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Age group, location or pedagogue: Factors affecting parental choice of kindergartens in Hungary
Teszenyi, Eleonora, 2015
Early Child Development and Care, , 1-17

Hungary has experienced significant political, economic, demographic and social changes since the end of Soviet domination in the 1990s. The gradual move towards liberal democracy has been accompanied by growing emphasis on individualism, choice and diversity. Universal kindergarten provision for five to six-year-olds is a long established feature of the Hungarian education system, but little is known about parental choice [Torok, B. (2004). A gyermekuketovodaztatoszulokkorebenvegzettorszagosfelmereseredmenyei [The result of the national survey among parents whose children attend kindergartens]. Orszagosovodai project. Szulovizsgalatialproject. Budapest: FelsooktatasiKutato]. A case study (Yin, 2009) of factors influencing parental choice and satisfaction was undertaken in one Hungarian town. This was based on a survey of 251 parents of children attending both mixed-age and same-age groups across 12 kindergartens. Parents suggested that the most important influences were geographical location and the individual pedagogue(s). Given that traditionally each pedagogue follows 'their' cohort from kindergarten entry to primary school, their influence appears heightened. Although generally satisfied with their chosen arrangement, parents from same-age groups expressed significantly more confidence and satisfaction, particularly in relation to cognitive development and preparation for school. Parents appear less convinced about the trend towards mixed-age groups and questions are raised about sufficiency of evidence of their benefits in a Hungarian context and the driving factors behind change. (author abstract)

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Assessing quality in family and provider/teacher relationships: Using the Family and Provider/Teacher Relationship Quality (FPTRQ) measures in conjunction with Strengthening Families (TM) and the Head Start Parent, Family and Community engagement frameworks and self-assessment tools: A research-to-practice brief
Porter, Toni, April, 2015
(OPRE Report 2015-56). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation.

This research-to-practice brief is intended to help policymakers, program managers, and practitioners learn how the newly released Family and Provider/Teacher Relationship Quality(FPTRQ) measures can be used to complement or supplement two approaches, Strengthening Families (TM) and the Head Start Parent, Family and Community Engagement (PFCE) frameworks, and their related self-assessments, that have been frequently used by Early Care and Education (ECE) stakeholders to support their work with families and to assess their programs, providers and teachers in these efforts. It is based on a systematic review of the Strengthening Families (TM) and the Head Start PFCE frameworks and self-assessment tools, and their alignment with the FPTRQ conceptual model and measures. (author abstract)

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Building meaningful partnerships with families to promote early literacy development: Implications for practitioners
Friesen, Amber, 2015
NHSA Dialog, 18(1), 101-105

This research to practice paper summarizes the findings of a study that sought to understand Head Start families' existing beliefs and practices about early literacy. Guided by the "funds of knowledge" perspective (Moll, Amanti, Neff, & Gonzalez, 1992), this approach views families as resourceful, competent, and essential partners in their child's learning. Families were asked to complete The Family Literacy Survey, which included Likert scale-items and open-ended questions. The findings found that while families' valued early literacy learning, they reported few home activities related to children's specific early literacy skills (i.e., writing the child's name, learning letter sounds), instead relying on the Head Start program to address the development of these skills. Practical implications are detailed including supporting families' knowledge of early literacy and building on their existing literacy practices. (author abstract)

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Child Care Development Block Grant Act of 2014: Highlighting the new opportunities for family engagement
McCready, Michelle, 30 July, 2015
Arlington, VA: Child Care Aware of America

This webinar explores family and community engagement opportunities under the Child Care & Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Act of 2014. A representative from the National Black Child Development Institute discusses their Parent Empowerment Program, a curriculum that provides parents with support, knowledge, and skills in the areas of child development, parenting practices, and healthy relationship building. The Head Start/Early Head Start parent, family, and community engagement framework is examined. Barriers to effective family engagement are discussed, as well as strategies for program promotion. Additional resources/tools for parents and providers, including Vroom and the Talk, Read, Sing program, are exhibited.

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Child Care Development Block Grant Act of 2014: Highlighting the new opportunities for family engagement [PowerPoint]
McCready, Michelle, 30 July, 2015
Arlington, VA: Child Care Aware of America

This PowerPoint presentation accompanies a webinar that explores family and community engagement opportunities under the reauthorized Child Care & Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Act of 2014. A representative from the National Black Child Development Institute discusses their Parent Empowerment Program, a curriculum that provides parents with support, knowledge, and skills in the areas of child development, parenting practices, and healthy relationship building. The Head Start/Early Head Start parent, family, and community engagement framework is examined. Barriers to effective family engagement are discussed, as well as strategies for program promotion. Additional resources/tools for parents and providers, including Vroom and the Talk, Read, Sing program, are exhibited.

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Child Care Factors that Influence Parental Engagement: Understanding Longitudinal Pathways to Children's School Readiness
Barnett, Melissa A., 2015
University of Arizona

Early Care and Education (ECE) settings play an important role in child development for many children of preschool age. The powerful positive impacts of ECE programs on young children's development may be strengthened when programs work with parents. Parent engagement in early learning activities has been positively linked to children's school readiness and social-emotional well-being (Hindman & Morrison, 2011; Powell et al., 2010). The specific mechanisms by which ECE programs influence parent engagement, however, and how this engagement improves children's development, remain unclear. The goal of this project is to examine how ECE program factors are linked to parent engagement in child care, and in turn how this engagement leads to school readiness and child well-being being among children enrolled in center-based care in preschool.

