Early School Readiness: Indicators on Children and Youth


Compared with white or black children, Hispanic children are less likely to be able to recognize the letters of the alphabet, count to 20 or higher, or write their names before they start kindergarten. Black children are similar to white children on these measures, but are more likely than white children to be reading words in books.


School readiness, a multi-dimensional concept,1 conveys important advantages. Children who enter school with early skills, such as a basic knowledge of math and reading, are more likely than their peers to experience later academic success,2,3 attain higher levels of education, and secure employment.4 Absence of these and other skills may contribute to even greater disparities down the road. For example, one study found that gaps in math, reading, and vocabulary skills evident at elementary school entry explained at least half of the racial gap in high school achievement scores.5

As conceptualized by the National Education Goals Panel, school readiness encompasses five dimensions: (1) physical well-being and motor development; (2) social and emotional development; (3) approaches to learning; (4) language development (including early literacy); and (5) cognition and general knowledge.6 The school readiness indicator reported on here includes four skills related to early literacy and cognitive development: a child’s ability to recognize letters, count to 20 or higher, write his or her first name, and read words in a book. While cognitive development and early literacy are important for children’s school readiness and early success in school, other areas of development, like health, social development, and engagement, may be of equal or greater importance.7,8,9 However, although experts agree that social-emotional skills are critically important for school readiness, to date there are no nationally representative data in this area.

Source: Child Trends

Available at: http://www.childtrends.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/07_School_Readiness.pdf

Babysteps: Parenting Resources From ZERO TO THREE


No, I Want That Bowl!

As little ones grow up each day, parents may find that they tend to have their own way for everything and show little flexibility. Parents may be worried and wonder how to help. Click here to learn more about inflexibility in toddlerhood, and what parents can do with it.

On Your Lap, In Your Heart

Grandparents—whether living near or far—enjoy a special relationship with their grandchildren. Grandparents are the ones who are often willing to read the same story over and over, play a silly game, or say “who’s there” to a knock-knock joke more times than they can count. Check out ZERO TO THREE’s resources just for grandparents.

Mommy, That Man Is Fat!

Sometimes our toddlers make observations or ask questions “Why is that lady’s skin so brown?” that make adults very uncomfortable. Learn more about how to answer these typical questions from very observant 2- and 3-year olds by clicking here.

Fun for the Under-3s

Birth to 12 Months: Finger and Feet Painting.

You can do this outside or in your house. Place some large white paper or cloth on the ground or floor, undress your baby down to diaper, put her feet or hands in child-safe tempera paint, and then press gently onto the paper or cloth or let her touch the paper on her own. Many babies will enjoy the sensory nature of this activity and will want to explore. If your baby doesn’t enjoy it, clean her up and try again another time. This activity encourages sensory exploration and also works your baby’s fine and gross motor skills as she bangs, touches, crawls, and walks over the paper. Have some messy fun!

12-24 Months: Let’s Go Strawberry Picking!

From middle June till early September, it is harvest time for different types of strawberries. Take your child along with you to a farm with strawberry patches to pick some to take home. When you spot one, point it out and label it “strawberry” or observe that it’s “red.” Children learn new words and concepts through direct experience with them. When you get home, have your toddler help you wash the strawberries or hold the colander while you rinse them. After you remove the stems, hand the strawberry to your toddler to put in a bowl. This type of “cooking project” is age-appropriate and fun, while also teaching your little one about how strawberries grow, the color red, and cooperating in family routines.

24-36 Months: What Does That Cloud Look Like?

On a cloudy day,  lie down with your toddler on a blanket on a grassy spot. Look up at the puffy, white clouds and talk about the shapes you see. Ask your toddler questions: Do you see that cloud in the shape of a whale? What shape does that cloud look like? What else does it look like besides a human face? Do you see a “turtle cloud” sailing slowly across the blue sky…? This outdoor activity sparks imagination and creativity, builds language skills as you talk about the clouds and perhaps make up stories together, and—most important—fosters giggly togetherness between the two of you.



