (author abstract)

What can we learn from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010-2011 data?

Findings from the second-grade rounds of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010-11 (ECLS-K:2011): First look
Mulligan, Gail M., 05/01/2015
(NCES 2015-077). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved from http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2015/2015077.pdf

This report is intended to provide a snapshot of the children in the ECLS-K:2011 cohort who were in kindergarten for the first time in the 2010-11 school year and in second grade 2 years later during the 2012-13 school year. Information is presented on selected child and family characteristics, such as poverty status, parental education, family type, and primary home language (table 1), obtained when the children were in kindergarten. Information is also provided on the children's knowledge and skills in reading (table 2), math (table 3), and science (table 4) in the fall and spring of second grade, both overall and by the selected kindergarten-year child and family characteristics. For brevity, the selected findings focus on achievement in the spring of the children's second-grade year. (author abstract)

Does classroom diversity matter in early education?

A better start: Why classroom diversity matters in early education
Reid, Jeanne, 04/01/2015
New York: Century Foundation. Retrieved from http://tcf.org/assets/downloads/A_Better_Start.pdf

The field of early childhood education is experiencing unprecedented public investment accompanied by increasing expectations for enhanced child outcomes. To achieve such outcomes, policymakers must consider the socioeconomic and racial/ethnic composition of children's classrooms as an important component of preschool quality. This report presents the results of a review and analysis of demographic data, current research, and position statements of national early childhood organizations, emphasizing the following findings. The demographic data reveal troubling racial/ethnic and economic disparities in preschool enrollment and in the quality of preschool that children experience, which beckon policy changes to provide all families with access to affordable, high-quality preschool options. Among families who do enroll, most children attend classrooms that are homogenous in family income, and often in race/ethnicity as well. (author abstract)

Does participating in math and science professional development impact educators' provision of math and science learning opportunities in the classroom?

Professional development for early childhood educators: Efforts to improve math and science learning opportunities in early childhood classrooms
Piasta, Shayne B., 05/01/2015

Because recent initiatives highlight the need to better support preschool-aged children's math and science learning, the present study investigated the impact of professional development in these domains for early childhood educators. Sixty-five educators were randomly assigned to experience 10.5 days (64 hr) of training on math and science or on an alternative topic. Educators' provision of math and science learning opportunities were documented, as were the fall-to-spring math and science learning gains of children (n = 385) enrolled in their classrooms. Professional development significantly impacted provision of science, but not math, learning opportunities. Professional development did not directly impact children's math or science learning, although science learning was indirectly affected via the increase in science learning opportunities. Both math and science learning opportunities were positively associated with children's learning. Results suggest that substantive efforts are necessary to ensure that children have opportunities to learn math and science from a young age. (author abstract)

How do Early Head Start Children and Families fare over time?

Toddlers in Early Head Start: A portrait of 3-year-olds, their families, and the programs serving them: Volume 1: Age 3 report
Vogel, Cheri, 04/01/2015
(OPRE Report 2015-28). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/bfaces_age_3_vol_i_5_15_15_final_revised_508_b.pdf

The Early Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (Baby FACES) is a descriptive study of Early Head Start programs designed to inform policy and practice at both national and local levels. In 2007, the Office of Planning, Research & Evaluation (OPRE) in the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, contracted with Mathematica Policy Research and its partners to implement this longitudinal study in 89 Early Head Start programs around the country. Baby FACES followed two cohorts of children, newborns and 1-year-olds, through their time in Early Head Start. The Newborn Cohort includes pregnant mothers and newborn children (194 are in this group) and the 1-year-old Cohort includes children who were approximately age 1 (782 were aged 10 to 15 months) at study enrollment in 2009. Data collection started in the spring of 2009 and ended for the 1-year-old Cohort in spring 2011 and for the Newborn Cohort in spring 2012, when both cohorts were 3 years of age. This is the third and final report describing the experiences of families and children in Early Head Start. The first report provides in-depth information about the sample design, the measures used, and the baseline findings (Vogel et al. 2011) and the second report describes findings from the second wave of data collection focused primarily on children who were 2 years old in 2010 (1-year-old Cohort only) (Vogel et al. 2015). This report describes the experiences of children in both cohorts through age 3 and focuses on understanding program participation and predictors of participation, service quality and predictors of quality, and associations between receiving services at different levels of intensity and quality and child and family outcomes. (author abstract)

How do low-income mothers experience child care instability?

Is stability always a good thing?: Low-income mothers' experiences with child care transitions
Speirs, Katherine E., 06/01/2015

Recent research has drawn attention to the deleterious effects of instability on child development. In particular, child care instability may make it hard for children to form secure attachments to their care providers which may have a negative impact on their development and school readiness. These effects seem to be heightened for low-income children and families. However, there remains a lack of clarity regarding how and why low-income mothers make changes to their child care arrangements. Using ethnographic data from Welfare, Children, and Families: A Three City Study, this study explored 36 low-income mothers' experiences of child care instability and stability and the factors that promoted each. We identified four kinds of child care transitions: planned, averted, failed, and forced. Financial resources, transportation and the availability of care during the hours that mothers work were important for helping mothers find and maintain preferred care arrangements. Our findings have implications for research on child care instability as well as the development of policy and programs to help low-income families secure high quality child care and maintain stable employment. (author abstract)

How can policies influence what beverages are served to young children in child care?

Policy improves what beverages are served to young children in child care
Ritchie, Lorrene D., 05/01/2015

During 2008, we conducted a statewide survey on beverages served to preschool-aged children in California child care that identified a need for beverage policy. During 2011, the US Department of Agriculture began requiring that sites participating in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) make drinking water available throughout the day and serve only low-fat or nonfat milk to children aged 2 years and older. During 2012, the California Healthy Beverages in Childcare law additionally required that all child-care sites eliminate all beverages with added sweetener and limit 100% juice to once daily. Design To assess potential policy effects, we repeated the statewide survey in 2012. During 2008 and 2012, a cross-sectional sample of [approximately] 1,400 licensed child-care sites was randomly selected after stratifying by category (ie, Head Start, state preschool, other CACFP center, non-CACFP center, CACFP home, and non-CACFP home). Results Responses were obtained from 429 sites in 2008 and 435 in 2012. After adjustment for child-care category, significant improvements in 2012 compared with 2008 were found; more sites served water with meals/snacks (47% vs 28%; P=0.008) and made water available indoors for children to self-serve (77% vs 69%; P=0.001), and fewer sites served whole milk usually (9% vs 22%; P=0.006) and 100% juice more than once daily (20% vs 27%; P=0.038). During 2012, 60% of sites were aware of beverage policies and 23% were judged fully compliant with the California law. Conclusions A positive effect occurred on beverages served after enactment of state and federal policies. Efforts should continue to promote beverage policies and support their implementation. (author abstract)

Can a professional development program for family child care providers help them support children's socioemotional development?

Widening the circle of security: A quasi-experimental evaluation of attachment-based professional development for family child care providers
Gray, Sarah A. O., 05/01/2015

This pilot program evaluation was undertaken to examine the effectiveness of an attachment-based, group professional-development experience, Circle of Security-Parenting, on family childcare (FCC) providers' psychological resources and self-efficacy in managing children's challenging behaviors and supporting children's socioemotional development. Licensed FCC providers with children actively in their care (n = 34) self-selected into the program, offered in English and Spanish through a regional support network for FCC providers; a comparison group of providers was recruited from the state database of licensed providers (n = 17). A significant Time x Group interaction was observed for self-efficacy in managing challenging behaviors, F(1, 46) = 30.59, p = .000, partial [eta squared] = .40, with participating providers' mean self-efficacy scores increasing, p = .000, d = .78, while comparison providers' decreased, p = .003, d = 1.40. Mean depressive symptoms decreased over time for both groups whereas job stress-related resources were stable over time in both groups. Patterns of association were found between providers' self-report of difficulties considering children's mental states and depressive symptoms, job stress resources, and self-efficacy. Limitations and implications for future research are reviewed, including the impact of conducting this work within an organized support network for FCC providers. (author abstract)

What can we learn from the Head Start Trauma Smart model?

A model for creating a supportive trauma-informed culture for children in preschool settings
Holmes, Cheryl, 06/01/2015

The all too common exposure of young children to traumatic situations and the life-long consequences that can result underscore the need for effective, developmentally appropriate interventions that address complex trauma. This paper describes Head Start Trauma Smart (HSTS), an early education/mental health cross-systems partnership designed to work within the child's natural setting--in this case, Head Start classrooms. The goal of HSTS is to decrease the stress of chronic trauma, foster age-appropriate social and cognitive development, and create an integrated, trauma-informed culture for young children, parents, and staff. Created from a community perspective, the HSTS program emphasizes tools and skills that can be applied in everyday settings, thereby providing resources to address current and future trauma. Program evaluation findings indicate preliminary support for both the need for identification and intervention and the potential to positively impact key outcomes. (author abstract)

How can technology be used to support and improve the quality of practice of early childhood practitioners?

Uses of technology to support early childhood practice: Final report
Hernandez, Marc W., 03/01/2015
(OPRE Report 2015-38). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/useoftechfullreport508compliant_edited.pdf

The review was designed to examine uses of technology among four Topic Areas of interest to ACF/OPRE. The first three Topic Areas focused on early childhood practitioners' use of technology to support 1) instruction and assessment, 2) parent, family and community engagement (PFCE), and 3) professional development and informal learning. The fourth Topic Area outlined barriers to and facilitators of practitioners' effective use of technology to support early childhood practice. NORC employed three methods to complete the review: a web search to obtain a broad sampling of both common and cutting-edge uses of technology; a search of academic databases to establish an evidence-base for the technologies; and interviews with 16 experts who have built, used, or evaluated these technologies. (author abstract)

What percentage of early care and education providers offer services for parents during non-standard hours?

Provision of early care and education during non-standard hours
National Survey of Early Care and Education Project Team, 04/01/2015
(OPRE Report No. 2015-44). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/factsheet_nonstandard_hours_provision_of_ece_toopre_041715_508.pdf

Affordability is one of the critical barriers to accessing early care and education (ECE) for many parents and guardians of young children. Another is finding ECE for the days and hours needed. This is particularly true for the many parents and guardians who do not work during "standard" work hours--i.e., 8am to 6pm, Monday through Friday--but who work evenings, overnight shifts, on the weekends, or have varying work schedules that change from week to week or month to month. This fact sheet uses data from the newly available National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE) to describe the flexibility of available ECE in the U.S. Specifically, we provide nationally representative estimates of the percentage of ECE providers serving young children (aged birth through 5 years) who offer services during non-standard hours as well as those who permit parents flexibility in scheduling and in payment for services. Estimates are presented separately for center-based providers as well as three types of home-based providers: 'listed' providers who appear in official state and national lists of ECE services; 'unlisted, paid' providers who are not on official lists but receive payment for caring for children; and 'unlisted, unpaid' providers who are not on official lists and do not receive payment for the care they provide. (author abstract) And check out our NSECE Topic of Interest for all the latest findings from the NSECE.

