Center faculty work closely with teachers in Eastern’s comprehensive children’s program, also known as the Child and Family Development Resource Center (CFDRC). The children’s program currently serves toddlers and children up to age five. The program is open year-round and serves an economically and ethnically diverse population, including families receiving subsidized child care and families for whom English is a second language. The diversity provides a rich environment for observing children from different backgrounds and for studying what kinds of teaching practices are effective with different populations.
The children’s program serves as a laboratory for faculty research, student observations, and student practicum experiences. Multiple cameras and microphones mounted in each classroom allow faculty to observe and videotape children and teachers from their offices. In addition, faculty assist teachers with curriculum development, provide consultation on specialized topics as needed, and contribute to programmatic areas, such as leading music or physical education classes for enrolled children. Current collaborative projects between the Center and the children’s program include:
Center staff and faculty collaborate with the CFDRC to host the Investigations Conference, designed for teachers, administrators, and teacher educators.
Developing a Digital Assessment System
Dr. Sudha Swaminathan collaborates with the CFDRC director and teachers to design, implement, and maintain a digital portfolio assessment system using authentic data collection methods to document and evaluate children’s learning and development.
Physical Education Classes
Dr. Darren Robert, Associate Professor of Health and Physical Education, leads weekly movement classes with preschoolers. Exceptional students majoring in Health and Physical Education are invited to assist and eventually co-lead classes with Dr. Robert.
Teacher Training on Early Literacy
From 2008-2011, Dr. Maureen Ruby and Dr. Ann Anderberg provided weekly workshops to CFDRC teachers and assistants on instruction in phonological awareness, oral language, vocabulary, early writing, and other language and early literacy topics under the Community Partners for Early Literacy project. Teaching staff also received a minimum of 2.5 weekly hours of in-classroom coaching by highly qualified literacy coaches.
Enhancing Mathematical Reflection and Social Development with Digital Video Project
Dr. Sudha Swaminathan recently completed an action research project with teacher Ms. Patricia Gardner. The project used digital video as a reflective tool in the preschool classroom. Teachers or researchers documented children’s mathematical and social interactions using digital video. Children then viewed edited clips of themselves while a teacher scaffolded their reflection with prompts and comments. Dr. Swaminathan and Ms. Gardner followed the impact of the project on children’s mathematical thinking and social development.