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.

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)

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)

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)

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, 01/01/2016

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

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 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)

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 http://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 http://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, 01/01/2016

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 http://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/sites/nieer/files/2015%20Yearbook.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 http://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, 01/01/2016

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, 01/01/2016

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, 01/01/2016

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 http://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 #2016-07). 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_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, 01/01/2016

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, 01/01/2015

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 #2015-115). 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/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 the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation. 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?

Special issue on group care for infants, toddlers, and twos
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 http://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/2015/12/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., 01/01/2015

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, 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
Meeker, Kathleen Artman, 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-RCUH). 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, 01/01/2015

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, 01/01/2015

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 http://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: 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, 01/01/2015

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 http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/bfaces_age_3_vol_i_4_8_15_final_revised_508.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 http://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 http://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 April 21, 2015, from http://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., 01/01/2015

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 March 11, 2015, from http://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 February 19, 2015, from http://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 January 26, 2015, from http://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 January 16, 2015, from http://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 December 19, 2014, from http://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 November 25, 2014, from http://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 Head Start and Head Start: A profile of early leavers
Caronongan, Pia, 08/01/2014
(OPRE Report 2014-54). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved November 26, 2014, from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/bfaces_faces_stayers_leavers_brief_cleared_8_21_14_1.pdf

Early Head Start serves pregnant women and children up to age 3, allowing families to enroll a child at any point in this age range. Head Start serves preschool-age children, who can enter the program at age 3 or 4. Engaging and retaining families in the program is a priority for Early Head Start and Head Start. However, some children who enroll in these programs do not stay for the full length of time they are eligible. In this brief, we explore the child-, family-, and program-level factors that may be associated with whether children leave the program early. We used data from the Early Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (Baby FACES) and from the 2009 cohort of the Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES 2009). Analyses show that most families who enrolled stayed for as long as they were eligible. However, a sizable percentage -- 35 percent in Early Head Start and 27 percent in Head Start left early. Early leaving was only related to a few child, family, or program characteristics examined in this brief. The findings suggest that the rate of early leaving was higher among families with several risk factors and who experienced instability, but mainly for Early Head Start families. In Head Start, early leaving was less associated with family risk and more related to program characteristics; children were more likely to leave early if they attended urban programs, if the turnover rates for lead or assistant teachers were high, and if program directors reported there were factors making it more difficult for them to do their jobs. To fully understand the circumstances related to leaving early and what programs can do to keep children enrolled, it will be important to gather additional data about families' needs and what they opt to do in lieu of participating in Early Head Start or Head Start. (author abstract)

What can we learn from the Illinois hard to reach families project about effective recruitment strategies for enrolling children from "hard to reach" families in quality early care and education programs?

Illinois hard to reach families project evaluation
Fowler, Susan A.,
Champaign, IL: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Early Childhood and Parenting Collaborative. Retrieved December 1, 2014, from http://ecap.crc.illinois.edu/pubs/htr/htr-final-report.pdf

Six agencies in Illinois received ARRA funds in 2012 to develop effective and innovative strategies to recruit young children from families considered "hard to reach" and enroll them in quality early care and education (ECE) programs. Over the 16 months of funding, these agencies each participated in three evaluation interviews scheduled at the beginning, middle, and end of the funding as well as an optional monthly call to problem solve and share information. The interviews and calls form the basis for evaluating the six programs in nine priority areas identified by the funding agency. These priority areas were aimed at identifying recruitment strategies that worked. Critical to success was the ability to provide families with some form of services shortly after recruitment and to be able to track child and family participation. Nearly all agencies reported that they had wait lists and could not provide newly recruited families with immediate access to Head Start, PFA, or another community ECE program. Agencies that provided "interim services" such as "drop in" activities once a week or monthly home visits reported serving the largest number of families. As enrollment opportunities occurred, they offered enrollment to families on their wait lists or assured families of enrollment in the next academic year. Pilot funds were used to support staff and volunteers to reach out to families and create materials to advertise the importance of early education. Once new families were identified, it was critical for agencies that did not have available slots to be innovative in their approaches and activities for these families. To retain these newly identified families, agencies said it was essential to "go to" them to assist with paperwork and maintain contact until they could be enrolled in services. Another important factor, agencies said, was collaborating with other agencies that provide services to families living at or near the poverty level. (author abstract)

What has been the extent of change in center-based teachers' wages, education, and rates of turnover over the last 25 years?

Worthy work, STILL unlivable wages: The early childhood workforce 25 years after the National Child Care Staffing Study
Whitebook, Marcy, 01/01/2014
Berkeley: University of California, Berkeley, Center for the Study of Child Care Employment. Retrieved December 2, 2014, from http://www.irle.berkeley.edu/cscce/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/ReportFINAL.pdf

This report is a compilation of studies and discussions addressing the working conditions of early childhood teachers in 1989 and 2014. Additional chapters address the consequences of compensation decisions, the use of public benefits among families of staff, and the variety of state and national policy efforts related to the wages of early childhood teachers.

How do state child care assistance eligibility policies vary for parents participating in education and training?

Child care assistance for parents in education and training: A look at state CCDF policy and participation data
Adams, Gina, 10/01/2014
Washington, DC: Urban Institute. Retrieved November 24, 2014, from http://www.urban.org/UploadedPDF/413254-Child-Care-Assistance-for-Parents-in-Education-and-Training.pdf

This paper is part of a larger Urban Institute project -- Bridging the Gap: Understanding the Intersection between Workforce Development and Child Care -- supported by the Ford Foundation, that examines the intersection between workforce development and child care. The paper focuses on one element of this intersection: the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF), the major federal and state child care assistance program. In particular, it examines CCDF eligibility policies and services for parents who need child care to participate in education and training activities. (author abstract)

Can a nutrition education program in child care centers improve preschoolers' at-home diet?

Nutrition-education program improves preschoolers' at-home diet: A group randomized trial
Williams, Pamela A., 07/01/2014

This study evaluated whether a nutrition-education program in child-care centers improved children's at-home daily consumption of fruits and vegetables, at-home use of low-fat/fat-free milk, and other at-home dietary behaviors. Materials and methods Twenty-four child-care centers serving low-income families were matched by region, type, and size, and then randomly assigned to either an intervention or control condition. In the 12 intervention centers, registered dietitian nutritionists provided nutrition education to children and parents separately during a 6- to 10-week period. They also held two training sessions for center staff, to educate them on healthy eating and physical activity policies at the centers, and distributed weekly parent newsletters that included activities and recipes. Parents (n=1,143) completed a mail or telephone survey at baseline and follow-up to report information on their child's fruit, vegetable, and milk consumption and other dietary behaviors at home. This study used general and generalized linear mixed models to evaluate program impacts, while accounting for the clustering of children within centers. This study included child age, child sex, household size, respondent race/ethnicity, respondent age, and respondent sex as covariates. Results The program had a substantial impact on children's at-home daily consumption of vegetables and use of low-fat/fat-free milk. This study also found a significant increase in the frequency of child-initiated vegetable snacking, which might have contributed to the significant increase in vegetable consumption. The program did not have a significant impact on fruit consumption or parental offerings of fruits and vegetables, child-initiated fruit snacking, or child fruit consumption. Conclusions This intervention in child-care settings that emphasized children, parents, and teachers significantly increased at-home vegetable and low-fat/fat-free milk consumption among low-income preschoolers. (author abstract)

Do peers' language skills predict the language growth of students within inclusive early childhood education classrooms?

