Intervention Research

Exploring the Efficacy of a Home-Based School-readiness Intervention during the Elementary Years, are are two longitudinal studies which address questions regarding the impact of a play-based home intervention on children’s school readiness skills and later achievement, and overall performance during elementary school. The project seeks to examine and evaluate children’s school performance, attendance patterns, grade retention or promotion, and 3rd grade math/reading achievement four years after receiving a play-based intervention.

Learning More about Home Visitation: The Efficacy of Home Visitation for Low-Income Black & Latino Families evaluated the impact of a home-visitation program on young children’s social-emotional learning and literacy development. Two RCT’s were conducted in 2010-2012 in ethnically and linguistically diverse communities in NYC. To date little research has rigorously tested the effectiveness of a home-based program on measures of school readiness for diverse racial-ethnic groups. Currently, this project is in the dissemination phase.

Applied Research

Civic Engagement- Early Childhood: Are there early childhood developmental competencies that predict later civic behavior for low-income, diverse children and youth? Can early childhood settings provide unique opportunities for engagement in activities, which serve to facilitate and encourage prerequisites for later civic involvement? That is, what is the developmental foundation of civic engagement? These questions are being explored using data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten (ECLS-K). The results from this project have been disseminated.

Evaluating Inquiry-Based Professional Development Initiative in an Urban Context: playLabNYU partnered with faculty from the Teacher Education Department at the Borough of Manhattan Community College to lead the evaluation of an innovative three-year professional development initiative aimed to support educators in implementing child-centered and inquiry-based practices across pre-k through fifth grade in a public school in West Harlem.  This project is funded by the Kellogg Foundation.

Social Studies Curriculum in Urban Kindergarten Classrooms: An Opportunity for Theory and Measure Development: Social studies frameworks aim to prepare students for citizenship and civic engagement, yet there is no empirical evidence suggesting that such investments are a worthy goal.  Kindergarten teachers in NYC public schools were asked guiding questions to explore the implementation of a civic-focused curriculum, document teacher’s views of children as developing citizens, and develop a Measure of Early Childhood Civic Engagement (MECCE).  The following questions guide this study 1) How do kindergarten teachers implement, use and understand the civic-focused social studies curriculum and related benchmark items? (2) What are teacher’s views of children as emerging citizens? Study Two, Developing a Measure of Civic Engagement for Urban Children Living in Low-Income Contexts will utilize benchmark indicators from the state curriculum to develop and pilot the An additional component of this work will be to develop a measure of civic engagement for urban children living in low-income contexts. We will utilize benchmark indicators from the state curriculum to develop and pilot the MECCE.

Together these studies will expand our understanding of the development of civic engagement for young children; deepen our knowledge of teacher’s perceptions of emerging citizens; document the implementation of civics in kindergarten where high-stakes practices for other areas are pressing and, develop the first teacher-report measure of civic engagement for kindergarten children (MECCE) by adapting and expanding items from the NYC Social Studies Practices curriculum. This project is funded by the Spencer Foundation New Civics Initiative. Currently, this project is in the dissemination phase.

Young Children & Opportunities for Play in Early Education Contexts: playLabNYU has developed the Early Childhood Time-Use in Schools Profile (ECTUS-P).  This measure can be used by both researchers and practitioners to explore how, why, and what type of classroom activities kindergarten children partake in. For more information, contact

Student-Led Research

Fiyin Adesina, MA in Human Development and Social Intervention, NYU, 2017
Parenting in an Urban Context: What is the role of early involvement in later social-emotional competence?
Fiyin’s master’s thesis was presented at both the NYU Applied Psychology Master’s Research Conference and Steinhardt Research and Scholarship Showcase 2017.  Her thesis explored the influence of parental involvement in shaping children’s social-emotional competence for racially/ethnically diverse communities living in urban poverty across NYC.

Jessica Astudillo, BA Hunter College, CUNY
A Walk in the Park: Green Space Proximity and Children’s Socio-Emotional Health
Jessica’s independent honor’s thesis was presented at the 43rd Hunter College Psychology Convention 2015. Her thesis focused on developing an index for quantifying “green space” in an urban NYC community. She additionally explored how children’s access to green space relates to their socio-emotional development for urban Latino children living in poverty.

Ivonne Monje, MA in Human Development and Social Intervention, NYU, 2017
Navigating the System: Experiences of Immigrant Latina Mothers in the Preschool Enrollment Process
Despite the connections between high-quality early childhood education and school readiness, data in the U.S consistently show that immigrant-origin children enroll in preschool at lower rates than children of non-immigrants. As efforts in early childhood education move forward (e.g. NYC Pre-K for All) it is important to understand the unique experiences of Latino immigrant families as they select opportunities for their children. The purpose of this study was to explore narratives from Latino immigrant families who have engaged in the preschool enrollment process and to help identify the challenges and strengths within this experience. This approach is necessary in order to inform policymakers so that future early education initiatives can better respond to the needs of immigrant families and appropriately serve their children.