Subject: Studies in the News 05-45 (December 13, 2005)

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Studies in the News for
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Children and Families Commission

Contents This Week

Introductory Material EDUCATION
   Increasing pre-k support by states
   English 'Birth to Three' framework
   Full-day versus half-day kindergarten
   Early education and child care
   Florida's voluntary pre-k program
   Latest Head Start data
   Kindergarten teachers praise preschool
   Emotional health and school readiness
   Pre-k programs in five states
   Neglected children and social behavior
   Young children's social-emotional development
   Infant mental health programs
   Child care choices and achievement
   Child care serving vulnerable children
   County level data on children
   California children's well-being
   Childcare and children's stress levels
Introduction to Studies in the News

Studies in the News: Children and Family Supplement is a service provided to the First 5 California by the California State Library. The service features weekly lists of current articles focusing on Children and Family policy. Prior lists can be viewed from the California State Library's Web site at

How to Obtain Materials Listed in SITN:

  • When available on the Internet, the URL for the full-text of each item is provided.

  • California State Employees may contact the State Information & Reference Center (916-654-0206; with the SITN issue number and the item number [S#].

  • All other interested individuals should contact their local library - the items may be available there, or may be borrowed by your local library on your behalf.

The following studies are currently on hand:



Votes Count: Legislative Action on Pre-K: Fiscal Year 2006. By Pre-K Now. (Pre-K Now, Washington, DC) November 2005. 24 p.

Full Text at:

["More children than ever now have access to state-funded preschool thanks to record spending increases by state legislatures in 2005. At least 180,000 more children have access to preschool this year after lawmakers in 26 states boosted pre-K funding by $600 million during 2005 legislative sessions, the largest single-year increase for preschools in five years, according to this study. Only three states -- Florida, Georgia and Oklahoma -- have statewide preschool programs, but another 36 states offer preschool for some the state's neediest children.... But the quality of programs varies widely state by state, and state-funded and supervised pre-K reaches fewer than 10% of 3- and 4-year-olds nationwide." ECS e-CLIPS (November 17, 2005) 1.]

[Request #S54501]

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Birth to Three Matters: A Framework to support children in Their Earliest Years. By Sure Start. (Young People and Families Directorate, Department for Education and Skills, London, England) 2003, 2005.

["Babies are to be taught a 'national curriculum' devised by Whitehall, the new Childcare Bill revealed yesterday. Childminders and nurseries will be under a legal duty to teach the Early Years Foundation Stage to children from birth until the age of 3. They will be taught mathematics, reading and writing, according to Beverley Hughes, the Children’s Minister. She argued that research showed that earlier education helped children to develop faster both socially and intellectually....The department said that the curriculum would be based on the four stages of development contained in Birth to Three Matters..." The Times Online (November 9, 2005) 1.]

An Introduction to the Framework. 18 p.

A Strong Child. 8 p.

A Skillful Communicator. 8 p.

A Competent Learner. 8 p.

A Healthy Child. 8 p.

[Request #S54502]

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"The Effects of Full-day Versus Half-day Kindergarten on the Achievement of Students With Low/Moderate Income Status." By Julie Saam and others. IN: Journal of Research in Childhood Education, vol. 20 no. 1 (Fall 2005) pp.27-36.

["This portion of large comparative studies of full-day kindergarten (FDK) versus half-day kindergarten (HDK) classrooms highlights the effects of FDK versus HDK on achievement of students with low/moderate income status. Authors collected statistical and semi-structured interview data from one large and two other school corporations in the Midwestern United States. The results of the study did not corroborate with published accounts of FDK students scoring better on certain language arts/reading criteria and mathematics criteria, nor did it indicate a benefit for students from low SES backgrounds. The results of this study indicated that no significant difference exists when the authors directly compared the scores from students recorded as free meal code and students enrolled in Title I schools in either the full-day or half-day kindergarten."]

[Request #S54503]

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"Is Education Separate From Care?" By Gwen Morgan IN: Child Care Information Exchange (November/December 2005) pp. 6-10.

["In the United States there are two emerging state-level public policy trends, one toward universalizing preschool service, and one toward a system for delivering early education and care. At this point, it is not clear whether the effect of the trends will be to unite or divide the field of early education and care. Some states are combining the two. Future government support of early education and care will be different, depending on how each state organizes its resources."]

[Request #S54504]

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An Analysis of Florida's Voluntary Pre-k Program. By Shana Kennedy-Salchow, Teacher's College, Columbia University. (National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education, New York, New York) 2005. 26 p.