Peer effects in early childhood education: Testing the assumptions of special-education inclusion
Justice, Laura M., 09/01/2014

There has been a push in recent years for students with disabilities to be educated alongside their typically developing peers, a practice called inclusion. In this study, we sought to determine whether peer effects operate within early-childhood special-education (ECSE) classrooms in which preschoolers with disabilities are educated alongside typical peers. Peer effects specific to language growth were assessed for 670 preschoolers (mean age = 52 months) in 83 ECSE classrooms; 55% of the children had disabilities. We found that the average language skills of classmates, as assessed in the fall of the year, significantly predicted children's language skills in the spring (after controlling for their relative skill level in the fall); in addition, there was a significant interactive effect of disability status (i.e., the presence or absence of a disability) and peers' language skills. Peer effects were the least consequential for children without disabilities whose classmates had relatively strong language skills, and the most consequential for children with disabilities whose classmates had relatively poor language skills. (author abstract)

What current research and evaluation efforts has the Administration for Children and Families sponsored in tribal communities?

The way forward: ACF research with American Indians and Alaska Natives: Meeting summary, April 17-18, 2014, National Museum of the American Indian, Washington, District of Columbia
United States. Administration for Children and Families. Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation,
Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation

On April 17-18, OPRE held the meeting "The Way Forward: ACF Research with American Indians and Alaska Natives" at the National Museum of the American Indian. Over sixty researchers and federal staff who do research with AIAN communities gathered to learn about the current state of ACF research in tribal communities and to discuss future directions. From Tribal Health Profession Opportunity Grants to Tribal Maternal Infant Early Childhood Home Visiting, participants engaged in a lively discussion regarding how best to build knowledge that can increase understanding and help inform decision-making in tribal communities. The meeting was structured over two days to highlight important topics through a series of presentations including: principles of engagement when collaborating with AIAN communities in research; supporting research capacity in AIAN communities; community engagement in measurement development; challenges of using existing measures in AIAN communities; and designing and scaling interventions from a cross-cultural perspective and thinking beyond randomized control trials to consider other rigorous designs when collaborating with AIAN communities. After each presentation, discussants representing the broad range of stakeholders present commented on the topic and presentations, then facilitators invited commentary from all the attendees. (author abstract)

How can professional development improve the quality of care in infant-toddler settings?

The effectiveness of coursework and onsite coaching at improving the quality of care in infant-toddler settings
Moreno, Amanda J., 01/01/2015

This study evaluated the effectiveness of 2 professional development interventions aimed at improving the quality of care provided by caregivers in ordinary infant-toddler child care settings, both center- and home-based. In all, 183 participants in a community college course on infant-toddler theory and practice, an in-service community model of a 48-hr course plus various levels of 1-on-1 coaching (participants were randomly assigned to 0, 5, or 15 hr), or a no-intervention comparison group were compared on their changes across 3 time points in their job-related self-efficacy, their knowledge of best practices, and the quality of their interactions with children as assessed by objective observers. Results indicated that the group with the most intensive intervention (course plus 15 hr of coaching) displayed the most consistent pattern of improvements, which met multiple analytical criteria for substantiveness. Furthermore, these findings were most apparent in the quality of interactions outcomes, and these were further still concentrated in the area of support for language and learning, the domain that showed the greatest need for improvement in infant-toddler caregivers in this sample as well as in previous research. Practice or Policy: Implications of the study results for systemic improvements to infant-toddler care are discussed, such as the importance of individual-level professional development, minimum dosage of coaching, and in-service supports to prevent declines in the quality of teacher-child interactions. (author abstract)

How can professional development support teacher-child classroom conversations and children's vocabulary gains?

Teacher-child conversations in preschool classrooms: Contributions to children's vocabulary development
Cabell, Sonia Q., 01/01/2015

This study used a novel method to examine the volume and quality of teacher-child conversations within 44 preschool classrooms. Small group play sessions were transcribed, parsed into conversations, and coded for teachers' use of strategies that elicited and extended child talk. The first research aim was to examine the extent to which professional development impacted teachers' strategy use during conversations with children, whereas the second aim was to consider the way in which teachers' strategy use related to gains in children's vocabulary across the preschool year. Regarding this second aim, of principal interest was the relation between the pattern of teachers' strategy use (concentrated versus distributed) and children's gains. Findings indicated that professional development increased teacher-child engagement in multi-turn conversations, child-initiated conversations, and teachers' strategy use. In addition, teacher-child conversations with a high concentration of teacher elicitations and extensions were positively associated with children's vocabulary gains. This study increases our understanding of what teacher-child conversations look like in preschool settings, and helps to advance the field in terms of identifying features of conversations that may promote children's language growth. (author abstract)

How do Head Start children's approaches to learning moderate the association between the home literacy environment and their language development?

Home literacy environment and Head Start children's language development: The role of approaches to learning
Meng, Christine, 01/01/2015

This study examined whether approaches to learning moderate the association between home literacy environment and English receptive vocabulary development. The Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (2003 cohort) was used for analysis. Latent growth curve modeling was utilized to test a quadratic model of English receptive vocabulary development. Results showed that children's approaches to learning significantly moderated the influence of home literacy environment on English receptive vocabulary development. Post hoc probing of the simple slopes demonstrated that children with more positive approaches to learning and lower levels of home literacy environment had a higher English receptive vocabulary trajectory. The implications of the study results for early literacy interventions are discussed. Practice or Policy: Findings from this study may have implications for early educators who aim to improve Head Start children's language competencies by targeting home literacy environment and approaches to learning. At a preliminary level, the study findings suggest that positive approaches to learning may compensate for a limited home literacy environment. Because positive approaches to learning can facilitate learning in other domains, for instance, language learning, this information may be useful for early educators in terms of promoting positive learning attitudes and predispositions toward learning. (author abstract)

How do Head Start impacts on children's cognitive and social-behavioral outcomes vary by control group child care arrangements?

Head Start's impact is contingent on alternative type of care in comparison group
Zhai, Fuhua, 12/01/2014

Using data (n = 3,790 with 2,119 in the 3-year-old cohort and 1,671 in the 4-year-old cohort) from 353 Head Start centers in the Head Start Impact Study, the only large-scale randomized experiment in Head Start history, this article examined the impact of Head Start on children's cognitive and parent-reported social-behavioral outcomes through first grade contingent on the child care arrangements used by children who were randomly assigned to the control group (i.e., parental care, relative/nonrelative care, another Head Start program, or other center-based care). A principal score matching approach was adopted to identify children assigned to Head Start who were similar to children in the control group with a specific care arrangement. Overall, the results showed that the effects of Head Start varied substantially contingent on the alternative child care arrangements. Compared with children in parental care and relative/nonrelative care, Head Start participants generally had better cognitive and parent-reported behavioral development, with some benefits of Head Start persisting through first grade; in contrast, few differences were found between Head Start and other center-based care. The results have implications regarding the children for whom Head Start is most beneficial as well as how well Head Start compares with other center-based programs. (author abstract)

How can using the Common Core State Standards as a framework improve the school readiness of rural children?

