Faculty and student researchers at Eastern Connecticut State University's Center for Early Childhood Education (CECE) have announced the results of the 2013 TIMPANI toy study. Two toys tied this year, both receiving the highest ratings of all toys studied: Magna-Tiles by Valtech, LLC, and My First Railway by Brio. Study findings were announced at the annual meeting of the National Association for the Education of Young Children and at a press conference on Eastern's campus on December 4th.
The TIMPANI toy study is an annual empirical study that looks at how young children in natural settings play with a variety of toys. Each year, nominated toys are placed in preschool classrooms and videotaped using remote cameras. Researchers use a scientific instrument to determine which toys best promote children's development in three areas: thinking and learning, social interaction and cooperation, and self-expression and imaginative play.
The 2013 study marks the fifth year that the CECE has studied toys, and trends suggest that basic, open-ended toys seem to inspire the highest levels of play. According to principal investigator Dr. Jeffrey Trawick-Smith, "The high-scoring toys tend to be fairly simple toys that are not too realistic, and they don't have a lot of gadgetry or computer chips. They are often the ones we played with when we were growing up. In addition, construction toys have done very well in our studies over the past five years. They tend to inspire a lot of problem-solving as children figure out how to construct different objects, but we also see a fair amount of pretend play and social interaction."
In addition to providing useful information to parents and teachers about toys, the TIMPANI toy study provides opportunities for a number of Eastern Connecticut State University students to participate in research. Undergraduate students Chamari Davis and Cassie Savalli were responsible for conducting videotaping for the study, coding footage, and helping to analyze the results. They also co-presented the results at the NAEYC conference with Dr. Trawick-Smith and CECE Program Coordinator Julia DeLapp on November 22nd.
For more information about the TIMPANI Toy Study, and to watch a video of children playing with toys studied, visit www.easternct.edu/cece/timpani.html
12/5/13 update: See TV news coverage of this story at http://www.wtnh.com/news/windham-cty/study-on-how-children-play-with-toys
Hear researchers discuss what makes a good toy on the radio: http://www.wili-am.com/images/audio/ecsu_tympani_toy_study_dec_5_2013.wma
Read story in the Norwich Bulletin: http://www.norwichbulletin.com/article/20131204/NEWS/131209801/10283/NEWS
The Center for Early Childhood Education is pleased to announce the release of Investigating Trees
, a video featuring activities conducted with toddlers and preschoolers at Eastern's Child and Family Development Resource Center (CFDRC). The video illustrates how teachers and children engaged in a variety of learning activities while closely studying trees and the animals that live in them.
is the fourth video in the Investigating...
series. Each video in the series captures one topic of investigation explored through the CFDRC's Investigations curriculum. Videos include interviews with preschool and toddler teachers about how children engaged in literacy, math, science, art, and other activities through the three- or four-month investigation. The Center won a prestigious Telly Award in the spring for the second video in the series, Investigating Balls.
The Center for Early Childhood Education is co-sponsoring a workshop for bilingual families on reading to young children in two languages. The workshop, led by bilingual education specialist Dr. Ann Anderberg, is designed to emphasize the importance of maintaining children's first language as they acquire English. Participants will hear about the benefits of reading in two languages, learn strategies for reading to children from birth to age 8, and practice reading with their child. All participants will receive bilingual books to take home.
The workshop will be held on Thursday, October 3rd, from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. at the Child and Family Development Resource Center at Eastern Connecticut State University. Dinner and childcare will be provided.
The workshop is free, but pre-registration is required. Space is very limited.
The workshop is sponsored in part by the Windham Area Women & Girls Fund under the auspices of the Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut.
For more information, call 860/465-0687, or visit http://www.easternct.edu/cece/multi_lingual_dialogic_reading.html
Center staff recently appeared on Charter 14's "On the Homefront" show to discuss their efforts to support parents in utilizing dialogic reading strategies. Program Coordinator Julia DeLapp and Continuing Education Associate Dean Carol Williams discuss the Center's grant from the Windham Area Women and Girls Fund, and give strategies that families can use to promote more oral language during book reading.
