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 much do families in each state pay for child care during the summer?

Families can expect to pay 20 percent of income on summer child care
Novoa, Cristina, 06/11/2018
Washington, DC: Center for American Progress. Retrieved from https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/early-childhood/news/2018/06/11/451700/families-can-expect-pay-20-percent-income-summer-child-care/

This document discusses summer child care and its cost and affordability. It also presents the cost and affordability of summer care for families in each state (Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming) and Washington, DC, based on the Afterschool Alliance's America After 3PM survey data. For additional 50-state resources check out our 50-State Data Tools and Resources page

How does the dietary quality of lunches and feeding practices in Connecticut child care centers vary by Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) participation?

Predictors of nutrition quality in early child education settings in Connecticut
Andreyeva, Tatiana, 05/01/2018

Objective: This study assessed the dietary quality of lunches and feeding practices (family-style service, teacher role modeling) in Connecticut child care centers and made comparisons by center participation in the federal Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). Design: Plate waste methods and visual observation of lunches served and consumed. Setting: A total of 97 randomly selected licensed Connecticut child care centers (53 CACFP and 44 non-CACFP). Participants: A total of 838 preschool-aged children. Main Outcome Measures: Total energy intake, macronutrient intake, and intake by CACFP meal component as well as use of family-style dining, management of additional helpings, and whether and what teachers consumed in view of children. Analysis: Child dietary intake at lunch was compared with dietary and CACFP recommendations using a mixed linear regression model. Results: The CACFP centers were more likely to offer family-style service and have staff eat the same foods as the children. Children in non-CACFP centers consumed more saturated fat (4.1 vs 2.7 g; P < .001) and trans fats (0.1 vs 0.1 g; P = .02) and less milk (3.5 vs 2.7 oz; P < .001) than did children in CACFP centers. Caloric intake and dietary fiber were below recommendations in both groups. Participation in CACFP was a significant predictor of low-fat milk consumption. Conclusions and Implications: The CACFP-participating centers confer some nutritional advantages in terms of provider behavior during meals, characteristics of food offerings, and child intake. Current feeding practices in child care settings require further exploration in the context of serving children at risk for food insecurity and in light of recent work on responsive feeding. (author abstract) For related resources check out our resource list on supporting nutrition in early care and education settings through CACFP

How is Georgia using information on basic health and safety practices among licensed and license-exempt child care programs?

Basic health and safety practices in Georgia's license-exempt child care programs
Maxwell, Kelly, 01/01/2018
Bethesda, MD: Child Trends. Retrieved from http://decal.ga.gov/documents/attachments/GAExemptionVisitProjectReport.pdf

The reauthorization of the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) includes a requirement for states to monitor the basic health and safety practices of legally operating, license-exempt programs that receive child care subsidy funds. Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL) initiated the Exemption Visit Project (EVP) to collect data about basic health and safety practices from a sample of license-exempt child care programs and examine how they compared to practices in licensed child care programs. DECAL wanted the information to support its development of monitoring tools and processes for license-exempt programs that receive child care subsidies and to inform its support of nonsubsidized license-exempt programs across the state. (author abstract)

How does parent satisfaction with their child care arrangements relate to perceived and observed program quality?

Are parents' ratings and satisfaction with preschools related to program features?
Bassok, Daphna, 01/01/2018

This study examines whether parents' overall satisfaction with their child's early childhood education (ECE) program is correlated with a broad set of program characteristics, including (a) observational assessments of teacher-child interactions; (b) structural features of the program, such as teacher education and class size; (c) practical and convenience factors (e.g., hours, cost); and (d) a measure of average classroom learning gains. It then describes associations between parents' evaluation of specific program characteristics and externally collected measures of those features. Leveraging rich data from a sample of low-income parents whose 4-year-olds attend publicly funded ECE programs, we find little correspondence between parents' evaluations of program characteristics and any external measures of those same characteristics. We discuss policy implications, especially in light of recent federal and state informational initiatives, which aim to help families make informed ECE choices. (author abstract)

How does the relationship between parent work schedules and child care arrangements differ between low-income single-mother and two-partner households?

Parental work schedules and child-care arrangements in low-income families
Hepburn, Peter, 01/01/2018

Objective: This study analyzes the relationships between parental working schedules and several aspects of child-care arrangements for young children in low-income single-mother and two-partner households. Background: Children whose parents work nonstandard schedules may hold child-care arrangements that are less stimulating or developmentally productive than their peers whose parents work standard schedules. This study builds on previous research by expanding the set of outcomes under analysis, accounting for coscheduling in two-partner households, revising traditional shift definitions, and using recent, nationally representative data. Method: The 2012 National Survey of Early Care and Education is used to develop work schedule typologies. Regression methods are employed to evaluate the relationships between these schedules and the use of center-based, home-based, and relative care; continuity of care; and complexity of care (a new measure introduced as an alternative to care multiplicity). Results: Nonstandard schedules are associated with increased child-care complexity and decreased continuity and the types of care that children receive in single-mother households but less so in two-partner households. In two-partner households the largest effects are in households in which both partners work standard schedules; children in these households receive more nonparental care and are in more complex child-care arrangements. Conclusion: Findings point to the cumulative disadvantage accruing to the children of single mothers, especially those working nontraditional shifts. Implications: Labor market inequalities yield consequences for children's development and intergenerational stratification. (author abstract) For resources on child care during nonstandard work hours check out our resource list

Can practice-based coaching support Early Head Start teachers' use of language facilitation strategies?

Using practice-based coaching to increase use of language facilitation strategies in Early Head Start and community partners
Donegan-Ritter, Mary, 07/01/2018

This article describes how practice-based coaching was used with Early Head Start infant and toddler teachers to support their use of evidence-based language facilitation strategies. Video-based self-reflection and focused feedback allowed teachers to recognize what they were already doing well and increased the fidelity of evidence-based practices. Observational data show changes that took place over the course of the 3 monthly coaching cycles and 6-month follow-up. Teachers increased their use of encouraging back-and-forth exchanges and parallel talk to varying extents. Goal setting was associated with infant-toddler teachers increasing their use of specific strategies. Coach use of nonjudgmental "I notice" statements contributed to a safe and supportive experience. In this pilot study, infant-toddler teachers benefitted from video-based self-reflection and coaching to transfer the use of language facilitation strategies. Focusing on teacher strengths and creating opportunities for skill development through goal setting, individualized support and performance-based feedback facilitated the use of language facilitation strategies in infant-toddler care settings. (author abstract) For additional resources checkout out our resource list on off-site coaching

What does the research literature tell us about scale-up efforts in early childhood education?

Successfully taking preschool to scale: Implications of research for policy and practice [Special topic]
Bassok, Daphna, 01/01/2018

A special topical collection in the journal AERA Open, focusing on the existing research literature related to scale-up efforts in early childhood education

How are fathers' and mothers' language acculturation and parenting practices related to Mexican-American preschool children's academic readiness?

Fathers' and mothers' language acculturation and parenting practices: Links to Mexican American children's academic readiness
Baker, Claire E., 03/01/2018

This study used a family-centered ecological lens to examine predictive relations among fathers' and mothers' language acculturation, parenting practices, and academic readiness in a large sample of Mexican American children in preschool (N = 880). In line with prior early childhood research, parent language acculturation was operationalized as fathers' and mothers' English proficiency and primary language used in the home. Parenting was operationalized as fathers' and mothers' participation in home learning stimulation (e.g. shared book reading). Analyses showed that, after controlling for demographics, fathers' and mothers' primary language in the home predicted children's reading achievement and fathers' and mothers' English proficiency predicted children's math achievement. Furthermore, maternal home learning stimulation made a unique contribution to children's reading achievement after the influence of parent language acculturation was accounted for, underscoring the importance of home learning stimulation for strengthening Mexican American children's reading skills prior to school entry. (author abstract)

What measures are available to assess the executive function and other regulation-related skills of young children?

Executive Function Mapping Project measures compendium: A resource for selecting measures related to executive function and other regulation-related skills in early childhood
Bailey, Rebecca, 05/01/2018
(OPRE Report No. 2018-59). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/e_mapping_measures_full_document_pjg_508_bluelinksfinal.PDF

The purpose of this Compendium is to provide information about the range of measures available to assess executive function (EF) and other regulation-related skills. The field of EF and other regulation-related research is broad, rapidly-growing, and encompasses many related but distinct skills and competencies (Jones, Bailey, Barnes, & Partee, 2016). The resources provided in this Compendium are designed to help researchers, program staff, child development specialists, and other professionals working in assessment and evaluation identify the measures that are most appropriate for the age, setting, and specific objectives of their work. The EF Mapping Project Measures Compendium aims to do three concrete things: first, align specific EF and regulation-related skills with the measures used to assess them; second, conduct an analysis of similarities and differences across 44 commonly-used measures; and third, compile information about the relevant psychometric properties of each measure. While the focus of this resource is ages 3-6 years old, the Compendium includes measures that span birth to adulthood, to highlight how assessments differ across the life span. The EF Mapping Project Measures Compendium is not a comprehensive or exhaustive list of all measures that assess EF and other regulation-related skills. The Compendium is designed to be illustrative of the types and range of measures that are commonly used, in order to demonstrate and clarify the various approaches to assessing this broad domain. (author abstract)

What are the associations among maternal employment, child care supply and demand, and the child care arrangements of diverse groups?

Maternal employment, community contexts, and the child-care arrangements of diverse groups
Ackert, Elizabeth S., 01/01/2018

Integrating family and child data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort with contextual data from the census, this study examined associations among maternal employment, aspects of communities related to child-care supply and demand, and the early care and education arrangements of 4 year olds in Mexican-origin, Black, and White families. Children with employed mothers were more likely to be in informal care arrangements than in early childhood education, regardless of racial/ethnic background. For children in Mexican-origin families, selection into informal care over early childhood education was more likely in zip codes with greater demand for care as measured by higher female employment. Utilization of parent care versus early childhood education was also more likely for children in Mexican-origin and Black families in zip codes with higher female employment. Constraints associated with maternal employment thus hindered children from enrolling in early childhood education, and community contexts posed challenges for some groups. (author abstract)

How do wages differ for child care workers in for-profit and nonprofit centers?

The overpaid and underpaid: A comparison of labor costs in nonprofit and for-profit service organizations
Zhao, Jianzhi, 01/01/2018

The comparison between nonprofit and for-profit organizations has been a lingering question for scholars and practitioners. This research explores employee wage differentials across sectors using a national sample of child care workforce. After controlling for a range of individual, occupational, organizational, and community factors, this research reports a significant wage premium for nonprofit child care teachers. In addition, this study finds evidence for both the labor donation and property rights hypotheses, but the property rights theory demonstrates comparatively stronger explanatory power. Although individuals with stronger intrinsic motivation are more willing to donate labor for charitable outputs, inefficient management in nonprofits actually sets wage levels over the market level. Overall, the study highlights nonprofits' comparative advantage in employee motivation but disadvantage in efficient management. The findings have implications for public and nonprofit management. (author abstract)

What does the research literature tell us about career pathways in early care and education?

Career pathways in early care and education
Cheng, I-Fang, 02/01/2018
Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Labor, Chief Evaluation Office. Retrieved from https://www.dol.gov/asp/evaluation/completed-studies/Career-Pathways-Design-Study/4-Career-Pathways-in-Early-Care-and-Education-Report.pdf

In this report, we describe our findings from research and discussion with experts on (1) the extent to which ECE career pathways approaches exist currently and the nature of career trajectories within the ECE labor market, (2) barriers to ECE workforce advancement that may inhibit development of career pathways approaches, and (3) promising practices intended to promote ECE workforce advancement (these include strategies to better delineate ECE career trajectories in the labor market as well as a few career pathways program- or system-level initiatives). While our analysis does summarize relevant literature, we did not conduct an exhaustive or formal literature review (i.e. with critiques of existing studies' designs, methodologies, data sources, etc.). We conclude with a section on possible research directions to help the fields of workforce development and evaluation, early care and education, and other stakeholders to better understand the potential for career pathways approaches to promote career advancement for low-wage ECE professionals. (author abstract) For additional resources check out Research Connections' resource list on career pathways

How did kindergarten teachers' beliefs about school readiness change from 2000 to 2013?

While kindergarten has changed, some beliefs stay the same: Kindergarten teachers' beliefs about readiness
Hustedt, Jason T., 01/01/2018

Kindergarten has become increasingly academically oriented, and U.S. kindergarten teachers are increasingly called upon to implement policies that require assessment and promote accountability. However, little recent research has focused on kindergarten teachers' beliefs about kindergarten readiness. The authors examined teachers' beliefs related to what entering kindergartners should be able to do, and beliefs about using assessment data, based on results from statewide surveys of Delaware kindergarten teachers conducted in 2000 (N = 171), in 2011 (N = 185), and again in 2013 (N = 257). Chi-squared tests were employed to investigate potential changes in teacher beliefs over time. Results show that kindergarten teachers increasingly prioritize assessment information across all broad domains of development at kindergarten entry. However, when ranking specific readiness skills, they continue to believe that nonacademic skills are most important. These findings suggest that though policies promote an academic emphasis in kindergarten, teachers, as policy enactors, take a more nuanced view and continue to recognize nonacademic skills as a key component of kindergarten readiness. This has potential implications for early care and education programming, teacher preparation programs, and teachers' practices in kindergarten classrooms. (author abstract)

What is the relationship between children's development of approaches to learning and their gains in science knowledge?

Approaches to learning and science education in Head Start: Examining bidirectionality
Bustamante, Andres S., 07/01/2018

Recent national focus on early childhood science education highlights the need for research on early science, particularly with children from low-income families, as science is the lowest performing school readiness domain in that population. Given this achievement gap, the Office of Head Start has emphasized the development of children's domain-general skills, such as approaches to learning, because they help children succeed in the classroom regardless of academic content area. Recent research suggests a unique relationship between early science and approaches to learning, in that approaches to learning predicts gains in science readiness more so than math or language readiness. This study further explored this relationship by examining the potential bidirectionality between science and approaches to learning. Results obtained from hierarchical linear modeling suggest a significant bidirectional relationship, such that residualized change approaches to learning across the school year predicted gains in science across the year, and residualized change in science across the year predicted gains in approaches to learning across the year. These results suggest that development of children's approaches to learning relates to gains science knowledge, and that gains in children's science knowledge relates to the positive development of approaches to learning across the school year. This study provides support for future research examining the potential of science interventions to serve as a context for developing approaches to learning skills that will in turn help children engage in quality science learning. Such research would leverage the bidirectional relationships between these two constructs and could be a step in the national attempt to narrow the science and school readiness achievement gaps. (author abstract) For additional resources check out Research Connections' resource list on science in early care and education

What are the classroom language environments of low-income dual language learner preschoolers?

Variations in classroom language environments of preschool children who are low income and linguistically diverse
Sawyer, Brook E., 04/01/2018

This study aimed to (a) provide an in-depth description of the frequency and type of language interactions that children who are low income and/or dual language learners (DLLs) experience in their classrooms and (b) examine whether differences exist in children's language experiences based on children's DLL status and level of English proficiency. Using the Language Interaction Snapshot, we observed 4 focal children in each of 72 early childhood classrooms: 1 monolingual English-speaking child (i.e., non-DLL), 1 Spanish-dominant DLL child, and 2 bilingual Spanish-English DLL children. Findings indicated that both lead and assistant teachers predominantly spoke in English and implemented few evidence-based language practices. Children spoke more often to peers than to teachers. Little variation was noted in the quality of the language environment for children based on their DLL status or language proficiency. Practice or Policy: Results suggest clear directions for professional development (PD). PD must include both lead and assistant teachers and should focus on evidence-based language strategies for facilitating children's language development, including how to effectively teach DLLs. Teachers may also benefit from PD that supports the use of small-group activity and peer strategies. (author abstract)

What were early educators' experiences in a new graduate program focused on leadership development?

Redefining leadership: Lessons from an early education leadership development initiative
Douglass, Anne, 07/01/2018

This study examined how experienced early educators developed as change agents in the context of a leadership development program. Unlike in many other professions, experienced early educators lack opportunities to grow throughout their careers and access the supports they need to lead change in their classrooms, organizations, the profession, and beyond. This qualitative study brings a relational and entrepreneurial leadership theory lens to its analysis of the experiences of 43 early educators as they co-created pathways forward as leaders for change. The study defines leadership as a process of influencing change to improve early care and education, and not reserved just for those with a formal leadership position. Results show how educators came to see themselves as leaders and pursued different paths to making change and driving improvement. The study offers a new conceptual mapping of a leadership development ecosystem for supporting educators' capacity to identify as leaders as well as lead improvement and innovation. The paper concludes with lessons learned and recommendations for strengthening the leadership infrastructure to support early educator leadership for change and innovation. (author abstract) For additional resources check out Research Connections' resource list on leadership development for center-based child care and early education program directors

How does implementation fidelity in the Getting Ready for School intervention relate to teacher characteristics, classroom quality, and children's school readiness outcomes?

Intervention fidelity of Getting Ready for School: Associations with classroom and teacher characteristics and preschooler's school readiness skills
Marti, Maria, 07/01/2018

Getting Ready for School (GRS) is a new school readiness intervention for teachers and parents, designed to help children develop early literacy, math, and self-regulation skills. GRS was implemented in 19 Head Start classrooms. In the present study we examined variability in different aspects of intervention fidelity including dosage, adherence, and child engagement. In addition, we studied the association among classroom, teacher and student characteristics and fidelity, and whether measures of fidelity were associated with children's growth in math, early literacy, and self-regulation skills across the preschool year. Findings indicate that on average teachers reported completing almost 80% of the activities assigned, and that they were observed to adhere fairly well to the lessons. Child engagement was observed to be moderate to high across classrooms. Classroom quality, as measured by the CLASS, and age of children were positively associated with adherence. Teachers that had participated in GRS for two years were more likely to complete more activities. Different components of fidelity were associated with child outcomes. Percentage completion of math and literacy activities were positively associated with growth in math and literacy skills. Children in classrooms in which teachers adhered more faithfully to the curriculum made significantly greater gains in literacy, math, and self-regulation skills. Child engagement was positively associated with a measure of executive function. Results highlight the importance of examining implementation fidelity. Implications for preschool teachers are discussed. (author abstract)

What are the impacts of the Nemours BrightStart! early literacy program on the skills of prekindergarten children at-risk for reading failure?

Efficacy of the Nemours BrightStart! early literacy program: Treatment outcomes from a randomized trial with at-risk prekindergartners
Zettler-Greeley, Cynthia, 08/01/2018

Research Findings: This study reports outcomes from a randomized, controlled trial of an emergent literacy intervention for prekindergarten children at-risk for reading failure. Children (N = 2219) in 114 preschools and childcare centers were screened for eligibility in fall. Children who scored at-risk (n = 476) were randomized to fall or spring treatment and received nine weeks of explicit, multisensory, emergent literacy instruction in small groups provided by early literacy interventionists. Trained observers noted high implementation fidelity. Pre-reading skills were assessed before and after intervention for both treatment groups. The spring intervention group served as at-risk controls for children who completed fall intervention. Three-level, linear growth models (time-student-school) were used to estimate treatment effects, found for print awareness, elision, rhyming, and the screener (print and letter knowledge, phonological awareness), replicating previous findings for the screener, rhyming, and print knowledge, and extending them to elision. Significantly accelerated growth in print knowledge, elision, rhyming, and the screener was observed during intervention. Practice or Policy: Results demonstrate benefits of high-quality emergent literacy instruction for children at risk. Growth in skills for both fall and spring treatment groups following this 18-lesson program supports some implementation flexibility among interventionists with delivery constraints during the year. (author abstract)

Why and how do low-income Hispanic families search for early care and education?

Why and how do low-income Hispanic families search for early care and education (ECE)?
Mendez, Julia L., 05/01/2018
(Publication No. 2018-15). Bethesda, MD: National Research Center on Hispanic Children & Families. Retrieved from http://www.hispanicresearchcenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Hispanics-Center-parental-search-brief-5.16-V2.pdf

Because the Hispanic population is growing rapidly and often faces considerable economic need--and because ECE can play an important role in reducing racial/ethnic disparities in early learning and later school outcomes--it is important for the research and policy community to better understand how and why low-income Hispanic parents search for ECE. This study takes a closer look at low-income Hispanic parents' reported reasons for conducting a search for an ECE provider or program for their young children. This brief uses data from the 2012 National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE) to describe why low-income Hispanic parents with young children (birth to age 5) report searching for child care; comparison data for low-income non-Hispanic black and white parents are also reported. Prior research involving low-income families from various racial/ethnic backgrounds showed that parents report a variety of reasons for their ECE searches. There are also several important barriers to low-income families' use of care, including lack of availability, low affordability, and poor alignment with parents' work schedules. Understanding similar or shared concerns about ECE across U.S. racial and ethnic groups--along with differences across these groups--can guide outreach by programs and inform policy adjustments that might better serve diverse groups. (author abstract)

What does the research literature say about the effects of in-service professional development on quality ratings and child developmental outcomes?

Impact of in-service professional development programs for early childhood teachers on quality ratings and child outcomes: A meta-analysis
Egert, Franziska, 06/01/2018

High pedagogical quality in early childhood education and care (ECEC) is related to developmental outcomes in young children. This review summarizes findings from (quasi)-experimental studies that evaluated in-service training effects for ECEC professionals on external quality ratings and child development. The aggregation of findings at teacher level (including 36 studies with 2,891 teachers) revealed a medium in-service training effect on process quality (effect size [ES] = 0.68, SE = 0.07, p < .001). Furthermore, a subset of nine studies (including 486 teachers and 4,504 children) that provided data on both quality ratings and child development were analyzed, and they showed a small effect at child level (ES = 0.14; SE = 0.02, p < .001) and a medium effect at the corresponding classroom level (ES = 0.45, SE = 0.11, p < .001). Variance in effect sizes at child level was significantly related to in-service effects on quality ratings (53% explained variance). The results show that quality improvement is a key mechanism to accelerate the development of young children. (author abstract)

What is the relationship between teacher-child relationship quality and classroom learning behaviors of children with developmental language disorders?

Teacher-child relationships and classroom-learning behaviours of children with developmental language disorders
Rhoad-Drogalis, Anna, 03/01/2018

Background: Children with developmental language disorders (DLDs) often struggle with classroom behaviour. No study has examined whether positive teacher-child relationships may act as a protective factor for children with DLDs in that these serve to enhance children's important classroom-learning behaviours. Aims: To examine the association between the quality of teacher-child relationships and teacher-rated classroom-learning behaviours of children with DLDs in both preschool and kindergarten. Methods & Procedures: Longitudinal data were collected on 191 preschoolers (mean = 42.4 months of age, SD = 11.6 months) with DLDs in special education classrooms during preschool and in kindergarten. Teacher-child relationship quality was assessed in preschool, and children's classroom-learning behaviours were measured in preschool and kindergarten. Regression models were used to examine the relationship between teacher-child relationship quality and children's concurrent and future classroom-learning behaviours. Outcomes & Results: Positive teacher-child relationship quality in preschool was associated with better classroom-learning behaviours in preschool and kindergarten for children with DLDs. Preschool teacher-child relationship quality characterized by low levels of conflict and high levels of closeness was associated with positive classroom-learning behaviours during preschool. Teacher-child conflict but not closeness was predictive of children's classroom-learning behaviours in kindergarten. Conclusions & Implications: These results suggest that the quality of the teacher-child relationship for children with DLDs during preschool is associated within their learning-related behaviours in the classroom both concurrently and in the subsequent year. Findings suggest that teacher-child relationships should be explored as a mechanism for improving the learning-related behaviours of children with DLDs. (author abstract)

How do experiences of prekindergarten-kindergarten alignment vary among Head Start children?

Alignment of learning experiences from prekindergarten to kindergarten: Exploring group classifications using cluster analysis
Franko, Meg, 01/01/2018

This study explored children's experiences of instructional alignment from prekindergarten through kindergarten. Using cluster analysis to analyze data from over 1300 children in the 2009 Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey, the study found that children have distinct and definable experiences of prekindergarten-kindergarten alignment, with Hispanic/Latino children more likely to attend Head Start programs with poor support for prekindergarten-kindergarten transitions and poor kindergarten classroom structures, and most children experiencing a decline in developmentally appropriate practices between prekindergarten and kindergarten. (author abstract)

How do children's experiences in the summer after kindergarten vary by socioeconomic status?

The summer after kindergarten: Children's experiences by socioeconomic characteristics
Redford, Jeremy, 05/01/2018
(NCES 2018-160). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved from https://nces.ed.gov/pubs2018/2018160.pdf

This Statistics in Brief investigates some factors that may contribute to achievement gaps in the summer after kindergarten, including differences in children's experiences, such as participation in summer care arrangements, programs, and activities. Specifically, the brief describes students' summer nonparental care arrangements, program attendance (e.g., at summer camps or summer school), participation in activities with family members in a typical week, and places visited with family members. Participation in summer activities is compared by two socioeconomic characteristics--household poverty status and parents' highest level of education--utilizing data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010-11 (ECLS-K:2011). (author abstract). For additional information check out our resource list on community-based summer learning programs for school-age children

How has the supply, sponsorship, and funding structure of publicly-funded child care centers changed from 1990 to 2012?

The changing landscape of publicly-funded center-based child care: 1990 and 2012
Phillips, Deborah A., 01/01/2018

Low-income families' ability to sustain employment while ensuring the care and safety of their young children is profoundly affected by federal policies regarding access to subsidies and programs, such as Head Start. The current structure of these policies evolved during the decades following the 1990 enactment of the Child Care and Development Block Grant -- a period that also witnessed expansion of the Head Start program and growth of state pre-K programs. Using data from two nationally representative surveys of child care providers conducted in 1990 and 2012, this paper examines trends in the supply, sponsorship, and funding structure of publicly-funded child care centers during this period of active policymaking in early care and education. These changes include major expansion in the number and share of child care centers receiving public funds, as well as in the number of children enrolled in these centers; relatively more rapid growth among for-profit vs. non-profit centers in the publicly-funded sector, but consistency in that the major share of publicly-funded centers remained non-profit; and substantial growth in publicly-funded centers receiving vouchers as a primary funding mechanism. These trends carry the potential to enhance the reach of quality improvement efforts tagged to public funds and may have increased low-income families' choice of centers with differing hours, in a range of locations, that serve a wider age range of children, as well as children supported with differing funding sources. Whether the growing supply of publicly-funded centers has actually kept pace with demand, let alone enhanced access of low-income families to care that supports their children's development, are critical, next-stage questions to address. (author abstract)

What are recent trends in child care supply, demand, and gaps in Philadelphia?

Estimating changes in the supply of and demand for child care in Philadelphia
Reinvestment Fund, 01/01/2018
Philadelphia, PA: Reinvestment Fund. Retrieved from https://www.reinvestment.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Reinvestment-Fund_ChildcareAnalysis2017_Final_web.pdf

This report presents the results of descriptive and spatial analyses of the child care landscape in Philadelphia in 2017. It details both short- and long-term changes in the supply of, demand for, and gaps in care; the year-to-year changes from 2016 to 2017, as well as shifts since the first analyses were conducted in 2014. It is important to note that various factors could contribute to the observed changes. For example, demographic shifts can affect demand, operation cost can affect supply, and new policy initiatives and investments can directly impact gaps. To this last point, this analysis also presents the location of strategic investments made in facilities in high-gap areas through the Fund for Quality (FFQ). Subsequent updates to the childcare analysis will be conducted to assess the impact of FFQ investments on gaps between supply and demand for child care in the years ahead. (author abstract) To explore further check out the related online interactive mapping tool for Philadelphia

How do prekindergarten coaches, teachers, and administrators feel about coaching dosage and activities?

Coaching quality in pre-kindergarten classrooms: Perspectives from a statewide study
McLeod, Jennifer Ragan Henderson, 01/01/2018

Forty-nine coaches, 947 teachers, and 189 administrators in a state-wide prekindergarten program responded to survey questions about coaching dosage and activities. The survey responses were aligned with the Coaching Quality Framework, an organization of characteristics of quality coaching proposed by the authors, and analyzed to identify similarities and differences in stakeholders' perspectives of coaching. The vast majority of coaches, teachers, and administrators surveyed agreed that coaching was an effective professional development strategy for supporting teachers' use of evidence-based practices. Coaches and teachers responded similarly to questions of dosage and many of the coaching quality indicators. Coaches and teachers disagreed on some aspects of the coaching activities, particularly planning for coaching, that may affect the perceptions and effectiveness of coaching. Qualitative analyses of coach and teacher responses reveal programmatic planning components that support or impede coaching. These results have implications for how coaches, teachers, and administrators prepare for large-scale coaching. (author abstract)

How do early home and education settings influence school readiness outcomes for children with Hispanic immigrant parents?

School readiness among children of Hispanic immigrants and their peers: The role of parental cognitive stimulation and early care and education
Padilla, Christina M., 01/01/2018

The present study estimated the independent and joint influence of early home and education contexts on three school readiness outcomes for children with Hispanic immigrant parents. These associations were compared to those for children whose parents differed by ethnicity and immigration status -- children of non-Hispanic immigrants and children of Hispanic native-born parents -- to determine if associations were distinct for children of Hispanic immigrants. Data were drawn from the nationally representative Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010-2011 (ECLS-K: 2011) (N [is approximately equal to] 3480). Outcome measures at kindergarten entry included direct assessments of math and reading skills, as well as teacher reports of approaches to learning (ATL). Results indicated that parental provision of cognitive stimulation and center-based ECE both predicted outcomes among children of Hispanic immigrants and their peers, with some variation in patterns by developmental domain and subgroup. Specifically, participation in center-based care predicted math and reading scores for children of Hispanic immigrant and Hispanic native-born parents, but not children of non-Hispanic immigrants. Furthermore, center-based care participation predicted ATL scores more strongly for children of Hispanic immigrants than their peers. Some trend-level evidence of moderation of early home and education environments emerged, again with patterns varying by outcome and subgroup. Findings highlight the importance of policies that seek to enhance both the home and ECE environments for young children with Hispanic immigrant parents and their peers. (author abstract)

What is the validity of the Preschool Self-Regulation Assessment -- Assessor Report (PSRA-AR), a measure of children's self-regulation?

Preschool and kindergarten in Hungary and the United States: A comparison within transnational development policy
Jozsa, Krisztian, 09/01/2018

The aim of this paper is to compare early childhood education (ECE) in Hungary and in the United States within the context of transnational development policy, where ECE initiatives have gained momentum and priority globally. Developmental trends aligned with the conceptual framework of ECE from a global perspective are included. A description of the main characteristics of the two countries' approaches to kindergarten and preschool are presented. Approaches to assessing school readiness, initiatives to support students from disadvantaged backgrounds, and lessons learned are included. Identification of differences in priorities between countries, which have varied cultural contexts, informs the ECE community. (author abstract)

What are the factor structure and utility of a measure of preschool children's executive function?

Factor structure and utility of the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function--Preschool Version
Spiegel, Jamie A., 02/01/2017

Executive function (EF) is a domain general cognitive construct associated with a number of important developmental outcomes. The Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function--Preschool version (BRIEF-P) is intended to assess 5 distinct components of EF in preschool age children. In this study, a series of factor analyses was conducted with teacher-reported EF of 2,367 preschool students to assess the structure of the BRIEF-P, and the predictive relations between the resulting factors and children's academic abilities and behavioral self-regulation were assessed to test the construct and convergent validity of the BRIEF-P scores. Results yielded mixed findings concerning the structure of the BRIEF-P and validity of its resultant scores. Results of the factor analyses indicated that the items of the BRIEF-P did not map onto factors in the way that would be expected based on its item-to-subscale mapping. The best solutions were a 4-factor and a bifactor model. The 4-factor solution revealed substantial correlations between factors, and although the bifactor solution identified a General Self-Regulation factor that explained variance in responses across items, this general factor did not account for all of the overlap among specific factors. Analyses of the relations for the factors from the correlated-factors and the bifactor models indicated that the majority of the factors had limited convergent validity with academic ability or with a measure of behavior self-regulation. Overall, these findings call into question the validity of aspects of BRIEF-P. (author abstract)

How do instructional practices vary across home-based child care providers and how do they relate to provider, program, and community characteristics?

Predictors of instructional practices among a nationally representative sample of home-based child care providers
Hooper, Alison, 01/01/2018

Background Home-based child care is a widely-used form of child care. However, given its prevalence, there is little research examining the providers’ instructional practices and how these may vary by provider characteristics. Objective The goal of this study is to describe variation in instructional practices among home-based child care providers and to examine predictors of instructional practices, including provider, program, and community characteristics. Methods This study examines the instructional practices of listed and unlisted paid home-based child care providers using data from the National Survey of Early Care and Education through descriptive analyses and hierarchical multiple regression. Results Descriptive analyses suggest that providers across types report implementing learning activities, although this is more prevalent among listed providers. Results of a hierarchical multiple regression reveal that recent professional engagement predicts a higher frequency of planned learning activities for listed and unlisted paid providers, although the significant predictors are different for the two groups of providers. Conclusions Home-based child care providers vary by provider type in the frequency of their instructional practices. Increasing access to professional development and social support opportunities may be an important strategy for supporting their implementation of educational activities with the children they serve. Additionally, different supports may be beneficial for listed and unlisted paid providers. (author abstract)

What are the characteristics of early childhood leadership degree programs in the United States?

