The course, “Prevention Science: Principles and Practices,” (FSoS 5701, class number 88756) is open to graduate-level students. Undergraduate and nontraditional students may take the course with the instructor’s permission. Registration opens March 1 and ends May 25, the Friday following the first day of class.
This course is an excellent introduction to prevention science concepts and methods and will cover foundations for strategic interventions to prevent behavioral problems and promote healthy development, as well as trends and best practices in the discipline.
Prevention Science is a multi-disciplinary comprehensive approach to identify how best to promote the well-being of diverse families and communities by bridging research and practice. Learn more about Prevention Science.
Current prevention science research being conducted at the U of M includes preventing antisocial behavior and drug abuse, developing evidence-based parenting programs and education, supporting healthy development in at-risk populations, and exploring the value of mentor-based interventions.
Mary Jo Kane, Ph.D., director of the Tucker Center and professor in the School of Kinesiology, is featured in a WiSP Sports “Talking Point” podcast discussing how sport can be a site of resistance and empowerment for women. The podcast and transcript, “How Women’s Status in Sport is Contained by Men,” is a discussion of Kane’s “perspectives on why women’s sports coverage is so limited and why the focus on women’s athletes tends towards sexual objectification instead of their physical and athletic capacities.” WiSP Sports Radio is the world’s largest podcast network for women’s sport featuring more than 760 episodes and 30 unique shows with a global reach of 1.6 million.
Daheia Barr-Anderson, Ph.D., assistant professor and director of the Behavioral Physical Activity Laboratory (BPAL) in the School of Kinesiology, presented at Minne-College in Arizona held in Scottsdale, AZ, on February 10. The title of her presentation was “Move More to Weigh Less: The Importance of Physical Activity to Address Childhood Obesity.” Also attending were CEHD Dean Jean Quam, Serena Wright, CEHD Sr. Alumni Director, and a number of U of M alumni. Minne-College in Arizona is sponsored by the U of M Alumni Association.
During winter break, Dengel led a course in London, England, about the impact of the 1908, 1948 and 2012 Olympics on the city, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and on sport. He also taught Sport and Politics Collide: 1936 & 1972 German Olympics.
Maureen Weiss, Ph.D., professor in the School of Kinesiology, was recognized with the Legacy Award, the highest honor given by Girls on the Run International at its annual Summit in Austin, TX, in January. Girls on the Run is a 501(c)(3) organization and physical activity-based positive youth development (PA-PYD) program designed to enhance girls’ social, psychological, and physical skills and behaviors to successfully navigate life experiences. The program uses running and other physical activities as a platform for teaching life skills and promoting holistic health outcomes for girls in grades 3-8. The organization’s reach is national—in all 50 states with over 200 local community councils, 50,000 volunteer coaches, and over 1.5 million girls served since inception. The organization is committed to diversity—serving girls from all walks of life and backgrounds. Nearly 50% of girls receive subsidized registration fees to enable them to attain the psychosocial and behavioral benefits of participating in each season’s 10-week program.
Weiss’ Legacy Award was based on eight years and hundreds of hours devoted to serving this non-profit organization—as a board member, consultant, speaker, and contributor to curricular development and effective coach delivery—as well as conducting an independent longitudinal evaluation study that demonstrated strong and lasting positive impact of program participation on girls’ life skills learning and psychosocial and behavioral outcomes—confidence, competence, connection, caring, character, and contribution to community and society. The study received widespread attention in a press release last August and Weiss presented the study results at the Summit meeting in a presentation titled, “How and Why Girls on the Run is an Exemplary Positive Youth Development Program.”
Congratulations on winning the teacher candidate grant award. Did the college provide any support to help you apply for the award?
CEHD reached out to me about the teacher candidate grant award. The process was really simple and I had timely responses from the faculty members that I reached out to about it.
What drew you to enrolling in the M.Ed. and Initial Teaching License program (ILP) in elementary education?
I decided to apply for the ILP program after an incredible four years in the undergrad program here at the U of M. I was challenged to think about elementary education in a whole new light, where diverse cultures are infused with current research to reach every child’s needs.
What do you think will be the biggest challenge of being a teacher?
I think there are a lot of challenges that come with being an educator, but I think the biggest challenge for me will be trying to advocate for change in my school, the district, and ultimately the system. It’s no secret that the education system is slow to change, but the change is necessary. I’ve spent the last four and a half years of my schooling learning about how schools should be making an impact in students’ lives and how they continually fall short. I know it will be challenging to be the voice that speaks out and the one who pushes back, but leaning into this tension is the only way we can make effective change.