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Children's literacy interest and its relation to parents' literacy-promoting practices
Hume, Laura E., May, 2015
Journal of Research in Reading, 38(2), 172-193

This study examined how children's literacy interests related to parent literacy-promoting practices across time. Using a sample of 909 preschool-age children and the newly developed Child Activities Preference Checklist, literacy interest appeared to be a complex construct, not easily captured by a single measure. In a subsample of 230 children with longitudinal data, parent literacy practices and child literacy interests related concurrently and across time. Parent literacy practices were more stable than child literacy interests, with children's literacy interest continuing to develop over the preschool year. Parent practices of exposing children to literacy and teaching them literacy concepts appeared to be distinct constructs. Exposure to literacy was especially important in the growth of literacy interests and the hypothesis that exposure has a negative effect on children with little initial interest was not fully supported. (author abstract)

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A cocaring framework for infants and toddlers: Applying a model of coparenting to parent-teacher relationships
Lang, Sarah N., Q1 2016
Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 34(1), 40-52

Connections between home and childcare are vital for coordinating high quality care and education, especially for very young children. However, we know little about the key dimensions of parent-teacher, or cocaring relationships, in early childhood education, especially in subsidized care settings. Through individual, semi-structured qualitative interviews, this study examined 10 parent-teacher relationships where parents were receiving subsidized, center-based childcare for their infant or toddler. Using iterative, inductive analysis and deductive analysis based on Feinberg's (2003) definitions of key coparenting dimensions--a critical guiding theoretical framework for also understanding parent-teacher coordination and interaction--three main themes emerged: the importance of good, open communication between parents and educators, challenges when undermining versus support was used in their interactions, and tensions when parents and educators disagreed versus agreed on practices such as feeding or toilet training. This study found evidence for positive cocaring interactions, especially positive communication that related with effective care coordination. The cocaring conceptualization offers a practical frame-work to support strong parent-teacher relationships and a theoretical tool to facilitate future research on parent-teacher relationships in early childhood education. (author abstract)

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Communicating with Head Start parents about their child's weight status
Hoffman, Jessica A., 2015
NHSA Dialog, 18(2), 31-42

Head Start provides children with healthy, nutritious meals, physical activity opportunities, and health screenings, all of which are critical components of combatting early childhood obesity. Communicating health screening information about a child's weight status to parents is one way to engage families in childhood obesity prevention efforts. The purpose of this article is to describe a multi-phase, iterative, and collaborative process that was used to develop and evaluate strategies for communicating with Head Start parents about their child's Body Mass Index. This article aims to inform other Head Start programs about acceptable, effective approaches that can be used to deliver height and weight screening results to families. (author abstract)

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Costs of and satisfaction with child care arrangements for parents of children with emotional or behavioral disorders
Barnard-Brak, Lucy, December, 2015
Journal of Family Issues, 36(14), 1887-1903

Child care arrangements, costs, and satisfaction among parents of children with emotional or behavioral disorders were examined as compared with parents of children with other disabilities. The current study used a large, nationally representative, and community-based sample of approximately 3,000 parents of children with disabilities aged 3 to 5 years. Results indicate that parents of children with emotional or behavioral disorders did not appear to have significantly different types of child care arrangements or levels of satisfaction with these arrangements as compared with parents of children with other disabilities. Parents of children with emotional or behavioral disorders did appear to spend significantly more on child care as compared with parents of children with other disabilities. Parents of children with emotional and behavioral disorders spent $570 a year as compared with children with other disabilities. The overarching implication for policy would appear to be that special child care subsidies or more publicly fund child care services for parents of children with emotional or behavioral disorders should be provided. (author abstract)

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Cultural negotiation: Moving beyond a cycle of misunderstanding in early childhood settings
De Gioia, Katey, June, 2013
Journal of Early Childhood Research, 11(2), 108-122

Developing partnerships with families is critical in childcare services. However, families and early childhood educators bring to settings different cultural backgrounds, experiences and expectations of their role and the role of the childcare service. These differences can impact the family-educator partnership. This article examines some issues that arise when there is a disparity in understanding of expectations, which can result when educators are attempting to provide continuity of care-giving practices and families are hesitant about sharing their home practices. This study explores communication processes and expectations of continuity of care between home and early childhood setting. A social constructivism approach using qualitative methods of data gathering explored family and educator perceptions of continuity between home and setting. A cycle of misunderstanding is explained that ascribes characteristics of possible family educators' responses as a result of a poor understanding between roles. The discussion draws together the need to ascertain processes for negotiating with families and exploring practices that support the building of partnerships between families from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and educators in childcare settings. (author abstract)

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Daily welcoming in childcare centre as a microtransition: An exploratory study
Venturelli, Elena, 2015
Early Child Development and Care, , 1-16

This study focuses on the everyday morning microtransition in childcare centres that involves child-parent separation. This moment involves the contemporary presence of the child, caregiver and parent in the day-care centre. This coexistence is considered extremely relevant and full of important meanings for the interactive patterns they will build together and for the children's development. In order to explore this topic, 4 children (mean age 26 months), their parents and 3 caregivers were observed in a day-care centre for 3 months, for a total of 20 video-observations. Using a triadic perspective and microanalytic analysis method, the observations were analysed through the application of the triadic interaction analytical procedure. The results showed different interactive sequence processes to the microtransition from the parent-child interaction to the child-caregiver interaction. However, various types of interactive patterns emerged in relation to the child-parent-caregiver interaction, which show the active role of all the members in the co-construction of the interactive dynamic. (author abstract)

