Early Care and Education & Pre-K Education

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Three young children playing at a table

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 STEM Innovation for Inclusion in Early Education Center (STEMIE) designs playful experiences that increase awareness about the importance of STEM and computational thinking for the youngest learners and encourage early childhood providers, practitioners, and families to embed these concepts and learning opportunities into their daily routines and activities.

Featured Project

FPG is partnered with the North Carolina DCDEE in conducting an evaluation of a pilot implementation of the NC Preschool Pyramid Model in selected private center-based preschool programs where NC Pre-K classrooms are housed. The evaluation focuses on what supports are needed to implement the Pyramid Model in programs with and without government support, and to support the early care and education workforce.

Featured Person

Sandra Hong, PhD, is an advanced research scientist as well as the policy division lead at FPG. She is an expert in applied measurement of contextual and individual factors in early care and education settings that relate to the outcomes of young children, particularly for children from diverse backgrounds. Hong is also principal investigator of the Evaluation of a Pilot of the Pyramid Model in NC Pre-K Classrooms in Private Center-Based Programs project.

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 project will support a cohort of place-based, cross-sector educational collaboratives ("myFutureNC network") across the state to develop model programs that significantly increase the number of students successfully pursuing post-secondary education and entering the workforce. This pilot aligns with the state's goal of having 2 million individuals between the ages of 25 and 44 with a high-quality credential or postsecondary degree by 2030.
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 this project is to engage with grassroots and grasstops early education partners to identify and conduct a landscape analysis of active North Carolina policies and regulations focused on young children and their families (birth to age 5) with a focus on policies that show effect or promise in mitigating (or exacerbate) racial disparities in early care and education.
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 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.
The Equity Research Action Coalition will co-construct with practitioners and policymakers actionable research to support the optimal development of Black children prenatally through childhood across the African diaspora using a cultural wealth framework. The coalition will focus on developing a science-based action framework to eradicate the impact of racism and poverty and all its consequences on the lives of Black children, families, and communities, and to ensure optimal health, well-being, school readiness and success, and overall excellence.
The goal of this project is to support the development of an interdisciplinary, multi-organizational research action coalition to identify anti-racist, culturally-sustaining, and asset-focused factors that ensure that Black children, their families, and communities thrive. Specific to this project is the development of a national repository/clearinghouse that provides up to date information on actionable research, practice, and policy evidence about what matters and works for Black children.
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 purpose of this evaluation project is to examine whether the provision of resources and supports to spur regional and community innovation projects to develop new business and financing models will ensure the ECE workforce is equitably compensated, well-trained, and valued, and ECE businesses are thriving, and subsequently leading to equitable, affordable, and accessible high-quality early learning experiences for young children and their families. This study will also examine facilitators and barriers to engaging in systems change in child care grounded in racial equity.
The Georgia Pre-Kindergarten Evaluation project provides an external statewide evaluation of Georgia's Pre-K Program, a universal pre-kindergarten program for four-year-olds. The project is currently conducting an ongoing longitudinal study of the short- and long-term learning outcomes for children who attended Georgia's Pre-K Program as well as the quality of their preschool and early elementary school experiences from pre-k through fifth grade.
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.
The mission of the National Implementation Research Network is to contribute to the best practices and science of implementation, organization change, and system reinvention to improve outcomes across the spectrum of human services.
The overall goal of this project is to improve services, program management, and child outcomes for preschool children in the Exceptional Children Program in all Local Education Agencies across North Carolina through the development of a statewide system of professional development and support. Activities provide support for local coordinators and staff who serve preschool exceptional children through training, technical assistance, follow up, networking, and opportunities for collaboration.
Through the Research-Policy and Practice Collaboration, FPG will develop structures to initiate working toward project goals and develop plans for expanding this work to educate/co-create learning between academia and policy practice in service of career advancement/efficacy. FPG will also review research and conduct analyses as directed by the Division to inform evidence-based decision-making at the state level, educate the public, and guide future efforts designed to support young children and families. Finally, FPG will provide coordination support for the B-3 Interagency Council and the B-3 Interagency Council planning team.
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.
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.
This project will use secondary data analysis of two longitudinal datasets to test if childcare provider language prospectively predicts child executive functions (EFs) directly or indirectly through child language. We will also examine if different ways of measuring preschool teacher language quality are differentially predictive of child language and subsequent EFs.