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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
Hestenes, Linda L., 2014
Early Childhood Research Quarterly, (), 1-16

Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS) include the assessment of classroom quality as one component of how early childhood programs are monitored and licensed in many states across the United States. However, varying measures and foci of quality exist and have led to challenges in accurately depicting program quality across programs and improvement efforts. The current validation study explores several measures of classroom quality and their associations with components and overall star ratings of the North Carolina QRIS and preschool children's social-emotional outcomes within center-based child care programs. Data for this study were collected in 2009, 10 years after the start of North Carolina's QRIS. Results indicate that individual levels of star ratings did not generally represent distinctive levels of classroom quality, but did differentiate classrooms at the lower and higher levels of quality. Structural features of the environments such as teacher education and teacher-child ratio were associated with classroom quality across these measures in the expected directions; however, teacher experience was not. Further, children's social-emotional outcomes were predicted to a varying degree by star levels and different aspects of classroom quality as represented by these various measures. Results are discussed in terms of the differing levels of quality and teaching processes in classrooms. Future directions for research are presented to contribute to an increased understanding of QRIS and children' experiences in early care and education programs. (author abstract)

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Daycare staff emotions and coping related to children of divorce: A Q methodological Study
Overland, Klara, June, 2014
Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 58(3), 361-384

This Q methodological study explores emotional experiences and coping of daycare staff when working with children of divorce and their families. Two main coping strategies among daycare staff were identified: 1) Confident copers, and 2) Non-confident copers. Interviews exemplify the two main experiences. Both groups may struggle with coping in this work. Still, Non-confident copers seem to experience more problems than do Confident copers. Both Confident and Non-confident copers find it difficult to work with parents who argue in front of the children. Accordingly, we suggest tailored education and counseling in this field to increase knowledge and coping among staff, to help them in their work with children of divorce. (author abstract)

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Effects of distance coaching on teachers' use of Pyramid model practices: A pilot study
Meeker, Kathleen Artman, October-December 2014
Infants and Young Children, 27(4), 325-344

The purpose of this pilot study was to compare the effects of 2 professional development approaches on teachers' implementation of the Pyramid model, a classroom-wide approach for fostering social-emotional development and addressing challenging behavior. The study had 2 goals: (a) to examine the differential effects of workshop training plus distance coaching versus workshop training alone on teachers' implementation of Pyramid model practices and (b) to examine factors related to teachers' participation in distance coaching. Participants were 33 Head Start teachers from 9 centers. All teachers participated in workshop training on the Pyramid model and created individualized action plans to support their implementation of the Pyramid model practices. Following workshop training, the workshop plus distance coaching group (n = 16) received weekly distance coaching on their individualized action plans. The workshop only group (n = 17) did not receive follow-up support on its plans. Workshop training plus distance coaching was associated with small but statistically significant improvements in emotional, organizational, and instructional classroom interactions. Evidence from this study suggests that implementation outcomes were influenced by differential participation in distance coaching. This study provides preliminary support for coaching as a part of professional development and describes the impact of participation in one form of coaching on teacher implementation outcomes. (author abstract)

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Emotional reactivity and regulation in Head Start children: Links to ecologically valid behaviors and internalizing problems
Morgan, Judith K., May, 2014
Social Development, 23(2), 250-266

Children's emotional reactivity may interact with their regulatory behaviors to contribute to internalizing problems and social functioning even early in development. Ninety-one preschool children participated in a longitudinal project examining children's reactivity and regulatory behaviors as predictors of internalizing problems, and positive and negative social behavior in the classroom. Children who paired negative emotion expression with disengagement during a laboratory task showed higher levels of internalizing problems and more negative social behavior in the classroom 6 months later. Positive emotion expression paired with engagement during a laboratory task predicted more positive social behavior in the classroom 6 months later. Physiological reactivity and regulation also predicted children's social behavior in the classroom. Findings suggest that preschool children with maladaptive reactivity and regulatory patterns may be at greater risk for internalizing problems even in early childhood. (author abstract)

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Maternal mental health, child care quality, and children's behavior
Goelman, Hillel, July/August 2014
Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 35(4), 347-356

