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News and Developments

 Karla Alamo with preschoolers

Preschool Teacher Presents with CECE and Other Researchers

Preschool teacher Karla Alamo recently presented with researchers from three universities at the National Association for the Education of Young Children in Washington, D.C. Alamo is a bilingual teacher associate at Eastern’s Child and Family Development Resource Center (CFDRC) who was invited by Eastern researchers Julia DeLapp and Jeffrey Trawick-Smith to contribute to a presentation on supporting multilingual learners.

 First page of journal article

CECE Releases Findings from Study of Multilingual Learners

CECE investigators and student researchers have published "The influence of teachers, peers, and play materials on dual language learners’ play interactions in preschool" in Early Childhood Education Journal. The article describes findings from a study observing the interactions of emergent bilingual preschoolers and their peers and teachers. Former endowed chair Jeffrey Trawick-Smith, CECE director Julia DeLapp, and students Abby Bourdon, Fatima Godina, and Kendra Flanagan conducted the study and contributed to the article.

 Logo for ISTE 2022 live conference in New Orleans

Sudha Swaminathan to Present Coding Research

Dr. Sudha Swaminathan will present CECE research findings at the June 2022 conference of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). Dr. Swaminathan will present "Impact of Coding on Preschoolers' Math Abilities," which will describe the impact of coding robotic toys on preschoolers’ computational thinking. The presentation will share study findings about the positive impact of coding on specific math skills, children’s debugging capacities, and dispositions for programming.

 Cover for Implicit Bias book

Theresa Bouley Interviewed on New Publications

Dr. Theresa Bouley was recently interviewed by reporter Brian Scott Smith on Connecticut East This Week. She spoke about her two recent publications: "Implicit Bias: An Educator’s Guide to the Language of Microaggressions" and "The Economic and Opportunity Gap: How Poverty Impacts the Lives of Students."

 Telly Award bronze badge

CECE Receives Telly Award

The CECE has been awarded another Telly Award! The video “A Study of the Play of Dual Language Learners in an English-Speaking Classroom” has received a Bronze Telly Award in the Non Broadcast—General Education category. The video highlights findings from a study conducted by ECE and Communication student Stefanie Dominguez for her undergraduate Honors thesis, and discusses ways that preschool teachers might support the social engagement of dual language learners. Edited by Sean Leser, the video features interviews with Stefanie, research mentor Dr. Jeffrey Trawick-Smith, and bilingual education expert Dr. Ann Anderberg. 

 Dr. Jeffrey Trawick-Smith

Jeffrey Trawick-Smith Receives AERA Award

Dr. Jeffrey Trawick-Smith received the Distinguished Contribution to Research Award from the Early Education and Child Development Special Interest Group (EE/CD SIG) of the American Educational Research Association (AERA). The award is given "recognizes an individual who has contributed nationally and internationally to the field of early education/child development as well as to the EE/CD SIG."

CECE Director Julia DeLapp quoted in an article for The Day on Pregnancy in a Pandemic

CECE Director Julia DeLapp was quoted in an article by The Day on Pregnancy in a Pandemic for her insight for infant’s social interaction. DeLapp emphasizes that the most important part of infants development is the relationship with their primary caregiver.

 Youtube play button

3 Million Views on YouTube!

The CECE YouTube channel has reached three million views! Our channel features a wide selection of videos that cover a variety of topics pertaining to early childhood development and education. Check out our videos and subscribe if you haven't already done so!

 Preschool teacher hugging a young child

New Video on Helping Children Develop a Sense of Empathy and Sense of Justice

Early childhood is the ideal time to teach young children the complexities and importance of social justice and anti-racism. The late Vivian Paley understood how critical the early years are for nurturing children’s kindness and respect for one another. In the CECE’s latest video "Helping Children Develop Empathy and a Sense of Justice", Paley’s legacy is honored through sharing her expertise on children’s self-awareness and awareness of others.

CT Examiner Interview on CECE's Online Resources

CECE director Julia DeLapp was interviewed by the CT Examiner on the CECE video series. This article describes how the pandemic has seen an increase in views and use of the CECE’s online resources.