Early childhood leadership degree programs: An emergent academic discipline
National-Louis University. McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership, 03/01/2018
Wheeling, IL: National-Louis University, McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership. Retrieved from https://mccormick-assets.floodlight.design/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/ResearchNote_April2018.pdf

This study provides an overview of early childhood leadership degree programs in the United States based on a scan of the National Association for the Education of Young Children's Early Childhood Higher Education (ECHE) Directory. Methods, findings, and a discussion are included. For additional information check out our resource list on leadership development for center-based child care and early education program directors.

What is the relationship among global quality, literacy quality, and quality rating and improvement system (QRIS) ratings in family child care programs?

A descriptive study of the relationship between literacy quality and global quality in family child care programs engaged in quality rating and improvement systems
Buell, Martha J., 01/01/2018

Background Family Child Care (FCC) is an important sector of the early care and education system, and is included in most state-wide Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS). The sparse data on the literacy opportunities available in FCC are concerning from a QRIS perspective. Currently, there are no data on the relationship between global, and literacy specific measures of quality, and how these correspond to QRIS ratings in FCC settings. Objective To provide empirical, descriptive data on the language and literacy opportunities found in FCC programs participating in statewide QRIS, and to explore the relationship between measures of global quality, literacy quality and QRIS ratings. Method This is a descriptive, cross-sectional study based on 66 FCC programs participating in QRIS in two states. Observational data were collected via the FCC Environmental Rating Scale-Revised and the Child/Home Early Language and Literacy Observation and compared with state administrative data on QRIS Level. It was hypothesized that global quality, literacy quality and QRIS scores will be positively related. Results The global and domain-specific quality measures were positively correlated with each other, and both were positively correlated with QRIS rating. Conclusions While the relationship between global quality and literacy quality and QRIS ratings was expected, the level of quality of the literacy environment was modest. While FCC programs were equipped with books, other literacy features, in particular writing opportunities were lacking. Discussion and guidance regarding global and domain specific measurement and the ways these shape QRIS supports for FCC are offered. (author abstract)

How well does a new tool measure the teacher decision factors that lead to preschool expulsion?

Teacher decision factors that lead to preschool expulsion: Scale development and preliminary validation of the Preschool Expulsion Risk Measure
Gilliam, Walter S., 04/01/2018

Preschool expulsion is a trending social problem. To date, this is the first study that examines the teacher decision factors behind preschool expulsions. This article presents results of the development and validation of the Preschool Expulsion Risk Measure (PERM). In a 2-phase analysis of the study, we provide evidence for the PERM's reliability and validity in a sample of 352 preschoolers from 88 sites in a New England state. The PERM yielded 4 factors (classroom disruption, fear of accountability, hopelessness, and teacher stress) and demonstrated good internal consistency. The PERM correlated with standardized assessments of children's behavior problems and predicted intervention status (target child vs. random peer) and the probability of expulsion (child considered for expulsion vs. child never considered for expulsion). Classroom disruption predicted intervention status whereas accountability predicted consideration for expulsion. Results support the PERM as a viable tool for assessing the propensity to be expelled. Findings shed light into the decision factors that propel teachers to consider expulsion of a child, which can inform early education programs and policies to address this issue. (author abstract)

How do Latino children's home language and preschool experiences relate to their early elementary academic, behavioral, and social development?

Latino children's academic and behavioral trajectories in early elementary school: Examining home language differences within preschool types
Bachman, Heather J., 01/01/2018

The present study examined early academic, social, and behavioral trajectories from kindergarten to third grade for Latino children from English- or Spanish-speaking homes who experienced public pre-k, Head Start, private center care, or no preschool experience. Using a nationally representative sample of Latino children (N = 3650) from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten 2010-2011 cohort (ECLS-K:2011), associations of home language and preschool experience were examined for trajectories of reading and math achievement, social skills, and externalizing behavior problems. At kindergarten entry, Latino children from English-speaking households attained higher scores in reading and math than children from Spanish-speaking families across public pre-k, Head Start, and no preschool groups. However, these early home language differences greatly diminished by third grade. In contrast, for Latino children who attended private center-based care, home language comparisons were nonsignificant for early reading skills in the fall of kindergarten. By third grade, home language differences were evident among the Latino children who attended private centers, such that children from English-speaking homes scored significantly higher in reading than children from Spanish-speaking homes. Few home language differences were detected in social or behavioral skill ratings at fall of kindergarten or in trajectories within preschool types. Nonetheless, home language differences in externalizing problems grew by third grade among Latino children who had attended Head Start, such that children from English-speaking homes received higher behavior problem ratings from teachers than peers from Spanish-speaking homes. (author abstract)

How did a pediatric clinic-Head Start partnership increase Head Start eligibility screening, referrals and enrollment?

Medical home-Head Start partnership to promote early learning for low-income children
Grant, Abigail R., 01/01/2018

Objective. To improve Early Head Start/Head Start (EHS/HS) screening, referral, and enrollment for children from diverse, low-income communities. Method. Using existing resources, we built a pediatric clinic-Head Start partnership. Key steps included (1) screening protocol and tracking system, (2) a community partner as a single point of referral contact, (3) provider education, and (4) monthly outcome reporting. A pre- and post-cross-sectional study design was used to evaluate outcomes, with medical chart review conducted for all wellness visits among children aged 0 to 4 years pre- and postintervention. Results. The preintervention group included 223 patients. The postintervention group included 235 patients. EHS/HS screening improved significantly after the intervention, rising from 8% in the preintervention period to 46% in the postintervention period (odds ratio [OR] 10.5, 95% confidence interval [CI] [5.9, 19.4]). EHS/HS documented referral rates increased from 1% in the preintervention period to 20% in the postintervention period (OR 18.3, 95% CI [5.7, 93.6]). Thirty-two of the 42 patients in the postintervention group referred to EHS/HS were reached to determine enrollment status. Six children (14%) had enrolled in EHS/HS. Conclusion. With use of existing resources, a medical home-Head Start partnership can build an integrated system that significantly improves screening and referral rates to early learning programs. (author abstract)

How do child care subsidy recipients interpret their experiences of the child care subsidy system?

"They are underpaid and understaffed": How clients interpret encounters with street-level bureaucrats
Barnes, Carolyn Y., 04/01/2018

Scholars have explored the nature and consequences of administrative burden but less is known about how citizens interpret costly encounters with the state. This qualitative study of 85 child care subsidy recipients applies attribution theory from psychology to illustrate how clients develop causal explanations for administrative burden. The findings show that clients either blamed negative experiences on bureaucrats--viewing workers as in control of their behavior, or the bureaucracy--blaming factors related to the subsidy system. In rare instances, clients viewed the bureaucracy as intentionally discouraging claims. We observed some variation by race/ethnicity and study sites. Examining clients' causal explanations of administrative burden helps clarify how clients' interpretation of costly bureaucratic encounters influences future claims, their perceptions of the state, and their political participation. (author abstract)

How does the use of whole-child versus math- or literacy-focused curricula in children's preschool classrooms affect their school readiness skills?

Boosting school readiness: Should preschool teachers target skills or the whole child?
Jenkins, Jade Marcus, 01/01/2018

We use experimental data to estimate impacts on school readiness of different kinds of preschool curricula -- a largely neglected preschool input and measure of preschool quality. We find that the widely-used "whole-child" curricula found in most Head Start and pre-K classrooms produced higher classroom process quality than did locally-developed curricula, but failed to improve children's school readiness. A curriculum focused on building mathematics skills increased both classroom math activities and children's math achievement relative to the whole-child curricula. Similarly, curricula focused on literacy skills increased literacy achievement relative to whole-child curricula, despite failing to boost measured classroom process quality. (author abstract)

How do children's executive function skills, visual-motor integration, and mathematics achievement co-develop from prekindergarten to first grade?

Stability and instability in the co-development of mathematics, executive function skills, and visual-motor integration from prekindergarten to first grade
Nesbitt, Kimberly Turner, 01/01/2018

Correlational and short-term longitudinal studies both demonstrate significant associations between children's executive function skills and visual-motor integration and their mathematics achievement in early childhood. Our current understanding of the development of these skills in early childhood is limited, however, by a lack of clarity concerning whether the associations between them are causal in nature or could be explained by other unmeasured stable characteristics shared among the constructs. Using a latent state-trait approach, we examined the development of executive function skills, visual-motor integration, and children's mathematics achievement from the beginning of prekindergarten to the end of first grade (N = 1138). Findings of stability and instability in relative rankings in children's skills across four time points suggest that children's growth in mathematics skills is a product of both persistent unmeasured stable influences and time-specific effects of prior executive function skills and visual-motor integration. Specifically, visual-motor integration related to subsequent mathematics achievement and executive function skills in prekindergarten, and executive function and mathematics achievement were bidirectionally related through first grade, even when accounting for stability in each construct. These results suggest that future experimental research should consider executive function skills and visual-motor integration as well as specific mathematics skills as potential targets for early mathematics instruction. (author abstract)

How do children's repeating patterning and spatial skills predict later math knowledge?

The roles of patterning and spatial skills in early mathematics development
Rittle-Johnson, Bethany, 01/01/2018

Because math knowledge begins to develop at a young age to varying degrees, it is important to identify foundational cognitive and academic skills that might contribute to its development. The current study focused on two important, but often overlooked skills that recent evidence suggests are important contributors to early math development: patterning and spatial skills. We assessed preschool children's repeating patterning skills, spatial skills, general cognitive skills and math knowledge at the beginning of the pre-kindergarten year. We re-assessed their math knowledge near the end of the school year, with complete data for 73 children. Children's repeating patterning and spatial skills were related and were each unique predictors of children's math knowledge at the same time point and seven months later. Further, repeating patterning skills predicted later math knowledge even after controlling for prior math knowledge. Thus, although repeating patterning and spatial skills are related, repeating patterning skills are a unique predictor of math knowledge and growth. Both theories of early math development and early math standards should be expanded to incorporate a role for repeating patterning and spatial skills. (author abstract)

How does child care subsidy use vary for children with and without special needs?

Patterns and predictors of childcare subsidies for children with and without special needs
Sullivan, Amanda L., 05/01/2018

One goal of childcare subsidies is to increase access to quality childcare for families of low-income, thus supporting child and family wellbeing, but subsidies may not equally benefit children with and without special needs. This study examined patterns and predictors of subsidy use among children with disabilities or delays relative to children without special needs. A nationally representative sample of approximately 4050 young children from families of low-income was drawn from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort. We examined subsidized care receipt at ages nine months, two years, and four years using descriptive analyses and multivariate logistic regression. Results suggest young children with special needs utilize childcare subsidies at significantly lower rates than their peers without disabilities. Mothers' marital status, work status, education, and age, along with child's race and number of siblings were significant predictors of subsidy use. We discuss implications for policy implementation and multisector collaboration to support the early care and education of young children with special needs. (author abstract)

What is the prevalence of chronic absenteeism in prekindergarten and how does it relate to later academic outcomes?

Pre-kindergarten attendance matters: Early chronic absence patterns and relationships to learning outcomes
Ehrlich, Stacy, 07/01/2018

Consistent school attendance is a critical component of education. Although research suggests that high rates of absenteeism is a significant issue for many students, minimal evidence exists focusing on absences among the nation's youngest students -- those in pre-kindergarten. This study focused on students in a large, urban district and examined the prevalence of pre-kindergarten chronic absence for different student subgroups, its relationship to learning outcomes during pre-kindergarten, and its association with ongoing attendance patterns and learning outcomes through second grade. Results indicated that absence in pre-kindergarten was widespread, particularly among African American students and those who entered pre-kindergarten with the lowest skills. Chronically absent pre-kindergarten students--those who were absent 10% or more of their enrolled days--displayed lower levels of academic and behavioral kindergarten readiness and were more likely to be chronically absent in subsequent grades. By third grade, students chronically absent for multiple years exhibited the need for significant intervention to read at grade level. These findings suggest that providing supports to improve attendance in pre-kindergarten and early elementary years has the potential to reduce achievement gaps and redirect struggling students onto the pathway toward educational success. (author abstract) Check out our resource list on attendance rates and child outcomes for additional related resources.

How do program leadership and organizational functioning support quality in early care and education?

Defining and Measuring Early Care and Education Program Leadership
United States. Administration for Children and Families. Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, 10/01/2017
Unpublished manuscript

On October 12-13, 2017, the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE) in the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) of the US Department of Health and Human Services convened a meeting, Defining and Measuring Early Care and Education Program Leadership, in Washington, D.C. This meeting brought together experts from various sectors (academia, research firms, government, and technical assistance) to discuss the role of leadership and organizational functioning in supporting quality early care and education (ECE) services. We sought to advance the state of research on ECE leadership by building a dialogue with the K-12 education field and learning from K-12 research in this area. This document includes a brief overview of the key ideas that emerged during the one-and-one-half day discussion, followed by the attendee list, the agenda, and detailed meeting notes. Check out our resource list on leadership development for ECE program directors for additional related resources.

How do Latino families support their children's education at home and in Head Start?

Culturally embedded measurement of Latino caregivers' engagement in Head Start: A tale of two forms of engagement
McWayne, Christine M., 05/01/2018

Practice and Policy: The preschool years represent a critical time to foster family engagement in education for children growing up in poverty. Yet the ways in which Latino families with lower levels of income engage with their children's education at home and at school might look different from how middle-income parents from the dominant U.S. culture do, depending on cultural values and beliefs about best ways to support children's learning as well as on socioeconomic realities that present barriers for traditional forms of engagement. This study sought to examine further the psychometric functioning of a promising new measure of family engagement, developed with and for Latino Head Start families. Research Findings: Results of this study supported continued use of this measure, with clear caveats and directions for future research. Findings suggested that the ways Latino Head Start parents engage with children's learning and development at home (e.g., supporting children's social awareness and behavior, connection to cultural heritage, academic skills) might be a more culturally nuanced and salient form of engagement, while school-based engagement (e.g., volunteering at school, communicating with teachers) might be a more universal form. Findings contribute to understandings of Latino family engagement as well as to methodological considerations for culture-specific measurement development efforts, with relevance for early education researchers and professionals. (author abstract) Check out our resource list on supporting parent engagement in linguistically diverse families for additional related resources.

How much do parents spend on center-based early care and education?

What is the market price of daycare and preschool?
Whitehurst, Grover J., 04/19/2018
(Evidence Speaks Reports, Vol. 2, No. 48). Washington, DC: Brookings Institution, Center on Children and Families. Retrieved from https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/report.pdf

How much do parents spend on center-based daycare and preschool for their young children? In other words, what is the market price of these services? The answer is important for parents, government, policymakers, and providers. Using nationally representative data from the 2016 Early Childhood Program Participation Survey I calculate hourly and annualized prices for parents who purchase at least eight hours a week of center-based care for a child under five who does not have a disability and do so without outside financial help in paying the fees. The results are analyzed by age of child, region of country, parental education, parental income, and hours of attendance. (author abstract)

How can instructional strategies such as discussion and brainstorming support children's math performance?

Strategies to encourage mathematics learning in early childhood: Discussions and brainstorming promote stronger performance
Ryoo, Ji Hoon, 05/01/2018

This longitudinal study examined the influence of prekindergarten teacher characteristics and classroom instructional processes during mathematical activities on the growth of mathematics learning scores in prekindergarten, kindergarten, and first grade. Participants attended state-funded and Head Start prekindergarten programs. Mathematical performance was measured in fall and spring in prekindergarten and spring in kindergarten and first grade using the Test of Early Mathematics Ability–3 (TEMA-3; Ginsburg & Baroody, 2003). Two dimensions of the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS; i.e., instructional learning formats and concept development; Pianta, La Paro, & Hamre, 2008) were scored based on observed classroom mathematics activities. Teachers provided information about their education and years of prekindergarten teaching experience. Research Findings: Instructional processes that included elements of the CLASS concept development dimension, such as discussions and brainstorming to encourage children's understanding, were related to growth of mathematics scores. Neither teacher characteristics nor instructional processes of the CLASS instructional learning formats dimension, such as using different modalities and materials, and learning objectives, were related to growth of mathematics scores. Practice or Policy: The findings extend our understandings of how instructional processes impact children's early mathematical performance. These findings may be helpful in increasing our understanding of the types of instructional processes that might be emphasized in teacher professional development specifically related mathematical activities. Professional development that focuses on the CLASS concept development dimension may be easier for teachers to remember and implement in their classrooms and, consequently, have a greater impact on mathematics learning. (author abstract)

What are the experiences of Maine's early care and education teachers with children with challenging behaviors?

The voices of Maine's early care and education teachers: Children with challenging behavior in classrooms and home-based child care
Smith, Sheila, 03/01/2018
New York, NY: Columbia University, National Center for Children in Poverty. Retrieved from http://nccp.org/publications/pdf/text_1199.pdf

This report presents findings from a survey of Maine's early care and education (ECE) teachers and providers about their experiences related to young children with challenging behavior. These experiences included young children displaying different types of challenging behavior, children leaving the program due to challenging behavior, and teachers' and providers' efforts to address the needs of children experiencing behavior problems. The survey also asked teachers and providers about the resources they need to help them meet the needs of young children with challenging behavior and promote their positive social-emotional development. (author abstract)

How do state policies support dual language learners in publicly-funded prekindergarten programs?

Special report: Supporting dual language learners in state-funded preschool
Friedman-Krauss, Allison, 01/01/2018
New Brunswick, NJ: National Institute for Early Education Research. Retrieved from http://nieer.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/YB2017_DLL-Special-Report.pdf

The 2016-2017 State of Preschool survey included supplemental questions intended to shed light on state policies to support dual language learners (DLLs) in state-funded preschool. This is the second time a dual language supplement has been collected; the first was in 2014-2015. While many questions included in this second survey were asked two years ago, others were added, revised, or deleted to provide a clearer portrait of state preschool program policies that specifically relate to DLLs. (author abstract)

How does immigrant status affect the associations between families' use of center-based child care and neighborhood characteristics?

Neighborhood context and center-based child care use: Does immigrant status matter?
Shuey, Elizabeth, 07/01/2018

This study examined associations between individual families' use of center-based child care and neighborhood structure (concentrated poverty and concentrated affluence, as measured with Census data), processes, and resources (child-centered collective efficacy, presence of friends/kin, and availability of services for children, as measured in a survey of neighborhood residents). The potential moderating role of family immigrant status also was investigated. Data were obtained from the 3-year-old cohort of the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods (N = 999; 42% immigrant). Multilevel models accounting for background factors at the individual level revealed that greater neighborhood concentrated affluence was associated with families' higher likelihood of using center-based child care, whereas greater neighborhood child-centered collective efficacy was associated with their lower likelihood of using this type of care. In addition, among immigrant families only, as the size of neighborhood friends/kin networks increased, the likelihood of participating in center-based child care programs was higher. Findings are discussed in terms of the potential for improving immigrant families' access to center-based child care by reducing neighborhood structural barriers and fostering neighborhood networks. (author abstract)

What is the role of elementary school classroom quality in sustaining the long-term benefits of high-quality child care?

Variation in the long-term benefits of child care: The role of classroom quality in elementary school
Ansari, Arya, 01/01/2018

Data from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development (N = 1,307) were used to estimate the additive and multiplicative benefits of high-quality child care between birth to 54 months of age and high-quality elementary school education between first and fifth grade. Results indicated that the math and language and literacy benefits of high-quality child care accrued from the end of preschool through age 15 only when coupled with higher quality classroom environments during the elementary school years. In contrast, the benefits of high-quality child care were no longer present when children later attended lower quality classrooms in elementary school. Taken together, these results point to the importance of continued investments in children's education throughout the first decade of life. (author abstract)

What are the effects on parents of the duration of their children's enrollment in Head Start?

The duration effect of Head Start enrolment on parents
Lee, Kyunghee, 01/01/2018

- Summary: In light of Head Start's recent move toward longer program implementations, the current study examined whether the duration of Head Start enrollment impacts outcomes for parents: parental involvement in school, perceived helpfulness of social support, and use of formal social services. - Findings: Linear mixed model analyses examined whether parental outcomes differed depending on the number of years enrolled in Head Start. Parents whose child enrolled more years in Head Start were more likely to participate in their children's schools and received more helpful social support than those whose child enrolled in fewer years of Head Start. No difference was found for formal social service use depending on longer duration of Head Start enrollment. Minority status, household risk factors, and non-English speaking were negatively associated with parental outcomes. - Applications: Early intervention programs, such as Head Start, should recruit eligible low-income families earlier for longer participation on family-focused programs. (author abstract)

What are the effects of the Chicago School Readiness Project on children's social-emotional difficulties from Head Start through elementary school?

Classifying trajectories of social-emotional difficulties through elementary school: Impacts of the Chicago School Readiness Project
McCoy, Dana Charles, 04/01/2018

Although research has shown fade-out of the cognitive benefits of classroom-based preschool interventions, less is known regarding the durability of social-emotional impacts. This study examines the extent to which the multicomponent Chicago School Readiness Project (CSRP) intervention lowered risk of internalizing, externalizing, attention, and social difficulties from Head Start through elementary school for 602 low-income children. Results suggest that most children in this sample showed few social-emotional difficulties over time. However, one quarter of the sample exhibited profiles of transitory or building difficulties over six years. Random assignment to the CSRP preschool intervention significantly reduced children's odds of transitory attention and social difficulties in middle childhood, with preliminary evidence suggesting stronger impacts for children attending elementary schools characterized by low academic rigor and high neighborhood crime. CSRP was not found to be effective in preventing more robust, increasing forms of difficulty in the externalizing and attention domains. Implications for early childhood intervention and policy are discussed. (author abstract)

How do academic and psychosocial outcomes from the elementary years through early adolescence compare for children who attended formal versus informal early care and education settings?

The persistence of preschool effects from early childhood through adolescence
Ansari, Arya, 01/01/2018

Using data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study Kindergarten Cohort of 1998 (n = 15,070), this study used propensity scores to examine the short- and long-term academic and psychosocial benefits of preschool education for a diverse sample of middle-class children. Compared with children who attended informal care at age 4, preschool attendees consistently performed better on achievement tests from age 5 through early adolescence, but exhibited less optimal psychosocial skills. These negative behavioral effects of preschool were concentrated among children who attended preschool for 20 or more hours per week, but otherwise, there was little evidence of heterogeneity as a function of program type or child- and family characteristics. The long-term academic advantages of preschool were, however, largely explained by their positive effects on academic skills early in formal schooling and there was evidence for convergence in children's academic test scores, which was partially attributed to the differences in children's social skills during the early elementary school years. (author abstract)

How do factors such as family and community characteristics, child care preferences, constraints and barriers to access, and financial assistance predict the child care selection of low-income parents?

Predictors of low-income parent child care selections
Weber, Roberta B. (Bobbie), 05/01/2018

This paper uses a mixed methods research design that combines qualitative and quantitative data from low-income parents to increase understanding of the dynamics of their child care decision-making. The paper relies on a graphically depicted conceptual model of the decision-making process. In the model, individual characteristics found in prior research to affect child care decisions are clustered into constructs: family, community, child care preferences, constraints and barriers, and financial assistance. Findings demonstrate that when controlling for other characteristics, most of the characteristics captured in the conceptual model predict type of child care selected. Study data include measures of employment constraints and a verified measure of subsidy receipt, both of which are important to understanding child care decisions of low-income parents and on which research is limited. We find both to be strong predictors of child care selection decisions. Parents' child care selection preferences emerge as the strongest predictors of the type of care selected. Parents' prioritization of support for learning and trust in the provider were the most likely to predict a specific type of care. Findings from this study have direct implications for policy and practice, especially as states implement the changes associated with the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014 with its emphasis on helping parents select arrangements that support the child's development. (author abstract)

How can a new family-centered measure of access to early care and education be used to assess disparities in Minnesota?

Family-centered measures of access to early care and education
Davis, Elizabeth E., 03/01/2018
(IZA DP No. 11396). Bonn, Germany: Institute of Labor Economics. Retrieved from ftp://repec.iza.org/RePEc/Discussionpaper/dp11396.pdf

This study proposes new family-centered measures of access to early care and education (ECE) services with respect to quantity, cost, and quality and uses them to assess disparities in access across locations and socio-demographic groups in Minnesota. These measures are distance-based and use available geographic data to account for the fact that families can cross arbitrary administrative boundaries, such as census tract or ZIP code lines, and thus better reflect the real experiences of families than conventional area-based measures. Combining synthetic family locations simulated from Census demographic and geographic data and information on ECE provider locations, we calculate travel time between the locations of families with young children and ECE providers to measure families' access to providers of different types. The results yield a map of areas with low and high relative ECE access. The average family in Minnesota lives in a location where there are nearly two children for every nearby slot of licensed capacity, however, access to ECE supply varies considerably at the local level. The supply measure can also serve as a weight useful in computing family-centered measures of ECE quality and access costs, incorporating both prices and travel costs, to further characterize the local ECE market from the perspective of families. Improving measures of variation in families' access to ECE quantity, cost, and quality is valuable as policymakers consider expansions to public supports for early learning and ECE entrepreneurs decide where to invest. (author abstract)

What does available research say about social problem solving interventions in supporting social-emotional development among preschool children?

A meta-analytic review of social problem-solving interventions in preschool settings
Barnes, Tia Navelene, 01/01/2018

Early intervention is valuable in preventing negative behavioural outcomes and promoting positive social competence in young children with externalizing behaviours. Interventions that teach social problem solving (SPS) are a promising solution, as children with behavioural difficulties often have deficits in these skills. School-based SPS programming has been shown to prevent and remediate externalizing behaviours for older children, but a summary of its effectiveness for preschoolers in early childhood settings is unavailable. The purpose of the current meta-analytic review was to (a) provide a summary of the characteristics of current SPS instruction in preschool settings and (b) examine the effectiveness of interventions that include an SPS component in decreasing externalizing behaviours and increasing social competence among preschoolers. Using meta-analytic review, we present common characteristics of preschool interventions that include SPS and provide evidence for the efficacy of these interventions in reducing externalizing behaviours and increasing social competence in preschoolers. Highlights - We performed a meta-analytic review of preschool social problem-solving interventions (SPS). - We examined both preschool-based and home-based reports of behavior and social competence for meta-analysis. - We found evidence for the efficacy of interventions in reducing externalizing behavior and increasing social competence for preschool-based reports. (author abstract)

How are continuity of care practices being implemented in Early Head Start and how do they relate to stability of care for children?

Descriptive study of continuity of care practice and children's experience of stability of care in Early Head Start
Choi, Ji Young, 01/01/2018

Background Continuity of care (CoC) is a widely endorsed theory-based practice in center-based early childhood programs. Despite its widespread endorsement, however, there are few empirical studies of CoC or children's actual experience of care stability in infant and toddler group settings. Objective This descriptive study investigated (1) the national percentage of EHS programs with centers implementing CoC, (2) potential differences between EHS programs with all or none of their operating centers implementing CoC, (3) the number of teacher changes children experienced during two consecutive years in EHS, as an indicator of early care stability, and (4) child and family characteristics of children having different levels of care stability during their EHS programs. Methods Using the recently released Early Head Start Family and Child Experiences Study (Baby FACES) dataset, secondary analyses were conducted using descriptive statistics, mean difference tests, and Chi-square tests with sampling weights applied. Results Results showed that 29% of EHS programs reported no centers implementing CoC practices within their programs, and 57% of programs reported all of their centers implemented CoC. The 57% of EHS programs implementing CoC had greater stability of their administrative staff. Results further showed that during EHS, 29 and 34% of children experienced no or one teacher change, respectively, while 37% of children experienced two to six teacher changes. Child and family characteristics were generally not associated with children's stability of care in EHS. Conclusions CoC is not uniformly implemented across EHS programs, and many children experience multiple teacher changes in center-based EHS programs. (author abstract)

What effect do state prekindergarten programs have on academic outcomes and do effects vary by state?

Pre-K in the public schools: Evidence from within all states
Bartik, Timothy J., 03/01/2017
Unpublished manuscript. Retrieved from https://www.irp.wisc.edu/newsevents/workshops/2017/participants/papers/9-Bartik-Hershbein-03012017-SRW-2017.pdf

Within the past decade, state-funded Pre-Kindergarten has roughly doubled in its coverage of 4-year-olds, and further large-scale expansion of Pre-K programs, with state, local or federal funding, continues to be debated. Although research has shown that Pre-K can increase test scores and dramatically improve life outcomes, at least for some programs at some places and times, existing studies have generally focused on small or state-specific programs that may not sufficiently capture program heterogeneity and thus may not generalize to other areas or programs. In this paper, we draw upon multiple data sources to exploit variation in enrollment in public Pre-Kindergarten programs across time and place to examine the effects of these programs on standardized test scores and other academic outcomes. Our paper is unique in its scope: our data cover the last two decades, span nearly all states, and allow for intrastate variation in Pre-K. We find no evidence that the average state program affects the average student's test scores, assignment to special education, or grade retention. Our estimates are precise enough to rule out impacts as small as 2 percentiles for full Pre-K saturation. However, these averages conceal some important heterogeneity. In states that other studies have found to have high-quality Pre-K programs, we find positive effects on average math test scores. For majority-Black districts, the average Pre-K program yields sizable effects on both math and reading. (author abstract) For additional resources on state prekindergarten program research and evaluations, check out our bibliography

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

The demand for teacher characteristics in the market for child care: Evidence from a field experiment
Boyd-Swan, Casey, 03/01/2018

This paper sheds light on two key issues regarding the demand for teacher characteristics in the market for center-based child care. First, we study the extent to which teacher qualifications--often considered important inputs to classroom quality--are valued by providers during the hiring process. We then examine the impact of state regulations on hiring decisions. To do so, a resume audit study was administered in which job-seeker characteristics were randomly assigned to resumes that were submitted in response to real child care job postings in 14 U.S. cities. Our results indicate that center-based providers may not hire the most qualified applicants. For example, we find that although providers have a strong preference for individuals with previous work experience in early childhood education (ECE), those with more ECE experience are less likely to receive an interview than those with less experience. We also find that individuals with bachelor's degrees in ECE are no more likely to receive an interview than their counterparts at the associate's level. Our analysis of state regulations shows that they strongly influence teacher hiring decisions. We find that providers' advertised job requirements are largely in compliance with the state standards for teachers' experience and education. In addition, providers are substantially more likely to interview job-seekers who meet these requirements. Given that most providers voluntarily exceed the state regulations, a tentative conclusion is that such rules have a limited effect on child care supply and prices. (author abstract)

What are the impacts of Head Start on the educational attainment, incidence of teen pregnancy, and criminal engagement of children whose mothers participated in the program?

Breaking the cycle?: Intergenerational effects of an anti-poverty program in early childhood
Barr, Andrew, 10/01/2017
(EdPolicyWorks Working Paper Series No. 61). Charlottesville: University of Virginia, EdPolicyWorks. Retrieved from https://curry.virginia.edu/sites/default/files/files/EdPolicyWorks_files/61_Anti_Proverty_Effects_ECE.pdf

Despite substantial evidence that resources and outcomes are transmitted across generations, there has been limited inquiry into the extent to which anti-poverty programs actually disrupt the cycle of bad outcomes. We explore how the effects of the United States' largest early childhood program transfer across generations. We leverage the geographic rollout of this feder- ally funded, means-tested preschool program to estimate the effect of early childhood exposure among mothers on their children's long-term outcomes. We find evidence of intergenerational transmission of effects in the form of increased educational attainment, reduced teen pregnancy, and reduced criminal engagement in the second generation. (author abstract)

What role does organizational climate play in preschool teachers' responses to challenging behavior?

Preschool teachers' responses to challenging behavior: The role of organizational climate in referrals and expulsions
Miller, Shauna, 01/01/2017

Challenging behavior in preschool can lead to harmful outcomes for some children. While interventions have been shown to be effective in reducing or eliminating challenging behavior, evidence suggests that young children with challenging behavior are under-identified for services, increasing their risk for expulsion from early childhood programs. This study surveyed preschool teachers working in Florida Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) programs, to examine factors related to exclusion of children with challenging behaviors. Specifically, the study examined whether teachers' perceptions of the organizational climate of their workplace, including access to behavioral supports, the utility of those supports and the consequences of referral predicted teachers' responses to challenging behavior in their classroom. Results indicated: that teachers' perceptions of the availability of resources to provide behavioral support varied by program type; that the quality of supervisory relationships was significantly related to teachers' perceptions of availability of resources; and that teachers' perceptions of the availability of resources to provide behavioral support was a significant predictor of child expulsion from preschool. The results of this study have implications for increasing the availability of behavioral supports and high quality supervision, as means of stemming the tide of expulsions of children from preschool programs. (author abstract)

Are there differences in parents' preferences and search processes across preschool types?