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Decreasing the SES math achievement gap: Initial math proficiency and home learning environments
Galindo, Claudia, October, 2015
Contemporary Educational Psychology, 43, 25-38

Many children in the U.S., particularly those from low socioeconomic status (SES) backgrounds, do not develop sufficient math skills to be competitive in today's technological world. We utilized a mediation/moderation framework and the ECLS-K dataset to investigate factors that can decrease the SES-related math achievement gap in kindergarten. Starting kindergarten proficient in math and experiencing a supportive home learning environment significantly decreased SES achievement differences. Proficiency in math at the start of kindergarten accounted for the greatest decrease in the SES-math achievement gap. Findings support the importance of comprehensive and multi-contextual approaches targeted to families and schools for improving children's exposure to math-relevant experiences. (author abstract)

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The development and initial assessment of Reach Out and Read Plus Mathematics for use in primary care paediatrics
Jones, V. Faye, April, 2015
Early Child Development and Care, 185(5), 694-708

Objective: Children from low-income families are often not well-prepared for kindergarten entry, especially in mathematical skills. Caregivers may lack the knowledge and confidence to teach early mathematical skills. The purpose of this study was to develop a parent-child activities-based mathematics learning programme and test its acceptability and initial efficacy. Method: The evidence-based Reach Out and Read (ROR) programme was adapted to incorporate mathematics content. ROR plus Mathematics (ROR+M) was developed and introduced during well-child visits. Descriptive and repeated-measures analysis of variance analyses were used to evaluate pre- and three weekly post-intervention assessments. Results: Parents self-reported acceptability and initial efficacy of the ROR+M programme was demonstrated. No change was reported in non-mathematical reading behaviour. Discussion: ROR+M was developed and implemented in a primary care paediatric setting serving primarily low-income families. Acceptability and initial efficacy was demonstrated. Randomised clinical trials are needed before widespread implementation. (author abstract)

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Early childhood program participation, from the National Household Education Surveys Program of 2012: First look
Mamedova, Saida, May, 2015
(NCES 2013-029.rev). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics.

A study of early care and education arrangements of children from birth through age 5, families' child care expenses, and parents' involvement in children's early learning, based on data from the nationally representative National Household Education Survey 2012

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Early full-time day care, mother-child attachment, and quality of the home environment in Chile: Preliminary findings
Carcamo, Rodrigo A., May, 2016
Early Education and Development, 27(4), 457-477

Two longitudinal studies are reported examining the effects of full-time day care in Mapuche and non-Mapuche families in Chile. First, the Magellan-Leiden Childcare Study (MLCS) used a sample of 95 mothers with children younger than 1 year old (n = 36 in day care). Second, we partially cross-validated our results in a large and representative sample of 10,723 mothers and their children from the Chilean Encuesta Longitudinal de la Primera Infancia (Early Childhood Longitudinal Survey). In both studies, the quality of care for children provided at home was measured with the Home Observation for Measurement of the Environment. In the MLCS study, additional indicators of the mother-child relationship were measured. Day care was not negatively associated with the mother-child relationship and maternal sensitivity, compared to maternal care, or with the quality of the home environment. Positive changes in attachment security were found in Mapuche children who attended day care centers. Practice or Policy: We were able to confirm that type of care was not differentially associated with quality of the home environment. (author abstract)

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Early literacy practices and beliefs among Hispanic families in Jacksonville, Florida
Martelo, Maira Luz, November, 2014
Jacksonville: Florida Institute of Education.

The findings presented in this policy brief are taken from a mixed-method study that compared beliefs about education and literacy practices among Latino caregivers who had their 4-year-old children enrolled in the Florida Voluntary Prekindergarten Program (VPK) and parents who had not enrolled their children in early childhood programs at the time of the study (Martelo, 2013). A total of 125 surveys were collected from 74 caregivers with children enrolled in VPK and 51 without children enrolled in VPK. Twenty interviews were conducted: 10 with Hispanic parents with children enrolled in VPK and 10 without children enrolled in VPK. (author abstract)

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E-book and printed book reading in different contexts as emergent literacy facilitator
Korat, Ofra, May, 2016
Early Education and Development, 27(4), 532-550

We present 3 studies that focused on preschoolers' electronic book (e-book) reading in different contexts aimed at supporting children's early literacy. In Study 1 we researched the impact of children's age and number of independent readings on phonological awareness and word reading. We found that all age groups benefited from e-book reading, and 5 readings benefited most skills better than 3. In Study 2 we investigated (a) parents' behavior during joint e-book reading with their children compared to joint printed book reading and (b) parental mediation in joint reading of a considerate e-book compared to joint reading of an inconsiderate e-book. The joint printed book reading yielded more expanding talk than the joint e-book reading, and reading the considerate e-book yielded higher expanding talk than reading the inconsiderate e-book. In Study 3 we compared adult support in joint e-book reading to joint printed book reading and compared both readings to children's independent e-book reading. Reading the e-book with adult support assisted children in progressing in phonological awareness and word reading compared to other group reading. Practice or Policy: Well-designed e-books may serve as good tools to support children's early literacy, and when parents or educators read them with children, children's progress is enhanced. We recommend that these findings be taken into account by e-book designers, policymakers, teachers, and parents. (author abstract)