 Preschoolers playing with toys

New Video on What Makes a Good Toy? Lessons Learned from 10 Years of the TIMPANI Toy Study

The CECE has released a new video on their overall findings from the ten-year TIMPANI toy study. The TIMPANI toy study explored how different toys affect children's problem-solving, creativity, social interactions, and verbalization in preschool-aged children. This new video reflects on the lessons learned from the ten years of research and describes the elements that make a great toy.

 mother playing with son

New Video on Affirming Children's Linguistic Identity

Early childhood educators have an important role in helping children foster a positive self-concept related to their home language. In this new video, Dr. Elena Sada discusses how early childhood educators can promote a just world.

 woman sitting on a bench

New video on the Importance of Self-Care for Early Care and Education Professionals

Self-care is critical for preventing burn-out and ensuring long term effectiveness for “helping professions”. This new video from the CECE recognizes how important it is for those who work with children and families to take steps to stay mentally and physically healthy through self-care strategies and an action plan.

Professor Dr. Sudha Swaminathan quoted in a KQED article on Math Anxiety

Professor Dr. Sudha Swaminathan was quoted in a KQED article on Math Anxiety to share her expertise in young children’s math success. Swaminathan discussed how parents should point out math in ordinary everyday moments and to not become the “teacher”. Parents should avoid constantly quizzing their children and instead ask real, open ended questions.

 Researcher Stefanie Dominguez

New Video on Study of Dual Language Learners

The Center for Early Childhood Education at Eastern Connecticut State University recently released “A Study of the Play of Dual Language Learners in an English-Speaking Classroom,” an 8-minute video that describes findings from a qualitative study that compared the social interactions of preschool dual language learners with that of their monolingual peers during play. The video includes implications for teaching practices and some suggested strategies for teachers to support peer interactions and social development.

CECE Researchers Interviewed for 3 Articles about STEM Toys

On July 21, 2020, CECE director Julia DeLapp was interviewed for an article by The New York Times on the impact of STEM toys. On August 17, 2020 professor emeritus Jeffrey Trawick-Smith was interviewed for an article by LiveScience on the best STEM toys. On August 25, 2020, Trawick-Smith was interviewed by LiveScience to talk about the effect of STEM toys on teaching math and science. This article also cited a study on preschoolers coding conducted by professor Dr. Sudha Swaminathan and undergraduate researcher Jenna Mazza.

 Father and infant look at book

75 New Clips Added to Video Clip Library

The CECE recently added 75 new clips to the Early Childhood Video Clip Library for Faculty and Trainers, a collection of video clips designed to provide opportunities for awareness and reflection for those who work with young children and families.  The library now includes 475 clips for instructional and reflective use. Several of the new clips feature infants and toddlers.

 Videos for ECE courses

Videos and Resources for ECE Courses

The CECE has over 130 educational videos, and it’s not always easy to find just what you need to illustrate specific concepts for your students. We recently created a page that organizes our videos and other resources by some of the course topics commonly taught to prepare early childhood teachers. 

 Tanya Moorehead

New Video on Understanding a Child's Family Culture

While most teachers agree that children’s cultural differences should be respected or even celebrated, it’s not always clear what steps teachers should take to ensure that all children and families feel welcome and understood. In “Learning About a Child’s Family Culture,” Dr. Tanya Moorehead explains that one important way to demonstrate a commitment to supporting children from all backgrounds is to take the time to learn about the unique family culture of each child in the classroom.

 Madison Bailey

Madison Bailey Named Trawick-Smith Scholar

Madison Bailey, an Eastern student majoring in theatre and early childhood education, has been named the third recipient of the Jeffrey and Nancy Trawick-Smith Early Childhood Undergraduate Research Award. She will use the award to conduct a study on effective teaching strategies to support play by children with sensory disabilities. She will work with her mentor, Dr. Sudha Swaminathan, to interview practicing teachers about the strategies they use to support children with sensory needs.

CECE Student Researcher Publishes Findings From Outdoor Play Study

Former CECE student researcher Allison Lundy has published the findings of her thesis "Effects of Active Outdoor Play on Preschool Children's On-Task Classroom Behaviors" in Early Childhood Education Journal. The purpose of her study was to determine differences in children’s on-task behavior during group time before and after engaging in physical activity during outdoor play.

 Birth to Three Service Coordinator and a mother playing with a young boy.

Resource to Support Smooth Transitions from Birth to Three Services

The CECE has developed a free online training for professionals who support families transitioning out of Birth to Three early intervention services as their child approaches age 3. There is also a video for families in both English and Spanish.

 One child plays with a cash register and hands another child money.