A review of the research: Common Core State Standards for improving rural children's school readiness
Bailey, Lora Battle, 11/01/2014

Although a plethora of research focuses on economically at-risk preschool children in general across the United States, little can be found that investigates methods for improving rural children's academic outcomes. This review of research is intended to provide a contextual understanding of the background and current conditions that exist for rural preschool children and their families in America, and to recommend strategies for improving adverse cognition and learning conditions, including a lack of early literacy skills, and low high school completion rates that frequently are found in this population, utilizing the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) as a framework. Attention will be given to demographics, academic performance and scientifically-based practices proven to impact both teaching and learning for rural preschool children, particularly those from minority households, incorporating the newly developed CCSS. A comparison will be made between rural white and African American children's learning and cognition, highlighting significant disparities for African American students, despite the fact that they make up less than 10 % of all rural preschool children. For the scope of this study, rural communities will be defined as those with varying qualities situated outside of metropolitan areas. Results from this study reveal the conditions for rural preschool children, especially those from African American families with low-income levels. Findings indicate that providing training for teachers, administrators and families linked to rural schools; and infusing CCSS into the rural preschool curricula significantly improves school readiness, and decreases dropout rates. (author abstract)

What are the differences in the developmental status of children with and without child protection involvement who attend high-quality early care and education programs?

Differences in the early care and education needs of young children involved in child protection
Kovan, Nikki, 11/01/2014

There is increasing attention being given to better coordinated early care and education (ECE) and child protection systems across the nation, as children with child protection involvement are at risk for a range of negative outcomes that have been improved through high quality ECE in other populations. However, there is little empirical evidence to demonstrate what types of ECE experiences are needed for children involved in the child protection system in order to improve their developmental outcomes. This study compared the developmental status in the year prior to kindergarten of low-income children with and without child protection involvement who were enrolled in a range of ECE settings, all of which were rated highly by a state quality rating and improvement system. Using secondary data from a large Midwestern state child protection system and a local ECE evaluation, findings demonstrated that children with child protection involvement were performing more poorly than their low-income peers without child protection involvement on measures of receptive vocabulary, math reasoning, and teacher ratings of anger/aggression and anxiety/withdrawal, but not on ratings of social competence. Growth was made in receptive vocabulary and social competence for all children and there was no significant interaction between group and time for any child outcome measure. These data suggest that children with child protection involvement continue to manifest academic and social difficulties despite attending high quality ECE programs. Implications for improving the early educational opportunities for children with child protection involvement and suggestions for future research are discussed. (author abstract)

How do voters in Colorado, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and Ohio view early childhood education?

Colorado speaks: Investing in early childhood education is an essential priority
First Five Years Fund,
Chicago: First Five Years Fund. Retrieved October 31, 2014, from http://growamericastronger.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/F_FFYF_CO_ResearchSummary_100814.pdf?6d4b65

A new state poll conducted by the bipartisan team of Public Opinion Strategies and Hart Research Associates shows that Colorado voters view early childhood education as a priority issue for the state and nation. Majorities of Democrats, Republicans and Independents support investments in early childhood programs in the state--including teacher training, voluntary parent coaching, and expanding access to early learning or child care. Three in four voters say investing in early childhood education will help Colorado's economy. (author abstract) See additional poll results for Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and Ohio

Does state preschool crowd-out private provision?

Does state preschool crowd-out private provision?: The impact of universal preschool on the childcare sector in Oklahoma and Georgia
Bassok, Daphna, 09/01/2014

Universal preschool policies introduced in Georgia and Oklahoma offer an opportunity to investigate the impact of government intervention on provision of childcare. Since Georgia used a voucher-like program and Oklahoma utilized its existing public schools, the two states offer a case study of how government provision compares to government subsidization alone. Using a synthetic control group difference-in-difference estimation framework, we examine the effects of universal preschool on childcare providers. In both states there is an increase in the number of formal childcare centers. With the voucher-like program in Georgia, the overall increase in care is partly driven by an increase in the supply of formal childcare in the private sector and partly driven by new publicly-provided preschools. However, there is substantial crowd-out of private consumption of preschool. In Oklahoma, where universal preschool is publicly provided, the increase in the number of childcare providers occurred only in the public sector. The expansion of publicly-provided care seems to be driven largely by movement of employees from private centers to public settings. As such, this case-study comparison suggests that government subsidization through funding was more effective at expanding preschool than government provision. (author abstract)

What strategies and features of family support programs may be most effective in reaching and engaging black and Latino families?

Culture counts: Engaging black and Latino parents of young children in family support programs
Moodie, Shannon, 10/01/2014
(Child Trends Publication No. 2014-44B). Bethesda, MD: Child Trends. Retrieved October 24, 2014, from http://www.childtrends.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/2014-44BCultureCountsFullReport.pdf

This brief provides an overview of family support programs and aims to identify the features and strategies that may be most effective for reaching and engaging black and Latino families, with the ultimate goal of supporting young children's development. We present a synthesis of available research on parent engagement--as well as potential barriers to their engagement--in family support services and programs, and recommendations, for both policymakers and practitioners, for designing, adapting, and evaluating culturally-relevant family support programs and services. (author abstract)

What changes to child care assistance policies did states make between February 2013 and February 2014?

Turning the corner: State child care assistance policies 2014
Schulman, Karen, 01/01/2014
Washington, DC: National Women's Law Center. Retrieved October 24, 2014, from http://www.nwlc.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/nwlc_2014statechildcareassistancereport-final.pdf

The National Women's Law Center collected the data in this report from state child care administrators in the fifty states and the District of Columbia (counted as a state in this report). The Center sent the state child care administrators a survey in the spring of 2014 requesting data on policies as of February 2014 in five key areas--income eligibility limits, waiting lists, parent copayments, reimbursement rates, and eligibility for child care assistance for parents searching for a job. The survey also asked state administrators to report on any policy changes that the state had made since February 2013 or expected to make after February 2014 in each of the five areas. (author abstract)

What challenges are associated with producing a skilled and stable early care and education workforce, and how do they compare with those for the K-12 workforce?

Building a skilled teacher workforce: Shared and divergent challenges in early care and education and in grades K-12
Whitebook, Marcy, 09/01/2014
Seattle, WA: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Retrieved October 6, 2014, from the University of California, Berkeley, Center for the Study of Child Care Employment Web site http://www.irle.berkeley.edu/cscce/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Building-a-Skilled-Teacher-Workforce_September-2014_9-25.pdf

It is essential to understand the personnel-related opportunities and challenges the early childhood education (ECE) sector faces, as well as how these differ from those encountered in grades K-12, in order to adopt an early learning strategy for the U.S. that is capable of improving educational outcomes for young children. To that end, this paper begins with the public perception of early childhood teaching, followed by a brief discussion of the history and purpose of education for children of different ages. Next, the paper describes key features of the personnel systems that have emerged from these varied roots, comparing them along several dimensions, and conclude with suggestions for promoting a skilled and stable early care and education workforce for the 21st century. (author abstract)

How do children's behavior problems relate to their negative emotionality, maternal sensitivity, and preschool teacher sensitivity?

Child negative emotionality and caregiver sensitivity across context: Links with children's kindergarten behaviour problems
Hartz, Karyn, 03/01/2015

Behavioural adjustment is critical for children's school readiness. This study used data from a nationally representative sample of children from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study -- Birth Cohort. We examined the effects of interactions between children's negative emotionality, maternal sensitivity and preschool teacher sensitivity on children's kindergarten internalizing and externalizing behaviours. Parent report of children's negative emotionality and observations of maternal sensitivity were obtained at age 2 years, teacher sensitivity was observed in preschool and teacher report of children's behaviour problems was obtained in kindergarten. Negative emotionality moderated links between maternal sensitivity, teacher sensitivity and children's internalizing behaviours. For children high in negativity, maternal sensitivity was positively associated with internalizing behaviour in the context of low teacher sensitivity, whereas for children low in negativity, maternal sensitivity was negatively associated with internalizing behaviour. For children high or low in negativity, internalizing behaviour was comparable when teacher sensitivity was high regardless of maternal sensitivity. Maternal sensitivity and teacher sensitivity interacted to predict externalizing behaviour regardless of child negativity. Children who experienced high teacher sensitivity displayed comparable externalizing behaviour regardless of maternal sensitivity. When children experienced low teacher sensitivity, maternal sensitivity was negatively associated with externalizing behaviour. Interactions between child characteristics and caregiving across developmental contexts are discussed. (author abstract)

What role do children's cognitive, Spanish competence, and socioemotional skills play in predicting English language acquisition?