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Effectiveness of the Lunch is in the Bag program on communication between the parent, child and child-care provider around fruits, vegetables and whole grain foods: A group-randomized controlled trial
Sharma, Shreela, December, 2015
Preventive Medicine, 81, 1-8

Objective. To evaluate the effectiveness of the parent- and early care education (ECE) center-based Lunch is in the Bag program on communication between parent, child, and their ECE center providers around fruits, vegetables and whole grain foods (FVWG). Method. A total of n = 30 ECE center; 577 parent-child dyads participated in this group-randomized controlled trial conducted from 2011 to 2013 in Texas (n = 15 ECE center, 327 dyads intervention group; n=15 ECE center, 250 dyads comparison group). Parent-child and parent-ECE center provider communication was measured using a parent-reported survey administered at baseline and end of the five-week intervention period. Multilevel linear regression analysis was used to compare the pre-to-post intervention changes in the parent-child and parent-ECE center provider communication scales. Significance was set at p < 0.05. Results. At baseline, parent-child and parent-ECE center provider communication scores were low. There was a significant increase post-intervention in the parent-ECE center provider communication around vegetables (Adjusted [beta] = 0.78, 95%CI: 0.13, 1.43, p = 0.002), and around fruit (Adjusted [beta] = 0.62, 95%CI: 0.04, 0.20, p = 0.04) among the parents in the intervention group as compared to those in the comparison group. There were no significant intervention effects on parent-child communication. Conclusion. Lunch is in the Bag had significant positive effects on improving communication between the parents and ECE center providers around FVWG. (author abstract)

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The effect of Head Start on parenting outcomes for children living in non-parental care
Pratt, Megan E., October, 2015
Journal of Child and Family Studies, 24(10), 2944-2956

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)

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Effects of parent and child pre-intervention characteristics on child skill acquisition during a school readiness intervention
Mathis, Erin T. B., Q4 2015
Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 33(4), 87-97

Two-hundred preschool children in Head Start (55% girls; 20% Hispanic, 25% African-American, 55% European American; [mean] age = 4.80 years old) participated in a randomized-controlled trial of a home visiting intervention designed to promote emergent literacy skills (the Research-based Developmentally Informed parent [REDI-P] program). This study explored concurrent changes in levels of parent support and child literacy skills that occurred over the course of the intervention, and examined the impact of pre-intervention parent support and child literacy skills as potential moderators of parent and child outcomes. Cross-lagged structural equation models and follow-up analyses indicated that intervention had the strongest impact on child literacy skills when parents were high on support at the pre-intervention assessment. Conversely, the REDI-Parent program promoted the greatest gains in parent support when parents entered the program with low levels of support. These findings suggest that families may benefit from home visiting school readiness interventions in different ways: child skill acquisition may be greatest when parents are initially high in support, whereas parenting may improve most when parents are initially low in support. (author abstract)

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Efficacy of the Lunch is in the Bag intervention to increase parents' packing of healthy bag lunches for young children: A cluster-randomized trial in early care and education centers
Roberts-Gray, Cindy, 08 January, 2016
International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 13, 1-19

Background: Lunches that parents pack for their young children to eat at school or the Early Care and Education (ECE) center fall short of recommended standards. Lunch is in the Bag is a multi-level behavioral nutrition intervention to increase parents' packing of fruit, vegetables, and whole grains in their children's lunches. Designed for implementation in ECE centers, the five-week long intervention is followed three months later with a one-week booster. Methods: Efficacy of Lunch is in the Bag was tested in cluster randomized trial. Participants were 633 families from 30 ECE centers (15 intervention, 15 control) across Austin, San Antonio, and Houston, Texas, USA. Primary outcomes were servings of fruit, vegetables, and whole grains observed in the children's parent-packed bag lunches. Servings of refined grains, meats/beans/eggs/nuts, dairy, chips, and sweets also were observed. Data were collected at baseline, post-intervention (6-week follow-up), pre-booster (22-weeks follow-up), and post-booster (28-week follow-up). Time-by-treatment interactions were analyzed separately for each of the food groups using multi-level models to compare changes from baseline. Analyses were adjusted for relevant demographic variables and clustering within centers and parents. Results: The intervention effected increases from baseline to 6-week follow-up in vegetables (0.17 servings, SE = 0.04, P < 0.001) and whole grains (0.30 servings, SE = 0.13, P = 0.018). The increase in whole grains was maintained through the 28-week follow-up (0.34 servings, SE = 0.13, P = 0.009). Fruit averaged more than 1.40 servings with no differences between groups or across time. The intervention prevented increase in sweets (-0.43 servings, SE = 0.11, P < .001, at the 22-week follow-up). Parents persisted, however, in packing small amounts of vegetables (averages of 0.41 to 0.52 servings) and large amounts of sweets and chips (averages of 1.75 to 1.99 servings). Conclusions: The need for and positive effects of the Lunch is in the Bag intervention at ECE centers where parents send bag lunch for their preschool-aged children was confirmed. An important direction for future research is discovery of more options for leveraging the partnership of ECE centers and families to help young children learn to eat and enjoy vegetables and other healthy foods in preference to less healthy choices such as chips and sweets. (author abstract)

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Empowering young children in poverty by improving their home literacy environments
Evans, Walter, April-June 2016
Journal of Research in Childhood Education, 30(2), 211-225

