The National Center for Children and Families regularly publishes articles and reports, is cited by the media, and participates in child and family research and policy events with national or international significance. We are providing a monthly update of our selected accomplishments.
(Note: some publications referenced are available by subscription only.)
The Early Advantage 2: Building Systems That Work for Young Children, the second of two Early Advantage volumes edited by Dr. Sharon Lynn Kagan, was released to the public on April 12, 2019 by Teachers College Press. The product of a groundbreaking study that examined six high-performing early childhood care and education systems around the world, the volume offers innovative strategies, examples, considerations, and approaches for ECEC leaders worldwide. More information on the Early Advantage project is available here.
Dr. Sharon Lynn Kagan held a Presidential Session at the American Educational Research Association’s 2019 Annual Meeting. Her session, entitled, “The Early Advantage: Building Systems That Work for Young Children,” shared key findings from the Early Advantage study, and particularly highlighted lessons from The Early Advantage 2: Building Systems That Work for Young Children, which was pre-released at the meeting. The session was chaired by Marc S. Tucker, president/CEO emeritus of the National Center on Education and the Economy. Two co-principal investigators from the Early Advantage Study, Rebecca Bull (Singapore) and Kristiina Kumpulainen (Finland) also presented.
In consultation with UNICEF, Dr. Sharon Lynn Kagan traveled to Sri Lanka to tour early childhood education centers and to present at the Sri Lanka Early Development Forum in Colombo. Her presentation, entitled “Thinking Differently About Quality Early Childhood Development,” focused on issues of quality, equity, efficiency, and sustainability and drew on key lessons from her Early Advantage study.
Dr. Brooks-Gunn attended the Global Cities Board Meeting on January 31, 2019 in New York City. Dr. Brooks-Gunn is a Board Member of Global Cities, which promotes skills that today’s youth will require for citizenship in tomorrow’s world. Dr. Brooks-Gunn also participates in their Global Scholars Digital Exchange Program, which connects over 15,000 students in nearly 700 classrooms through its e-classroom discussion boards.
Dr. Sharon Lynn Kagan led her students through a week-long intensive institute in Washington, D.C. as part of her Federal Policy Institute course. While in Washington, her students met with leading federal policymakers from the legislative and executive branches of government, along with prominent representatives from professional, advocacy, think tank and membership organizations. In addition to discussing major current legislation and policy trends, students learned how the federal policy process impacts educational excellence and equity.
Dr. Brooks-Gunn co-authored an article with Dr. Yumiko Aratani (Mailman School of Public Health), Dr. Diana Hernandez (Mailman School of Public Health), and Sarah Lazzeroni (NCCF Research Associate) titled Housing subsidies and child development. The article was published in Housing Policy Debate.
Sam Melvin, a doctoral student in Education Policy and a graduate fellow at the National Center for Children and Families, was selected to receive a New York City Early Childhood Research Network Early Career Scholars Award. As a recipient of this award, Sam will join other Early Career Scholars in a learning community dedicated to pursing applied research that has implications for early childhood policy and practice. In particular, Sam will be focusing her research on quality improvement efforts in home based child care in NYC and elsewhere.
Dr. Brooks-Gunn participated in a Forum on Inequality hosted by Columbia World Projects (CWP) aimed at identifying possible solutions to fundamental challenges facing humanity. Based on this forum, CWP published a report titled Columbia World Projects First Forum on Inequality: Unequal Opportunity
Dr. Brooks-Gunn co-authored an article with Dr. Yao Lu (NYU) and Qian He (University of Wisconsin-Madison) titled Diverse experiences of immigrant children: How do separation and reunification shape their development? The article was published in Child Development.
Dr. Jeanne Reid has been awarded a grant from the New York Early Childhood Professional Development Institute-CUNY to examine quality differences between center-based and family child care programs for infants and toddlers in New York City. This project, a mixed-methods analysis, will examine the city’s quality enhancement efforts in two distinctly different types of programs that care for infants and toddlers in New York City: center-based care and licensed family child care. NCCF will collect and analyze data from the administrators and educators who have experienced the implementation of city policies to improve program quality. The study will render findings and actionable policy recommendations to inform policymakers who seek to improve and align quality among infant and toddler programs.
Tiana Moore, a second-year doctoral student in Developmental Psychology and fellow at the National Center for Children and Families, was awarded the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Health Policy Research Scholars (HPRS) Fellowship. HPRS is a leadership development opportunity for second-year full-time doctoral students from underrepresented populations and/or disadvantaged backgrounds – students whose ethnicity, socioeconomic status, ability, and other factors allow them to bring unique and diverse perspectives to their research. Teachers College highlighted Tiana’s work, as well Shanae Burch, another TC student who received the HPRS Fellowship, in a recent article.
Dr. Sharon Lynn Kagan presented at the Grantmakers for Education‘s Annual Conference in San Diego, California. Her session was entitled, “Early Childhood Policy in Higher Education: A New Generation of Leaders.”
Dr. Claire Baker’s article (co-authored with Dr. Laura Kuhn) Mediated pathways from maternal depression and early parenting to children’s executive function and externalizing behaviour problems, was one of Infant and Child Development’s top 20 most downloaded recent papers. Amongst articles published between July 2016 and June 2018, Dr. Baker and Dr. Kuhn’s articles received some of the highest downloads in the 12-months post online publication.
