Excell: The Exceptional Coaching for Early Language and Literacy – enhanced (ExCELL-e) program is a year-long online professional development program for teachers of preschool, kindergarten, and first grade. ExCELL-e provides specific strategies to help teachers build the language and vocabulary skills of the children in their classrooms. These include asking open-ended questions, waiting for children to respond, providing feedback on what children have said, and teaching children new vocabulary words throughout the classroom. With support from an expert coach, teachers learn new and refine techniques that help who are native speakers of English, as well as those who are dual language learners.
Story Talk: We are currently undertaking a 3-year evaluation of Story Talk, a reading strategy intended to promote the development of language and literacy skills in young children from low-income families.
Text to Talk: Funded by the William Penn Foundation and sponsored by the School District of Philadelphia, Text to Talk is a three-year project focused on improving our understanding of how early childhood educators communicate with families, and how modern forms of communications such as apps, texting, and email might foster family-school coordination, and ultimately children’s kindergarten readiness.
PNC Grow Up Great: Dr. Barbara Wasik, Professor and PNC Chair in Early Childhood Education, collaborated with PNC Grow Up Great to develop a website that features early childhood science activities for teachers. The activities were contributed by national science centers such as the Franklin Institute. The site will continue to feature new activities including those in the arts, in support of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, mathematics) education.
Progress Monitoring: This study is focused on improving our understanding of how teachers implement and use ongoing assessment to individualize instruction.
Story Talk@Home: Supported by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, this project leverages the efforts and funding for the Story Talk project to develop a family component that is seamlessly aligned with the Story Talk classroom materials. This project takes 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 are followed by a one-year pilot and then a one-year randomized controlled trial, spanning 2015-2017.