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Current Activities

Lisa and John McNichol Early Childhood Education Lab

Thank you for exploring current activities in the Lisa and John McNichol ECE lab. Below is information about our research projects, scholarships for ECE students to attend Drexel, teacher recognition program, speaker series highlighting current research, professional development opportunities, and more. We also provide technical assistance to early childhood centers. Please submit the request form linked below for TA or other requests. If you’d like to become a member of the lab and/or to collaborate on these projects, please submit the request form to describe your interests.


Last updated: March 30, 2022

To contribute to an open research project please complete the Request Form.

  Research Project Title Current Stage Notes
 1 Investigating social emotional practices with elementary school teachers using the framework.
Teacher implementation and data collection 
Open to new collaborators and practitioners
 2 Testing the validity of Qualitative Characteristics of Children’s Play (QCCP) assessment tool.
Data analysis
Teacher PD available
 3 Assistive technology in early intervention: Evaluating online professional development in Pennsylvania
Data analysis

Early childhood teacher induction: A mixed-methods study of an online course with on-site coaching.

Course implementation
Teacher PD available
 5 How teachers implement education for sustainability and altruism using project-based learning (SAPBL)  
Awaiting IRB approval Teacher PD available
 6 A mixed-methods study of the relationship between individualized lesson planning and social-emotional outcomes in young children
Accepted for publication  
 7 Identifying SEL skills and teaching strategies aligned with specific behavioral challenges
Manuscript preparation  

Scholarships for Working Early Childhood Educators

We manage two scholarship programs in the School of Education, making degrees and PK-4 certification accessible to approximately 50 early childhood educators employed in Pennsylvania childcare centers. The T.E.A.C.H. scholarship pays for 95% of tuition and fees and the Drexel Early Childhood Education Scholarship pays for 100% of tuition and fees. T.E.A.C.H. is funded by the Pennsylvania Child Care Association and the Drexel ECE Scholarship is grant-funded by Public Health Management Corporation’s ECE Professional Development Organization (PHMC ECE PDO). If you are a teacher or director working in an early childhood center in Pennsylvania, you likely qualify for one of these scholarships. Please visit the sites below to learn more.

  1. T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood Pennsylvania Scholarship
  2. Early Childhood Education Scholarship, Funded by PHMC ECE PDO

Tutoring Center

Students can schedule free academic tutoring by submitting this Student Tutoring Request Form. A tutor will then contact you directly to schedule an appointment. The first appointment will be an initial consultation to discuss your academic goals and determine if ongoing tutoring will be helpful to you. Faculty and advisors: please submit the Tutor Referral Form to introduce a student to the tutoring center and a tutor will follow-up with the student directly.

Teacher Recognition Program

The purpose of the Teacher Recognition Program is to amplify best practices in social-emotional learning and character education within the early childhood teacher workforce (birth – age 8) by recognizing and sharing the expertise of notable teachers with the wider education community.

Professional Development

The ECE Lab creates content to provide professional development (PD) to the ECE community, addressing a range of topics, delivered by a range of experts working in partnership with the lab. The lab also partners with external organizations to sponsor PD on topics of interest and need (e.g. appropriate uses of technology with young children). Methods of delivery include live webinars, pre-recorded webinars, in-person instruction, and non-credit bearing courses (e.g. an online course leading to a certificate). These offerings are either free to participants or provided for a discounted fee. Watch for announcements of PD offerings on our website as they become available.

Speaker Series

Each year the lab sponsors high-profile researchers to present on topics of significance. Sponsored research presentations are delivered bi-annually, in the Fall and Spring. Please see our calendar for upcoming event dates, descriptions, and registration information.

When possible, we also arrange professional development sessions to be offered to practitioners following each research presentation. For example, we invited the director of the Technology in Early Childhood (TEC) Center at the Erikson Institute to present on appropriate uses of technology in early childhood. The TEC Center then delivered two webinars on that topic for practitioners the following week. In this way, each research presentation represents a keynote event for scholars and leaders in the field while also leading to subsequent exploration with practitioners.

Parent Workshops

Please contact us if you are interested in parent workshops. We are happy to partner with you to create and implement a parent empowerment and education plan. In many cases, the content and strategies communicated in our PD offerings can be tailored for parents. The ECE Lab can provide a webinar on a topic of interest to parents live or via pre-recorded sessions. We can also accompany early childhood or elementary school teacher(s) to create and provide their own parent workshop, offering guidance and content. Another method is to invite PD graduates (teachers who have completed PD sessions) to convert the content, and their new skills, into a parent workshop for delivery on-site or online. This has worked well in the past, when structured in a coaching model to support the teacher. It builds teacher leadership. The resources in our lab library are also available for parents to borrow, including children’s books.