See the show here: http://ctv14.pegcentral.com/player.php?video=b51dc46580f1cb3f422cbc8c6a65d2a0. Scroll to the mid-point to see segment 2.
The Center for Early Childhood Education at Eastern Connecticut State University is pleased to announce the release of two new videos related to supporting math learning in early childhood settings. The videos were developed based on a study conducted by Center faculty and students with the support of the Spencer Foundation. The study looked at the relationship between children's mathematics achievement and teacher-child interactions during play. Preschool children were videotaped over the course of the year during free play periods, and their interactions with teachers were coded and analyzed. These findings were compared with gains that children made in mathematics ability from fall to spring according to a standard measurement tool. The findings indicate that how teachers interact with and communicate with children while they play has powerful impacts on children's mathematical learning.
The Center has produced two videos related to the study:
1. The first video kicks off our new Research Clips video series. The video describes the methodology of the study and outlines the major findings and study implications. You can view the video at: http://www.easternct.edu/cece/math_play_study_video.html.
2. The second video is part of our e-clips series. Designed with current and future teachers in mind, the video illustrates how teachers can use math talk to support children's math learning. (One of the major study findings was around the importance of engaging children in "math talk" throughout the day.) The video is available at: http://www.easternct.edu/cece/e-clips_math_talk.html.
The Center for Early Childhood Education has been awarded a 2013 Telly Award for Inspiring Lessons: What We Learned from the Community Partners for Early Literacy Project. The 30-minute video describes the lessons learned during a three-year effort to improve the language and early literacy skills of over 500 children in Windham, Connecticut. With support from a U.S. Department of Education Early Reading First grant, the Center for Early Childhood Education provided professional development and literacy coaching to 50 teachers and paraprofessionals and supported families to engage in literacy activities at home. Inspiring Lessons includes interviews with teachers, paraprofessionals, parents, literacy coaches, and faculty experts Dr. Ann Anderberg and Dr. Maureen Ruby about what works in supporting children's literacy development.
The Telly Awards honor television, video, and film productions and programs, as well as work created for the Internet. Each year, the Telly Awards receive thousands of entries from throughout the United States and abroad. Inspiring Lessons received a bronze award in the category of Government Relations. The Center also received a Telly Award this year for Investigating Balls in the category of Internet/Online Video: Education.
The Center for Early Childhood Education congratulates the following faculty, staff, and students involved in the development of Inspiring Lessons: Dr. Denise Matthews, Producer/Director and Co-Author; Julia DeLapp, Executive Producer and Co-Author; Karl Gray, Editor; William Black, Production Coordinator; Ken Measimer, Finish Editor and Videographer; Sean Leser (Eastern student), Finish Editor; Greg Hartzell, Videographer; Kerin Jaros-Dressler (Eastern student), Videographer; Ross Page (Eastern student), Music Composer; and Nick Napoletano, Animator.
The Center also thanks the teaching staff at the Windham Early Childhood Center and the Child and Family Development Resource Center for appearing in the video, participating in the initiative, and working to support young children's growth and learning.
To view the video, visit http://www.easternct.edu/cece/inspiring_lessons.html.
The Center for Early Childhood Education is pleased to announce the release of Investigating Nature
, a video featuring activities conducted with toddlers and preschoolers at Eastern's Child and Family Development Resource Center (CFDRC). The video illustrates how teachers and children engaged in a variety of learning activities while investigating insects, worms, gardening, and other aspects of nature.
is the third video in the Investigating...
series. Each video in the series captures one topic of investigation explored through the CFDRC's Investigations curriculum. Videos include interviews with preschool and toddler teachers about how children engaged in literacy, math, science, art, and other activities through the three- or four-month investigation. The Center recently won a prestigious Telly Award for the second video in the series, Investigating Balls.