Are there differences in parents' preferences and search processes across preschool types?: Evidence from Louisiana
Bassok, Daphna, 07/01/2018

A rising proportion of four-year-olds now attend formal, or center-based, early childhood education (ECE) programs. Formal settings, such as Head Start, public preschool, and subsidized child care centers vary significantly in regulation, funding, and service provision. As these differences may have substantial implications for child development and family well-being, understanding how parents search for and select formal programs is critical. Using data from a sample of low-income families with four-year-olds enrolled in publicly-funded programs, we examine whether parents' preferences for ECE and their search processes vary across formal ECE program types. We find little evidence of differences in preferences across preschool types but do find significant differences in parents' search processes. Parents with children in subsidized child care consider more options, consider their search more difficult, and are less likely to call their child's program their "first choice.Implications for policy and future research are discussed. (author abstract)

How do child care center costs and revenue vary by quality rating and improvement system (QRIS) level?

Cost of Quality: Phase II: Licensed centers
Washington (State). Department of Early Learning, 03/02/2018
Olympia, WA: Washington State, Department of Early Learning. Retrieved from https://del.wa.gov/sites/default/files/public/QRIS/Cost_of_Quality_2_Licensed_Centers.pdf

The intent of Phase II is to better understand the operating costs of child care facilities and the costs associated with Early Achievers. By identifying costs, DEL can identify the investment needed for each level of Early Achievers. DEL intends for Phase II to inform budget decisions by drawing correlations between cost drivers at child care centers and higher levels of quality. Focused investments to capitalize on those correlations could take the form of increased subsidy rates, higher quality improvement awards, greater tiered reimbursement awards, or targeted scholarships, among other opportunities. To determine these correlations, DEL created a survey to ascertain the typical costs for centers to maintain their Early Achievers quality level in addition to total costs and revenue, continuous quality improvement using the Early Achievers framework, and indirect benefits (private tuition rate, capacity, etc.). DEL examined differences in costs and revenue between providers at different quality levels. These findings will highlight areas that may be opportune for increased funding and assistance to enhance the quality of all child care centers in the state. (author abstract)

What is the state-by-state impact of doubling Child Care and Development Block Grant funding in fiscal year 2018?

State-by-state impact of doubling CCDBG funding in FY 2018
Center for Law and Social Policy, 02/01/2018
Washington, DC: Center for Law and Social Policy. Retrieved from https://www.clasp.org/sites/default/files/publications/2018/02/State%20Impact%20of%20Doubling%20CCDBG%20.pdf

An increase of $2.9 billion--doubling discretionary funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG)--in FY 2018 would allow states to expand child care assistance to nearly 230,000 additional children, as well as implement the 2014 bipartisan CCDBG reauthorization to improve the health, safety, and quality of child care. The table below shows the state-by-state impact of doubling discretionary funding for CCDBG. (author abstract)

Can state child care subsidy policies improve disadvantaged families' access to early care and education?

Access to early care and education for disadvantaged families: Do levels of access reflect states' child care subsidy policies?
Madill, Rebecca,
(Child Trends Report No. 2018-07). Bethesda, MD: Child Trends. Retrieved from https://www.childtrends.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/OPREResultsBriefAccessDisadvantaged-FamiliesUpdate_ChildTrends_March1.pdf

To our knowledge, no studies have asked which combinations of subsidy policies are associated with better access to ECE for low-income families (relative to higher-income families), from either a demand perspective (i.e., the perspective of the family) or a supply perspective (i.e., the availability of high-quality ECE providers serving subsidized children). The fact that subsidy funds are limited makes it essential to understand the benefits and consequences of different combinations of subsidy policies as they relate to parents' access to high-quality ECE. (author abstract)

How can states collect data on child care prices and costs to help set child care subsidy rates?

Market rate surveys and alternative methods of data collection and analysis to inform subsidy payment rates
Davis, Elizabeth E., 12/01/2017
(OPRE Report No. 2017-115). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/cceepra_methods_for_informing_subsidy_rates_508_compliant_v2b.pdf

The intent of the brief is to provide a concise synthesis of existing research and expert guidance on methods States and Territories can use to collect information on child care prices and costs to inform child care subsidy payment rates. The brief offers criteria to evaluate different methods to assess price and cost. The brief also discusses the concept of equal access that States and Territories address in their CCDF plans. (author abstract) The library also contains a resource from the National Center on Early Childhood Quality Assurance and the National Center on Child Care Subsidy Innovation and Accountability, which provides guidance to states on estimating and reporting the costs of child care.

Are higher subsidy payment rates and provider-friendly payment policies associated with child care quality?

Are higher subsidy payment rates and provider-friendly payment policies associated with child care quality?
Greenberg, Erica, 02/01/2018
Washington, DC: Urban Institute. Retrieved from https://www.urban.org/sites/default/files/publication/96681/are_higher_subsidy_payment_rates_and_provider-friendly_payment_policies_associated_with_child_care_quality_1.pdf

This study examines associations between state-determined payment rates and policies and several quality indicators to inform CCDF quality improvement efforts. It is guided by three research questions: 1. How much do payment rates and policies vary across states? 2. How much variation is there in the quality of child care centers and homes serving subsidized children? 3. And the key analytical question: What is the association between payment rates and policies and the quality of child care providers serving subsidized children? Our analyses leverage policy variation within the system of subsidized care, capturing payment-quality dynamics in child care centers and homes. In doing so, we employ the most recent and comprehensive data available: the National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE). Conducted in 2012, the NSECE provides a nationally representative picture of program and caregiver quality characteristics in centers and homes, including those serving children receiving subsidies, providing a very timely baseline view of quality before the CCDF reauthorization. We also draw on the CCDF Policies Database, a comprehensive database of CCDF policies covering all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the US territories and outlying areas. Our main analytic tools include quantitative description and multivariate regression analysis, which allow us to explore possible causal links between payment rates and policies and child care quality. (author abstract) The National Survey of Early Care and Education and Child Care and Development Fund Policies Database datasets used in this study are both available from Research Connections

What is the cost of attending a center-based child care program by state and child's age?

Where does your child care dollar go? [Interactive tool]
Center for American Progress,
Washington, DC: Center for American Progress

This resource is an interactive online tool with individual state information. After selecting a state and age level (infant, toddler, or preschool), users can calculate the estimated monthly cost per child attending a center-based program. In addition, options for child care center elements can be chosen to further refine the monthly cost. These elements include teacher-child ratio, teacher salary and benefits, and classroom environment and resources.

In each state what are the characteristics of school-age child care supported by federal child care subsidies?

State School-Age Data Files Database [Interactive tool]
National Center on Afterschool and Summer Enrichment,
Washington, DC: National Center on Afterschool and Summer Enrichment

This resource is an interactive online tool with individual state information. Users can search the database by state/territory for characteristics of school-age child care supported by federal subsidies. School-age resources and contact information are also provided.

How can states assess their capacity for child care research and evaluation?

Research and evaluation capacity: Self-assessment tool and discussion guide for CCDF lead agencies
Rohacek, Monica, 11/01/2017
(OPRE Report No. 2017-63). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/research_and_evaluation_capacity_self_assessment_tool_finalcleanv3.pdf

The tool is divided into three parts. Part one invites users to consider how their organization is doing in seven major areas of research and evaluation capacity. Part two helps users define overarching goals for their research and evaluation capacity-building efforts. Part three offers users a chance to articulate key questions they have about how to address the gaps and goals identified in the first two parts. (author abstract)

How do teachers perceive and explain the process of preschool expulsion?

Teachers' perceptions of childcare and preschool expulsion
Martin, Karin A., 03/01/2018

Previous research outlines the correlates of childcare expulsion in the USA, yet researchers know little about how these correlates produce expulsion. This in-depth qualitative analysis of 30 childcare providers' accounts of expulsion finds a patterned process to expulsion: Teachers search for causes and solutions to challenging behaviours. When interventions fail, overwhelmed teachers shift their focus from 'struggling' children to 'bad families'. Once the explanation of behaviour changes from within to outside of the child, expulsion is imminent. Interventions in teachers' understandings, not only in children's behaviours, are discussed as a possible way to reduce expulsion. (author abstract)

How do preschool children interact with each other while playing with iPads?

Preschool children and iPads: Observations of social interactions during digital play
Lawrence, Sandra M., 02/01/2018

Research Findings: Digital play is now commonplace in many young children's lives, but not in preschool settings. This situation is likely due to the fact that the existent literature seldom highlights what digital play looks like, the various ways it can be situated, and what young children do when they play together with digital devices in the preschool setting. The present study addresses this limitation by providing a close examination of the social interactions of young children as they engage with different types of iPad apps and each other. Observational data of 20 dyads of children during digital play analyzed qualitatively revealed that children exhibited a range of social behaviors from competitive to collaborative as they engaged in 4 types of digital play: practice/task, exploratory, construction, and pretense. Forms of play and exhibited behaviors were shaped by interrelated factors of children's individual characteristics and relationships, classroom culture and routines, adult views and actions, as well as aspects of the digital device itself. Practice or Policy: Selecting open-design apps, attending to digital play structures, and monitoring peer play more closely may lessen competition, enhance collaboration, and lead to more complex digital play. (author abstract)

How can the system of financing early care and education in the United States support a highly qualified workforce?

Transforming the financing of early care and education
National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (U.S.), 01/01/2018
Washington, DC: National Academies Press

The committee's report on financing early care and education has been organized into seven chapters. Following this introduction, Chapter 2 describes the landscape of the current financing system and estimates the total funds currently invested in early care and education in the United States. Chapters 3, 4, and 5 analyze the current financing of early care and education using the principles described above. Chapter 3 focuses on financing a highly qualified workforce, Chapter 4 focuses on financing for early care and education that is accessible and affordable for all families, and Chapter 5 assesses financing for incentivizing quality. Chapter 6 reviews the cost drivers of high-quality early care and education and uses a hypothetical estimate of the costs of a high-quality ECE system to illustrate the factors that inform options and the choices that are likely to require decision. That chapter also summarizes the relevant considerations necessary to produce such a cost estimation for a real-world option. Chapter 7 builds upon lessons learned from states and localities, from international early care and education, and from sectors other than early care and education, in order to make recommendations for a new future in financing early care and education in the United States. (author abstract)

What lessons did five states learn from streamlining and coordinating their child care subsidy policies?

Improving child care subsidy programs: Findings from the Work Support Strategies evaluation
Hahn, Heather, 02/01/2018
Washington, DC: Urban Institute. Retrieved from https://www.urban.org/sites/default/files/publication/96376/improving_child_care_subsidy_programs.pdf

To help inform states currently focusing on simplifying access to benefits and improving service delivery, including those implementing the new requirements, this report highlights steps taken and lessons learned by five states that--before the reauthorization of the CCDF--were already working actively to improve CCDF benefit access and retention, efficiency of service delivery, quality of client service, and alignment of the CCDF with other benefit programs. These states participated in the Work Support Strategies (WSS) initiative between 2012 and 2015 (box 2). As part of WSS, these states took steps to simplify the process for accessing and retaining child care subsidies and aligned that process with those for accessing other key work supports, especially the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Medicaid, and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The lessons learned by these states are directly relevant to the current efforts states are making to implement the newly reauthorized CCDF and to broader efforts to improve service delivery for their clients. In this report, we lay out some of the key lessons and insights from the WSS states in the following areas: - Why did states pursue changes to child care subsidy systems? - What changes did states make? - What issues did states encounter? We conclude with a brief discussion of the implications of these findings for implementation of the reauthorized CCDF. (author abstract)

How do patterns of attendance in Head Start relate to kindergarten attendance and children's achievement?

School absenteeism through the transition to kindergarten
Ansari, Arya, 01/01/2018

Using nationally representative data from the Family and Child Experiences Survey 2009 Cohort (n = 2,798), this study examined patterns of absenteeism and their consequences through the transition to kindergarten. Overall, children were less likely to be absent in kindergarten than from Head Start at ages 3 and 4. Absenteeism was fairly stable across these early years, but children who experienced two years of Head Start were less likely to be absent in kindergarten than their classmates who only attended the program for one year. Ultimately, absenteeism at both ages 3 and 4 was associated with lower math and literacy achievement. However, children who experienced two years of Head Start and were more frequently absent demonstrated greater language development through the end of kindergarten as compared with children who only attended the program for one year. Policy implications are discussed in light of the complexity of early childhood education attendance in the United States. (author abstract)

What barriers do low-income families face in their children's preschool attendance and what are possible solutions?

Understanding barriers and solutions affecting preschool attendance in low-income families
Susman-Stillman, Amy R., 01/01/2018

Preschool attendance problems negatively impact children's school readiness skills and future school attendance. Parents are critical to preschoolers' attendance. This study explored parental barriers and solutions to preschool attendance in low-income families. School-district administrative data from a racially/ethnically diverse sample of parents with children attending the district's half-day preschool program were obtained (N = 111). Subsamples of parents participated in a phone interview and follow-up, in-person interview. Parents valued early learning and preschool. Children missed school due to illness, problems with child care, transportation, and family life. Differences in attendance rates appeared by school, family demographics, and race/ethnicity. African-Americans and Hispanics experienced more barriers than Whites and Asians, and were more likely to miss school because of illness and medical appointments. Hispanics were more likely to miss for vacation. Parents noted a lack of social connection with other parents in the school/neighborhood, making seeking help to resolve attendance barriers difficult. (author abstract)

Which aspects of the preschool classroom language environment contribute to children's language growth?

Linguistic environment of preschool classrooms: What dimensions support children's language growth?
Justice, Laura M., 01/01/2018

Individual differences in young children's language acquisition reflect in part the variability in the language-learning environment that they experience, both at home and in the classroom. Studies have examined various dimensions of the preschool classroom language environment, including linguistic responsivity of early childhood educators, data-providing features of teachers' talk, and characteristics of the systems-level general environment, but no study has examined the unique contribution of each dimension to children's language growth over time. The goals of this study were to determine how best to represent the dimensionality of the preschool classroom's linguistic environment and to determine which dimensions are most strongly associated with children's language development. Participants were teachers in 49 preschool classrooms and a random sample of children from each classroom (330 children between 40 and 60 months of age, [mean] = 52 months, SD= 5.5). Children's grammar and vocabulary skills were measured at three time-points, and the classroom linguistic environment was assessed with measures representing teachers' linguistic responsivity, data-providing features of teachers' talk, and systems-level general quality. Using exploratory structural equation modeling (ESEM), we determined that the classroom language environment is best characterized by a three-dimensional model. A multilevel latent growth model subsequently showed that only one of the three dimensions, teachers' communication-facilitating behaviors, predicted growth in children's vocabulary from preschool to kindergarten. Implications for teacher professional development are discussed. (author abstract)

What is the relationship of child care experiences to children's stress as measured by their cortisol levels?

Children's physiological responses to childcare
Vermeer, Harriet J., 06/01/2017

This review focuses on children’s physiological responses to out-of-home childcare. The finding that children’s cortisol levels are higher at childcare than at home has been well-replicated. Here we summarize recent evidence examining possible correlates of elevated cortisol levels. Reviewed studies suggest that childcare quality matters, whereas group sizes and type of care do not. As for child characteristics, elevated cortisol at childcare is more pronounced in toddlers than in infants, and in inhibited and aggressive children. We discuss recent advances focusing on hair cortisol analysis and immunomarkers of stress, and suggest that there is a need for experimental and longitudinal studies to examine causal relations and possible negative long-term consequences for children’s health and development. (author abstract)

What role does elementary school quality play in the persistence of preschool effects?

The role of elementary school quality in the persistence of preschool effects
Ansari, Arya, 02/01/2018

Long-term evaluations of preschool programs have yielded mixed findings regarding the persistence of preschool effects. Data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study Kindergarten Cohort of 1998 (n = 15,070) were used to estimate the extent to which the academic benefits of preschool persist as a function of the quality of the elementary school children subsequently experience. Results from propensity score models revealed that the academic benefits of preschool were largely sustained through the end of fifth grade when children subsequently attended a high quality elementary school. In contrast, less than one quarter of these benefits persisted when children attended a low quality elementary school. Taken together, these results point to the role of elementary schools in maintaining the long-term academic benefits of preschool. (author abstract)

What do 20 years of evaluation research tell us about the effectiveness of the US Department of Education's Ready To Learn educational media initiative?

Getting a read on Ready to Learn media: A meta-analytic review of effects on literacy
Hurwitz, Lisa B., 01/01/2018

Most U.S. preschoolers have consumed media created with funding from the U.S. Department of Education's Ready To Learn (RTL) initiative, which was established to promote school readiness among children ages 2-8. Synthesizing data from 45 evaluations (N = 24,624 unique child participants), this meta-analysis examined the effects of RTL media exposure on young children's literacy skills. Results indicate positive effects of RTL media exposure on children's literacy outcomes, especially vocabulary and phonological concepts. These effects are equivalent to about one-and-a-half months of literacy learning above and beyond typical growth. Findings are robust across a variety of research designs and for exposure to both television and new media. These results are discussed in terms of accountability evidence for RTL and larger debates in scholarly understanding of educational media effects. (author abstract)

What is the role of informal child care in Detroit and Wayne County, Michigan?

Informal child care in Detroit
Thomas, Jaime, 10/01/2017
(Issue Brief ICCD-1). Washington, DC: Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. Retrieved from https://www.mathematica-mpr.com/download-media?MediaItemId={87E92F55-36E0-4DB2-B9FC-F8D282BBD411}

Mathematica prepared three briefs to summarize ICCD project findings for WKKF, community leaders, program staff, parents, child care providers, and other stakeholders. This brief highlights the role of informal child care in Detroit and Wayne County, Michigan; the second describes parent and informal caregiver networks; and the third discusses barriers to children receiving high quality care and offers recommendations for overcoming them. (author abstract) o Additional briefs in this series explore parent and informal caregiver networks and supporting high quality informal child care

What were the characteristics and developmental outcomes of children and families participating in Head Start in 2014?

Descriptive data on Head Start children and families from FACES 2014: Fall 2014 data tables and study design
Aikens, Nikki, 12/01/2017
(OPRE Report 2017-97). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/faces_fall_2014_child_family_data_tables_final_clean_toacf_122217_508.pdf

This report includes key information on the Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey 2014 (FACES 2014) study design and a set of data tables that presents descriptive statistics on the demographic backgrounds and developmental outcomes of children enrolled in Head Start in fall 2014. The tables also detail aspects of their home environment and family life. Data are drawn from the Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES 2014). (author abstract) Explore data and additional publications from the Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey 2014 (FACES 2014).

How has federally-funded child care and early education research evolved in the past 20 years?

The first 20 years of the Child Care and Early Education Policy Research Consortium
Kreader, J. Lee, 07/01/2017
Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation

The Child Care Policy Research Consortium (CCPRC) was founded in 1995. This history of the Consortium's first 20 years was compiled by a review of documents and a collection of interviews at the time of its 2015 meeting, at which time the Consortium was renamed the Child Care and Early Education Policy Research Consortium (CCEEPRC). This history presents member accounts of the role of the Consortium in the development of child care research during this era. It describes the influence of selected Consortium projects on child care policy and practice throughout the United States. It lists selected major topical studies of the consortium. It describes the organization-of-information activities of Child Care and Early Education Research Connections. It lists and describes several projects of funded Child Care Research Scholars. Appended to this history are detailed lists and charts of the topics addressed at meetings, roundtables, and workgroups, as well as several pages of member reflections on the work and history of the Consortium.

What explains associations between existing early care and education quality measures and children's outcomes?

Measuring early care and education quality
Burchinal, Margaret, 03/01/2018

High-quality early care and education (ECE) programs are thought to increase opportunities for all children to succeed in school, but recent findings call into question whether these programs affect children as anticipated. In this article, I examine research relating the quality of ECE to children's outcomes, finding somewhat inconsistent and modest associations with widely used measures of process and structural quality, and more consistent and stronger associations with other dimensions of ECE such as curricula and type of ECE program. I discuss why the associations between ECE quality and outcomes are so modest, including limited children's outcomes, psychometric issues with quality measures, and a need to revise and expand measures of ECE quality. The evidence indicates that we need to focus on the content of instruction and teaching practices, as well as the extent to which teachers actively scaffold learning opportunities. We also need to continue to focus on the quality of interactions between teachers and children, and on children's access to age-appropriate activities. (author abstract)

How well do scores on the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale-Revised (ECERS-R) and its earlier form (ECERS) predict child outcomes?

The relationship between the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale and its revised form and child outcomes: A systematic review and meta-analysis
Brunsek, Ashley, 06/06/2017

The Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale (ECERS) and its revised version (ECERS-R) were designed as global measures of quality that assess structural and process aspects of Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) programs. Despite frequent use of the ECERS/ECERS-R in research and applied settings, associations between it and child outcomes have not been systematically reviewed. The objective of this research was to evaluate the association between the ECERS/ECERS-R and children's wellbeing. Searches of Medline, PsycINFO, ERIC, websites of large datasets and reference sections of all retrieved articles were completed up to July 3, 2015. Eligible studies provided a statistical link between the ECERS/ECERS-R and child outcomes for preschool-aged children in ECEC programs. Of the 823 studies selected for full review, 73 were included in the systematic review and 16 were meta-analyzed. The combined sample across all eligible studies consisted of 33, 318 preschool-aged children. Qualitative systematic review results revealed that ECERS/ECERS-R total scores were more generally associated with positive outcomes than subscales or factors. Seventeen separate meta-analyses were conducted to assess the strength of association between the ECERS/ECERS-R and measures that assessed children's language, math and social-emotional outcomes. Meta-analyses revealed a small number of weak effects (in the expected direction) between the ECERS/ECERS-R total score and children's language and positive behavior outcomes. The Language-Reasoning subscale was weakly related to a language outcome. The enormous heterogeneity in how studies operationalized the ECERS/ECERS-R, the outcomes measured and statistics reported limited our ability to meta-analyze many studies. Greater consistency in study methodology is needed in this area of research. Despite these methodological challenges, the ECERS/ECERS-R does appear to capture aspects of quality that are important for children's wellbeing; however, the strength of association is weak. (author abstract)

Are there threshold scores on the ECERS-R associated with positive child outcomes?

Using the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale-Revised in high stakes contexts: Does evidence warrant the practice?
Setodji, Claude Messan, 01/01/2018

Increasingly, states establish different thresholds on the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale-Revised (ECERS-R), and use these thresholds to inform high-stakes decisions. However, the validity of the ECERS-R for these purposes is not well established. The objective of this study is to identify thresholds on the ECERS-R that are associated with preschool-aged children's social and cognitive development. Applying non-parametric modeling to the nationally-representative Early Childhood Longitudinal Study Birth Cohort (ECLS-B) dataset, we found that once classrooms achieved a score of 3.4 on the overall ECERS-R composite score, there was a leveling-off effect, such that no additional improvements to children's social, cognitive, or language outcomes were observed. Additional analyses found that ECERS-R subscales that focused on teaching and caregiving processes, as opposed to the physical environment, did not show leveling-off effects. The findings suggest that the usefulness of the ECERS-R for discerning associations with children's outcome may be limited to certain score ranges or subscales. (author abstract)

How do group size and child-adult ratios in early childhood classrooms relate to child outcomes?

A meta-analysis of class sizes and ratios in early childhood education programs: Are thresholds of quality associated with greater impacts on cognitive, achievement, and socioemotional outcomes?
Bowne, Jocelyn, 09/01/2017

This study uses data from a comprehensive database of U.S. early childhood education program evaluations published between 1960 and 2007 to evaluate the relationship between class size, child-teacher ratio, and program effect sizes for cognitive, achievement, and socioemotional outcomes. Both class size and child-teacher ratio showed nonlinear relationships with cognitive and achievement effect sizes. For child-teacher ratios 7.5:1 and lower, the reduction of this ratio by one child per teacher predicted an effect size of 0.22 standard deviations greater. For class sizes 15 and smaller, one child fewer predicted an effect size of 0.10 standard deviations larger. No discernible relationship was found for larger class sizes and child-teacher ratios. Results were less clear for socioemotional outcomes due to a small sample. (author abstract)

What were the impacts of the Second Step Early Learning curriculum on children's executive functioning and social-emotional skills?

Efficacy trial of the Second Step Early Learning (SSEL) curriculum: Preliminary outcomes
Upshur, Carole C., 05/01/2017

A classroom randomized trial (n = 31 classrooms) was conducted using the Second Step Early Learning (SSEL) curriculum compared to usual curricula. Head Start and community preschool classrooms enrolling low income children were randomly assigned to deliver SSEL (n = 16) or usual curricula (n = 15). Data are reported for four year olds independently assessed for executive functioning (EF) and social-emotional skills (SE) in fall and spring of the preschool year. Analyses used three level Hierarchical Linear Modeling, including two EF tasks or two SE tasks as level 1, child as level 2, and classroom as level 3. Controlling for baseline EF, SE, cognitive ability, parent income, child sex, age, and ethnicity, children receiving the SSEL curriculum had significantly better end of preschool EF skills and marginally significantly better end of preschool SE skills. The curriculum is thus promising in its potential to improve at-risk preschool children's EF and SE. (author abstract)

How did the BEST in CLASS intervention affect children's problem behaviors and teacher-child interactions?

Reducing child problem behaviors and improving teacher-child interactions and relationships: A randomized controlled trial of BEST in CLASS
Sutherland, Kevin S., 01/01/2018

Research has consistently linked early problem behavior with later adjustment problems, including antisocial behavior, learning problems and risk for the development of emotional/behavioral disorders (EBDs). Researchers have focused upon developing effective intervention programs for young children who arrive in preschool exhibiting chronic problem behaviors; however, Tier-2 interventions that can be delivered by teachers with fidelity in authentic settings are lacking. This study examined the effect of BEST in CLASS, a Tier-2 intervention delivered by teachers, on child problem behavior, teacher-child interactions and teacher-child relationships using a cluster randomized controlled trial design. Participants were 465 children (3-5 year olds) identified at risk for the development of EBDs and their 185 teachers from early childhood programs located in two southeastern states. Significant effects were found across both teacher reported (ES ranging from 0.23 to 0.42) and observed child outcomes (ES ranging form 0.44-0.46), as well as teacher-child relationships (ES ranging from 0.26 to 0.29) and observed teacher-children interactions (ES ranging from 0.26 to 0.45), favoring the BEST in CLASS condition. Results suggest the promise of BEST in CLASS as a Tier-2 intervention for use in authentic early childhood classroom contexts and provide implications for future research on transactional models of teacher and child behavior. (author abstract)

Can professional development reduce the influence of teacher stress on teacher-child interactions in prekindergarten classrooms?

Does professional development reduce the influence of teacher stress on teacher-child interactions in pre-kindergarten classrooms?
Sandilos, Lia E., 01/01/2018

The present study examines the extent to which participation in a 14-week professional development course designed to improve teacher-child interactions in the classroom moderated the relation between teacher-reported job stress and gains in observed teacher-child interaction quality from the beginning to the end of the intervention. Participants were preschool teachers (N = 427; [mean] age = 42) with an average of 11 years of experience teaching. Teachers reported how intensely they experienced different sources of stress at pre-test only (i.e., prior to being randomized into the treatment condition [course or control]). Teacher-child interactions were measured through classroom observations at pre and post intervention. Results demonstrated that control teachers reporting higher professional investment stress showed fewer gains in observed emotional support relative to control teachers experiencing less professional investment stress. These findings were not evident for teachers in the course condition. Interestingly, teachers with higher professional investment stress showed fewer gains in instructional support in the control condition and greater gains in the course condition, relative to teachers in their respective treatment groups who reported lower levels of professional investment stress. Findings suggest that participation in the professional development intervention had a buffering effect on the negative association between professional investment stress and emotional support. With regard to instructional support, it is possible that teachers' heightened awareness and anxiety over their need to develop professionally may have made them more responsive to an intervention designed to improve practice. (author abstract) For related resources check out Research Connections' resource list on Early Care and Education Workplace Conditions and Teacher Stress

How do immigrant and nonimmigrant parents' involvement in Head Start differ?

Immigrant parent involvement in government funded early childhood education programming: An examination of FACES
Day Leong, Anne, 01/01/2018

Head Start is a federally funded early childhood education programme that takes a unique 2-generation approach to working with families. Family engagement in early education like Head Start has been shown to improve academic and behavioural outcomes in children, with particular beneficial effects in the children of immigrant parents. This study seeks to explore predictors of involvement in Head Start services among immigrant families. Through an examination of Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES) 2009 data, this study uses bivariate and multivariate regression, and Karlson/Holm/Breen (KHB) analyses to determine variables associated with involvement in Head Start services. Results indicate that immigrant and U.S.-born parents do not differ in their levels of involvement in Head Start services. Rather, for both groups of parents, parental education attainment and satisfaction in services predicted levels of involvement. Furthermore, for mothers, the relationship between levels of educational attainment and involvement was fully mediated by mothers' levels of employment. (author abstract) For additional resources check out Research Connections' policy brief on Supporting Parent Engagement in Linguistically Diverse Families to Promote Young Children’s Learning

What are child care providers' perspectives on offering nutrition education?

Implementing the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics benchmarks for nutrition education for children: Child-care providers' perspectives
Dev, Dipti A., 12/01/2017

Background National childhood obesity prevention policies recommend that child-care providers educate young children about nutrition to improve their nutrition knowledge and eating habits. Yet, the provision of nutrition education (NE) to children in child-care settings is limited. Objective Using the 2011 Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics benchmarks for NE in child care as a guiding framework, researchers assessed child-care providers' perspectives regarding delivery of NE through books, posters, mealtime conversations, hands-on learning, and sensory exploration of foods to young children (aged 2 to 5 years). Design Using a qualitative design (realist method), individual, semistructured interviews were conducted until saturation was reached. Participants/setting The study was conducted during 2012-2013 and used purposive sampling to select providers. Final sample included 18 providers employed full-time in Head Start or state-licensed center-based child-care programs in Central Illinois. Main outcome measure Child-care providers' perspectives regarding implementation of NE. Statistical analyses performed Thematic analysis to derive themes using NVivo software. Results Three overarching themes emerged, including providers' motivators, barriers, and facilitators for delivering NE to children. Motivators for delivering NE included that NE encourages children to try new foods, NE improves children's knowledge of healthy and unhealthy foods, and NE is consistent with children's tendency for exploration. Barriers for delivering NE included that limited funding and resources for hands-on experiences and restrictive policies. Facilitators for delivering NE included providers obtain access to feasible, low-cost resources and community partners, providers work around restrictive policies to accommodate NE, and mealtime conversations are a feasible avenue to deliver NE. Providers integrated mealtime conversations with NE concepts such as food-based sensory exploration and health benefits of foods. Conclusions Present study findings offer insights regarding providers' perspectives on implementing NE in child care. Drawing from these perspectives, registered dietitian nutritionists can train providers about the importance of NE for encouraging healthy eating in children, integrating NE with mealtime conversations, and practicing low-cost, hands-on NE activities that meet the food safety standards for state licensing. Such strategies may improve providers' ability to deliver NE in child-care settings. (author abstract)

What are the characteristics of Head Start children and families who experience homelessness?

Head Start children and families experiencing homelessness: Trends, characteristics, and program services
United States. Department of Health and Human Services. Office of Human Services Policy, 09/01/2017
Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Human Services Policy. Retrieved from https://aspe.hhs.gov/system/files/pdf/258496/HeadStartHomelessFamilies.pdf

This brief provides a descriptive picture of Head Start children and families who experience homelessness and the kinds of services Head Start programs offer them. In this brief, "homeless" includes those who are literally homeless (living on streets, in cars, in shelters, or in other places not meant for habitation), as well as those who are "doubled-up" (multiple families share a unit intended for a single family due to economic hardship, loss of housing, or a similar reason). Data sources include the Head Start Program Information Report (PIR) and the 2009 cohort of the Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES 2009). (author abstract) Additional information on accessing the Head Start Program Information Report (PIR)and 2009 Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES) data used in this report can be found on Research Connections

What do recent state studies tell us about quality rating and improvement system (QRIS) validity?

Validation of the quality ratings used in quality rating and improvement systems (QRIS): A synthesis of state studies
Tout, Kathryn, 12/01/2017
(OPRE Report No. 2017-92). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/cceepra_qris_validation_report_b508.pdf

The purpose of this report is to compile and analyze findings from 10 validation studies examining ratings of early care and education (ECE) programs participating in state Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS). The availability of recent research results addressing similar questions in 10 different states offers a rare opportunity to synthesize findings across multiple contexts and discuss the implications for design, implementation, and future research on state ECE quality initiatives. The report is intended to update state administrators and other stakeholders about the effectiveness of current QRIS quality ratings in distinguishing meaningful levels of quality. The report also addresses issues of interest to researchers conducting evaluations of quality initiatives. (author abstract) Check out Research Connections' policy brief on the measurement of training and technical assistance in QRIS studies

What can state education boards do to improve early childhood education?

