Early Childhood Research and Practice Collaborative

The Early Childhood Research and Practice Collaborative in the Academic Research Centers of NORC at the University of Chicago fosters research-practice partnerships that apply rigorous research/evaluation methods and the latest development science to addressing pressing needs and challenges faced by: early childhood educators in formal and informal learning environments; policymakers; and investigators.

NORC staff affiliated with the Collaborative have a long history of devising interventions to improve- and measures to assess- learning outcomes for the youngest learners; designing and conducting educational intervention, program, and process evaluations (including evaluations of federally- and privately-funded ECE programs); devising, providing, and assessing the impacts of professional development, training, and technical assistance programs for practitioners and educational researchers; fostering connections among researchers, practitioners, and stakeholders; and sharing emerging results and robust summative findings in a variety of formats and via a range of media tailored for the information needs and decision-making processes of specific target audiences. All Collaborative projects aim to directly or indirectly impact practices or policies intended to reduce SES-related achievement gaps at multiple points throughout early child development.

Our projects often incorporate a holistic view of development and focus not only children but the family, community, or institutional (e.g., school, day care) contexts in which they grow and learn. The Collaborative provides multi-disciplinary learning opportunities for undergraduate student research assistants as well as graduate student research assistants enrolled in masters and doctoral programs of study in a range of University of Chicago schools and programs, including developmental psychology, comparative human development, education, statistics, and public policy.

NORC’s Early Childhood Research and Practice Collaborative provides the following primary services to our Collaborative partners:

  • Consultation on all facets of early childhood care and education, program implementation, mixed-methods evaluation, analytics, and data interpretation
  • Quick turn-around, small-scale research and analysis projects
  • Agenda-driven collaboration facilitation among early childhood researchers, practitioners, stakeholders, and policy makers
  • Dissemination of findings through multiple avenues, tailored to diverse audiences