Early Care and Education & Pre-K Education

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Early care and education provide a strong foundation for children's academic success and overall well-being. This focus area has been central to the work of the Institute since its founding more than 50 years ago. One of FPG's first and most influential projects was a longitudinal study of the effectiveness of an early care and education intervention for children from low-income households. This work continues today with research on closing the achievement gap and providing support for dual language learners.

Featured FPG News Story

The 2023 International Early Childhood Inclusion Institute, “Committing to Communities Where Everyone Belongs,” drew a capacity crowd of 550 attendees at the Friday Center at UNC while another 250 people attended virtually, creating the largest event in the conference’s history. With the goal of expanding the reach of inclusion, conference organizers built on past successes and opened up new avenues of outreach.

Featured Project

The STEM Innovation for Inclusion in Early Education (STEMIE) Center’s purpose is to develop and enhance the knowledge on the practices and supports necessary to improve access and participation within STEM learning opportunities for young children with disabilities. The STEMIE team works to design tools and resources for educators, practitioners, and parents that help promote early STEM learning for all children.

Featured FPG News Story

Nicole Telfer, PhD, a postdoctoral scholar working with Noreen Yazejian, PhD, Rachel Kaplan, PhD, and Iheoma Iruka, PhD, at FPG, recently presented a poster titled, "Identifying Gaps and Equity Challenges in ECERS-3, an Early Childhood Education Tool, through Focus Groups" during the Eastern Psychological Association Conference.