Moderating effects of non-parental preschool child care quality on the impact of maternal mental health risks on children's behavioral and mental health outcomes were examined. The paper presents data both on the concurrent buffering effects on children at the age of 4 1/2 while they are in child care as well as on the longitudinal effects on the children two years later in the first grade. Study participants included 294 mothers, fathers, their children, their children's non-parental caregivers in preschool child care programs and their children's first grade teachers from the Wisconsin Study of Families and Work. Using regression models to examine moderation, we found that in low quality child care, children exposed to elevated maternal depressive symptoms and anger showed more behavioral problems and worse prosocial functioning. In contrast, children in high quality child care did not present higher symptoms in relation to elevated mother mental health risks. Significant moderating effects were found in both concurrent and longitudinal analyses. Results point to potential buffering effects of high quality care for children faced with adverse family factors. (author abstract)

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Nonmaternal care hours and temperament predict infants' proximity-seeking behavior and attachment subgroups
Umemura, Tomo, August, 2014
Infant Behavior & Development, 37(3), 352-365

Using the NICHD Early Childcare dataset (N = 1281), this study examined whether infant temperament and the amount of time infants spend in nonmaternal care independently predict (1) the likelihood that they seek comfort from their mother when needed and (2) placement in a particular subgroup of infant-mother attachment patterns. Mothers reported the number of hours their infant spent in nonmaternal care each month and their infant's difficulty adapting to novel stimuli at 6 months. The degree to which 15-month-old infants seek comfort from their mother during reunion episodes in the Strange Situation was observed using two behavioral scales ("proximity seeking" and "contact maintaining"). Their average score forms the outcome variable of "proximity-seeking behavior." The other outcome variables were the subgroups of infant-mother attachment patterns: two sub-groups for insecure babies (resistant and avoidant) and four subgroups for secure babies (B1, B2, B3, and B4). Easy adaptability to novel stimuli and long hours of nonmaternal care independently predicted a low level of proximity-seeking behavior. These predictors also increased the likelihood of an insecure infant being classified as avoidant (vs. resistant). A secure infant with these same predictors was most likely to be classified as B1, followed by B2, and then B3, with B4 being the least likely classification. Although previous studies using the NICHD dataset found that hours of nonmaternal care had no main effect on infants' attachment security (vs. insecurity), this study demonstrates that hours of nonmaternal care predict the subcategories of infant-mother attachment. (author abstract)

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Not babies anymore: Young children's narrative identities in Finnish day care centers
Puroila, Anna-Maija, August, 2014
International Journal of Early Childhood, 46(2), 187-203

With the aim of deepening understanding of young children's identity construction, the study explores small stories produced in a Finnish day care center context. Small stories are understood as identity-constituting social practices that occur and recur in day care settings. Taking ideas on narrative ethnography as starting point, research material was collected by participating in the everyday life of children, as well as observing and listening to children. This paper draws on small stories, co-constructed over the course of 6 months in Violets, a group of children ranging between 1 and 3 years old. The findings of the study illustrate the dynamic and multiple nature of children's narrative identities. Identity construction emerges as a process involving age, social status, emotions, peer relationships, and gender. In this paper, we reflect on our findings by retelling the story of one child, Joni. The study highlights pedagogical practices, the material environment, and the quality of interactions as important elements of children's identity construction. It calls for critical reflection on how children's sense of who they are is supported in the pedagogical practices of day care centers. (author abstract)

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Outdoor day-care centres - a culturalization of nature: How do children relate to nature as educational practice?
Melhuus, E. Cathrine, September, 2012
European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 20(3), 455-467