Socio-emotional skills, behavior problems, and Spanish competence predict the acquisition of English among English language learners in poverty
Winsler, Adam, 09/01/2014

This article analyzes the role that individual differences in children's cognitive, Spanish competence, and socio-emotional and behavioral skills play in predicting the concurrent and longitudinal acquisition of English among a large sample of ethnically diverse, low-income, Hispanic preschool children. Participants assessed at age 4 for language, cognitive, socio-emotional, and behavioral skills were followed through kindergarten. Multivariate analyses demonstrated that Spanish-speaking preschoolers with greater initiative, self-control, and attachment and fewer behavior problems at age 4 were more successful in obtaining English proficiency by the end of kindergarten compared to those initially weaker in these skills, even after controlling for cognitive/language skills and demographic variables. Also, greater facility in Spanish at age 4 predicted the attainment of English proficiency. Social and behavioral skills and proficiency in Spanish are valuable resources for low-income English language learners during their transition to school. (author abstract)

Can an education, evaluation, and inspection program reduce communicable disease outbreaks in child care centers?

Preventing diseases and outbreaks at child care centers using an education, evaluation, and inspection method
Wagner, Jordan, 03/01/2014

From 2005 to 2008, Washoe County, Nevada, child care centers experienced an increase in illnesses from communicable disease outbreaks. The number of ill children and caregivers from these outbreaks went from 26 in 2005 to 266 in 2008, an increase of 923%. A clear need to reverse this trend existed. Therefore, in 2009 Washoe County strengthened its regulations for child care facilities by adding numerous communicable disease prevention standards. In addition, in 2009 a two-year education, evaluation, and inspection program was implemented at Washoe County child care centers. Following the implementation of this program, a decline occurred in the number of illnesses. The number of ill children and caregivers from outbreaks went from 266 in 2008 to 13 in 2011, a decrease of 95%. (author abstract)

What does the research tell us about the role of early learning in narrowing the health gap and ensuring a healthy start for children?

Start early to build a healthy future: The research linking early learning and health
Fisher, Brooke, 01/01/2014
Chicago: Ounce of Prevention Fund. Retrieved September 30, 2014, from http://www.theounce.org/pubs/Ounce-Health-Paper-Single-Page-PDF-FIN.pdf?v=1

Here we summarize the latest research on what children need to get a healthy start at life. The good news is, research now directs us to a critical strategy in narrowing the health gap and giving all children a strong chance at a healthy future: We can ensure that every child has access to high-quality early childhood education and development programs. We offer policy and practice recommendations aimed at increasing the impact of these programs on children's health and improving coordination and integration across systems that touch the lives of vulnerable young children and their families. (author abstract)

Can participation in Head Start improve both child and parent outcomes?

The influence of low-income children's participation in Head Start on their parents' education and employment
Sabol, Terri J., 12/01/2015

Head Start is the oldest and largest federally funded preschool program in the United States. From its inception in 1965, Head Start not only provided early childhood education, care, and services for children, but also sought to promote parents' success. However, almost all evaluation studies of Head Start have focused solely on children's cognitive and social outcomes rather than on parents' outcomes. The present study examines whether children's participation in Head Start promotes parents' educational advancement and employment. We use data from the Head Start Impact Study (HSIS), a randomized trial of over 4,000 newly entering three- and four-year-old children. We find that parents of children in the three-year-old cohort (but not the four-year-old cohort), who were randomly assigned to and participated in Head Start, had steeper increases in their own educational attainment by child age six years compared to parents of children in the control group. This pattern is especially strong for parents who had at least some college experience at baseline, as well as for African-American parents. We do not find evidence that Head Start helped parents enter or return to the workforce over time. Results are discussed in the context of using high-quality early childhood education as a platform for improving both child and parent outcomes. (author abstract)

What is the relationship between child care subsidy receipt and maternal and child well-being?

Child-care subsidies and family well-being
Healy, Olivia, 09/01/2014

Many low-income families receive child-care subsidies, and a small but growing literature examines the relationship between subsidies and family well-being. Some studies find a negative association between subsidy receipt and family well-being, raising questions about the processes that mediate the two. Drawing on a subsample of 1,189 subsidy recipients and eligible mothers from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, we investigate the relationship between child-care subsidies and maternal and child well-being using measures of parenting stress, maternal depression, and child cognitive and behavioral outcomes. Within a sample limited to working mothers, and after addressing issues of selection, we find little evidence to suggest relationships between subsidy receipt and maternal and child well-being, despite significant negative bivariate associations between subsidy receipt and measures of well-being. Null findings are consistent with those of other recent studies and suggest that subsidy receipt in and of itself is not associated with decreased well-being of either children or mothers. (author abstract)

How is child care instability during early childhood associated with children's behavior problems?

Unstable and multiple child care arrangements and young children's behavior
Pilarz, Alejandra Ros, 10/01/2014

Growing evidence suggests that child care instability is associated with child behavior problems, but existing studies confound different types of instability; use small, convenience samples; and/or control in sufficiently for selection into child care arrangements. This study uses survey and calendar data from the Fragile Families and Child Well-Being Study to estimate the associations between three different types of child care instability -- long-term instability, multiplicity, and the use of back-up arrangements -- and children's internalizing, externalizing, and prosocial behaviors at age 3, controlling for a large number of child and family background characteristics. Long-term instability between birth and age 3, as measured in both the survey and calendar data, is associated with higher levels of externalizing behavior problems. Current multiplicity at age 3 (as measured by survey data) is associated with higher levels of both externalizing and internalizing behavior problems, but stable multiplicity over time (as measured using calendar data) is not. Finally, the use of back-up arrangements at age 3 is associated with higher levels of internalizing behaviors. We find no consistent differences in these results by the timing of instability, child gender, family income, or type of care. (author abstract)

What do we know about the effectiveness of interventions to prevent obesity in children from socioeconomically disadvantaged and indigenous families?