Can an informal, lower-intensity quality improvement model support center directors' program administrative practices?

Quality improvement in program administration through directors' support cohorts
National-Louis University. McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership, 12/01/2015
Wheeling, IL: National-Louis University, McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership. Retrieved April 14, 2015, from http://mccormickcenter.nl.edu/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/RN-Winter-2015.pdf

Initiatives to improve administrative practices in early childhood programs take many forms. Some models are high-intensity, providing substantial external support for directors--formal training leading to an advanced degree, high dosage of technical support for achieving accreditation, and on-site coaching addressing multiple facets of program leadership and management. These high-intensity models have been shown to yield significant improvements in program- and classroom-level quality, organizational climate, and participants' level of knowledge and demonstrated skill. Other models are moderate-intensity, providing a lower dose of formal training and on-site support, and lead to a director credential. Although the outcomes are not as robust as the high-intensity models, moderate-intensity initiatives also yield significant improvements in program quality and directors' level of competency. Because high- and moderate-intensity initiatives are costly to implement, the current study examined an informal low-intensity approach to strengthening leadership capacity as a viable alternative. (author abstract)

What are the challenges associated with pathways to learning and professional development for early educators?

The professional development of early years educators [Special issue]
Waters, Jane, 03/01/2015

This special issue of the journal Professional Development in Education focuses on an array of challenges associated with the pathways to learning and professional development of early educators. Articles in this issue include: Professional development of the early childhood education teaching workforce in the United States: An overview, Contemporary practice in professional learning and development of early childhood educators in Australia: Reflections on what works and why, Implementing curriculum reform: Insights into how Australian early childhood directors view professional development and learning, The role of motive objects in early childhood teacher development concerning children's digital play and play-based learning in early childhood curricula, Preschool teachers' informal online professional development in relation to educational use of tablets in Swedish preschools, Reflecting on reflection: Improving teachers' readiness to facilitate participatory learning with young children, Preschool teachers' insights about web-based self-coaching versus on-site expert coaching, The nature of professional learning communities in New Zealand early childhood education: An exploratory study, 'Accept the change and enjoy the range': Applications of the Circles of Change methodology with professionals who support early childhood educators, Head Start classroom teachers' and assistant teachers' perceptions of professional development using a LEARN framework, Educators' expectations and aspirations around young children's mathematical knowledge, 'The exchange of ideas was mutual, I have to say': Negotiating researcher and teacher 'roles' in an early years educators' professional development programme on inquiry-based mathematics and science learning, The professional identity of early years educators in England: Implications for a transformative approach to continuing professional development, and Evaluative decision-making for high-quality professional development: Cultivating an evaluative stance.

What is the prevalence of unintentional injuries in child care centers in the United States?

Unintentional injuries in child care centers in the United States: A systematic review
Hashikawa, Andrew N., 03/01/2015

The study systematically reviewed all types of unintentional injury and injury prevention research studies occurring within child care centers in the United States. A total of 2 reviewers searched 11 electronic databases to identify 53 articles meeting inclusion criteria. No studies used trauma registries or randomized control trials. Data were not pooled for further analysis because studies lacked standardized definitions for injury, rates, severity, exposure, and demographics. The following child care center injury rates were reported: (0.25-5.31 injuries per 100,000 child-hours); (11.3-18 injuries per 100 children per year); (6-49 injuries per 1000 child-years); (2.5-8.29 injuries per child-year); (2.6-3.3 injuries per child); (3.3-6.3 injuries per 100 observations); (635-835 medically attended injuries per year per 100,000 children and 271-364 child care center playground injuries per year per 100,000 children); and (3.8 injuries per child per 2000 exposure hours). Child care center injury rates were comparable to injury rates published for schools, playground, and summer camp. Most injuries were minor, while most severe injuries (fractures and concussions) were falls from playground structures. Future studies need to use standardized injury definitions and injury severity scales, focus efforts on preventing severe playground injuries in child care centers, and report child care parameters for inclusion in national injury databases. (author abstract) A recent report from the Environmental Law Institute also explores safety in child care settings, by examining state policies on exposure to environmental contaminants in child care facilities.

Which methods for handling missing data generate the most accurate estimates of child care center attendance?

Imputing attendance data in a longitudinal multilevel panel data set
Thomas, Jaime, 04/01/2015
(OPRE Report No. 2015-19). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/imputation_short_report_final3_18_15_508.pdf

Given the intensive demands that the collection of attendance data places on program staff, it can often be challenging to collect and may result in a fair amount of missing data, which can compromise the reliability and validity of attendance estimates. Little is known about which methods for handing missing data generate the most accurate estimates of attendance. In order to address this issue, we simulate data on children's weekly child care center attendance over the course of a year and compare different methods of estimating attendance. The results indicate that when data are missing on one variable and at one level only, complete case analysis produces accurate estimates of average weekly attendance, regardless of the amount or type of missingness. When estimating total yearly attendance, complete case analysis is inaccurate, but both mean replacement and multiple imputation produce reasonable estimates. A lesson learned from this exercise is that when the desired estimates are simple univariate descriptive statistics, single imputation techniques such as mean replacement can perform as well as more complicated techniques such as multiple imputation. (author abstract) Also see our Topic of Interest on attendance rates and child outcomes.

What effects did the Preschool First Step to Success intervention have on preschoolers with challenging behaviors?

The efficacy of a home-school intervention for preschoolers with challenging behaviors: A randomized controlled trial of Preschool First Step to Success
Feil, Edward G., 09/01/2014

The field of early intervention is currently faced with the challenge of reducing the prevalence of antisocial behavior in children. Longitudinal outcomes research indicates that increased antisocial behavior and impairments in social competence skills during the preschool years often serve as harbingers of future adjustment problems in a number of domains including mental health, interpersonal relations, and academic achievement. This article reports the results of a cross-site randomized controlled trial, in which 128 preschool children with challenging behaviors were assigned to either a Preschool First Step to Success (PFS) intervention (i.e., experimental) or a usual-care (i.e., control) group. Regression analyses indicated that children assigned to the Preschool First Step intervention had significantly higher social skills, and significantly fewer behavior problems, across a variety of teacher- and parent-reported measures at postintervention. Effect sizes for teacher-reported effects ranged from medium to large across a variety of social competency indicators; effect sizes for parent-reported social skills and problem behaviors were small to medium, respectively. These results suggest that the preschool adaptation of the First Step intervention program provides early intervention participants, staff, and professionals with a viable intervention option to address emerging antisocial behavior and externalizing behavior disorders prior to school entry. (author abstract)

What practices and physical aspects of the child care center environment are associated with increased levels of children's moderate and vigorous physical activity?

Environmental factors associated with physical activity in childcare centers
Henderson, Kathryn E., 03/29/2015

Background: Child care centers influence physical activity levels among children, yet little is known about the specific aspects of the environment that support generous amounts of activity. The purpose of this study was to examine the practices, and environmental aspects of the child care center that are associated with children's moderate and vigorous physical activity. Methods: Thirty-five child care centers serving 389 3 to 5 year old children were assessed for: 1) environmental characteristics of the center; and 2) staff practices related to child physical activity. Children's physical activity was measured using accelerometers over a single day in child care. Results: Fourteen percent (an average of 9 minutes per waking hour) were spent in moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA). The strongest environmental predictors of MVPA were: time spent in outdoor play, suitability of indoor play space, and teacher encouragement of (but not participation in) indoor play. Conclusions: In order to reach the U.S. recommended 120 minutes of physical activity per day, significant changes will need to occur in the child care setting, including increased time outdoors and more opportunities for indoor physical activity. (author abstract)

How did welfare-to-work reform change grandmothers' support for their children and grandchildren?

Welfare-to-work reform and intergenerational support: Grandmothers' response to the 1996 PRWORA
Ho, Christine, 04/01/2015

The 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA; Pub. L. 104-193) in the United States aimed at encouraging work among low-income mothers with children below age 18. In this study, the author used a sample of 2,843 intergenerational family observations from the Health and Retirement Study to estimate the effects of the reform on single grandmothers who are related to those mothers. The results suggest that the reform decreased time transfers but increased money transfers from grandmothers. The results are consistent with an intergenerational family support network where higher child care subsidies motivated the family to shift away from grandmother provided child care and where grandmothers increased money transfers to either help cover the remaining cost of formal care or to partly compensate for the loss in benefits of welfare leavers. (author abstract)

How can the science of children's health, learning, and development inform how the early childhood workforce supports children from birth through age eight?

Transforming the workforce for children birth through age 8: A unifying foundation
Institute of Medicine (U.S.), 01/01/2015
Washington, DC: National Academies Press. Retrieved April 7, 2015, from http://www.nap.edu/download.php?record_id=19401

In summary, the committee was charged with examining how the science of children's health, learning, and development can inform how the workforce supports children from birth through age 8. Areas of emphasis included the influence of neurobiology, health, and development on learning trajectories and educational achievement, as well as on workforce considerations such as standards, expectations, and qualifications; generalized and specialized knowledge and competencies; instructional practices; professional learning; leadership; and family engagement. The committee was tasked with looking across diverse contexts and populations and across professional roles and settings to draw conclusions and make recommendations about how to re-envision professional learning systems and inform policy decisions related to the workforce in light of the science of child development and early learning and the knowledge and competencies needed by the adults who work with children from birth through age 8. (author abstract)

What are the associations between daily caregiving discontinuity and children's social-emotional outcomes?