This article will discuss how children and adults experience a certain outdoor environment as part of an educational practice, through the activities the adults and children have. It will further discuss how these activities realize cultural values through the educators' and children's activities. In Norway the use of outdoor environments has become increasingly central as part of the pedagogical/educational practice (in both schools and kindergartens). The outdoor kindergartens in Norway are organized in different ways, the common feature being that the educationist and the children are outdoors the most of the day, every day, in all sorts of weather. The outdoor kindergartens leave traces in natural environments surrounding rural and urban districts that signify educational practice that can seem as opposed to ordinary kindergartens. This article is based on fieldwork in a Norwegian outdoor kindergarten. Room and place are crucial to people who inhabit them. Gagen (2000, 213) says the following: Learning environments, then, are often places through which children become aware of, and begin reproducing, social identities that circulate through broader social space. Natural environments can be thought of as places free of defined structures that dictates how the place is used. But as soon as a place is populated certain structures will be established. My study of an outdoor kindergarten shows that children structured the place and the artefacts so that they became part of the children's understanding of the social life they were a part of. Through play children make connections between the forest space and 'the modern world', building bridges between different contexts, or one could say recontextualize the given space. At the same time as children were seen to cross boarders, they also seemed to hold on to other social contexts, gender being one of them. So nature can constrain given notions instead of freeing them, maybe because nature as such has a conservative influence, by not having any structures that provoke common thinking? (author abstract)

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Predicting service use for mental health problems among young children
Wichstrom, Lars, June, 2014
Pediatrics, 133(6), 1054-1060

Objective: To identify sociodemographic, child, parent, and day care provider factors at age 4 that predict Norwegian children's service use for mental health problems at age 7. Method: Two birth cohorts of 4-year-old children and their parents living in the city of Trondheim, Norway, were invited (82% consented). We successfully interviewed 995 parents among 1250 drawn to participate using the Preschool Age Psychiatric Assessment to set diagnoses and record parental burden and service use. Information concerning sociodemographics, child impairment, parental social support, and child need for mental health services according to parents, day care teacher, and health nurse were obtained. Results: Rate of service use among those with a behavioral or emotional disorder was 10.7% at age 4 and 25.2% at age 7. Behavioral disorders (odds ratio [OR] 2.6, confidence interval [CI] 1.3-5.3), but not emotional disorders, predicted service use. When adjusted for incapacity (OR 1.3, CI 1.2-1.6), disorders were no longer predictive. Incapacity, in turn, was not predictive once parental burden (OR 1.1, CI 1.0-1.1) and parents' (OR 2.7, CI 1.0-7.9) and day care teachers' (OR 2.1, CI 1.4-3.2) judgment of child need of help were included. Lower socioeconomic status predicted more service use over and beyond these factors (OR 3.0, CI 1.5-6.1). Conclusions: Behavioral disorders may instigate service use if they result in impairment, and such impairment may operate via increased parental burden and parent and caregiver problem recognition. Service use may be increased through effective screening programs and efforts to increase day care teachers' recognition of emotional problems. (author abstract)

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Preschool children's joint block building during a guided play activity
Ramani, Geetha B., July/August 2014
Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 35(4), 326-336

Although children build in block areas both individually and jointly, little is known about the nature of children's behavior and communication in this play context with peers. We observed 4- and 5-year-old same-age, same-sex dyads (n = 38) during a guided play activity, which involved building a house with large colorful blocks. We analyzed children's communication and building behaviors, as well as the role of their coordinated behavior in the structures that they built. Children's spatial talk was associated with the features of a house included in structures, whereas children's building behavior was associated with the complexity of the structures. However, children's coordinated behavior during the interaction mediated the relations between spatial talk and the structures they built. Results are discussed in terms of the importance of encouraging joint guided block play activities in early childhood classrooms to provide children with opportunities to practice and expand their language, math, and spatial skills. (author abstract)

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Preschoolers' emotion expression and regulation: Relations with school adjustment
Herndon, Kristina J., November, 2013
The Journal of Genetic Psychology, 174(6), 642-663

Children's expression and regulation of emotions are building blocks of their experiences in classrooms. Thus, the authors' primary goal was to investigate whether preschoolers' expression or ability to regulate emotions were associated with teachers' ratings of school adjustment. A secondary goal was to investigate how boys and girls differed across these associations. Children's social-emotional behaviors in Head Start and private childcare center classrooms were observed, and using a series of measures, teachers' ratings of children's social competence, attitudes toward school, positive teacher relationships, and cooperative participation were collected. Three factors of children's school adjustment were extracted from these indicators. A series of hierarchical regressions revealed that emotion expression and regulation were indeed associated with children's reported school adjustment, with the strongest associations stemming from children's negative emotion expression and their emotion dysregulation. Many of these associations were also different for boys and girls. The results corroborate and extend the authors' earlier findings, and have implications for social-emotional programming to maximize children's early school success. (author abstract)