Current Projects

This project will develop an African-centered, culturally responsive practice guide with specific strategies, exemplars, and materials with connected professional learning modules to guide effective implementation. The ultimate and long-term goal is to increase Black children’s social, cognitive, and emotional skills (e.g., racial identity, engagement, learning motivation, regulation), leading to strong academic and social competence and school success.
Through collaboration with national, state and local coalitions and organizations, the Equity Research Action Coalition will identify, track and align strategies to strengthen the focus on protecting, promoting, and preserving the well being, health, wealth, access and experiences of Black families and their families through anti-racist and cultural wealth policy making framework and communication.
This multi-year project, in partnership with Erikson Institute and the University of Delaware, seeks to understand how best to value, compensate, and authentically integrate the family child care (FCC) workforce and approach in future efforts to build and expand more equitable PreK systems. This project will involve focus groups, surveys, and case studies to understand how FCC is being integrated into PreK efforts.
The purpose of the proposed project is to investigate patterns, factors, mechanisms, and outcomes of Head Start/Early Head Start staff turnover using a range of advanced analytic techniques such as survival analysis, machine learning, Multilevel Cox Regression Model, and Multilevel Survival Structural Equation Modeling. The study will involve secondary analyses of the Educare Learning Network National Evaluation longitudinal data to address questions about staff turnover. As a subcontractor, FPG will be involved in assisting with any required data sharing agreements, creating custom datasets, and assisting with interpretation and dissemination of findings.
The Early Childhood TA Center (ECTA) is funded to support state Early Intervention and Preschool Special Education programs in developing high-quality early intervention and preschool special education service systems, increasing local implementation of evidence-based practices, and enhancing outcomes for young children with disabilities and their families.
The extent to which and how early education reduces achievement gaps related to race and income have not been studied extensively in rural areas in the United States, despite clear evidence that these achievement gaps are even larger in the rural United States and high-quality early education is one of the most effective means to promote educational success for all children.
The goal of this series of studies is to develop recommendations that could be used to inform the next revisions of the ECERS-3, a global early care and education quality measure for children aged 3-5 that examines quality from the child's perspective.
The purpose of this project is to conduct a pilot study examining the impact of Family Engagement Specialists' beliefs and attitudes (e.g., bias) on their engagement with families.
FPG will partner with the North Carolina DCDEE to conduct an evaluation of a pilot implementation of the NC Preschool Pyramid Model (Pyramid Model) in selected private center-based preschool programs where NC Pre-K classrooms are housed. The pilot implementation of the Pyramid Model is an extension of the existing implementation in many NC Pre-K classrooms currently located in public school settings.
The pilot study presented in this proposal is a collaborative effort between the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) and the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The intended outcomes of this program are to positively impact inclusion in early childhood classrooms and kindergarten readiness for children with disabilities. Consisting of a 5 day, in-person, professional development (PD) opportunity and Networked Improvement Community (NIC) meetings that are targeted to meet the individual needs of the participants, we propose a three-phase process. Phase 1 includes targeted observations of inclusive STEM practices. Phase 2 includes a 5-day PD opportunity, planned and facilitated by UMBC and STEMIE. PD sessions will be designed to foster the participants’ engagement in inclusive STEM teaching. Phase 2 sessions will be developed based on observed needs of the participating teachers and support participants in using STEMIE resources (e.g. learning trajectories) within the scope of their own curriculum. A series of NIC meetings will be held focusing on areas of need identified by the participants to allow for collaborative problem solving with investigators serving as facilitators. The final phase (Phase 3) will include targeted observations of participants to assess progress.
This collaborative project with ITTI Care at Duke Center for Child & Family Policy will work to integrate trauma-informed care practices within infant-toddler childcare settings by evaluating existing training materials and suggesting revisions as necessary and designing comprehensive instructional strategy and training curricula for both coach-the-coach and direct-to-provider professional development efforts.
TRI will design a series of six parent workshops to build foundational literacy skills for children aged six months to five years. These workshops will be presented by community workers from El Centro Hispano. TRI will provide training for the community workers and will compile materials including books in Spanish and other educational resources (magnetic letters, activity cards) for parents to use.
This project intends to conduct an independent, unbiased evaluation of the MECK Pre-K program that will be longitudinal in scope, tracking cohorts of MECK Pre-K students in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools through 5th grade. Given the longitudinal nature of the evaluation and the need to track multiple cohorts, it is expected that this project will span 10 years. The focus of that evaluation will cover three key areas: program characteristics; program implementation and quality; and student outcomes.
The National Center on Parent, Family, and Community Engagement (NCPFCE) by the Administration for Children and Families, Office of Head Start, in partnership with the Office of Child Care is one of four National Centers that develop evidence-based best practices for Early Head Start and Head Start programs across the country, as part of a comprehensive Office of Head Start Training and Technical Assistance System. The goal of this project is to support family well-being, effective family and community engagement, and children’s school readiness, including transitions to kindergarten.
This project consists of planning and implementing an evaluation of The Educare Learning Network, a consortium of programs nationwide providing high quality learning environments for at-risk children from birth to 5 years. The evaluation will document the features of Educare and how implementation of the model contributes to program quality and links to child and family outcomes.
The purpose of this project is to establish a data governance system for the NC Division of Child Development and Early Education (DCDEE) that supports integrated and consistent information sharing across the Division and with outside stakeholders. The work primarily involves gathering and organizing information to develop inventory spreadsheets of federal and legislative reporting requirements and requests and early childhood data sharing across units/sections within the Division; working with key Division staff to develop a standard operating procedures portfolio for collecting, analyzing, updating, and sharing data with stakeholders outside of the Division; and proposing metrics for all units/sections across the Division to use for publicly shared data.
The following specific activities will be conducted for the purpose of producing the legislatively mandated annual report from Division of Child Development and Early Education (DCDEE) regarding the North Carolina Pre-Kindergarten Program: Extraction of data from NC Pre-K administrative databases provided to FPG by NC DHHD/DCDEE. This will occur on a monthly basis. Cleaning of monthly data extracts in collaboration with DCDEE staff. Compilation of the cleaned monthly data extractions into a longitudinal database that preserves the time-specific status of the NC Pre-K system. Analysis of extracted data according to guidance of the legislation requiring annual reporting on the NC Pre-K system. Preparation of the legislatively mandated material in draft report format. Analyses and additions to draft report as directed by DCDEE (within the resources provided by this contract). Ongoing communication with DCDEE regarding report content, progress of work, and requested revisions and edits to report draft resulting in production of a final report.
This project will continue a previously established formal research-policy and practice collaboration between the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS) Division of Child Development and Early Education (DCDEE) and the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (FPG). FPG will develop structures to initiate working toward the project goals and to develop plans for expanding this work to educate/co-create learning between academia and policy practice in service of career advancement/efficacy.
This project will train school staff who support students using pull-out reading instruction and intervention (e.g., “educators” such as reading specialists, paraeducators, instructional facilitators, tutors) to use Targeted Reading Instruction (TRI, formerly called Targeted Reading Intervention) with two adaptations: 1) a digital version of the traditionally “paper and pencil” intervention (“TRI app”) in a 2) high dosage model whereby educators provide daily reading support to multiple K-3 students not yet reading on grade level.
This project's purpose is to develop and enhance the knowledge on the practices and supports necessary to improve access and participation within STEM learning opportunities for young children with disabilities.
This project's purpose is to expand the knowledge on the practices and supports necessary to improve access and participation within STEM learning opportunities for young children with disabilities and intersecting identities.
Early childhood educators (ECE) work with young children with disabilities as well as children from diverse backgrounds to support learning and development. It is critical for ECEs to be adequately prepared to serve children who are linguistically, culturally, and ability-diverse. The purpose of this project is to work with early childhood community college programs in North Carolina to enhance and redesign courses to better prepare ECEs to work with children with disabilities and children from diverse backgrounds.
Research team will consult with Wake County Smart Start (WCSS) to support a WCSS-led participatory research project that will lead to the development of WCSS strategic plan community driven outcomes. Following with their strategic plan priorities of equity, family engagement and leadership and data informed decision making, WCSS would like to develop community driven outcomes through a participatory research project. The project will collaborate and share power with families and community members in the development of outcomes that measure WCSS’ success in meeting their strategic plan goals. The project will be co-designed, co-facilitated and collaboratively analyzed and disseminated by community and family co-investigators.
The Dogwood Health Trust (DHT) Education Strategic Priorities seek to ensure that every child in Western North Carolina has access to early education with nurturing, well-prepared caregivers to prepare them for school and life success. The four goals to meet this outcome include launching landscape studies, improving the early care and education ecosystem, improving K-12 education, and supporting higher education career readiness. The Equity Research Action Coalition at the UNC Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute will engage in three related strands of work to support DHT’s Education Strategic Priorities. The first strand is engagement in the convening of DHT’s RFP Education Strategy launch, and the second strand is thought and data leadership in an equity-centered academy, followed by an equity-centered report.
The goal of this project is to identify opportunities and barriers to community based organizations, namely civil rights organizations such as the NAACP, The Leadership Conference, the National Urban League, NALEO Education Fund, Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC), National Congress of American Indian (NCAI) in prioritizing early childhood development including access to high quality and affordable child care.