Four partnering groups—the Fundação Maria Cecilia Souto Vidigal; Teachers College, Columbia University; Fundação Lemann; and CEIPE—have established a partnership to create an Advanced Program on Policy Implementation (APPI), with the explicit goal of supporting those charged with designing and implementing early childhood policies with the requisite knowledge, tools, and skills to capitalize on and extend policy opportunities. Dr. Sharon Lynn Kagan served as the Principal Investigator for Teachers College, Columbia University for this project. In August 2018, the seven policy teams representing Brazilian national and state government officials and high-level policymakers received extensive individualized consultation, ongoing peer and expert mentoring, and support for their participation in a five-day New York City APPI Institute that was held at Teachers College, Columbia University.
Dr. Jeanne Reid has been awarded a grant from the Spencer Foundation to examine differences in the development of executive function skills among socio-demographically diverse children. Using data from a nationally representative sample of children, followed from kindergarten through second grade, Dr. Reid will study the extent to which any differences in executive function gains among diverse children are associated with children’s relationships with their teachers.
Dr. Brooks-Gunn is a member of the advisory board for Global Cities Inc., a New York City based non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing communication among global cities and cultivating the next generation of global citizens. At the Global Cities Symposium in Paris in October 2017, Dr. Jeanne Brooks-Gunn discussed why middle school is the perfect moment to focus on global competence education. An excerpt of her talk was recently released for viewing here.
The Early Advantage 1: Early Childhood Education Systems That Lead by Example, the first of two Early Advantage volumes edited by Dr. Sharon Lynn Kagan, was released to the public on August 31, 2018 by Teachers College Press. The product of a groundbreaking study that examined six high-performing early childhood care and education systems around the world, the volume offers fresh insights and concrete examples of what highly successful countries are doing to support young children and their families. More information on the Early Advantage project is available here.
Dr. Claire Baker’s article titled Fathers’ and Mothers’ language acculturation and parenting practices: Links to Mexican American children’s academic readiness was recently featured in the Research Connections News & Resources newsletter and the “Recent Highlights from Our Collection” section of our Research Connections website.
Dr. Sharon Lynn Kagan led a symposium in July entitled The Early Advantage: Examining Early Childhood Systems Globally – with a Pacific Emphasis at the 19th Pacific Early Childhood Education Research Association (PECERA) International Annual Conference in Malaysia. The aim of PECERA 2018 was to bring together researchers and practitioners in the field of early childhood education to discuss and share research, practices and development in the field of early childhood education.
Jeanne Reid presented two papers at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association in April. The first, co-authored with Lynn Kagan and Samantha Melvin, “Implementing Universal Pre-Kindergarten for Racially, Ethnically, and Linguistically Diverse Children and Families: Differences by Setting and Auspice,” reported results from NCCF’s study of New York City’s Pre-K for All initiative. The second, “Children’s Executive Function Development and School Socio-Economic and Racial/Ethnic Composition: Evidence from Nationally Representative Data,” co-authored with TC Professor Doug Ready, was part of ongoing work that Dr. Reid is doing with Professor Ready on how the development of executive function may vary by young children’s socio-demographic background and their school contexts.
Dr. Sari Mullola, Visiting Scholar at NCCF, and her colleagues have two new publications. One article examines whether physicians’ personality traits moderate the association between medical specialty and well-being at work, and the full article in the Archives of Environmental & Occupational Health can be found here. Moreover, she and her colleagues examine how personality traits are associated with medical career choices after graduating from medical school, in terms of employment sector, patient contact, medical specialty and change of specialty. This article which was published in the BMC Medical Education journal can be found here.
Dr. Jeanne Brooks-Gunn along with her colleagues P. Lindsay Chase-Lansdale, Elise Chor, Christopher King, Terri J. Sabol, William Schneider, Mario L. Small, Teresa Eckrich Sommer and Hirokazu Yoshikawa published a chapter entitled, “A Two-Generation Human Capital Approach to Anti-Poverty Policy” in a two volume issue on “Anti-poverty Policy Initiatives for the United States” in the Russell Sage Foundation’s Journal of the Social Sciences. Please view the full chapter here.
Dr. Brooks-Gunn and her colleagues have been conducting an evaluation on the Room to Grow program which has been featured in the article, “We Know How Poverty Hurts Children. It’s Time to Intervene” in the Incidental Economist, and this publication can be found here.
Dr. Sharon Lynn Kagan was awarded a significant grant by the Heising-Simons Foundation to build a new cadre of leaders on early childhood policy. This endeavor will be a two-year effort to replicate our Center and the study of early childhood policy at various institutions of higher education around the country.
In January 2018, the NCCF hosted a brief gathering for members of the Ministry of Education, leaders from select academic institutions, and philanthropists from the United Arab Emirates. Dr. Sharon Lynn Kagan gave a presentation on the Center’s mission and goals in an effort to help these constituents replicate the Center’s endeavors in some form in their home country.
Dr. Jeanne Brooks-Gunn and Dr. Margo Gardner collaborated with several co-authors to write a chapter entitled, “Developmental Complexity: Modeling Social Inequalities in Young Children and Macaques” for the book Growing inequality: Bridging complex systems, population health, and health disparities. To view to purchase: click here Complete reference: Boyce, W. T., Riolo, R. L., Suomi, S. J., Brooks-Gunn, J., Groscurth, K., Chang, S. T., Gardner, M., Low, B.S., Dettmer-Erard, A. M., Rosen, J., & Simon, K. P. (2017). Developmental complexity: Modeling social inequality in young children and macaques. In G. A. Kaplan, A. V. Diez Roux, C. P. Simon, & S. Galeo (Eds.), Growing inequality: Bridging complex systems, population health, and health disparities (pp. 41-80). Washington, DC: Westphalia Press.
