The Administration for Children and Families presents NRCEC 2020, National Research Conference on Early Childhood. June 27 - 29, 2022 at Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, VA.
June 27 - 29, 2022
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Crystal Gateway Marriott
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Arlington, VA
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2016 Session Videos

Day 1:
Session 1 – Greetings and Opening Plenary

Greetings from ACF Leadership
  • John W. Hagen, University of Michigan; Society for Research in Child Development
  • Lonnie R. Sherrod, Executive Director, Society for Research in Child Development
  • Naomi Goldstein, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families
  • Linda Smith, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Early Childhood Development, Administration for Children and Families
Access to High-Quality Early Care and Education: Challenges and Opportunities in Innovative Efforts
  • CHAIR
  • Chrishana Lloyd, The Nicholson Foundation
  • PRESENTERS
  • Shannon Rudisill, Associate Deputy Assistant Secretary for Early Childhood Development, Administration for Children and Families
  • Sarah Friese, Child Trends
  • DISCUSSANT
  • Veronica Ray, The Leaguers, Inc. Head Start Program
The 2014 reauthorization of the Child Care and Development Block Grant emphasized providing access to high-quality care that meets parents’ needs. Traditionally, Head Start has been a critical player in supplying quality care in areas of high poverty. With the new Early Head Start-Child Care (EHS-CC) Partnerships, programs are working together in innovative ways to provide care for families in areas where the supply of quality care may be low.

This session begins with a presentation by Shannon Rudisill, Associate Deputy Assistant Secretary for Early Childhood Development, who will offer an overview of policy initiatives aimed at expanding access to high quality. A second presentation by Sarah Friese of Child Trends will provide an overview on the development of a framework to assess access to high-quality early childhood education by a group of experts working for the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. This synopsis also will include a discussion of how some of the administration models for creating high-quality supply (EHSCC Partnerships and using contracts for the Child Care and Development Fund in areas of low supply) can help when the market is not responding to demand. The session will conclude with a discussion of EHS-CC Partnerships as a strategy for increasing access to high quality. Veronica Ray will provide discussant comments. She serves as Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of The Leaguers Head Start Program, and is the President of both the Region II Head Start Association and the New Plenary Biographies

Day 1:
Session 2 – Preparing for Success in School: What Matters the Most

  • CHAIR
  • Sally Atkins-Burnett, Mathematica Policy Research
  • PRESENTERS
  • Lizabeth Malone, Mathematica Policy Research
  • Margaret Burchinal, Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Yange Xue, Mathematica Policy Research
  • DISCUSSANT
  • Douglas Clements, University of Denver
Most early childhood programs have a goal to prepare children for kindergarten. The papers in this symposium draw on large-scale studies of Head Start, child care, and preschool programs to look at preschool indicators that predict continued success in elementary school – kindergarten and beyond. The indicators include end of preschool outcomes, including language and early academic skills, social-emotional adjustment, attention, and health as well as preschool home and school experiences.
Sustaining Children’s Development from Head Start through Kindergarten—The Role of Home and Classroom Learning Environments
Ashley Kopack Klein, Lizabeth M. Malone, Jerry West
Early Language Outshines Other Predictors of Academic and Social Trajectories in Elementary School
Rebecca M. Alper, Margaret Burchinal, Roberta Golinkoff, Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Amy Pace
Children’s Preschool Skills in Universal Preschool: How Do They Predict Elementary School Achievement?

Day 1:
Session 3 – Master Lecture — Early Childhood Development in an Era of Widening Economic Disparities

  • CHAIR
  • Hakim Rashid, Howard University
  • PRESENTER
  • Rashmita Mistry, University of California, Los Angeles
The precarious state of economic inequality in the United States and globally is one of the most pressing social issues of the day and has far-reaching consequences at an individual and societal level. In the United States, economic inequality has dramatically increased since the 1970s. Inequality is more severe than it has been since before the Great Depression. Although many American adults believe that hard work and drive are important factors in one’s economic mobility, in reality, four out of ten children born into the bottom quintile of the income distribution will remain there as adults. This is a consequence of structural and social barriers including the lack of educational opportunities and earning decent wages. In this talk, Dr. Rashmita Mistry first will review the scientific evidence on the causes and consequences of poverty on young children’s development with a particular focus on families and early child care settings as contexts for development. Heightened levels of economic disparity touch children’s lives in myriad ways, including through changes in the socio-demographic composition of communities and schools. As children increasingly attend economically segregated schools and live in economically segregated communities, they experience vastly different social worlds. In the second half of the presentation, Dr. Mistry will review a more limited but growing body of research on young children’s emergent beliefs about wealth and poverty, as well as evidence regarding the benefits and challenges of socio-economic status-related school integration policies for teachers and students.

