Penn State Penn State: College of the Liberal Arts
Promoting School Readiness in Child Care Centers

Promoting School Readiness in Child Care Centers

Headshot of Karen Bierman
PI: Karen Bierman

NIH R01HD079410
Administered in: College of the Liberal Arts

EDI Program Site
Head Start REDI Blueprints Fact Sheet


The central goal of this study is to enhance the capacity of child-care centers serving socioeconomically disadvantaged communities to implement evidence-based curriculum components and teaching practices that promote school readiness. A related goal is to test the efficacy of a sustainable, technology-assisted platform of professional development support, Better Kid Care (BKC), managed by Cooperative Extension. 72 child-care centers will be recruited from more than 372 eligible centers serving low income children in 7 economically stressed counties in Pennsylvania. These centers struggle to provide evidence-based educational programming, despite an interest in doing so, due to low levels of teacher education, high staff turnover, and inadequate access to curriculum materials and professional development support. Participants will include 72 child care center directors, approximately 200 classroom teachers, and approximately 600 4-year-old prekindergarten children. The curriculum components and teaching strategies of the REDI (Research-based, Developmentally Informed) program will be used, including the Preschool PATHS Curriculum to promote social-emotional learning, and three evidence-based components (i.e., dialogic reading, phonological awareness training, and alphabet center activities) to foster language-emergent literacy skills. The technology-assisted distance learning platform of BKC will be used to extend professional development support. Classroom teachers will be able to access brief tutorials with videos demonstrating how to deliver lessons and illustrating high-quality teaching practices. In addition, center directors will be trained to serve as local coaches, thereby providing a foundation for program sustainability in the face of high teacher turnover. The BKC platform will be used to support virtual learning communities of child-care center directors, who will be trained to monitor the fidelity of program implementation and coach teachers in the application of the curriculum components and teaching strategies. The evaluation will use a rigorous, randomized-controlled design, with multi- method measurement of child and teacher outcomes; it will assess short-term sustainability in the child care centers and follow children as they transition to kindergarten.

Additional Faculty:

Headshot of Benjamin Bayly
Benjamin Bayly Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Education
Headshot of Claudia Mincemoyer
Claudia Mincemoyer Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Education
Headshot of Janet Welsh
Janet Welsh Health and Human Development

Research Staff:

Headshot of Julia Gest
Julia Gest Project Director University Park
Headshot of Brenda Heinrichs
Brenda Heinrichs Statistician University Park
Headshot of Linda Jacobson
Linda Jacobson Statistician University Park
Headshot of Michele Kelly
Michele Kelly Data Manager University Park
Headshot of Shari Keyser-Groff
Shari Keyser-Groff Research Coordinator York County
Headshot of Stella Robinson
Stella Robinson Research Consultant University Park
Photo placeholder for Lynda Sheffer
Lynda Sheffer Research Consultant York County
Headshot of Brad Sizemore
Brad Sizemore Senior Research Assistant York County
Headshot of Tracy Spalvins
Tracy Spalvins Research Coordinator University Park
Headshot of Christy Tomascik
Christy Tomascik Research Consultant Luzerne County
Headshot of Melissa Tomascik
Melissa Tomascik Research Consultant Luzerne County

Postdoctoral Associate:

Headshot of Leah Hunter
Leah Hunter
University of Pittsburgh