The impact of interventions to prevent obesity or improve obesity related behaviours in children (0-5 years) from socioeconomically disadvantaged and/or indigenous families: A systematic review
Laws, Rachel, 08/01/2014

Children from disadvantaged families including those from low socioeconomic backgrounds and Indigenous families have higher rates of obesity, making early intervention a priority. The aim of this study was to systematically review the literature to examine the effectiveness of interventions to prevent obesity or improve obesity related behaviours in children 0-5 years from socioeconomically disadvantaged or Indigenous families. Methods: Searches of major electronic databases identified articles published from 1993-2013 targeting feeding practices, anthropometric, diet, activity or sedentary behaviour outcomes. This was supplemented with snowballing from existing reviews and primary studies. Data extraction was undertaken by one author and cross checked by another. Quality assessments included both internal and external validity. Results: Thirty-two studies were identified, with only two (both low quality) in Indigenous groups. Fourteen studies had a primary aim to prevent obesity. Mean differences between intervention and control groups ranged from -0.29 kg/m2 to -0.54 kg/m2 for body mass index (BMI) and -2.9 to -25.6% for the prevalence of overweight/obesity. Interventions initiated in infancy (under two years) had a positive impact on obesity related behaviours (e.g. diet quality) but few measured the longer-term impact on healthy weight gain. Findings amongst pre-schoolers (3-5 years) were mixed, with the more successful interventions requiring high levels of parental engagement, use of behaviour change techniques, a focus on skill building and links to community resources. Less than 10% of studies were high quality. Future studies should focus on improving study quality, including follow-up of longer-term anthropometric outcomes, assessments of cost effectiveness, acceptability in target populations and potential for implementation in routine service delivery. Conclusion: There is an urgent need for further research on effective obesity prevention interventions for Indigenous children. The findings from the growing body of intervention research focusing on obesity prevention amongst young children from socioeconomically disadvantaged families suggest intervention effects are modest but promising. Further high quality studies with longer term follow up are required. (author abstract)

How does participation in the Teacher-Child Interaction Training model relate to improvements in teachers' relationship-building skills and children's behavioral outcomes?

Effects of Teacher-Child Interaction Training (TCIT) on teacher ratings of behavior change
Garbacz, Lauren L., 09/01/2014

Problem behaviors in preschool-aged children negatively affect teacher-child relationships and children's skill development. In this clinical replication of an initial study, we implemented Teacher-Child Interaction Training (TCIT), a teacher-delivered, universal intervention designed for early childhood settings. The initial study evaluated the TCIT program in a sample of 4- to 5-year-old children, whereas the current study focused on 2- to 3-year-old children. Teacher ratings of children's behavior indicated a significant main effect for time on children's protective factor scores, but not on behavioral concerns. However, for children whose ratings fell in the below-average range at baseline, significant large effect sizes were obtained for changes over time for both protective factors and behavioral concerns. Higher levels of teacher skill change were significantly associated with overall higher protective factor scores, as well as lower behavioral concern scores for children when baseline levels of behavioral concerns were high. Results provide further support for the effectiveness of TCIT as a universal intervention designed to improve children's behaviors through targeted improvements in teachers' relationship-building skills and classroom management strategies. (author abstract)

Does the impact of Early Head Start home visiting on parenting mediate later impacts on child outcomes?

Theories of change and outcomes in home-based Early Head Start programs
Raikes, Helen, 10/01/2014

Programs to promote children's early development are based on a set of assumptions, explicit or implicit, about intended outcomes and how the program will effect change. The "theories of change" were examined in ten home-based programs in the Early Head Start Research and Evaluation Project (EHSREP), using data collected through multiple interviews with program staff. All home-based programs indicated that parenting outcomes were among their highest three priorities, while only 4 of 10 programs said that child outcomes were in their top priorities. The pattern of outcome differences between randomly-assigned program and control group participants reflected the programs' theories of change in several ways. Early Head Start home-based programs showed positive impacts on 9 of 9 parenting outcomes, including parental supportiveness, home language and learning supports, emotional responsiveness, and family conflict when children were 24 months of age. Significant program impacts on child cognitive skills (Bayley MDI scores) and social behavior (observed child engagement of parent during play) were found when children were 36 months of age. Mediation analyses showed that the 54% of the program impact on 36-month child cognitive scores was mediated by 24-month program impacts on parental supportiveness, language and learning support, emotional responsiveness, and family conflict, and 47% of the program impact on 36-month child engagement of parent was mediated by 24-month impacts on parental supportiveness, language and cognitive stimulation, and emotional responsiveness. Results from mediation analyses were consistent with these home-based programs' theories of change, supporting the efficacy of focusing on parent change as a mechanism for child outcomes in home visiting programs. (author abstract)

How was an obesity prevention intervention in six European countries designed, implemented, and evaluated?

Designing, implementing and evaluating a kindergarten-based, family-involved intervention to prevent obesity in early childhood: The ToyBox-study. [Special issue]
Manios, Yannis, 08/01/2014

This supplemental special issue of the journal Obesity Reviews focuses on the design, implementation, and evaluation of the ToyBox obesity prevention initiative in Europe. The ToyBox intervention is an early care and education-based, family-involved intervention that addresses water consumption, snacking, physical activity, and sedentary behavior in preschool children. Read articles from this special issue: Methodological procedures followed in a kindergarten-based, family-involved intervention implemented in six European countries to prevent obesity in early childhood: The ToyBox-study, Designing and implementing a kindergarten-based, family-involved intervention to prevent obesity in early childhood: The ToyBox-study, Applying the Intervention Mapping protocol to develop a kindergarten-based, family-involved intervention to increase European preschool children's physical activity levels: The ToyBox-study, Developing the intervention material to increase physical activity levels of European preschool children: The ToyBox-study, Concepts and strategies on how to train and motivate teachers to implement a kindergarten-based, family-involved intervention to prevent obesity in early childhood: The ToyBox-study, Designing and implementing teachers' training sessions in a kindergarten-based, family-involved intervention to prevent obesity in early childhood: The ToyBox-study, Process evaluation design and tools used in a kindergarten-based, family-involved intervention to prevent obesity in early childhood: The ToyBox-study, and Establishing a method to estimate the cost-effectiveness of a kindergarten-based, family-involved intervention to prevent obesity in early childhood: The ToyBox-study

What are the characteristics of Child Care and Development Block Grant program participation in 2012?

Child Care and Development Block Grant participation in 2012
Matthews, Hannah, 08/01/2014
Washington, DC: Center for Law and Social Policy. Retrieved September 5, 2014, from http://www.clasp.org/resources-and-publications/publication-1/CCDBG-Participation-in-2012-Final.pdf

The Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) is the primary funding source for federal child care subsidies to low-income working families, as well as improving child care quality. Based on preliminary state-reported data from the federal Office of Child Care, this fact sheet provides a snapshot of CCDBG program participation in 2012, noting the great variability in child care assistance programs among states. (author abstract) Additional fact sheets explore the CCDBG participation of infants and toddlers and school-age children

What is the relationship between administrator qualifications and family engagement practices in early childhood programs?

The relationship between administrator qualifications and family engagement
National-Louis University. McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership, 06/01/2014
Wheeling, IL: National-Louis University, McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership. Retrieved September 5, 2014, from http://mccormickcenter.nl.edu/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/RN-summer-2014.pdf

As researchers and policymakers learn more about the factors that influence teaching and learning in early childhood settings, the importance of family engagement is emerging as an essential element. National, state, and local family involvement projects are engaging thousands of practitioners, parents, and leaders in family involvement networks, professional development initiatives, training and technical assistance systems, and workgroups to devote more resources toward family engagement. There is evidence that director qualifications are related to instructional leadership practices and learning environments in early childhood programs, but an understanding about the influence of program administrators on practices to garner family engagement is limited. In a meta-analysis of studies, Mendoza and her colleagues found that program-parent relationships were strengthened through improving relational trust, social respect, personal regard, and reciprocally valued perceptions of one another's competence and integrity. Encouraging staff to deepen and change their perspective about family-centered practices can lead to subtle shifts in staff-family connections. The purpose of the current study was to explore how directors' qualifications are related to factors that contribute to family engagement practices in early childhood programs. (author abstract)

How are states improving infant and early childhood mental health supports and services?