New Video "Grocery Store to Market Place"

The CECE has released a new video featuring the Child and Family Development Resource Center on ECSU's campus. In this video, two preschool teachers describe how they engaged families in deciding on the focus of their new dramatic play center, and then involved children in building the center over time. Through their grocery store play center, the children developed an understanding of commerce. They used this new knowledge to develop a real craft market in their classroom - and invited their peers from other classrooms to visit.

 A woman waving to another woman through a video chat on a laptop.

New Resource for Programs on Building Strong Relationships from a Distance

The CECE has created a new web resource with information for programs called "Building Strong Relationships from a Distance." During COVID-19, many programs and teachers who service families with young children were faced with this particular challenge. On this resource page, suggestions are made for programs about gauging ongoing needs of the family, maintaining two-way communication, emphasizing to the family the significance of family play, supporting families in their role, and more.

 A mother works on a laptop computer with a baby on her lap playing with a toy.

New Resource for Families Working from Home with Young Children

The CECE has created and released a new resource for families who are working from home while supporting the growth and development of their young children. These new resource page compiles tips and suggestions on screen-free activities, talking with children about COVID-19, ideas for family fun, managing stress and anxiety, online learning resources, and more. It, also, identifies two support networks that are available for families that are struggling.

 A young girl plays with the plastic replica family.

TIMPANI 2019 Highest Scoring Toy & Celebrating 10 years of Studying Toys

The TIMPANI Toy Study is excited to reveal it’s 2019 highest scoring toy: All About Me Family Counters. The toy was revealed during the Ten Years of TIMPANI Celebration and Press Conference held at the Center for Early Childhood Education on Monday, December 9th. Local news channels joined ECSU faculty and students for this event to celebrate the TIMPANI research from the past ten years. In addition to the press conference, the CECE staff created an interactive toy museum for children enrolled in Eastern's lab school, where the study takes place. The museum featured 30 of the highest-scoring toys from 2009-2019. Each toy had a placard with information about what made the toy special and what children did when playing with the toy.

 YouTube Play Button

2 Million Views on YouTube!

The CECE achieved the milestone of hitting two million views on our YouTube channel! Our channel features a wide selection of videos that cover a variety of topics pertaining to early childhood development and education. Check out our videos and subscribe if you haven't already done so.

 Play and Curriculum: Play & Culture Studies Volume 15

CECE Researchers Publish Chapter Outlining Findings of Six Math Play Studies

Sudha Swaminathan and Jeffrey Trawick-Smith, researchers at the Center for Early Childhood Education, have authored "Facilitating Mathematical Thinking in Preschool Play: Findings of the CECE Math-Play Studies." The chapter summarizes the findings of six different CECE studies focused on math and play over the past twelve years and appears in the book Play and Curriculum: Play & Culture Studies (vol. 15), edited by Myae Han and James E. Johnson (2020, Hamilton Books).

 Jenna Mazza

Jenna Mazza Receives Trawick-Smith Research Award

Jenna Mazza, an Eastern student majoring in psychology and early childhood education, has been named the second recipient of the Jeffrey and Nancy Trawick-Smith Early Childhood Undergraduate Research Award. She will use the award to conduct a Study of Coding and Debugging Skills by Preschoolers. Working with her mentor, Dr. Sudha Swaminathan, she will investigate children’s abilities to code robotic toys, problem-solve, and debug errors in their codes.

 Book: Young Children's Play: Development, Disabilities, and Diversity by Jeffrey Trawick-Smith

New Book on Children's Play by CECE Former Endowed Chair

Former Endowed Chair Jeffrey Trawick-Smith, has authored the book "Young Children's Play: Development, Disabilities, and Diversity." The publication is designed to provide readers with a comprehensive introduction to the play and development of children from birth to 8 years old. It covers different types of play and cultural variations in play, models for adults as they scaffold children's play, and strategies for supporting the play of children at various ages. The book also includes strategies for supporting the play of children with a variety of disabilities.

 NAEYC 2013

CECE Heads to Nashville!

CECE faculty, staff, and student researchers will be giving five presentations at this year's annual meeting of the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Find out where you can catch our workshops and posters on math, play, and the effects of outdoor play on children's attention. We look forward to seeing you in Nashville!

 Children and teachers play in various obstacle course challenges.

New Video About Outdoor Challenges for Young Children (Fun Mud Day)

“Fun Mud Day” is an event held at Eastern’s Child and Family Development Resource Center (CFDRC) that challenges preschoolers, toddlers, and their teachers and families to try a variety of physical challenges. In a new CECE video about the 2019 Fun Mud Day event, Kinesiology and Physical Education professors Darren Robert and Michelle Ferrer describe some of the more easily replicated elements and explain how they support children’s gross motor skills, feelings of competence and confidence, understanding of safety, and willingness to take safe risks.