Full Text at:

["This study concludes that the voucher system used for Florida's Voluntary Prekindergarten Program favors school choice over equity and social cohesion. Because schools are free to charge fees for instruction provided beyond the $2,500 per student covered by the vouchers, cost can become a barrier to entry for poor families wanting to enroll their children in some programs. The result can be that access by poorest families can be limited despite the existence of a state program intended to provide preschool for all. 'After the first 540 hours [of instruction], I [the provider] can charge whatever I want,' says researcher Shana Kennedy who used the framework for assessing Florida's program developed by NIEER Scientific Advisory Board member Dr. Henry Levin."]

[Request #S54505]

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Still Going Strong: Head Start Children, Families, Staff, and Programs in 2004. By Katie Hamm and Danielle Ewen. CLASP Policy Brief, no. 6, Head Start Series (Center for Law and Social Policy, Washington, DC) November 2005. 8 p.

Full Text at:

["As Congress considers legislation to reauthorize the federal Head Start program, this policy brief examines the latest data from the Program Information Reports that all Head Start grantees must submit to the U.S. Department of Health. In 2004, Head Start continued to provide early education services and medical, dental, and mental health screenings for poor children, as well as comprehensive supports for families. The number of teachers with degrees grew substantially in 2004—65 percent of teachers had an Associate’s Degree or higher. Less than half of eligible children, however, receive Head Start services." Connect for Kids (November 21, 2005) 1.]

[Request #S54506]

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Praise for Preschool: California Kindergarten Teachers Say All Children Will Benefit. By Preschool California. (Preschool California, Oakland, California) 2005. 36 p.

Full Text at:

["This report reveals that 9 in 10 California kindergarten teachers believe it is important for children to go to quality preschool before they enter kindergarten. Nine out of ten say children who attend preschool are better prepared to: learn to read; share and play well with other children; count and show other early math skills; follow instructions; and recognize colors and shapes. Praise for Preschool (PDF), also features personal stories from 12 California kindergarten teachers, revealing how their students have been helped by quality preschool, or held back by the lack of it. They are telling us that California must do more to make quality preschool available to all California children whose parents choose to enroll them." Early Education in the News (November 17, 2005).]

[Request #S54507]

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Resources to Promote Social and Emotional Health and School Readiness in Young Children and Families: A Community Guide. By Jane Knitzer and Jill Lefkowitz, National Center for Children in Poverty. (The Center, New York, New York) November 2005. 72 p.

Full Text at:

["Social and emotional development in young children has to do with how young children feel about themselves (e.g., confident, always scared, eager to learn, proud of their culture, afraid of being wrong), how they behave (e.g., constantly fighting, easily upset, able to deal with conflict), and how they relate to others, especially people who matter to them (e.g., parents, teachers, and friends. When young children who do not know what to do with their anger, feel very sad, or are out-of-control enter school, many will have a hard time. Research indicates that if young children do not succeed in kindergarten, first grade, and second grade, they are less likely to do well in subsequent grades. Therefore, it makes sense to try to help these young children before they get to school. Increasingly, research is helping to identify interventions to support the development of needed competencies."]

[Request #S54508]

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The Effects of State Prekindergarten Programs on Young Children’s School Readiness in Five States. By W. Steven Barnett and others, National Institute for Early Education Research, Rutgers University. (The Institute, New Brunswick, New Jersey) December 2005. 21 p.

Full Text at:

["This study of pre-K programs in Michigan, New Jersey, Oklahoma, South Carolina and West Virginia shows gains in vocabulary, early math skills and print awareness comparable to those seen in an earlier study conducted in Oklahoma by William Gormley of Georgetown University. As with the Georgetown work, the researchers used regression discontinuity design, testing children at preschool entry and at kindergarten entry. NIEER director Steve Barnett says the study is significant because it shows large gains occurring in a number of well-established state-funded preschool programs of good quality." NIEER Online Newsletter (December 6, 2005).]

[Request #S54509]

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Early Experience in Humans is Associated With Changes in Neuropeptides Critical for Regulating Social Behavior. By Alison B. Wismer Fries, University of Wisconsin, Madison, and others. IN: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol.102, no.47 (November 22, 2005) pp. 17237-17240.

Full Text at:

["Neglect 'leaves a physical mark.' Children neglected in their early years are left with physical as well as psychological marks, research suggests. Lack of a loving caregiver directly affects the body's production of hormones thought to be important for forming social bonds, a US team found. Children raised in orphanages had lower levels of vasopressin and oxytocin than others, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reports. This was despite the children later being placed with stable families." BBC News (November 22, 2005) online.]

