The major goal of the Research and Training Center (RTC) on Early Childhood Development is to promote
the adoption and use of evidence-based practices that enhance healthy child development. This is
accomplished through an advanced program of applied research focusing on knowledge and practices
that improve early childhood interventions enhancing the positive mental, behavioral, communication,
preliteracy, social-emotional, and interpersonal development of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers
with or at risk for developmental delays or disabilities. The RTC is funded by the U.S. Department of
Education, Office of Special Education Programs, Research-to-Practice Division.
Web site: www.earlyliteracylearning.org
The main goal of CELL is to promote the adoption and sustained use of evidence-based early literacy
learning practices by early childhood intervention practitioners, parents, and other caregivers of young
children, birth to five years of age, with identified disabilities, developmental delays, and those
at-risk for poor outcomes.
When young children's interests are engaged, learning comes naturally. Researchers who study early learning have found that an asset-based, interest-based approach is a highly beneficial way to provide literacy-rich learning opportunities for preschoolers.
Project Sparkle is a series of literacy-focused learning projects developed by preschool teachers. The teachers learned to identify special interests of the children in their classes. Then they devised wonderful ways to transform their classrooms and school days with exciting resources and activities to help preschoolers freely explore the topic that had captured their imaginations. The teachers were challenged to make the most of creative and fun ways to build important language, pre-reading, and pre-writing skill development into each learning project resource and activity.
The major goals of PALS are to investigate continuity and change in children's development from birth through early adulthood and to determine the manner in which variations in early childhood program practices (a) influence developmental pathways and (b) are related to both short-term and long-term child, parent, and family outcomes. PALS is a prospective, longitudinal study that began in 1972. A cohort of more than 600 children who received early childhood intervention as infants, toddlers, or preschoolers have been followed longitudinally for more than 25 years. Both the study and data analysis are guided by an ecological and social systems framework that considers competence and development to be multiply determined. The study has been funded, in part, by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, Research-to-Practice Division.
The major goal of the Contextually Mediated Practices (CMP) Project is to examine the characteristics and consequences of a promotional approach to early childhood intervention that uses everyday activity settings as contexts for child learning. A major goal of CMP is the enhancement of parents' competence and confidence in increasing their children's participation in everyday experiences serving as sources of learning opportunities. The project staff are also conducting practice-based research syntheses on the characteristics of contextually mediated practices that are associated with optimal positive outcomes. The project is funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, Research-to-Practice Division.
The major goal of this line of research is to identify the development-enhancing characteristics of everyday natural learning opportunities associated with optimal child behavioral and developmental consequences. The development-enhancing characteristics constituting the focus of study include interest-based child learning opportunities, child engagement with people and objects, child mastery and intrinsic motivation, and opportunities to practice existing competencies and to learn new ones. Research to date indicates that learning opportunities having these characteristics are associated with a variety of positive child behavioral and developmental benefits.
The major goal of this project is to compile available evidence regarding the characteristics of family-centered helpgiving practices that are associated with positive parent and family consequences. A major focus of this practice-based research synthesis is the identification of practice characteristics that can be used by practitioners with parents and families to optimize the benefits of their helpgiving practices and styles. The outcomes constituting the focus of investigation include a range of parent and family measures of capacity-building and family-strengthening benefits.
The major goals of the Sustainability of Family-Centered Practices Project are to (a) determine the extent to which family-centered practices have been sustained in early intervention programs that received training in such practices and (b) identify the factors that have influenced and supported the sustainability of the practices. The project participants are early intervention program directors and practitioners who received intensive on-site family-centered outreach training, as well as families of children who currently receive services in those programs. Three sets of variables are being investigated to determine the extent to which they influence the sustainability of family-centered practices: (1) state-level policies and practices, (2) program-level policies and practices, and (3) practitioner characteristics. The project is funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, Research-to-Practice Division.
The major goal of this line of research is to identify the characteristics of informal supports and resources that are associated with positive parent and family functioning. The influences of the sources, types, functions, and provision of informal supports and resources constitute the focus of study. This research is guided by a conceptual and theoretical framework that investigates the direct and indirect influences of support and resources on different aspects of parent and family behavior, including, but not limited to, parent and family well-being, parent empowerment, parent competence and confidence, and family functioning.
The major goal of this project is the development of a scale for measuring everyday child learning opportunities that are the contexts of pre- and early-literacy and language learning. The version of the scale being field-tested includes more than 50 everyday activity settings that previous research indicates are associated with variations in preschool children's literacy and language development, including school readiness. The research being conducted in conjunction with scale development is assessing which everyday learning experiences and opportunities are related to variations in different aspects of early literacy and language development.
The major goal of this project is the development of a scale for measuring the literacy and language development of children birth to five years of age. The instrument includes seven sub scales that measure the early development of print awareness, alphabetic awareness, phonological awareness, text comprehension, oral language, and written language. The reliability and validity of the scale is being ascertained in a national study of parents of preschool-aged children.
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