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Emberly Haughton Receives Trawick-Smith Research Award

3/3/23: Early childhood education and developmental psychology major Emberly Haughton has been awarded the Jeffrey and Nancy Trawick-Smith Early Childhood Undergraduate Research Award. She will use the award to conduct a mixed-methods study on math reasoning by bilingual and monolingual preschoolers. Under the mentorship of Dr. Sudha Swaminathan, Haughton will evaluate preschoolers' math abilities and reasoning during assessments and play-based experiences. Her goal is to identify distinct metacognitive processing strategies used by bilingual learners and to determine appropriate supportive teaching strategies.

CECE Researchers Publish Article on Findings of Study of Dual Language Learners

5/9/22: 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.

CECE Researcher Publishes Book on Play Pedagogy and Teacher Education

4/22/22: CECE researcher and Professor Emeritus Jeffrey Trawick-Smith has edited "Teacher Education and Play Pedagogy: International Perspectives." Co-edited by Eleni Loizou and published by Routledge, the book explores the different ways in which teacher educators have been preparing early years teachers to support children’s play and consider professional preparation for a play pedagogy. It also provides information on how teachers take on different roles and act in diverse ways to effectively support children to develop play skills, to learn and develop. With contributions from across the early childhood spectrum, researchers present their empirical work through multiple forms of data with deep reflections and critical stances towards the play pedagogy implementation.

Where We Live logoJeffrey Trawick-Smith Discusses Toy Research on "Where We Live"

12/16/21: On December 15, Dr. Jeffrey Trawick-Smith discussed CECE research on toys with Connecticut NPR's Lucy Nalpathanchil, host of the "Where We Live" show. Trawick-Smith appeared as one of 4 guests in a program focused on diversity and inclusion in the toy industry, gender differences in play, and the impact of toys on child development. The emeritus professor, who continues to serve as a consultant on CECE research, described findings from the ten-year TIMPANI toy study.

Listen to the interview.

Telly AwardCECE Research Video Earns Telly Award

5/27/21: 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. 

Read more.

Jeffrey Trawick-SmithJeffrey Trawick-Smith Honored with Award

4/10/21: On April 9, 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." The award was presented during AERA's virtual conference.

Dr. Trawick-Smith retired from Eastern and the Center for Early Childhood Education in 2019 after serving as the inaugural Phyllis Waite Endowed Chair of Early Childhood Education and Distinguished Professor. He continues to engage in research through the CECE and mentor undergraduate student researchers while actively contributing to the early childhood field through numerous publication projects.

In the statement announcing his award, researchers from other institutions noted that, “Scholars turn to him for evidence-based practice and his work surrounding play and culture,” and that, “He is humble, welcoming, inspiring, encouraging. His interactions are so genuine.”

Read more about the award on page 4 of the Early Education and Child Development Special Interest Group's newsletter.

What Makes a Good ToyCECE Releases Video on Ten Years of Lessons from TIMPANI Study

12/3/20: The CECE has released a new video on the overall findings from the ten-year TIMPANI toy study. Each December from 2010 through 2019, the highest-scoring TIMPANI toy was announced.  The TIMPANI toys were scored on how they affected children's problem-solving, creativity, social interactions, and verbalization.

"What Makes a Good Toy? Lessons Learned from 10 Years of the TIMPANI Toy Studyreflects on the lessons learned from the ten years of research and describes the elements that make a great toy.

CECE Faculty, Students to Present Research Findings

10/31/20: Most research organizations have moved their conferences online this year and at the same time reduced the number of proposals accepted. So the CECE was especially proud to receive the news that 3 conference proposals have been accepted for virtual presentations. Dr. Sudha Swaminathan will give two presentations at the American Educational Research Association (AERA):

  • Impact of Coding on Preschoolers' Math Abilities, a paper presentation for the SIG-Early Education and Child Development of AERA 2021 (with Dr. Peggy Lisenbee and former CECE student researcher Jenna Mazza).
  • Observing Young Children’s Behaviors While Coding as an Innovative Pedagogical Practice, a paper presentation for Div K, Teaching and Teacher Education of AERA (with Dr. Peggy Lisenbee).

In addition, Dr. Jeffrey Trawick-Smith has been accepted to present with former student researchers Marley Koschel and Cassie Cullis at the 10th International Research-to-Practice Conference "Early Childhood Care and Education," organized by the International Academy of Preschool Education Moscow (IAPE), Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russian Psychological Society, and Commission of the Russian Federation for UNESCO.

NPR Podcast on Math Features Sudha Swaminathan

9/8/20: Dr. Sudha Swaminathan was interviewed by NPR about natural ways parents can support their children's development of math skills through play and conversation. The interview appears in the podcast "Math Anxiety is Real. Here's How to Help Your Child Avoid It."

Allison LundyCECE Student Researcher Allison Lundy Publishes Research

7/7/20: Early Childhood Education Alumnus Allison Lundy has published her thesis "Effects of Active Outdoor Play on Preschool Children's On-Task Classroom Behavior" in the referred journal, Early Childhood Education Journal. The purpose of this investigation is to determine differences in children’s on task behavior during group time before and after engaging in physical activity during outdoor play. Children who engage in the greatest levels of physical activity during outdoor play may demonstrate strong on-task behaviors during group time than those who display lower levels of physical activity. Allison's research was partially funded by the Jeffrey and Nancy Trawick-Smith Early Childhood Undergraduate Research Award, which she was the recipient of in 2019.

