CEED staff present reflective practice research at two national meetings

Staff at the Center for Early Education and Development (CEED) recently presented at two national meetings. The work was completed as part of the Reflective Practice Center (RPC) at CEED, which aims to provide early childhood professionals improved support by offering research, training, and resources on a relationship-based professional development approach called reflective practice.

On March 20, CEED research associates Amy Susman-Stillman, PhD and Alyssa Meuwissen, PhD presented at the Network of Infant Toddler Researchers meeting, which was a pre-session at the Society for Research in Child Development biennial conference. The meeting was focused on defining and measuring wellness in the infant-toddler workforce. Susman-Stillman and Meuwissen presented about RPC’s work and a new study they recently launched with the Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare (CASCW), which aims to validate a measure of the quality of reflective supervision/consultation (RS/C).

On April 17-18, Susman-Stillman also participated in the Child Care Early Education Policy Research Consortium Annual Meeting in Washington, DC, where she presented on the impact of RS/C on the development and maintenance of emotional and cognitive skills that build practitioners’ resilience and ability to cope with challenging cases. The conference was sponsored by the federal Office of Research, Policy and Evaluation (OPRE).

Ed Psych, CEED publish studies on federally subsidized child care for children with special needs

Researchers from the Department of Educational Psychology’s school psychology program and Center for Early Education and Development (CEED) recently published three studies exploring the access, participation, and outcomes of young children with special need eligible to receive federally subsidized child care. The project, funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, was led by school psychology faculty, Amanda Sullivan, with collaborators CEED’s Amy Susman-Stillman as well as school psychology lecturer Elyse Farnsworth and PhD student Jordan Thayer.

The team’s findings suggest unique patterns of access and participation, including some disparities in access, and a need to improve the quality of care provided to young children with special needs in these settings. The studies appear in the journals Early Childhood Research QuarterlyChildren and Youth Services Review, and Infants & Young Children.

CEED to establish international center for reflective practice

The Center for Early Education and Development (CEED) in the Institute of Child Development has received a $1 million grant from the Lynne & Andrew Redleaf Foundation to establish a center that will focus on reflective practice in infant and early childhood mental health.

Reflective practice is a professional development approach that encourages individuals to pay attention to relationships as they examine behavior and their responses to behavior. In the infant and early childhood mental health field, reflective practice asks practitioners to explore how they relate to the children and families they work with, who may be facing multiple challenges and risks. Practitioners engage in reflective practice in partnership with a supervisor or consultant.

The new CEED center will serve as an intellectual home for high-quality, cutting-edge research in reflective practice. It will also disseminate knowledge about reflective practice, help professionals incorporate reflective practice principles into their work, and inform policy dealing with infant and early childhood mental health. The center will be the first of its kind internationally.

“We are grateful to the Lynne & Andrew Redleaf Foundation for their support as we work to impact infant and early childhood programs and providers, both in Minnesota and across the country,” says Christopher Watson, Ph.D., IMH-E®[IV], director of the new center at CEED. “This generous gift will allow CEED to bolster its work in reflective supervision and to better support staff who serve families facing complex challenges. We look forward to carrying out this work in an effort to improve developmental outcomes for infants and young children.”

ICD hosts community symposium on play

ICD faculty member Stephanie Carlson, Ph.D., presents at the community symposium.On May 15, the Institute of Child Development (ICD) hosted a community symposium on the importance of play for learning.

For the symposium, which was co-hosted by the Minnesota Children’s Museum, ICD faculty and staff presented cutting-edge research on play and discussed why it is critical to child development.

Presentations covered topics including play’s impact on a child’s understanding of math, how play influences the development of executive function, and how the Children’s Theatre Company is incorporating research into a preschool storytelling program. Each presentation was followed by a play-based activity that asked participants to explore what they learned.

Experts from the Minnesota Children’s Museum also provided a sneak peek of their new facility and exhibits, which will open to the public on June 7.

To learn more about why play is critical to learning and child development, read the following articles from Connect, the College of Education and Human Development’s alumni magazine.

  • The power of play:” Play is essential for learning and growing, but it doesn’t get the respect it deserves. New research is changing that.
  • Play lab:” Children lead at the U’s laboratory preschool
  • Setting the stage for learning:” Supporting early literacy through theater arts

CE+HD Connect Magazine highlights CEED research on children’s theater program

A recent article in CE+HD Connect magazine discussed research by the Center for Early Education and Development that is examining the effectiveness of a children’s theater program. The story is one of three articles about play that appear in the magazine’s Spring/Summer 2017 issue.

Early Bridges is a preschool theater arts outreach program developed by the Minneapolis-based Children’s Theatre Company (CTC). Early Bridges aims to build early literacy through interactive storytelling and theater arts.

Through a research collaboration with CTC, CEED evaluates Early Bridges’ impact, such as whether students show improvement in certain areas. CEED also has helped develop new measures and rubrics for the program, which incorporate both theater arts and child development theory.

To learn more about Early Bridges and CEED’s research, read the full story, “Setting the stage for learning,” or register for ICD’s Community Symposium on “The Importance of Play for Learning.” The symposium will take place on May 15 at 8:30 a.m. at the University of Minnesota McNamara Alumni Center.

Gunnar to participate in UMN’s first annual Research Ethics Day on March 9

Dr. Megan Gunnar

Megan Gunnar, Ph.D., director of the Institute of Child Development, will participate in the University of Minnesota’s (UMN) first annual Research Ethics Day conference.

The conference, which will take place on Thursday, March 9, will consist of training sessions and workshops that aim to foster a dialogue about how the university can strengthen human research protections. The morning portion of the conference will focus on informed consent, with afternoon sessions covering a variety of topics, including partnering with community members and managing conflicts of interest.

As part of the morning portion of the program, Gunnar is scheduled to moderate a panel at 9:30 a.m. that will discuss frontier issues in seeking pediatric or adolescent assent and parent or guardian permission.

Learn more about the event.