An innovative DVD of classic nursery rhymes and stories empowered at-risk kindergarten children to control in the home when and how much they listen, promoting better listening, reading, and overall literacy comprehension skills. Coupled with modest teacher training, and limited use in the classroom, the DVD generated dramatic vocabulary growth in nine months and remarkably higher reading scores three years later. Funded by a Georgia Improving Teacher Quality grant, the study was conducted in 33 kindergarten classrooms in 31 Title I schools, each of which normally produced significantly below average test scores in reading. The study documents 459 kindergarten students' mean improvement from the 27th to the 47th percentile on the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT-III). The 303 students who remained in the system as 3rd graders and took Georgia's statewide Criterion Referenced Competency Test in reading failed to meet standards less than half as often (7.6% vs. 16.13%) as their system peers, and scored in the highest range 35% more often (39.6% vs. 27.02%). Forty thousand DVDs have since been distributed and the DVD's ten hours of audio, text, and pictures are now freely available online at hearatale.org. (author abstract)

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Engaging Early Head Start parents in a collaborative inquiry: The co-construction of Little Talks
Manz, Patricia Holliday, 2016
Early Child Development and Care, (), 1-24

The purpose of this study was to develop a book sharing intervention to support the language development of infants and toddlers from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds. Low-income parents were engaged in a collaborative inquiry to develop 'Little Talks'. Parents were assigned to three small groups that independently participated in intervention iterations. Iterations were sequenced so that qualitative data collected during the preceding iteration were analysed to inform modifications to refine the subsequent intervention. Book sharing interventions were administered through eight home visits by members of the research team. Starting with Dialogic Reading, qualitative data highlighted needs to produce an intervention that met a range of parental preferences and that was flexible in meeting parents' readiness to acquire new strategies. Little Talks emerged as an intervention that fostered multiple approaches to book sharing by forming and delivering book sharing strategies according to parents' preferences and needs. (author abstract)

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Engaging Head Start families in childhood obesity prevention: School-home communication about children's height and weight screenings
Hoffman, Jessica A., 2015
NHSA Dialog, 18(2), 92-97

Head Start provides children with healthy, nutritious meals, physical activity opportunities, and health screenings, all of which are important components of combatting early childhood obesity. Communicating health screening information about a child's weight status to parents is one way to engage families in childhood obesity prevention efforts. This article describes a process that was used to develop and evaluate strategies for communicating with Head Start parents about their child's Body Mass Index. (author abstract)

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Engaging providers and clients: Using behavioral economics to increase on-time child care subsidy renewals
Mayer, Alexander K., November, 2015
(OPRE Report 2015 73). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation.

This report presents findings from a study designed in partnership with the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) to increase the number of clients who renew their child care subsidy by their renewal deadline. The BIAS team and DHS designed three interventions to try to increase on-time renewals: one for DHS child care subsidy clients, one for child care providers who serve DHS clients, and one that combines the client and provider interventions. (author abstract)

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Engaging providers and clients: Using behavioral economics to increase on-time child care subsidy renewals
Mayer, Alexander K., November, 2015
(OPRE Report 2015 73). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation.

This report presents findings from a study designed in partnership with the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) to increase the number of clients who renew their child care subsidy on time. Only about one-third of an estimated 39,000 child care subsidy cases that are eligible for renewal each year in Oklahoma are renewed by the state's deadline. If a client fails to renew on time, DHS ceases payments to providers on behalf of the client. Providers can then require their clients to pay the amount of the subsidy in addition to any copayments. If clients do not pay the full cost of child care, providers may temporarily withhold services or clients may lose their place in the child care facility. On-time renewals, therefore, ensure consistent child care for families, stable payment for providers, and a reduced administrative burden for DHS. The BIAS team diagnosed factors that might inhibit on-time renewal and designed three interventions for improvement: (1) a "provider intervention," which gave child care providers more information about their clients' renewal deadlines and prompted them to send reminders and help clients with renewal; (2) a "client intervention," which used early and clear communication to clarify the renewal process and continued follow-up communication; and (3) a "combined intervention," which included both the client and provider interventions. (author abstract)

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Engaging providers and clients: Using behavioral economics to increase on-time child care subsidy renewals [Executive summary]
Mayer, Alexander K., November, 2015
(OPRE Report 2015 73). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation.

This report presents findings from a study designed in partnership with the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) to increase the number of clients who renew their child care subsidy by their renewal deadline. The BIAS team and DHS designed three interventions to try to increase on-time renewals: one for DHS child care subsidy clients, one for child care providers who serve DHS clients, and one that combines the client and provider interventions. (author abstract)

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Enjoyment of learning and learning effort in primary school: The significance of child individual characteristics and stimulation at home and at preschool
Richter, David, January, 2016
Early Child Development and Care, 186(1), 96-116

Our study examines the effects of the quality of the learning environments at home and in preschool on affective-motivational aspects of learning in school (i.e. the enjoyment of learning und learning effort of students in the second grade of primary school) using data from the longitudinal study 'Educational Processes, Competence Development, and Selection Decisions at Preschool and Primary School Age (BiKS-3-10)'. Our research design was guided by a bio-ecological theoretical perspective (Bronfenbrenner & Morris, 1998), which focuses on the interrelation between the individual and his or her various environments as the 'engines of development' (p. 996). How these interactions affect children's development depends on characteristics of the individual child, the environmental context, and the time period in which these interactions occur. (author abstract)

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Examining families' early literacy beliefs and practices within a Head Start program: Building bridges
Friesen, Amber, 2015
NHSA Dialog, 18(1), 43-60

