Abstract Early intervention (EI) for families of infants and toddlers with or at risk for developmental delays or disabilities is federally guided to begin at birth or older. With technological advances in prenatal testing, pregnant families are increasingly learning of diagnoses that result in EI eligibility once the child is born. For these families, research is needed to determine the effects of beginning EI prenatally rather than waiting until birth. In this exploratory study, the perspectives of state EI administrators were uncovered to inform the development of a prenatal intervention to undertake such research. Participants reported strong support for prenatal EI, provided recommendations for prenatal intervention design, and offered potential systems change needs. These findings will contribute to the development and testing of a prenatal intervention that makes sense to and is compatible with one critical stakeholder groupâ those who administer EI programs.
Contributors:McGuire, Julianne, Gallegos, Danielle, Irvine, Susan
Abstract Early infant feeding practices are a critical part of education and care programs within Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) settings. With an increasing number of children attending ECEC services from a young age, adherence to best practice infant feeding will improve long-term health outcomes. This paper uses inductive and deductive thematic analysis informed by Social Cognitive Theory and inductive content analysis, to describe Australian infant feeding nutrition ECEC policy environments. Key Australian ECEC policy documents were analysed, revealing the invisibility of infants generally, and infant feeding specifically, in current quality standards. This was followed by analysis of 28 nutrition or infant feeding policies from 19 centre- and home-based ECEC services impacting over 1500 children in Queensland Australia. Five key themes characterising the content of service policies impacting infant feeding emerged: documentation, values, curriculum and pedagogy, supportive environments, and working in partnerships with parents. Service policies are required by legislation and set the foundation for a safe, supportive environment for infant feeding. The lack of infant feeding practice examples and invisibility of infants in legislation increase ambiguity, and health and safety risks. Opportunities exist to adopt separate infant feeding policies which will assist the provision of quality practice for the short-term and long-term optimal health of infants in ECEC settings.
Contributors:Løkken, Ingrid, Bjørnestad, Elisabeth, Broekhuizen, Martine, Moser, Thomas
Abstract The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between two structural factors of quality: organisation form (stable groups versus flexible groups) and staff–child ratio, in relation to interaction quality in toddler groups in Norwegian early childhood education and care (ECEC). Data were collected from 206 kindergarten groups in the period from 2013 to 2015. Interaction quality was measured through the infant/toddler environment rating scale-revised subscales, Interaction, listening and talking, and program structure. A two-way MANOVA revealed that organisation form with small, stable groups were related to higher interaction quality, while the staff–child ratio and interaction quality varied depending on different content dimensions. These findings have clear implications for policy and the training of ECEC staff.
Abstract Throughout the past decade, the Argentinean government has lowered the starting age of compulsory education and early childhood education enrollment has been growing steadily. However, ECE services have evolved in a fragmented manner, leading to an unequal and inequitable scenario: while private education supports the largest part of the growth, children from low-income families are less likely to attend preschool and more likely to receive low-quality service. Through a newspaper coverage analysis, I explore how these problems are addressed in the public debate on universal preschool. Results show that the voices of policy-makers and “experts” are prominent while teachers’ and parents’ views are ignored; I found a widespread consensus for universal preschool and a scarcity of arguments against. I suggest the need to draw on research findings in ECE more critically and posit that the need to ensure high quality preschool for all children should be central in the debate.
Abstract Growing evidence suggests that children’s participation in early childhood education and care (ECEC), especially center-based services, is associated with positive outcomes, particularly for children over one year of age and children of low socioeconomic backgrounds. This signals an important opportunity for reducing socioeconomic disparities in young children’s development. Many western countries have adopted policies to encourage maternal employment, facilitate ECEC service use, or both, often focusing on disadvantaged families. Yet few studies to date have tested the impact of these policies for reducing socioeconomic selection into ECEC. This study integrates data from five cohorts of children living in different western, high-income countries (UK, USA, Netherlands, Canada, and Norway; total N = 21,437). We compare participation rates and socioeconomic selection into ECEC across the different policy contexts in infancy (5–9 months) and early childhood (36–41 months). Policy environments where parents had access to at least 6 months of paid maternity/parental leave had lower ECEC participation in infancy but higher participation in early childhood. Higher participation rates were also associated with universal ECEC subsidies (i.e., not targeted to low-income families). In general, low income, low maternal education and having more than one child were associated with reduced use of ECEC. Selection effects related to low income and number of children were reduced in countries with universal ECEC subsidies when out-of-pocket fees were income-adjusted or reduced for subsequent children, respectively. Most socioeconomic selection effects were reduced in Norway, the only country to invest more than 1% of its GDP into early childhood. Nevertheless, low maternal education was consistently associated with reduced use of ECEC services across all countries. Among families using services however, there were few selection effects for the type of ECEC setting (center-based vs. non-center-based), particularly in early childhood. In sum, this comparative study suggests wide variations in ECEC participation that can be linked to the policy context, and highlights key policy elements which may reduce socioeconomic disparities in ECEC use.