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Partnerships for Early Childhood Curriculum Development: Readiness through Integrative Science and Engineering (RISE) Christine McWayne, Ph.D. Eliot-Pearson.

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Presentation on theme: "Partnerships for Early Childhood Curriculum Development: Readiness through Integrative Science and Engineering (RISE) Christine McWayne, Ph.D. Eliot-Pearson."— Presentation transcript:

1 Partnerships for Early Childhood Curriculum Development: Readiness through Integrative Science and Engineering (RISE) Christine McWayne, Ph.D. Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development Tufts University December 8, 2014

2 Acknowledgements Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD) Head Start programs Head Start teachers, families, and children RISE Project Team: Jayanthi Mistry (Co-PI), Daryl Greenfield (Co-PI), Kimberly Brenneman (Co-PI), Betty Zan (Co-PI), Amy Crowley (Project Coordinator), Judy Beavers (Classroom Coach), Maria Cristina Limlingan, Brandon Foster, Sunah Hyun, Lok-wah Li, Cassandra Miller, Brooke Rumper, Anthony Gooden, Amanda Miller, Sidai Dong, Qing Liu, Tong Shen, Qiaer Jin, Sharanya Misra Sharma, Lindsay Rosen, Mojdeh Karkjanehchi, Anna Zhou, Monica Brown Ramos, Sophie Savelkouls, plus 20 undergraduates This project made possible by funding from: National Science Foundation (Grant #1221065) Brady Education Foundation Private support from Ellen R. Cohen

3 Motivations for the RISE Project Hands-on and connected STEM experiences are particularly fruitful areas of curriculum for developing young children’s curiosity about the natural and human-made world, especially those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, who often miss important learning opportunities through which their interests and experiences can serve as leverage for improving their school readiness, transition to school, and future learning success. In the case of university-community partnerships, there is a rare opportunity to actualize the research-to-practice and practice-to- research links, where partnerships themselves can serve as catalysts to social change.

4 1) Focus on dual language learners: Curricular models rich with opportunities for science inquiry and engineering problem-solving are particularly well-suited to engage DLL children through hands-on learning that builds on children’s natural curiosity and problem-solving. 2) S-T-E integration in RISE: The purposeful engagement of preschool teachers and children in both the explanation-seeking behavior of science and the problem- solving behavior of engineering through multiple, conceptually-connected learning experiences. 3) A multi-method approach to teacher professional development: Our theory of teacher change, and approach to bringing it about, highlights the importance of practice-based, individualized, ongoing supports, such as those offered by workshop series, coaching, and peer workgroups. Our PD introduces teachers to STE content as indicated by state standards and to specific ways to support children by practicing inquiry-based methods, cultural inclusion and family engagement. Key to achieving our goals with our partner teachers is recognition that reflective practice is essential for teacher change and that individual variations in implementation and of teacher trajectories are to be expected. F IVE UNIQUE ELEMENTS OF THE RISE APPROACH :

5 4) Home-school collaboration (HSC), beyond home extension activities: The RISE project seeks to bring children’s out-of-school contexts into classrooms by supporting reciprocal dialogues between parents and teachers and is built on the idea that schools can leverage families’ unique contributions to their children's learning, rather than simply trying to overwrite these to get children "ready for school." Essential to this reconceptualization of family engagement is that the home-to-school flow of information is just as important as the school-to-home flow of information. 5) Co-construction at the core of the iterative development process: Co-construction is the substance of the process of the RISE project. In our approach to curriculum development, we are guided by concerns for ecological validity, sustainability, and sociocultural relevance. All processes and products are documented and used for reflection and for informing the next steps together. F IVE UNIQUE ELEMENTS OF THE RISE APPROACH :

6 Organizing research questions: Proof of Concept (PC) Question I (process of implementation): What are the most productive procedures for appropriate application of the fully integrated RISE curriculum in Head Start classrooms serving DLL children? PC Question II (better teacher and student outcomes): What is the impact of the fully integrated RISE curriculum versus the comparison condition on teacher attitudes, classroom instruction and quality, home-school relationships, and DLL children’s STE knowledge and approaches to learning?

7 Participants Y1 & Y2: 10 Head Start teachers across 5 classrooms in 2 programs serving a high proportion of dual language learning (DLL) preschool children; 16 Parent Leaders (each year); approximately 200 children Y3: 14 RISE teachers and 14 Comparison teachers across 14 classrooms; 16 Parent Leaders; 210 children (20 from each RISE classroom; 10 from each comparison classroom) 75% of teachers hold credentials beyond high school; many are bilingual or trilingual in English/Spanish or Cantonese/Mandarin/English Ethnicity of the majority of children is either Hispanic or Chinese, with most children from immigrant families All children are Head Start eligible based on FPG

8 RISE Theory of Change Potential Moderating Factors Family Characteristics Home Language Ethnicity Education Level of Parents Recency of Immigration Children's English Proficiency Teacher/Classroom Characteristics Teacher Ethnicity/Native Language Education Level Baseline knowledge and Attitudes re STE Implementation Fidelity Dosage/Cohort (Year 1, 2, both) RISE Intervention Components Integrated STE Content Home-School Collaboration Professional Development o Workshop Training o In-class Instructional Support o Peer Mentoring Expected Classroom Outcomes Positive Attitude toward STE More time on STE Content Higher Classroom Quality Positive Parent-Teacher Relationships Expected Child Outcomes Science Knowledge Engineering Knowledge Positive Approaches to Leaning

9 Mixed-Methods Research Design Qualitative: teacher and parent interviews, classroom participant observations, home and community observations, videotapes of meetings, meeting process and planning notes Quantitative: rating scales, standardized observations, administrative data, direct assessments; 1) between-child differences, including gender, and 2) between-group differences, including Cohort 1 classrooms versus Cohort 2 classrooms and intervention vs. comparison classrooms, multi-level modeling (MLM) will be used to assess RISE impact on child and teacher outcomes.

