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

When the pandemic struck last year, practitioners in early education and early childhood special education, and parents came together to support young children and their families through remote service delivery. The Early Childhood Technical Assistance (ECTA) Center has created a multi-part video series that addresses and illustrates the ways pre-school teachers, special educators and parents adapted their school routines to ensure that children were still receiving high-quality care and education.

Featured Project

Research has shown that teachers demonstrate implicit preferences toward white students versus minority students. Self-fulfilling prophecies and teachers' lower expectations of children can start early in a child's school experience and negatively impact children, in particular racial/ethnic minorities. Iheoma Iruka, PhD, leads a project that examines the effects of implicit bias on children's early outcomes. Iruka is also the founding director of the Equity Research Action Coalition at FPG.

Featured Person

Sandra L. Soliday Hong, PhD, is a research scientist focused on early care and education, and pre-k education. Soliday Hong 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. Soliday Hong’s recent projects in Georgia and Pennsylvania have shown the importance and impact of high-quality early education.

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.
The purpose of this project as part of the Equity Research Action Coalition is to identify strengths-based programs and policies that support the well-being of Black parents and their infants and toddlers during the pandemic.
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.
Data collected by Educare schools and provided to FPG for the Educare Implementation Study are also pertinent to the Mindfulness & Mastery Grant evaluation conducted by the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC). Under data sharing/confidentiality agreements with each of the sites, these data will be shared across projects.
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 project is to conduct follow-up studies of Educare graduates as they enter kindergarten and progress through the early elementary years. A team at Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute will coordinate and support the Educare local evaluators as they launch new follow-up studies or expand existing follow-up study efforts in 8-12 U.S. cities where there is an Educare school. This 3-year project will gather data on at least 3 years of Educare graduates and, in some sites, data from their parents as well.
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 purpose of this project is to examine the relationship between implicit bias, teacher expectations, teacher–child interactions, and child outcomes. There are disparities in child discipline and development that can manifest early for poor and/or minority children and can have lasting consequences.
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.
The purpose of this project is to conduct the year 1 evaluation of the ECIC Child Care Innovation Fund. Guided by a racial equity evaluation framework, the evaluation will determine how this fund influences policy changes to address racial disparities in wages and families' access to affordable, high-quality early care and education. This study will also examine facilitators and barriers to engaging in racial equity systems change.
This study utilizes three large-scale early childhood education datasets (NCEDL, SWEEP and LAExCELS) to explore how children’s engagement, measured by moment-to-moment time sampling, varies within classrooms and explores if variation in levels and quality of child engagement and activity type/setting is associated with children’s outcomes.
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 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.
Milton-Union Exempted Village Schools is seeking support for the use of implementation science practices and tools for their district and school improvement efforts in early literacy. To support development of implementation capacity, the National Implementation Research Network (NIRN) will provide virtual and onsite training, coaching, and consultation supports for the district and school leadership and implementation teams.
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.
The purpose of this project is to provide DCDEE with expertise in research and analysis related to short- and long-term policy questions focused on young children’s education and development.
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.
In collaboration with the Lastinger Center, FPG proposes to evaluate the effects of a literacy matrix (LM) for the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 academic years. This project will evaluate educator data, as measured by metrics collected as part of the Flamingo LMS. In addition, should student data be made available, these data will be examined to determine student growth following educators’ completion of the LM.

Publications and Other Resources

Published: July 2021 Type: Curricula and Training Materials
Published: July 2021 Type: Curricula and Training Materials
Published: July 2021 Type: Curricula and Training Materials
Published: June 2021 Type: Reports and Policy Briefs
Published: June 2021 Type: Reports and Policy Briefs