New Collaborative to Promote Research and Policy Analysis on Early Childhood Development

October 13, 2006

The Center for Early Education and Development at the University of Minnesota, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis are teaming up to enhance multidisciplinary research on high-profile policy discussions on early childhood development.

The Early Childhood Research Collaborative (ECRC) is a unique partnership that brings together prominent researchers and faculty members in a variety of disciplines at the university with economists at the Federal Reserve to develop and synthesize research on cost-effective investments in early childhood.

Co-directed by Arthur Reynolds, Professor of Child Development and Fellow of the Center for Early Education and Development (CEED), and Art Rolnick, Senior Vice President and Director of Research at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, the ECRC is funded in part by University

President Robert Bruininks’ Interdisciplinary Academic Initiative on Children, Youth, and Families. CEED is an outreach and research center in the College of Education and Human Development. The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis is one of 12 Federal Reserve Banks in the United States.

The most visible sign of the new collaboration is this just-launched web site, where discussion papers on a variety of topics have already been posted.

The Collaborative’s mission is to foster multidisciplinary research on early development from birth to age 8 on topics such as the impact and cost-effectiveness of preschool and family support programs; family, school, and community influences on child development; and psychological and biological foundations of child health and well-being.

To accomplish this, the Collaborative will conduct research and policy analyses, disseminate research through discussion papers and other reports, convene forums and conferences, provide web resources, and help coordinate early childhood research activities around campus and in the community. The National Advisory Committee includes among others, Edward Zigler of Yale University, James Heckman of the University of Chicago, Jack Shonkoff of Harvard University, and University of Minnesota Professors Megan Gunnar and V. V. Chari.

“We want to conduct and promote research that is policy-relevant as well as based on a thorough understanding of child development and of how early experiences influence later development,” says Reynolds.

Adds Rolnick, “we want to bring together the best research on early childhood development in the country to help Minnesota and other states develop the most cost-effective early childhood education programs.”

The papers currently posted on the web site focus on effective programs and practices from preschool to third grade (PK-3), the productivity argument for investing in young children, developing high quality PK-3 classrooms, the long-term effects of Child-Parent Center early childhood intervention, and the role of cooperative behavior in preschooler's social development.

The first public event of the Collaborative is a conference that will be held on Friday morning, October 13, 2006, at the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs. The event will overview the Collaborative and features an address by Nobel Laureate James Heckman of the University of Chicago.