Eastern Connecticut State University
Center for
Early Childhood Education
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Projects and Initiatives

The Center for Early Childhood Education engages in a variety of research and professional development projects. Recent and current projects include the following:  


Dialogic Reading for Multi-Lingual Families

(also known as Family Reading Time! or La hora de lectura en familia!)


In December 2012, the Center was awarded a grant from the Women and Girls Fund of Eastern Connecticut to train bilingual women and girls on dialogic reading strategies. The goal of this project is to promote effective reading practices to young children and to encourage families to read to children in their first language. Families participate in trainings and are then offered the opportunity to be videotaped reading in both English and their first language to be part of the Family Reading Time/La hora de lecturea en familia video series. Completed videos are being broadcasted on local television stations to further promote reading to young children, as other families will see their friends and neighbors reading to their children in two languages. Read more.




Each year, the Center conducts the TIMPANI toy study: Toys that Inspire Mindful Play and Nurture Imagination. The ongoing empirical study looks at how young children in natural settings play with a variety of toys and identifies toys that best engage children in intellectual, creative, and social interactions in preschool classrooms. Toys are nominated by teachers, parents, and faculty and then placed in preschool classrooms. Eastern students videotape children playing with the toys and code the interactions under the direction of faculty researches. The results of the study, including the highest-scoring toy, are announced in November. Read more.

Educational Video Clips for Early Childhood Professionals


The Center's e-clips project provides early childhood professionals with video-based tips and ideas they can implement in their own classrooms. e-clips are brief, professional development videos that teachers and child care providers can access electronically from the Center’s website or our YouTube channel. Each e-clip features an expert describing how early childhood professionals can use the latest research to enhance children’s learning. Interviews with classroom teachers and footage from preschool classrooms illustrate how educators can put theory into practice and capture authentic early childhood classroom experiences. Supplementing each e-clip are discussion questions to support conversations within instructional teams or in staff meetings. Read more.



Community Partners for Early Literacy (CPEL) Project


In 2008, the Center began a three-year, $3.9 million project to improve the language and early literacy skills of preschool children in Willimantic, Connecticut. Under a U.S. Department of Education Early Reading First grant, the Community Partners for Early Literacy (CPEL) project is providing intensive professional development and in-classroom coaching to teachers and paraprofessionals in 13 preschool classrooms, as well as supporting parents to improve the home literacy environment. The Center produced the video Inspiring Lessons: What We Learned from the Community Partners for Early Literacy Project to document the successes and lessons of the project Read more.



Video Trainings

The Centerdevelops video trainings that provide early childhood professionals with tools and strategies for improving their teaching practices. The videos can be viewed from anywhere in the world, and many are available as downloadable podcasts from iTunes U. The videos include footage from actual preschool classrooms that demonstrate effective teaching practices, including videos of teachers handling challenging behaviors.

Project Navigate


In 2005, the Center began a partnership with the U.S. Navy to ensure that young children who attend Navy Child and Youth Programs receive the best possible care and education. Center faculty and staff designed a transportable digital portfolio assessment system to monitor and share children's developmental progress with U.S. Navy parents (including deployed parents) through video clips and digital photos. The Center also designed the first multi-media training CD in a planned series of distance trainings. Read more.