[Request #S54510]

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Early Childhood. Helping Young Children Succeed: Strategies to Promote Early Childhood Social and Emotional Development. By Julie Cohen, Zero to Three, and others. Research and Policy Report (National Conference of State Legislatures, Denver, Colorado) September 2005. 20 p.

Full Text at:

["During the first years of life, babies and young children acquire the skills that are necessary for healthy growth and development, setting the stage for later success in school and life. Effective state policies and programs can help families identify problems and support healthy social-emotional development in young children."]

[Request #S54511]

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Infant Mental Health Programs: Experimenting with Innovative Models - One Center's Experience with New Program Funding. IN: Infant Mental Health Journal, vol. 26, no. 5 (September-October 2005) pp. 407-502.

[Includes: "Infant mental health programs: Experimenting with innovative models - One center's experience with new program funding;" "Assessing the social behavior of infants: Use of the ADBB Scale and relationship to mother's mood;" "The influence of prematurity, maternal anxiety, and infants' neurobiological risk on mother-infant interactions;" and others.]

[Request #S54512]

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The Effect of Maternal Employment and Child Care Choices on Children’s Cognitive Development. By Raquel Bernal, Northwestern University. Working Paper. (University of Chicago, Illinois) April 2005. 51 p.

Full Text at:

["This paper develops and estimates a dynamic model of employment and child care decisions of women after birth in order to evaluate the effects of maternal employment and daycare choices on children’s cognitive ability. I use data from the NLSY to estimate the model. Results indicate that the effects of maternal employment and child care on children’s ability are negative and rather sizeable. In fact, having a full-time working mother who uses child care during the first 5 years after the birth of her child is associated with a 10.4% reduction in child’s ability test scores. Based on the estimates of the model, I assess the impact of policies related to parental leave, child care and other incentives to stay at home after birth on women’s decisions and children’s outcomes."]

[Request #S54513]

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"Child Care in Unique Environments." By Wayna Buch and others. IN: Early Childhood Information Exchange (November/December 2005) pp.37-51.

["This issue of Beginnings Workshop highlights programs that serve children who live in challenging situations or circumstances. It offers information about programs that work and interesting insights into serving vulnerable children and their families. It challenges our program to learn from these efforts. It also serves to remind all early childhood teachers that some childhood experiences are very different from the ones we wish for all children and calls us all to action to support public policy that guarantees positive early childhood experience for all children."]

[Request #S54514]

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California County Data Book 2005. By Children Now. (Children Now, Oakland, California) 2005.

["Published every two years, the County Data Book contains the most recently available county-level statistics on California children’s education, health, family economics and welfare. The 2005 County Data Book profiles each of California’s 58 counties on 26 measures of children’s well-being. It also includes 33 county ranking charts, for county-by-county comparison, and a 2005 California Profile, which includes data on those and other indicators for the state as a whole."]

California Profile 2005. 4 p.

California County Data Book 2005. 208 p.

[Request #S54515]

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California Report Card 2005: An Assessment of Children's Well-Being. By Children Now. (Children Now, Oakland, California) November 2005. 24 p.

Full Text at:

["Despite all the talk about kids coming first, California has failed to meet many of the basic health and education needs for its 10.5 million children with education spending ranking 44th in the nation, obesity soaring and economic and food security faltering, according to a report to be released today. The report card by the national nonpartisan, nonprofit Children Now assesses a variety of issues related to children's well-being and gives the state D's for its K-12 education, childhood obesity and family economic security. The report comes amid heightened attention to children's health and education issues and gives the state's highest grade - a B-plus - in infant health." Los Angeles Daily News (November 30, 2005) online.]

[Request #S54516]

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[The following studies, reports, and documents have been ordered or requested, but have not yet arrived. Requests may be placed, and copies will be provided when the material arrives.]


Childcare as a Stabilizing Influence on HPA Axis Functioning: A Reevaluation of Maternal Occupational Patterns and Familial Relations. By Christina Chryssanthopoulou, University of Kent, and others. IN: Developmental Psychobiology, vol. 47, no. 4 (December 2005) pp. 354-368.

["Low job satisfaction in working mothers increases the stress levels of their children, but spending longer in childcare can help overcome these effects, new research has shown. In a study involving more than 50 nursery school children, researchers found higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol in children whose mothers found their jobs less rewarding, or left them feeling emotionally exhausted, than those who reported more enjoyment from their jobs. Levels of cortisol in the evening were more than double in these children. Yet for women who have low job satisfaction, the research suggests that placing their children in childcare would help to significantly reduce the stress experienced by their children." EurekAlert! (November 20, 2005) 1.]

[Request #S54517]

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