NURTURES Phase 1 (2011-2017): Networking Urban Resources with Teachers and University to enRich Early Childhood Science

National Science Foundation Math and Science Partnership grant researching the impact of high quality teacher professional development and family engagement on PreK-3 academic achievement, simultaneously targeting young children's teachers and families/caregivers in an effort to build both parties' capacity to promote student interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) learning

NURTURES Phase 2 (2017-2020): Evaluation & Expansion

National Science Foundation Discovery Research K-12 grant researching the impact of high quality teacher professional development and family engagement on PreK-3 academic achievement, using use a randomized control group research design (RCT) to compare student achievement outcomes among three groups to parse and understand how each component (teacher professional development versus family engagement) impacts student learning

NURTURES Phase 3 (2020-2023): Nurturing STEM in Early Childhood for Military Connected Families

Department of Defense National Defense Education Program Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (NDEP STEM) grant researching the affordances and constraints of changing the NURTURES program to online and distant delivery

Program Components

NURTURES participants will include 135 teachers at military-connected schools, 2,700 PreK-3rd grade children, and over 10,000 family members. In the first two years, NURTURES will work with military-connected teachers from Ohio (OH), Georgia (GA), and Washington (WA). In Year 3, the program will open up to other locations in the U.S.

Teacher Professional Development
Summer Institutes:

Participants are provided with an intensive 2-week summer program combining guided and individualized professional development experiences. The goals of the summer institutes are to increase PreK-3 teachers' science content knowledge, understanding of science standards and high leverage pedagogical practices in science instruction. These goals are addressed through three types of sessions: an inquiry immersion experience session, a metacognitive session, and an instructional planning session.

More Info...
Academic Year Professional Learning Communities (PLC) & Coaching:

During the academic year, classroom teachers participate in monthly PLCs composed of grade level peers. NURTURES’ staff facilitates the PLCs; topics build on ideas introduced during the summer institutes and focus on teacher interests or identified challenges.

Participants will also be provided individualized coaching experiences throughout the academic year. Participants and coaches will set goals, discuss pedagogical practices needing addressed, and implement quality lesson plans and materials.

More Info...

Family Engagement
Family Packs & Family Engagement Events:

Participants receive sets of Family Packs and Family Engagement kits to support parent/caregiver engagement with their children in the context of science learning.

  • Family Packs contain interesting science inquiry activities aligned with the curriculum standards designed to help parents/caregivers engage with their children in the context of science learning.
  • Family Engagement Events, supported by NURTURES Family Engagment Kits, provide families with opportunities to engage in informal science activities after school or in the community (e.g., engineering challenges, simulations, observations, demonstrations).

Family Packs

Take home bags contain engaging activities designed to make home-school connections in science and encourage family science inquiry and discourse.

Family Engagement Kits

Event activities are geared for families of young children and are designed to foster adult-child interaction around a variety of science topics.

More Info...

Faculty & Staff

Principal Investigator

Charlene M. Czerniak, PhD

Co-Principal Investigators

Susanna Hapgood, PhD
Scott Molitor, PhD
Joan Kaderavek, PhD
Kadir Demir, PhD
Andrew Lumpe, PhD

Administrative Staff

Grant Wilson
Christopher Wojciechowski
Sally Grether