 Allison Lundy

CECE Student Researcher Receives Two Prestigious Research Awards

Allison Lundy, Undergraduate Researcher at the CECE, was awarded two prestigious research awards this month to recognize and support her Honors thesis, “The Association Between Outdoor Motor Play and On-Task Behavior in Learning Experiences in Preschool.” Lundy, a junior Honors student studying early childhood education and psychology, is the only recipient of the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) Education Division’s Student-Faculty Collaborative Research Award for 2019. Lundy was also the recipient of the the first Jeffrey and Nancy Trawick-Smith Early Childhood Undergraduate Research Fund.

 Children use paper, markers, and scissors to create money.

New Video on Building Children’s Background Knowledge: Using Money in Dramatic Play

In this new video in the Teaching Strategies series, preschool teacher Karla Alamo describes how she helped children develop an understanding of money to enhance their experience in the new dramatic play center. By allowing them to explore real money and supporting them in creating play money, Karla ensured that children had the background knowledge needed to fully participate in the classroom’s grocery store.

 Bottle Clix

TIMPANI Toy for 2018 Revealed

Eastern Connecticut State University’s Center for Early Childhood Education announced on December 4th that “Bottle Clix” (now sold as “Magz Clix”) by Magz® has been named the 2018 TIMPANI (Toys that Inspire Mindful Play and Nurture Imagination) Toy. The annual study investigates how young children learn as they play with a variety of toys in natural settings. Toys are placed in preschool classrooms at the University’s Child and Family Development Resource Center, and student researchers use hidden cameras to videotape children playing with the toys. Faculty and undergraduate student researchers then code the footage according to the study’s evaluation rubric, which includes four subscales: thinking and learning, cooperation and social interaction, creativity and imagination, and verbalization.

 The Trawick-Smiths

Former Endowed Chair Establishes Undergraduate Research Fund

Professor Emeritus Jeffrey Trawick-Smith, the CECE’s first Phyllis Waite Endowed Chair of Early Childhood Education, has established a fund with his wife Nancy to support undergraduate research in early childhood education. The Jeffrey and Nancy Trawick-Smith Early Childhood Undergraduate Research Fund will support students who are conducting scientific, empirical studies on young children within the Center for Early Childhood Education that “will yield practical knowledge in early education and development and, thus, promote the well-being of young children and their families.” The fund was created by the Trawick-Smiths to provide opportunities for undergraduates to gain research knowledge and skills that will be invaluable to them as they pursue careers in a data-driven, evidence-based world of work.

 CECE logo

CECE Reaches One Million Views on Our YouTube Channel!!!

The Center for Early Childhood Education (CECE) is thrilled to announce reaching a big milestone earlier this month: the center has achieved one million views on our YouTube channel! To acknowledge this accomplishment, the center released a short video, “Celebrating One Million Views.” The center began producing video content in 2006, creating “Guiding Young Children’s Behavior” for preschool teachers in U.S. Navy child development centers (the project was funded by the U.S. Department of Defense). The center created a website in 2008 and posted our first video on-line, “Five Predictors of Early Literacy,” from the popular e-clips video series. The center’s YouTube channel went live on January 29, 2013, with 12 videos. Since then, the center has posted more than 125 videos to the channel.

 Stefanie Dominguez

CECE Student Researcher Publishes publishes Article on Dual Language Learner Study

Undergraduate student Stefanie Dominguez and faculty mentor Dr. Jeffrey Trawick-Smith recently published the article "A qualitative study of the play of dual language learners in an English-speaking preschool" in the Early Childhood Education Journal. The article outlines findings from an Honors thesis study indicating that dual language learners play and talk with peers less frequently, interact in less sustained and positive ways, and are more reliant on teachers to support their play than their English speaking peers.

 CECE building

Center Celebrates Ten Years!!

This academic year marked the ten-year anniversary of the Center for Early Childhood Education. We wanted to thank all of our partners over the past ten years who have made our work possible – by serving as research partners, by allowing us to bring video cameras into their programs and homes, by providing their expertise as content reviewers and/or appearing in our videos, and by providing the funding and/or institutional support to make the work possible. We also are grateful to the many early childhood professionals, teacher educators, state and provincial officials, and policymakers who have used and shared our research and videos. We wouldn’t be where we are today without you.