Parenting Essentials


Parenting is hard work! But it can also be fun and rewarding. There are many things you can do to help build a safe, stable, and nurturing relationship with your child. This website will help you handle some common parenting challenges, so you can be a more confident parent and enjoy helping your child grow.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/parents/essentials/index.html

ZERO TO THREE 28th National Training Institute (NTI) | 2013 NTI Program | powered by RegOnline

12/11 – 14/2013
JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country
San Antonio, TX

ZERO TO THREE’s annual multi-disciplinary training event for early childhood professionals

The NTI is carefully developed to meet the learning and networking needs of those working with infants and toddlers in Child Welfare, Early Childhood Education, Early Intervention, Mental Health, Parent Education, and Pediatrics.


Available at: https://www.regonline.com/builder/site/Default.aspx?EventID=1185937

ZERO TO THREE 28th National Training Institute (NTI) Registration and Information

12/11/2013 – 12/14/2014

JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country
San Antonio, TX

The NTI is carefully developed to meet the learning and networking needs of those working with infants and toddlers in Child Welfare, Early Childhood Education, Early Intervention, Mental Health, Parent Education, and Pediatrics.

NTI’s variety of programming allows you to design your own professional development experience by crafting an  NTI agenda that meets your specific needs. Be informed and enriched by the NTI’s five general sessions, 80 breakout sessions, robust, interactive Pre-Institutes, and a multitude of networking and other continuing education experiences.


Early Childhood Research & Practice

Spring 2013

We are pleased to welcome you to the Spring 2013 issue of Early Childhood Research & Practice. ECRP is now in its 15th year as an open-access, peer-reviewed, multilingual internet-only journal with a continually growing international readership. ECRP receives more than 1,700,000 user visits annually from the United States, Mexico, the United Kingdom, South America, China, and many other places around the world.

The current issue includes five articles on a range of topics related to early care, education, and intervention. A special section on parents’ perspectives may be of interest to advocates of emphasizing the voices of parents in early childhood research; three small studies from the U.S. are featured in that section. For the first time, ECRP also offers reviews of recently-published books.

Are you an educator who is interested in the Project Approach? Our multi-media 2-disc teacher resource titled Projects to Go includes the popular DVD “Rearview Mirror: Reflections on a Preschool Car Project” and a CD-ROM of selected ECRP articles (most in both English and Spanish) related to the Project Approach. See http://ecap.crc.illinois.edu/pubs.html#sale for more information.

Topics addressed in this issue include:

  • recent literature related to young children’s school readiness in literacy and mathematics
  • parent-child interactions during family cooking activities
  • reactions of adult and adolescent mothers of children receiving early intervention services to specific aspects of those services
  • perspectives of parents with young children on the autism spectrum regarding their families’ experiences with early intervention services
  • mothers’ and fathers’ observations of their children’s transitions from a child-centered preschool into traditional kindergartens

We hope that you find these articles useful.

ECRP is an open-access journal. We do not take subscriptions and fees from authors are not accepted. We cannot accept advertising. Thus, we are completely dependent on contributions from individuals, foundations, and corporate donors. So we urge you to help support ECRP with a tax-deductible donation. Any amount can make a difference. In fact, if each of our readers donated just $5, we could sustain the journal indefinitely!

Donations to ECRP are managed by the University of Illinois Foundation (UIF). For instructions, go to http://ecrp.illinois.edu/donation.html

We also invite you to like us on Facebook.

Thank you,
Lilian G. Katz, editor
Jean A. Mendoza, associate editor
Susan Fowler, associate editor

Source: Early Childhood Research & Practice

Available at: http://ecrp.uiuc.edu/index.html

What Makes A Difference: Early Head Start Evaluation Findings in a Developmental Context


The federal Early Head Start (EHS) program began in 1995, and a randomized trial was conducted to evaluate the efficacy of 17 EHS programs. In all, 3,001 low-income families (35% African American, 24% Hispanic, and 37% White) with a pregnant women or an infant under the age of 12 months were randomly assigned to a treatment or control group (with 91% of the treatment group receiving some services). Data were collected when the children were about 1, 2, and 3 years of age, and at age 5 (2 years after leaving EHS). Research questions examined (1) impacts of EHS at ages 2 and 3 (when services were being offered) and at age 5, and (2) contributions of early education experiences across children’s first 5 years of life. Child outcomes included cognition, language, attention, behavior problems, and health; maternal outcomes included parenting, mental health, and employment.

