A Review: Journal of Research in Childhood Education, Vol. 22, No. 4, Summer 2008
Harlin, Rebecca, Childhood Education
ACEI publishes two outstanding journals that have separate purposes, but both aim to inform. This column assists that function by informing Childhood Education readers about the practical contents of the Journal of Research in Childhood Education. CE readers are encouraged to read the full articles to gain more information and insight (see JRCE, Vol. 22, No. 4).
The Summer 2008 issue of the Journal of Research in Childhood Education features seven articles that consider children's learning in different contexts by presenting the attributes that support or interfere with their success. The authors of the first article highlight an early childhood development program's success in serving high-poverty infants and toddlers by fostering health, cognitive development, and parental participation in their children's learning and community. The second study investigated the value of peers' conversations in building knowledge and skills in a new language. The third article, a thought-provoking discussion of the problems shy children experience as they begin kindergarten, offers practical advice for teachers to identify and support these children. How much learning afterschool programs promote is addressed in the fourth article's comparison of urban in-school and afterschool opportunities across gender, social class, ethnicities, and grades. In the fifth article, the authors present their findings on preservice teachers' confidence for teaching and integrating music into the elementary curriculum. A new intervention program targeting young at-risk readers is investigated through the comparative study found in the sixth article. The final article proposes an early childhood program that combines constructivism and behaviorism as an effective means of supporting children with special needs and promoting their subsequent independence.
Cognitive Development and Home Environment of Rural Paraguayan Infants and Toddlers Participating in Pastoral del Nino, an Early Child Development Program--Peairson, Austin, de Aquino, & de Burro
Children born into extreme poverty conditions are likely to be deprived of such basic necessities as health care, nourishing food, and education. Collectively, these inadequacies in the first five years of life result in cognitive, physical, and psychosocial developmental delays. Some researchers estimate that more than 200 million children in developing countries experience capability deprivation. Thus, efforts to devise early child development programs (ECDPs) for children under 5 must address the critical needs of this population and deliver successful programs, despite limited financial resources. The authors conducted a study of child development outcomes within the Pastoral del Nino program, which served Paraguayan children from birth to 24 months, compared to their peers who did not participate in the program. This ECDP, a community-based program promoted by the Roman Catholic Church, focused on early childhood stimulation, healthy home environments, responsive parenting, nutrition, and health. Parish coordinators trained community leaders to work with 10 to 20 families with children under 5 years old, as well as with pregnant women.
The questions guiding this research study investigated differences between Pastoral (P) children and the non-Pastoral (NP) children on: 1) health and nutrition measures of height and weight, and 2) mental development and the quality of the caregiving (home) environment. The levels of community participation of parents of P and NP children also were compared. Finally, the researchers sought to identify the best predictors of mental development and caregiving environments for P and NP participants.
The non-random sample consisted of 106 children from central and southern Paraguay--46 infants and toddlers constituted the NP group, and 60 children were in the P group. The study's instruments included the Mental Development Index from the Bayley Scales of Infant Development-II (BSIC-II); the Infant-Toddler HOME (IT-HOME), a 45-item interview/observation instrument for evaluating the caregiving environment; a 40-question survey to assess demographics, health (children's vaccinations, rehydration remedies, parasitic prevention by upgrading the family home's roofing and flooring materials), education (mother's and father's highest grade completed, facility speaking and reading Spanish), and caregiving (telling stories, playing or teaching the child games); and anthropometric measures of nutritional status (length of child and circumference of head). …