Examining the associations between daily caregiving discontinuity and children's social-emotional outcomes
Le, Vi-Nhuan, 05/01/2015

Many child care centers temporarily move children and teachers in and out of their assigned classrooms throughout the day. Such practices create frequent discontinuity in children's experiences in child care, including discontinuity in their peer and teacher relationships. This study examined the prevalence and patterns of teacher and child movement between classrooms, the characteristics of teachers and children who were more likely to move between classrooms on a daily basis, and the associations between children's and teachers' rate of daily movement between classrooms with children's social-emotional outcomes. A moderate to high prevalence of child and teacher movement between classrooms was observed (29% and 83%, respectively). Children who were younger, considered solitary, and who had been enrolled in their classroom for shorter periods of time were less likely to transition between classrooms. Children's rate of movement was a positive predictor of teachers' perceived conflict with children in their care, and a negative predictor of teachers' perceived closeness. In addition, the more frequently teachers moved, the less children were inclined to indicate liking their teachers or centers. However, the more frequently children moved, the more likely children were to indicate liking their peers and for their peers to indicate liking them. Results are interpreted in light of additional research avenues that can inform sensible daily teacher continuity practices. (author abstract)

How is center-based early education and care associated with the school readiness skills of children from immigrant families?

Center-based preschool and school readiness skills of children from immigrant families
Votruba-Drzal, Elizabeth, 05/01/2015

Children from immigrant families are more likely than children of native parents to start school with fewer of the academic skills that are important for long-term success, although evidence on behavioral skills is mixed. Center-based early education and care (EEC) programs, which have been linked to improvements in academic functioning in disadvantaged samples, may serve as a potent resource for children from immigrant families, but important questions remain about their benefits and drawbacks for academic and behavioral outcomes across the diverse population of children from immigrant families. Using data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Birth Cohort (N [is approximately] 6,550), this study examined prospective associations between center-based EEC at age 4 and school readiness skills at age 5 among children from immigrant families. Practice or Policy: The results suggest that center-based EEC is associated with heightened math, reading, and expressive language skills and also with lower parent-rated externalizing behaviors for children of immigrants in comparison to children of native parents. Results also revealed heterogeneity in associations between center-based EEC attendance and school readiness skills among children of immigrants based on parental region of origin, household language use, and the language used in EEC settings. (author abstract)

Can Early Head Start prevent child maltreatment?

Promising evidence that Early Head Start can prevent child maltreatment
Chazan-Cohen, Rachel, 03/01/2015
Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families

This brief addresses two main questions in a sample of Early Head Start eligible children: 1) the number and type of maltreatment episodes and 2) the impact of Early Head Start on child and family involvement in the child welfare system. These findings are especially important given the lack of scalable and effective preventive interventions. In addition, they are also timely given the recent interest in fostering collaborations between early care and education programs and child welfare agencies, agencies responsible for overseeing child protection from maltreatment (OHS & ACYF, 2010; ACYF & OHS, 2011; ACYF & OCC, 2011). The current study represents a first look at the impact of Early Head Start on child maltreatment. We are continuing to collect data and will have more information in the upcoming years. (author abstract) Check out other resources from the Early Head Start Research and Evaluation Project, as well as the data from the study.

How does access to publicly-funded preschool vary by state, and how are states and the federal government addressing unmet need?

A matter of equity: Preschool in America
United States. Department of Education, 04/01/2015
Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved April 9, 2015, from http://www2.ed.gov/documents/early-learning/matter-equity-preschool-america.pdf

Each year, about 4 million children enter kindergarten in the United States. All parents hope their child will start school ready for success. And many parents turn that hope into action, seeking out supportive and high-quality early learning opportunities. Unfortunately, not every parent finds those opportunities, and access differs based on geography, race and income. As a result, too many children enter kindergarten a year or more behind their classmates in academic and social-emotional skills. For some children, starting out school from behind can trap them in a cycle of continuous catch-up in their learning. As a nation, we must ensure that all children, regardless of income or race have access to high-quality preschool opportunities. This year, as Congress seeks to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), our nation is at a critical moment. Congress can honor this important legacy and moral imperative - as our nation observes ESEA's 50th anniversary - by reauthorizing a strong education law. This new law must reflect real equity of opportunity, starting with our youngest children. Significant new investments in high-quality early education are necessary to help states, local communities, and parents close the school readiness gaps between disadvantaged children and their more advantaged peers. Across the country, we must expand access to high-quality early learning to ensure that all children graduate from high school prepared to succeed in college, careers, and life. (author abstract) Check out the National Institute for Early Education Research 2013 State Preschool Yearbook for more information on preschool access.

How do effects of Head Start vary by by Head Start centers and by comparison to alternative early childhood education programs?

Quantifying variation in Head Start effects on young children's cognitive and socio-emotional skills using data from the National Head Start Impact Study
Bloom, Howard S., 03/01/2015
New York: MDRC. Retrieved April 10, 2015, from http://www.mdrc.org/sites/default/files/quantifying_variation_in_head_start.pdf

This paper uses data from the Head Start Impact Study (HSIS), a nationally representative multi-site randomized trial, to quantify variation in effects of Head Start during 2002-2003 on children's cognitive and socio-emotional outcomes relative to the effects of other local alternatives, including parent care. We find that (1) treatment and control group differences in child care and educational settings varied substantially across Head Start centers (program sites); (2) Head Start exhibited a compensatory pattern of program effects that reduced disparities in cognitive outcomes among program-eligible children; (3) Head Start produced a striking pattern of sub-group effects that indicates it substantially compensated dual language learners and Spanish-speaking children with low pretest scores (two highly overlapping groups) for their limited prior exposure to English; and (4) Head Start centers ranged from much more effective to much less effective than their local alternatives, including parent care. (author abstract) Check out our bibliography on other resources that use data from the Head Start Impact Study, as well as the Head Start Impact Study data themselves.

What impact does a summer learning program have on low-income students' mathematics and reading skills and socioemotional development?

Ready for fall?: Near-term effects of voluntary summer learning programs on low-income students' learning opportunities and outcomes
McCombs, Jennifer Sloan, 01/01/2014
(RR-815-WF). Santa Monica, CA: Rand Corporation. Retrieved March 24, 2015, from http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/research_reports/RR800/RR815/RAND_RR815.pdf

Prior research has determined that low-income students lose more ground over the summer than their higher-income peers. Prior research has also shown that some summer learning programs can stem this loss, but we do not know whether large, district-run, voluntary programs can improve students' outcomes. To fill this gap, The Wallace Foundation launched the National Summer Learning Study in 2011. This five-year study offers the first-ever assessment of the effectiveness of large-scale, voluntary, district-run, summer learning programs serving low-income elementary students. The study, conducted by RAND, uses a randomized controlled trial to assess the effects of district-run voluntary summer programs on student achievement and social and emotional skills over the short and long run. All students in the study were in the third grade as of spring 2013 and enrolled in a public school in one of five urban districts: Boston; Dallas; Duval County, Florida; Pittsburgh; or Rochester, New York. This report, the second of five that will result from the study, looks at how summer programs affected student performance on mathematics, reading, and social and emotional assessments in fall 2013. (author abstract)

How can a web-mediated coaching intervention improve teachers' classroom interactions with children?

Individual and contextual factors associated with pre-kindergarten teachers' responsiveness to the MyTeachingPartner coaching intervention
Roberts, Amy M., 11/01/2015

With research findings indicating positive associations between teacher-child interaction quality and children's development and learning, many professional development efforts now focus on improving the ways in which teachers interact with children. Previous work found that MyTeachingPartner (MTP), a web-mediated coaching intervention, improved teachers' classroom interactions with children, and further analysis found that improvement in teachers' interactions was mediated by their responsiveness to the MTP intervention. The current study assessed how teacher characteristics, including demographics, beliefs, and psychological factors, as well as contextual characteristics related to multiple measures of teachers' responsiveness to MTP. Findings show that related factors vary across the different indicators of responsiveness. Specifically, the psychological factors of anxiety and readiness to change related to multiple indicators of responsiveness. Further, readiness to change and self-efficacious beliefs moderated the associations between classroom poverty and responsiveness. Study findings provide new insights into key teacher characteristics that might identify teachers in need of intervention adaptation or support to ultimately increase overall responsiveness. (author abstract)

What are the barriers and facilitators of access to early childhood services among young children and families experiencing homelessness?

Access to early childhood programs for young children experiencing homelessness: A survey report
Perlman, Staci M.,
Minneapolis, MN: National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth. Retrieved March 18, 2015, from http://www.naehcy.org/sites/default/files/pdf/naehcy-survey-report.pdf

This brief presented the results of a national survey focused on understanding the barriers and facilitators of access to early childhood services among young children and families experiencing homelessness, as well as identifying strategies for addressing barriers and increasing access. Notably, transportation and variants of cross-systems collaboration were cited as the most successful strategies for increasing access to early childhood services. (author abstract)

How do changes to a statewide quality rating and improvement system affect ratings?

Examining changes to Michigan's early childhood quality rating and improvement system (QRIS)
Faria, Ann-Marie, 03/01/2015
(REL 2015-029). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance. Retrieved March 20, 2015, from http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/edlabs/regions/midwest/pdf/REL_2015029.pdf

In 2012 Michigan implemented Great Start to Quality, a voluntary quality rating and improvement system (QRIS) that uses a multidimensional assessment to rate the quality of early childhood education programs. Changes to the rating calculation approach announced in 2013 provided an opportunity for Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Midwest to examine how the changes would affect program quality ratings. Under the revised calculation approach (version 2.0), approximately one-third of programs had a higher self-assessment rating, though the underlying data and measures of program quality were unchanged. A simple alternative total score approach developed by REL Midwest that eliminated criteria for domain scores on the self-assessment yielded rating distributions that were nearly identical to those from the version 2.0 approach. These findings suggest that incremental changes to how QRIS ratings are calculated can alter inferences about program quality. (author abstract)

What do we know about educational media use among Hispanic-Latino families with young children?

Aprendiendo en casa: Media as a resource for learning among Hispanic-Latino families
Lee, June H., 12/01/2015
New York: Joan Ganz Cooney Center. Retrieved March 23, 2015, from http://www.joanganzcooneycenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/jgcc_aprendiendoencasa.pdf

This report examines media use in Hispanic-Latino families with young children in the United States. Drawing from data from a national survey of parents of 2- to 10-year-olds, it extends the findings from an earlier report that sheds light on educational media use among American families (Rideout, 2014). Those findings pointed to the need to more deeply understand how Hispanic-Latino families with young children use media for learning. Hispanic-Latino families hail from a spectrum of language, access, country of origin, generational status, education, and other socio-demographic markers. These analyses aim to add to a fuller understanding of the media experiences and family contexts of children growing up in these families. In this study, we look at media access among Hispanic-Latino families, children's use of content that parents considered educational, parents' perceptions of their child's learning from educational media, parents' own use of technology for their learning, and parent-child joint engagement in media use. We also describe ways in which media can encourage conversations and extend playful activities. Given the importance of language as a proxy for a range of other socio-economic markers (including income, media access, and generational status), this study also closely examines media use by families that speak only English, only Spanish, and those that speak both languages. Case studies from ethnographic research further illustrate these issues. The report concludes with a set of implications for practitioners, designers, and researchers. (author abstract)

How does the amount of teacher instruction in Head Start relate to children's academic achievement and social skills?

