As an educator I have frequently been a part of research. Often, this involvement was on the periphery, as a subject, without much knowledge of the study design or implications. Seldom was I privy to even the outcome of the research. As part of its work, the New York City Early Childhood Research Network seeks to bridge this gap between early childhood practitioners and early childhood research.

The Research Network is a project of the New York Early Childhood Professional Development Institute. The Network seeks to bring together researchers, policymakers, and practitioners to promote actionable research. Recently, through a series of Research-to-Practice sessions, researchers and early childhood educators engaged in discussions surrounding current research. This series sought to share research from the Network, and also to hear from early childhood practitioners how this research related to their own experiences. 

The first session featured research from the Borough of Manhattan Community College on Infant-Toddler course content and the Teacher Education Pipeline. The second highlighted research from the City College of New York and Teachers College, Columbia University on High-Quality Culturally-Relevant Practices Across Communities. The third session focused on research from Bank Street College of Education on what New York City’s workforce has experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic and the future of the City’s workforce. The fourth discussion centered on research from Brooklyn College on Inclusive and Family Centered Infant-Toddler Care.  Each session included engaging conversation on the topic of focus. Highlights from these sessions can be found here.

Building on these efforts to further link practitioners and early childhood research, The Network will be launching a new Teacher Research study. This collaborative inquiry will be led by a small group of teachers meeting monthly during this year to explore the relationship between teacher experiences and equity and diversity. Topics we anticipate this study will address include:

  • What could teacher-led research on equity and diversity look like? 
  • There are many conversations around justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion in early childhood spaces, but what does this really look like in practice?
  • How does teacher life experience(s) relate to teaching practice?
  • What can teachers learn from each other about anti-racist and anti-bias teaching with young children?

The hope is that this research provides an opportunity for teachers to be leaders in research that has real implications for the work we are currently undertaking.  For more information on this project please contact The New York City Early Childhood Research Network or Erica Yardy.  If you are interested in being a partner in this study or know someone who may be interested please share this link.

Erica Yardy is a Research Associate with the New York City Early Childhood Research Network, a project of the New York Early Childhood Professional Institute.