NYC Early Childhood Research Network

The New York Early Childhood Research Network was developed in partnership with the Foundation for Child Development to fund research projects that examine the early care and education workforce of New York City’s universal prekindergarten programs. The initial round of research projects funded within the Network include:

Bank Street College of Education and the National Center for Children in Poverty at Columbia University
NYC Pre-K Leadership Research Study

Bank Street College of Education in partnership with the National Center for Children in Poverty/Columbia University is conducting a study to highlight how instructional leaders, or individuals in similar roles, enhance children’s learning through the support and development of teachers and assistant teachers. We are interviewing teachers and early childhood leadership at 36 pre-K sites that represent a diverse cross-section of programs across New York City. In our study, each participating site will receive a $100 voucher for use at the Bank Street Bookstore. Staff members who participate in the study may also directly benefit from the opportunities that it will provide for reflection. At each participating site, we are asking that the Education Director, or Principal/Assistant Principal if applicable, and teachers and assistant teachers from three to five classes take part in several interviews and observations. The majority of the interviews and observations will occur throughout the 2016-17 school year.

  • Faith Lamb-Parker, Ph.D., Senior Research Scientist, IPR; Director Center for Culturally Responsive Practice, Bank Street College of Education
  • Sheila Smith, Ph.D., Director, Early Childhood National Center for Children in Poverty at Columbia University
Hunter College of the City University of New York
Case Studies on Authentic Assessment in UPK Citywide: Perspectives on Utility, Fidelity, and Applications to Practice Project

Multiple case studies will be used to find answers to questions about the use of authentic assessment tools, including Teaching Strategies Gold (TSG), Work Sampling (WS), and High Scope Child Observation Record (COR), in PreK for All programs. Researchers will primarily work with head teachers and assistant teachers to gain insight on how the assessment tools influence teachers' daily practices, the decisions made about curriculum design, and to examine how teachers use assessment to develop a deeper understanding of children's individual needs and interests. Researchers will also seek the perspectives of program administration, and parents/primary caregivers to develop a more comprehensive understanding of how the assessment tools are used for other purposes within a PreK for All learning community.

National Center for Children and Families at Teachers College, Columbia University
The Importance of UPK Setting and Auspice in New York City

New York City must make critical decisions about how to allocate UPK funding and monitor program performance. This study will inform those decisions by providing a comparison of UPK programs across settings (schools vs. NYC Early Education Centers (NYCEECs) and auspices (e.g., DOE, ACS/CCDF, and Head Start). The study will discern if variation in setting and auspice translates into important differences in four key areas associated with quality: (i) teacher characteristics; (ii) professional development; (iii) instructional approach; and (iv) program level structural characteristics. Findings will be conveyed via a final report and two actionable policy briefs, designed for immediate use by policymakers at the DOE, ACS, DOHMH, and Mayor’s Office.

  • Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, Ph.D., Co-Director, National Center for Children and Families; Virginia and Leonard Marx Professor of Child Development at Teachers College and the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University.
  • Lynn Kagan, Ed.D., Co-Director, National Center for Children and Families; Virginia and Leonard Marx Professor of Early Childhood and Family Policy; Director, Office Policy and Research; Professor of Early Childhood Policy; Associate Dean of Policy
  • Jeanne Reid, Ed.D., Research Scientist, National Center for Children and Families;
Rutgers the State University of New Jersey, National Institute for Early Education Research
A Study of Coaching and Support for NYC UPK

This study examines coaches working within NYC’s UPK system and how these individuals fit into the system of supports for UPK programs. Coaches are charged with supporting EC teaching staff to improve practice in alignment with research and policy. The assumption has been that individuals employed as coaches have the expertise to help a workforce with diverse qualifications and experiences to learn and apply best practices. There is, however, a gap in the extant literature about the qualifications, experiences, and day-to-day functions of these individuals. Much of the focus of research on the EC workforce has been on teachers and, more recently, administrators, but less so on those who support program improvement within and across sites. This study involves collecting and analyzing a range of data sources. First, we will identify and describe the workforce of EC coaches by developing profiles of coaches and by identifying organizational factors shaping their work. Second, we will examine coaches’ time use to describe the range of activities comprising their work. Third, we plan to examine what coaches perceive their roles to be as conveyors of content knowledge and policies and policy knowledge.

  • Steve Barnett, Ph.D., Director; Board of Governors Professor
  • Shannon Riley-Ayers, M.Ed., Ph.D., Director of the Straus Center for Young Children and Families, Bank Street College of Education
  • Sharon Ryan, Ed.D., Research Fellow; Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education, Department of Learning and Teaching, Graduate School of Education
Research Foundation of the City University of New York, Borough of Manhattan Community College
An Exploration of Intrinsic and Extrinsic Factors Impacting Male Teachers’ Engagement in the Early Childhood Field

This place-based study uses mixed methods to identify and examine both intrinsic and extrinsic factors that positively impact recruitment, retention and professional development of male educators in the ECE workforce.

Research Foundation of the City University of New York, City College of New York and Teachers College, Columbia University
High Quality Culturally-Relevant UPK Practices Across Communities

This qualitative study will investigate practices and policies in UPK classrooms that are supportive of and responsive to the needs of children and families from low-income, immigrant, and racially/culturally/linguistically diverse backgrounds. The purpose of the study is to shed light on teaching practices, classroom environments, family involvement practices, and organizational structures and policies that are responsive to and sustaining for children and families from these backgrounds. The study will identify high-quality practices in programs that serve high percentages of high-need, immigrant and culturally/linguistically diverse children across districts in differently resourced communities - one low-income, one middle-income, and one affluent. Within each of these districts, three classrooms will be studied - representing both public school and community-based UPKs - which will enable the exploration of some of the variation between public school and NYCEEC UPK contexts as well as between programs in differently resourced communities.

  • Beverly Falk, Ed.D., Professor/Director, Graduate Programs in Early Childhood Education; Affiliate Faculty, CUNY Graduate Center; School of Education
  • Mariana Souto-Manning, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Curriculum & Teaching; Director, Quality Universally Inclusive Early Responsive Education (QUIERE)