Nurturing change: State strategies for improving infant and early childhood mental health
Cohen, Julie, 04/01/2013
Washington, DC: Zero to Three, Policy Center. Retrieved September 8, 2014, from http://www.zerotothree.org/public-policy/pdf/nurturing-change.pdf

This follow-up policy paper provides a more in-depth look at some of the promising strategies that states have employed to address I-ECMH access, delivery, financing, evidence base, and systems-level issues across the promotion, prevention, and treatment continuum. The paper also provides recommendations for nurturing change in state I-ECMH supports and services, as well as strategic questions for states to consider in planning for I-ECMH. A Glossary at the end of the paper explains state-and field-specific terms found in the profiles. (author abstract)

How do families use educational media at home with children ages 2 to 10 and what are parents' perspectives on its use?

Learning at home: families' educational media use in America
Rideout, Victoria J., 01/01/2014
New York: Joan Ganz Cooney Center. Retrieved September 5, 2014, from http://www.joanganzcooneycenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/jgcc_learningathome.pdf

This study concerns media used in the home by children ages 2 to 10. It is the first study we know of to attempt to quantify, on a national level, how much of children's media time is devoted to educational content -- platform by platform, age by age. It also provides a measure of parents' experiences with the educational media their children use: Which subjects do parents feel their children are learning the most about from media? Which platforms do they perceive as being most effective? The study also explores obstacles to greater use of educational media: What are the reasons some children don't use educational media? Finally, all of these issues are explored by age, gender, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. (author abstract)

How do state policies offer two-generation supports to families with young children?

State policies through a two-generation lens: Strengthening the collective impact of policies that affect the life course of young children and their parents
Smith, Sheila, 09/01/2014
New York: Columbia University, National Center for Children in Poverty. Retrieved September 25, 2014, from http://www.nccp.org/publications/pdf/text_1092.pdf

This brief explores state policies that provide two-generation supports to families through collective impacts on both parents and children. Examples of two-generation policies include child care subsidies, full-day kindergarten, Medicaid, minimum wage laws, and paid family leave. The brief presents a table of states' policy choices for these and a selection of other two-generation policies related to early care and education, health, and supports for parenting and family economic security.

What does the research tell us about the language and literacy development of young dual language learners?

The language and literacy development of young dual language learners: A critical review
Hammer, Carol Scheffner, 10/01/2014

The number of children living in the United States who are learning two languages is increasing greatly. However, relatively little research has been conducted on the language and literacy development of dual language learners (DLLs), particularly during the early childhood years. To summarize the extant literature and guide future research, a critical analysis of the literature was conducted. A search of major databases for studies on young typically developing DLLs between 2000 and 2011 yielded 182 peer-reviewed articles. Findings about DLL children's developmental trajectories in the various areas of language and literacy are presented. Much of these findings should be considered preliminary, because there were few areas where multiple studies were conducted. Conclusions were reached when sufficient evidence existed in a particular area. First, the research shows that DLLs have two separate language systems early in life. Second, differences in some areas of language development, such as vocabulary, appear to exist among DLLs depending on when they were first exposed to their second language. Third, DLLs' language and literacy development may differ from that of monolinguals, although DLLs appear to catch up overtime. Fourth, little is known about factors that influence DLLs' development, although the amount of language exposure to and usage of DLLs' two languages appears to play key roles. Methodological issues are addressed, and directions for future research are discussed. (author abstract)

How do states incorporate indicators of early care and education quality in their child care licensing regulations and quality rating and improvement systems?

Comparing state policy approaches to early care and education quality: A multidimensional assessment of quality rating and improvement systems and child care licensing regulations
Connors, Maia C., 01/01/2015

This article compares states' written Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS) and child care licensing regulations on their inclusion of key dimensions of early care and education (ECE) quality highlighted in prior research and theory. Using a newly developed 66-indicator policy rating index, data pertaining to ECE settings that serve 3- to 5-year-olds were gathered from the written policies of all 50 states and the District of Columbia. This index was designed to provide a nuanced measure of state ECE policy by differentiating between monitoring structure and process quality in the learning environments for children and teachers. Indicators were summed into four standardized subindices, and cluster analysis was used to identify groups of states with similar policy profiles. Results indicate the existence of six state policy profiles defined primarily by variation in QRIS policies. Overall, classroom process quality is more strongly represented in QRIS than in child care licensing; only two states emphasize classroom process in both types of policy. State policy profiles vary significantly on spending on state-funded PreK, but profile membership is not significantly related to other state demographic and ECE characteristics or to extant ratings of policies governing state-funded PreK and child care licensing. By taking this multidimensional approach to rating and grouping two important state ECE policies simultaneously, nuanced variation in policy is revealed that is not captured by measures of the strength of a single policy alone. As such, this study represents a first step toward understanding specific monitoring approaches reflected in state policy as potential mechanisms for improving the quality of ECE classrooms and programs. (author abstract)

What are the features of the language learning environment in Head Start classrooms with dual language learners?

Support for extended discourse in teacher talk with linguistically diverse preschoolers
Jacoby, Jennifer Wallace, 11/01/2014

A study was conducted in a large Head Start organization that serves large numbers of Latino children in order to empirically describe the nature and quality of the classroom language learning environment. By observing 147 literacy-based lessons in 6 classrooms and surveying 167 teachers throughout the organization, we investigated the amount of teachers' use of extended discourse during literacy-based lessons, and when and how Spanish and/or English was used as the medium of communication. Research Findings: Only 22% of the 147 literacy-based lessons observed fostered extended discourse; the most commonly implemented lesson was characterized by a routine format of the teacher talking and the children listening. English was regarded as the language of instruction, whereas Spanish was used mostly to regulate behavior and emotions. By fitting multilevel models to the data, we found that teaching practice was relatively stable across the classrooms. Practice or Policy: More emphasis should be placed on professional training focused on supporting classroom language interactions that foster literacy development and on the use of language that best fosters and facilitates such extended discourse. (author abstract)

How can a framework of approaches to QRIS validation be applied to two states' experiences with QRIS validation research?

Approaches to validating child care quality rating and improvement systems (QRIS): Results from two states with similar QRIS type designs
Lahti, Michel, 01/01/2015

In recent years, child care quality rating and improvement systems (QRISs) have become an increasingly popular policy tool to improve quality in early childhood education and care (ECEC) settings and have been adopted in many localities and states. The QRIS proposition is that with higher-quality child care settings, it is more likely that children who attend those high-quality programs will benefit in terms of outcomes like school readiness. However, in order to demonstrate this linkage, QRIS standards and ratings must function as intended, i.e. be valid. This paper presents a framework for validating child care quality improvement standards and processes, along with examples from recent QRIS validation studies in two states. The state examples provide useful data about the strengths and limitations of these validation approaches. We discuss the implications of applying these approaches and provide recommendations to researchers, policy-makers, and program leaders who implement QRIS validation studies. (author abstract)

What is the relationship between the generosity of a state's child care subsidy policies and its program outcomes, and how are these outcomes further related to parent characteristics?

Does policy matter?: The effect of increasing child care subsidy policy generosity on program outcomes
Weber, Roberta B. (Bobbie), 09/01/2014

A dramatic change in the generosity of one state's child care subsidy policy provides an opportunity to study the relationship between subsidy policy generosity and program outcomes. We find positive effects of policy generosity on child care usage and continuity in the program. We also find these outcomes affected by employment characteristics of participating parents. Unstable employment as evidenced by frequent employment losses, job changes, and periods of unemployment, challenge the ability of a parent to remain in a program tightly linked to being employed. Generosity of subsidy policy is positively related to achievement of Child Care and Development Fund program goals of continuity and parental access to care that meets the developmental needs of their child. (author abstract)

How are child care experiences related to cortisol levels in early childhood for children in high risk communities?