What do you most look forward to?
The kids! That’s what excites me most about teaching. I love building relationships with my students and seeing their growth throughout the year, not only academically, but socially and emotionally too. One of the most important things for me as a teacher is the relationship that my students have with school; I want them to enjoy learning and feel empowered to use what they’re learning to better themselves and their communities.
Where do you plan to teach?
I plan to teach in an urban public school, preferably Minneapolis. I love the rich cultural environments that these schools have and feel passionate about serving students who live in my city.
Has anything surprised you about the program?
I wasn’t expecting to build such close relationships with my peers. We’ve truly become a family; They’ve supported me in more ways than I could have ever imagined. I owe a lot of my success in the program to their constant encouragement and guidance.
What is the major different between undergraduate and graduate education in your experience?
The major difference between undergrad and the ILP program is the schedule. It’s a tough transition to go from having a few classes spread out across your day to teaching on a full-time schedule (and then occasionally attending night class afterwards). I’ve had to become really disciplined in my daily routines to make sure I’m prepared and can keep up with the work load.
How has your experience been with the faculty?
The faculty have been extremely supportive and understanding throughout this entire journey. I feel as though they’ve invested in me as a future educator by challenging me and getting to know me personally.
Anything else you want to add?
This program is one of the most challenging, yet rewarding things I’ve done. I’ve learned more about myself as a person and as an educator throughout this journey. And for that, I am truly grateful.
Founded in 2014 by Institute of Child Development professors Stephanie Carlson, Ph.D., and Phil Zelazo, Ph.D., Reflection Sciences provides professional development, training, and tools for assessing and improving executive function skills. Executive function is the set of neurocognitive functions that help the brain organize and act on information. These functions help us pay attention, control behavior, and think flexibly – skills that are key for school readiness.
Through the new collaboration, researchers will be able to track the development of executive function skills over the course of childhood and beyond using Reflection Sciences’ Minnesota Executive Function Scale (MEFS™) App. The MEFS App is a scientifically valid and reliable game-like tablet measure of executive function for ages 2 and up.
“The research literature clearly points to the critical role that early executive function plays in children’s academic and social success, so we need to make sure the study effectively captures children’s skills in this area,” said co-principal investigator Stephanie Jones, Ph.D., a professor of education at Harvard. “MEFS combines the strength of a trusted measure of executive function with the power of big data, allowing us to view the findings from our study within the context of the thousands of other children who have used the app.”
For the Early Learning Study at Harvard, which is supported by the Saul Zaentz Early Education Initiative and led by Jones and Nonie Lesaux, Ph.D., researchers will follow a sample of 5,000 randomly selected families with children ages 3 and 4 years from more than 100 communities throughout Massachusetts. An estimated 40 percent of the children are in an informal childcare setting, such as family care; the other 60 percent are enrolled in a formal setting, such as an early childhood education center. Across four years, researchers will document each child’s early learning experiences and measure outcomes including language, executive function, and academic and social-emotional skills.
This study aims to address important questions about how formal and informal early learning environments impact learning outcomes and developmental gains. The researchers hope to achieve a better understanding of which early education features have the greatest benefits for children, which models of Pre-K work best, why they work, for whom they work, and under what conditions. The team hopes their findings will inform public policy efforts and decisions regarding opportunities and challenges facing early childhood education.
“The Early Learning Study at Harvard is setting the standard for research on early childhood education practices and we are delighted to be able to help them achieve results using our measure,” Carlson said.
Hsakushee Zan is a political science major and Racial Justice in Urban Schooling (RJUS) minor committed to creating a more equitable schooling system. As a refugee immigrant from Myanmar (formerly Burma), she has a deep understanding of the challenges immigrant children face. As a parent, she wants a more equitable education for her children and using her education to make that happen.
Why did you enroll in the RJUS minor?
I am interested in and educational equity and the educational side of public policy. This minor will help me to go on to graduate school in education policy and will also help me to advocate for my fellow immigrant families in public schools with knowledge I gained from my urban education class.
I went to school in refugee camp on border of Thailand and Myanmar due to the conflict in Myanmar. I moved to the U.S. in 2007. My kids were born in this country and are U.S. citizens, but still face inequities in our school system. I am especially interested in immigrants and immigrant education and am part of a parent advisory group in my community.
What issues do immigrant children face in the schools?
We talk a lot about equity and shortages in teachers of color. There is only one person from our community that speaks our native language that is licensed to teach. The Karen [an ethnic group living on the border of Myanmar and Thailand] community in the Twin Cities is about 12,000 people. This creates a problem when a parent is new and doesn’t know the language.