The role of state boards in improving early childhood education
Hao, Winona, 01/01/2018
(Education Leaders Report Volume 4, No. 1). Alexandria, VA: National Association of State Boards of Education. Retrieved from http://www.nasbe.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Hao_State-Boards-and-ECE-Final.pdf

Current state policies are not adequate to support high-quality ECE. Yet there are many opportunities for state boards to improve ECE policy in their states. This report discusses the ongoing and potential work in several areas of state board authority: child care, Head Start, ECE standards and guidelines, assessment, teacher workforce, leader workforce, and financing. These areas range from those in which few state boards have authority (e.g., child care) to those where many have a fair bit of leverage (e.g., teacher licensure and qualifications). (author abstract)

How are county governments coordinating and sharing services to support early childhood development?

Counties care: County service sharing for early childhood development
Harris, Jonathan, 12/01/2017
Washington, DC: National Association of Counties, Counties Futures Lab. Retrieved from http://www.naco.org/sites/default/files/documents/Counties%20Care%20-%20County%20Service%20Sharing%20for%20Early%20Childhood%20Development_0.pdf

This report shows different ways that counties provide high-quality services to children and families by sharing service provision with partners. The analysis examines the role of counties in ECD, challenges and the relationship with the state and federal governments around ECD. The ECD programs featured in this report work to break cycles of multigenerational poverty and prepare the youngest generation for future academic and economic success. The case studies feature Dakota County (Minn.), Idaho North Central Public Health District, Cuyahoga County (Ohio), Durham County (N.C.) and Bedford County (Pa.); these counties showcase just a few examples of how counties across the nation are caring for their most vulnerable residents. (author abstract)

What policy strategies can state legislators use to support high-quality early learning?

A fair start: Ensuring all students are ready to learn
Weyer, Matt, 01/01/2018
Denver, CO: National Conference of State Legislatures. Retrieved from http://www.ncsl.org/Portals/1/Documents/educ/SPREE_FinalReport_011718.pdf

The framework designed by SPREE members and described in this report can be used by state legislators to identify a priority area for redesign as part of a larger cohesive vision for pre-K through third grade (P-3) education in their states. Each of the five principles in the SPREE Framework seek to provide a coherent set of strategies to enhance early learning outcomes and provide options to fit a state's unique political and economic context. SPREE members encourage policymakers to keep equity in mind during their policy discussions and subsequent actions. The other principles within the SPREE framework include P-3 program quality, governance, family and community engagement, and educator preparation. Within each principle is a series of actionable strategies to create systemic enhancements in P-3 education. Existing state-level policies are then presented to provide real-world examples and to serve as models for policy discussion and potential action. (author abstract)

How do teachers' experiences and attitudes toward children with disabilities affect inclusive classroom practices?

Classroom readiness for successful inclusion: Teacher factors and preschool children's experience with and attitudes toward peers with disabilities
Kwon, Kyong-Ah, 07/01/2017

The current study examined (1) associations among teachers' experiences regarding children with disabilities (i.e., education, specialized training, years of work experience), their attitudes toward disabilities, and their classroom practices in relation to inclusion and (2) associations among children's attitudes toward peers with disabilities and child and teacher factors. Ninety-one 4- and 5-year-old children participated in an interview, and their teachers completed a survey. Teachers' specialized training and bachelor's degree in early childhood education (ECE) were positively associated with their inclusive practices in the classroom; teachers' bachelor's degree in ECE and experiences working with children with disabilities were positively associated with their attitudes toward disabilities and inclusion; and children's perceived contact with people who have disabilities was positively associated their attitudes toward peers with disabilities. However, none of the teacher factors predicted children's attitudes toward peers with disabilities. Early childhood teachers need more training opportunities to learn about disabilities to develop positive attitudes toward disabilities and inclusion. Providing frequent contact with people with disabilities may enhance children's acceptance of peers with disabilities. (author abstract) For additional information, check out our policy brief on preschool inclusion.

What are fathers' preferences and involvement in families' child care decision-making?

Decision making about nonparental child care by fathers: What is important to fathers in a nonparental child care program
Rose, Katherine Kensinger, 01/01/2018

While research exists on maternal preferences and decisions about child care, fathers are an underrepresented population in this literature. In an effort to fill this gap, this study examines the types of child care preferred, the level of involvement in the decision-making process, as well as the importance of certain characteristics of nonparental care in a sample of 130 fathers of children under the age of 6 years (6.2% of whom did not live with the child). Sixty-four percent of fathers in this sample indicated active involvement in making child care decisions with the child's mother and 67% preferred parental care for their infants. Results for ratings, rankings, and conjoint analysis of the importance of certain characteristics of child care revealed slight variations depending on the method used to collect the data. Implications for these results are discussed. (author abstract)

How do child care providers perceive their role in supporting children's healthy behaviors?

Big impact on small children: Child-care providers' perceptions of their role in early childhood healthy lifestyle behaviours
Sisson, Susan B., 04/01/2017

The purpose of this study is to examine childcare providers' perceptions of their role in child health behaviors and attitudes pertaining to physical activity and nutrition. Part and full-time providers in a childcare center or family childcare home were interviewed (n = 30) in this cross-sectional, qualitative study. Transcripts were digitally recorded, transcribed, coded, and analyzed for general themes and sub-themes using a grounded theory by three investigators. All participants were women (100%), and most were employed full time (73%). Four general themes were identified with sub-themes: 1) teachers' perceptions of their role; 2) teachers' perceptions of lack of consistency between home and school; 3) teachers' attitudes and beliefs about movement and; 4) teachers' attitudes about food, feeding, and child nutrition. Providers emphasized their care-giving role and did not identify their role in shaping health behaviors. Engaging with parents is indispensable, but providers are often frustrated with parents' double standards. They felt that movement was important, but that children were sufficiently active. Teachers encouraged eating, but acknowledged personal struggles with good nutrition. Empowering childcare teachers to serve as role models for all healthy behaviors may benefit child and teacher wellness. (author abstract)

What are the economic challenges confronting the child care workforce?

The economic realities of early childhood education in the United States and the policy implications for economically disadvantaged children, families, and the child care workforce
Van Dyke, Melissa K., 01/01/2017
In I. U. Iruka, S. M. Curenton, and T. R. Durden (Eds.), African American children in early childhood education: Making the case for policy investments in families, schools, and communities (pp. 291-310). Bingley, United Kingdom: Emerald Publishing

Often overlooked in discussions related to how to ensure accessible and affordable high-quality early childhood education is the heavy burden that has been carried by the early childhood workforce; the data reveal a level of exploitation of this workforce that must be considered and addressed. This chapter will focus attention on the economic realities of the early childhood workforce as a key element to achieve equitable access to affordable high-quality early childhood services. (author abstract) For additional resources on the child care workforce, see our resource list on early care and education workplace conditions and teacher stress.

Are there child care deserts in the greater Tucson, Arizona, area?

Child care and early education accessibility in Tucson
Making Action Possible for Southern Arizona, 09/14/2017
(Making Action Possible for Southern Arizona (MAP Dashboard) White Paper No. 5). Tucson, AZ: Making Action Possible for Southern Arizona. Retrieved from https://mapazdashboard.arizona.edu/sites/default/files/images/walsh_white_paper_final.pdf

In keeping with the growing focus on areas with limited availability of specific resources, such as food deserts and medically‐underserved areas, there is a burgeoning interest in examining places lacking an adequate child care supply. A "child care desert" is defined as a ZIP code containing at least 30 children under age 5 that has limited or no center‐based early care and education programs (i.e., there are more than three times as many children under age 5 as there are spaces in the child care settings). The Center for American Progress mapped these areas in eight states across the U.S., finding that 42 percent of young children in the study area lived in child care deserts. Here, we undertake similar analyses to explore child care availability in the greater Tucson area. We look first at child care programs for all young children, birth to 5, and then focus on early education programs targeted to the preschool ages of 3 and 4 years. This study has two objectives: (1) to identify and map "child care deserts" and describe local communities with limited access to child care in terms of the prevalence of young children, socioeconomic factors, and race and ethnicity; and (2) to explore the accessibility of early education programs for preschool‐age children. (author abstract)

How can the early childhood field identify evidence-based practices?

Evidence-based practices: Providing guidance for early childhood practitioners
Farley, Kristin Sue, 01/01/2018

Early childhood education represents a pivotal opportunity to improve the developmental trajectories of young children, and evidence-based practices (EBPs) are scientifically proven to improve these outcomes. Furthermore, federal law mandates that early childhood practitioners implement EBPs. However, because EBP has not been clearly defined in early childhood education, and it is sometimes conflated with the related, but distinct, approach of developmentally appropriate practice (DAP), many early childhood educators struggle with how to identify which practices are evidence based, developmentally appropriate, both, or neither. In other fields related to education, professional organizations provide explicit guidelines for identifying EBPs. Here, the authors review guidelines from professional and government organizations and provide suggestions for how the field of early childhood education might develop its own guidelines. Furthermore, the authors propose a framework for how their field might maintain a dual emphasis on EBPs and DAP. Specifically, the authors call on researchers, content experts, and practitioners to collectively develop criteria for identifying and evaluating EBPs and DAPs, and then widely disseminate these criteria through websites, reports, and conferences to assist practitioners as they select EBPs that will promote optimal learning and development. (author abstract)

What opportunities and challenges do online degree programs present for preschool teachers?

When degree programs for pre-K teachers go online: Challenges and opportunities
Cook, Shayna, 11/01/2017
Washington, DC: New America Foundation. Retrieved from https://na-production.s3.amazonaws.com/documents/When-Degree-Programs-Online.pdf

These policies are raising big questions: What is the best way to support lead teachers in attaining a bachelor's degree? What are the equity implications of this credential requirement for the existing workforce, for people new to the field, and for children? What do we know about the availability and quality of existing degree programs? Could they be offered in a way that would enable a teacher to earn her degree at night without disrupting her work with children? Could online degree programs provide new opportunities? Or do they simply represent a new set of challenges related to quality and access? This report aims to start answering those last two questions, which represent new and unexplored terrain in early childhood education policy. To investigate the intersection of issues in teacher preparation, early childhood policy, and online degree programs, my colleagues and I synthesized findings from published reports on the state of teacher preparation, conducted interviews with experts (including members of the advisory group described on page 4), culled information from websites of institutions offering online degree programs, and analyzed national data sets on early childhood teacher preparation programs, as well as surveys of the early childhood workforce. We focused primarily on the segment of the early childhood workforce that is closest to achieving the bachelor's degree credential and commensurate compensation: pre-K lead teachers. Our findings show how online degrees can provide teachers with greater access to programs, but also point to the need for better higher education data and the benefits of degree programs that provide teachers with financial supports. (author abstract)

What have we learned about coaching in early childhood education?

Primetime for coaching: Improving instructional coaching in early childhood education
O'Keefe, Bonnie, 12/01/2017
Sudbury, MA: Bellwether Education Partners. Retrieved from https://bellwethereducation.org/sites/default/files/Bellwether_ECECoaching_GHS_Final.pdf

This paper considers ECE coaching programs and research at the state, local, and federal level, for educators of children ages birth to five, with a particular focus on Head Start programs. It summarizes what we know about coaching in ECE and shares some of the challenges, lessons, and opportunities emerging from research and program experiences. Then it recommends how early learning program leaders, policymakers, funders, and researchers can encourage and implement coaching more effectively. (author abstract)

How does integrating the arts into Head Start support children’s school readiness?

The art of Head Start: Intensive arts integration associated with advantage in school readiness for economically disadvantaged children
Brown, Eleanor D., 01/01/2017

The present study examined the impact of intensive arts integration on school readiness for economically disadvantaged children attending Head Start preschool. Participants were 265 children, ages 3-5 years. Of these, 197 attended a fully arts-integrated Head Start, where children received daily music, dance, and visual arts classes in addition to homeroom, and 68 attended a matched comparison program that did not include arts classes. The Bracken Basic Concepts Scale, Third Edition- Receptive (BBCS-3:R) was used to measure children's school readiness at the start and end of a year of preschool attendance. According to a repeated-measures multivariate analysis of covariance (MANCOVA), children at the arts-integrated Head Start showed greater gains in school readiness compared to their peers at the comparison program. Univariate tests revealed that attendance at the arts-integrated preschool was associated with greater gains on a general school readiness composite as well as in specific concept areas of texture/material and self/social awareness. Findings suggest that the arts can add value to Head Start preschool. Implications concern the arts as a vehicle for equalizing educational opportunities for young, economically disadvantaged children. (author abstract)

What is the health status of the family child care provider workforce?

Family child care home providers as role models for children: Cause for concern?
Tovar, Alison, 03/01/2017

Health behaviors associated with chronic disease, particularly healthy eating and regular physical activity, are important role modeling opportunities for individuals working in child care programs. Prior studies have not explored these risk factors in family child care home (FCCH) providers which care for vulnerable and at-risk populations. To address this gap, we describe the socio-demographic and health risk behavior profiles in a sample of providers (n = 166 FCCH) taken from baseline data of an ongoing cluster-randomized controlled intervention (2011-2016) in North Carolina. Data were collected during on-site visits where providers completed self-administered questionnaires (socio-demographics, physical activity, fruit and vegetable consumption, number of hours of sleep per night and perceived stress) and had their height and weight measured. A risk score (range: 0-6; 0 no risk to 6 high risk) was calculated based on how many of the following were present: not having health insurance, being overweight/obese, not meeting physical activity, fruit and vegetable, and sleep recommendations, and having high stress. Mean and frequency distributions of participant and FCCH characteristics were calculated. Close to one third (29.3%) of providers reported not having health insurance. Almost all providers (89.8%) were overweight or obese with approximately half not meeting guidelines for physical activity, fruit and vegetable consumption, and sleep. Over half reported a "high" stress score. The mean risk score was 3.39 ([plus or minus] 1.2), with close to half of the providers having a risk score of 4, 5 or 6 (45.7%). These results stress the need to promote the health of these important care providers. (author abstract)

How often are low-income children exposed to math in preschool?

Preschool math exposure in private center-based care and low-SES children's math development
Bachman, Heather J., 04/01/2018

Research Findings: The present study examined the amount of exposure to math activities that children of low socioeconomic status (SES) encounter in private community-based preschool classrooms and whether greater time in these activities predicted higher math skills. Three cohorts of 4- to 5-year-old children were recruited from 30 private centers, resulting in a sample of 288 children nested within 73 preschool classrooms. Classroom observations were conducted for 150 min during fall and winter of the preschool year using a time sampling method. Preschoolers were exposed to an average daily amount of 2 min (range = 0-23) of math exposure. Hierarchical linear models were run to examine associations between math exposure and math achievement. Children's exposure to math activities significantly and positively predicted their spring math scores, but associations between math exposure and math scores were stronger for children with lower initial cognitive abilities and self-regulation skills. Practice or Policy: Our findings revealed generally low levels of math instruction occurring in private child care centers primarily serving low-SES children. Even limited exposure to math activities predicted children's math skills, however, which highlights the importance of math content in these settings. (author abstract)

What is the average cost of child care for families in each state?

Parents and the high cost of child care: 2017 report
Fraga, Lynette M., 01/01/2017
Arlington, VA: Child Care Aware of America. Retrieved from https://usa.childcareaware.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/2017_CCA_High_Cost_Report_FINAL.pdf

This edition of Parents and the High Cost of Child Care: 2017 is a slimmer, more cost-focused report than in previous years. As we continue to dive into child care costs around the country and to explore the true cost of child care, we know that one report is no longer sufficient. Throughout 2017, we will dive deeper into the effects of child care costs on families of infants and toddlers, families of children with special needs, single parents, and child care providers. In this report, we focus in on the importance of child care as a workforce support; high-quality child care yields a multi-fold return on investment in long-term outcomes for children, families, business, and our economy. As in year's past, we provide the average cost of care for each state and the percent of median income married and single parents pay for child care. Costs and affordability percentages are reported for center-based and family child care; top 10 rankings are provided within the body of this report and all rankings, reported costs, and affordability percentages are provided in the Appendix document. Costs and affordability by child care type and household have been included in the interactive Cost of Child Care map on our web site. In addition, county-level data have been included in the interactive map for seven states: Alaska, Arizona, Delaware, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and New Hampshire. (author abstract)

Are out-of-school time programs effective?

The value of out-of-school time programs
McCombs, Jennifer Sloan, 01/01/2017
(PE-267-WF). Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation. Retrieved from https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/perspectives/PE200/PE267/RAND_PE267.pdf

To better understand the value and effectiveness of out-of-school time (OST) programs, RAND researchers examined programs through the lenses of content, dosage (the hours of content provided), and outcomes measured, focusing on rigorous (i.e., experimental or quasi-experimental) large-scale evaluations and meta-analyses. The overall conclusion is that OST programs are generally effective at producing the primary outcomes that would be expected based on their programming. However, the primary benefits of such programs are often understudied or underreported. When making funding decisions, federal, state, and local governments and private foundations should consider all the benefits that programs provide to youth and families and emphasize program quality. (author abstract)

What are the characteristics of early childhood program leaders and leadership policies in each state?

Closing the leadership gap: 2017 status report on early childhood program leadership in the United States
Abel, Michael B., 07/01/2017
Wheeling, IL: National-Louis University, McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership. Retrieved from http://mccormickcenter.nl.edu/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/2017-LEAD-Clearinghouse-webbook_12.pdf

This document provides an overview of the L.E.A.D. Early Childhood Clearinghouse, a resource that collects data about early childhood program leadership. It includes information on the Clearinghouse, including its need, development, and data; a national overview of administrators and of leadership standards and development; the ways in which the Clearinghouse can be used; and policy and research recommendations. State profiles for each state and the District of Columbia provide policy levers scores and information on administrators and leadership development. Check out our resource list on Leadership Development for Center-Based Program Directors for additional information.

How can state and territory child care subsidy program administrators get the most out of licensing data?

A guide to support states and territories' use of child care licensing data
National Center on Early Childhood Quality Assurance, 10/01/2017
Fairfax, VA: National Center on Early Childhood Quality Assurance. Retrieved from https://childcareta.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/public/licensing_data_guide.pdf

This guide will help CCDF/licensing Administrators assess current licensing data systems and identify needed changes. It explores new uses for licensing data, examines some strategies for dealing with common challenges, and provides additional resources for review and reference. In addition, Appendix A of the guide highlights three States--Iowa, North Carolina, and Texas--describing their current licensing data systems, uses of their data, and recent and planned changes to their licensing data systems in response to the 2014 reauthorization and 2016 final rule. Appendix B of the guide includes tables to help identify gaps between data elements that are currently collected and data that are required to be collected. The tables also include suggestions for possible new data elements. (author abstract) For more resources on administrative data check out our Working with Administrative Data page.

What are the types, quality, and accessibility of child care in rural America?

Child care type, access, and quality in rural areas of the United States: A review
Anderson, Sara, 01/01/2017

Millions of children in the United States live in rural areas and often start school with fewer school readiness skills than counterparts in urban areas. Access to high-quality child care could be a mechanism to improve school readiness; however, it is unclear what, if anything, distinguishes child care in rural and urban areas. Focusing specifically on three aspects of child care pertinent to children's school readiness, including type, access, and quality, we review the extant literature on characteristics of child care in rural areas of the United States and identified seventeen studies. Parents in rural (vs. urban) areas more commonly select and can access family- or home-based child care vs. centre-based care. Child care quality bears similar relations with children's outcomes in rural and urban areas. This descriptive review suggests the need for additional research focused on child care in rural areas to better inform child care policy. (author abstract)

How common are nonstandard work schedules among low-income Hispanic parents of young children?

How common are nonstandard work schedules among low-income Hispanic parents of young children?
Crosby, Danielle A., 11/01/2017
(Publication No. 2017-50). Bethesda, MD: National Research Center on Hispanic Children & Families. Retrieved from http://www.hispanicresearchcenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Hispanics-Center-parental-work-hours-Brief-11.1.pdf

This brief draws on survey and retrospective calendar data from the 2012 National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE) to describe the work schedules of low-income Hispanic parents with young children from birth to age 5 (not yet in kindergarten), and provide comparison data for their non-Hispanic white and black counterparts. We calculate the percentages of low-income Hispanic children with parents working standard weekday, early morning, evening, overnight, and/or weekend hours. We also examine the percentage of children whose parents have short advance notice (one week or less) of their work hours, which has been shown to complicate parents' efforts to arrange child care and maintain family routines. Importantly, we report estimates separately for children in single- and two-parent households, as families' ECE needs, preferences, and options vary depending on the number of parents in the home. We additionally look at differences among Hispanic children by household nativity status. (author abstract) For additional resources, check out Research Connections' publication Child Care During Nonstandard Work Hours

What does the Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey 2009 (FACES 2009) tell us about Head Start programs?

A portrait of Head Start programs: Findings from FACES 2009
Moiduddin, Emily M., 09/01/2017
(OPRE Report 2017-72). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/faces09_year4rpt_head_start_programs_final_508_compliant.pdf

This report is part of a series of reports describing data from the 2009 cohort of the Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES 2009). Other FACES 2009 reports and data tables address the characteristics of Head Start children, their families, classrooms, and programs at program entry (Hulsey et al. 2011), during their first year in the program (Moiduddin et al. 2012), and child outcomes from program entry through program exit (Aikens et al. 2013). Another report focuses on describing aspects of the Head Start family and classroom environment that may support children's development (Malone et al. 2017), and a brief explores children's developmental progress and kindergarten environments in more depth (Aikens et al. 2017).The current report provides a portrait of Head Start programs, including characteristics of programs and management staff, supports provided to staff at all levels, and program services. An accompanying table set (Kopack Klein et al. 2017) provides additional detail on the findings in this report. (author abstract) Additional recent FACES 2009 releases examine family and classroom supports for kindergarten achievement and children's developmental progress and kindergarten experiences

What is the content of online training for child care providers?

Online child care training in the United States: A preliminary investigation of who participates, what is offered, and on which topics the workforce is focusing
Ackerman, Debra J., 12/01/2017

Current US policies call for a child care teacher workforce that can support program quality and enhance infants', toddlers', and preschoolers' learning and development. Given minimal state pre-hire requirements, this context has implications for the workforce's in-service training. Yet, there is limited research on who participates in training, the focus of what is offered, and variations in participation rates across topics. Also needed is a better understanding of the role online training might play in meeting the workforce's in-service needs. To address these interrelated issues, I present descriptive analyses of a convenience sample of aggregate data from a US-wide online child care training provider. Enrollees' ages and education levels reflect the larger child care workforce. The majority of the offered training is at the beginner level and 1 h in duration. Since 2010, enrollees completed an average of 10-12 online training hours annually. Roughly one-third of the completed training was related to planning a safe, healthy learning environment. These findings suggest the need for more rigorous research on child care workforce participation in training, particularly related to the extent to which online training can respond to policies aimed at enhancing workforce capacity to support program quality and young children's learning and development. (author abstract) For additional resources on distance learning, check out Research Connections' publication Off-Site Coaching in Early Childhood Center-Based Settings

What practices successfully engage Latino fathers in Early Head Start?

Engaging Latino fathers into Early Head Start: A review of the literature
Acevedo-Polakovich, Ignacio D., 11/01/2017

In the United States (U.S.), Early Head Start programs provide important services and resources that can benefit children and families. While additional benefits occur when these programs engage fathers, Early Head Start has historically experienced challenges engaging fathers, generally, and Latino fathers in particular. Identifying practices that successfully engage Latino fathers is particularly important as Latinas/os account for more than half of the U.S. population growth since 2000. We reviewed the relevant research and evaluation literature, identifying 23 engagement practices with some degree of empirical support. These practices highlight the roles of organizational change and of cultural responsiveness in engaging U.S. Latino fathers. Our discussion focuses on the implications of these findings for research and practice. (author abstract) For related resources, check out Research Connections' publication on supporting parent engagement in linguistically diverse families

What are children's developmental outcomes in a public Montessori preschool program?

Montessori preschool elevates and equalizes child outcomes: A longitudinal study
Lillard, Angeline S., 10/30/2017

Quality preschool programs that develop the whole child through age-appropriate socioemotional and cognitive skill-building hold promise for significantly improving child outcomes. However, preschool programs tend to either be teacher-led and didactic, or else to lack academic content. One preschool model that involves both child-directed, freely chosen activity and academic content is Montessori. Here we report a longitudinal study that took advantage of randomized lottery-based admission to two public Montessori magnet schools in a high-poverty American city. The final sample included 141 children, 70 in Montessori and 71 in other schools, most of whom were tested 4 times over 3 years, from the first semester to the end of preschool (ages 3-6), on a variety of cognitive and socio-emotional measures. Montessori preschool elevated children's outcomes in several ways. Although not different at the first test point, over time the Montessori children fared better on measures of academic achievement, social understanding, and mastery orientation, and they also reported relatively more liking of scholastic tasks. They also scored higher on executive function when they were 4. In addition to elevating overall performance on these measures, Montessori preschool also equalized outcomes among subgroups that typically have unequal outcomes. First, the difference in academic achievement between lower income Montessori and higher income conventionally schooled children was smaller at each time point, and was not (statistically speaking) significantly different at the end of the study. Second, defying the typical finding that executive function predicts academic achievement, in Montessori classrooms children with lower executive function scored as well on academic achievement as those with higher executive function. This suggests that Montessori preschool has potential to elevate and equalize important outcomes, and a larger study of public Montessori preschools is warranted. (author abstract)

What is the impact of early education on medium- and long-term educational outcomes?

Impacts of early childhood education on medium- and long-term educational outcomes
McCoy, Dana Charles, 11/01/2017

Despite calls to expand early childhood education (ECE) in the United States, questions remain regarding its medium- and long-term impacts on educational outcomes. We use meta-analysis of 22 high-quality experimental and quasi-experimental studies conducted between 1960 and 2016 to find that on average, participation in ECE leads to statistically significant reductions in special education placement (d = 0.33 SD, 8.1 percentage points) and grade retention (d = 0.26 SD, 8.3 percentage points) and increases in high school graduation rates (d = 0.24 SD, 11.4 percentage points). These results support ECE's utility for reducing education-related expenditures and promoting child well-being. (author abstract)

How has ParentCorps affected children's mental health and academic performance in the long term?

Effects of ParentCorps in prekindergarten on child mental health and academic performance: Follow-up of a randomized clinical trial through 8 years of age
Brotman, Laurie Miller, 12/01/2016

IMPORTANCE Low-income minority children living in urban neighborhoods are at high risk for mental health problems and underachievement. ParentCorps, a family-centered, school-based intervention in prekindergarten, improves parenting and school readiness (ie, self-regulation and preacademic skills) in 2 randomized clinical trials. The longer-term effect on child mental health and academic performance is not known. OBJECTIVE To examine whether ParentCorps delivered as an enhancement to prekindergarten programs in high-poverty urban schools leads to fewer mental health problems and increased academic performance in the early elementary school years. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS This is a 3-year follow-up study of a cluster randomized clinical trial of ParentCorps in public schools with prekindergarten programs in New York City. Ten elementary schools serving a primarily low-income, black student population were randomized in 2005, and 4 consecutive cohorts of prekindergarten students were enrolled from September 12, 2005, through December 31, 2008. We report follow-up for the 3 cohorts enrolled after the initial year of implementation. Data analysis was performed from September 1, 2014, to December 31, 2015. INTERVENTIONS ParentCorps included professional development for prekindergarten and kindergarten teachers and a program for parents and prekindergarten students (13 two-hour group sessions delivered after school by teachers and mental health professionals). MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES Annual teacher ratings of mental health problems and academic performance and standardized tests of academic achievement in kindergarten and second grade by testers masked to the intervention or control group randomization. RESULTS A total of 1050 children (4 years old; 518 boys [49.3%] and 532 girls [50.7%]) in 99 prekindergarten classrooms participated in the trial (88.1% of the prekindergarten population), with 792 students enrolled from 2006 to 2008. Most families in the follow-up study (421 [69.6%]) were low income; 680 (85.9%) identified as non-Latino black, 78 (9.8%) as Latino, and 34 (4.3%) as other. Relative to their peers in prekindergarten programs, children in ParentCorps-enhanced prekindergarten programs had lower levels of mental health problems (Cohen d=0.44; 95% CI, 0.08-0.81) and higher teacher-rated academic performance (Cohen d = 0.21; 95% CI, 0.02-0.39) in second grade. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE Intervention in prekindergarten led to better mental health and academic performance 3 years later. Family-centered early intervention has the potential to prevent problems and reduce disparities for low-income minority children. (author abstract)

What tools and resources are available to support researchers' use of early childhood administrative data?

Early childhood data definitions: A guide for researchers using administrative data
King, Carlise, 10/01/2017
(OPRE Research Brief No. 2017-67). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/cceepradatadefinitions_109_b508comp.pdf

This guide is intended to increase researchers' awareness of existing resources that can help them define variables to support secondary analysis of administrative datasets. Administrative data are often difficult to analyze because the same or very similar variables are defined differently in different datasets. For example, something as seemingly simple as the age of a child could be defined using a child's exact date of birth, pre-defined age categories (i.e., infant, toddler, preschool-age, etc.), or number of years old at enrollment date (e.g., 3 years old, 4 years old, etc.). These variables may be defined differently among existing administrative datasets. In these instances, researchers must determine the best way to define variables (which may include recoding existing data) before using them. Although there are resources and tools available to help researchers make decisions to resolve these discrepancies, researchers may not be aware of them. This guide summarizes the resources specific to early childhood data and gives examples of how researchers may want to use them. (author abstract) For additional information, check out Research Connections' Working with Administrative Data resource page

What does the National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE) show about the child care choices of low-income, immigrant families with young children?

Child care choices of low-income, immigrant families with young children: Findings from the National Survey of Early Care and Education
Sandstrom, Heather, 11/01/2017
Washington, DC: Urban Institute. Retrieved from https://www.urban.org/sites/default/files/publication/94546/child-care-choices-of-low-income-immigrant-families-with-young-children.pdf

In this brief, we explore differences in the child care settings foreign-born, US-born, LEP, and English-proficient parents select for their young children. We also explore differences in their child care preferences and perceptions and in the household characteristics that might explain their patterns. In this way, we shed light on how being an immigrant and having limited English proficiency, among other factors, might influence parents' interest in and ability to access different child care. (author abstract) For more information and resources from the NSECE, check out our NSECE page

Which sociodemographic factors influence the school readiness of children from low-income families?

A structural model of early indicators of school readiness among children of poverty
Gullo, Dominic F., 03/01/2018

Factors that affect children's school readiness potential are evident even from birth. Structural equation modeling was used to test the hypotheses that certain factors related to gender, approaches to learning, age at school entry, family income, and the health status of the child at birth have an effect on low-socioeconomic status (SES) children's readiness for school. Data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study - Birth Cohort (ECLS-B) was used to test the hypotheses. Included in the sample were 1700 children of diverse racial/ethnic backgrounds. All the children were in the lowest SES quintile of the children making up the ECLS-B cohort. The hypothesized model suggested that there were both direct and indirect influences on children's school readiness performance. Potential risk factors and implications for ameliorating negative influences were identified. (author abstract)

How does foster parent book reading relate to social-emotional development of Head Start children?

Parental book reading and social-emotional outcomes for Head Start children in foster care
Lee, Kyunghee, 01/01/2016

This study examines the associations between parental book reading and social-emotional outcomes for Head Start children in foster care. Despite no main Head Start impact on parental book reading, subgroup effects were found. Foster parents in Head Start provided more book reading for children with disabilities but less for children with low preacademic scores. Head Start enhanced social-emotional outcomes for children in foster care. The positive impacts of Head Start on children's social-emotional outcomes were greater when parents read books frequently. Head Start should include more foster families and provided parenting skills to enhance social-emotional outcomes for children in foster care. (author abstract)

How are mothers' depression and decisions about Head Start enrollment linked with racial disparities in services and supports?

Racial disparities in perceived social support and social service use: Associations with maternal depression and Head Start participation
Lee, Kyunghee, 11/01/2017

Using the Head Start Impact Study data, this study examined racial disparities in maternal perceptions of social support and social service receipt, and their associations with depression. Associations between Head Start participation and these variables were also studied. A total of 3,269 mothers were included (n=971 Black, 1,086 Hispanic, and 1,212 White). Compared to White mothers, Hispanic mothers indicated perceiving less assistance from social supports. Black and Hispanic mothers were less likely to use social services and reported lower levels of depression than White mothers. Head Start mothers perceived more helpfulness from social supports than non-Head Start mothers. Head Start, however, was not associated with social service use or maternal depression. Results suggest Head Start participation may be related to greater ability to reap benefits from relationships with friends and family among low-income mothers. (author abstract)

Is residential mobility at kindergarten transition associated with behavior problems for foster children?