Overall impact analyses at ages 2 and 3 indicated that EHS benefited children and families: impacts were seen in all domains, with effect sizes of significant impacts ranging from .10 to .20. At age 5, EHS children had better attention and approaches toward learning as well as fewer behavior problems than the control group, although they did not differ on early school achievement. Subgroup analyses indicated that cognitive impacts were sustained 2 years after the program ended for African American children and language impacts for Hispanic children who spoke Spanish. Some significant family benefits were seen at age 5. Mediated analyses identified which child and family impacts at ages 2 and 3 contributed to the child impacts at age 5 (most relevant were earlier treatment effects on child cognition and on engagement with the parent). Growth curve analyses were also conducted.

Although fewer than half the children enrolled in center-based preschool programs between ages 3 and 4, almost 90% participated in the year preceding kindergarten. A higher percentage of EHS than control children were enrolled. Nonexperimental analyses suggested that formal program participation enhanced children’s readiness for school while also increasing parent-reported aggression. At age 5, those children and families who experienced EHS followed by formal programs fared best overall. However, the benefits of the two experiences were associated with outcomes in different ways. Benefits in language, behavior, and parenting were associated primarily with EHS; benefits in early school achievement were associated primarily with preschool attendance.


SafeCare® is a home visiting program for parents of children ages 0-5 years who are at risk for child maltreatment or have been reported to Child Protective Services (CPS) for child maltreatment. The program aims to reduce subsequent child maltreatment by educating parents on home safety and organization skills, child health and nutrition management, and parent-child interaction skills. SafeCare uses trained home visitors to educate parents on these components such that their skills are generalizable across settings, time, and behaviors (Lutzker and Bigelow, 2002).

Source: Promising Practices

Available at: http://www.promisingpractices.net/program.asp?programid=293

Family Foundations


Family Foundations (FF) is composed of eight pre- and post-natal classes designed for expectant couples who are living together (cohabitating or married). FF classes are interactive and skills-based, focusing on enhancing the “coparenting” relationship. The coparenting relationship is defined as the ways parents organize their parenting, support or undermine each other, and manage conflict regarding parenting. Research shows that coparenting relationship quality has a strong influence on parenting and child outcomes for families regardless of marital status, residential status, and risk level.

Source: Promising Practices Network

Available at: http://www.promisingpractices.net/program.asp?programid=294

April FINE Newsletter: Changing the Conversation: Sharing Education Data With Families / FINE Newsletter Archive / FINE: Family Involvement Network of Educators


In this issue of the FINE Newsletter, we discuss how education data can be used to connect parents and teachers as active partners in children’s success. We highlight the importance of making data sharing an ongoing activity rather than one that happens only at specific times during the school year. We also stress the value of data-focused conversations in helping families understand their child’s progress and learn what they can do to advance their child’s learning at home, at school, and in the community.

We are also releasing a new resource,Tips for Administrators, Teachers, and Families: How to Share Data Effectively, which offers each of these groups tips on how to prepare for and have conversations about data that go beyond traditional measurements of student progress such as grades and test scores. These tip sheets build on our Parent–Teacher Conference Tip Sheets to help administrators, teachers, and families understand how they can share data throughout the year and make data sharing a cornerstone of family–school communication.

As you read through and try out the tips, we invite you to share your feedback with us. Were the tips useful? Did following the tips help strengthen your family–school communication around data sharing? We’ll be crowdsourcing your feedback and using it to help improve our resources and tools, so please share your ideas with us by emailing fine@gse.harvard.edu with the subject line: Data Sharing Tips Feedback.

We also have some exciting news—we are in the process of making the FINE Newsletter interactive and plan to include some special features in future issues. In the spirit of using data to connect with you and others in our audience, we will be sending out a member survey to solicit your thoughts. Look for a survey from us in your email in the coming months!

As always, we invite you to pass on this issue to interested friends and colleagues and hope that you will encourage them to sign up for FINE at http://www.hfrp.org/subscribe/email.php . We’ve made it even easier to share the FINE Newsletter content with your social networks: Find the “share” button on the left side of every page, and send interesting articles via email or through other platforms such as Facebook or Twitter.

Source: The Family Involvement Network of Educators, Harvard Family Research Project

Available at: http://www.hfrp.org/family-involvement/fine-family-involvement-network-of-educators/fine-newsletter-archive/april-fine-newsletter-changing-the-conversation-sharing-education-data-with-families