Graduate Center for the Study of Early Learning

The University of Mississippi School of Education

Current Programs and Projects

Building a High-Quality Early Childhood System of Leadership and Teaching Practice

The North Mississippi Education Consortium and University of Mississippi will continue providing educators with specialized early childhood education professional development 2020-2022 as a result of the continuation of funding from the WK Kellogg Foundation. In 2019, the Center provided training to hundreds of pre-kindergarten and kindergarten teachers and school administrators.

Phil Hardin Teacher Scholars

The Phil Hardin Foundation has renewed their support to the Graduate Center for an additional four years to provide professional development for early childhood teacher educators in the state. With new funding, the number of Scholars has increased and the type of professional development opportunities has been enhanced. The goal is to not only improve the preparation of early childhood educators in the state by supporting professional development for their teachers, but to also develop a strong early childhood teacher educator sector in the state.

Kindergarten and Pre-Kindergarten Teacher Training

training taking placeIn partnership with the Mississippi Department of Education, the Center provides a variety of information sessions for kindergarten and pre-kindergarten teachers and elementary school principals for the purpose of reviewing the revised kindergarten and pre-kindergarten guidelines public schools are required to follow. Instructional strategies are presented that support the program guidelines and discussions specific to a comprehensive approach to teaching literacy as well as other subject areas are facilitated.

CLassroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS)

In order for early childhood teachers and those who supervise them to better understand the CLASS observation tool, we are partnering with the North Mississippi Education Consortium (NMEC) to offer one-day introduction trainings on the Infant, Toddler, and Pre-K CLASS tool. As the result of a grant award received from the WK Kellogg Foundation,  MS Department of Human Services, and the Governor’s office, we are able to offer this at no cost. We also offer CLASS observation certification training and Making the Most of CLassroom Interactions (MMCI) training.

North Mississippi Child Care Resource and Referral Center

Purpose: To provide teachers, parents, families, students, and other early childhood professionals access to educational resources, training on high quality child care, child development, developmentally appropriate and evidenced based instruction for children birth to age 12, and information specific for families of children with special needs. To provide coaching or technical assistance in-person to local child care centers.

Specialized Early Childhood Training for Pre-Kindergarten Teachers

The Center in partnership with the Mississippi Department of Education and North Mississippi Education Consortium coordinate comprehensive training for pre-kindergarten teachers and assistant teachers currently in public school classes across the state. The training involves a two week “Boot Camp” on-site training as well as year-long online courses.

Early Childhood Leadership Institute

The Mississippi Department of Human Services has awarded funds to the University of Mississippi to develop and implement an Early Childhood Leadership Institute. The purpose of the Institute is to strengthen current child care directors and prepare staff who may move into the leadership role. Through a 2 year course of study, the participants will receive information on evidence based topics specific to childcare program leadership.

Project ECHO for Childcare Providers

Project ECHO is a tele mentoring program designed to create a virtual community of learners by connecting childcare providers with experts in early developmental health, behavior, and education, using video-conference technology (Zoom), brief “mini workshops”, and child case studies, fostering an “all learn, all teach” approach. Project ECHO virtually connects childcare providers with a group of experts in child psychology, pediatric medicine, social work, speech pathology, and early childhood development and education to discuss, anonymously, specific child behaviors in the classroom. Through Project ECHO, providers learn to manage difficult classroom situations and to promote developmental and behavioral health among their young students- all from the comfort of their own smart device, laptop, or computer.

The Building Minds Program

Hundreds of individuals open their homes daily to care for young children while their parents work in all types of jobs across the state. Over the past several years these individuals have not been supported in their endeavors to enhance the development of the children in their care. The Building Minds Program, funded by the WK Kellogg Foundation, is providing educational resources and information to these family child care providers so they can offer high quality learning experiences. The objective of the program is to provide information, resources, and technical assistance to family childcare providers in the state serving children birth through four years of age for the purpose of supporting them as they provide age -appropriate learning experiences to the children they serve.

Eds Up:  A Podcast Series

Drs. Cathy Grace and Kenya Wolff explore a variety of topics on EdsUp. Timely topics are explored with national experts as well as conversation between the two hosts which reflects their opinion on the issues. From authors to policy makers and researchers the 20-30 minute conversations are thought provoking.  Listen to the EdsUp Podcast

Early Childhood Research Symposium Series

Internationally known early childhood researchers, economists and brain scientists provide the latest research findings on a variety of topics specific to how children development, what investments yield the best results in promoting optimum development in children and how children in Mississippi could benefit should these findings be implemented. The research briefs featuring scientist previously participating can be found here.

Dr. Craig Ramey’s Presentation

Professor James Heckman’s Presentation

Dr. Pat Levitt’s Presentation