Learning-related social skills as a mediator between teacher instruction and child achievement in Head Start
Ansari, Arya, 11/01/2015

Using a subsample of the Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES) 2006, this study examined the associations between the amount of teacher instruction in 292 Head Start classrooms with changes in young children's (n = 936) early academic achievement and learning-related social skills from ages three to five. In general, during the early years, children exhibited relatively stable academic and learning-related social skills. Although the amount of teacher instruction did not predict children's short-term academic growth directly, it did predict it indirectly through improvements in learning-related social skills, with benefits lasting through the end of kindergarten. These findings demonstrate that gains in children's learning-related social skills may be necessary before academic gains can be realized. (author abstract) Data from the FACES 2006 Cohort and other FACES cohorts are available from Research Connections

What are considerations for states as they implement the Child Care and Development Block Grant Reauthorization?

Implementing the Child Care and Development Block Grant Reauthorization: A guide for states
Matthews, Hannah, 01/01/2015
Washington, DC: National Women's Law Center. Retrieved April 2, 2015, from http://www.nwlc.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/final_nwlc_ccdbg_report2015.pdf

In November 2014, Congress reauthorized the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), the major federal child care program, for the first time since 1996. This reauthorization presents a promising opportunity for states to help families access safe, reliable, affordable child care that allows parents to work and promotes children's healthy growth and development. The legislation includes critical provisions to ensure the health and safety of children in child care settings, improve the quality of care, and make it easier for families to get and keep child care assistance--strengthening its dual roles as both a major early childhood education program and a work support for low-income families. By giving states more flexibility to structure policies around the needs of children and families, the reauthorization also makes it easier to link the child care assistance program to other programs, including other early childhood education programs and additional supports for families. To take advantage of the opportunity offered by the reauthorization, and fulfill the goals of the legislation, states will need to be strategic and thoughtful about implementation, including paying careful attention to resources. States should: Determine their broader goals in implementing the new law; Identify the full set of changes they need to make to their current policies to meet those goals; and Assess the financial and other resources necessary to overcome the gap between their current policies and their goals for the implementation. A piecemeal approach to implementation that lacks a clear vision could result in policy decisions that do not add up to meaningful change for families--or worse, could result in states making tradeoffs that harm families by, for example, shifting resources to comply with the law in a way that causes children and their families to lose child care assistance. This guide suggests strategies for maximizing the opportunities presented by the law and minimizing negative consequences. In addition, the guide demonstrates how additional resources can enable states to realize the full potential of the law for helping children and families. (author abstract) Also see our Topic of Interest on Child Care and Development Block Grant Reauthorization and Child Care Policy

What are the characteristics of Early Head Start toddlers, families, and programs?

Toddlers in Early Head Start: A portrait of 2-year-olds, their families, and the programs serving them: Volume I: Age 2 report
Vogel, Cheri, 02/01/2015
(OPRE Report No. 2015-10). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/baby_faces_age_2_report_final_clean_2_3_15.pdf

The Early Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (Baby FACES) is an ongoing study of Early Head Start programs designed to inform policy and practice at both national and local levels. In 2007, the Office of Planning, Research & Evaluation (OPRE) in the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, contracted with Mathematica Policy Research and its partners to implement this six-year longitudinal study in 89 Early Head Start programs around the country. Baby FACES follows two cohorts of children through their time in Early Head Start, starting in 2009, the first wave of data collection. The Newborn Cohort includes 194 pregnant mothers and newborn children. The 1-year-old Cohort includes children who were approximately 1 year old (782 were ages 10 to 15 months). This report is the second of three submissions describing findings as we follow families and children throughout their experiences in Early Head Start. The first report provided in-depth information about the sample design, the measures used, and the baseline findings (Vogel et al. 2011). This report describes findings from the second wave of data collection and focuses primarily on children in the 1-year-old Cohort who were 2 years old in 2010. However, it also provides in the technical appendix information on the Newborn Cohort (when children were 1 year old). A subsequent report will describe children's experiences through age 3 and focus on the associations between receiving services at different levels of intensity and quality, and child and family outcomes. (author abstract) The Baby FACES data set is forthcoming from Research Connections. Subscribe to our newsletter to receive updates on its release.

What is the relationship of English language exposure in preschool classrooms to dual language learners' expressive language skills?

Classroom-based English exposure and English language learners' expressive language skills
Gamez, Perla Blanca, 04/01/2015

This study examined the relation between Spanish-speaking English Language Learners' (ELLs; 6.12 years; n = 101) expressive language skills in English and their classroom-based English exposure. Using audio-recorded observations of Transitional Bilingual Education classrooms (n = 21), measures were obtained of the quantity (number of words) and quality (lexical diversity, structural complexity) of teachers' and students' speech during English Language Development (ELD) instruction (blocked or integrated). Results showed that ELD-blocked instruction positively predicted ELLs' language gains. Moreover, within ELD-blocked classrooms, the structural complexity and lexical diversity of teachers' speech was positively related to ELLs' language gains, as was the lexical diversity of students' speech. Follow-up analyses revealed that a higher ratio of teacher-to-student words was associated with smaller language gains. These findings suggest that exposure to high-quality classroom-based English, together with opportunities for language interactions among teachers and students, promotes ELLs' English development. (author abstract)

What are the roles of home and early education environments in the development of children's early math skills?

Special issue on early childhood mathematics education
Hachey, Alyse C., 04/01/2015

This special issue of the journal Early Education and Development focuses on the influences of the home and early education environments on the development of early math skills. Articles in the issue include: Socioeconomic status and preschoolers' mathematical knowledge: The contribution of home activities and parent beliefs, Does parent involvement and neighborhood quality matter for African American boys' kindergarten mathematics achievement?, Home numeracy environments of preschoolers: Examining relations among mathematical activities, parent mathematical beliefs, and early mathematical skills, Everybody counts, but usually just to 10!: A systematic analysis of number representations in children's books, Big Math for Little Kids: The effectiveness of a preschool and kindergarten mathematics curriculum, Sustainability of a scale-up intervention in early mathematics: A longitudinal evaluation of implementation fidelity, and A study of early childhood mathematics teaching in the United States and China

What are practices and design considerations for effective quality improvement initiatives?

A blueprint for early care and education quality improvement initiatives
Tout, Kathryn, 03/01/2015
(Publication #2015-07). Bethesda, MD: Child Trends. Retrieved March 13, 2015, from http://www.childtrends.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/2015-07BlueprintEarlyCareandEd.pdf

As Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS) continue to launch and mature across states, questions emerge from stakeholders about how to design and implement effective quality improvement (QI) initiatives that accompany a QRIS. Funders, policymakers and program developers with limited resources are looking to invest in activities that will be most successful in supporting early care and education (ECE) program quality improvement and ultimately improving outcomes for young children. The purpose of this report is to address questions about effective QI initiatives by proposing a blueprint of quality improvement practices and design considerations generated from a synthesis of the existing research literature and input from national experts in ECE quality improvement. (author abstract)

What impact did a family-centered, school-based parenting and early education intervention for low-income, minority families have on parenting and child behavior problems?

A population-level approach to promoting healthy child development and school success in low-income, urban neighborhoods: Impact on parenting and child conduct problems
Dawson-McClure, Spring, 02/01/2015

Minority children living in disadvantaged neighborhoods are at high risk for school dropout, delinquency, and poor health, largely due to the negative impact of poverty and stress on parenting and child development. This study evaluated a population-level, family-centered, school-based intervention designed to promote learning, behavior, and health by strengthening parenting, classroom quality, and child self-regulation during early childhood. Ten schools in urban districts serving primarily low-income Black students were randomly assigned to intervention or a "pre-kindergarten education as usual" control condition. Intervention included a family program (a 13-week behavioral parenting intervention and concurrent group for children) and professional development for early childhood teachers. The majority (88 %) of the pre-kindergarten population (N=1,050; age 4) enrolled in the trial, and nearly 60% of parents in intervention schools participated in the family program. This study evaluated intervention impact on parenting (knowledge, positive behavior support, behavior management, involvement in early learning) and child conduct problems over a 2-year period (end of kindergarten). Intent-to-treat analyses found intervention effects on parenting knowledge, positive behavior support, and teacher-rated parent involvement. For the highest-risk families, intervention also resulted in increased parent-rated involvement in early learning and decreased harsh and inconsistent behavior management. Among boys at high risk for problems based on baseline behavioral dysregulation (age 4, 23 % of sample), intervention led to lower rates of conduct problems at age 6. Family-centered intervention at the transition to school has potential to improve population health and break the cycle of disadvantage for low-income, minority families. (author abstract)

Can narrative- and play-based activity promote low-income preschoolers' oral language, emergent literacy, and social competence?

Using a narrative- and play-based activity to promote low-income preschoolers' oral language, emergent literacy, and social competence
Nicolopoulou, Ageliki, 04/01/2015

This study examined whether a storytelling and story-acting practice (STSA), integrated as a regular component of the preschool curriculum, can help promote three key dimensions of young children's school readiness: narrative and other oral-language skills, emergent literacy, and social competence. A total of 149 low-income preschoolers (almost all 3- and 4-year-olds) participated, attending six experimental and seven control classrooms. The STSA was introduced in the experimental classrooms for the entire school year, and all children in both conditions were pre- and post-tested on 11 measures of narrative, vocabulary, emergent literacy, pretend abilities, peer play cooperation, and self-regulation. Participation in the STSA was associated with improvements in narrative comprehension, print and word awareness, pretend abilities, self-regulation, and reduced play disruption. For almost all these measures, positive results were further strengthened by the frequency of participation in storytelling by individual children, indicated by number of stories told (NOST). The STSA is a structured preschool practice that exemplifies child-centered, play-based, and constructivist approaches in early childhood education, and that can operate as a curriculum module in conjunction with a variety of different preschool curricula. This study confirmed that it can contribute to promoting learning, development, and school readiness for low-income and otherwise disadvantaged children. (author abstract)

How is time spent in child care associated with children's social development?