Child care and cortisol across early childhood: Context matters
Berry, Daniel, 02/01/2014

A considerable body of literature suggests that children's child-care experiences may impact adrenocortical functioning in early childhood. Yet emerging findings also suggest that the magnitude and sometimes the direction of child-care effects on development may be markedly different for children from higher risk contexts. Using data from a large population-based sample of families from predominantly low-income backgrounds in rural communities, we tested the degree to which links between children's child-care experiences (at 7-36 months) and their subsequent cortisol levels (at 48 months) were moderated by their level of cumulative environmental risk. Our results provided evidence of a crossover interaction between cumulative risk and child-care quantity. For children from low-risk contexts, greater weekly hours in child care were predictive of higher cortisol levels. In contrast, for children facing several cumulative risk factors, greater hours in child care per week were predictive of lower cortisol levels. These effects were robust after adjusting for several controls, including children's cortisol levels in early infancy. Child-care quality and type were not predictive of children's cortisol levels, and neither mitigated the conditional effect of child-care quantity on cortisol. These findings suggest that links between child care and children's development may differ as a function of children's broader ecologies. (author abstract)

How does the age composition of preschool classrooms relate to children's vocabulary gains over the course of a year?

Classroom age composition and vocabulary development among at-risk preschoolers
Guo, Ying, 10/01/2014

The purpose of this exploratory study was to examine the relationship between classroom age composition and preschoolers' vocabulary gains over an academic year and also to examine whether these relations were moderated by classroom quality. In this study (N=130 children in 16 classrooms representing a subset of all children enrolled in these classrooms), results showed a significant cross-level interaction between classroom age composition and children's age, suggesting positive effects of greater variance in classroom age composition for younger but not older children. The interaction between behavior management (1 dimension of classroom quality) and classroom age composition was also significant, indicating that a wider distribution of classroom age composition was positively related to children's vocabulary gains within classrooms characterized by better behavior management. Practice or Policy: Findings underscore the importance of children's social interactions with more knowledgeable conversational partners in promoting their vocabulary development and signify the need to help teachers learn how to manage children's behaviors so as to provide a classroom that is optimal for child learning. (author abstract)

How many options and what sources of information do low-income parents consider in making their child care decisions?

Child care decision making: Understanding priorities and processes used by low-income families in Minnesota
Forry, Nicole D., 10/01/2014

Few studies have described parents' child care decision-making process, yet understanding how parents make child care choices is fundamental to developing effective services to promote the selection of high-quality care. This study used latent profile analysis to distinguish subgroups of low-income parents identified as having commonalities in the number of options, duration, and sources of information sought as part of their child care decision-making process. Study participants included 260 parents who participated in the baseline wave of the Minnesota Child Care Choices study, a longitudinal phone survey of welfare applicants. Two subgroups of parents were identified. The majority of parents (82%) made choices within 2 weeks and considered on average 2 arrangements. Fewer than half of these parents considered information from experts, public lists, or family members/friends when making a child care choice. The remaining 18% of the sample took on average 11 weeks to make a child care choice, considered on average 3 options, and relied more heavily on information from experts and family members/friends. Practice or Policy: Findings from this study have implications for the marketing of resource and referral counseling services, Quality Rating and Improvement Systems, and consumer education aimed at facilitating the selection of high-quality care. (author abstract)

What are the three program enhancements tested in the Head Start CARES demonstration and how do they affect preschoolers' social and emotional competence?

Executive summary: Impact findings from the Head Start CARES demonstration: National evaluation of three approaches to improving preschoolers' social and emotional competence
Morris, Pamela A., 06/01/2014
(OPRE Report 2014-44). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved July 22, 2014, from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/hscares_impact_execsummary_acf.pdf

The Head Start CARES (Classroom-based Approaches and Resources for Emotion and Social skill promotion) demonstration tests three distinct approaches to enhancing children's social-emotional development on a large scale within the Head Start system -- the largest federally funded early-childhood education program in the United States. Conceived and sponsored by the Office of Head Start and the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation in the Administration for Children and Families within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Head Start CARES demonstration was conducted by MDRC, a nonprofit, nonpartisan education and social policy research organization, in collaboration with MEF Associates and several academic partners. The three social-emotional approaches tested in Head Start CARES were called "enhancements" because they complemented and enriched classroom practices that already existed. The effects, or "impacts," of the enhancements were rigorously evaluated by randomly assigning approximately 100 Head Start centers to one of the three enhancements (the program group) or to a control group that continued with "business as usual." Therefore, estimated impacts should be interpreted as the effects of the enhancements over and above any effects of the existing Head Start program in these sites. As described in an earlier report on the Head Start CARES demonstration, a comprehensive professional development system for teachers -- including four to six training sessions, weekly coaching sessions in the classroom, a "real-time" management information system (MIS) to support monitoring, and technical assistance -- supported the scale-up of the enhancements around the country. The teacher training and coaching were generally implemented as intended, supporting satisfactory implementation (a rating of 3 on a scale of 1 to 5) of the social-emotional enhancements in Head Start classrooms and leading to the expected influences on teachers' practices, which are described below. Thus, it appears that the demonstration ensured a fair test of large-scale implementation of the three enhancements, providing a sound basis for evaluating their impact on children and classrooms in the Head Start system. This report presents the impacts of the three enhancements tested in the Head Start CARES demonstration. It focuses on outcomes in the spring of the preschool year for (1) teachers' practices; (2) the climate of the classroom; (3) children's behavior regulation, executive function skills, knowledge and understanding of emotions ("emotion knowledge"), and social problem-solving skills; and (4) children's learning behaviors and social behaviors. In addition to changing teachers' practices, two of the three enhancements had consistent positive impacts on a range of children's social-emotional outcomes, although not necessarily in ways that would be expected according to the theories of change that the CARES team developed. The Head Start CARES study thus demonstrates that preschool children's social-emotional outcomes can be improved when evidence-based approaches -- that is, approaches that have been shown to result in differences in children's social and emotional outcomes -- are implemented at scale with appropriate supports. The report also includes an exploratory set of findings, which have not been previously tested for these enhancements, about whether the enhancements might improve children's early academic skills in preschool and whether they have any sustained effects as preschool children make the transition to elementary school. (author abstract)

What does the evidence base suggest about the effectiveness of different types of quality improvement interventions?

Early care and education quality improvement: A typology of intervention approaches
Boller, Kimberly, 06/01/2014
(OPRE Research Brief No. 2014-36). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved July 18, 2014, from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/qi_brief_508_compliant.pdf

The purpose of this brief is to support continued innovation and inquiry in early care and education (ECE) quality improvement (QI) efforts by presenting an expanded range of QI alternatives in a novel framework. Despite an increased focus on QI at the federal, state, and local levels, there is little agreement on how to implement QI efforts effectively, particularly within state Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS). To date, most evaluation designs have largely been unable to disentangle the effects of particular components of QI interventions, which makes evidence-based decision-making difficult for policymakers and practitioners alike. This brief outlines a conceptual framework of QI that captures a broad typology of QI approaches. The brief also includes a scan of the evidence base for QI efforts to identify those supported by a substantial or growing body of evidence, those for which there is little evidence or for which findings are mixed, and those that demonstrate null and negative impacts on global quality, teaching behaviors, or child outcomes. (author abstract)

How does mothers' education relate to disparities in well-being among American children and how can dual-generation strategies reduce these disparities?