Play and Curriculum: Play & Culture StudiesCECE Researchers Publish Chapter Outlining Findings of Six Math Play Studies

10/25/19: 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 MazzaJenna Mazza Receives Trawick-Smith Research Award

10/24/19: Jenna Mazza, an Eastern student majoring in psychology and early childhood education, has been named a recipient of the Jeffrey and Nancy Trawick-Smith Early Childhood Undergraduate Research Award. She will use the award to conduct a study on children’s abilities to code robotic toys, problem-solve, and debug errors in their codes. She will work under the mentorship of Dr. Sudha Swaminathan.

Young Children's Play; Development, Disabilities, and DiversityNew Book on Children's Play by Former Endowed Chair

10/11/19: 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.

Allison LundyCECE Student Researcher Receives Two Prestigious Research Honors

5/15/19: Allison Lundy, Undergraduate Researcher at the CECE, has been named the first recipient of the Jeffrey and Nancy Trawick-Smith Early Childhood Undergraduate Research Fund. She is also this year's only recipient of the Council of Undergraduate Research (CUR) Education Division's Student-Faculty Collaborative Research Award. Allison received both awards to recognize and support her Honors thesis research “The Association Between Outdoor Motor Play and On-Task Behavior in Learning Experiences in Preschool.”
Julia DeLapp presents TIMPANI study findings at press conferenceResearchers Announce Findings of 2018 TIMPANI Toy Study

12/4/18: Eastern Connecticut State University’s Center for Early Childhood Education announced that Bottle Clix (now sold as Magz Clix) by Magz(R) has been named the 2018 TIMPANI (Toys that Inspire Mindful Play and Nurture Imagination) Toy. As part of the 2018 study, the toys were placed in preschool classrooms, and student researchers used hidden cameras to videotape children playing with the toys. Researchers then coded the footage according to the study’s evaluation rubric, which includes four subscales: thinking and problem-solving, cooperation and social interaction, creativity and imagination, and verbalization.

Theresa and Ray KalberDonors Earmark Funds to Support ECE Undergraduate Research

11/29/18: Eastern graduate Theresa Kalber '70 and her husband Ray are ongoing contributors to Eastern's Education Department. The retired teachers chose to earmark their FY19 gift for the Jeffrey and Nancy Trawick-Smith Early Childhood Undergraduate Research Fund.

Dominique McLean, Allison Lundy, Morgan WinshipCECE Researchers Present at NAEYC Conference

11/14/18: Jeffrey Trawick-Smith, Julia DeLapp, and student researchers Dominique McLean, Allison Lundy, and Morgan Winship presented research findings from the TIMPANI toy study, the Play Materials Introductions study, and the CECE math  studies at the annual meeting of the National Association for the Education of Young Children conference in Washington, D.C.

Nancy and Jeffrey Trawick-SmithFormer Endowed Chair Establishes Fund to Support Undergraduate Research

9/1/18: 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 provide students conducting empirical research at the CECE with support for research materials, summer stipends, and/or travel to professional conferences to present findings.
Stefanie Dominguez in video control roomCECE Student Researcher Publishes Article About the Dual Language Learners

2/1/18: 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.
Cover of Journal of Early Childhood ResearchCECE Researchers Publish Article About the Relationship Between Complexity of Block Structures and Math Learning

12/1/16: Principal Investigators Jeffrey Trawick-Smith and Sudha Swaminathan, along with student researchers Brooke Baton, Courtney Danieluk, Samantha Marsh, and Monika Szarwacki, recently published the article "Block play and mathematics learning in preschool: The effects of building complexity, peer and teacher interactions in the block area, and replica play materials" in the Journal of Early Childhood Research. The article outlines study findings that the level of social participation and percentage of structures built without toys predicted the complexity of children’s buildings. This building complexity was, in turn, associated with growth in math learning, as measured by Tools for Early Assessment in Mathematics.
CECE Awarded Prestigious Spencer Research Grant

9/30/16: The Center for Early Childhood Education has been awarded a prestigious Small Research Grant from the Spencer Foundation for the study “The Relationship of Teacher-Child Math Talk During Preschool Play To Young Children’s Mathematics Learning.” Professors Jeffrey Trawick-Smith and Sudha Swaminathan, along with multiple students, will study how the kinds of conversations teachers have with young children during free play related to quantity, size, shape, and numerical problem-solving affect children’s math learning over time.
CECE Research Article Selected as Featured Article

7/7/16: "Naptime data meetings to increase the math talk of early care and education providers," an article published in the Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education about a CECE study, was recently featured in the Research Connections News & Resources newsletter and the "Recent Highlights from Our Collection" section of the Child Care and Early Education Research Connections website. Child Care and Early Education Research Connections is a federally funded project jointly conducted at Columbia University and the University of Michigan that provides free access to a searchable collection of over 27,000 research-related documents on child care and early education as well as to over 300 downloadable datasets from national surveys and evaluations.
Cover of Journal of Early Childhood Teacher EducationCECE Researchers Publish Article About Improving Math Outcomes Through Naptime Meetings

5/10/16: Principal Investigator Jeffrey Trawick-Smith and student researchers Heather Oski, Kim DePaolis, Kristen Krause, Alyssa Zebrowski, recently published the article "Naptime data meetings to increase the math talk of early care and education providers" in the Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education. The article outlines study findings that having brief, data-based staff meetings during naptime in community-based child care classrooms can positively impact providers’ math interactions with their students as well as predict growth in children’s math abilities 6 months later.
TIMPANI Toy Study Featured in an episode of The Why Factor on BBC Radio

9/25/15: Jeffrey Trawick-Smith, one of the principal investigators of the annual TIMPANI Toy Study conducted by the CECE, was interviewed by Hannah Moore, host of a radio show on BBC called The Why Factor. This popular show in Europe explores “the extraordinary and hidden histories behind everyday objects and activities that define our lives in the 21st Century.” Dr. Trawick-Smith offered his expertise on toys and play and their importance in shaping human development.