Time spent in child care: How and why does it affect social development?
Huston, Aletha C., 05/01/2015

Children who experience early and extensive child care, especially center-based care, are rated by teachers as having more externalizing behavior problems than are other children. This association is reduced, but not eliminated, when care is of high quality, and it varies by socioeconomic disadvantage and the type of behavior assessed. We examine the processes that may account for the quantity effect, concluding that it occurs primarily among relatively advantaged White non-Hispanic families. It appears primarily for teacher-rated behavior, especially externalizing and low self-control, but is not evident for positive behavior and peer interaction skills. Some of the processes accounting for the relation of quantity to behavior are most likely to be poor caregiver-child relationships and negative peer interactions, not reduced attachment to mothers or lowered maternal sensitivity. Many questions remain about duration of effects, developmental and individual differences, more nuanced conceptualizations of both care quality and social behavior, and variations across cultural and ethnic groups. (author abstract)

What is the role of parental educational attainment in predicting parental involvement and home literacy promotion?

The role of education in the parenting practices of Black parents of preschoolers
Palmer, Kalani M., 01/01/2015

Few empirical studies have examined within group differences of Black parenting practices. This study aimed to identify the role of educational attainment in predicting within group differences on two parenting practices associated with academic achievement: home literacy promotion and parent involvement. A sample of 103 Black parents with preschool-aged children was recruited from private urban child care centers. Parents reported a wide range of family financial resources and educational attainment. Parents who attained a Bachelor's degree or more reported significantly higher home literacy promotion than those with some college experience or a high school diploma. No differences were detected in home literacy promotion between parents with some college or a high school diploma. Teacher reports of parent involvement did not significantly differ as a function of parental education. Implications for parent engagement are discussed. (author abstract)

What was the level of fidelity to the intervention protocol among teachers participating in the 'Short bouTs of Exercise for Preschoolers' (STEP) study?

Intervention fidelity in a teacher-led program to promote physical activity in preschool-age children
Alhassan, Sofiya, 12/01/2014

Objective. To examine protocol fidelity among teachers involved in a six-month cluster-randomized physical activity (PA) intervention. Methods. In 2011, preschools in Springfield, MA were randomized to short bouts of structured PA (SBS-PA, n = 5) or unstructured playtime (UPA, n=5). SBS-PA provided structured PA in the classroom during the first 10 min of gross-motor playtime followed by 20 min of unstructured playtime. UPA consisted of 30 min of unstructured playtime. All teachers (SBS-PA and UPA) received a written study protocol and 1.5 h of training. SBS-PA also received videos to use to lead structured PA and 1.5 additional hours of training. Study fidelity and process evaluation were assessed twice weekly via semi-structured questionnaire. Results. Only 56.6% of SBS-PA and 75.2% of UPA free playtimes lasted for 30 min; 86.3% of SBS-PA teachers implemented structured PA during the first 10 min of gross-motor playtime but only 67.2% delivered the intervention as instructed. Only 68.5% of SBS-PA teachers implemented the 20-minute unstructured playtime. SBS-PA teachers reported that time limitations was a major barrier in implementing the designed intervention. Pre-post changes in PA did not differ between groups. Conclusion. Limited fidelity to intervention protocol likely impacted study findings. Future studies should focus on strategies to improve adherence among intervention leaders. (author abstract)

Is there a relationship between low-level depressive symptoms in mothers and teacher-reported child behavioral problems?

A little bit of the blues: Low-level symptoms of maternal depression and classroom behavior problems in preschool children
Conners-Burrow, Nicola A., 02/01/2015

The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between low-level depressive symptoms in mothers and teacher-reported child behavioral outcomes. Participants included 442 low-income mothers of preschool-age children who were screened for maternal depression by their child's preschool teacher. Teacher reports of child behavior problems were collected on a random sample of the children (n = 264). Of mothers screened for depression, 16.7% reported low-level depressive symptoms (below the cutoff on the screener indicating clinically elevated symptoms). Analyses revealed that children of mothers with low-level depressive symptoms had significantly greater problems with externalizing behavior compared to children of mothers with no depressive symptoms. Practice or Policy: Results suggest that children whose mothers experience even low-level depressive symptoms are at risk for problems with behavior, pointing to the need for screening and interventions to address maternal depression at all levels of severity. Early childhood education providers are in an excellent position to support families impacted by symptoms of maternal depression through screening and education, supportive daily interactions, and referrals for services if needed. Teachers can also provide direct support for high-risk children's social and emotional skill development through the provision of sensitive, nurturing care. (author abstract)

What is the relationship of parental immigration status and neighborhood context to child care selection among Latino immigrant families?

The role of parental immigration status in Latino families' child care selection
Ha, Yoonsook, 12/01/2014

Prior studies that have investigated child care arrangements among Latino immigrant families have often overlooked the role of parental immigration status and neighborhood factors in shaping child care selection. Thus, this study considers the effects of parental immigration status and neighborhood contexts, on child care selection among Latino immigrant families using a sample of 862 young children (ages 0-5) from the 2001 Los Angeles Families and Neighborhood Survey. Results from a hierarchical multinomial regression model suggest that, irrespective of immigration status, children of Latina mothers were significantly less likely to use center-based care than parental care, but the relationship was stronger for the children of undocumented Latina mothers. The findings also indicate that children living in poor neighborhoods were less likely to use formal center-based care, all else equal. (author abstract)

How was the Quality of Caregiver-Child Interactions for Infants and Toddlers (Q-CCIIT) measure developed and what are its psychometric properties?

Measuring the Quality of Caregiver-Child Interactions for Infants and Toddlers (Q-CCIIT): Final report
Atkins-Burnett, Sally, 01/01/2015
(OPRE Report 2015-13). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/measuring_the_quality_of_caregiver_child_interactions_for_infants_and.pdf

We used a four-phase approach to develop, operationalize, and refine the Q-CCIIT measure and collect data on its psychometric properties: an initial phase, comprising a literature review and the development of a measurement framework, and three data collection phases we refer to as the pretest, pilot test, and psychometric field test. The number of observations, geographic locations, and observers increased with each phase of data collection. With each phase, we refined the measure until we ultimately evaluated the psychometric properties of the final measure during the field test. The final field test sample included 400 classrooms (110 FCCs and 290 center-based classrooms) in 10 geographical clusters spanning 14 states and the District of Columbia. (author abstract)

What can we learn about early care and education choices, quality, and continuity for low-income families from the Maryland-Minnesota Child Care Research Partnership?

Early care and education choices, quality, and continuity for low-income families: New findings from the Maryland-Minnesota Child Care Research Partnership
Child Trends, 02/01/2015
(Child Trends Publication No. 2015-08). Bethesda, MD: Child Trends. Retrieved February 20, 2015, from http://www.childtrends.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/2015-08md_mnSummaryOfFindings.pdf

This guide provides overviews of four publications that outline select findings of the Maryland-Minnesota Child Care Research Partnership project. Two of the outlined publications describe the findings from studies of the relationship between subsidy use and continuity of care, a third publication reports on a case study of the redetermination of subsidy eligibility in Maryland, and the final publication describes patterns in the stability of child care arrangements in Maryland families. The four publications are: Changes in child care arrangements of young children in Maryland, Continuity of child care subsidy receipt: Why definitions of spells and gaps matter: Technical brief, Implementation of 12-month child care subsidy eligibility redetermination: A case study from Maryland, and Stability of subsidy participation and continuity of care in the Child Care Assistance Program in Minnesota

How is one year versus two years of Head Start participation associated with children's school readiness?

Two-year versus one-year Head Start program impact: Addressing selection bias by comparing regression modeling with propensity score analysis
Leow, Christine S., 01/01/2015

This article compares regression modeling and propensity score analysis as different types of statistical techniques used in addressing selection bias when estimating the impact of two-year versus one-year Head Start on children's school readiness. The analyses were based on the national Head Start secondary dataset. After controlling for covariates, regression modeling showed that program duration (two years vs. one year) was a significant predictor of all six outcome measures, including Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test, Woodcock-Johnson Reading Skills, Woodcock-Johnson Math Reasoning Skills, teacher-reported composite academic skills, preschool learning behaviors, and social skills. When using propensity score analysis that matched children, program duration significantly predicted children's academic outcomes but had limited effects on learning behaviors and social skills. Overall, both methods confirmed the predictive effects of program duration but propensity score analysis offered more conservative findings than regression modeling. Methodological issues and policy implications were discussed based on these findings. (author abstract)

Do the effects of early childhood interventions systematically fade?

Do the effects of early childhood interventions systematically fade?: Exploring variation in the persistence of preschool effects
Bassok, Daphna, 01/01/2015
(EdPolicyWorks Working Paper Series No. 36). Charlottesville: University of Virginia, EdPolicyWorks. Retrieved February 13, 2015, from http://curry.virginia.edu/uploads/resourceLibrary/36_Preschool_Fade_Out.pdf

Early childhood education receives significant public attention as a cost-effective approach to closing achievement gaps and improving the life prospects of disadvantaged children. However, critics point to the relatively quick evaporation of academic benefits for participants demonstrated in several recent experimental studies. Our paper is the first to employ both kindergarten cohorts of the nationally representative Early Childhood Longitudinal Study (ECLS), 1998 and 2010, to describe the extent to which preschool effects fade over time and to assess variation in those patterns of convergence. Notably, the association between preschool participation and cognitive outcomes fades more rapidly in the 2010 kindergarten cohort than in 1998. Whereas in the 1998 data, a statistically significant "preschool advantage" is evident in both reading and math at the end of first grade, in the more recent cohort no differences are observed by the end of the kindergarten. The rapid fade-out is observed for children who attended both full and half-day preschool programs and does not depend on several proxies of kindergarten classroom quality. The results suggest that the rate of fade-out of preschool effects may be accelerating over time. Interestingly, across both kindergarten cohorts, we document a persistent positive association between preschool participation and first grade cognitive outcomes for black children. Policy implications are discussed. (author abstract)

To what extent are state regulations promoting increased physical activity and decreased sedentary behaviors in infants in child care?

