Researching Early Childhood Education
Anyone can publish an opinion on the Web, but that doesn't make it accurate or useful. Students, scholars and other self-learners can find reliable information through government websites, online academic journals and professional education organizations. Here are a few useful sources to get you started in your exploration of early childhood education.
Early Childhood Research and Practice
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign sponsors Early Childhood Research & Practice, an open-access journal. This scholarly publication is relatively unique in that it is bilingual (English and Spanish), peer-reviewed and offered online in its entirety for free.
The journal includes editorial features, policy analysis and reports from related conferences. Readers will also find papers exploring cutting-edge research in the field on topics ranging from new curricula to integrating classroom technology.
U.S. Department of Education (DOE)
The U.S. Department of Education offers parents tips on promoting effective early childhood education. Topics include promoting reading and preparing young children academically and emotionally for preschool. Teachers may also be interested in the DOE's professional development program for early childhood educators. Also, policy wonks and other individuals interested in early childhood education will want to check out the numerous articles on the early learning initiative.
Education Resources Information Center (ERIC)
The U.S. Department of Education has another initiative, the Education Resources Information Center. While the DOE website provides information on education policy and how-to resources for parents and teachers, ERIC is an online compendium of academic journal articles related to education.
Researchers will find a comprehensive list of cutting-edge early childhood education articles via this site. While many of them come from peer-reviewed academic journals that require readers to pay for the full text (abstracts are always free), the DOE provides useful links for finding these journals at your local or university library. Whenever articles are licensed for free online publication, ERIC offers the full text so researchers don't have to track down the original journal.
National Institute for Early Education Research
The National Institute for Early Education Research offers a large database of articles on early childhood education research. Many of the articles focus on policy analysis and recommendations, although they also include social and psychological research. People have access to policy reports, a print news magazine and working papers, among other sources. The institute even conducts research and works with policy makers across the nation.
National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)
A professional organization focused on early childhood education, the National Association for the Education of Young Children offers membership to individuals who work with children from birth to age eight. Membership in NAEYC comes with a free copy of one of the organization's print publications and discounted access to the Early Childhood Research Quarterly, an online scholarly journal.
However, the site also offers many free resources. Educators will find lots of useful information from the association, including articles covering the latest research in the field and the 'Voices of Practitioners' series that offers advice from one instructor to another. The site also includes advice-oriented articles for parents and instructors that cover topics like going back to school and the importance of play.