Residential mobility predicts behavioral problems for children living in non-parental care during the transition to kindergarten
Schmitt, Sara A., 06/01/2017

The present study examines the extent to which residential mobility during the transition to kindergarten (cumulative moves during prekindergarten and kindergarten) is related to externalizing and internalizing behavior problems for children from low-income families who are living in non-parental care. A second, exploratory aim of this study was to investigate whether family service receipt moderated these relations. Data were obtained from the Head Start Impact Study. The sample included 300 children (53% male) who were eligible for Head Start. Residential mobility was conceptualized as three dichotomous variables: never moved, moved 1-2 times, and moved 3 or more times during the prekindergarten and kindergarten years. Predictor and outcome data were collected in the spring of prekindergarten and kindergarten. Moving three or more times was significantly related to more externalizing and internalizing behavior problems in kindergarten, controlling for family and child covariates, as well as for children's behavior problems in prekindergarten. Receipt of family services moderated the association between moving three or more times and externalizing problems, but not internalizing problems. This relation was in the opposite direction than expected, however, such that children who moved frequently and received more services demonstrated more externalizing problems than their peers. Implications of study findings for supporting highly mobile children living in non-parental care and directions for future research are discussed. (author abstract)

How do state quality rating and improvement systems deal with licensing violations?

Licensing violations and QRIS ratings
Early Learning Challenge Technical Assistance Program, 03/01/2017
Washington, DC: Early Learning Challenge Technical Assistance Program. Retrieved from https://elc.grads360.org/services/PDCService.svc/GetPDCDocumentFile?fileId=26408

This resource was prepared for a Race to the Top - Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) State in response to a request for information about how States handle Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) ratings when a licensed child care program has had serious license violations. This information will be helpful to other States as they prepare guidance for monitoring staff; revise the next generation of their QRIS; make decisions about which programs are eligible for child care subsidy reimbursement; and continue their collaboration with other early learning and development systems in their State. To address this request, ELC TA partnered with the BUILD Initiative, which sent the following questions to State administrators: If a child care program is rated under the QRIS and then has a licensing violation, does that impact the QRIS rating for that program? Is there some sort of guidance as to whether they maintain their rating or is it suspended as a result of the licensing violation? According to the QRIS Compendium, 38 States have a fully functioning QRIS. In addition, Florida has multiple QRIS operating at the county level. Seventeen of these States and one Florida county responded to this query. (author abstract)

What research designs work best to identify public preschool program elements meeting the specific needs of children at risk?

Public preschool in a more diverse America: Implications for next-generation evaluation research
Phillips, Deborah A., 08/01/2017
(Poverty Solutions at the University of Michigan Working Paper Series No. 2-17). Ann Arbor: Poverty Solutions at the University of Michigan. Retrieved from http://poverty.umich.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/55/2017/08/wp-02-17-prek-diverse-america.pdf

The increasing diversity of young children enrolled in state pre-K and Head Start programs has prompted examination of varying impacts for identified subgroups of young children. We argue that questions of subgroup impacts and the processes that may account for them should be prioritized in future evaluations of these programs. Three subgroups at high risk of poor school performance provide the focus for our discussion: low-income children exposed to significant adversity, dual language learners, and children with special needs. We further draw upon new hypotheses regarding the kinds of processes most likely to support both short- and longer-term public preschool impacts as they apply to these subgroups. We conclude with a set of research recommendations aimed at identifying features of these programs that may render them especially effective in the context of today's increasingly diverse classrooms of young children. (author abstract)

How does the Staffed Family Child Care Network Cost Estimation Tool help identify strategies for improving the quality of family child care?

Staffed Family Child Care Network Cost Estimation Tool user's guide
National Center on Early Childhood Quality Assurance, 09/01/2017
Fairfax, VA: National Center on Early Childhood Quality Assurance. Retrieved from https://childcareta.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/public/fccn_cost_estimation_tool_user_guide_0.pdf

The Staffed Family Child Care Network Cost Estimation Tool, the third in the series of five ECQA Center documents, is designed to assist State, regional and local organizations in better understanding the costs associated with operating a staffed FCC network. Those seeking to expand an existing network or collaborative partners pooling resources to meet the needs of family child care providers may also find the tool helpful. This cost estimation tool (CET) accompanies the resource Developing a Staffed Family Child Care Network: A Technical Assistance Manual (TA Manual), which is available at https://childcareta.acf.hhs.gov/resource/developing-staffed-family-child-care-network-technical-assistance-manual. The CET is designed to function as a dynamic model that can be used to estimate the operating costs associated with services offered by a staffed FCC network and the delivery of those services, in different state and community contexts. The data and assumptions used in the CET are based upon the best available information regarding operating costs obtained from existing FCC networks, expense data from the 2015 Head Start National Summary Program Information Report (PIR) (see appendix for additional information on PIR data), and the professional judgment of the developers of the CET. (author abstract)

Check out in the Research Connections collection the webinar Staffed family child care networks: Improving access, quality, and sustainability.

How do state prekindergarten program access and quality vary across the nation?

Little to nothing: A map of public preschool access and quality [Interactive tool]
Kanik, Alexandra,
New York, NY: Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media

This resource is an interactive online tool with individual state information. Public preschool quality and access data is depicted by state, based on data compiled by the National Institute for Early Education (NIEER).

What are the characteristics of young dual language learners (DLLs) and early childhood education and care policies in the 30 states with the largest DLL populations?

Dual language learners: A national demographic and policy profile [Interactive directory]
Park, Maki,
Washington, DC: Migration Policy Institute

This resource is an online directory of individual state fact sheets. Users can access facts sheets for 30 states with the most dual language learners (DLLs). Each state fact sheet provides a demographic overview of DLLs (compared to the non-DLL population), achievement gap data, and related state early childhood education and care policies.

How do state statutes, rules, and regulations address quality in the kindergarten through third grade years?

K-3 quality: State profiles [Interactive directory]
Rafa, Alyssa Auck, 07/18/2016
Denver, CO: Education Commission of the States

This resource is an online directory of individual state fact sheets. This database allows users to view single state profiles or launch a 50-state comparison by choosing topical questions posed in the areas of basic requirements; school readiness and transitions; assessment, intervention and retention; instructional quality; family engagement; and socio-emotional learning.

How are states addressing education issues in legislation?

State legislation: By state [Interactive directory]
Education Commission of the States,
Denver, CO: Education Commission of the States

This resource is an online directory of individual state fact sheets. This database allows users to view state legislation and regulations by state, by calendar year, or by issue (over 250 topics from which to choose).

How do improvements in women's economic opportunities influence time that parents spend with children?

Women's economic opportunities and the intra-household production of child human capital
Bruins, Marianne, 01/01/2017

This paper exploits variation in the relative demand for male and female labour during the Great Recession to estimate the effect of women's relative economic opportunities on the resources parents allocate to children. Estimates from the American Time Use Survey suggest that a 5 percentage point increase in the female-to-male wage ratio raises parents' time with children by one hour per week. Child test scores on the Peabody Picture Vocabulary test are estimated to increase by 8 per cent of a standard deviation in response to such ath the wage ratio and thn increase. Further analysis of our results suggests that an associated increase in female bargaining power is necessary to explain our empirical findings. (author abstract)

How does Head Start impact social-emotional outcomes for children with disabilities?

Head Start impact on social-emotional outcomes for children with disabilities
Lee, Kyunghee, 11/01/2016

Objective: Using the Head Start Impact Study data, this study examines Head Start's impacts on social-emotional outcomes for children with disabilities. Method: Among 4,442 children, 570 children were reported to have disabilities. Ordinary least squares regression was used to determine whether the number of disabilities, having an individualized education plan (IEP), and receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) affect social-emotional outcomes for children with disabilities and whether Head Start's impact differs depending on these factors. Results: Children with multiple disabilities, an IEP, and SSI had lower social-emotional scores. Head Start impact was found for the following subgroups: children with no disabilities, children who never received an IEP, children living in a higher income household, and Black children. Conclusions: Head Start should identify potential disabilities early and support the provision of adequate services to increase social-emotional outcomes for children with disabilities. (author abstract)

How does teachers use of comments during book reading sessions in preschool classrooms affect children's vocabulary growth?

The impact of teachers' commenting strategies on children's vocabulary growth
Barnes, Erica Marie, 07/01/2017

We examined the relations between teachers' use of comments during book reading sessions in preschool classrooms and the vocabulary growth of children with low and moderately low language ability. Using data from a larger randomized controlled trial, we analyzed comments defined as utterances that give, explain, expand, or define. Comments were coded for strategies, which were distinguished by the amount of cognitive distancing required for understanding. Strategies were divided into three levels: low, medium, and high. Videos of whole-class book reading sessions conducted in the fall were transcribed and analyzed for 489 children attending the classrooms of 52 Head Start preschool teachers. Descriptive analyses revealed that teachers largely used medium-level strategies, but relatively small amounts of low- and high-level comments. Logistic regressions revealed relationships between curriculum condition and teachers' use of instructional strategies, such that those assigned to the intervention curriculum used more high-level strategies. Multilevel models found significant relationships between medium-level comments and children's receptive vocabulary growth across one year of Head Start preschool instruction, such that children in classrooms where teachers used more medium-level comments experienced greater growth than those hearing fewer. No moderating effects were found based on children's initial language abilities. Implications for practice and future research are discussed. (author abstract)

How do early care and education (ECE) providers serving Hispanic children support access and availability of ECE programs?

How well are early care and education providers who serve Hispanic children doing on access and availability?
Guzman, Lina, 10/01/2017
(Publication No. 2017-49). Bethesda, MD: National Research Center on Hispanic Children & Families. Retrieved from http://www.hispanicresearchcenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Hispanic-Center-Providers-Brief-FINAL.pdf

After decades of lagging behind, Latino children--including those who are low-income--are enrolling in ECE programs at rates approaching those of their low-income white peers, at least among preschool-aged children. However, we still know little about the providers of ECE programs (both formal and informal) that care for and serve Latino children. Given the increasing enrollment of Hispanic children in ECE programs, what do the programs that serve this population look like? This brief provides a national portrait of providers serving a large proportion of Hispanic children, focusing on characteristics that shape access to and availability of ECE programs. We find that roughly one in five providers serve a high proportion of Hispanic children (also referred to as high-Hispanic-serving), in which 25 percent or more of the children enrolled are Hispanic. Collectively, our findings suggest many ways in which providers--and home-based providers in particular--are likely responding to the needs of Hispanic families, as well as possible areas of unmet need. (author abstract)

What are parents work schedules in households with young children?

Parent work schedules in households with young children
National Survey of Early Care and Education Project Team, 08/01/2017
(OPRE Report No. 2017-48). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/parent_work_schedules_in_households_with_young_children_toopre_083117.pdf

This research snapshot describes work schedules of parents of young children during a reference week in 2012. We describe how work schedules differ for households of different income levels; between one-parent and two-parent families; and in households where neither, one, or both parents work. One group of particular focus is 'fully-employed' households; these are households where all parents work -- a one-parent/one-worker household or a two-parent/two-worker household. (author abstract)

What is the economic impact of the early care and education industry in Georgia?

Economic impact of the early care and education industry in Georgia
Georgia State University. School of Policy Studies, 06/01/2016
Atlanta, GA: Bright From the Start. Retrieved from http://www.decal.ga.gov/documents/attachments/EconImpactReport.pdf

This study, a collaborative effort between researchers at the University of Georgia's Carl Vinson Institute of Government and Georgia State University's Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, builds on a similar 2008 study by quantifying the daily economic activity, also called the short-term economic impact, of the early care and education industry in Georgia. The state has approximately 6,200 licensed or regulated for-profit and not-for-profit early care and education centers, family child care homes, group child care homes, prekindergarten programs, military family child care homes, Head Start sites, and military early care and education centers. Using data collected from a unique survey sent to all of these child care providers in the fall of 2014, this study focuses on the industry in the wake of the Great Recession (2007-2009). The estimates of economic impact are based on 2013-2014 financial data. (author abstract)

How does the early care and education sector impact Colorado's economy?

Bearing the cost of early care and education in Colorado: An economic analysis
Franko, Meg, 09/01/2017
Denver, CO: University of Denver, Graduate School of Social Work, Butler Institute for Families. Retrieved from http://earlymilestones.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/full_report_bearing_the_cost_2017.pdf

Early Milestones Colorado enlisted the Butler Institute for Families at the University of Denver and Brodsky Research & Consulting to explore these issues in the context of the current study. The primary purposes of the study are to: 1. Describe the role of the early care and education sector in Colorado's economy 2. Explore the cost of early care and education in Colorado 3. Explain the implications of low wages and turnover in Colorado's early care and education industry 4. Identify the extent to which Colorado's early care and education sector operates as a market-based industry This report is organized around these core topic areas. Each section provides answers to key questions that help shed light on how and why the early care and education sector operates as it does, with a focus on data that are specific to Colorado. (author abstract)

What are early care and education programs' experiences of and responses to quality rating and improvement system ratings in North Carolina?

The effects of accountability incentives in early childhood education
Bassok, Daphna, 09/01/2017
(CEPA Working Paper No. 17-10). Stanford, CA: Stanford University, Center for Education Policy Analysis. Retrieved from https://cepa.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/wp17-10-v201709.pdf

In an effort to enhance the quality of early childhood education (ECE) at scale, nearly all U.S. states have recently adopted Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS). These accountability systems give providers and parents information on program quality and create both reputational and financial incentives for program improvement. However, we know little about whether these accountability reforms operate as theorized. This study provides the first empirical evidence on this question using data from North Carolina, a state with a mature QRIS. Using a regression discontinuity design, we examine how quasi-random assignment to a lower quality rating influenced subsequent outcomes of ECE programs. We find that programs responded to a lower quality rating with comparative performance gains, including improvement on a multi-faceted measure of classroom quality. Programs quasi-randomly assigned to a lower star rating also experienced enrollment declines, which is consistent with the hypothesis that parents responded to information about program quality by selectively enrolling away from programs with lower ratings. These effects were concentrated among programs that faced higher levels of competition from nearby providers. (author abstract)

What role do center-based child care teachers' qualifications play in the relationship between classroom quality and children's school readiness?

Classroom quality and children's academic skills in child care centers: Understanding the role of teacher qualifications
Lin, YingChun, 01/01/2018

This study examines the associations of teachers' levels of education and professional training with observed classroom quality and children's school readiness in community-based child care centers. Prior research provides mixed evidence about whether teachers' education predicts early childhood education (ECE) classroom quality and children's outcomes. Data are drawn from a Midwestern study of community child care centers (typically private pay non-profit or for-profit child care centers that are not directly funded by government programs) and the children ages 3-5 in their care (N = 189 centers and 661 children). This study takes advantage of a very detailed set of teacher training measures that includes information on education degrees, ECE credit-based training, and placement on the state's 17-level professional career ladder (the Registry). Using these measures, the current study is able to examine whether variations in degrees and ECE credit-based training for teachers predict observed classroom quality and children's school readiness skills. Analyses control for a rich set of variables, including children's demographic information and fall assessment scores, teachers' work-related characteristics (e.g., motivation for ECE work), and classrooms and programs' features. Results from regression models suggest few associations between teachers' education level, ECE credits, or level on the professional career ladder and observed classroom quality. The key exception is that teachers who do not have any postsecondary education and training in ECE are in classrooms of significantly lower quality compared with teachers who have a college degree. Results from hierarchical linear models indicate that teachers' education does not predict children's early academic skills. (author abstract)

What does data from the Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES) reveal about associations of home and classroom environments with Head Start children's emergent literacy skills?

Associations of home and classroom environments with Head Start children's code-related and oral language skills
Han, Jisu, 01/01/2017

This study used data from the Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES) 2009 4-year-old cohort to examine associations among family characteristics, home and classroom environments, and the emergent literacy skills of Head Start children. Results from hierarchical linear models suggest that both family and classroom contexts play a unique and interactive role in supporting Head Start children's development of different sets of emergent literacy skills. Parental warmth was positively related to children's oral language skills (i.e., receptive and expressive vocabulary knowledge), and teachers' educational level and the quality of instructional support in the classroom were significantly associated with children's code-related skills (i.e., letter-name and letter-sound knowledge). Further, high-quality instructional support in the classroom buffered the negative influence of low maternal education on children's oral language skills. Interventions focusing on enhancing the quality of parent-child interactions, in addition to professional development for teachers designed to improve the quality of instructional support, may contribute to promoting the development of emergent literacy skills of young children from low-income families. (author abstract)

What effects did a graduate certificate program on supporting children's emotion and behavior regulation have on providers' practices and children's behavior?

Investing in the early childhood mental health workforce development: Enhancing professionals' competencies to support emotion and behavior regulation in young children
Ritblatt, Shulamit, 09/01/2017

This paper delineates a preventive approach to early childhood mental health by preparing the workforce to provide relational, sensitive care to young children ages 0-5. One of the most prevalent issues in early childhood is behavioral challenges and the inability of young children to regulate themselves. This leads to an expulsion rate in early childhood (3-4 times higher than K-12 expulsion rate) and future mental health issues. The Early Childhood Social-Emotional and Behavior Regulation Intervention Specialist (EC-SEBRIS) graduate level certificate program was created to strengthen early care and education providers with the knowledge and practice of how to support emotion and behavior regulation in young children in their groups. Evaluation data provide evidence that early care and education professionals increased in their perception of self-efficacy and in their sensitivity of care and skills to support behavioral health in young children. Results indicated that the children in their care showed less challenging behaviors and increased social competencies. This manuscript highlights the importance of prevention and the dire need to provide young children with high-quality, appropriate care to support their mental health. (author abstract)

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

How do Head Start children's bilingual experiences relate to their development of inhibitory control?

Developmental associations between bilingual experience and inhibitory control trajectories in Head Start children
Santillan, Jimena, 07/01/2018

Children from lower socioeconomic (SES) backgrounds tend to be at-risk for executive function (EF) impairments by the time they are in preschool, placing them at an early disadvantage for academic success. The present study examined the potentially protective role of bilingual experience on the development of inhibitory control (IC) in 1146 Head Start preschoolers who were followed for an 18-month period during the transition to kindergarten as part of the longitudinal Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES) 2009 study. Using three waves of data, we predicted individual variation in developmental trajectories of IC for three groups that differed in bilingual experience--English monolinguals, Spanish-English bilinguals, and a group of children who transitioned from being Spanish monolingual to Spanish-English bilinguals during the course of the study. Compared to their English monolingual peers, bilingual children from Spanish-speaking homes showed higher IC performance at Head Start entry, as well as steeper IC growth over time. Children who were Spanish monolingual at the beginning of Head Start showed the lowest IC performance at baseline. However, their rate of IC growth exceeded that of children who remained English monolingual and did not differ from that of their peers who entered Head Start being bilingual. These results suggest that acquiring bilingualism and continued bilingual experience are associated with more rapid IC development during the transition from preschool to kindergarten in children from lower SES backgrounds. (author abstract)

Does Florida's Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten program impact children's early elementary school grade progression?

The effects of universal preschool on grade retention
Miller, Luke, 09/01/2017
(EdPolicyWorks Working Paper Series No. 57). Charlottesville: University of Virginia, EdPolicyWorks. Retrieved from https://curry.virginia.edu/sites/default/files/files/EdPolicyWorks_files/57_Effects_of_Preschool_on_Retention.pdf

Nationwide, the percentage of 4-year-olds enrolled in state-supported preschool programs has more than doubled since the early 2000s as states dramatically increased their investments in early childhood education. Florida's Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten Program (VPK), which began in 2005, has been a national leader with respect to preschool access. This paper provides the first evidence of the program's impacts. We measure the effect of VPK participation on the likelihood children are retained at any point between kindergarten and third grade. Employing an instrumental variables approach, we leverage local program expansion and detailed student-level data on eight cohorts of children, four who were preschool-age in the years before VPK was implemented and four who had access to VPK programs. The results indicate that VPK did not lead to changes in the likelihood children complete the third grade without ever being retained. We do find that VPK led to a change in the timing of retention. Specifically, the program led to a drop in the likelihood children were retained during the kindergarten year, but this drop was counteracted by increases in retention in subsequent school years. Implications for policy are discussed. (author abstract)

Check out in the Research Connections collection our Resource List on state preschool program evaluations and research.

What are the strategies that states and cities have successfully taken toward improving compensation for pre-K teachers?

Strategies in pursuit of pre-K teacher compensation parity: Lessons from seven states and cities
McLean, Caitlin, 01/01/2017
Berkeley: University of California, Berkeley, Center for the Study of Child Care Employment. Retrieved from http://cscce.berkeley.edu/files/2017/10/Strategies-in-Pursuit-of-Pre-K.pdf

Teachers in publicly funded pre-kindergarten programs across the nation are increasingly expected to earn educational qualifications and credentials similar to their peers teaching older children. Yet salaries and benefits remain consistently lower for pre-K teachers than for kindergarten and elementary school teachers. The Center for the Study of Child Care Employment (CSCCE), in partnership with the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER), has produced a series of materials that explore state policy efforts to move toward compensation parity between pre-K and K-3 teachers. This report -- Strategies in Pursuit of Pre-K Teacher Compensation Parity: Lessons from Seven States and Cities -- forms the third part of the series, examining a small set of states and cities with the goal of understanding the policy rationale and process for moving toward compensation parity in different contexts. Cross-state analysis of the status of compensation parity policies revealed an astonishing array of variation, but no clear model of best practice. Consequently, the purpose of this report is to explore examples of strategies that states and cities have successfully taken forward along the path toward compensation parity for pre-K teachers. (author abstract)

Check out in the Research Connections collection our Resource List on city universal preschool initiative evaluations and research.

What are the characteristics of each state's child care assistance policies?

State by state fact sheets: Child care assistance policies 2016 [Interactive directory]
National Women's Law Center,
Washington, DC: National Women's Law Center

This resource is an online directory of individual state fact sheets. Each fact sheet provides information on the state's income eligibility limit, waiting list, parent copayments, reimbursement rates, tiered reimbursement rates, and eligibility for parents searching for a job.

How does children's access to formal and high-quality early care and education vary by state regulations?

Varying states of Head Start: Impacts of a federal program across state policy contexts
Connors, Maia C., 10/01/2017

Classroom quality is critical for young children's learning, yet evidence suggests that the quality of early care and education (ECE) classrooms varies widely, even within federally administered Head Start. This study uses data from the nationally representative Head Start Impact Study to examine variation in children's access to formal and high-quality ECE by policy characteristics that demonstrate a state's commitment and approach to regulating ECE quality. Findings support existing evidence of the impact of randomization to Head Start on children's access to formal and high-quality ECE, and expand our understanding of the ways in which these impacts vary. Overall, we find that stronger state child care licensing regulations and other indicators of a child-friendly policy climate are associated with a smaller contrast between the Head Start versus control groups' access to both formal and high-quality ECE. This study also offers initial evidence that state regulations targeting the quality of an ECE program's professional environment may be particularly important for access to high-quality classrooms. (author abstract)

How can comparative regression discontinuity analysis be used to assess intervention effects on outcomes in the Head Start Impact Study?

Statistical power for the comparative regression discontinuity design with a nonequivalent comparison group
Tang, Yang, 03/01/2018

In the "sharp" regression discontinuity design (RD), all units scoring on one side of a designated score on an assignment variable receive treatment, whereas those scoring on the other side become controls. Thus the continuous assignment variable and binary treatment indicator are measured on the same scale. Because each must be in the impact model, the resulting multi-collinearity reduces the efficiency of the RD design. However, untreated comparison data can be added along the assignment variable, and a comparative regression discontinuity design (CRD) is then created. When the untreated data come from a non-equivalent comparison group, we call this CRD-CG. Assuming linear functional forms, we show that power in CRD-CG is (a) greater than in basic RD; (b) less sensitive to the location of the cutoff and the distribution of the assignment variable; and that (c) fewer treated units are needed in the basic RD component within the CRD-CG so that savings can result from having fewer treated cases. The theory we develop is used to make numerical predictions about the efficiency of basic RD and CRD-CG relative to each other and to a randomized control trial. Data from the National Head Start Impact study are used to test these predictions. The obtained estimates are closer to the predicted parameters for CRD-CG than for basic RD and are generally quite close to the parameter predictions, supporting the emerging argument that CRD should be the design of choice in many applications for which basic RD is now used. (author abstract)

How can researchers use the National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE) to study local-level early care and education supply and demand?

PSU and cluster weights user guide
NORC, 07/28/2016
Chicago, IL: NORC

This document is relevant for researchers interested in using the National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE) to carry out analysis of local-level interaction of supply and demand of early care and education. This user guide briefly describes key elements of the NSECE sampling methodology, including Primary Sampling Units (PSU) for the household and listed center- based and home-based providers, Secondary Sampling Units (SSU) for the household sample, and the Provider Cluster. The user guide explains how to create PSU- and cluster-level aggregate measures and how to appropriately use PSU and Provider Cluster Weights to generate estimates for sub-national geographic areas.

What do the results from the National Household Education Surveys Program of 2016 reveal about early childhood program participation?

Early childhood program participation, results from the National Household Education Surveys Program of 2016: First look
Corcoran, Lisa, 09/01/2017
(NCES 2017-101). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved from https://nces.ed.gov/pubs2017/2017101.pdf

This report presents data on the early care and education arrangements and selected family activities of children in the United States from birth through the age of 5 who were not yet enrolled in kindergarten by 2016. The report also presents data on parents' ratings of factors that affected their choice of child care arrangements and on their participation in various learning activities with their children. For each category of information included in the report, the results are reported by child, parent, and family characteristics. The data for this report come from the Early Childhood Program Participation (ECPP) Survey, administered as part of the 2016 National Household Education Surveys Program (NHES:2016). The ECPP survey collects data about children from birth through age 6 who are not yet enrolled in kindergarten. The ECPP asks detailed questions about children's participation in relative care, nonrelative care, and center-based care arrangements. It also asks about the main reason for choosing care; what factors were important to parents when choosing a care arrangement; the primary barriers to finding satisfactory care; what activities the family does with the child, such as reading, singing, and arts and crafts; and what the child is learning, such as counting, recognizing the letters of the alphabet, and reading. Parents are the respondents. (author abstract)

Can relative child care improve maternal parenting practices in fragile families?

The relationship of relative child care and parenting behaviors in fragile families
Lin, Ching-Hsuan, 11/01/2017

Relative child care is the most common type of child care, especially for low-income and racial/ethnic minority families. This type of child care may provide emotional support but also generate stress. This study examines whether the use of relative child care improves maternal parenting practices. Data from 3475 families in the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study were used to examine how relative child care is related to parenting behaviors and how the patterns present among each racial/ethnic and immigrant family. Parenting stress was examined as a potential moderator. Findings suggest that there is a significant relationship between the use of relative child care and parenting behaviors, especially fewer harsh parenting (i.e., physical and psychological aggression) and positive parenting behaviors (i.e., non-violent discipline parenting). Relative child care had positive effects for Black and immigrant mothers, negative effects for White mothers, and mixed effects for Hispanic mothers. Parenting stress moderated the relationship, weakening the positive effects of relative care on harsh parenting, i.e., physically and psychologically aggressive behaviors. The results are expected to contribute to child welfare practice as well as child care research and provide implications for meeting the needs of minority and vulnerable families. (author abstract)

How does the Children's Health Activity Motor Program (CHAMP) support motor skills and self-regulation in Head Start preschoolers?

Effect of the Children's Health Activity Motor Program on motor skills and self-regulation in Head Start preschoolers: An efficacy trial
Robinson, Leah E., 09/08/2016

Self-regulatory skills are broadly defined as the ability to manage emotions, focus attention, and inhibit some behaviors while activating others in accordance with social expectations and are an established indicator of academic success. Growing evidence links motor skills and physical activity to self-regulation. This study examined the efficacy of a motor skills intervention (i.e., the Children's Health Activity Motor Program, CHAMP) that is theoretically grounded in Achievement Goal Theory on motor skill performance and self-regulation in Head Start preschoolers. A sample of 113 Head Start preschoolers ([mean]age = 51.91 [plus or minus] 6.5 months; 49.5% males) were randomly assigned to a treatment (n = 68) or control (n = 45) program. CHAMP participants engaged in 15, 40-min sessions of a mastery climate intervention that focused on the development of motor skills over 5 weeks while control participants engaged in their normal outdoor recess period. The Delay of Gratification Snack Task was used to measure self-regulation and the Test of Gross Motor Development-2nd Edition was used to assess motor skills. All measures were assessed prior to and following the intervention. Linear mixed models were fit for both self-regulation and motor skills. Results revealed a significant time x treatment interaction (p < 0.001). In regard to motor skills, post hoc comparisons found that all children improved their motor skills (p < 0.05), but the CHAMP group improved significantly more than the control group (p < 0.001). Children in CHAMP maintained their self-regulation scores across time, while children in the control group scored significantly lower than the CHAMP group at the posttest (p < 0.05). CHAMP is a mastery climate movement program that enhance skills associated with healthy development in children (i.e., motor skills and self-regulation). This efficacy trial provided evidence that CHAMP helped maintain delay of gratification in preschool age children and significantly improved motor skills while participating in outdoor recess was not effective. CHAMP could help contribute to children's learning-related skills and physical development and subsequently to their academic success. (author abstract)

How do use and type of early care and education arrangements relate to young children's risk of foster placement?

Early care and education arrangements and young children's risk of foster placement: Findings from a national child welfare sample
Klein, Sacha Mareka, 12/01/2017

The study reported here builds on the existing literature that suggests that ECE may help the U.S. CWS achieve its objective of reducing child abuse and neglect by exploring ECE's relationship to the system's related objective of reducing unnecessary foster placements. The two studies linking child care subsidies to fewer foster care removals only consider the subset of ECE arrangements funded through government subvention (Lipscomb, Lewis, Masyn, & Meloy, 2012; Meloy, Lipscomb, & Baron, 2015); thus, they overlook the relationship between CWS-involved families' participation in free ECE programs like Head Start and Early Head Start (which frequently prioritize CWS-supervised children for enrollment) as well as privately paid ECE. Furthermore, the current study makes use of a nationally representative sample of children reported to CWS, and so its results are more broadly generalizable. The current study also measures ECE participation in more specific ways than child welfare researchers have previously, taking into account not only whether or not a child received regular ECE services, but also the type of services received (Head Start, other center- or home-based ECE, family/friend/relative care, other ECE, or multiple types of ECE). This paper explores two research questions with respect to children under age five reported to the U.S. CWS for suspected maltreatment: (a) Are those who receive ECE services less likely to be placed in foster care? and (b) Does the type of ECE arrangement that they use affect their likelihood of placement in foster care? (author abstract)

How do children's sleeping patterns in Head Start relate to cognitive and behavioral outcomes?

The sleeping patterns of Head Start children and the influence on developmental outcomes
Schlieber, Marisa, 01/01/2017

Background: Sleep has a significant influence on children's development. The objective of this study was to investigate Head Start children's sleeping patterns and the impact on cognitive and behavioural outcomes. Methods: Using the 2009 cohort of the Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (N = 2,868), information on sleeping patterns was assessed through parent interviews. Cognitive outcomes were assessed using direct assessments (Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-IV, the Expressive One-Word Picture Vocabulary Test, and Subtests of the Woodcock-Johnson III) in addition to teacher report. Behavioural outcomes were assessed through parent and teacher reports. A multiple regression analysis was performed for each outcome variable. Results: Descriptive findings showed that 89% of children had a regular bedtime at least 4 days per week and that the average amount of sleep per night was 10.41 hr. White mothers were more likely than other racial groups to adhere to a consistent bedtime, and maternal employment predicted less hour of sleep per night. Multiple regression analyses revealed that disrupted sleep had a negative influence on cognitive outcomes, especially in areas of mathematical problem solving, receptive language, teacher-reported literacy behaviours, and approaches to learning. Disrupted sleep was associated with the risk of misbehaviour by increasing teacher and parent ratings on aggressive behaviours, hyperactivity, and withdrawing in addition to decreased scores on overall social skills. Having an inconsistent bedtime negatively predicted expressive vocabulary and teacher-reported literacy behaviours. Conclusions: The findings of this study support the influential role of sleep on children's development. Sleeping through the night and having a consistent bedtime were found to be predictive of many areas of cognitive and behavioural development. Head Start staff can provide the supports to increase parental knowledge on appropriate child sleep practices. (author abstract)

What challenges do farmworker families face in accessing child care services?

Caring for children while working in agriculture--The perspective of farmworker parents
Liebman, Amy K., 01/01/2017

Access to safe, off-farm childcare is often a challenge for farmworkers with young children and is likely to become an increasingly salient barrier as more agricultural workers migrate together with families and as the number of women entering the agricultural workforce increases. Agriculture is one of the most hazardous industries, and the presence of young children in the workplace puts them at risk. To better understand the current nature of childcare for farmworker families and the challenges to accessing services, this project facilitated in-person surveys with 132 parents in three communities in Florida. A convenience sample that intentionally targeted parents living and working in areas with limited access to Migrant and Seasonal Head Start facilities was used to recruit participants. Most participants reported childcare access as a challenge. They expressed a desire to work in an area based on childcare availability. These findings offer agribusiness leaders important data to consider. They also suggest that industry support of childcare may be an important workforce investment. Findings indicate that high quality, affordable off-farm childcare services could serve as a means for attracting farmworkers to regions currently experiencing labor shortages. Additional research is warranted to explore this subject in diverse geographic areas. (author abstract)

Check out in the Research Connections collection a report on employers' perspective on childcare services for hired farm workers.