What has been the most valuable experience in the minor so far?
I love working with every student from diverse backgrounds, especially my service learning experience with the Early Childhood Family Education Program. My assignments included parent involvements in schools. I worked in family literacy with immigrants from all over the world.
What do you hope to do as a career?
My first goal is to advocate for the quality and the equity of public education for every child. As a refugee immigrant, I always hope to stand for the children of minority and immigrant backgrounds and be the voice for the voiceless as all children have the right to education.
First author of the publication is Leon’s former doctoral student Ulf G. Bronas, Ph.D., ATC, associate professor in the Department of Biobehavioral Health Science, College of Nursing, at the University of Illinois, Chicago.
Participating in an intensive early childhood education program from preschool to third grade is linked to higher educational attainment in mid-life, according to a new study by researchers in CEHD’s Institute of Child Development (ICD).
The study, published inJAMA Pediatrics, tracked the progress of more than 1,500 children from low-income neighborhoods in Chicago, from the time they entered preschool in 1983 and 1984 in Child-Parent Centers (CPC) until roughly 30 years later. The children were part of the Chicago Longitudinal Study, one of the longest-running follow-ups of early childhood intervention.
“Children from low-income families are less likely to attend college than their higher-income peers,” said lead author Arthur J. Reynolds, Ph.D., a professor in ICD and director of the Chicago Longitudinal Study. “A strong system of educational and family supports in a child’s first decade is an innovative way to improve educational outcomes leading to greater economic well-being. The CPC program provides this.”
The JAMA Pediatrics study is the first of a large-scale public program to assess impacts on mid-life educational attainment and the contributions of continuing services in elementary school. The study’s co-authors include Suh-Ruu Ou and Judy A. Temple of the University of Minnesota’s Human Capital Research Collaborative.
For the study, which was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the researchers followed the progress of 989 graduates of the Chicago Public School District’s CPC program, which provided intensive instruction in reading and math from preschool through third grade as part of a school reform model.
The program provides small classes, intensive learning experiences, menu-based parent involvement, and professional development. The children’s parents received job skills training, parenting skills training, educational classes and social services. They also volunteered in their children’s classrooms, assisted with field trips, and attended parenting support groups.
The authors compared the educational outcomes of those children to the outcomes of 550 children from low-income families who attended other early childhood intervention programs in the Chicago area. The researchers collected information on the children from administrative records, schools and families, from birth through 35 years of age. More than 90 percent of the original sample had available data on educational attainment.
On average, CPC graduates—whether they participated in preschool only, or through second or third grade—completed more years of education than those who participated in other programs.
For children who received an intervention in preschool, those in the CPC group were more likely to achieve an associate’s degree or higher (15.7 percent vs. 10.7 percent), a bachelor’s degree (11.0 percent vs. 7.8 percent), or a master’s degree (4.2 percent vs. 1.5 percent). These differences translate to a 47 percent increase in an earned associate’s degree and a 41 percent increase in an earned bachelor’s degree.
CPC graduates through second or third grade showed even greater gains: a 48 percent increase in associate’s degree or higher and a 74 percent increase for bachelor’s degree or higher.
“Every child deserves a strong foundation for a successful future, and this report provides more concrete, compelling evidence that investments in early childhood education pay dividends for decades,” said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “Chicago is expanding access to early childhood education so every child, regardless of their zip code or parents’ income, can have the building blocks for a lifetime of success.”
According to the study’s authors, successful early childhood programs not only may lead to higher adult educational achievement, but also to improved health. The authors note that adults with less education are more likely to adopt unhealthy habits like smoking and to experience high blood pressure, obesity, and mental health problems than those who complete more schooling.
“This study shows that a well run early childhood intervention program can have benefits well into adult life,” said James Griffin, Ph.D., Deputy Chief of the Child Development Branch at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development at the National Institutes of Health.
In previous studies, the researchers showed that CPC program participants have attained higher incomes, and experienced lower rates of serious crime, incarceration, and depression than participants of other programs. CPC has also shown a return on investment: cost-benefit analyses have shown economic returns of 7 to 10 dollars per dollar invested.
The CPC program expanded beyond Chicago beginning in 2012. The program is now also in parts of Minnesota, Illinois, and Wisconsin.
Funding for the study is from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. To read the full research paper titled, “A Multicomponent, Preschool to Third Grade Preventive Intervention and Educational Attainment at 35 Years of Age,” visit the JAMA Pediatrics website.