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Reliability and validity of a measure of preschool teachers' attributions for disruptive behavior
Carter, Lauren M., October, 2014
Early Education and Development, 25(7), 949-972

This study examined the quality of teacher attributions for child disruptive behavior using a new measure, the Preschool Teaching Attributions measure. A sample of 153 early childhood teachers and 432 children participated. All teachers completed the behavior attributions measure, as well as measures regarding demographics, beliefs, self-efficacy, child behavior, and the quality of the teacher-child relationship with selected children. Confirmatory factor analysis demonstrated that the hypothesized 2-factor model fit significantly better than a 1-factor model, with the 2 factors being Causal and Responsibility. The resulting Causal and Responsibility subscale scores had solid internal consistency as measured by Cronbach's alpha coefficients. Significant bivariate and partial correlations with teacher practices and beliefs provided preliminary support for the measure's construct validity. Practice or Policy: Findings from this study suggest the importance of including a measure of teacher attributions in studies that explore teachers' beliefs, practices, and relationships with children. (author abstract)

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Shyness, child-teacher relationships, and socio-emotional adjustment in a sample of Italian preschool-aged children
Sette, Stefania, May/June 2014
Infant and Child Development, 23(3), 323-332

The purpose of the present study was to examine the moderating role of child-teacher relationship quality (i.e., closeness, conflict, and dependence) in the association between children's shyness and indices of socio-emotional adjustment and maladjustment. The participants were Italian preschool children (63 boys; 66 girls) and two lead teachers per classroom (N= 7 classrooms). In each classroom, one teacher, randomly selected, evaluated the quality of the child-teacher relationship; the other evaluated children's social competence and maladjustment. Peer liking was measured using a sociometric procedure. Parents provided an assessment of their children's shyness. Shyness was positively related to teacher-reported rejection and internalizing problems whereas shyness was negatively associated with closeness and conflict with teachers. Moreover, closeness, conflict, and dependence in the child-teacher relationship moderated the links between children shyness and indices of preschool social competence and maladjustment. For example, among children with low levels of closeness, shyness was negatively associated with teacher-reported social competence and positively related to teacher-reported peer rejection. At very high levels of dependence, there was a negative relation between shyness and social competence. The findings suggest that a positive child-teacher relationship may be a protective factor in avoiding social maladjustment in Italian scuole d'infanzia, where most pupils remain with the same teacher for 3 years. (author abstract)

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Validation of the Penn Interactive Peer Play Scale with preschool children in low-income families in Hong Kong
Leung, Chi-hung, January, 2014
Early Child Development and Care, 184(1), 118-137

Play is a primary context for fostering young children's positive peer interactions. Through play, children develop the social, emotional, cognitive and language skills that contribute to the ability to establish effective relationships with peers. The Penn Interactive Peer Play Scale (PIPPS) was first developed by Fantuzzo to assess the quality of peer interactions among low-income preschoolers in the USA. The present study invited 1622 children aged three to six and 152 teachers in 10 kindergartens in districts with high child poverty rates in Hong Kong to participate in the study (a) to validate the psychometric properties of a culturally, developmentally and linguistically appropriate version of the PIPPS using confirmatory factor analysis, (b) to investigate gender and (c) age differences in peer play, and (d) to inform early childhood intervention for children in low income families. Translation and back-translation - a commonly used procedure in the translation of cross-cultural research instruments - was adopted. Results indicated that the three-factor model of the PIPPS (play interaction, play disruption and play disconnection) statistically fit the results in the Hong Kong sample. Girls exhibited greater play interaction and less play disruption and play disconnection. Peer interactive play behaviour increased with age. The cultural and linguistic contexts of scale development should receive attention in future research. Recommendations are made regarding lexical access in non alphabetical language systems like Chinese; cultural understandings of shyness, withdrawal and social disinterest as they relate to the interpretation of play behaviour; and establishing the concurrent validity of the Hong Kong version of the PIPPS. (author abstract)

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Research Connections is supported by grant #90YE0104 from the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The contents are solely the responsibility of the National Center for Children in Poverty and the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, the Administration for Children and Families, or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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