Dr. Claire Baker along with her colleagues, Dr. Kirsten Kainz and Elizabeth Reynolds, published a paper entitled, “Family Poverty, Family Processes and Children’s Preschool Achievement: Understanding the Unique Role of Fathers” in the Child and Family Studies journal. The study uses nationally representative data from the ECLS-B to examine the differential affects of exposure to family-level poverty on fathers’ and mothers’ parenting and its subsequent influence to children’s school readiness (i.e., preschool achievement). To view the paper, click here.
Dr. Jeanne Brooks-Gunn has been attending meetings as a member of the advisory board of the Fragile Families Challenge. The Fragile Families Challenge is an ongoing mass research collaboration that uses “big data” collected as part of Princeton University’s Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study – some 54 million data points – to provide policymakers with information that could help generate new theories about how to improve the lives of future generations of disadvantaged children. For more information about these efforts, please read the article here.
In October 2017, Dr. Sharon Kagan made a presentation entitled, “A Comparative Study of Early Childhood Education and Care in Selected High-Performing Countries” at the 58th International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) General Assembly in Budapest, Hungry.
Additionally, Dr. Sharon Kagan and Jessica Roth recently published an article, “Transforming Early Childhood Systems for Future Generations: Obligations and Opportunities” in the International Journal of Early Childhood. View the article here.
Dr. Sharon Kagan, Dr. Jeanne Reid and their colleague Dr. Catherine Scott-Little published the article, “New understandings of cultural diversity and the implications for early childhood policy, pedagogy, and practice” in the Early Child Development and Care journal. View the article here.
Dr. Jeanne Reid, moreover, has been invited to join the workgroup to revise NAEYC’s position statement on Developmentally Appropriate Practice, which is developing a new statement on diversity and equity.
In September 2017, Dr. Jeanne Brooks-Gunn and Dr. Ingrid Gould Ellen from New York University organized and participated in a Research Roundtable on Housing and Family Well-Being. The Roundtable was aimed at bringing together researchers to share details about current projects and get feedback from colleagues. Researchers from the Columbia University School of Social Work, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development, New York University, and Princeton University were in attendance.
Dr. Claire Baker’s article, co-authored by Laura Kuhn, “Mediated pathways from maternal depression and early parenting to children’s executive function and externalizing behavior problems” was recently published in the Infant and Child Development journal. This paper used nationally representative data from the ECLS-K (2010-2011). Read the full article here. Moreover, Dr. Claire Baker’s article entitled “Maternal depression and the development of executive function and behavior problems in Head Start: Indirect effects through parenting” was recently accepted for publication in the Infant Mental Health journal. This paper used a nationally representative sample of children from the Head Start Child and Family Experiences Survey of 2009 (FACES-2009). See the manuscript here.
Dr. Jeanne Brooks-Gunn with colleagues Louis Donnelly, Irwin Garfinkel, Brandon Wagner, Sarah James, and Sara McLanahan recently published an article, “Geography of intergenerational mobility and child development” in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal. See the full article here.
Dr. Sharon Lynn Kagan presented the keynote address at the 2017 Pacific Early Childhood Development Conference, hosted in Fiji with sponsorship from UNICEF and World Bank. Her address was entitled “Making the Case for Early Childhood Development.”
Father loss during childhood has negative health and behavioral consequences, but the biological consequences are unknown. Dr. Jeanne Brooks-Gunn’s paper, co-authored by Colter Mitchell, Sara McLanahan, Lisa Schneper, Irv Garfinkel, and Daniel Notterman, “Father Loss and Child Telomere Length” was recently published in the July edition of the American Academy of Pediatrics journal. The study examines how father loss (because of separation and/or divorce, death, or incarceration) is associated with cellular function as estimated by telomere length. See the full article here.
In June 2017, Dr. Jeanne Brooks-Gunn was a speaker in the Future of Children and Brookings Institution’s conference titled “Starting Early: Creating a Comprehensive P-3 Approach to Achieve Quality and Continuity” in Princeton, New Jersey. In a session titled “Pre K-3rd Grade: What Does the Research Have to Say?”, moderated by Dr. Lisa Markman-Pithers; Dr. Jeanne Brooks-Gunn and Dr. Robert Pianta discussed research findings on early childhood development and education and their implications for programs and practices.
In June 2017, Dr. Sharon Lynn Kagan, Dr. Jeanne Reid along with Dr. Catherine Scott-Little from University of North Carolina at Greensboro gave a presentation entitled, “Cultural diversity in early education settings: Using standards to foster equity and diversity” during a session at the National Association for the Education of Young Children – Professional Learning Institute in San Francisco, California.
Dr. Jeanne Brooks-Gunn’s article, co-authored by Dr. Lisa Berlin, Dr. Colleen O’Neal, Ranga Atapattu and Lynsey Weston, “Maternal responsivity to infants in the ‘High Chair’ Assessment: Longitudinal relations with toddler outcomes in a diverse, low-income sample” was recently published in the May edition of the Infant Behavior and Development journal. This study tested if parenting in the High Chair task predicted toddler outcomes. The study concluded that parenting in a mildly stressful context in the home was predictive of child outcomes, above and beyond parenting in a low stress context. There were no significant ethnic differences in prediction of outcomes. Read the full article here.