Mother's education and children's outcomes: How dual-generation programs offer increased opportunities for America's families
Hernandez, Donald J., 07/01/2014
(Disparities Among America's Children No. 2). New York: Foundation for Child Development. Retrieved July 29, 2014, from http://fcd-us.org/sites/default/files/Mothers%20Education%20and%20Childrens%20Outcomes%20FINAL.pdf

This report documents the need for dual-generation strategies to provide high-quality early educational experiences spanning the PreK-3rd years for poor, low-education families, to assure strong educational outcomes and upward economic mobility--necessary to fulfill the promise that all Americans who work hard and play by the rules have the right to a decent life for themselves and their children. The report begins by briefly describing an innovative, comprehensive dual-generation strategy with three tightly linked components: (1) high-quality early childhood (PreK-3rd) education, (2) sectoral job training leading to a certificate, credential, or degree for high-wage/high-demand jobs, and (3) wraparound family and peer support services. Then the report presents results from the first-ever analysis of 13 economic, education, and health indicators, which highlight the urgent need for comprehensive dual-generation strategies by focusing on the enormous disparities in well-being experienced by children with four different levels of mother's education: (1) mother has not graduated from high school, (2) mother is a high school graduate, (3) mother has completed some college, or (4) mother has completed a bachelor degree. Turning to policy structures to support dual-generation strategies, the report summarizes the national economic, education, and health picture for children with mothers who have not graduated from high school and presents four key indicators for these children for each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia: the rates of (1) secure parental employment, (2) child poverty, (3) reading proficiency, and (4) mathematics proficiency. Finally, this report presents changes in federal and state policies that could foster the development and implementation of effective dual-generation strategies throughout the nation. (author abstract)

What are the reliability and validity of two new teacher-administered strengths-based rating scales of children's early academic competence?

Reliability and structural validity of the Teacher Rating Scales of Early Academic Competence
Reid, Erin E., 07/01/2014

Currently, there are few strengths-based preschool rating scales that sample a wide array of behaviors believed to be essential for early academic success. The purpose of this study was to assess the factor structure of a new measure of early academic competence for at-risk preschool populations. The Teacher Rating Scales of Early Academic Competence (TRS-EAC) includes two broad scales (Early Academic Skills and Early Academic Enablers) and was completed by 60 teachers for 440 children enrolled in Head Start and public preschool classrooms. Evidence from two exploratory factor analyses supported a five-factor solution for the Early Academic Skills Scale (Creative Thinking, Critical Thinking Skills, Numeracy, Early Literacy, and Comprehension) and a five-factor solution for the Early Academic Enablers Scale (Approaches to Learning, Social and Emotional Competence, Fine Motor Skills, Gross Motor Skills, and Communication). TRS-EAC scores also demonstrated good to excellent reliability and were related to children's performance on direct measures of early academic skills. (author abstract)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors parenting program: Summary report of program implementation and impacts
Moore, Kristin A., 06/01/2014
(Publication No. 2014-24). Bethesda, MD: Child Trends. Retrieved from http://www.childtrends.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Abriendo-Puertas-Report-8-18-141.pdf

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Inequities in access to quality early care and education: Associations with funding and community context
Hatfield, Bridget E., 01/01/2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How can fidelity be measured in early childhood intervention research?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How do young children interpret multidigit numerals?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Effects of early education programs and practices on the development and learning of dual language learners: A review of the literature
Buysse, Virginia, 10/01/2014

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

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

Number and characteristics of early care and education (ECE) teachers and caregivers: Initial findings from the National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE)
National Survey of Early Care and Education Project Team, 10/01/2013
(NSECE Research Brief, OPRE Report 38). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved November 6, 2013, from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/nsece_wf_brief_102913_0.pdf

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How are cities supporting coordination among after school programs?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Achieving a state of healthy weight: 2012 update
National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care (U.S.), 06/01/2013
Aurora, CO: National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Does documentation facilitate children's memory?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What elements should be included in a QRIS validation plan?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quality and characteristics of the North Carolina Pre-Kindergarten Program: 2011-2012 statewide evaluation
Peisner-Feinberg, Ellen S., 03/01/2013
Chapel Hill, NC: FPG Child Development Institute. Retrieved from http://ncchildcare.dhhs.state.nc.us/PDF_forms/NCPreKEval2011-2012Report.pdf

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

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

Children's growth and classroom experiences in Georgia's Pre-K Program: Findings from the 2011-2012 evaluation study
Peisner-Feinberg, Ellen S., 02/01/2013
Chapel Hill, NC: FPG Child Development Institute.

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

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

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

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

Is subsidy receipt associated with school readiness outcomes?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Family-provider relationship quality: Review of existing measures of family-provider relationships
Porter, Toni, 11/01/2012
(OPRE Report No. 2012-47). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation.

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

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

Providing high quality care in low-income areas in Maryland: Definitions, resources, and challenges from parents and child care providers' perspectives
Forry, Nicole D., 11/01/2012
(Publication No. 2012-45). Washington, DC: Child Trends.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What can we learn from the Educare implementation study?

Educare implementation study findings--August 2012
Yazejian, Noreen, 01/01/2012
Chapel Hill, NC: FPG Child Development Institute.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Evaluation of Parent Aware: Minnesota's quality rating and improvement system pilot: Final evaluation report
Tout, Kathryn, 12/01/2011
Minneapolis, MN: Minnesota Early Learning Foundation. Retrieved from https://s3.amazonaws.com/Omnera/VerV/s3finder/38/pdf/Parent_Aware_Year_4_Final_Evaluation_Technical_Report_Dec_2011.pdf

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

What encourages exploration of science materials in a preschool classroom?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How are CCDF funds being used across states and territories?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What works for early language and literacy development: Lessons from experimental evaluations of programs and intervention strategies
Chrisler, Alison, 06/01/2011
(Publication No. 2011-18). Washington, DC: Child Trends.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What role does intensity play in classroom-based interventions?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who uses child care subsidies?

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

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

What are the impacts of employer-supported child care?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How effective are home visiting programs in tribal communities?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How are Head Start children faring in Kindergarten?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What encourages continued use of a preschool curriculum among teachers?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enhancing teaching practices to improve language and literacy skills for Latino dual-language learners
FPG Child Development Institute, 11/01/2010
(FPG Snapshot No. 62). Chapel Hill, NC: FPG Child Development Institute. Retrieved October 8, 2014, from http://fpg.unc.edu/sites/fpg.unc.edu/files/resources/snapshots/FPG_Snapshot62_2010.pdf

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

Which skills matter for school readiness?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Foundations of Learning demonstration: Making preschool more productive: How classroom management training can help teachers
Morris, Pamela A., 11/01/2010
New York: MDRC. Retrieved October 24, 2014, from http://www.mdrc.org/sites/default/files/full_431.pdf

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Many missing pieces: The difficult task of linking early childhood data and school-based data systems
Bornfreund, Laura, 10/01/2010
Washington, DC: New America Foundation. Retrieved from https://static.newamerica.org/attachments/2357-many-missing-pieces/NAF_ManyMissingPieces.311702b4e89b4b09ae818c049a8797c7.pdf

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This ACF-OPRE report takes a comprehensive look at Head Sta