National Center for Research on Early Childhood Education (NCRECE)

The National Center for Research on Early Childhood Education (NCRECE) is an Institute of Education Sciences (IES) funded, cross-university partnership (University of Virginia, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and University of California at Los Angeles) that focuses on conducting research, disseminating research findings, and carrying out leadership activities aimed at improving the quality of early childhood education across the United States.

Professional Development Study

This study is a randomized controlled evaluation of two forms of professional development to be delivered to over 490 early childhood education teachers: (1) coursework on effective instructional interactions (as defined by the Classroom Assessment Scoring System [CLASS], an observational measure with established links to child outcomes) and (2) video-based consultation support through MyTeachingPartner (MTP). These professional development supports aim to improve teachers’ implementation of language/literacy activities and interactions with children, as well as promote gains in children’s social and academic development.

Leadership Symposia

NCRECE hosted a number of symposia that brought together researchers, policymakers, and practitioners in the field of early childhood education. 

  • February 2007 - Pre-Kindergarten in the United States 
  • February 2008 - Ensuring Effective Teachers Through Professional Development Systems: Quality Rating Systems and State Early Childhood Education Competencies
  • November 2008 - Integrated, Aligned, and Effective Early Childhood Quality Improvement Initiatives: Challenges and Next Steps for the Field
  • November 2009 - Investigating the Classroom Experiences of Young Dual Language Learners
  • November 2010 - Effective Professional Development in Early Childhood Education
  • March 2013 - Quality Improvement in Early Childhood Education
    • Videos of presentations and keynote lectures from the Quality Improvement symposium are available online.

A book series synthesizing the presentations from the symposia is available through Brookes Publishing Company.

Mentoring Program

NCRECE also sponsored a Research Mentoring Program for Minority Scholars that focused on secondary analysis of existing data sets that could be used to address issues of importance in the field of early childhood education, applied developmental psychology, child development, and related fields. The NCRECE Fellows had access to large-scale, nationally representative data sets and an ongoing year long association with senior investigators who provided mentorship in writing articles for publication.

Research Findings

  • NCRECE Research Briefs - two-page summaries of publications or general topics related to the study.
  • NCRECE White Paper (PDF) - Ensuring Effective Teachers Through Linked Professional Development Systems, Quality Rating Systems, and State Competencies: The Role of Research in an Evidence-Driven System
  • Summary of NCRECE citations (PDF) - a list of citations from professional conference presentations and research articles.
  • NCRECE Video: Results and Lessons Learned
  • Selected citations:
    • Hamre, B. K., Pianta, R. C., Burchinal, M. Field, S. Locasale-Crouch, J.L., Downer, J. T…Scott-Little, C. (2012). A Course on Effective Teacher-Child Interactions: Effects on Teacher Beliefs, Knowledge, and Observed Practice. American Education Research Journal, 49, 88-123.
    • Scott-Little, C., La Paro, K. M., Thomason, A. C., Pianta, R. C., Hamre, B., Downer, J., Burchinal, M., & Howes, C. (2011). Implementation of a Course Focused on Language and Literacy within Teacher-Child Interactions: Instructor and Student Perspectives across Three Institutions of Higher Education. Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education, 32(3), 200-224.
    • LoCasale-Crouch, J., Kraft-Sayre, M., Pianta, R., Hamre, K., Downer, J., Leach, A., Burchinal, M., Howes, C., La Paro, K., & Scott-Little, C. (2011). Implementing an Early Childhood Professional Development Course Across 10 Sites and 15 Sections:  Lessons Learned. National Head Start Association Dialog, 14(4), 275-292.

Principal Investigator: Robert Pianta