The Columbia Population Research Center (CPRC) sponsored a symposium entitled “New Directions in Economic Empowerment: Cash Transfer and Asset Experiments in the US and Africa” on May 5, 2017. Organized by members of the CPRC, Dr. Jeanne Brooks-Gunn of Teachers College, Columbia University, Audrey Pettifor of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Fred Ssewamala and Jane Waldfogel of Columbia University School of Social Work, the conference focused on cash transfer experiments in the US and Africa. The event featured presentations about a new US income supplement experiment, led by Greg Duncan of University of California at Irvine and Kim Noble of Teachers College, Columbia University, and ground-breaking cash transfer and asset experiments in Africa, led by Audrey Pettifor of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Fred Ssewamala of Columbia University School of Social Work. The symposium was chaired by Drs. Brooks-Gunn and Waldfogel, followed by Dr. Larry Aber from New York University who also provided comments.
Dr. Sharon Lynn Kagan, in partnership with Dr. Kathy Thornburg from the University of Missouri’s Center for Family Policy & Research, are organizing a conference to advance early childhood policy (ECP) in institutions of higher education (IHE). With funding support from the Buffett Early Childhood Fund, the meeting will pose the opportunity for scholars to share experiences and challenges, examine questions, and engage in collective discourse among those invested in developing ECP courses and/or programs in IHE. In late May, the conference will aim to foster the diversity of ECP leaders and strengthen the ECP network in the country.
In March 2017, Dr. Jeanne Brooks-Gunn went to Congress to testify at a hearing: Investing in the Future – Early Childhood Education Programs. Dr. Brooks-Gunn presented evidence on what we know about Early Head Start and Head Start — that is the need for more funding in Early Head Start and Head Start (at age three) for poor/low-income families who are not currently receiving these early education services. To read/view the full testimony, click here.
From April 1-3, the NCCF team hosted the second research conference for A Comparative Study of ECEC in Six High-Performing Countries, sponsored by the National Center on Education and Economy. We were joined by eminent scholars from six countries (Australia: Collette Tayler and Tom Peachey; England: Kathy Sylva; Finland: Kristiina Kumpulainen; Hong Kong: Nirmala Rao; Republic of Korea: Mugyeong Moon; and Singapore: Rebecca Bull). At the conference, Dr. Sharon Lynn Kagan and the scholars reviewed early childhood policies from their respective countries, discerned common themes and building blocks that will advance early childhood policy globally.
Dr. Jeanne Reid’s article (co-authored by Dr. Anne Martin and Dr. Jeanne Brooks-Gunn) “Low-income parents’ adult interactions at childcare centres” was recently featured in the Child Care & Early Education Research Connections’ News & Resources newsletter. The study examined the extent and nature of low-income parents’ interactions with other parents and staff at childcare centers, and the potential for these interactions to provide emotional, informational, and instrumental support. The findings have important implications for low-income parents, who are typically more socially isolated than higher income parents, and the childcare centers that serve them. To read the full article, click here.
Dr. Jeanne Brooks-Gunn and doctoral fellows Gina Ahn, Marisa Morin, and Meredith Stevens will be attending the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) from April 6-8 in Austin, Texas. Dr. Brooks-Gunn will be a panelist at the SRCD Salon’s Invited Program on Developmental Effects of Early Exposure to Poverty on Thursday, April 6 with Dr. Clancy Blair, Dr. Greg Duncan, and Dr. Gary Evans. Two of Dr. Brooks-Gunn’s current research projects will be presented at the meeting, namely, “Different Models to Support Parents Through Early Care and Education Programs: Complimentary or At Odds?” (with collaborators Lindsey Chase-Lansdale, Teresa Sommer, Elise Chor, Hirokazu Yoshikawa, Christopher King, and Amanda Sheffield Morris) and “Income Inequality and Instability, Child Maltreatment, and Child Wellbeing Over Time and Across Cultures” (with collaborators Natasha Pilkauskas and Jane Waldfogel).
Gina Ahn will be presenting a poster titled “A Comparison of Cohabiting and Married Low-Income Mothers’ Affect Toward Child,” an investigation of the association between two-parent family structures and parenting at age 5. Marisa Morin will be presenting a poster titled “The Longitudinal Effects of Considering Abortion on Maternal Mental Health and Parenting Behaviors,” an examination of the association between mothers’ consideration of an abortion (retrospectively reported at the child’s birth), two measures of mental health (maternal depressive symptomology and parenting stress) and three parenting behaviors (engagement in 13 parenting activities, whether or not spanked child in past month, and observed warmth towards child) at age 3. Meredith Stevens will be presenting a poster titled “Center-ally Located: Neighborhood Residents vs. Non-residents at Low-Income Child Care Centers,” which examines differences in parent participation based on whether the families live in the same neighborhood as the child care center.
In January 2017, Dr. Sharon Lynn Kagan led her students to a week-long intensive institute in Washington, D.C. as part of her Federal Policy Institute course. While in Washington, her students met with leading federal policy makers from the legislative and executive branches of government, along with prominent representatives from key professional, advocacy, think tank and membership organizations. In addition to discussing major current legislation and policy trends, students learned how the federal policy process impacts educational excellence and equity, with a focus on four contemporary issues: the impact of the standards, assessment, and accountability movement on American education; teacher quality: policies and prospects; balancing the public and private roles in education; and the social context of education (including welfare, social equity, and workforce development). Given the change of administration that was underway during this year’s DC intensive, the panels were particularly interesting and the class was treated to a unique look into the transition process. See photo here.
