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.

Reconciling Attitudes and Connecting Educators (RACE Talk)

This new professional development opportunity was constructed with the assistance of a racially diverse advisory committee for the purpose of informing pre-kindergarten and kindergarten teachers about the presence of racism in early childhood classrooms. The session utilizes research findings to explore how to bring about a racially biased-free classroom.


Specialized 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 online courses.


COVID-19: Support to Child Care Centers and Pre-Kindergarten Collaboration Program Staff

With the support of the WK Kellogg Foundation, the Center staff worked with the Early Childhood Academy and Mississippi Early Learning Alliance to provide a no-touch digital thermometer for each licensed child care facility in the state. Center staff continues to conduct training for staff based on the CDC standards for health and safety of staff and children in group care.

Additional funding was allocated by HB 1782 to the North Mississippi Education Consortium for the Graduate Center to provide Personal Protection Equipment and cleaning and sanitization supplies to all licensed child care facilities.

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. Melody Musgrove and Cathy Grace 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