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 is. The TPITOS is available through Brookes Publishing



Recent Publications

Bigelow, K., Carta, J., Irvin, D., & Hemmeter, M. L. (2018). The Pyramid Infant-Toddler Observation System. Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes.

Boyd, B. A., Watson, L. R., Reszka, S. S., Sideris, J., Alessandri, M., Baranek, G. T., . . . Belardi, K. (2018). Efficacy of the ASAP Intervention for Preschoolers with ASD: A Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. doi: 10.1007/s10803-018-3584-z

Caldarella, P., Larsen, R. A. A., Williams, L., Wills, H., Kamps, D., & Wehby, J. H. (2018). Effects of CW-FIT on Teachers’ Ratings of Elementary School Students at Risk for Emotional and Behavioral Disorders. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 20(2), 78-89. doi: 10.1177/1098300717723353

Greenwood, C. R., Beecher, C., Atwater, J., Petersen, S., Schiefelbusch, J., & Irvin, D. (2018). An Ecobehavioral Analysis of Child Academic Engagement: Implications for Preschool Children Not Responding to Instructional Intervention. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 37(4), 219-233. doi: 10.1177/0271121417741968

Greenwood, C. R., Schnitz, A. G., Irvin, D., Tsai, S. F., & Carta, J. J. (2018). Automated Language Environment Analysis: A Research Synthesis. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 27(2), 853-867. doi: 10.1044/2017_AJSLP-17-0033

Harrop, C., J., A., Towner-Wright, S., Reichow, B., & Boyd, B. (2018). That’s what I like: The use of circumscribed interests within interventions for individuals with autism spectrum disorder. A systematic review. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 57, 63-86. 

Irvin, D. W., Crutchfield, S. A., Greenwood, C. R., Kearns, W. D., & Buzhardt, J. (2018). An automated approach to measuring child movement and location in the early childhood classroom. Behavior Research Methods, 50(3), 890-901. doi: 10.3758/s13428-017-0912-8

Irvin, D. W., Ingram, P., Huffman, J., Mason, R., & Wills, H. (2018). Exploring paraprofessional and classroom factors affecting teacher supervision. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 73, 106-114. doi:

Thiemann-Bourque, K., Feldmiller, S., Hoffman, L., & Johner, S. (2018). Incorporating a Peer-Mediated Approach Into Speech-Generating Device Intervention: Effects on Communication of Preschoolers With Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 1-17. doi: 10.1044/2018_JSLHR-L-17-0424

​Thiemann-Bourque, K., & Warren, S. F. (2018). Programs supporting young children’s language development: 2nd Revision. In: Tremblay, R. E., Barr, R. G., & Peters, R. (Eds). Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development [online]. Montreal, Quebec: Centre of Excellence for Early Childhood Development, 1-11. 

​​See more publications

What's New
Job Opportunities
  • Postdoctoral Researchers (Early Intervention): Juniper Gardens Children’s Project (JGCP) is recruiting 2 postdoctoral researchers interested in developing expertise in designing, implementing and disseminating research carried out while developing evidence-based practices with community partners focused on early intervention, early care, and early education settings. The postdoctoral position is a full-time (100% FTE), 2 years, research-dedicated fellowship. Postdoctoral researchers will learn and develop new advances in the prevention and intervention of learning and behavior problems in young children. For more information and to apply online, click hereKU is an EO/AAE
  • Student Hourly (Data Collectors): Juniper Gardens Children’s Project, a community-based research institute affiliated with the University of Kansas, is conducting a research program aimed at evaluating how a Practice Based Coaching model (Literacy 3D) can be used to enhance the literacy focus of early childhood (EC) teachers through data-driven decision making and strategies that boost children’s opportunities to respond in literacy activities. We are seeking 4-10 student hourly employees who will be responsible for data collection activities with preschool students and teachers, including administering literacy assessments to children, observing classroom instruction and interactions, and assisting in the preparation and delivery of data reports in the Kansas City Metro, as well as data management and entry at our offices in downtown Kansas City, KS. For more information and to apply online, click hereKU is an EO/AAE
  • Assistant/Associate Research Professor - Statistician: The KU Life Span Institute at Juniper Gardens is seeking to hire an Assistant or Associate Research Professor with statistical skills to work in a team environment on a range of educational and applied research projects. For more information and to apply, click here.  KU is an EO/AAE
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