Dr. Jeanne Brooks-Gunn along with her colleagues, William Schneider and Jane Waldfogel, published an article, “The Great Recession and Risk for Child Abuse and Neglect” in Children and Youth Services Review. This paper examines the association between the Great Recession and four measures of the risk for maternal child abuse and neglect: (1) maternal physical aggression; (2) maternal psychological aggression; (3) physical neglect by mothers; and (4) supervisory/exposure neglect by mothers. The results indicate that the Great Recession was associated with increased risk of child abuse but decreased risk of child neglect. Households with social fathers present may have been particularly adversely affected. Additional findings also show that economic uncertainty during the Great Recession, as measured by the Consumer Sentiment Index and the unemployment rate, had direct effects on the risk of abuse or neglect, which were not mediated by individual-level measures of economic hardship or poor mental health. The complete paper can be read here.
Dr. Sharon Lynn Kagan received the reputable and coveted Fulbright award and one aspect of her assignment included providing early childhood pedagogical workshops in Dushanbe, Tajikistan in early December. The workshops covered an overview of current research, thinking, and trends that are shaping early childhood pedagogy, practice, and policy.
Currently in press, Dr. Margo Gardner, Dr. Jeanne Brooks-Gunn along with Dr. Patricia Chase-Lansdale from Northwestern University wrote a chapter, “The two-generation approach to building human capital: Past, present, and future” in the E. Votruba-Drzal & E. Dearing (Eds.), Handbook of early childhood development programs, practices, and policies: Theory-based and empirically-supported strategies for promoting young children’s growth in the United States by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. In this chapter, they review lessons learned from two-generation human capital-building programs from the past and discuss strategies currently being considered and used by a new round of programs. The term, human capital, refers to capacities and qualities such as knowledge, health, experience, and skills that influence future “monetary and psychic income” or resources.
Dr. Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, moreover, became the recipient of the 2017 Society for Social Work and Research Excellence in Research Award for the article entitled “Spanking and Children’s Externalizing Behavior Across the First Decade of Life: Evidence for Transactional Processes.” In conferring the award, the Society recognized her outstanding social work research that represents the highest of scientific standards that seeks to advance knowledge in the field. This study examined the transactional associations between spanking and externalizing behavior across the first decade of life, examining not only how spanking relates to externalizing behavior leading up to the important transition to adolescence, but whether higher levels of externalizing lead to more spanking over time as well. This article which appears in the Youth and Adolescence journal can be viewed here.
In October, Dr. Jeanne Brooks-Gunn attended A Future of Children event where she presented an overview of the latest journal volume entitled, “Starting Early: Education from Prekindergarten to Third Grade.” The Future of Children journal promotes effective, evidence-based policies and programs for children and is a collaboration of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University and the Brookings Institution. Please click here to see a recording of this event.
In November, Dr. Jeanne Brooks-Gunn attended the 2016 Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management Fall Research Conference where she presented her research paper, “The Impact of Affordable Housing on the Well-Being of Low-Income Households: Early Findings from the NYC Housing and Neighborhood Study” on a panel discussion about How Housing Matters: The Effects of Housing Subsidies on Families and Children. Additionally, she was a speaker in a roundtable discussion on Advancing the Power of Economic Evidence to Inform Investments in Children, Youth, and Families, based on a report by The National Academies of Sciences for which she was a committee member. Please click here to see the report.
Dr. Jeanne Brooks-Gunn is a member of the newly established Culture of Health Expert Advisory Committee funded by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) has adopted an overarching strategic vision called the Culture of Health, which will help shape and guide the Foundation’s work and build a movement across the U.S. As part of the Advisory Committee, Dr. Brooks-Gunn and fellow committee members will focus/advise on the implementation and uptake of the Culture of Health initiative, and on the assessment and evaluation of its progress.
In September, Dr. Sharon Lynn Kagan visited Finland to understand the program and infrastructural elements that have received much research attention in early childhood education and care. This trip was taken in part of a current research effort with the National Center on Education and the Economy that is investigating early childhood systems in six high-performing countries/global regions, which include Finland, South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, England and Australia. Dr. Kagan met with national key players in the Finnish education sector and gained practical experience and insight into the country’s system for young children.
Dr. Jeanne Brooks-Gunn’s chapter “Transitions, timing, and texture: A developmental psychologist goes transdisciplinary” was recently published in Scientists making a difference: One hundred eminent behavioral and brain scientists talk about their most important contributions (pp. 244-248). The book is a collection of first-person narratives from the top psychological scientists over the past fifty years. In her chapter, Dr. Brooks-Gunn discusses her work on studying lives through time with a special focus on puberty, childbearing, parenting and grandparenting.
In July, Dr. Sharon Lynn Kagan gave a keynote presentation at the OMEP World Assembly in Seoul, South Korea. OMEP, an international, non-governmental and non-profit organization with Consultative Status at the United Nations and UNESCO, defends and promotes the rights of the child to education and care worldwide. Her presentation was entitled “Transforming Early Childhood Systems for Future Generations.” Soon after participating at the OMEP World Assembly, Dr. Kagan attended ARNEC’s (Asian-Pacific Regional Network for Early Childhood) Policy Forum in Putrajaya, Malayasia where she delivered the keynote address, “Transforming Early Childhood: Innovations for Quality and Inclusivity.”