10 Classroom STE Community & Home STE in Classroom Parent Leader Meetings PTDs Workshops Classroom Coach Professional Learning Community Meetings Co-PIs Facilitating RAs Facilitating Co-Constructed Curriculum PTDs Project Components

11 August/September/PDOctober/November/PDDecember/January/PD Curriculum Content (connected learning experiences)  Senses learning experiences  4 Photos activities  Senses and observation (continued)  4 Photos (continued)  Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse learning experiences  Blocks explorations  4 Photos (continued)  Ramps exploration and investigation Big Ideas (science ideas that are targeted in learning experiences) Big idea – People and animals obtain information using their senses. Big Idea – Sometimes people create and use tools to extend their senses. Big Idea – Living things change over times in ways that differ from non-living things. Big idea – The movement, behavior, origins, and needs of animate objects differs from that of inanimate objects. Big Idea – People can create structures, but these will fall unless the design & materials keep them in place. Big Idea - Objects can be made to move on inclines; how they move depends on the object and the incline. Big Idea - People can design and build systems of inclines to move objects in various ways. Big Idea - If you are not successful in getting an object to move in a certain way, you can change something and get a different result. Crosscutting Concepts (CCC) (links to science standards) Stability and change Structure and function Cause and effect Systems and system models Scientific and Engineering Practices (SEP) (links to science standards) Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information (Observation) Asking questions (Science) and defining problems (Engineering) Planning and carrying out investigations (Experimenting) © McWayne, Mistry, Greenfield, Brenemann, & Zan, 2014 RISE Draft Curriculum - Short Version

12 February/March/PDApril/May/June/PD Curriculum Content (connected learning experiences)  4 Photos (continued)  Variables (continued)  Ramps (continued)  Water dynamics  Air dynamics  Exploring states of matter  4 Photos (cont’d)  Ramps and pathways (cont’d)  Water and air dynamics (cont’d)  Light and shadow  Life cycles and needs of living things  Garden tools Big Ideas (science ideas that are targeted in learning experiences) Big Idea – Air and water move in special ways. Big Idea – Air and water can move other things, too. Big Idea – Matter (the “stuff” around us) can be a solid, a liquid, or a gas. Each state of matter has special properties and purposes. Big Idea – Light travels in a straight path unless it is blocked. Big Idea – The sun provides heat and light energy that plants and animals need to live and grow. Big Idea - Plants and animals have life cycles. They are born and grow and change over the course of their lives. Big Idea – Living things have things that they need to survive, such as food and water. Big Idea – People create tools and systems that they use to help them grow plants. (Technology and engineering in the garden) Crosscutting Concepts (CCC) (links to science standards) Energy and matter Cause and effect Structure and function Patterns Scientific and Engineering Practices (SEP) (links to science standards) Planning and carrying out investigations (Experimenting) Analyzing and interpreting data Constructing explanations (science) and designing solutions (engineering) Analyzing and interpreting data RISE Draft Curriculum - Short Version © McWayne, Mistry, Greenfield, Brenemann, & Zan, 2014

13 Place-based STEM How children’s surrounding community influences their learning

14 Change and No Change A “Good Start” Activity




18 Place-based STEM How children’s surrounding community influences their play with bocks and ramps

19 Program A: Tall Buildings 19

20 Program A: Tall Buildings 20

21 Program B: Bridges 21

22 Program B: Bridges 22

23 Program B: Bridges 23

24 Problem-solving

25 Problem Solving

26 Stability and Instability


28 Whole Group

29 Shaking Table

30 Variables

31 Variable

32 Living and Non-living

33 Alexander and the Wind Up Mouse

34 Sorting Activity

35 What’s inside?

36 Our heart is our “engine”

37 Professional Development Approach Workshops, PLCs, Coaching

38 Hands-On Workshops

39 Professional Learning Community

40 Coaching Observation Log

41 Home-School Collaboration

42 Joint Activity: “Our Children’s Worlds”

43 “Our Children’s Worlds”


45 Joint Activity: Building Structures Together

46 Building Structures Together

47 Parent-Teacher Discussion Groups

48 Where we are in Year 3 Articulating a grounded theory of our co-construction model Documenting our PD approach & coaching model Collecting longitudinal assessment data on children’s science learning and teachers’ practice (in RISE and comparison classrooms) Continuing to refine our PTD and StE protocols and fidelity measures Integrating HSC + StE components into a full RISE curriculum

49 Thank you!!

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