How do Head Start teachers perceive instructional mandates?

Policy-based instructional reform in early education: How US Head Start teachers perceive instructional mandates
Jacoby, Jennifer Wallace, 12/01/2017

The goal of this study was to investigate how early childhood teachers reported responding to the instructional mandates they received. To answer our research questions, we completed semi-structured interviews with 20 early childhood teachers and coded their responses. The participating teachers were recruited from a large Head Start agency in the United States. We found that Head Start teachers reported feeling caught between two competing priorities: the priority the program placed on compliance with instructional routines and the priority the teachers placed on addressing children's social, emotional, and behavioral needs. Essentially, teachers perceived that they must demonstrate compliance to the program's instructional mandates first and foremost. Furthermore, they perceived that the program's instructional coaches were monitoring their compliance with the mandates. As a result of this workplace context, the Head Start teachers reported that they did not feel permitted to alter the program's required instructional procedures. The implications for policy and research are discussed. (author abstract)

How does public prekindergarten program quality vary by children's race and income, within and across states?

Will public pre-K really close achievement gaps?: Gaps in prekindergarten quality between students and across states
Valentino, Rachel A.,
Stanford, CA: Stanford University, Center for Education Policy Analysis. Retrieved from https://cepa.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/Valentino_Quality%20Gaps_CEPA%20website_FINAL.pdf

Publicly funded pre-K is often touted as a means to narrow achievement gaps, but this goal is less likely to be achieved if poor/minority children do not, at a minimum, attend equal quality pre-K as their non-poor/non-minority peers. In this paper I find large "quality gaps" in public pre-K between poor/minority students and non-poor/non-minority students, ranging from 0.3 to 0.7 SD on a range of classroom observational measures. I also find that even after adjusting for several classroom characteristics, significant and sizable quality gaps remain. Finally, I find much between-state variation in gap magnitudes, and that state-level quality gaps are related to state-level residential segregation. These findings are particularly troubling if a goal of public pre-K is to minimize inequality. (author abstract)

How do disadvantaged preschoolers' achievement gains compare in universal and targeted state public prekindergarten programs?

Does universal preschool hit the target?: Program access and preschool impacts
Cascio, Elizabeth U., 03/01/2017
(NBER Working Paper No. 23215). Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research. Retrieved from http://www.nber.org/papers/w23215.pdf

Despite substantial interest in preschool as a means of narrowing the achievement gap, little is known about how particular program attributes might influence the achievement gains of disadvantaged preschoolers. This paper uses survey data on a recent cohort to explore the mediating influence of one key program attribute -- whether disadvantage itself is a criterion for preschool admission. Taking advantage of age-eligibility rules to construct an instrument for attendance, I find that universal state-funded prekindergarten (pre-K) programs generate substantial positive effects on the reading scores of low-income 4 year olds. State pre-K programs targeted toward disadvantaged children do not. Differences in other pre-K program requirements and population demographics cannot explain the larger positive impacts of universal programs. The alternatives to universal and targeted state pre-K programs also do not significantly differ. Together, these findings suggest that universal preschools offer a relatively high-quality learning experience for low-income children not reflected in typical quality metrics. (author abstract)

How can the positive behavior intervention model in early childhood programs support parent engagement with social and emotional strategies?

Supporting parent engagement in programme-wide behavioural intervention implementation
Cummings, Katrina P., 11/01/2017

Positive behaviour intervention and support (PBIS) models are evolving as an effective means to promote social and emotional competence among young children and address challenging behaviours. This study was designed to gain insights into parental involvement in programme-wide implementation of the Pyramid model. Interviews were conducted with seven parents to examine: (a) parents' knowledge of social and emotional strategies; (b) which social and emotional strategies parents find useful; and (c) parents' communication preferences for obtaining information about social and emotional strategies. Interviews were guided by community-engaged research principles, which allowed a contextual understanding of data through the lens of various stakeholders. The results revealed that parents had varied knowledge about social and emotional strategies and were interested in strategies that were practical and easy to access. Implications for practitioners and policy-makers supporting parental involvement in programme-wide PBIS efforts for young children are discussed. (author abstract)

Was an intervention in Head Start programs to prevent maternal depression effective?

Efficacy of a maternal depression prevention strategy in Head Start: A randomized clinical trial
Silverstein, Michael, 08/01/2017

IMPORTANCE Low-income and minority mothers experience a disproportionate incidence of depression and lack access to treatment services. Development of prevention strategies in accessible community-based venues is a potentially important public health strategy. OBJECTIVE To determine the efficacy of a depression prevention strategy embedded in Head Start. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS This randomized clinical trial was performed from February 15, 2011, through May 9, 2016, at 6 Head Start agencies serving families at or below the federal poverty level. Participants included mothers with depressed mood, anhedonia, or depression history but who were not in a current major depressive episode. Participants were followed up for 12 months with masked outcome assessments. Final follow-up was completed on May 9, 2016. INTERVENTIONS Participants were randomized to a problem-solving education (PSE) intervention (n = 111) or usual Head Start services (n = 119). MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES Primary outcomes were problem-solving skills and depressive symptoms. To capture the chronicity and intensity of symptoms, the Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptoms was administered bimonthly, and rates of clinically significant symptom elevations were compared across groups. Secondarily, the presence of a major depressive episode was assessed using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis I Disorders. RESULTS Among the 230 participants, 152 (66.1%) were Hispanic, with a mean (SD) age of 31.4 (7.3) years. An intention-to-treat analysis among 223 participants contributing follow-up data found no differences in problem-solving skills across groups. The mean (SD) number of depressive symptom elevations among the PSE participants was 0.84 (1.39) compared with 1.12 (1.47) among the usual service participants (adjusted incident rate ratio [aIRR], 0.60; 95% CI, 0.41-0.90). In analyses stratified according to baseline depressive symptoms, PSE exerted a preventive effect among those with lower-level baseline symptoms, with a mean (SD) of 0.39 (0.84) elevations among PSE participants compared with 0.88 (1.37) among usual service participants (aIRR, 0.39; 95% CI, 0.21-0.75). However, no difference was observed among those with higher-level baseline symptoms (mean [SD] elevations, 2.06 [1.92] for PSE and 2.00 [1.91] for usual service; aIRR, 1.10; 95% CI, 0.67-1.80). Analysis of symptom scores followed the same pattern, with an adjusted mean reduction of 1.33 (95% CI, 0.36-2.29) among participants with lower-level baseline symptoms. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE The PSE intervention is efficacious in preventing depressive symptom episodes and performs optimally among those with initial low-level symptoms. Additional effectiveness studies in Head Start are necessary to develop meaningful public health programs. (author abstract)

What are the experiences of mental health clinicians in providing services for preschool children?

Understanding engagement in mental health services for preschool children: An analysis of teacher, clinician, and parent perspectives
Koivunen, Julie, 05/01/2017

The purpose of this study was to examine the experiences of mental health clinicians in providing services in the preschool setting. Clinicians provided services for 3 years in urban, northern New Jersey preschools, in order to expand access to mental health services for vulnerable children. At the conclusion of the three-year period, focus groups were conducted with clinicians and teachers, and interviews were conducted with parents to gain their perspectives on the approaches used. Data were coded for emergent themes and a number of themes developed around aspects of engagement, including engaging the community, teachers, other professionals, and parents in order to effectively provide the service to the target population. The data provide insight into techniques that may increase comfort levels for seeking and accepting treatment. (author abstract)

What classroom and contextual factors affect variance in Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) scores?

Factors affecting variance in Classroom Assessment Scoring System scores: Season, context, and classroom composition
Buell, Martha J., 11/01/2017

Early care and education programme quality is usually assessed at the classroom level. One such measure of classroom quality is the classroom assessment scoring system (CLASS). In an effort to ensure higher quality programming, the CLASS is being used to direct teacher professional development. However, there has been relatively little research on environmental features that lead to differences in CLASS scores. As the CLASS becomes a regulatory tool, more research is needed on factors that can affect CLASS scores. In this quasi-experimental, descriptive study, we compare CLASS scores over the course of three years. Our data indicate patterns of seasonal fluctuation with rising scores fall to spring, but the scores revert to lower levels in the subsequent fall. We also found a relationship between CLASS scores and the proportion of boys in a classroom. These findings call for additional exploration of the factors that influence preschool CLASS scores. (author abstract)

How do teacher-child interactions in free choice and teacher-directed activity settings correlate with school readiness?

Teacher-child interactions in free choice and teacher-directed activity settings: Prediction to school readiness
Goble, Priscilla, 11/01/2017

Research Findings: This article examines whether time spent in free choice and teacher-directed activity settings within preschool was associated with indicators of school readiness and the extent to which children's learning was associated with the quality of teachers' behavior within these settings. Participants were 325 preschool teachers and 1,407 children from low-income backgrounds. Teacher-child interactions were measured in multiple cycles across 1 day of classroom observation within teacher-organized free choice and teacher-directed activity settings. The overall proportion of class time spent in free choice was positively related to children's average gains in inhibitory control, whereas class time spent in teacher-directed activities predicted gains in language development and early literacy skills. And more effective teacher-child interactions within the free choice setting were significantly related to children's average gains in language development and early literacy skills. Practice or Policy: Findings confirm that both free choice and teacher-directed settings in early education classrooms can be assets for children's learning; however, the value of time in child-managed activities is partially dependent on teachers' behavior with children. (author abstract)

What are the associations between the education of center-based early childhood education and care staff and child outcomes?

Education of staff in preschool aged classrooms in child care centers and child outcomes: A meta-analysis and systematic review
Falenchuk, Olesya, 08/30/2017

Staff education is considered key to quality of early childhood education and care (ECEC) programs. However, findings about associations between staff education and children's outcomes have been inconsistent. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of associations between ECEC staff education and child outcomes. Searches of Medline, PsycINFO, and ERIC, websites of large datasets and reference sections of all retrieved articles were conducted. Eligible studies provided a statistical link between staff education and child outcomes for preschool-aged children in ECEC programs. Titles, abstracts and paper reviews as well as all data extraction were conducted by two independent raters. Of the 823 studies reviewed for eligibility, 39 met our inclusion criteria. Research in this area is observational in nature and subject to the inherent biases of that research design. Results from our systematic review were hampered by heterogeneity in how staff education was defined, variability in whose education was measured and the child outcomes that were assessed. However, overall the qualitative summary indicates that associations between staff education and childhood outcomes are non-existent to very borderline positive. In our meta-analysis of more homogeneous studies we identified certain positive, albeit very weak, associations between staff education and children's language outcomes (specifically, vocabulary and letter word identification) and no significant association with a mathematics outcome (WJ Applied Problems). Thus, our findings suggest that within the range of education levels found in the existing literature, education is not a key driver of child outcomes. However, since we only explored levels of education that were reported in the literature, our findings cannot be used to argue for lowering education standards in ECEC settings. (author abstract)

How does the development of self-regulatory skills in early childhood differ for dual language learner (DLL) and non-DLL children?

DLLs and the development of self-regulation in early childhood
Guirguis, Ruth, 08/06/2017

Current literature and research demonstrates that learning multiple languages allows for young learners to develop higher levels of executive functioning skills. Research also suggests that Dual Language Learners (DLLs) can surpass monolinguals in these executive functioning skills. Yet, there is a dearth of literature that explicitly discusses DLLs in the early childhood setting and the development of self-regulatory skills. Self-regulation skills have been linked to better indicators of academic achievement than numeracy and literacy. This research describes the differences between DLLs' behavioral and emotional regulation, which are categorized as impulse control and cognitive regulation. This analysis examines the development of cognitive regulation and impulse control in both DLLs and non-DLLs. Results from an ANOVA of a convenience sample of 63 participants, 32 DLL (English and Spanish) and 31 non-DLL (English) preschool students, were assessed using the Preschool Self-Regulation Assessment (PSRA) and several measures of oral language proficiency. Participants were drawn from a Head Start and Universal Pre-Kindergarten program located in a low SES and culturally diverse district. The result yielded a statistically significant effect, (F(1, 61) = 8.56, p = .005; partial Eta squared = .123) for non-DLLs. ANOVA results suggest differences in cognitive regulation between the two groups. Implications relating to self-regulation, DLLs, culture and classroom practice, as well as policy are further discussed. (author abstract)

How do work schedules shape child care arrangements for parents employed in the service sector?

Instability of work and care: How work schedules shape child-care arrangements for parents working in the service sector
Carrillo, Dani, 09/01/2017

Drawing on 25 in-depth interviews with parents employed in the service sector in the San Francisco Bay area, we find that meeting the demands of work and parenting almost invariably involved reliance on informal child care. We unpack the relationship between work schedules and specific constellations of informal child care. We show that the stability and predictability of work schedules shaped child-care arrangements. Working parents with stable, although frequently nonstandard, schedules often managed child care using a tag team parenting approach. Those with unstable schedules often engaged in a child-care scramble, in which care arrangements were pieced together on an ad hoc basis. Some parents with unstable work schedules avoided child-care instability by relying heavily on one family anchor who could consistently provide child care. On-call family support can sometimes buffer against the instability created by unstable and unpredictable work schedules, but instability in work schedules often reproduces instability at home. (author abstract)

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

Early childhood teachers' psychological well-being: Exploring potential predictors of depression, stress, and emotional exhaustion
Jeon, Lieny, 01/01/2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Early childhood educators' self-efficacy in science, math, and literacy instruction and science practice in the classroom
Gerde, Hope K., 01/01/2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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How could apprenticeships benefit the early education workforce?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Check out Research Connections collection for the CCDF Policies Database.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How can after school programs promote social and emotional learning?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Absenteeism in Head Start and children's academic learning
Ansari, Arya, 07/01/2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How do child care costs differ by state?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Early childhood education to promote health equity: A Community Guide economic review
Ramon, Ismaila, 01/01/2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Differential effects of the classroom on African American and non-African American's mathematics achievement
Schenke, Katerina, 08/01/2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Student teaching within early childhood teacher preparation programs: An examination of key features across 2- and 4-year institutions
Sumrall, Teressa Cameron, 11/01/2017

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

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

Influences of family involvement in kindergarten transition activities on children's early school adjustment
Kang, Jean, 11/01/2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The development and early home experiences of young Latino boys
Cabrera, Natasha J., 02/01/2017
(Publication No. 2017-09). Bethesda, MD: National Research Center on Hispanic Children & Families. Retrieved from http://www.hispanicresearchcenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Development-and-Early-Home-Env-of-Latino-Boys.pdf

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Supporting family child care and quality improvement: Findings from an exploratory survey of Illinois child care resource and referral agency staff
Bromer, Juliet, 12/01/2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Racial/ethnic differences in kindergartners' reading and math skills: Parents' knowledge of children's development and home-based activities as mediators
Sonnenschein, Susan, 09/01/2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is the association between childcare attendance and obesity?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Multigenerational Head Start participation: An unexpected marker of progress
Chor, Elise, 01/01/2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Predicting on-time promotion to and literacy achievement in eighth grade in relation to public prekindergarten in Virginia
Almarode, John, 05/01/2015
Richmond, VA: Virginia Early Childhood Foundation. Retrieved from http://sfc.virginia.gov/pdf/Jt%20Sub%20Education/June%2011%202015/4b_VECF%20Smart%20Beginnings%20-%20Predicting%20OnTime%20Promotion%20Study%20Report%20-%20May%202015.pdf

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Discrepancies in parent and teacher ratings of low-income preschooler's social skills
Heyman, Miriam, 06/01/2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do early educators' implicit biases regarding sex and race relate to behavior expectations and recommendations of preschool expulsions and suspensions?
Gilliam, Walter S., 09/28/2016
New Haven, CT: Yale University, Child Study Center. Retrieved from https://medicine.yale.edu/childstudy/zigler/publications/Preschool%20Implicit%20Bias%20Policy%20Brief_final_9_26_276766_5379_v1.pdf

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Does social group membership increase STEM engagement among preschoolers?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How are families accessing child care using public transportation?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Early childhood administrators' attitudes and experiences in working with gay- and lesbian-parented families
Church, Julie, 03/01/2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sustaining the support in four-year-olds in childcare services with the goal of promoting their cognitive and language development
Bigras, Nathalie, 12/01/2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Are obesity prevention initiatives effective in child care facilities?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Health and safety in family day care homes: Association between regulatory non-compliance and lower median income
Rosenthal, Marjorie S., 05/01/2016

Objectives To determine frequency of noncompliance with child care regulations among family day care homes (FDCH) and identify the role of income in compliance. Methods We analyzed non-compliance in 746 routine, unannounced inspection and re-inspection reports of FDCH collected by the Connecticut Department of Public Health licensing specialists in 2007-2008 and linked results to median income of zip code data. We grouped the 83 state regulations into 12 regulation categories, analyzed 11 categories, and used latent class analysis to classify each FDCH as high or low compliance for each category. We used logistic regression analysis to estimate the odds ratios of low compliance. Results Among the 746 FDCH inspections (594 first inspections and 152 re-inspections), we found high rates of non-compliance in inspection regulations in immunizations (32.9 %), water temperature (35.6 %) and hazards (30.0 %). Among the 11 regulation categories, 4 categories (indoor safety, emergency preparedness, child/family/staff documentation, and qualifications of provider) had regulations with high noncompliance. Median household income of FDCH zip code was lower for re-inspection sites than for inspection sites ($34,715 vs. $57,118, p<0.0001) and FDCH in the lowest quartile of income had greater odds of low compliance in indoor safety (OR 1.86, 95 % CI 1.04, 3.35, p<0.05). Conclusions The majority of FDCH were in compliance with the majority of regulations, yet there are glaring noncompliance issues in inspections and re-inspections and there are income-based inequities that place children at higher risk who are already at high risk for suboptimal health outcomes. (author abstract)

What is the association between quality of teacher-child interactions and preschool children's school readiness skills?

Thresholds in the association between quality of teacher-child interactions and preschool children's school readiness skills
Hatfield, Bridget E., 07/01/2016

The present study examines the extent to which the association between school readiness skills and preschool classroom quality is higher in classrooms in which quality is above a threshold than when quality is below that threshold. A sample of 222 teachers and 875 children participated in a large, multi-site study. Classroom quality was defined as effective teacher-child interactions and measured by the Classroom Assessment Scoring System. Children's language, literacy, and inhibitory control were assessed in the fall and spring. Using predetermined thresholds for high quality, associations between quality and children's skills in inhibitory control and phonological awareness were greater when CLASS Emotional Support was rated higher, while associations between quality and skills in literacy (phonological awareness and print knowledge) were greater in classrooms in which CLASS Classroom Organization scores were higher. Effect sizes were moderate to large (d = 0.43-0.84) for associations between outcomes and quality in the higher quality ranges. Empirical approaches to identify thresholds, indicated relations between inhibitory control and both Classroom Organization and Emotional Support as higher when teacher-child interactions were rated as more effective. These results contribute to emerging evidence that features of classroom experience, such as qualities of teacher-child interactions, are more strongly associated with higher levels of children's school readiness skills when the nature of those experiences (i.e., interactions) are in the upper ranges of the distribution. However, the evidence reported herein do not warrant recommendations for specific thresholds and inconsistencies in the study's findings in comparison to previous research require further investigation before direct implications for thresholds in quality would be warranted. (author abstract)

What are the patterns of family engagement among low-income Latino families of preschool children?

Ecocultural patterns of family engagement among low-income Latino families of preschool children
McWayne, Christine M., 07/01/2016

For the 5 million low-income Latino children in the United States who are disproportionately impacted by the numerous risk factors associated with poverty, it is essential to identify proximal protective factors that mitigate these risks and bolster the academic and social skills that are foundational to a successful transition into formal schooling. Using ecocultural theory as a lens to guide this work, the present study: (a) described patterns of culture-contextualized family engagement among a low-income, Latino sample, and (b) examined relations between these patterns, family demographic factors, and children's language and social skills in preschool. Across Spanish and English language subsamples, we found evidence that there is heterogeneity in patterns of family engagement within and across language groups, such that different forms of family engagement defined the high engagement profiles in particular. We also found that demographic factors (such as child gender, family structure, and parental education and employment) predicted these patterns differentially across language groups, and that these patterns related to children's social and language skills in meaningful ways. Findings provide directions for future research, theory, and practice with this heterogeneous cultural group. (author abstract)

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Understanding the program effectiveness of early mathematics interventions for prekindergarten and kindergarten environments: A meta-analytic review
Wang, Aubrey H., 07/01/2016

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Do Norway's policy initiatives expand access to, and improve the quality of early childhood education and care?

Early childhood education and care policy review: Norway
Engel, Arno, 01/01/2015
Paris: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Retrieved from http://www.oecd.org/edu/school/Early-Childhood-Education-and-Care-Policy-Review-Norway.pdf

Early childhood education and care (ECEC) programmes can offer a wide array of benefits to children, parents and society at large -- provided they are of high quality. Since the 1999 OECD Thematic Review of ECEC in Norway, the country has undertaken major policy reforms to expand access to, and improve the quality of, the country's kindergartens. This new review delivers an independent analysis of major issues in the areas of governance, funding, access and quality of Norway's kindergartens, looking at past and present policy initiatives, and potential approaches for the future. Prepared by a review team of international researchers and OECD experts, this report draws on international evidence and insights from two review visits to the country to identify the strengths and challenges of Norway's ECEC system. The review also suggests measures to improve the system, including ensuring an adequate supply of qualified staff, further developing monitoring practices and systems to assure quality, and increasing the attractiveness of kindergarten to disadvantaged groups even more. (author abstract)

Do the socialization goals and values of first-generation immigrant mothers from diverse cultures differ from those of their children's preschool teachers in Italy?

Socialization goals of immigrant mothers from diverse cultures and of their children's preschool teachers in Italy
Lavelli, Manuela, 02/01/2016

This study investigated and compared the socialization goals and values of first-generation immigrant mothers in Italy and of their children's preschool teachers. Seventy-eight mothers of four major migrant groups--Romanian, Moroccan, Nigerian, and Sri Lankan--and 21 Italian teachers were interviewed about the most important things they want their children to learn or achieve in their life. A thematic content analysis of the interviews yielded nine categories of socialization goals that were differentially emphasized by mothers and teachers. All immigrant mothers emphasized the value of goals associated with hierarchical relatedness, particularly Respect for Adults, Religious Practice, and Sense of Family and Original Culture. However, correspondence analysis showed that the mothers' views tended to conglomerate in clusters with those of mothers of the same cultural background, indicating some differences between the four groups that might shed light on different acculturation processes. The Italian teachers focused on goals pertaining to individual psychological autonomy (Autonomy Identity), Social Integration, and Respect for Social Rules, showing a considerable distance from the immigrant mothers' main goals. These findings provide empirical evidence that children of first-generation immigrant families experience caregivers at home and in preschool with divergent goals for their development. This has important practical implications, suggesting the need for action to increase the mutual understanding of caregivers with different cultural backgrounds. (author abstract)

Does full-time versus part-time parental employment influence the use of grandparent child care in Europe?

Full-time versus part-time employment: Does it influence frequency of grandparental childcare?
Lakomy, Martin, 12/01/2015

The impact of grandparents' employment on grandparental childcare has been examined repeatedly, but the findings have so far been inconsistent. We contend that these inconsistencies may have resulted from variations in model specification and crude measurement of employment status. Furthermore, we assert that earlier research overlooked gender differences in the ability to combine paid employment and caregiving as well as variations between maternal and paternal grandparents. We also question the causal interpretation of earlier findings that were based on cross-sectional data. We revisit the issue of the impact of the intensity of employment and analyze SHARE data from 19 countries. We find a significant positive association between part-time employment (as compared to full-time employment) and the frequency of grandparental childcare in a cross-sectional sample, but only among paternal grandmothers. Capitalizing on the panel component of SHARE, we use a within-person estimator to show that this association is unlikely to reflect a causal effect of the intensity of labor market attachment on the frequency of the care of grandchildren, but more probably results from omitted variable bias. We argue that grandparents most likely to provide (intensive) childcare are also most likely to adjust their employment in anticipation of caregiving. The paper documents the usefulness of role strain theory among grandparents and highlights that part-time jobs may reduce role conflict and may thus make grandparenting a more easily manageable experience. (author abstract)

What is the association between informal child care and adolescent psychological well-being, using Hong Kong's Chinese "Children of 1997" birth cohort?

Informal child care and adolescent psychological well-being: Hong Kong's "Children of 1997" birth cohort
Leung, Cherry Y., 03/17/2015

Informal child care (child care by untrained family members, relatives or employees in the home) in Western populations is often associated with poorer psychological well-being, which may be confounded by socioeconomic position. We examined the association of informal child care, common in non-Western settings, with adolescent psychological well-being, using Hong Kong's Chinese "Children of 1997" birth cohort. Methods Multivariable linear regression was used to examine the adjusted associations of informal child care (at 0.5, 3, 5 and 11 years) with parent-reported Rutter score for child behavior at 11 years, self-reported Culture-Free Self-Esteem Inventories score at 11 years and self-reported Patient Health Questionnaire-9 depressive symptom score at 13 years. Model comparisons were used to identify the best representation of child care, in terms of a critical period of exposure to informal child care (independent variable) at a specific age, combination of exposures to informal child care at several ages or an accumulation of exposures to informal child care. Results Child care was not associated with behavioral problems. A model considering child care at 3 years best represented the association of child care with self-esteem while a model considering child care at 5 years best represented the association of child care with depressive symptoms. Informal child care at 3 years was associated with lower self-esteem (-0.70, 95% confidence interval (CI) -1.26 to -0.14). Informal child care at 5 years was associated with more depressive symptoms (0.45, 95% CI 0.17 to 0.73). Conclusion In a developed non-Western setting, informal child care was associated with lower self-esteem and more depressive symptoms. (author abstract)

Are government-sponsored day care centers meeting the nutritional needs of preschool-aged children in Guatemala?

The nutritional contribution of foods and beverages provided by government-sponsored day care centers in Guatemala
Vossenaar, Marieke, 09/01/2015

Background: Meals served at government-run day care centers must be nutritionally adequate to ensure good health and proper development of preschool-aged children. They can provide a controlled opportunity to complement the daily diet of children in vulnerable populations. Objective: To determine the nutrient adequacy and leading food sources of nutrients provided by the diet served in government-sponsored day care centers. Methods: Estimated daily energy and nutrient intakes of a theoretical 40-day day care center menu were calculated, and the nutrient adequacy was assessed. Nutrient densities and critical nutrient densities of the menu were computed to identify nutrient inadequacies. Furthermore, main sources of nutrients were identified, and energy and nutrient distributions were examined by meal time. Results: The menu provides approximately 90% of daily energy requirement and more than 100% of Recommended Nutrient Intakes (RNIs), with the exception of vitamin D and calcium. Sugar was the first leading source of energy, whereas milk was the first leading contributor of vitamin D. Conclusion: Within an environment of budgetary constraints, the Guatemalan government developed and advocated an exemplary menu offering for children in the vulnerable preschool period. We have demonstrated that, if prepared and served as planned, the items from the official, standard menu would supply most of the nutrients needed. High vitamin A intake related to the mandated national fortification program is a potential problem. From the analysis, it was found that vitamin D emerges as the most prominent candidate for a problem nutrient of deficient intake. (author abstract)

Does real-life mathematics instruction impact mathematics outcomes for students in kindergarten?

The role of real-life mathematics instruction on mathematics outcomes in kindergarten
Gottfried, Michael A., 04/01/2016

In an era of a declining quality and quantity of students entering and persisting in mathematics in the USA, researchers and policy makers are looking for new strategies to engage students in these fields and improve mathematics outcomes. One push has been to make mathematics instruction more relevant with real-world applications throughout the K-12 curriculum--i.e. to make instruction more focused on real-life situations. This empirical study examines specifically whether real-life mathematics instruction can influence mathematics achievement for students at the beginning of the educational pipeline. Using a newly released national-level dataset of a cohort of US kindergarten students, approximately ages 5-6 years old, from the 2010/11 school year (ECLS-K:2011), the findings indicate a positive relationship between the frequency of real-life mathematics instruction, as reported by the teacher and mathematics outcomes. The results are differentiated by student demographics, and implications are discussed. (author abstract)

Can data-based staff meetings during naptime in child care classrooms enhance early care and education providers' math interactions with their students?

Naptime data meetings to increase the math talk of early care and education providers
Trawick-Smith, Jeffrey, 04/01/2016

Classroom conversations about mathematics--math talk--between early care and education providers and young children have been associated with growth in mathematical thinking. However, professional development opportunities to learn about math teaching and learning are limited in many community-based child development centers. New approaches that are less costly and time consuming are needed to support providers in planning and implementing rich math experiences for young children. Professional development activities that are offered within the work site and during work hours may be most feasible for a large percentage of community-based programs. The purpose of this study was to design and test the impact of brief, data-based staff meetings during naptime in child care classrooms on providers' math interactions with their students. Findings indicate that such meetings increase participants' math talk in specific domains and predict growth in children's math abilities 6 months later. The potential of naptime data meetings to enhance math interactions and other areas of professional practice are discussed. Future directions for additional research are recommended. (author abstract)

What are the differences in child care availability by rural-urban location for all counties in Wisconsin?

Availability of child care in rural communities: Implications for workforce recruitment and retention
Henning-Smith, Carrie, 06/01/2016

The objective of this study was to identify differences in child care availability by rural-urban location for all counties in Wisconsin, and describe implications for recruitment and retention of health care workforce. We used data on licensed child care slots for young children (age<5), socio-demographic characteristics, women's and men's labor force participation, and household structure for all counties in Wisconsin in 2013 (n = 72). Data came from KIDS COUNT, County Health Rankings, and the American Community Survey. We used t tests to analyze bivariate differences in child care availability and community characteristics by metropolitan, micropolitan, and non-core rural location. We then used ordinary least squares regression to analyze the relationship between geographic location and child care slots, adjusting for labor force participation and household structure. Rural counties had significantly fewer licensed child care slots per child than metropolitan and micropolitan counties. These counties also had, on average, higher rates of poverty and higher unemployment than micropolitan and metropolitan counties. The association between geographic location and child care availability remained, even after adjusting for household structure and labor force participation. The number of hours men worked and the percentage of men not working were both negatively associated with available child care slots, whereas there was not a significant relationship between women's labor force participation and child care availability. Rural areas face health care workforce shortages. Recruitment strategies to overcome shortages must move beyond individual-level incentives to focus on community context and family support, including availability of child care in rural counties. (author abstract)

Can we re-think monitoring systems for early care and education, in order to better support children?s health, safety, and development?

Coordinated monitoring systems for early care and education
Maxwell, Kelly, 03/01/2016
(OPRE Research Brief No. 2016-19). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/coordinated_monitoring_systems_in_early_care_and_education.pdf

Early care and education providers are subject to monitoring by multiple agencies and organizations. In this brief, we first provide an overview of monitoring and the major early care and education monitoring systems. We then offer possible goals for a coordinated monitoring system and describe some approaches to addressing those goals. We also describe 11 dimensions that are important to consider in planning monitoring coordination efforts. We highlight the efforts of two states, Ohio and Rhode Island, that are working to coordinate their early care and education systems. The appendix provides an overview of eight major early care and education monitoring systems. This publication has a companion tool, Mapping the Early Care and Education Monitoring Landscape (Maxwell, Sosinsky, & Tout, 2016), to help leaders better understand the current monitoring systems and plan future coordination efforts. (author abstract)

Check out Research Connections instrument Mapping the Early Care and Education Monitoring Landscape.

What is the latest research on early care and education (ECE) workforce education and credentials, and trends in state requirements regarding ECE teachers?

Early childhood teacher education policies: Research review and state trends
Schilder, Diane, 04/01/2016
New Brunswick, NJ: Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes. Retrieved from http://ceelo.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/ceelo_policy_report_ec_teach_education_policies_final_for_web_2016_04.pdf

The 2015 Institute of Medicine and National Research Council's Transforming the Workforce report highlights the state's role in creating a pathway for early care and education (ECE) teachers to acquire the needed education and professional development to meet the demands of their important role. Research shows that ECE teachers' skills and competencies are predictive of child outcomes and that education with specialization in early childhood development is correlated with child outcomes. This paper provides policymakers with a review of published research on ECE workforce education and credentials as well as research on the current status of ECE wages, recruitment and retention challenges, and promising practices. It summarizes trends in state requirements regarding ECE teachers with bachelor's degrees and specialized certification, licensure, or endorsements of pre-K teachers. Examples of state funding sources and strategies to increase the percentage of ECE teachers with bachelor's degrees and ECE credentials are included. Moreover, the paper describes promising practices employed by some states designed to retain educated and credentialed ECE teachers. The paper concludes with recommended actions and strategies, based on research and state suggestions, regarding approaches that states can use to recruit and retain teachers with bachelor's degrees and ECE credentials. (author abstract)

Are there associations between infant/toddler workforce preparation, program quality, and child outcomes?