A review of state regulations to promote infant physical activity in child care
Slining, Meghan, 11/22/2014

The purpose of this study was to review state regulations promoting increased physical activity and decreased sedentary behaviors in infants in child care and to assess consistency with recent Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommendations. Methods: We compared existing state and territory licensing and administrative regulations to recent IOM recommendations to promote physical activity and decrease sedentary time in very young children attending out-of-home child care (both child care centers and family child care homes). Three independent reviewers searched two sources (a publicly available website and WestlawNext (TM)) and compared regulations with five IOM recommendations: 1) providing daily opportunities for infants to move, 2) engaging with infants on the ground, 3) providing daily tummy time for infants less than six months of age, 4) using cribs, car seats and high chairs for their primary purpose, and 5) limiting the use of restrictive equipment for holding infants while they are awake. We used Pearson chi-square tests to assess associations between geographic region, year of last update, and number of state regulations consistent with the IOM recommendations. Results: The mean (SD) number of regulations for states was 1.9 (1.3) for centers and 1.6 (1.2) for homes out of a possible 5.0. Two states had regulations for all five recommendations, Arizona for centers and Virginia for homes. Six states and territories had zero regulations for child care centers and seven states and territories had zero regulations for family child care homes. There were no significant associations between geographic region and number of regulations consistent with IOM recommendations. Conclusions: Out-of-home child care settings are important targets for optimal early child health interventions. While most states had some regulations related to the promotion of physical activity among infants, few states had regulations for more than three of the five IOM recommendations. Enhancing state regulations in child care facilities could aid in early childhood obesity prevention efforts. (author abstract)

How is the level of English exposure in the home and classroom associated with Spanish-speaking preschoolers' English vocabulary skills?

English exposure in the home and classroom: Predictions to Spanish-speaking preschoolers' English vocabulary skills
Palermo, Francisco, 11/01/2014

This study examined the combined and unique contributions of home, teacher, and peer English exposure levels on Spanish-speaking preschoolers' (N = 107) English receptive and expressive vocabulary skills. The combined levels of English exposure during the fall of preschool were positively associated with children's English receptive and expressive vocabulary skills in the spring. Furthermore, English exposure levels at home were uniquely and positively associated with children's English receptive and expressive vocabularies, whereas peer English exposure levels were uniquely and positively associated with children's English expressive vocabulary. Teachers' English exposure levels were not uniquely associated with children's English vocabulary. The findings highlight the importance of the home environment and peer experiences in the classroom for maximizing Spanish-speaking children's early English vocabulary skills. (author abstract)

What is the association between children's self-regulation abilities and their preschool mathematical achievement?

The impact of self-regulation on preschool mathematical achievement
Gawrilow, Caterina, 12/01/2014

The present studies aimed at investigating whether children's risk for self-regulatory failure implicates poor academic outcomes even before the start of formal instruction. Therefore, we analyzed the association between children's self-regulation abilities (i.e., operationalized with different paradigms) and academic achievement (i.e., early math skills). In Study 1, we found that parent-rated self-regulation predicted early math skills in preschool children. Additionally, the time that children managed to successfully delay a response predicted early math skills. In Study 2, we found that self-regulated behavior in preschool children as measured in a newly developed computerized delay task predicted early math skills. The results are discussed with respect to the importance of children's self-regulation abilities for successful academic achievement. (author abstract)

Do early care and education services improve the language development of maltreated children?

Do early care and education services improve language development for maltreated children?: Evidence from a national child welfare sample
Merritt, Darcey H., 01/01/2015

Young children under 6 years old are over-represented in the U.S. child welfare system (CWS). Due to their exposure to early deprivation and trauma, they are also highly vulnerable to developmental problems, including language delays. High quality early care and education (ECE) programs (e.g. preschool, Head Start) can improve children's development and so policymakers have begun calling for increased enrollment of CWS-supervised children in these programs. However, it is not a given that ECE will benefit all children who experience maltreatment. Some types of maltreatment may result in trauma-related learning and behavior challenges or developmental deficits that cause children to respond to ECE settings differently. The current study uses data from a nationally representative survey of children in the U.S. child welfare system, the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being II, to assess whether young CWS-supervised children (N = 1,652) who were enrolled in ECE had better language development outcomes 18 months later than those not enrolled in ECE. We also explore whether the type of maltreatment that brought children to the CWS' attention moderates the relationship between ECE and children's language development. After controlling for children's initial scores on the Preschool Language Scale (PLS-3), type(s) of maltreatment experienced, and child and caregiver demographics, we found that ECE participation predicted better PLS-3 scores at follow-up, with a positive interaction between ECE participation and supervisory neglect. ECE seems to be beneficial for CWS-involved children's early language development, especially for children referred to the CWS because they lack appropriate parent supervision at home. (author abstract)

How can an early literacy text messaging program for parents support literacy development of preschoolers?

One step at a time: The effects of an early literacy text messaging program for parents of preschoolers
York, Benjamin N., 11/01/2014
(NBER Working Paper No. 20659). Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research. Retrieved January 28, 2015 from http://www.nber.org/papers/w20659.pdf

Substantial systematic differences exist in children's home learning experiences. The few existing parenting programs that have shown promise often are not widely accessible, either due to the demands they place on parents' time and effort or cost. In this study, we evaluate the effects of READY4K!, a text messaging program for parents of preschoolers designed to help them support their children's literacy development. The program targets the behavioral barriers to good parenting by breaking down the complexity of parenting into small steps that are easy-to-achieve and providing continuous support for an entire school year. We find that READY4K! positively affected the extent to which parents engaged in home literacy activities with their children by 0.22 to 0.34 standard deviations, as well as parental involvement at school by 0.13 to 0.19 standard deviations. Increases in parental activity at home and school translated into student learning gains in some areas of early literacy, ranging from approximately 0.21 to 0.34 standard deviations. The widespread use, low cost, and ease of scalability of text messaging make texting an attractive approach to supporting parenting practices. (author abstract)

What can we learn from the Head Start CARES demonstration about the impacts of social-emotional curricula on three-year-olds?

Impacts of social-emotional curricula on three-year-olds: Exploratory findings from the Head Start CARES demonstration
Hsueh, JoAnn, 12/01/2014
(OPRE Report 2014-78). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved January 29, 2015, from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/head_start_cares_3s_report_2014.pdf

This report presents exploratory impact findings for 3-year-olds from the Head Start CARES demonstration, a large-scale randomized controlled trial implemented in Head Start centers for one academic year across the country. The goal was to test the effects of three distinct classroom-based program "enhancements" for improving children's social-emotional competencies. The Incredible Years Teacher Training Program supports children's ability to regulate their behavior by helping teachers maintain an organized classroom. Preschool PATHS uses structured lessons to help children learn about emotions and gain social problem-solving skills. Tools of the Mind-Play, a one-year program adapted from the original two-year Tools of the Mind program, promotes children's self-regulatory skills through structured make-believe play. (author abstract)

What factors contribute to the high cost child care in Colorado and how can affordability be improved?

Child care affordability in Colorado: An investigation into child care costs and recommended strategies for improving affordability
Qualistar Colorado, 12/01/2014
Denver, CO: Qualistar Colorado. Retrieved January 29, 2015, from https://www.qualistar.org/uploads/Colorado%20Cost%20of%20Child%20Care%20Report%202014%20-%20Web%20Ready.pdf

After decades of research, it is clear that access to high-quality child care promotes children's healthy development, supports working families and benefits society through positive economic impacts. Unfortunately, the high cost of child care throughout the United States and in Colorado forces many parents to settle for low-quality care or inhibits them from accessing licensed care altogether. The Women's Foundation of Colorado, Qualistar Colorado and the Colorado Children's Campaign have produced this report after a year of investigation into issues of child care affordability with the goal of outlining actionable next steps in improving affordability for Colorado families. In order to determine how affordability might be improved, it is necessary to understand why the price of care appears so high in Colorado. To that end, this report identifies the primary factors that contribute to the high price of child care, examines the variation in family incomes, and applies the measure of affordability as the average price of child care compared to median income in each Colorado county. (author abstract)

How do the impacts of Head Start vary by control group alternative care setting?

Compared to what?: Variation in the impacts of early childhood education by alternative care-type settings
Feller, Avi, 12/30/2014
Rochester, NY: Social Science Research Network. Retrieved January 28, 2015 from http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/Delivery.cfm/SSRN_ID2544321_code2335300.pdf?abstractid=2534811&mirid=1

Early childhood education research often compares a group of children who receive the intervention of interest to a group of children who receive care in a range of different care settings. In this paper, we estimate differential impacts of an early childhood intervention by alternative care setting, using data from the Head Start Impact Study, a large-scale randomized evaluation. To do so, we utilize the principal stratification framework, a generalization of the instrumental variables approach, to estimate separate impacts for two types of Compliers: those children who would otherwise be in other center-based care when assigned to control and those who would otherwise be in home-based care. We find strong, positive short-term effects of Head Start on receptive vocabulary for those Compliers who would otherwise be in home-based care. By contrast, we find no meaningful impact of Head Start on vocabulary for those Compliers who would otherwise be in other center-based care. Our findings suggest that alternative care type is a potentially important source of variation in early childhood education interventions. (author abstract) Check out our Head Start Impact Study bibliography to find other resources that use data from the study.

What are the sources of absenteeism in the District of Columbia Public Schools early childhood program and what strategies can address it?

Insights into absenteeism in DCPS early childhood program: Contributing factors and promising strategies
Katz, Michael, 01/01/2015
Washington, DC: Urban Institute. Retrieved January 28, 2015 from http://www.urban.org/UploadedPDF/2000083-Insights-into-Absenteeism-in-DCPS-Early-Childhood-Program.pdf

ECED requested that the Urban Institute explore absenteeism in its early education Head Start program by performing two analyses: an analysis of absence data for chronically absent DCPS prekindergarten students to identify patterns, trends, and family characteristics [presented in a companion report by Dubay and Holla (2015)]; and an exploratory analysis of factors contributing to absenteeism for DCPS prekindergarten students, challenges faced by ECED staff in tracking attendance and working with families, and possible strategies to address these issues. This report presents findings from the latter analysis. The data were gathered through focus groups and interviews with ECED staff, an observation of a parent policy council meeting, interviews with researchers and experts from other school districts across the country, a review of ECED case management notes, and an in-depth literature and resource review. Because of the project's short time line, however, the data do not include the crucial insights that need to be gathered from DCPS staff (teachers, principals, and administrators) and from families themselves. We focus particularly on insights about the prekindergarten program, and thus are unable to delve into the larger systemic questions around school system policies and practices in which the prekindergarten program is embedded. As a result, the findings in this report should be considered an initial exploration of these questions. (author abstract) An accompanying report examines absenteeism trends in the District of Columbia Public Schools early childhood program. And check out our related Topic of Interest to find resources on preschool attendance rates and child outcomes.

How do Head Start Grantees set and use school readiness goals?

