Strengthening Children's Lives Through Science and Community Engagement

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Improve early childhood health and development through
Language and communication
PI Duration Sponsor
Educare Schools as a Platform for Bridging the Word Gap

(PI) Walker



This Acceleration Project partnership brings together three Educare Schools and evaluation teams to demonstrate the feasibility of implementing the Promoting Communication Strategies PC TALK, an evidence-based language intervention designed to build the capacity of educators and parents to increase children’s language learning opportunities.

This year, the intervention is embedded into 16 randomly selected Educare classrooms in Kansas City KS (KC) and West DuPage IL (WDP) impacting over 120 children, and with over 20 families at Educare Tulsa, Kendall-Whittier, it is delivered during monthly parent meetings to extend Talking is Teaching, Too Small to Fail initiative. This will be replicated in the upcoming year across all classrooms and families at each participating Educare School.

Compelling evidence exists that before children start preschool, their early language experiences can shape their future in ways that can have a profound impact. Disparities in the quality and quantity of talk that some children hear before age 4 represents an estimated gap of over 30 million words in experience with language. Studies show that children’s earliest language experiences can impact school readiness and performance.

This project addresses priorities identified for the Educare Learning Network including: (1) Continuous innovation around teaching and learning; (2) Using the Network as a platform for innovative, applied early childhood research and evaluation; (3) Extending effective Educare approaches beyond the walls of Educare; and (4) Partnering with parents to promote outcomes.

 In this Acceleration partnership to bridge the word gap we are:

 · Testing a model for how Educare can serve as a platform for bridging the word gap.

· Providing information about intervention use and coaching as to how teachers in Educare schools can embed PC TALK into their daily curriculum and activities to increase instructional support for language learning.

· Documenting continuity between classrooms-to-home for language learning and intervention use, and  with parents attending community initiatives. Coaches, teachers and parents complete checklists documenting their intervention use. 

· Documenting fidelity of intervention delivery and child communication using an observation app to measure fidelity implementation and child communication and generating graphs and reports to provide teachers and parents with feedback about intervention use.

· Documenting child outcomes using a progress monitoring measure and using Educare evaluation measures of language and classroom quality.  

 · Sharing information across the ELN and with community organizations to inform efforts to bridge the word gap nationwide. 

Congratulations to doctoral student Anna Wallisch, the second recipient of the Vance & Marilyn Hall GRA Award! Anna…