Day 2:
Session 1 – Universal Home Visiting: Evidence of Impact

  • CHAIR
  • Rachel Chazan Cohen, University of Massachusetts Boston
  • PRESENTERS
  • Kenneth A. Dodge, Duke University
  • Barbara DuBransky, First 5 LA
  • DISCUSSANT
  • Deborah Daro, Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago
Although efforts to target support services to pregnant women and new parents have achieved notable success, such programs continue to experience high dropout rates and an inability to successful engage those facing the greatest challenges. Beyond these implementation challenges, targeted programs can be perceived as stigmatizing because they require that families be identified as having certain economic or personal deficits. The very families one hopes to engage in such efforts may refuse participation because they fear being labeled inadequate parents. Durham Connects and Welcome Baby represent a new way of framing assistance to new parents. They emphasize the universal needs all new parents face and the collective responsibility we have to provide the level of support best suited to each family’s level of need. Both programs are demonstrating that this method can achieve important gains such as reduced health care costs and greater access to basic services. This session will highlight the evaluations of these universal home visiting programs and discuss policy implications for home visiting and other early care and education programs.

Day 2:
Session 2 – Master Lecture – Engaging Families in the Health and Well-Being of their Children: The Health Literacy Approach

  • CHAIR
  • Ariella Herman, UCLA/Johnson & Johnson Health Care Institute
  • PRESENTER
  • Benard Dreyer, American Academy of Pediatrics; New York University
A session on health literacy will demonstrate how improving health literacy aligns with the following: the 2015 ACF strategic priorities, Healthy People 2020 objectives, Head Start’s commitment to comprehensive services in the Head Start Program Performance Standards, and the US Department of Health and Human Services’ National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy. Health literacy promotes economic, health, and social well-being for individuals, families and communities through an emphasis on:
  • Healthy development and school readiness for children, especially those in low-income families and other special populations
  • The safety and well-being of children, youth, and families
This session will:
  • Raise awareness that poor health literacy is widespread and that health literacy is crucial to family and child wellbeing
  • Show the relationship between health literacy and child health outcomes
  • Illustrate examples of successful interventions in health literacy in underserved populations

Day 2:
Session 3 – Using a Cultural Lens to Improve Early Childhood Classroom Interactions with Children of Color

  • GREETINGS
  • Keith Motley, Chancellor, University of Massachusetts Boston
  • CHAIR
  • Iheoma Iruka, University of Nebraska, Lincoln
  • PRESENTERS
  • Stephanie Curenton, Rutgers University
  • Bryant Jensen, Brigham Young University
  • DISCUSSANT
  • Tonia Durden, University of Nebraska, Lincoln
Maximizing teachers’ use of social and cultural interactions in classrooms provides a foundation for improving the learning environments for children of color. The US education system disempowered and underestimated many children of color due to their race, ethnicity, or language. Some research studies report that indicators and processes of classroom quality are universal. The studies conclude that children of color are academically underperforming because they lack access to high-quality classroom practices. Socio-cultural researchers argue that children of color require, in addition to high-quality teaching, classroom learning opportunities that capitalize on culturally situated forms of learning and development. Presenters in this symposium will discuss how teachers’ intentional use of cultural and social interactions can successfully foster students’ academic achievement and social-emotional development. They also will introduce a new classroom observational protocol designed to assess the cultural and social aspects of classroom interactions, the Classroom Assessment of Sociocultural Interaction for Preschool to Grade 3 (CASI-P3). The presenters will close by discussing how the use of the CASI-P3 can help teachers improve their instructional practices, approaches, and classroom interactions, to promote children’s learning and development.

Day 2:
Session 4 – Master Lecture – Brain-Based Learning: Understanding Language Development and the Bilingual Brain

  • CHAIR
  • Lisa Lopez, University of South Florida
  • PRESENTER
  • Ioulia Kovelman, University of Michigan; University of Texas at Austin
  • DISCUSSANT
  • Linda Smith, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Early Childhood Development, Administration for Children and Families
Bilingualism is a typical developmental experience. Research, policies, and educational practice must consider this fact of life. Brain-based research into bilingualism suggests that the bilingual brain includes neural adaptations to allow for proficient dual language processing. In this symposium, presenters will discuss two types of adaptations.

First, bilingualism affects children’s neural architecture for learning to read. Orthographies vary in their phonological transparency. Spanish offers better phonological transparency (or sound-to-print mapping) than English. When reading in English, Spanish-English bilinguals show greater reliance on phonology for learning to read as well as greater activation in areas of the brain associated with phonological processing. Imaging findings relate to contexts of bilingual education. For example, bilinguals with later age of bilingual exposure to English read better in phonics-based programs. Bilinguals with earlier age of bilingual exposure to English read better in meaning-based programs.

Second, the bilingual experience extends periods of neural sensitivity to linguistic input. Learning a language proceeds along a sequence of acquisition (i.e., babbling, first words, and so forth.). Prior research suggests that language input is critical to allowing children to progress along this sequence. New neuroimaging evidence suggests that children’s brain activity in the left hemisphere is triggered by relevant language input. This allows children to progress towards the next step in language acquisition. For instance, a monolingual infants’ left hemisphere activation increases for familiar language sounds just as infants are about to begin producing first words. These periods of neural sensitivity to relevant linguistic input may be extended in the bilingual learner.