Bridging early literacy learning between home and early education settings requires understanding families' literacy beliefs and practices. In this study, 213 families in a rural Midwestern Head Start program completed The Family Early Literacy Survey, which asked participants to report literacy beliefs and practices using Likert scale-items and open-ended questions. The findings document that families believed it was important for their child to develop early literacy and that they engaged in strategies to support early literacy development such as reading a book with their child or helping them with their homework. However, they reported few home activities related to children's specific early literacy skills (i.e., writing the child's name, learning letter sounds), instead relying on the Head Start program to address the development of these skills. Implications of the findings for building bridges between preschool programs and families to support children's early literacy skills are discussed. (author abstract)

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Examining how adding a booster to a behavioral nutrition intervention prompts parents to pack more vegetables and whole gains in their preschool children's sack lunches
Sweitzer, Sara J., January, 2016
Behavioral Medicine, 42(1), 9-17

Data from a five-week intervention to increase parents' packing of vegetables and whole grains in their preschool children's sack lunches showed that, although changes occurred, habit strength was weak. To determine the effects of adding a one-week booster three months post-intervention, children's (N = 59 intervention and 48 control) lunches were observed at baseline (week 0), post-intervention (week 6), pre-booster (week 20), and post-booster (week 26). Servings of vegetables and whole grains were evaluated in repeated measures models and results inspected relative to patterns projected from different explanatory models of behavior change processes. Observed changes aligned with projections from the simple associative model of behavior change. Attention in future studies should focus on behavioral intervention elements that leverage stimulus-response associations to increase gratification parents receive from providing their children with healthy lunches. (author abstract)

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Experiences of parents and professionals in well-established continuity of care infant toddler programs
McMullen, Mary Benson, February, 2016
Early Education and Development, 27(2), 190-220

A qualitative descriptive study was conducted to look at the nature of continuity of care by examining the perspectives of those who lived it in 2 programs in which it was a well-established practice. The 35 participants included infant toddler caregivers, parents, preschool teachers, and administrators. Findings are organized around 8 features of continuity of care revealed in the study: increased knowledge (increased understanding of child development and individual children), stable relationships (decreased disruption associated with frequent transitions), a family-type atmosphere (trust, warmth, and affection promoted), primary caregiving (changing nature of roles over time), family-centeredness (mutual empowerment of parents and caregivers), effective caregiver partnerships (caregiving relationships among caregivers), the transition to preschool (higher levels of ability in social and self-help skills among children), and recommendations for improvement. Practice or Policy: We discuss implications for practitioners, teacher educators and policymakers, including further consideration of parental/caregiver empowerment, the maintenance of continuity across members of caregiving teams, and keeping children ages birth to 5 together in 1 setting. Also, findings suggest differences in the nature of primary caregiving in continuous versus discontinuous care settings. Finally, we conclude that continuity is beneficial, but complex, and more likely to succeed in programs already committed to engagement in strong, relationship-based practice. (author abstract)

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Exploring perspectives on child care with families of children with autism
Mereoiu, Mariana, Spring 2015
Early Childhood Research & Practice, 17(1)

Early childhood programs serve increasing numbers of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and their families. While many programs have made significant progress in providing educational services responsive to the needs of children with ASD, concerns persist about whether early education programs can meet the educational needs of such children and collaborate effectively with their families. The authors explored self-reported experiences and concerns of families who have children diagnosed with ASD and their experiences with preschool educational services in a northern county of a southeastern state. In focus groups, participants discussed program/family relationships, their priorities for their children, and how these needs and priorities were addressed, or not addressed, in the programs serving their children. Findings indicate that families were concerned with their children's access to the educational environment, the availability of emotional and social development support for children with ASD, and the overall reflection of inclusion as a program philosophy in the program settings. (author abstract)

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Factors associated with increased reading frequency in children exposed to Reach Out and Read
Rikin, Sharon, November-December 2015
Academic Pediatrics, 15(6), 651-657

Objective: A 2014 American Academy of Pediatrics Policy Statement on Literacy Promotion recommends providers endorse daily caregiver-child reading during health supervision visits. Reach Out and Read (ROR) is a widely used model of office-based early literacy promotion. We hypothesized that exposure to ROR and other variables such as reading as part of a bedtime routine positively correlate with caregiver-child reading frequency. Methods: This is a cross-sectional study based on a convenience sample of caregivers at 8 ROR-Milwaukee sites, which serve predominantly low-income populations in Milwaukee. On the basis of results of previously validated questionnaires, odds ratios were calculated to determine which variables are significantly associated with caregivers' reading to children 0 to 2 (rarely), 3 to 6 (often), and 7 (daily) days per week. Random forest analysis was performed to examine relative importance of variables in predicting caregivers' reading frequency. Results: A total of 256 caregivers were eligible for analysis; those who reported receiving [greater than or equal to]4 books from pediatricians read to children more days per week compared to those receiving fewer books (5.07 vs 3.61, P < .001) and were more likely to read daily (odds ratio 3.07, 95% confidence interval 1.80-5.23). Caregivers' interest in reading, number of children's books in the home, reading as part of a bedtime routine, and number of books received from pediatricians were among the most important variables in distinguishing rarely, often, and daily reading caregivers. Conclusions: Exposure to ROR-Milwaukee's intervention is associated with increased reading frequency. Identified variables such as reading as a bedtime routine and number of children's books in the home should be targets for future literacy-promoting interventions. (author abstract)

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Family and Provider/Teacher Relationship Quality measures: Questions and answers
Kim, Kwang, April, 2015
(OPRE Report 2015-53). Washington, DC: Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation.

