MIELL works in collaboration with faculty across the University of Denver who are interested in early childhood research and policy. Partnerships include the Morgridge College of Education, Graduate School of Professional Psychology, Early Childhood Librarianship Master's Degree program, Fisher Early Learning Center, Office of Teaching and Learning, and the Ricks Center for Gifted Children, among others. Partnerships outside of the University include Clayton Early Learning, Colorado Department of Education, Colorado Children's Campaign, Denver Museum of Nature and Science, Mile High United Way, Qualistar Early Learning, and the Lt. Governor's Office.
Douglas Clements, Ph.D.
Dr. Clements is currently the Executive Director of the Marsico Institute. He is also the Kennedy Endowed Chair in Early Childhood Learning and a Professor at the University of Denver's Morgridge College of Education. Previously a kindergarten teacher for five years and a preschool teacher for one year, I have since conducted research and published widely in the areas of:
- The learning and teaching of early mathematics
- Computer applications in mathematics education
- Creating, using, and evaluating a research-based curriculum and in taking successful curricula to scale using technologies and learning trajectories
- Development and evaluation of innovative assessments of mathematics achievement, as well as mathematics teaching
Dr. Clements has published over 120 refereed research studies, 18 books, 70 chapters, and 275 additional publications. His latest books with Julie Sarama detail research-based learning trajectories in early mathematics education: "Early childhood mathematics education research: Learning trajectories for young children" and a companion book, "Learning and teaching early math: The learning trajectories approach" (Routledge).
While a SUNY Distinguished Professor at the University of Buffalo, he was a member of President Bush's National Math Advisory Panel, convened to advise the administration on the best use of scientifically based research to advance the teaching and learning of mathematics, and coauthor of the Panel's report. He was also a member of the National Research Council's Committee on Early Mathematics and co-author of their report. He helped develop the Common Core State Standards committee of the National Governor's Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, writing national academic standards and the learning trajectories that underlie them.
Currently, Julie Sarama and he are conducting several research projected funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences (IES). For example, "Scaling Up TRIAD: Teaching Early Mathematics for Understanding with Trajectories and Technologies" and " Longitudinal Study of a successful scaling up project Extending TRIAD" are the third and fourth large research projects funded by the IES to evaluate our model for scaling up successful educational innovations (TRIAD = Technology-enhanced, Research-based Instruction, Assessment, and professional Development). Two recent research projects have just been funded by the NSF. In "Using Rule Space and Poset-based Adaptive Testing Methodologies to Identify Ability Patterns in Early Mathematics and Create a Comprehensive Mathematics Ability Test," we are developing a computer-adaptive assessment for early mathematics. In "Early Childhood Education in the Context of Mathematics, Science, and Literacy," we are developing an interdisciplinary preschool curriculum. See the "Research Projects" tab of Dr. Clement's Portfolio for more detail.
Sheridan Green, M.S.
Sheridan Green is a Senior Researcher at the Marsico Institute. She has worked for over 20 years in academic, community and local government settings, spanning a variety of fields including early childhood care and education, child and youth development, and child and public welfare. Ms. Green holds a Master's degree in Human Development and Family Studies and is ABD at the University of Northern Colorado where her doctoral program focuses on applied statistics and research methods. Her dissertation employs the national Early Head Start dataset to examine the sensitivity of study conclusions to violations of design assumptions. Her research interests center on infant mental health, parent-child relationships, and the effects of intervention and education on the quality of early childhood teacher-child interactions, including the use of music and the arts to strengthen interactions, early learning, and literacy.
Irena Pikovsky, Ph.D.
Irena Pikovsky is a Project Coordinator at the Marsico Institute. She recently completed her doctorate in developmental psychology at the University of Denver. She specializes in studying risk and resiliency factors in childhood. Her dissertation examined the relationships among early environmental risk factors, genetic risk alleles, and physiologic stress regulation in middle childhood. Irena hopes to apply this research on individual differences toward helping parents and educators better support children. Relatedly, Irena is passionate about intervention research targeting at-risk children and families, and as such has been very excited to work on the Mile High United Way Social Innovation Fund Implementation Support Team, and the Professionalizing Infant-Toddler Care project at MIELL.
Jessica Craig, B.A.
