Ongoing Projects

Our lab is home to a collection of ongoing projects aimed at supporting children and families in under-resourced areas.

Improving Teachers’ Practices 

Head Start on Vocabulary.  Funded by the US Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences, this project involves developing an intervention in Baltimore City to support Early Head Start and Head Start teachers in building language and vocabulary skills among the children in their classroom, particularly those at risk for Specific Language Impairment. We are grateful for the collaboration with Maryland Family Network, as well as with Dr. Patricia Synder at the University of Florida. This project will run from 2018-2024.

Refining Urban Teacher Preparation. Under the auspices of the William Penn Foundation, this three-year project will allow Temple’s early and elementary teacher preparation team to collaborate closely with the School District of Philadelphia on the integration of cutting-edge, evidence-based techniques into our pre-service teacher training. Strategies include flipped classrooms, video-based case studies, and a year-long residency program. A rigorous evaluation will examine how these approaches enhance beginning teachers’ practices. This project will run from 2018-2022.

Supporting Teachers in Pursuing National Board Certification. Funded by the William Penn Foundation, this project supports early childhood and elementary teachers in the School District of Philadelphia as they pursue National Board certification. By offering weekly guidance, a series of workshops, and individualized mentoring, the project helps practicing teachers complete the required components for National Board certification so that they can better serve the students and families with whom they work. Considerable focus is dedicated to early language and literacy knowledge and instruction. This project runs from 2017-2023. Please see our website here:

Strengthening the Early Education Community in Philadelphia

Diversifying Early Education Leadership. Most children and families in early care settings in Philadelphia are people of color, whereas most of the leadership of ECE is not. In response to this mismatch, the William Penn Foundation has funded the DEEL Fellowship, a two-year Fellowship for mid-career ECE professionals of color in the Philadelphia area. A total of 20 Fellows in two cohorts will receive four graduate courses in ECE and leadership, leading to a certificate; attend seminars focused on mentoring and networking; and conduct an independent project. In addition, Temple will support ECE organizations in enhancing their own approaches to diversity in equity. This project runs from 2019-2023. Please see our website here:

Increasing Access to High-Quality Childcare for Undergraduates 

Child Care Access Means Parents in Schools (CCAMPIS). Funded by the US Department of Education’s TRIO program, this project supports Temple undergraduate students in finding and funding daycare for their young children. An evaluation will gauge whether CCAMPIS supports are linked to college persistence and achievement. This project will run from 2018-2019, with the potential for renewal through 2022. Please see our website here:

Past Projects

Story Talk: A Cognitive-based Vocabulary Intervention. Funded by the Institute of Education Sciences, this project developed and piloted an intervention to support vocabulary instruction through book reading and center activities in Head Start classrooms. The ultimate goal is to deliver high-quality professional development, through structured lesson guides and a modest amount of coaching, to teachers, ultimately engendering growth in children’s English language vocabulary skills. This grant concluded in 2018.

Story Talk at Home. Supported by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, this project leveraged the efforts and funding for the Story Talk project (see above) to develop a family involvement component that is seamlessly aligned with the Story Talk classroom materials. This project took a community-based approach, including extensive consultation with and feedback from Head Start families, who are the intended end-users of the intervention. Six months of focus groups and development were followed by a one-year pilot and several randomized controlled trials, spanning 2015-2019.

Text to Talk. With support from the William Penn Foundation, this project developed and tested a set of resources for training teachers in preschool and kindergarten to connect with families through texting. Teachers were trained to text families strategic information about the classroom, which families used at home to support children’s learning. After several months of focus groups and development, we conducted a one-year pilot study, followed by a one-year randomized controlled trial. This project concluded in 2018.

Exceptional Coaching for Early Language and Literacy – enhanced.  This project, funded by a grant from the Investing in Innovation (i3) fund and a group of generous foundations (the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Lockhart-Vaughan Foundation, the Zanvyl and Isabelle Krieger Fund, and the Wright Family Foundation), involved translating the effective ExCELL model of face-to-face training (see Wasik, Bond, & Hindman, 2006; Wasik & Hindman, 2011) to an online format. The fundamental aim was to promote the language, vocabulary, and literacy skills of young English language learners and native English speakers. Three years of development preceded a one-year randomized controlled trial in ethnically and linguistically diverse preschool, kindergarten, and first-grade classrooms. Results are currently under analysis for publication.