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Carrie GermerothMarzano Research

Finding quality educational resources for kids age birth to five can be challenging. Developing initiatives that increase access to these resources for educators in Colorado, Kansas, and North Dakota is a main goal of the Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Central at Marzano Research’s Early Childhood Education Research Alliance. At present, the work of this alliance “focuses on developing strategies and tools to support early childhood educators in using data to drive instruction.” So far, it has made quite a few that would be useful for both educators and administrators.

Alliance resources include the REL Central video Early Childhood Math Questioning Strategies, which focuses on actionable strategies to increase the quality of math instruction in the early years and to improve general language and broad cognitive competencies for learners. Another resource is the webinar Language, Discussion, and Questions in Early Math, which presents research-based strategies that support early childhood language development and mathematical thinking through posing rich math questions. The webinar Supporting Emotion Regulation in Early Childhood is also a valuable resource that highlights research-based strategies for creating supportive environments and using specific teaching strategies to foster the development of emotion regulation skills in early childhood settings.

Meanwhile, the REL Central blog post Colorado Early Childhood Education Staff Use Data to Support Program Improvement takes a look at the Colorado Department of Education’s Results Matter program and the joint production of the Administrative Data Use Self-Assessment Checklist, which was designed to support early childhood program staff in building their capacity to use data to inform, plan, monitor, and make decisions for program improvement.

The Institute of Education Sciences, which oversees the national Regional Educational Laboratory Program, also produces quality materials for early childhood education in the form of What Works Clearinghouse practice guides. Each practice guide presents recommendations for educators on a particular topic or challenge, based on reviews of research by a panel of nationally recognized experts.

Early childhood education is an important and specialized field that continues to evolve and adapt to new societal challenges and circumstances. By focusing on the “need to use data more effectively to assess school readiness, guide instruction, and evaluate teachers”, REL Central’s Early Childhood Education Research Alliance hopes to proactively address various ECE challenges and continue to provide high-quality resources for its stakeholders.