Strengthening Children's Lives Through Science and Community Engagement


Juniper Gardens Children's Project (JGCP) began in the mid-1960s when residents of Northeast Kansas City, Kansas, joined with KU faculty to address concerns about child development in a low-income community. Their goal, which has become the ongoing mission of the JGCP, is to improve area children's developmental and educational experiences, and thus their academic and social achievements.

Since its inception, the project has sought to develop meaningful solutions to what local citizens view as major problems. JGCP also provides a place for KU faculty and students to learn from the wisdom and experiences of the urban community. Together, the community and the university have designed programs to intervene in and improve the parenting, care, and instruction received by children in the Greater Kansas City area and the United States. 

Featured Project 

Pyramid Resources for Infant-Toddler Social-Emotional Development (PRISM)

The primary objective of PRISM is the development and testing of a Professional Development (PD) approach to support early childhood teachers’ implementation of a tiered model for promoting the social-emotional growth of infants and toddlers. The components of the model include caregiving and teaching practices for providing high-quality environments and responsive interactions for all children, higher levels of support that involve explicit teaching and behavior support plans for children who exhibit challenging behavior or social-emotional delays, and a decision making model to assist caregiving teams in determining optimal levels of support. 

One tool used on this project, The Teaching Pyramid Infant-Toddler Observation Scale (TPITOS), was developed at JGCP to support high-quality implementation practices for supporting infant and toddler social-emotional development.



Recent Publications

Beckman, A., Mason, B. A., Wills, H., Garrison-Kane, L. G., & Huffman, J. (2019). Improving Behavioral and Academic Outcomes for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Testing an App-based Self-monitoring Intervention. Education & Treatment of Children, 42(2), 225-244. 

Buzhardt, J., Greenwood, C., Hackworth, N., Jia, F., Bennetts, S., Walker, D., Matthews, J. (2019), Cross-cultural exploration of growth in expressive communication of english-speaking infants and toddlers, Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 48, 284-94. 

Carta JJ, Miller Young RE. Multi-Tiered Systems of Support for Young Children: Driving Change in Early Education. Carta JJ, Miller Young R, editors. Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes; 2019.

Downs, K. R., Caldarella, P., Larsen, R. A. A., Charlton, C. T., Wills, H. P., Kamps, D. M., & Wehby, J. H. (2019). Teacher Praise and Reprimands: The Differential Response of Students at Risk of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 21(3), 135-147.

Thiemann-Bourque, K. S., Johnson, L. K., & Brady, N. (2019). Similarities in Functional Play and Differences in Symbolic Play of Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder. American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental DIsabilities, 124(1), 77-91. 

Wills, H. P., Mason, R., Gregori, E., & Veatch, M. (2019). Effects of Self-Monitoring on the Praise Rates of Paraprofessionals for Students with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders. The Elementary School Journal, 119(4), 562-579. 

Wills, H. P., Mason, R., Huffman, J. M., & Heitzman-Powell, L. (2019). Implementing self-monitoring to reduce inappropriate vocalizations of an adult with autism in the workplace. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 58, 9-18. 

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Biggest of congratulations to our PIs and staff on making it through another IES grant season! These applications r…