Dr. Jeanne Reid wrote a chapter in the newly published, School Integration Matters: Research-Based Strategies to Advance Equity. The chapter explores the extent to which the racial/ethnic composition of preschool classrooms is associated with children’s language development, after accounting for children’s individual characteristics and components of classroom quality. Reid discusses the policy implications for what comprises high-quality preschool, and the feasibility of fostering racial/ethnic diversity in state pre-K programs.
In March, Drs. Sharon Lynn Kagan and Jeanne Reid, with their colleague, Catherine Scott-Little at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, completed an extensive review of the literature regarding children’s early development and their cultural context. Reviewing over 100 articles, reports, books, and book chapters, the authors describe how theory on the interaction between culture and child development has evolved, identify common patterns in the influence of cultural context on early learning, and examine the multiple manifestations of cultural context within the five developmental domains. They then discuss the implications for early childhood pedagogy and systemic approaches to quality in early childhood education. A copy of the review of the literature can be viewed here: Culture Literature Review Bibliography
In April, Dr. Sharon Lynn Kagan attended a meeting at the White House entitled “Early STEM: Bridging Research and Practice.” This meeting was intended to spark a major national dialogue about how STEM can be advanced in all early childhood settings throughout the country as a way of fostering greater opportunities for all children, preparing the country for the future, and promoting educational equity across students.
Center researchers Anne Martin and Margo Gardner published an article in the current issue of Applied Developmental Science testing the claim that “college-for-all” policies — which encourage all high school students to plan for college, regardless of their past achievement — may harm low-achievers, most of whom never attend college or drop out. Using two national data sets, they find that compared to low-achieving high-schoolers who do not plan to earn a BA, those who do go on to have higher earnings and better mental health in early adulthood. Results suggest that expecting to earn a BA is beneficial for all students, even those for whom it may seem unrealistically optimistic.
Anne Martin and Jeanne Brooks-Gunn wrote a chapter in the newly published Wiley Handbook of Developmental Psychology in Practice: Implementation and Impact. The chapter evaluates policies and programs surrounding teenage childbearing in the U.S. in light of our current knowledge base. Martin and Brooks-Gunn also have an article in the current issue of Societies positioning the decline in public and professional attention to teenage childbearing in the context of rising attention to nonmarital childbearing more broadly
A book co-edited by Dr. Lynn Kagan, The SAGE Handbook of Early Childhood Research, was recently published. This handbook includes 31 chapters written by international experts on the methods, theories and applications of research on children in their home, child care, and societal contexts.
Dr. Lynn Kagan was awarded a grant by the National Center for Education and the Economy to understand why American students are not performing competitively on benchmarks of international achievement. This 2-year project will investigate jurisdictional policies, practices, and reforms in six high-performing countries, producing country case studies as well as an integrated cross-country comparison.
The Center just received grant funding to compare UPK programs in three NYC community districts across settings (schools, CBOs) and auspices (DOE, ACS, CCDF, Head Start, private funding). We will examine variation in teacher characteristics, professional development, instructional approach, and program-level structural characteristics. Sharon Lynn Kagan is the Principal Investigator.
Along with Rachel Razza from Syracuse University, Drs. Martin and Brooks-Gunn co-authored an article in the current issue of Child & Youth Care Forum using the Fragile Families Study kindergarten and fifth grade waves. It shows that better approaches to learning in kindergarten is more protective against externalizing problems for children with higher initial levels of competence (fewer problem behaviors), but more advantageous for academic competence for children with lower initial levels of competence.
In October, Dr. Brooks-Gunn delivered the L. Lynn Harris Memorial Lecture at the Department of Pediatrics of the College of Medicine at the University of Arkansas and the Arkansas Children’s Hospital. Dr. Brooks-Gunn’s lecture was entitled “Early Childhood Education Programs: Do they reduce SES gaps in achievement?” and was dedicated to Dr. Bettye Caldwell, who was a mentor and inspiration to her and so many in the field.
Jeanne Brooks-Gunn co-authored an article, recently released online at Developmental Psychology, suggesting that the Great Recession is linked to higher rates of behavior problems in boys but not girls. It appears that parents’ uncertainty about the economy rather than local unemployment rates are responsible for this link.
A “two-generation” program serving children and mothers in Oklahoma that is being evaluated by a team of researchers, including Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, has just received a $13 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. CAP Tulsa’s CareerAdvance program trains the parents of low-income young children for jobs in the health care industry. See press release here.
Sharon Lynn Kagan was awarded a grant from the Foundation for Child Development to support a planning team to develop a project to promote cultural competence in early childhood classrooms by advancing cultural responsiveness in State Early Learning Standards.
In the current special issue of Infant and Child Development on innovative measures of parent-child relations (vol. 24, no. 3), Center researchers published a report on a new audiotaped measure of mothers’ affect towards their young children. This measure is available in the Fragile Families Child and Wellbeing Study. The article was written by Anne Martin and Jeanne Brooks-Gunn in collaboration with Rachel Razza from Syracuse University.