This fact sheet provides answers to questions about the Family and Provider/Teacher Relationship Quality measures (FPTRQ). It focuses on access, usage, conceptual development, and reliability of the measures.

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Family and teacher characteristics as predictors of parent involvement in education during early childhood among Afro-Caribbean and Latino immigrant families
Calzada, Esther J., October, 2015
Urban Education, 50(7), 870-896

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)

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Family concepts in early learning and development standards
Walsh, Bridget A., 2015
Early Child Development and Care, , 1-26

This exploratory study investigated the use of concepts related to families, parents, and the home in 51 state-level early learning and development standards documents. Guidelines from six national family involvement, engagement, and school-partnership models were used to create the Family Involvement Models Analysis Chart (FIMAC), which served as this study's analysis tool. Results showed that the vast majority of units examined did not align with family involvement guidelines from the six national models. In addition, the small percentage of units that aligned with national models -- as well as the units related to family concepts that were not aligned with these models -- tended to incorporate family concepts in the contextual narrative of the standards documents and not within the letter of the standards in their strict sense (the statements describing what students are supposed to know and be able to do). States desiring to implement early learning and development standards congruent with research-based practices should integrate families into standards documentation. (author abstract)

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Family partnerships and family engagement in early care and education: Measuring relationships between families and providers, teachers, and family services staff
Mathias, Debi, 25 March, 2015
Boston: Build Initiative.

This webinar discusses the Family and Provider/Teacher Relationship Quality (FPTRQ) project, which aims to develop measures to assess the quality of the relationship between families and providers/teachers of early care and education. Five measures have been created (each with a short form) and include: 1) Provider/Teacher Measure; 2) Parent Measure; 3) Director Measure; 4) Family Services Staff Measure; and 5) Family Services Staff Parent Measure. The presenters explore the features of each measure, along with reliability information and instructions for measure access, administration, and scoring.

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Family partnerships and family engagement in early care and education: Measuring relationships between families and providers, teachers, and family services staff [PowerPoint]
Mathias, Debi, 25 March, 2015
Boston: Build Initiative.

This PowerPoint presentation accompanies a webinar that discusses the Family and Provider/Teacher Relationship Quality (FPTRQ) project, which aims to develop measures to assess the quality of the relationship between families and providers/teachers of early care and education. Five measures have been created (each with a short form) and include: 1) Provider/Teacher Measure; 2) Parent Measure; 3) Director Measure; 4) Family Services Staff Measure; and 5) Family Services Staff Parent Measure. The presenters explore the features of each measure, along with reliability information and instructions for measure access, administration, and scoring.

Other


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Family routines and positive parenting practices help to support kindergarten readiness
Pivnick, Lilla, 22 October, 2014
(Research Brief 2014-03). Memphis, TN: Urban Child Institute.

Last fall, we asked parents of incoming kindergarteners to tell us about their family routines. Parents were asked how often they engaged in different types of routines with their pre-schoolers, like getting ready in the morning, getting ready for bedtime, or at mealtimes. Parents were also asked about a range of other positive parenting practices, like reading with their children, singing the alphabet, and playing counting and sorting games. Parents' responses were then compared to their children's kindergarten readiness scores. Each fall, incoming kindergarteners in Shelby County are given a measure of reading readiness called the Istation Early Reading assessment, which helps the district see if a student is performing at grade level, moderately below grade level, or severely below grade level. For this study, we compared the Istation Early Reading scores of 354 new kindergarteners with information on family routines collected from their parents. (author abstract)

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For practitioners: Quality connections in early care and education: Measuring relationships between families and providers or teachers
Torres, Alicia, 10 September, 2014
Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation.

This webinar provides information for practitioners using the Family and Provider/Teacher Relationship Quality (FPTRQ) measures. It presents an overview of the project and explores the development and description of the measures, along with their psychometric properties. Instructions for access, administration, and scoring of the measures are included.

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For researchers: Quality connections in early care and education: Measuring relationships between families and providers or teachers
Torres, Alicia, 10 September, 2014
Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation.

This webinar provides information to researchers considering the use of the Family and Provider/Teacher Relationship Quality (FPTRQ) measures in their work. It presents an overview of the project and explores the development and description of the measures, along with their psychometric properties. Instructions for access, administration, and scoring of the measures are included.

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For state and local administrators: Quality connections in early care and education: Measuring relationships between families and providers or teachers
Torres, Alicia, 08 September, 2014
Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation.

This webinar focuses on providing information to state and local administrators using the Family and Provider/Teacher Relationship Quality (FPTRQ) measures. It presents an overview of the project and explores the development and description of the measures, along with their psychometric properties. Instructions for access, administration, and scoring of the measures are included.

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Gesturing about number sense
Lee, Joanne, October, 2015
Journal of Early Childhood Research, 13(3), 263-279

Gestures such as finger counting, pointing, and touching have been found to facilitate mathematical development in preschool and school-aged children. However, little is known about the types of mathematically related gestures used by parent-toddler dyads to facilitate early mathematics learning during the first 3 years of life. A total of 24 children (12 boys and 12 girls) between 18 and 25 months of age and their parents participated in a recorded 30-minute play session at home. After the play session, each child completed a task to ascertain his or her counting ability from one to five. Parents initiated significantly more instances of mathematically related gestures than did the children. In contrast, children responded with more gestures to mathematically related talk than did their parents. The most frequent types of gestures produced are collecting/grouping of items in an array, counting objects while enumerating, tapping/touching, holding up, and pointing at an item. A total of 13 children demonstrated some understanding of the five counting principles except the cardinality principle proposed by Gelman and Gallistel. Our findings suggest that parents use specific types of mathematically related gestures during play with their toddlers. (author abstract)

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Going above and beyond: Striving for high-quality family & community engagement in early care and education: Findings from a focus group study of family and community engagement in center-based early care and education programs in Illinois: Executive summary
Bromer, Juliet, September, 2014
Chicago: Herr Research Center.