How Head Start grantees set and use school readiness goals: Final report
Isaacs, Julia B., 01/01/2015
(OPRE Report No. 2015-12a). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/2015_12a_school_readiness_goals_final_report_january_2015.pdf

Under the Improving Head Start School Readiness Act of 2007, Head Start and Early Head Start grantees are required to develop locally defined school readiness goals and to evaluate children's progress toward these goals. This study, School Readiness Goals and Head Start Program Functioning, examined how local grantees set school readiness goals, how they collect and analyze data to track progress toward goals, and how they use these data in program planning and practice to improve program functioning. (author abstract)

What legislative action did states take in 2014 related to early care and education?

Early care & education 2014 state legislative action
National Conference of State Legislatures,
Denver, CO: National Conference of State Legislatures. Retrieved January 21, 2015, from http://www.ncsl.org/documents/cyf/NCSL_2014_ECE_Enacted_Legislation.pdf

In review of the 2014 legislative session, state lawmakers addressed an array of policy issues relating to young children through the introduction of more than 900 bills in 49 states. Of those, 111 have been enacted or adopted into law in 35 states, D.C. and Puerto Rico. Enacted legislation addressed the quality of child care, including basic health and safety standards, expanded and improved prekindergarten programs, boosted early literacy development in young children and promoted school readiness, addressed early childhood governance issues and data collection. There also were comprehensive bills that addressed multiple aspects of state early care and education policy. (author abstract)

What can we learn from the literature about data use for continuous quality improvement that can be applied to the Head Start field?

Data use for continuous quality improvement: What the Head Start field can learn from other disciplines: A literature review and conceptual framework
Derrick-Mills, Teresa, 12/01/2014
(OPRE Report No. 2014-77). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/hsleadslitreview_final_12_8_14_rv2_0.pdf

This review summarizes research on the processes, facilitators, and impediments to data use for continuous quality improvement; develops a conceptual framework representing the elements of data use for continuous quality improvement; and provides linkages between the disciplines from which the literature was drawn and the Head Start field. The review reflects seminal and current works that originate in empirical and professional sources in the fields of educational leadership and management, health care management, nonprofit leadership and management, public management, and organizational learning and development. (author abstract)

What teacher-child interactions promote child development?

Teachers' daily interactions with children: An essential ingredient in effective early childhood programs
Hamre, Bridget, 12/01/2014

To ensure that investments in expanding early childhood programs are effective in supporting children's school readiness, early childhood settings must include responsive and cognitively stimulating daily interactions between teachers and children. Few young children are exposed to the types of teacher-child interactions needed to help ensure that they are prepared to start kindergarten. In this article, I review studies identifying teacher-child interactions that promote children's development and documenting how systematic professional development enhances these areas of teachers' practice. I also address the limits to research and the policy implications of this work. (author abstract)

Does incorporating parents into childhood obesity prevention interventions in early childhood settings impact the outcomes of the interventions?

Obesity prevention interventions in early childhood education and care settings with parental involvement: A systematic review
Morris, Heather, 08/01/2015

Partnering early childhood education and care (ECEC) and the home together may be more effective in combating obesogenic risk factors in preschool children. Thus, an evaluation of ECEC obesity prevention interventions with a parental component was conducted, exploring parental engagement and its effect on obesity and healthy lifestyle outcomes. A search revealed 15 peer-reviewed papers. Some studies demonstrated positive weight changes, and secondary outcomes of changes in physical activity and healthy eating were reported in most studies; study quality ranged from fair to good. Four findings were linked to weight changes: (1) when educational material is consistent across settings; (2) capacity building of parents; (3) parents encouraging their children to drink water and (4) parental satisfaction and participation. A partnership between parents and ECEC may be a powerful force in the prevention of paediatric obesity. A better understanding of collaborative parental engagement is needed. (author abstract)

Is workplace stress associated with poorer quality teacher-child relationships in Head Start?

Workplace stress and the quality of teacher-children relationships in Head Start
Whitaker, Robert C., 01/01/2015

The quality of the relationships between teachers and young children affects children's social and emotional development and their academic success. Little is known, however, about whether the amount of workplace stress experienced by early childhood educators impacts the quality of their relationships with young children. The purpose of this study was to determine whether workplace stress was associated with poorer quality teacher-children relationships in Head Start. Across 37 Head Start programs in Pennsylvania, 1001 teachers completed an anonymous, web-based survey about workplace stress and the levels of conflict and closeness in their relationships with children in their classrooms. We examined the associations between teacher-children relationship quality and the level of three types of perceived workplace stress: high demands, low control, and low support. Findings indicated that more workplace stress was associated with more conflict in teacher-children relationships. Interventions to address workplace stress should be evaluated for their potential to impact teacher-children relationship quality and children's social-emotional development. (author abstract)

What is the current state of QRIS research and evaluation?

Assessing QRIS as a change agent [Special section]
Barnett, W. Steven, 01/01/2015

This special section of an issue of Early Childhood Research Quarterly focuses on the role of Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS) in the improvement of the quality of child care and early education settings. Read articles from this special section: Assessing QRIS as a change agent, Validating Virginia's quality rating and improvement system among state-funded pre-kindergarten programs, Comparisons among quality measures in child care settings: Understanding the use of multiple measures in North Carolina's QRIS and their links to social-emotional development in preschool children, Identifying baseline and ceiling thresholds within the Qualistar Early Learning Quality Rating and Improvement System, Quality Rating and Improvement Systems: Validation of a local implementation in LA County and children's school-readiness, Improving QRISs through the use of existing data: A virtual pilot of the California QRIS, Associations among tiered quality rating and improvement system supports and quality improvement, Comparing state policy approaches to early care and education quality: A multidimensional assessment of quality rating and improvement systems and child care licensing regulations, Approaches to validating child care quality rating and improvement systems (QRIS): Results from two states with similar QRIS type designs, What do quality rating levels mean?: Examining the implementation of QRIS ratings to inform validation, Impacts of a child care quality rating and improvement system on child care quality, Inequities in access to quality early care and education: Associations with funding and community context, Substantive or symbolic stars: Quality rating and improvement systems through a new institutional lens, and QRIS research: Looking back and looking forward

Which elements of high-quality pre-k programs make a difference for children's early learning?

Lessons from research and the classroom: Implementing high-quality pre-k that makes a difference for young children
Minervino, Jim, 09/01/2014
Seattle, WA: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Retrieved December 29, 2014, from https://docs.gatesfoundation.org/documents/Lessons%20from%20Research%20and%20the%20Classroom_September%202014.pdf

Beginning in 2012, the foundation commissioned a series of research papers to better understand the changing early learning landscape. Specifically, these papers addressed whether pre-K programs produced gains in student achievement that persisted into the early elementary grades; whether high-quality programs could be cost sustainable; and what program features contribute to strong interactions between teachers and children, the central ingredient in high-quality programs. The result is the research presented here, along with a companion piece on the early childhood workforce. These three papers are based on published research, program evaluations, and extensive consultation with experts in the early childhood field. The research was iterative. As a result, conclusions about the components of high-quality--including the importance of B.A. degrees for lead teachers--evolved based on new information. The papers are presented sequentially to show the evolution of the project over approximately 18 months, and should be read together: Quality in Center-Based Early Learning: High-Level Findings and Trends (January 2013); Early Learning: The New Fact Base and Cost Sustainability (September 2013); and The Essential Elements of High-Quality Pre-K: An Analysis of Four Exemplar Programs (January 2014). (author abstract)

Should states offer two years of Head Start or one year of Head Start and one year of state pre-k?

Head Start at ages 3 and 4 versus Head Start followed by state pre-k: Which is more effective?
Jenkins, Jade Marcus, 02/01/2014
Irvine, CA: Irvine Network on Interventions in Development. Retrieved December 23, 2014, from http://inid.gse.uci.edu/files/2011/03/Jenkinsetal_Feb2014.pdf

As policy-makers contemplate expanding preschool opportunities for low-income children, one possibility is to fund two, rather than one year of Head Start for children at ages 3 and 4. Another option is to offer one year of Head Start followed by one year of pre-k. We ask which of these options is more effective. We use data from the Oklahoma pre-k study to examine these two 'pathways' into kindergarten using regression discontinuity to estimate the effects of each age-4 program, and propensity score weighting to address selection. We find that children attending Head Start at age 3 develop stronger pre-reading skills in a high quality pre-kindergarten at age 4 compared with attending Head Start at age 4. Pre-k and Head Start were not differentially linked to improvements in children's pre-writing skills or pre-math skills. This suggests that some impacts of early learning programs may be related to the sequencing of learning experiences to more academic programming. (author abstract)

What experimental designs could be used to estimate the effect of individual coaching components on teachers and children in Head Start programs?

Design options for an evaluation of Head Start coaching: Review of methods for evaluating components of social interventions
Somers, Marie-Andree, 07/01/2014
(OPRE Report No. 2014-81). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved December 22, 2014, from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/hspd_task_3_2_review_final_11_19_2014new_title_002.pdf

This report is part of a larger effort to design a study to evaluate the effect of individual coaching components in Head Start programs. The design project is guided by the following research question: What is the effect of individual coaching components on teachers and children in the Head Start context? The goal is to design an evaluation that will help Head Start programs, and other early childhood programs, implement stronger coaching interventions by providing them with reliable evidence on the effect of coaching components that they can use to decide which components to implement, given their local needs and budgetary constraints. The purpose of this present report is to review different experimental designs that could be used to estimate the effect of individual components within a social intervention, such as Head Start coaching. (author abstract) There is an available accompanying report titled Head Start professional development: Design options and considerations for an evaluation of Head Start coaching: Design report

What initiatives have the 14 Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge states undertaken during the first two years of their grants?

Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge: Year two progress report: An overview of implementation from the fourteen RTT-ELC states' Annual Performance Reports for 2013
United States. Department of Education, 12/01/2014
Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved December 9, 2014, from http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-earlylearningchallenge/rtt-aprreportfinal112614.pdf

The document describes some of the initiatives that 14 RTT-ELC States undertook in the first or second year of their grants, as reported in their Annual Performance Reports (APRs). It is not intended to be a comprehensive look at all the activities and progress States have made to date. Yet even in this short period of time and in this brief report, it is clear that the RTT-ELC grantees are making progress toward improving the quality of early learning and development programs in their States and providing access to these high-quality programs for more children with high needs. These efforts are moving States toward the RTT-ELC goal of providing more children from birth through age 5 with a strong foundation that is needed to succeed in school and beyond. The infusion of funding, coordinated technical assistance from RTT-ELC, and firm timelines are giving States the needed impetus to develop a systems-based approach to improving the education and development of their youngest citizens. (author abstract) Research Connections also has the 14 state Annual Performance Reports that are the basis for this progress report

What are promising models and components of early care and education partnerships?