Sometime in February, the Center hit the 100,000 mark--the number of times the Center's videos have been viewed by individuals visiting the center's website, YouTube, or iTunes U pages.
"It's very rewarding to know that others in the field are finding our videos useful enough to want to share," said Julia DeLapp, CECE Program Coordinator. "Every week I hear from more people who want to be notified when new videos are released," including teachers from as far away as Saudi Arabia. Education agencies in other states and Canadian provinces have requested permission to link to videos.
Teachers watch the videos to get ideas to incorporate in their own classrooms. In addition, faculty and trainers across the country use them in their classes, including Eastern's Jeffrey Trawick-Smith. "They are so much more engaging and visual than a lecture could ever be and are just the right length to get a good discussion going or to introduce a new topic," said Trawick-Smith. "They are artistic, but never glitzy or cute, and treat the children and teachers who appear in them with such respect."
The Center has developed more than 30 videos and audio podcasts over the past 5 years. Videos feature footage from preschool and toddler classrooms in Eastern's Child and Family Development Resource Center, as well as expert interviews from teachers and faculty.
"We are so fortunate to have such a high-quality early childhood center here on campus that exemplifies everything we would want to show in a video, as well as the expertise of so many faculty," said DeLapp. "And we benefit tremendously from our relationships with the Communication and Media Services departments."
Communication professor Denise Matthews serves as the Center's production consultant, and the Center utilizes a number of Communication students each year to help produce videos. "Our students have the opportunity to do professional-level production work," said Ken Measimer, the Center's production specialist. "They leave Eastern with a very strong portfolio."
The Center started tracking video hits in January of 2012, so the 100,000 number does not include views prior to 2012.
Videos are available free of charge at www.easternct.edu/cece/resources.html, www.youtube.com/EarlyChildhoodVideos, or at iTunes U.
The Center for Early Childhood Education has been awarded a 2013 Telly Award for "Investigating Balls," a video that explores how teachers at Eastern's Child and Family Development Resource Center engaged preschoolers in different learning activities while investigating the properties of balls. The video is part of the new Investigating series of videos from the CECE, which highlight how teachers implement engaging projects--called "investigations"--on a variety of topics.
The Telly Awards honor television, video, and film productions and programs, as well as work created for the Internet. Each year, the Telly Awards receive thousands of entries from throughout the United States and abroad. "Investigating Balls" received a bronze award in the category of Internet/Online Video: Education. The Center also received a Telly Award in 2011 for "The Importance of Play" and in 2010 for "Five Predictors of Early Literacy."
The Center for Early Childhood Education congratulates the following staff and students involved in the development of the video: Ken Measimer, Director; Julia DeLapp, Producer and Author; Sean Leser (Eastern student), Videographer and Editor; Ross Page (Eastern student), Music Composer; and Nick Napoletano, Animator.
The Center also thanks the teachers and children at the Child and Family Development Resource Center for appearing in the video and doing the wonderful work that inspired the video.
To view the video, visit http://www.easternct.edu/cece/investigating_balls.html
The Center for Early Childhood Education is pleased to release a new video about a three-year effort to improve the language and early literacy skills of over 500 children in Windham, Connecticut.
In 2008, the Center was awarded a U.S. Department of Education Early Reading First grant to implement the Community Partners for Early Literacy (CPEL) project. In partnership with the Windham Early Childhood Center (part of the Windham Public Schools) and the Child and Family Development Resource Center at Eastern Connecticut State University, the Center provided professional development and literacy coaching to 50 teachers and paraprofessionals and supported families in engaging in literacy activities at home.
The Center created Inspiring Lessons: What We Learned from the Community Partners for Early Literacy Project to document and share with other programs and school districts the lessons learned during the project. The 30-minute video includes interviews with teachers, paraprofessionals, parents, literacy coaches, and faculty experts about what works in supporting children's literacy development.
To view the video and learn more about the project, visit: http://www.easternct.edu/cece/inspiring_lessons.html