Research from NCCF is being used by federal policymakers to craft the language of proposed legislation and policies. A Better Start: Why Classroom Diversity Matters in Early Education, a report authored by Jeanne Reid, NCCF Post-doctoral research scientist, and NCCF Co-director Sharon Lynn Kagan, has been used to craft language in the federal bill Strong Start for America’s Children Act 2015 introduced on May 19th, to encourage states to promote socioeconomic, racial, and ethnic diversity in pre-kindergarten classrooms. In addition, the Department of Health and Human Services has proposed revisions to the federal Head Start program “to better support the ability of programs to serve children from diverse economic backgrounds, given research that suggests children’s early learning is positively influenced by interactions with diverse peers.” A copy of the report can be found at http://www.tcf.org/bookstore/detail/a-better-start.
Jeanne Brooks-Gunn and Anne Martin presented at the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study 2015 Summer Data Workshop in June at Columbia University. They led sessions on measures of parenting and child cognitive and educational development.
In May, Jeanne Brooks-Gunn presented “Studying Lives Through Time: Fragile Families and Child Well-being Study” at the American Psychological Society Meeting in New York City. She and Dr. Martin also co-authored a presentation given by Rachel Razza about children’s early motor control and early classroom behaviors. Later this month, Dr. Brooks-Gunn will give the Matilda White Riley Lecture in the Behavioral and Social Sciences at the National Institutes for Health in Bethesda, MD.
Sharon Lynn Kagan will present at the First Annual International Symposium on Successful Transitions in Early Childhood in Medellin, Colombia on June 25th.
A Better Start: Why Classroom Diversity Matters in Early Education, a report authored by Jeanne Reid, NCCF post-doctoral research scientist, and NCCF Co-director Sharon Lynn Kagan, with Michael Hilton and Halley Potter, was published on April 29th by the Policy and Race Research Action Council and The Century Foundation, and released at a briefing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The report presents the results of a review and analysis of demographic data, current research, and position statements of national early childhood organizations, and calls for concerted attention to the value of classroom diversity in early education. The authors make specific recommendations regarding research, policy, and practice. A copy of the report can be found at http://www.tcf.org/bookstore/detail/a-better-start.
On May 15, 2015 from 1:00 – 2:00 pm, The University-Based Child and Family Policy Consortium, of which NCCF is a member, will host a webinar called “The Job You Want—Paths to Academic and Non-Academic Careers” featuring two former NCCF Graduate Fellows, Anna Johnson & Erin Bumgarner:
Anna Johnson, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Psychology, Georgetown University
* Erin Bumgarner, Ph.D., Senior Research Analyst, Abt Associates
* Terri Sabol, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Human Development and Social Policy School of Education, and Social Policy Faculty Associate, Institute for Policy Research, Northwestern University
* Lindsey Hutchison, Ph.D., Social Science Analyst, Children and Youth Policy | Human Services Policy, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Early Childhood Governance: Choices and Consequences, edited by NCCF co director Dr. Sharon Lynn Kagan and NCCF postdoctoral research scientist Dr. Rebecca E. Gomez, was published on March 6th by Teachers College Press. The volume explores the current landscape, emerging trends, and challenges of governance in the field of early childhood education (ECE) in the United States. It features chapters from prominent scholars and practitioners in the field of ECE and is the first to focus specifically on governance and its potential role in policymaking, system development, and field-wide leadership. It is available in hardcover, paperback, and as an e-book from Teachers College Press: http://www.teacherscollegepress.com/new_books.html
Marisa Morin, an NCCF graduate fellow, will be presenting at the International Convention of Psychological Science in Amsterdam, The Netherlands on Friday, March 13. She will be presenting a poster entitled, “The Relationship Between Maternal Religiosity and Parenting Behaviors,” where she examines whether there are associations between mothers’ religiosity at age 3 and their affect towards their child at age 5, whether these associations vary by Christian denomination, and whether traditional views of gender roles moderate the association between religiosity and maternal affect in the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study.
The current issue of Early Childhood Research Quarterly presents the dissertation results from two former Graduate Research Fellows at NCCF. Kate Tarrant’s research investigated Colorado’s Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS). Dr. Tarrant asked early childhood care and education center directors in that state about whether and how QRIS improved their program quality. Participants perceived more improvements in structural than in process quality. Erin Bumgarner studied the types of early child care and education that were most advantageous for bilingual Latino kindergarten entrants. For literacy skills, all centers outperformed non-parental, home-based care; Head Start also outperformed parental care. For math, child care centers (but not Head Start or pre-k) outperformed home-based care and Head Start.
Jeanne Brooks-Gunn has joined the Editorial Board for a new journal called Sleep Health, which is being launched by the National Sleep Foundation. The Editor of Sleep Health is Lauren Hale, who has collaborated with NCCF in the past on studies of children’s sleep behaviors.
On Friday, February 6th, Sharon Lynn Kagan and Rebecca Gomez will present at “Seize the Moment: Rise to the Challenge of Pre-K,” an all-day conference at Teachers College focusing on the opportunities and practical challenges New York City faces as it completes its first year of offering 50,000 four-year-olds free, full-day pre-kindergarten. The conference will include sessions on early learning, play, school financing, program quality and parent support. Registration is available here.
Sharon Lynn Kagan attended the White House Summit on Early Childhood Education on December 10th.