Examining the associations between infant/toddler workforce preparation, program quality and child outcomes: A review of the research evidence
Epstein, Dale J., 03/01/2016
(OPRE Research Brief No. 2016-15). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/cceepra_evidencereviewreportandtables_508compliantfinalupdated.pdf

One of the factors associated with high-quality early care and education is the qualifications of teachers and caregivers working with young children. However, due in part to the large variation in teacher and caregiver preparation pathways and requirements across states and settings, it can be difficult to determine the specific effects of teacher education and credentials on practice or child outcomes. This brief summarizes the findings from an evidence review conducted to address the research question: What evidence do we have from the research literature about associations between infant/toddler teacher and caregiver preparation (e.g., education, credentials, etc.) and improvements in quality and child outcomes? A review of the recent literature (most published between 2005 and 2015) identified 31 studies that had relevant information to address the research question. The scant evidence that is available regarding associations between infant/toddler teacher and caregiver preparation and outcomes is generally positive, but still somewhat mixed. This is true regardless of whether the preparation is indicated by educational attainment, degree type (e.g., concentration or major in early childhood or a related field), or training. There is insufficient evidence to support conclusions on the associations between state infant/toddler credentials and observed quality or child outcomes in the studies reviewed. The broader literature focused on teachers and caregivers of children ages zero to 5 also reveals mixed findings. Much of the literature focuses on educational degrees without more refined assessment of individual competencies or the content of coursework or training. Also, current data sources do not make it easy to look for minimum or baseline levels of preparation associated with quality care and child outcomes. More research is needed examining the associations between state credentials and required core competencies within the credentials and observed quality and outcomes. Such research would help to inform policy priorities and practice, with the goal of improving outcomes for our very youngest children and their families. (author abstract)

Are there associations among parental education, weekly work hours, child behaviors, and parental daily hassles and parents desires for continuity between home and child care?

How much do they need to be the same?: What parents believe about continuity between home and childcare environments
Baumgartner, Jennifer, 07/01/2017

This study explores the associations among parental education, weekly work hours, child behaviours, and parental daily hassles and parents desires for continuity between home and childcare. Data were collected using questionnaires from 82 parents with a child attending centre-based childcare in the Midwestern US. Results indicate that parent education and work hours are directly and indirectly related to the desire of continuity of practice between home and childcare programme and parental daily hassles. Path analysis results show higher parental education decreases parents desire for continuity of practices, while more weekly work hours increases parents desire for continuity of practices. Additional findings related to education, parental daily hassles and child behaviours are reported. Future research should investigate the perceptions of parents and the fit between the offerings of the centre and parental expectations for both familial and child adjustment. (author abstract)

What are the professional development activities of the nation's infant/toddler (I/T) workforce, based on nationally-representative data collected by the National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE)?

Describing the preparation and ongoing professional development of the infant/toddler workforce: An analysis of the National Survey for Early Care and Education Data
Madill, Rebecca, 03/01/2016
(OPRE Report No. 2016-16). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/cceepra_secondary_analysis_508final_b508.pdf

The analyses presented in this brief describe the professional development activities of the nation's infant/toddler (I/T) workforce, based on nationally-representative data collected by the National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE; NSECE Project Team, 2012). The goal of this brief is to help the field better understand the strengths and needs of the I/T workforce in center-based as well as home-based early care and education (ECE) programs. Findings are presented separately for I/T teachers and caregivers in center-based and home-based settings. Results indicate that I/T teachers and caregivers tended to have low levels of education; furthermore, endorsements such as the Child Development Associate Credential (CDA) or state certifications were uncommon. However, most of the I/T workforce had some exposure to college coursework. Among I/T teachers and caregivers in center-based programs, participation in professional development activities varied both by extent of previous education and whether the degree was in ECE or a related field. In general, participation in professional development activities was most common among teachers and caregivers with higher levels of education. For home-based I/T teachers and caregivers, professional development activities tended to be one-time workshops as opposed to more intensive forms of professional development, such as a workshop series or coaching. Only at higher levels of education did a substantial proportion of home-based I/T teachers and caregivers report meeting regularly with others who were looking after children. Professional development for home-based I/T teachers and caregivers tended to focus on health and safety and curriculum. Professional development for center-based I/T teachers and caregivers tended to focus on health and safety and supporting children's social-emotional development. Time release and other supports for professional development varied by education level for both center-based and home-based I/T teachers and caregivers. However, only 15 percent of home-based I/T workforce reported having received financial support for professional development in the past 12 months. Findings are discussed in terms of implications for professional development systems. (author abstract)

What are the interests and needs for quality improvement (QI) among licensed family child care providers in California?

Licensed family child care providers and quality improvement: Interests and barriers: Fact sheet number 2
California Child Care Research Partnership Team, 01/01/2016
Los Angeles: California State University, Northridge. Retrieved from http://www.areyouinpartnership.com/uploads/1/2/4/5/12457666/ayi_factsheet2_qi_pd_03_01_16.pdf

This fact sheet provides key information about licensed family child care providers' interests and needs for quality improvement (QI) -- actions that can directly improve the experiences of children in their care -- and professional learning -- steps to improve their own capacity and indirectly impact QI. Specifically, it describes the responses of the providers who participated in the California Child Care Research Partnership during the first two project years (2013-14 and 2015-16). (author abstract)

Check out Research Connections Topic of Interest for additional resources in the Research Connections collection.

What is the role of parent education and parenting knowledge in children's language and literacy skills among White, Black, and Latino families of varying socioeconomic status?

The role of parent education and parenting knowledge in children's language and literacy skills among White, Black, and Latino families
Rowe, Meredith L., 03/01/2016

This study investigated the role of parenting knowledge of infant development in children's subsequent language and pre-literacy skills among White, Black and Latino families of varying socioeconomic status. Data come from 6,150 participants in the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort. Mothers' knowledge of infant development was measured when children were 9 months old, and child language and pre-literacy skills were measured during the fall of the preschool year prior to Kindergarten when children were approximately four years old. Mothers' knowledge of infant development was uniquely related to both maternal education and race/ethnicity. Reported sources of parenting information/advice also varied by education and race/ethnicity and were related to parenting knowledge. Further, controlling for demographic factors, parenting knowledge partially mediated the relation between parent education and child language and pre-literacy skills, and this relation differed by race/ethnicity. One way to eliminate socioeconomic status achievement gaps in children's early language and literacy skills may be to focus on parents' knowledge of child development, particularly in Latino families. (author abstract)

What can we learn from research literature on emergent literacy skills for preschool children with Autism Spectrum Disorder?

A systematic review of the literature on emergent literacy skills of preschool children with autism spectrum disorder
Westerveld, Marleen F., 05/01/2016

A wealth of research has been conducted into emergent literacy (i.e., precursors to formal reading) skills and development in typically developing (TD) children. However, despite research suggesting children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are at risk of reading challenges, limited research exists on their emergent literacy. Thus, we aimed to systematically review emergent literacy research with this population. Database searches from 1995 to 2015 yielded three articles that met inclusion criteria. Results suggested both strengths and challenges in emergent literacy skills in children with ASD. Significant links between emergent literacy skills and both oral language and nonverbal cognition were also found. The findings highlight the need for further research; future directions and implications are discussed. (author abstract)

What are the key factors that affect parental preschool choices and challenges among families experiencing homelessness?

A qualitative assessment of parental preschool choices and challenges among families experiencing homelessness: Policy and practice implications
Stillman, Lindsey, 03/01/2016
Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Policy Development and Research. Retrieved from https://www.huduser.gov/portal/portal/sites/default/files/pdf/parental-preschool-choices.pdf

Quality preschool education has a critical effect on later academic success, yet only a small percentage of young children experiencing homelessness are enrolled in preschool and little is known about the challenges and decisionmaking processes that affect these children's participation in preschool. This paper responds to this knowledge gap. Using a modified grounded theory approach to analyze interviews and focus groups with 28 formerly homeless families, the authors find that key factors influencing preschool enrollment are housing stability, access to social-support networks, parental response to early learning environments, and the types of facilitative support for preschool enrollment received during interactions with early childhood and social service systems. These findings are integrated into a socioecological framework that describes the parental experience of preschool choice. The paper concludes with a series of policy and practice recommendations that may help facilitate preschool enrollment among families experiencing homelessness. (author abstract)

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

How did the states in the Work Support Strategies initiative change policies to streamline access to Medicaid, SNAP, and child care assistance?

Changing policies to streamline access to Medicaid, SNAP, and child care assistance: Findings from the Work Support Strategies evaluation
Isaacs, Julia B., 03/01/2016
Washington, DC: Urban Institute. Retrieved from http://www.urban.org/sites/default/files/alfresco/publication-pdfs/2000668-Changing-Policies-to-Streamline-Access-to-Medicaid-SNAP-and-Child-Care-Assistance-Findings-from-the-Work-Support-Strategies-Evaluation.pdf

This report describes and analyzes the experiences of the six states involved in the WSS initiative as they leveraged policy change to streamline and align families' access to work supports. A broad range of policies are analyzed here, from legislative and regulatory changes to revising wording of guidance in a state policy manual or asking local agencies to implement policies that were sitting on the books but not put into practice. This range includes policies that stem from other initiatives but are viewed by the states as furthering the WSS goals. Policy change was always part of a broader package that included technological innovations and business process improvements, the subject of companion reports. (author abstract)

What are the patterns of child care subsidy use and stability of subsidized care arrangements in Illinois and New York?

Patterns of child care subsidy use and stability of subsidized care arrangements: Evidence from Illinois and New York
Pilarz, Alejandra Ros, 06/01/2016

Given the prevalence of short child care subsidy spells and program churning documented in prior studies, researchers and policymakers have been concerned about the implications of discontinuity in subsidy receipt for the stability of children's care arrangements. Yet little research has studied the stability of subsidized arrangements or how subsidy discontinuity relates to changes in subsidized providers. Using child care subsidy program administrative records from a cohort of children in four diverse sites across Illinois and New York states, this study examines patterns of subsidy use and stability of subsidized care arrangements, as well as the relationship between the two. Results suggest that the length of states' eligibility periods is related to the duration of subsidy spells; however, significant variation in patterns of subsidy use within states suggests that local level factors are also important. Results show that subsidy discontinuity is related to children experiencing more total changes in subsidized providers. Focusing on provider changes across spells, we also find that the timing of subsidy exits, the length of gaps in subsidy receipt, and within spell provider instability are each related to whether or not children re-enter the program with a different subsidized provider after a break in subsidy receipt. We discuss these findings' implications for understanding how new program requirements established in the 2014 reauthorization of the Child Care and Development Block Grant may matter for subsidy continuity and care stability. (author abstract)

What was the state of state-funded preschool programs during the 2014-2015 school year?

The state of preschool 2015: State preschool yearbook
Barnett, W. Steven, 01/01/2016
New Brunswick, NJ: National Institute for Early Education Research. Retrieved from http://nieer.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Yearbook_2015_rev1.pdf

This annual report examines access to, quality standards in, and resources devoted to state-funded preschool programs for 3- and 4-year-old children during the 2014-2015 school year. It is based on a survey of administrators of state-funded preschool programs. The report includes profiles for all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and United States territories. Key findings show a modest increase in enrollment, with the most growth occurring among the 3-year old population. Six programs gained a quality standards benchmark, with West Virginia and Mississippi being the newest states to earn all ten benchmarks. State funding for pre-K increased, with two-thirds coming from New York, due largely from investments in New York City's full-day preschool. Four states reported reductions in spending. This yearbook survey includes, for the first time, two sets of supplemental questions that focus on states' policies to support pre-K dual language learners and the pre-K workforce.

Do children's early language and literacy outcomes vary in Head Start programs in urban and rural communities?

Differential effectiveness of Head Start in urban and rural communities
McCoy, Dana Charles, 03/01/2016

Recent research suggests that Head Start may be differentially effective in improving low-income children's early language and literacy skills based on a number of individual- and family-level characteristics. Using data from the Head Start Impact Study (n = 3503; 50% male, 63% treatment group), the present study extends this work to consider program impact variation based on centers' location in urban versus rural communities. Results indicate that Head Start is more effective in increasing children's receptive vocabulary (as measured by the PPVT) in urban areas and their oral comprehension (as measured by the Woodcock-Johnson Oral Comprehension task) in rural areas. Additional analyses suggest that related characteristics of the center -- including concentration of dual language learners and provision of transportation services -- may underlie these associations. Implications for research on program evaluation and policy are discussed. (author abstract)

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

What universal and targeted self-regulation interventions can be used within human service programs supported by the Administration for Children and Families?

Self-regulation and toxic stress report 3: A comprehensive review of self-regulation interventions from birth through young adulthood
Murray, Desiree W., 02/01/2016
(OPRE Report #2016-34). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/acf_report_3_approved_fromword_b508.pdf

The overarching aim of this review was to inform the selection and use of self-regulation interventions within human services programs supported by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF). For that reason, our focus was on universal and targeted interventions that could be used within the existing infrastructure of those human services programs, with particular attention to vulnerable populations living in adversity or with specific risk characteristics. (author abstract)

Check out Research Connections Research-to-Policy brief for additional resources in the Research Connections collection.

What are the outcomes from the Wolf Trap's Early STEM/Arts program?

Arts integration: A promising approach to improving early learning
Ludwig, Meredith J., 02/01/2016
Washington, DC: American Institutes for Research. Retrieved from http://www.air.org/system/files/downloads/report/Arts-Integration-Wolf-Trap-February-2016.pdf

In 2010, Wolf Trap Foundation received a $1.15 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education's Arts in Education Model Development and Dissemination Program (AEMDD) to develop a program that would apply Wolf Trap's PD approach to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), with a focus on mathematics. The Early Childhood STEM Learning Through the Arts (Early STEM/Arts) program was the subject of a four-year study conducted by American Institutes for Research (AIR) in partnership with Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia. This brief summarizes the findings from the three reports that were produced as a result of the AEMDD grant, providing additional insights into the outcomes from Wolf Trap's Early STEM/Arts program (Goff & Ludwig, 2013; Ludwig & Goff, 2013; Ludwig & Song, 2015). (author abstract)

What are the psychosocial influences upon the workforce and professional development participation of family child care providers?

Psychosocial influences upon the workforce and professional development participation of family child care providers
Swartz, Rebecca Anne, 10/01/2016

Background Family child care is commonly used in the US by families, including by those receiving child care subsidies. Psychosocial influences upon the workforce and professional development participation of family child care providers (FCCPs) have implications for the investment of public dollars that aim to improve quality and stability of child care. Objective We examined psychosocial influences upon workforce and professional development participation of FCCPs. We hypothesized lower levels of psychosocial stress and higher levels of peer support would be associated with less consideration of exit. We hypothesized that those providers embracing a greater sense of themselves as ECE professionals and reporting the support of professional peers would have greater participation in professional development. Methods This study employed the use of administrative survey data in path modeling. Results Multivariate analyses of survey data indicated that psychosocial stress had a significant, positive association with consideration of exit. In contrast, perceived peer support had a significant, negative association with consideration of exit. A stronger sense of identity as an early care and education professional had a significant, positive association with professional development participation as measured by training hours completed in the past year. The support of professional peers was not observed to have a significant association with professional development participation. Conclusion Results suggest the importance of considering psychosocial factors in planning workforce development and educational programs for FCCPs. This may include developing supports to help FCCPs cope with the psychosocial stress of care work, build professional identities, and connect with peer providers to promote stability and quality caregiving in the ECE workforce. We propose additional qualitative research aimed at understanding the context of FCC care as a mechanism for informing the development of these supports. (author abstract)

Is the U.S. Department of Education's Ready to Learn Program promoting school readiness through multiple media platforms?

Special section: Lessons from the US Department of Education's Ready to Learn Program
Fisch, Shalom M., 01/01/2016

A special section of the Journal of Children and Media, focusing on the promotion of school readiness through the use of multiple media platforms, as supported by the United States Department of Education's Ready to Learn program. For more articles from the Journal of Children and Media and/or related to this topic, check out Research Connections collection.

How are collaborations partnering to meet the child care needs of parents in education and training?

Partnering to meet the child care needs of parents in education and training: Four profiles of collaboration
Derrick-Mills, Teresa, 04/01/2016
Washington, DC: Urban Institute. Retrieved from http://www.urban.org/sites/default/files/alfresco/publication-pdfs/2000750-Partnering-to-Meet-the-Child-Care-Needs-of-Parents-in-Education-and-Training-Four-Profiles-of-Collaboration.pdf

Child care can be a major challenge for low-income parents who want to participate in education or training to improve their employability and future earnings. One promising approach is to develop collaborations between those who provide education and training services to families and those involved in meeting their child care needs. This report profiles four innovative collaborations working to bridge this gap. Two of these are between colleges and child care resource and referral (CCR&R) agencies; these partnerships focus on helping student parents understand and find child care options. The other two are between state child care subsidy agencies and state agencies that run education and training programs; these partnerships focus on helping parents get child care subsidies so they can participate in education and training. This report is written for two audiences: for education and training providers looking for new ways to help their students/clients with children succeed, and for child care support organizations looking for new ways to reach parents and meet their child care needs. These profiles provide useful insights into how, by working together, these organizations can support the needs of two generations as the parents strive to improve their ability to provide for their families. (author abstract)

What was the state of child care assistance spending and participation in 2014?

Child care assistance spending and participation in 2014
Matthews, Hannah, 03/01/2016
Washington, DC: Center for Law and Social Policy. Retrieved from http://www.clasp.org/resources-and-publications/publication-1/CC-Spending-and-Participation-2014-1.pdf

This brief provides analysis of national trends for spending and participation in CCDBG- and TANF-funded child care in federal fiscal year (FY) 2014--October 1, 2013 to September 30, 2014--based on the most recent state-reported data available from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). This is the last year of data that precedes reauthorization of CCDBG. (author abstract)

Can children's child care experiences predict cortisol levels across infancy and toddlerhood?

Child care and cortisol across infancy and toddlerhood: Poverty, peers, and developmental timing
Berry, Daniel, 02/01/2016

Evidence suggests that relations between child care and children's development--behaviorally and physiologically--likely differ between children from high- versus low-risk contexts. Using data from the Family Life Project (N=1,155), the authors tested (a) whether within- and between-child differences in children's child care experiences (i.e., quantity, type, caregiver responsivity, and peer exposure) were predictive of their cortisol levels across infancy and toddlerhood and (b) whether these relations differed for children experiencing different levels of environmental risk. They found some evidence of such interactive effects. For children from high-risk contexts, within-child increases in child care hours were predictive of cortisol decreases. The inverse was evident for children from low-risk contexts. This relation grew across toddlerhood. Whereas a history of greater center-based child care was predictive of heightened cortisol levels for low-risk families, this was not the case for children from high-risk families. Irrespective of risk, greater peer exposure (between children) was associated with lower cortisol levels. (author abstract)

Is there an association between social-behavioral readiness in kindergarten and grade retention, receipt of academic support services, and suspensions/expulsions?

The costly consequences of not being socially and behaviorally ready by kindergarten: Associations with grade retention, receipt of academic support services, and suspensions/expulsions
Bettencourt, Amie, 03/01/2016
Baltimore: Baltimore Education Research Consortium. Retrieved from http://baltimore-berc.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/SocialBehavioralReadinessMarch2016.pdf

This report examines the relationships between social-behavioral readiness in kindergarten as measured by the Maryland Model for School Readiness (MMSR) and three costly school outcomes for City Schools' students through third grade: being retained in grade, receiving additional services and supports through an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or 504 plan, and being suspended or expelled from school. Relationships were examined in two cohorts of 4,462 and 4,602 students. After controlling for a number of important variables, we found significant relationships between social and behavioral readiness in kindergarten and all three school outcomes. Specifically, by third grade, students assessed as not socially and behaviorally ready in kindergarten were significantly more likely to be retained in grade, receive services and supports through an IEP or 504 plan, and be suspended or expelled. These results were consistent across both cohorts of students. In addition, boys were significantly more likely than girls to be assessed as not socially and behaviorally ready for school and to experience all three academic problems. (author abstract)

What is California's local approach to raising quality in early childhood programs?

California's local approach to raising quality in early childhood programs
Crow, Sarah, 11/01/2015
Berkeley, CA: Opportunity Institute. Retrieved from http://static1.squarespace.com/static/55f70367e4b0974cf2b82009/t/5670a919b204d506600d41cb/1450223897346/Child_Care_Brief_4-13-15.pdf

This report is based on a literature review and interviews with local and state administrators. The aim is not a comprehensive county-by-county analysis of QRIS, but rather to highlight common themes emerging across counties. The ten counties interviewed for this report were chosen for their geographic, cultural, and economic diversity, as well as for their high numbers of children ages zero to five living below the poverty line who are potentially impacted by a quality rating system. The goal of this report is to provide a current picture of California's QRIS, and offer recommendations as the state expands its efforts in quality rating. It describes the common components of quality in early childhood settings, reviews California's distinctive approach to QRIS, and discusses the resulting implications for stakeholders. Finally, we offer recommendations for future efforts to improve quality in the state.Check out Research Connections Resource List for additional information on Quality Rating and Improvement System State Evaluations and Research.

What are the best practices from the field of early childhood mental health consultation to help reduce the impact of stressors on young children?

Addressing early adversity through mental health consultation in early childhood settings
Perry, Deborah F., 02/01/2016

The science of early childhood adversity has advanced in recent years, documenting long-term consequences of exposure to traumatic events and toxic stress for health and development. Sequelae of toxic stress exposure can be mitigated by the buffering effect of a caregiver who can help young children manage their reactivity to these early stressors. Interventions are needed to build the capacity for caregivers (including the early childhood workforce) to build resilience in young children exposed to early adversity. This article shares best practices from the field of early childhood mental health consultation (ECMHC) as a strategy to help reduce the impact of stressors on young children. ECMHC embedded with child care, focused on children in foster care, and lessons learned from early work on ECMHC in home visiting are highlighted as examples of interventions to build the buffering capacities of important adults in children's lives. Policy recommendations are offered for integrating mental health services into early childhood settings to build resilience in high-risk children and families. Check out Research Connections Resource List for additional information on preventing preschool expulsion.

What are some challenges and practices that Head Start school partnerships continue to face in implementing and sustaining transition relationships?

Creating effective transitions: Lessons from Head Start-school partnerships
Fuentes, Yvette Sanchez, 12/21/2015
Washington, DC: Center for American Progress. Retrieved from https://cdn.americanprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/21072325/HeadStartPartnership.pdf

Eight years after the requirement to implement official legal relationships, understanding of how Head Start programs and local schools are developing and sustaining transition relationships can help inform the broader early education field. To get a better sense of how the requirement is being implemented in communities, the Center for American Progress conducted interviews with multiple Head Start directors and transition managers, or with deputies and their counterparts, in local schools and school districts across the Midwest, the Southwest, and Southern United States. These interviews revealed a set of best practices and highlighted some barriers and challenges that programs continue to face in implementing these transition processes. As public preschool programs continue to expand around the country, federal and state policymakers can learn from the implementation of the Head Start requirement. (author abstract)

Is there an impact on the health of grandparents caring for grandchildren in Europe?

The impact of caring for grandchildren on the health of grandparents in Europe: A lifecourse approach
Di Gessa, Giorgio, 03/01/2016

Grandparents are becoming an increasingly important source of childcare. However, caring for grandchildren may have negative health consequences particularly for grandparents with intensive commitments such as those with primary care responsibilities. To date most studies on this issue are based on cross-sectional data and do not take earlier life circumstances into account. Thus, it is not known whether (or to what extent) the relationship between grandparental childcare and health is due to cumulative advantage or disadvantage throughout the lifecourse or to the impact of grandchild care per se. Employing data from waves 1-3 of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe we investigated the longitudinal relationship between grandparental childcare (i.e. intensive and non-intensive) and health once cumulative histories of advantage or disadvantage are taken into account. We used latent class analysis to categorise respondents according to childhood socio-economic and health conditions drawing on life history information. Experiences in adulthood (e.g. periods of ill health) were also captured. We created a latent continuous physical health variable based on self- and observer-measured indicators. OLS regression was used to explore the association between physical health at wave 2 and grandparental childcare at baseline, controlling for conditions in childhood and adulthood, and for health and socio-economic characteristics. We found a positive longitudinal association between grandchild care and health even after earlier life health and socio-economic conditions were taken into account. However, this significant association was found only for grandmothers, and not grandfathers. Our results suggesting the health benefits of grandchild care are important given the widespread provision of grandparental childcare in Europe. However, further research on underlying mechanisms and causal pathways between grandchild care and grandparent health, as well as on gender differences in the pattern of association, is needed. (author abstract)

What are the effects of the Preschool Inclusion Program on teacher outcomes in Turkey?

The effects of the Preschool Inclusion Program on teacher outcomes in Turkey
Sucuoglu, Nimet Bulbin, 10/01/2015

The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of a teacher training program on teacher outcomes. The teachers' knowledge and attitudes regarding inclusion, classroom management strategies, and their relationships with children both with and without disabilities were evaluated using self-report instruments. In addition, their classroom behaviors were evaluated by independent observers. The teacher education program included a variety of topics related to inclusion and effective strategies for inclusive classrooms. The data were collected prior to the education, after the completion of the program, and 6 months afterwards. The results indicated that the teacher program seemed to have moderate-to-large effects on all teacher outcomes, but the changes in their classroom behaviors were minimal. (author abstract)

What are the challenges in accessing early childhood education and care for children in refugee families in Massachusetts?

Challenges in accessing early childhood education and care for children in refugee families in Massachusetts
Gross, Jeff, 03/01/2016
Washington, DC: Migration Policy Institute. Retrieved from http://www.migrationpolicy.org/sites/default/files/publications/FCD-Gross-FINAL.pdf

This report begins with an overview of ECEC service provision in the United States. It then describes refugee populations in Massachusetts and how refugee families access child-care services, including the process of obtaining child-care vouchers and connecting with ECEC providers. It reviews the challenges to ECEC access faced by refugee families and then explores the strengths and weaknesses of the existing ECEC system, including the frameworks of case management, public benefits, and provider referrals that shape access to ECEC services. Next, the report examines national, state, and local initiatives that seek to improve how refugees access ECEC services, and how stakeholders can work together more effectively to strengthen this process. Finally, it offers a set of Massachusetts-specific policy and program recommendations for resettlement agencies, the Massachusetts Office for Refugees and Immigrants (ORI), the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care (MDEEC), and other state agencies to help address system barriers in this area and provide refugee families access to the widest possible range of ECEC options. (author abstract)

How does children's compliance moderate the relationship between classroom quality and classroom cooperation?

Caregiver responsiveness during preschool supports cooperation in kindergarten: Moderation by children's early compliance
Pratt, Megan E., 05/01/2016

The current study examined how children's parent-reported compliance at age 3 (36 months) moderated the effects of 2 dimensions of directly observed early care and education (ECE) process quality (positivity/responsivity and cognitive stimulation) during the prekindergarten year (54 months) on teacher reports of children's classroom cooperation in the fall of kindergarten. Compliance at 36 months and cooperation in kindergarten are operationalized as overt, behavioral aspects of self-regulation as appraised by parents and teachers. The sample consisted of 996 children from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development who attended formal or informal ECE settings during the prekindergarten year. Results indicated that children with low compliance at age 3 tend to demonstrate stronger cooperation skills by kindergarten when they experience more positivity/responsivity from their ECE caregivers. Main effects of positivity/responsivity and cognitive stimulation on classroom cooperation were not detected for the overall sample. Practice or Policy: The discussion addresses the importance of preparing and empowering ECE providers to help young children who enter the preschool period struggling with behavioral aspects of self-regulation, such as compliance, to improve these skills through positive and responsive caregiving. (author abstract)

How do teachers and preschoolers respond to each other's utterances during sociodramatic play?

Teachers' responsiveness to preschoolers' utterances in sociodramatic play
Meacham, Sohyun, 04/01/2016

This descriptive study used sequential analysis to examine both preschool teachers' responsiveness to children's utterances in sociodramatic play and the children's responses to their teachers' utterances. Eleven teachers in a Head Start program were videotaped while interacting with children in the dramatic play center. Salient findings of this study are threefold: (a) Teachers' responsiveness and the children's responsiveness to their teachers' talk varied substantially, (b) the children responded frequently to the teachers' topic-continuing utterances, and (c) the children responded frequently in the pretend play mode when teachers extended the children's utterances following the topics initiated by the children. Practice or Policy: The current study contributes to the extant research by providing a more fine-grained analysis of children's response modes in the sociodramatic play context. In addition, the current study suggests that teacher education and that practice and policies supporting teaching quality should consider emphasizing the details of teacher-child interaction in the dramatic play center at the utterance level. (author abstract)

Is classroom quality in Head Start a moderator between temperamental regulation and early math and literacy skills for children at varying levels of cumulative economic risk?

Child temperamental regulation and classroom quality in Head Start: Considering the role of cumulative economic risk
Rudasill, Kathleen Moritz, 01/01/2017

There is growing recognition that cumulative economic risk places children at higher risk for depressed academic competencies (Crosnoe & Cooper, 2010; NCCP, 2008; Sameroff, 2000). Yet, children's temperamental regulation and the quality of the early childhood classroom environment have been associated with better academic skills. This study is an examination of prekindergarten classroom quality (instructional support, emotional support, organization) as a moderator between temperamental regulation and early math and literacy skills for children at varying levels of cumulative economic risk. The sample includes children enrolled in Head Start programs drawn from the FACES 2009 study. Three main findings emerged. First, for lower and highest risk children, more instructional support was associated with better math performance when children had high levels of temperamental regulation but poorer performance when children had low temperamental regulation. Second, among highest risk children, low instructional support was protective for math performance for children with low temperamental regulation and detrimental for those with high temperamental regulation. Third, for highest risk children, high classroom organization predicted better literacy scores for those with high temperamental regulation. Children with low temperamental regulation were expected to perform about the same, regardless of the level of classroom organization. Implications are discussed. Check out Research Connections Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES) bibliography list for additional resources in the Research Connections collection.

Are mothers' and fathers' language and literacy practices associated with children's kindergarten skills across linguistically diverse households?

Independent contributions of mothers' and fathers' language and literacy practices: Associations with children's kindergarten skills across linguistically diverse households
Sims, Jacqueline, 05/01/2016

Home language and literacy inputs have been consistently linked with enhanced language and literacy skills among children. Most studies have focused on maternal inputs among monolingual populations. Though the proportion of American children growing up in primarily non-English-speaking homes is growing and the role of fathers in early development is increasingly emphasized, less is known about these associations in primarily non-English-speaking households or how mothers and fathers independently contribute to children's skills. Using a subsample of data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort (N = 5,450), this study assessed the frequency of maternal and paternal inputs during early childhood and their prospective connections with children's English language and literacy skills at age 5 across White, Mexican, and Chinese children from linguistically diverse households. Analyses revealed significant differences in inputs by ethnic/language group membership and significant associations between both maternal and paternal inputs and children's skills. These associations did not differ across ethnic/language group membership. Practice or Policy: These results point to the importance of promoting rich home language and literacy environments across diverse households regardless of the language in which they take place or the parent from which they derive. (author abstact)

How do adults pose questions about target vocabulary study words during shared storybook reading with young Hispanic dual language learners enrolled in Head Start?

Shared storybook reading in Head Start: Impact of questioning styles on the vocabulary of Hispanic dual language learners
Walsh, Bridget A., 05/01/2016

This study examined various ways of asking questions about target vocabulary words during shared storybook reading with young Hispanic dual language learners enrolled in Head Start. The study examined the demand level and placement of adults' questions during shared storybook reading. The research design incorporated five conditions; namely, adults' (a) low demand and interrupting questions, (b) high demand and interrupting questions, (c) low demand and non-interrupting questions, (d) high demand and non-interrupting questions, and (e) a control. Participants were 57 children with Spanish as the primary language spoken to children in the home with most of their parents identifying as having been born in a Latin American country. The present study suggests that demand level rather than interrupting status accounts for more differences in children's novel vocabulary expressive scores, with children in the high demand group scoring higher than those in the low demand group. (author abstract)

How do state funded pre-k programs approach family engagement?

State approaches to family engagement in pre-K programs
Dahlin, Melissa, 03/01/2016
New Brunswick, NJ: Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes. Retrieved from http://ceelo.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/ceelo_policy_brief_family_engagement_2016_03_final_web.pdf

Family engagement is an integral part of a successful early childhood system. But what does family engagement mean and what does it look like? What actions can states take to best guide and support districts and programs in designing and implementing aligned and effective family engagement plans? This brief focuses on approaches to family engagement in state funded pre-K programs and the important role family engagement plays in ensuring family members are welcomed as supporters as children's first teachers in early childhood programs and as children transition to the K-12 school years. (author abstract)

What are the indicators of progress to support integrated early childhood professional development systems?