Taken together, these findings inform theories of early language acquisition, literacy instruction, and clinical practices for bilingual learners.

Day 3:
Session 1 – Plenary – Unique Needs Out of the City: Supporting the Development of Young Children in Rural Communities

  • CHAIR
  • Chrishana Lloyd, The Nicholson Foundation
  • PRESENTERS
  • Susan Sheridan, University of Nebraska, Lincoln
  • Lynne Vernon-Feagans, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • DISCUSSANT
  • Helen Raikes, University of Nebraska, Lincoln
Although rural communities tend to be more cohesive and collaborative and place a high priority on family and relationships, living in these locations poses many challenges: isolation, limited access to services and resources, limited upward mobility, dispersed social networks, and limitations to education, health, mental health, and recreation. Childhood poverty has increased in rural communities. The vulnerability of young children in rural communities may significantly impact the short-term (less prepared for school) and long-term (limited economic opportunity). This session will describe key contextual factors that shape access to and use of early childhood education services in rural communities. Factors include how early care and education (ECE) programs and policies are accessed and activated as well as how these practices and policies impact the availability of ECE services and the early childhood workforce. In addition, because more and better insights are needed to ensure that ECE policies and practices account for the uniqueness of rural communities, this symposium also will shed light on best practices and innovative approaches to research, evaluation, and practice. It will highlight the strengths and challenges that rural communities face in applying, receiving, and implementing ECE programs and services.

Day 3:
Session 2 – Master Lecture – Promoting Early Math: Advances in Understanding Who to Teach What

  • CHAIR
  • Daryl Greenfield, University of Miami
  • PRESENTERS
  • Douglas Clements, University of Denver
  • Julie Sarama, University of Denver
Recent attention to the importance of early math for young children has spurred research on how children are learning mathematical concepts, professional development for teachers, and using technology for mathematics instruction. Douglas Clements and Julie Sarama are conducting several research projects on early mathematics education, including the following: their work scaling-up a successful educational innovation program in mathematics (TRIAD = Technology-enhanced, Research-based Instruction, Assessment, and professional Development); development of an interdisciplinary preschool curriculum (Connect4Learning or C4L); and understanding learning trajectories. This session will highlight their work and discuss implications for practice and policy and will engage participants in analyzing videos and discussing issues.

Day 3:
Session 3 – Exploring Linkages among Early Care and Education Quality, Access, and Stability of Care

  • CHAIR
  • Tamara Halle, Child Trends
  • PRESENTERS
  • Elizabeth E. Davis, University of Minnesota
  • Rebecca Madill, Child Trends
  • Heather Sandstrom, Urban Institute
  • DISCUSSANT
  • Nicole Forry, Child Trends
To improve the development of low-income children, policies must balance the need for high-quality early care and education (ECE) with the importance of stable caregiving arrangements. This session considers the complex associations between quality and stability of ECE by examining two aspects of ECE access, cost and distance. These aspects may be influenced by ECE quality and may lead parents to select a different caregiver. Presenters introduce a strategy for measuring access that accounts for child care quality.
Why Change? Parents’ Perceptions of their Child Care Experiences and Reasons for Change
Julia Henly, Alejandra Ros Pilarz, Heather Sandstrom
Provider Accreditation and Continuity of Subsidized Arrangements
Amy Blasberg, Elizabeth E. Davis, Tamara Halle, Caroline Krafft, Rebecca Madill
Access to Early Care and Education: Family-Centered Measures of the Cost-Quality Tradeoff
Elizabeth E. Davis, Won Fy Lee, Aaron Sojourner

Day 3:
Session 4 – 2016 Edward Zigler Master Session – Self-Regulation and Executive Function: The Forest and the Trees

  • CHAIR
  • Sarah Watamura, University of Denver
  • PRESENTERS
  • Clancy Blair, New York University
  • Stephanie Jones, Harvard University
Researchers, practitioners, and policymakers have a strong interest in the development of self-regulation and executive function in young children growing up in poverty. The development of self-regulation and the cognitive abilities that make up executive function are essential for school readiness and are key indicators of healthy child development. Self-regulation and executive function are complex terms that have been defined in a variety of ways. Specialists working with young children are confronted with a large, sometimes confusing array of constructs, terms, and definitions. The purpose of this talk is to present a conceptual overview of self-regulation and executive function and to describe ways in which this overview provides a valuable resource for research and practice in early childhood education. Presenters will provide research examining issues in the definition and measurement of self-regulation and executive function. Additionally, they will discuss research examining the potential to promote school readiness and success for children in poverty of early childhood educational programs and interventions focused on self-regulation and executive function.