An article by Center researchers appears in this month’s issue of the Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology. This study, which sampled children in Chicago aged 3-15 years old, finds that the behavioral consequences of parent-child physical aggression (PCPA) vary by child age. Past research shows that between early childhood and adolescence, externalizing problems, such as aggression and defiance, decline over time, whereas internalizing problems, such as anxiety and depression, increase. This study finds that the behavior problems following PCPA correspond to age-normative trends. That is, PCPA is decreasingly likely to result in externalizing problems, and increasingly likely to result in internalizing problems, the older the child is. The authors are Elizabeth Riina, a former NCCF Post-Doctoral Fellow now at Queens College; Anne Martin; and Jeanne Brooks-Gunn.
Anne Martin, NCCF Senior Research Scientist, co-authored an article in the current issue (vol.85, no. 5) of Child Development that finds a link between the use of a child care subsidy at age 2 and the later use of Head Start and public pre-k, which are known to be the two highest quality publicly-funded care sources for low-income families. The article was written with two former NCCF graduate research fellows, Anna D. Johnson and Rebecca M. Ryan. This study identifies a previously overlooked consequence of early subsidy use, which has been found to have mixed associations with child care quality and child outcomes in the preschool years. It is important to understand the implications of the federal child care subsidy program because despite its primary function facilitating maternal employment in low-income families, it supports child care for approximately 1.5 million children.
An article co-authored by Pamela Klebanov and Jeanne Brooks-Gunn entitled “Poverty, Ethnicity, and Risk of Obesity among Low Birth Weight Infants” has been downloaded over 670 times since it was published in the May-June issue of the Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology.
Sharon Lynn Kagan, NCCF Co-Director, recently attended an event called “Breakfast of Champions for Early Childhood Development” convened by UNICEF and co-sponsored by the governments of Chile and Rwanda. The objective of this event was to engage world leaders who are committed to ensuring that children not only survive their early years but also thrive during this period.
Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, NCCF Co-Director, gave a talk at Harvard University’s Kennedy School entitled, “Early Childhood Educational Programs: Do They Reduce SES Gaps in Achievement?” This talk focused in part on the difficulty of scaling-up – that is, expanding from selected demonstration sites to national programs – in light of a recent policy brief issued by the Society for Research on Child Development called “Investing in our Future: The Evidence Base for Early Childhood Education.”
Dr. Lawrence Steinberg gave a talk to a full house at Teachers College on September 9th about his new book, Age of Opportunity: Lessons From the New Science of Adolescence. He discussed the plasticity of the brain during adolescence, consequences of the declining age at puberty, and opportunities for adolescent growth. Two of Dr. Brooks-Gunn’s classes attended the talks and wrote reaction papers about it.
Archived Press Items
Dr. Pam Klebanov, Senior Research Scientist at NCCF, was recently awarded a seed grant from the Columbia University Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy. The study, “Does an Early Education Program for Low Birth Weight Infants Have an Impact Upon Body Mass Index Later in Life?” uses data from the Infant Health and Development Program.
Dr. Brooks-Gunn was awarded funding from the Teachers College Provost’s Investment Fund to pilot-test biophysiological measures of kindergarteners’ attention, stress, and impulse control in conjunction with Dr. Karen Froud, director of the Neurocognition of Language lab and Associate Professor for the programs in Speech-Language Pathology and Neuroscience & Education.
An article by Jeanne Brooks-Gunn and colleagues was featured on the PBS Newshour website. The article demonstrates that the drop in consumer confidence associated with the Great Recession was associated with an increase in the chances that mothers hit their children regularly. The article appears in Child Abuse & Neglect.
A recent article by NCCF researchers Anne Martin and Jeanne Brooks-Gunn — along with Rebecca Ryan from Georgetown University — was profiled in Best Evidence in Brief, a publication by the Johns Hopkins University School of Education. The article, appearing in Early Childhood Research Quarterly, suggests that interest and persistence during the toddler years are equally predictive of school readiness at age 5. They are also both influenced by maternal supportiveness between ages 1 and 3. Results suggest that interventions to advance school readiness consider promoting young children’s interest in learning.
An article co-authored by Jeanne Brooks-Gunn and appearing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences was covered by NPR, among other media outlets. Using the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, researchers found that mothers with the sensitive allele of the DRD2 gene were more likely to parent harshly when there was an economic downturn. When the economy recovered, they were less likely to parent harshly. The study supports the notion that individuals with sensitive genes respond to positive, as well as negative, environmental influences.
NCCF Co-Director Sharon Lynn Kagan Publishes New Book: “Early Childhood Systems: Transforming Early Learning.” In this seminal volume, leading authorities strategize about how to create early childhood systems that transcend politics and economics to serve the needs of all young children. Visit Teachers College Press to learn more and purchase.
NCCF’s Jeanne Brooks-Gunn & Erin Bumgarner featured in NYTimes Magazine article: “The Best Nanny Money Can Buy.”
“The single-most important characteristic is the extent to which a nanny is responsive to the child’s mood and interests.” Read the article.
NCCF Co-Director Sharon Lynn Kagan Assists US Department of Education in Announcing Recipients of $500 million in Federal Pre-School Funding. In a conference call with education reporters, Kagan said, “everybody is waking up to the importance of very high-quality programs for all young children.”
Wall Street Journal story: http://on.wsj.com/uqEW0
Washington Post story: http://wapo.st/tjJgZj
CNN.com story: http://bit.ly/sMsHHU
KUOW Radio (NPR, Washington State): http://bit.ly/tHglJ7
TC Today Features NCCF Co-Director Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, “The Eclectic Developmentalist.” Through a wide range of studies, Jeanne Brooks-Gunn has led the way in showing how environments influence the well-being of young people. Click here to read the article.