Build it better: Indicators of progress to support integrated early childhood professional development systems
National Association for the Education of Young Children, 03/01/2016
Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children. Retrieved from http://www.naeyc.org/files/naeyc/Build%20It%20Better_For%20Web.pdf

In 2015, NAEYC responded to requests to help state teams define indicators of progress toward a well-qualified, professional early childhood educator workforce and toward stronger professional development systems, ultimately resulting in this resource. These PD system indicators were developed with a national advisory panel using the Blueprint framework. Cross-sector teams from seven states piloted draft indicators in a self-assessment survey format that could be used to generate multiyear timelines with measureable goals and benchmarks (see "PD System Indicators Survey Instrument"). (author abstract)

How does the Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships (EHS-CCP) expand access to high-quality care for infants and toddlers and their families?

Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships: Growing the supply of early learning opportunities for more infants and toddlers: Year one report, January 2015--January 2016
United States. Administration for Children and Families, 01/01/2016
Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families. Retrieved from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/ecd/ehs_ccp_report.pdf

This report examines first year data from Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships (EHS-CCP), an initiative that aims to expand access to high-quality care for infants and toddlers and their families. Topics covered include: an overview of the grantees; technical assistance and support; start-up activities; supportive Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) state policies; early successes and lessons learned; and research and evaluation activities.

What are the findings from the final report of the Oregon Contracted Slots Pilot program evaluation?

Contracted Slots Pilot program evaluation: Final report
Weber, Roberta B. (Bobbie), 11/01/2015
Corvallis: Oregon State University, Family Policy Program. Retrieved from http://health.oregonstate.edu/sites/default/files/occrp/pdf/cs-final-report-11-30-2015.pdf

Since 2000 DHS had contracted with providers of Oregon Head Start Prekindergarten (OHSPK) programs to ensure stable care in programs of documented quality to children whose parents met both Head Start and ERDC eligibility requirements. In the fall of 2012 the Contracted Slots program was expanded to include Oregon Programs of Quality (OPQ) and the Contracted Slots policies were revised (See Appendix B). The quality of OPQ programs had been documented. OPQ was a forerunner of Oregon's Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) that enables child care and education programs to document the level of quality they offer. The expansion of contracting to include community-based programs of documented quality (OPQ programs) provided families' increased access to continuous care in quality programs. The three key goals for the three-year pilot were: -Children have access to continuous quality care and education; -Families have continuity of quality child care and education to support their employment, and -Providers have stable funding in serving children and families experiencing low incomes in programs of documented quality. (author abstract)

Can one year of Head Start benefit parents as a function of their initial parenting behaviors?

Parenting gains in Head Start as a function of initial parenting skill
Ansari, Arya, 10/01/2016

Using data from the Head Start Impact Study (n = 3,696), this article examines whether one year of Head Start differentially benefited parents as a function of their initial parenting behaviors. Four outcomes are examined, namely, parents' rates of engaging in cognitive stimulation, reading to their child, and spanking, as well as their depressive symptoms. In general, most parents demonstrated improvements in their reading practices and cognitive stimulation regardless of their parenting behaviors at baseline. However, depressive symptoms and spanking behavior showed improvements only among parents who began the Head Start program with the most depressive symptoms and the most frequent spanking, respectively. These findings suggest that treatment-induced changes in parenting can vary by parents' incoming attributes and that heterogeneity of effects should be considered. Implications for Head Start and other parenting interventions are discussed. (author abstract) Check out Research Connections Head Start Impact Study (HSIS) bibliography list for additional resources in the Research Connections collection.

What are the links between preschool children's social skills and observed pretend play in outdoor childcare environments?

Links between preschool children's social skills and observed pretend play in outdoor childcare environments
Li, Jiayao, 01/01/2016

As one of the most advanced play forms in childhood, pretend play often demonstrates positive associations with children's development. However, results from research that examines the association between social skills and pretend play are mixed, especially when the complexity of pretend play is taken into account. Moreover, few studies on pretend play are conducted in outdoor environments; a setting which affords many opportunities for engagement in pretend play and unstructured social interactions. By observing children's outdoor pretend play, the primary purpose of this study was to investigate the relationships between different types of pretend play and children's social skills. Twenty-eight children from high quality childcare centers in a southeast suburban area were observed during outdoor free play time. Using a reliable time sampling protocol, each child's play was observed and recorded for a total of 45 min to an hour over a 2-week time period. Lead teachers rated children's social skills in the areas of cooperation, self-control, and assertiveness. Results showed high amounts of pretend play behavior overall, and differential relationships between the type of pretend play children engaged in and children's social skills. Surprisingly, these relationships were not associated with gender. Findings are discussed in light of the value of pretend play to promote social skill development and the potential for outdoor contexts specifically to encourage these play behaviors. (author abstract)

What does the Learning about Infant and Toddler Early Education Services (LITES) evaluation reveal for programs supporting infant and toddler early learning in out-of-home early care and education settings?

Learning About Infant and Toddler Early Education Services (LITES): A systematic review of the evidence
Monahan, Shannon, 12/01/2015
Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation. Retrieved from https://aspe.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/186281/LITESsystematic.pdf

The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), in partnership with the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, funded Mathematica Policy Research and its partners to conduct the Learning About Infant and Toddler Early Education Services (LITES) project. LITES aimed to identify effective and replicable program models to support infant and toddler early learning in out-of-home early care and education (ECE) settings to inform future research, policy, and program directions at the federal, state, and local levels. LITES had two main components: (1) a systematic review to identify effective program models to support infant and toddler early learning in out-of-home ECE settings, and (2) a scan of the field for program models that are compelling but lack rigorous research examining impacts on children's developmental outcomes. For both components, we examined infant and toddler early learning models that targeted children's cognitive, language, or social-emotional/behavioral development. For the systematic review, we conducted a comprehensive literature review to identify studies with eligible research designs, rated the quality of the studies, and examined evidence of effectiveness on children's outcomes. In contrast, for the compelling models scan, we identified models through a nomination process and discussion with experts in the field. This report focuses on the systematic review; a second report focuses on findings from the compelling models scan (Del Grosso et al., 2015). (author abstract)

What are the challenges and opportunities that arise as household records from the NSECE are matched to CCDF administrative data from the State of Illinois to form a combined database of survey and administrative data?

Examining child care subsidy receipt: An analysis of matched NSECE and Illinois administrative data
National Survey of Early Care and Education Project Team, 02/01/2016
(OPRE Report #2016-12). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation Retrieved from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/exploratory_analysis_of_matched_il_data_030316_toopre_508compliant.pdf

The National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE) team undertook an innovative approach to calculate CCDF program participation. Using probabilistic record linkage methods, the household records from the NSECE were matched to CCDF administrative data from the State of Illinois to form a combined database of survey and administrative data. That combined database allowed creation of CCDF program participation variables from NSECE households' over-time records in the childcare subsidies program. The unified database created from this exercise resembles one from a cross-sectional survey that, by asking retrospective questions, identifies households' recent participation in social programs (CCDF, in our case). But the unified database has the advantage of a more accurate participation variable from administrative data than would have been obtained from a survey self-report. (author abstract)

How does access to formal and informal early education of Turkish-origin children in Germany influence their German language acquisition?

Formal and informal early education of Turkish-origin children in Germany
Becker, Birgit, 01/01/2016

A lack of adequate German language skills is often discussed as a major reason for the disadvantage of children of immigrants in the German educational system. This article analyses the access to formal and informal early education of Turkish-origin children in Germany and the influence of these early education contexts on the children's German language acquisition. We use the frequency of stimulating parent-child activities as an indicator of informal education and the attendance in language instruction programmes at preschool as an indicator of formal education. The empirical results show that the frequency of parent-child activities in Turkish-origin families depends on parents' social background and German language skills. Language instruction programmes in preschools are most frequently used by children who most likely need such programmes: children with low levels of German language skills. For the development of German language skills, parent-child activities seem to be most important.

Does a Canadian study prove that child care services reduce the social inequalities in academic performance up to early adolescence?

Child care services, socioeconomic inequalities, and academic performance
Laurin, Julie C., 12/01/2015

Objective: To determine if child-care services (CCS) at a population level can reduce social inequalities in academic performance until early adolescence. Methods: A 12-year population-based prospective cohort study of families with a newborn (n = 1269). Two CCS variables were estimated: "intensity" (low, moderate, and high number of hours) and "center-based CCS type" (early onset, late onset, and never exposed to center-based CCS). Results: Children from low socioeconomic status (SES) families who received high-intensity CCS (any type), compared with those who received low-intensity CCS, had significantly better reading (standardized effect size [ES] = 0.37), writing (ES = 0.37), and mathematics (ES = 0.46) scores. Children from low-SES families who received center-based CCS, compared with those who never attended center care, had significantly better reading (ES early onset = 0.68; ES late onset = 0.37), writing (ES early onset = 0.79), and mathematics (ES early onset = 0.66; ES late onset = 0.39) scores. Furthermore, early participation in center-based CCS eliminated the differences between children of low and adequate SES on all 3 examinations (ES = -0.01, 0.13, and -0.02 for reading, writing, and mathematics, respectively). These results were obtained while controlling for a wide range of child and family variables from birth to school entry. Conclusions: Child care services (any type) can reduce the social inequalities in academic performance up to early adolescence, while early participation in center-based CCS can eliminate this inequality. CCS use, especially early participation in center-based CCS, should be strongly encouraged for children growing up in a low-SES family.

What is the current understanding of the relationship between infant/toddler development and school readiness?

Developmental foundations of school readiness for infants and toddlers: A research to practice report
Horm, Diane M., 02/01/2016
(OPRE Report No. 2016-07). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/opre_nitr_school_readiness_report_v05cover_title.pdf

This report summarizes research about development during the first three years in order to highlight areas that are foundational for later school readiness and success. This information can be used as a guide by programs to inform their practices and policies and to help programs think about their own theories of change or strategies for continuous improvement and what outcomes they are most focused on improving for young children. Until recently the term school readiness has typically been applied to preschool-aged children, but it is now increasingly being used in relation to infants and toddlers. With this shift comes the knowledge that birth to age 3 is a time of unparalleled growth and change that provides special opportunities to support school readiness, and school readiness for this age group must be defined with those particular characteristics in mind.

Is Minnesota's quality rating and improvement system, Parent Aware, an effective rating tool?

Parent Aware: Minnesota's quality rating and improvement system: Initial validation report
Tout, Kathryn, 02/01/2016
Minneapolis, MN: Child Trends. Retrieved from http://www.childtrends.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Parent-Aware-Validation-and-Letter-3-2016.pdf

Parent Aware is Minnesota's Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) for early care and education (ECE) programs. The purpose of the Parent Aware Initial Validation Study is to examine the extent to which the rating process and the four star quality ratings that are awarded are fair, accurate and meaningful. The findings will be used to inform improvement of Parent Aware as it continues to expand across Minnesota. The validation study analyzes multiple sources of evidence including observations of quality in 325 Parent Aware-rated programs and direct assessments of developmental skills in nearly 1,200 children in both the fall and spring of their year before kindergarten. The study was conducted with all program types participating in Parent Aware: licensed family child care programs and child care centers (including those with national accreditation), Head Start programs, and school-based prekindergarten programs. Approximately two-thirds of the children in the study are from low-income families (with incomes at or below 185% of the federal poverty level). The findings address the effectiveness of the rating tool overall, the Accelerated Pathway to Rating process offering a Four-Star rating for programs that meet external quality standards aligned with Parent Aware, and the rating process for different program types.

What is the nature of executive function of Spanish-speaking language-minority preschoolers and the correlation to their academic skills and classroom behaviors?

Executive function of Spanish-speaking language-minority preschoolers: Structure and relations with early literacy skills and behavioral outcomes
Lonigan, Christopher J., 04/01/2016

Young children's executive function (EF) is increasingly recognized as an important construct associated with development in cognitive and socioemotional domains. To date, however, few studies have examined EF in populations of language-minority children. In this study, 241 Spanish-speaking language-minority preschoolers who ranged in age from 38 to 69 months ([mean] = 54.23 months, SD = 6.17) completed three tasks designed to measure inhibitory control (IC) and four tasks designed to measure working memory (WM). Children completed assessments of their vocabulary skills, early literacy skills, and behavioral self-regulation in both English and Spanish, and their classroom teachers completed three behavior rating measures. Children were classified as more proficient in English or Spanish based on their scores on the vocabulary measures, and all IC and WM measures were administered in the children's more proficient language. Results of confirmatory factor analyses supported a two-factor model of EF for both groups of children as well as strong measurement and structural invariance across groups. Children's EF was substantially related to the language, early literacy, and behavioral self-regulation measures as well as teacher ratings of inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity. For children with more proficient English, EF was associated with skills in both English and Spanish; however, for children with more proficient Spanish, EF was associated primarily with skills in Spanish. These results provide evidence of strong correspondence for EF measured in Spanish-speaking language-minority preschoolers and monolingual preschoolers, and they identify a potential key factor that can enhance understanding of development in this population of children.

Are mealtime best practice guidelines for child care centers associated with children?s dietary intake?

Are mealtime best practice guidelines for child care centers associated with energy, vegetable, and fruit intake?
Kharofa, Roohi Y., 02/01/2016

Background: Mealtime best practices for obesity prevention in child care have been developed from experimental studies and expert opinion. Our objective was to describe adherence to best practices in child care centers and to evaluate the association between mealtime practices and children's dietary intake. Methods: We conducted an observational study of 349 preschoolers, ages 36 to 72 months, from 30 child care centers in Cincinnati, Ohio (November 2009 to January 2011). Trained observers recorded providers' behaviors related to six mealtime best practice recommendations and documented children's intake (n = 60 group lunches). General linear mixed models were used to evaluate the association between practice use and children's total energy (caloric consumption) and fruit and vegetable consumption. Results: Adherence to individual mealtime best practices was variable (0%-77%). Staff sitting with children at lunch was associated with lower energy intake and higher vegetable intake. Staff eating some of the same foods was associated with higher energy intake and higher vegetable intake. Staff encouraging children to try new/less-favorite foods more than once was associated with lower fruit intake. Staff having general conversations with children (not addressed in recommendations) was associated with lower vegetable intake. Family-style meal service, staff talking about healthy foods, and staff helping children assess hunger before seconds were not significantly associated with intake. Conclusions: Few mealtime best practices were associated with dietary intake. Given the number of meals children consume in child care and the prevalence of childhood obesity, efforts to identify mealtime practices that improve children's dietary intake are crucial for obesity prevention.

How are the twin efforts of the Partnerships Program for Early Childhood Mental Health and Project LAUNCH supporting children and educators in rural Appalachia?

Creating trauma-informed schools for rural Appalachia: The Partnerships Program for enhancing resiliency, confidence and workforce development in early childhood education
Shamblin, Sherry, 03/01/2016

Poverty lack of resources and pervasive adversity threaten the healthy social and emotional development of many children living in rural Appalachia. Despite these traumatic stressors, however, Appalachian residents have proven surprisingly resilient and responsive to intervention. This article describes the twin efforts of the Partnerships Program for Early Childhood Mental Health and Project LAUNCH, a community-university-state initiative, to transform school systems by establishing enduring partnerships within and across schools and agencies, pooling and disseminating critical resources, and strengthening the skills, confidence and capacity of the early childhood education workforce. This article describes the three-tiered framework of services implemented at the schools, with special emphasis on its trauma-informed training for educators combined with trauma-specific mental health interventions delivered on site. Despite a modest sample size, results indicate significant pre-improvement/post-improvement in teacher confidence and hopefulness in positively impacting challenging child behaviors; a decrease in the negative attributes of the preschool learning environment; and increased teacher ratings of child resilience as measured by the Devereux Early Child Assessment. Program limitations and future directions for creating trauma-informed Appalachian schools are discussed.

Is narrative language intervention an effective approach to improving language skills of diverse preschoolers?

Tier 2 language intervention for diverse preschoolers: An early-stage randomized control group study following an analysis of response to intervention
Spencer, Trina D., 11/01/2015

Purpose: The first purpose of this study was to explore the use of a whole class, test-teach-test, dynamic assessment of narratives for identifying participants. The second purpose was to examine the efficacy of a Tier 2 narrative language intervention for culturally and linguistically diverse preschoolers. Method: A dynamic assessment was conducted with students from 3 Head Start classrooms. On the basis of the results of the dynamic assessment, 22 children were randomly assigned to treatment (n = 12) and control (n = 10) groups for intervention. Participants received a small-group (4:1), differentiated, narrative intervention for 15-20 min, twice a week, for 9 weeks. Interventionists used weekly progress monitoring data to explicitly focus on individualized narrative and linguistic targets. Results: The treatment group showed significant improvement over the control group on proximal and distal measures of narrative retells, with large effect sizes. Group differences on a measure of children's language in the context of personal stories were not statistically significant. Conclusions: This early-stage study provides evidence that narrative language intervention is an effective approach to improving the language skills of preschoolers with diverse language needs. Furthermore, the evidence supports the use of dynamic assessment for reducing overidentification and identifying candidates for small-group language intervention. Check out Research Connections Key Topic Resource List for additional information on Response to Intervention and Other Approaches for Using Ongoing Assessment to Guide Individualized Instruction in Early Education.

What is the association between sleep duration and school readiness of Chinese preschoolers?

Sleep duration and school readiness of Chinese preschool children
Tso, Winnie, 02/01/2016

bjectives To examine the average sleep duration in Chinese preschoolers and to investigate the association between sleep duration and school readiness. Study design This is a cross-sectional study that included 553 Chinese children (mean age = 5.46 years) from 20 preschools in 2 districts of Hong Kong. Average daily sleep duration in the last week was reported by parents and school readiness as measured by the teacher-rated Chinese Early Development Instrument (CEDI). Results Most Chinese preschoolers had 9-10 hours of sleep per day. Only 11% of preschoolers had the recommended 11-12 hours of sleep per day. This group was associated with more "very ready" CEDI domains. Sleep deprivation ([less than or equal to] 7 hours per day) was associated with a lower CEDI total score, lower scores in the emotional maturity and language/cognitive domain, and prosocial behaviors subdomain but a greater score in the hyperactivity/inattention subdomain. Children with a lower family socioeconomic index, lower maternal education level, infrequent parent-child interactions, and who used electronic devices for more than 3 hours per day had shortened sleep durations. Conclusions Optimal sleep duration was associated with better school readiness in preschool children, whereas sleep deprivation was associated with lower school readiness, more hyperactivity and inattention, and less prosocial behavior.

What are the socialization priorities for preschoolers of contemporary Chinese parents'?

Contemporary Chinese parents' socialization priorities for preschoolers: A mixed methods study
Ren, Lixin, 11/01/2016

This mixed methods study focused on the socialization goals for preschool-aged children among parents from three small-sized cities located in northeastern China. A total of 154 parents with preschool-aged children completed questionnaires measuring parental socialization goals for children's social-emotional competence and academic achievement. Quantitative results showed that parents generally placed more importance on children's social-emotional skills than academic skills. Ten mothers were selected from the sample and participated in a semi-structured qualitative interview to help understand reasons for parents' prioritization of social-emotional well-being over academic performance. Four themes emerged, including parents' concerns about children's psychological well-being under excessive academic pressure, their desires to 'protect' children's childhood, their awareness of children's individual differences in intelligence and talent in learning, and their belief that good grades did not guarantee future success in life. Our findings highlight the importance of using mixed methods to deepen understanding of contemporary Chinese parents' child-rearing ideologies.

How do existing large-scale data sets support the study of Hispanic families? utilization of early care and education?

Using existing large-scale data to study early care and education among Hispanics: Project overview and methodology
Crosby, Danielle A., 03/01/2016
(Publication No. 2016-08). Bethesda, MD: National Research Center on Hispanic Children and Families. Retrieved from http://www.childtrends.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/ECE-Series-Brief-No.-1.pdf

To promote the well-informed and strategic use of data for building the knowledge base about Latinos' ECE access and utilization, the interrelated briefs in this series provide summary information and data tables that can be used by researchers to select the studies, samples, and variables most appropriate for their research questions. This is the first of four briefs in this series. It describes the project methodology and summarizes key design features of the selected data sets, including the availability of sociodemographic indicators of particular relevance to studying Hispanic populations. For more information on this topic check out these reportsfrom the National Research Center on Hispanic Children and Families.

What are the early health development and risk characteristics of young children in deep poverty?

Young children in deep poverty
Ekono, Mercedes, 01/01/2016
New York: Columbia University, National Center for Children in Poverty. Retrieved from: http://www.nccp.org/publications/pdf/text_1133.pdf

This fact sheet compares the early health, development, and risk characteristics of young children in deep poverty to children in families that are poor, but not deeply poor, and to families that are not poor.

How did two training programs educate child welfare and preschool staff on the importance of early care and education for maltreated children?

Early care and education for children in the child welfare system: Evaluations of two training programs
Klein, Sacha Mareka, 01/01/2016

Despite evidence that early care and education services benefit at-risk children, they remain underutilized by families in the child welfare system. This article describes two training programs developed to educate child welfare and childcare/preschool staff about the importance of early care and education for maltreated children and how to access these services. A combined total of 274 trainees completed knowledge tests about this topic and significant pre- to post-training improvements indicate that both training programs effectively increased participants' knowledge about this important topic. In addition, improvement in self-assessed competency was observed for participants in one program, and positive changes in attitudes and anticipated practice behavior regarding childcare for foster children were observed among participants in the other.

Does recent state-level data by race and ethnicity reflect differential access to Head Start and Child Care and Development Block Grant funded child care?

Disparate access: Head Start and CCDBG data by race and ethnicity
Schmit, Stephanie, 02/01/2016
Washington, DC: Center for Law and Social Policy. Retrieved from http://www.clasp.org/resources-and-publications/publication-1/Disparate-Access.pdf

This brief highlights state-level data by race and ethnicity about differential access to Head Start preschool, Early Head Start (EHS), and Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG)-funded child care, analyzed here for the first time. The brief also identifies potential policy implications and the gaps in the data that limit our ability to more comprehensively analyze the findings.

Are two years of Head Start more effective than one year of Head Start followed by pre-K?

Head Start at ages 3 and 4 versus Head Start followed by state pre-K: Which is more effective?
Jenkins, Jade Marcus, 03/01/2016

As policymakers contemplate expanding preschool opportunities for low-income children, one possibility is to fund 2, rather than 1 year of Head Start for children at ages 3 and 4. Another option is to offer 1 year of Head Start followed by 1 year of pre-K. We ask which of these options is more effective. We use data from the Oklahoma pre-K study to examine these two "pathways" into kindergarten using regression discontinuity to estimate the effects of each age 4 program, and propensity score weighting to address selection. We find that children attending Head Start at age 3 develop stronger prereading skills in a high-quality pre-kindergarten at age 4 compared with attending Head Start at age 4. Pre-K and Head Start were not differentially linked to improvements in children's prewriting skills or premath skills. This suggests that some impacts of early learning programs may be related to the sequencing of learning experiences to more academic programming.

Can sixty minutes of physical activity per day included within preschool academic lessons improve early literacy?

Sixty minutes of physical activity per day included within preschool academic lessons improves early literacy
Kirk, Stacie M., 03/01/2016

Background: The effects of increases in physical activity (PA) on early literacy skills in preschool children are not known. Methods: Fifty-four African-American preschool children from a low socioeconomic urban Head Start participated over 8 months. A 2-group, quasi-experimental design was used with one preschool site participating in the PA intervention and a second site participating as the control site. The PA program was designed to promote 300 minutes/week of moderate to vigorous PA academic lessons. Academic achievement related to early literacy and phonological awareness in the areas of rhyming and alliteration were assessed at baseline, 4 and 8 months. Results: Over 8 months, rhyming significantly (p <.01) improved in the PA group (173 +/-12%) compared with the controls (28+/-8%) resulting in between group differences at 8 months (p <.01). Alliteration significantly (p <.01) improved in the PA group (52+/-16%) compared with controls (13+/-5%), resulting in between group differences at 8 months (p <.01). As minutes of exposure to moderate to vigorous PA increased, the change in picture naming (R[squared] =.35, p <.05), alliteration (R[squared] =.38, p <.05), and rhyming (R[squared] =.42, p <.05), increased. Conclusion: A teacher-directed PA program is effective at increasing PA and improving early literacy. Check out Research Connections Topic of Interest for additional information on Physical activity in Early Care and Education Settings.

What are the changes in state funding for pre-K programs from fiscal year 2014-2015 through fiscal year 2015-2016?

State pre-k funding for 2015-16 fiscal year: National trends in state preschool funding
Parker, Emily, 01/01/2016
Denver: CO: Education Commission of the States. Retrieved from http://www.ecs.org/ec-content/uploads/01252016_Prek-K_Funding_report-1.pdf

An examination of changes in state funding for prekindergarten programs from fiscal year 2014-2015 through fiscal year 2015-2016.

What are the significant 2015 state legislative enactments in early care and education?

Early care & education 2015 state legislative action
National Conference of State Legislatures,
Denver, CO: National Conference of State Legislatures. Retrieved from http://www.ncsl.org/documents/cyf/NCSL_2015_ECE_Enacted_Legislation.pdf

The National Conference of State Legislatures' (NCSL) Early Care and Education Project in the Children and Families Program tracks introduced and enacted legislation related to child care, early education and parent engagement and support. During the 2015 legislative session, lawmakers introduced nearly 900 bills on the topic of early care and education. Of those, 124 bills have been signed into law in 39 states. This report provides an overview of the significant 2015 legislative enactments in the following major topic areas: child care (subsidy, quality, and access), early childhood workforce, pre-K/ and school readiness, early childhood governance and systems, early childhood services, data strategies, home visiting and parent education, and finance strategies and appropriations. The largest number of legislative enactments occurred in the topic area of child care.

What are the social and emotional benefits of arts participation in early childhood?

The arts in early childhood: Social and emotional benefits of arts participation: A literature review and gap-analysis (2000-2015)
Menzer, Melissa, 12/01/2015
Washington, DC: National Endowment for the Arts, Office of Research & Analysis. Retrieved from https://www.arts.gov/sites/default/files/arts-in-early-childhood-dec2015-rev.pdf

The goal of this literature review, then, was to synthesize contemporary research, published from 2000 through 2015, on the links between arts participation and early childhood social-emotional development. Arts-related empirical research focusing on the early childhood period is an emerging field, and one that inspired the NEA in 2004 to publish an evidence-based guide for parents about the value of arts participation early in life. Like that earlier report (Imagine! Introducing Your Child to the Arts), this one focuses on typically developing populations. The research herein is based on 18 empirical articles that were identified as relevant, that tested for statistically significant relationships between the arts and social-emotional development, and that meet the inclusion criteria for this review. The articles came from various peer-review research journals in the fields of psychology and education. (author abstract)

What is the classroom age composition and the school readiness of 3 and 4 year-olds in the Head Start program?

Classroom age composition and the school readiness of 3- and 4-year-olds in the Head Start program
Ansari, Arya, 01/01/2016

The federal Head Start program, designed to improve the school readiness of children from low-income families, often serves 3- and 4-year-olds in the same classrooms. Given the developmental differences between 3- and 4-year-olds, it is unknown whether educating them together in the same classrooms benefits one group, both, or neither. Using data from the Family and Child Experiences Survey 2009 cohort, this study used a peer-effects framework to examine the associations between mixed-age classrooms and the school readiness of a nationally representative sample of newly enrolled 3-year-olds (n = 1,644) and 4-year-olds (n = 1,185) in the Head Start program. Results revealed that 4-year-olds displayed fewer gains in academic skills during the preschool year when they were enrolled in classrooms with more 3-year-olds; effect sizes corresponded to 4 to 5 months of academic development. In contrast, classroom age composition was not consistently associated with 3-year-olds' school readiness.

Can intervention programs in child care promote the quality of caregiver-child interactions?

Do intervention programs in child care promote the quality of caregiver-child interactions?: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials
Werner, Claudia D., 02/01/2016

This meta-analysis reports on the effectiveness of targeted interventions focusing on child care professionals to improve child care quality, caregiver interaction skills, and child social-emotional development. Within randomized controlled trials, interventions are moderately effective in improving overall caregiver-child interactions (k=19, Hedges' g= 0.35) and in improving child care quality on the classroom level (k=11; Hedges' g=0.39), the caregiver level (k=10; Hedges' g=0.44), and the child level (k=6; Hedges' g= 0.26). Based on these findings, the implementation of evidence-based targeted interventions on a larger scale than currently exists may lead to better social-emotional development for children under the age of 5 years. There remains, however, an urgent need for more and larger randomized controlled trials with a solid design and high quality measures in order to shed more light on which child care components for which children are most critical in supporting children's socio-emotional development.

Does the Success by Six Initiative improve quality for child care centers in Greater Philadelphia?

Improving quality for child care centers in Greater Philadelphia: An evaluation of Success By 6: Final report
Warner-Richter, Mallory, 02/01/2016
(Publication #2016-07). Washington, DC: Child Trends. Retrieved from http://www.childtrends.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/2016-07SuccessBySixReport.pdf

This report is a review of the Success By 6 quality improvement initiative, designed to increase the quality ratings of select Philadelphia-area child care sites from 2 stars to 3 stars within the Keystone STARS quality rating and improvement system of Pennsylvania.

What are the predictors and prevalence of educational intervention utilization among U.S. preschool aged children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD)?

Prevalence and correlates of educational intervention utilization among children with autism spectrum disorder
Bilaver, Lucy Mackey, 02/01/2016

This study examined the prevalence and correlates of educational intervention utilization among U.S. preschool aged children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) prior to recent policy changes. The analysis was based on a nationally representative longitudinal survey of children receiving special education services during the 2003-2004 school year. All children with parent or teacher identified ASD over a 3-year study period were analyzed. Outcomes included utilization of speech therapy, occupational therapy, behavior therapy, and mental health services by service sector. The analysis revealed low rates of behavioral therapy and mental health services. Parents reported that the overwhelming majority of services were received inside school only. This study identified gaps in the provision of services for young children with ASD.

What are the findings from the 2015 National Agricultural Workers Survey for Migrant and Seasonal Head Start-eligible families?

Migrant and Seasonal Head Start supplement to the National Agricultural Workers Survey: 2015 report
United States. Administration for Children and Families. Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, 03/01/2015
(OPRE Report No. 2015-115). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/2015_mshs_supplement_to_naws_report_ii_1_2016_pdf_compliant.pdf

In December of 2007, OHS turned to the National Agricultural Workers Survey (NAWS), a relevant Federal resource that collects data annually on farmworker populations, to explore regional population demographics for MSHS-eligible families. In addition to reporting on the demographics of the families, the NAWS team created and piloted a Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Supplement asking about MSHS-eligible families' child care utilization, demographics and history. This report provides the following: National and regional estimates of MSHS-eligible children, and trends in the population distribution across regions (using 2009-2011 NAWS data); Descriptive information from the NAWS on MSHS-eligible parents and comparison data from slightly higher income families (using 2007-2011 NAWS data); Descriptive information from the NAWS MSHS Supplement on childcare and experiences with and barriers to participating in MSHS (using 2008-20011 NAWS data).

What are we teaching the teachers?

What are we teaching the teachers?: Child development curricula in US higher education
Buettner, Cynthia K., 02/01/2016

Early childhood educators are expected to provide quality education to young children based on national standards, but the extent to which these standards are incorporated into teacher education programs is not well established. Objective The purpose of this study was to examine curriculum coverage of recommended quality standards in early childhood teacher education programs and to compare 2- and 4-year degree programs. Methods We conducted an online survey with 175 university early childhood education program directors in the US. Results More than 60 % of the programs covered child development, program and classroom management, families and community, academic instruction and curricula, and observation and assessment in more than one entire required course. However, areas such as maintaining professionalism and promoting children's social and emotional development were less frequently covered in required courses and were discussed in only one or several class sessions. Associate programs were more likely to focus on skill development through practicum work, but were less likely than 4 year programs to require a formal student teaching experience. A few differences emerged in the curriculum content in bachelor's and associate programs. Bachelor's programs appeared to focus on knowledge, including academic instruction and curricula and observation and assessment, and associate programs appeared to be focused on practices, including program and classroom management. Conclusions Findings highlight under-taught areas such as professionalism and promoting social and emotional learning and significant differences in associate and bachelor's degree programs. Additional research should be conducted on pre-service training to assure that training results in teachers who improve the quality of early childhood programs. (author abstract)

How do parents of children with and without disabilities select preschools?

How do caregivers select preschools?: A study of children with and without disabilities
Glenn-Applegate, Katherine, 02/01/2016

Little is known about how parents and other caregivers conceptualize preschool quality, or what factors they prioritize when selecting a preschool. Caregivers of children with disabilities have the additional challenge of finding a preschool that can address their children's special needs. Objective We explored the factors caregivers valued when selecting a preschool for their ch