What We Do

The Institute works with early childhood organizations around the country to create and enhance comprehensive early childhood systems. The three primary dimensions of the institute's work - System building, public policy and communication, and innovation and implementation reinforce, intersect with, and converge with one another to form a comprehensive system of professional development.

Ultimately, the work of the Institute strives to:

  • Recruit and retain a talented workforce
  • Establish and maintain competency-based teacher education programs
  • Develop a strong workforce development system
  • Set standards for quality rating and improvement systems
  • Create equitable funding initiatives

Selections of our work illustrate our relationship to each of the three primary dimensions of PDI's work - System building, public policy and communication, and innovation and implementation, and the way that each initiative and project of the institute contributes to all of these goals.

Systems Building

The Institute works to enable New York State to institutionalize best practices, raise standards, and measure effectiveness by either building systems from the ground up, or finding ways to improve the existing systems that support and develop the early childhood workforce, and early child care and education.

  • Advocated for and coordinated the pilot and rollout of QUALITYstarsNY, New York's quality rating and improvement system.

Public Policy and Communications

At the institute, we determine key research questions, collect and analyze data to better understand the field, and recruit a talented and diverse group of thinkers to address these questions. We communicate findings and recommendations to policy makers and other key public figures, advocates and professionals in the field to affect lasting change.

  • Manage a social media portfolio including the Institute Blog, Twitter feed and Facebook page.
  • Conduct and disseminate applied/qualitative research
  • Investigate key issues to inform and guide policy development, communications and system-building.
  • Author and disseminate policy briefs
  • Author and disseminate Connections, a quarterly newsletter to family child care providers.

Innovation and Implementation

We challenge existing conventions, experiment with new paradigms in professional development, implement well-researched and data-driven solutions and devise plans to ensure accountability.

  • Field tested, implemented and coordinate QUALITYstarsNY, the state's quality rating and improvement system throughout New York's 10 economic development regions.
  • Established the Career Development Services, which provides career and professional development services to current and aspiring early childhood professionals, especially targeting higher education opportunities at CUNY
  • Lead a Pre-K teacher and paraprofessional training for the NYC DOE
  • Train publicly-funded family child care providers throughout NYC
  • Created the Higher Education/Community-based collaborative to structure a sustained coaching model provided by community-based higher education faculty and partners to local early childhood staff.
  • Designed and implemented the Children's Program Collaborative, supporting 70 programs funded by the City Council to serve young children from low-income families throughout NYC.
  • Created a Master Teacher Institute to support high-performing teachers to mentor others.
  • Operated demonstration projects that modeled sustained coaching strategies that increased the quality of programs in high-need communities throughout NYC (East New York, South Bronx)