This summary describes findings and recommendations from a focus group study of family and community engagement practices in center-based ECE programs in Illinois. The purpose of the focus group study was to describe diverse perspectives on promising practices and common challenges around working with families and communities in center-based ECE programs and to inform the state's development of supports and resources for programs seeking to achieve ExceleRate Illinois' Award of Excellence level in family and community engagement. Four focus groups were conducted across the state with ECE program staff from Head Start, Preschool for All, school-based pre-K, and other not-for-profit and for-profit ECE programs. Six focus groups were held with parents and other family members of children in these programs. All programs received high ratings on the state's quality rating system at the time of the study. (author abstract)

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Going above and beyond: Striving for high-quality family & community engagement in early care and education: Findings from a focus group study of family and community engagement in center-based early care and education programs in Illinois: Final research report
Bromer, Juliet, September, 2014
Chicago: Herr Research Center.

This report gives voice to program and parent perspectives on family and community engagement practices by describing findings from a series of focus groups that were conducted across Illinois with ECE center-based directors, teachers, other staff, and parents or family members. The purpose of the focus group study was to gather information about diverse perspectives on promising practices and common challenges around working with families and communities in center-based ECE programs and to inform the state's development of supports and resources for programs seeking to achieve the Family and Community Engagement Award of Excellence in ExceleRate Illinois, the state's new quality rating and improvement system. (author abstract)

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Home literacy beliefs and practices among low-income Latino families
Davis, Heather S., 2015
Early Child Development and Care, , 1-21

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)

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Home reading environment and brain activation in preschool children listening to stories
Hutton, John S., 01 September, 2015
Pediatrics, 136(3), 466-478

Background and objectives: Parent-child reading is widely advocated to promote cognitive development, including in recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics to begin this practice at birth. Although parent-child reading has been shown in behavioral studies to improve oral language and print concepts, quantifiable effects on the brain have not been previously studied. Our study used blood oxygen level-dependent functional magnetic resonance imaging to examine the relationship between home reading environment and brain activity during a story listening task in a sample of preschool-age children. We hypothesized that while listening to stories, children with greater home reading exposure would exhibit higher activation of left-sided brain regions involved with semantic processing (extraction of meaning). Methods: Nineteen 3- to 5-year-old children were selected from a longitudinal study of normal brain development. All completed blood oxygen level-dependent functional magnetic resonance imaging using an age-appropriate story listening task, where narrative alternated with tones. We performed a series of whole-brain regression analyses applying composite, subscale, and individual reading-related items from the validated StimQ-P measure of home cognitive environment as explanatory variables for neural activation. Results: Higher reading exposure (StimQ-P Reading subscale score) was positively correlated (P < .05, corrected) with neural activation in the left-sided parietal-temporal-occipital association cortex, a "hub" region supporting semantic language processing, controlling for household income. Conclusions: In preschool children listening to stories, greater home reading exposure is positively associated with activation of brain areas supporting mental imagery and narrative comprehension, controlling for household income. These neural biomarkers may help inform eco-bio-developmental models of emergent literacy. (author abstract)

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Home visit quality variations in two Early Head Start programs in relation to parenting and child vocabulary outcomes
Roggman, Lori A., May/June 2016
Infant Mental Health Journal, 37(3), 193-207

Home-visiting programs aiming to improve early child development have demonstrated positive outcomes, but processes within home visits to individual families are rarely documented. We examined family-level variations in the home-visiting process (N = 71) from extant video recordings of home visits in two Early Head Start programs, using an observational measure of research-based quality indicators of home-visiting practices and family engagement, the Home Visit Rating Scales (HOVRS). HOVRS scores, showing good interrater agreement and internal consistency, were significantly associated with parent- and staff-reported positive characteristics of home visiting as well as with parenting and child language outcomes tested at program exit. When home-visiting processes were higher quality during the program, home visit content was more focused on child development, families were more involved in the overall program, and most important, scores on measures of the parenting environment and children's vocabulary were higher at the end of the program. Results showed that home visit quality was indirectly associated with child language outcomes through parenting outcomes. Observation ratings of home visit quality could be useful for guiding program improvement, supporting professional development, and increasing our understanding of the links between home-visiting processes and outcomes. (author abstract)

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Immigrant and refugee mothers' experiences of the transition into childcare: A case study
De Gioia, Katey, October, 2015
European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 23(5), 662-672

With increasing numbers of families arriving in Australia for humanitarian reasons or through migration, childcare centres may often be the first point of contact with dominant cultural practices for these families. This period of transition into childcare can be a fraught with anxiety. This article reports on findings from a case study conducted in a childcare centre in South Western Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. A small group of mothers and educators participated in interviews to discuss their experiences during transition into the centre. Findings show supports and challenges faced by immigrant and refugee families during this transition time and identify processes educators can employ to ease this transition. (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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