Early care and education partnerships: A review of the literature
Del Grosso, Patricia, 11/01/2014
(OPRE Report No. 2014-64). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/early_care_and_education_partnerships_a_review_of_the_literature.pdf

The purpose of this literature review, conducted as part of the Study of Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships, was to assess the current knowledge base for early care and education (ECE) partnerships, highlight promising models or components of models for these partnerships, and identify gaps in the research. We reviewed 78 studies of partnerships in the early childhood education field, including partnerships between Head Start and Early Head Start grantees and child care providers, school districts and child care providers and Head Start agencies, and other types of partnerships, including partnerships with informal caregivers and early intervention services. (author abstract) Research Connections has recently published a Key Topic Resource List related to this topic: Early Head Start/Head Start-child care partnerships

What are the patterns of family child care subsidy program enrollment spells and duration?

Child care subsidy duration and caseload dynamics: A multi-state examination
Swenson, Kendall, 10/01/2014
Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation. Retrieved December 9, 2014, from http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/14/ChildCareSubsidy/rpt_ChildCareSubsidy.pdf

This report provides an examination of the length of time that low-income families receive government-funded child care subsidies that pay for part or all of the cost of their care arrangements. Statistics of subsidy duration provide a description of the interval of time that families utilize subsidies and document the calendar months when they are more or less likely to enter and exit the programs. These statistics are useful to researchers and policymakers because the patterns may be related to adult employment and child care stability outcomes, and they provide valuable information to program administrators who want to better understand the caseload dynamics of the subsidy programs. (author abstract)

How are states using child care licensing standards and monitoring practices to support safe, healthy child care settings?

Contemporary issues in licensing
National Center on Child Care Quality Improvement, 09/01/2014
Fairfax, VA: National Center on Child Care Quality Improvement. Retrieved November 24, 2014, from https://childcareta.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/public/1409_issue_brief_summary_final__0.pdf

The National Center on Child Care Quality Improvement (NCCCQI) is pleased to announce a series of licensing reports to support the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Office of Child Care's (OCC), goal of children served in safe, healthy child care settings. OCC is stepping up its work with States, Territories, and Tribes to strengthen licensing standards to ensure safety, health, and well-being, while supporting child care providers to meet standards. To support this effort, OCC is working with States to reform and strengthen standards to better promote the health, safety, and school readiness of children in federally funded child care. These reforms seek to strengthen health and safety standards and monitoring practices with child care providers, and provide mechanisms for parents to be informed when making choices about care for their children. While these proposed reforms will primarily impact child care supported by funding through the federal Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF), improvements in monitoring, standards, and consumer education will benefit all families seeking the best possible care for their children. Within the early care and education system, licensing provides the baseline of protection for children and covers the broadest content, the largest number of children ages birth to school-age, and the largest population of providers. Licensing helps prevent various forms of harm to children--risks from the spread of disease, fire and other building safety hazards; injury; and developmental impairment from the lack of healthy relationships with adults, adequate supervision, or developmentally appropriate activities. The Office of Child Care hopes that this report series, which includes research as well as examples of innovative and diverse state practices, will be helpful to state licensing agencies as they seek to strengthen their programs and better protect children in out-of-home care. (author abstract) Click here to view all the reports in the series.

How do households in the United States perceive, search for, and change child care arrangements?

Household search for and perceptions of early care and education: Initial findings from the National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE)
National Survey of Early Care and Education Project Team, 10/01/2014
(NSECE Research Brief, OPRE Report 55a). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/brief_hh_search_and_perceptions_to_opre_10022014.pdf

This brief uses new, nationally representative data from the National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE)--funded by the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE) in the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services--to describe critical elements in the decision-making process of parents and other caregivers regarding the nonparental care of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. The NSECE is comprised of four nationally representative surveys that were conducted in 2012. These coordinated surveys were designed to provide in-depth data on multiple dimensions of early care and education (ECE) in the United States, including the availability of ECE, preferences and needs for ECE and school-age care, the use of ECE and school-age care, and a description of the ECE workforce. One of the four surveys--the Household Survey--gathered data from households with young children, while the other three collected data from center-and home-based ECE providers. The NSECE oversampled from low-income areas because the experiences of low-income families are of critical public policy interest. This brief uses data from the Household Survey to provide insight into how parents perceive the ECE arrangements available to them, how and why they search for care, and when searches result in a change in arrangement. (author abstract)

How can findings from an evaluation of New York City's regulations on nutrition, physical activity, and screen time in child care centers help other public health agencies prevent child obesity?

Insights and implications for health departments from the evaluation of New York City's regulations on nutrition, physical activity, and screen time in child care centers
Nonas, Cathy, 10/16/2014

In 2006, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, seeking to address the epidemic of childhood obesity, issued new regulations on beverages, physical activity, and screen time in group child care centers. An evaluation was conducted to identify characteristics of New York City child care centers that have implemented these regulations and to examine how varying degrees of implementation affected children's behaviors. This article discusses results of this evaluation and how findings can be useful for other public health agencies. Knowing the characteristics of centers that are more likely to comply can help other jurisdictions identify centers that may need additional support and training. Results indicated that compliance may improve when rules established by governing agencies, national standards, and local regulatory bodies are complementary or additive. Therefore, the establishment of clear standards for obesity prevention for child care providers can be a significant public health achievement. (author abstract)

Are states supporting inclusion in their quality rating and improvement systems?

QRIS and inclusion: Do state QRIS standards support the learning needs of all children?
Horowitz, Michelle, 11/25/2014
New Brunswick, NJ: Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes. Retrieved December 2, 2014, from http://ceelo.org/wp content/uploads/2014/11/ceelo_fast_fact_qris_inclusion.pdf

To learn more about the extent to which inclusion is addressed in state QRIS models, CEELO conducted research through several methods. An online review of state QRIS websites identified states with QRIS and explored the extent to which criteria relating to inclusion were incorporated. Interviews with national experts were conducted simultaneously to identify innovative, promising models for incorporating inclusive practices substantively in QRIS standards. Finally, several state QRIS administrators were interviewed to determine development and implementation efforts resulting in promising practices to promote inclusion in state QRIS. (author abstract)

What does the research tell us about the socioemotional development of young dual language learners?

The social-emotional development of dual language learners: Looking back at existing research and moving forward with purpose
Halle, Tamara, 10/01/2014

This review describes the state of existing knowledge with regard to dual language learners' (DLLs) social-emotional development birth to age 5. The review focuses on several widely recognized dimensions of children's social-emotional development: self-regulation, social competence, social cognition, and problem behaviors. We begin by presenting a theoretical perspective that frames our understanding of the interplay between relational and contextual factors that contribute to the social-emotional well-being of DLLs. A targeted search of the literature identified 14 peer-reviewed studies published from 2000 to 2011 that examined social-emotional outcomes for young DLLs in family, school, and peer contexts. Results suggest that DLLs have at least equal (if not better) social-emotional outcomes compared to native English speakers. There is also some evidence that the use of the home language in early childhood classrooms can be a positive, moderating factor for DLLs' social-emotional development. Contextual and individual characteristics are highly correlated with DLL status, making it difficult to develop clear conclusions about the unique influence of DLL status on social-emotional outcomes. We conclude by identifying avenues for future inquiry. (author abstract)

How is participation in full-day vs part-day preschool associated with school readiness, attendance, and parent involvement?

Association of a full-day vs part-day preschool intervention with school readiness, attendance, and parent involvement
Reynolds, Arthur J., 11/26/2014

Early childhood interventions have demonstrated positive effects on well-being. Whether full-day vs part-day attendance improves outcomes is unknown. Objective To evaluate the association between a full- vs part-day early childhood program and school readiness, attendance, and parent involvement. Design, setting, and participants End-of-preschool follow-up of a nonrandomized, matched-group cohort of predominantly low-income, ethnic minority children enrolled in the Child-Parent Centers (CPC) for the full day (7 hours; n = 409) or part day (3 hours on average; n = 573) in the 2012-2013 school year in 11 schools in Chicago, Illinois. Intervention The Midwest CPC Education Program provides comprehensive instruction, family-support, and health services from preschool to third grade. Main outcomes and measures School readiness skills at the end of preschool, attendance and chronic absences, and parental involvement. The readiness domains in the Teaching Strategies GOLD Assessment System include a total of 49 items with a score range of 105-418. The specific domains are socioemotional with 9 items (score range, 20-81), language with 6 items (score range, 15-54), literacy with 12 items (score range, 9-104), math with 7 items (score, 8-60), physical health with 5 items (score range, 14-45), and cognitive development with 10 items (score range, 18-90). Results Full-day preschool participants had higher scores than part-day peers on socioemotional development (58.6 vs 54.5; difference, 4.1; 95% CI, 0.5-7.6; P = .03), language (39.9 vs 37.3; difference, 2.6; 95% CI, 0.6-4.6; P = .01), math (40.0 vs 36.4; difference, 3.6; 95% CI, 0.5-6.7; P = .02), physical health (35.5 vs 33.6; difference, 1.9; 95% CI, 0.5-3.2; P = .006), and the total score (298.1 vs 278.2; difference, 19.9; 95% CI, 1.2-38.4; P = .04). Literacy (64.5 vs 58.6; difference, 5.9; 95% CI, -0.07 to 12.4; P = .08) and cognitive development (59.7 vs 57.7; difference, 2.0; 95 CI, -2.4 to 6.3; P = .38) were not significant. Full-day preschool graduates also had higher rates of attendance (85.9%vs 80.4%; difference, 5.5; 95% CI, 2.6-8.4; P = .001) and lower rates of chronic absences ([greater than or equal to]10% days missed; 53.0% vs 71.6%; difference, -18.6; 95% CI, -28.5 to -8.7; P = .001;[greater than or equal to]20%days missed; 21.2% vs 38.8%; difference -17.6%; 95% CI, -25.6 to -9.7; P < .001) but no differences in parental involvement. Conclusions and relevance In an expansion of the CPCs in Chicago, a full-day preschool intervention was associated with increased school readiness skills in 4 of 6 domains, attendance, and reduced chronic absences compared with a part-day program. These findings should be replicated in other programs and contexts. (author abstract)

What child, family, and program-level factors may be associated with children leaving Early Head Start or Head Start early?

Children in Early Hea