Jessica Craig is the Office Manager/Project Coordinator for the Marsico Institute. Jessica brings over 10 years of volunteerism and professional involvement in the nonprofit sector. Her work experience is in donor management, event coordination, project coordination for childhood projects, client relations, funding research, grants management, budget management and contracting. At MIELL, Jessica manages the day-to-day operation of the office, provides administrative support to the directors, works with the directors to successfully carry out the institute's strategic plans, maintains the accuracy of institute information on the website, provides budget management and oversight, plans logistics for special community events, and ensures oversight of grants and contracts. Jessica earned a B.A. in psychology from Metropolitan State University of Denver. Currently, Jessica is pursuing a Master's in Counseling Psychology at the University of Denver, Morgridge College of Education. Jessica's commitment to community, children and arts has driven her to volunteer to teach traditional cultural dance for children, and to direct the Children's Ministry in her religious community in her spare time.
Vivienne Houghton, M.L.I.S.
Vivienne Houghton completed her Masters in Library and Information Science at the University of Denver in 2012. Vivienne loves web design, information architecture and content strategy. She is currently the Web Content Manager and has been editing content for the MIELL and Early Childhood Colorado websites since 2010. Vivienne is passionate about early literacy. She was in the first cohort of Early Childhood Librarianship Fellows at DU. As part of her capstone, she developed an Early Literacy Online Resource Guide to address the lack of early literacy information on the websites of Colorado’s public libraries as featured on the Colorado State Library's website.
Brenda Garcia, B.A.
Brenda is a third year Education Specialist candidate in the Child, Family, and School Psychology program with a certificate in Early Childhood. Brenda came to DU with her bachelor's in Psychology from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Brenda has experience teaching preschool, elementary and high school students. She has worked closely with diverse communities and is highly interested in advocating for at risk- youth and their families. Brenda's other interests include early literacy, early childhood intervention and mental health. At MIELL, she is assisting with Buffering Toxic Stress for Infants and Toddlers, Early Literacy Technical Support, and the Marsico Buell-Infant Toddler Study.
Sara Catherine Sadd, B.S.
Sara is a third year Educational Specialist candidate in the Child, Family and School Psychology program with a certificate in Early Childhood. Sara came to DU with her bachelor's in Human Development and Family Studies as well as an Early Childhood Teaching License from Colorado State University. Sara has experience teaching preschool, elementary school and working with diverse families. She is especially interested in working with children and families who have been exposed to trauma. Sara's other interests include early childhood mental health, social-emotional curriculum development and early literacy. At MIELL, she is assisting with the Early Literacy Technical Support Project as well as the Marsico-Buell Infant-Toddler Study.
Why was the Institute created?
The Marsico Institute for Early Learning and Literacy was created to improve early learning environments and outcomes for the very young through research, policy recommendations, and innovative, research-based solutions to effectively meet challenges in the field of early childhood. Although there are many early childhood researchers committed to taking their work beyond university walls, very few exist in the Rocky Mountain area.
How is the Institute affiliated with the University of Denver?
The Institute is part of the Morgridge College of Education at the University of Denver. As such, we bring the latest principles, research and practices to its students, thus impacting the quality of the next generation of early childhood professionals. Moreover, through our partnership, the Institute serves as a catalyst for the University's early education agenda.
Is the Institute a teaching facility?
While the Institute does not administer its own degree-granting program , we do work with the Morgridge College of Education faculty to design and revise existing teacher training and early childhood programs. In addition, we offer community learning seminars and lectures, featuring leading national experts on topics of interest to teachers and students of education. Further, the Institute frequently offers work-study opportunities for graduate students seeking to enrich their education with a work experience. We are currently designing training courses and programs for practicing early childhood teachers.
Does the Institute conduct original research?
Yes, the Institute is a hub for early childhood research and policy analysis on a state and national level. We design and evaluate programs, as well as conduct basic science research on how children and teachers learn.
How does the Institute augment/support other organizations working in the field of Early Childhood?
The Institute is non-profit and non-partisan. We collaborate and build partnerships with other community organizations and universities to accomplish our mission. In addition, we provide public access to resources and learning opportunities for all the constituencies within the early childhood community. The Institute also provides consultative services on how to replicate best practices for Colorado's early childhood communities.
How is the Institute funded?
Created in 2008 with a generous gift from the Cydney and Tom Marsico Family Foundation, the Institute receives additional support from the University of Denver as well as other private foundations and philanthropic organizations interested in furthering Colorado's standing in the area early childhood education. In addition, we are also supported through federal research and program grant-making organizations, such as the Administration for Children and Families.
Does the Institute offer resources for parents, teachers and daycare providers?
Yes, the Institute is the primary sponsor and marshal of Early Childhood Colorado, a website specifically designed as a free resource clearinghouse for current information in the field of early childhood, much of which is appropriate for practical use by parents, teachers and daycare providers of young children.
Does the Institute play a role in Colorado's public education system?
We evaluate the impact of public policy decisions that shape important strategic discussion, and work to influence new policies. We use this new information to propose innovative practices and curricula.