Early Language and Memory Project
Dr. Sybil Hart, Ph.D., Principal Investigator
A 3 year federal grant funded by the National Institute of Health
The ELM project is designed to investigate language and memory development in a diverse sample of preschool aged children. We are examining the effectiveness of a new way to interview children about events they have experienced and are assessing the degree to which the effectiveness of this interview protocol is influences by children’s language, classroom abilities, and home and family life.
We are partnering with the YWCA Head Start program in Lubbock to assist in our data collection.
Why is this research important?
Young children are interviewed about events they have seen or experienced in a variety of settings including medical settings, child custody cases, cases of suspected maltreatment, and criminal cases. However, young children are less equipped to handle these interviews because their language and memory skills are still developing. We are testing a new way of interviewing children to see if it helps them report what they have experienced more completely and accurately. In addition, we are examining how children’s language, classroom abilities, and home and family life influence the effectiveness of the interview technique.
These results can provide valuable information to individuals who regularly interview young children in real-world settings. We also expect that our basic findings about children’s language and memory development may prove useful to early childhood educators.
What does the research project entail?
The ELM project involves multiple child assessments of language ability. Children’s memory for a staged classroom even will be measured using either a standard interview or our new interview. Classroom teachers will be asked to complete surveys about children’s communication skills and classroom behaviors. Parents will be asked to complete a survey that asks about household composition and demographics, recent family events (such as a birth of a new child or moving), and parent-child relationship.
Who can participate in the project?
Our focus is on preschool aged children, aged 3-4 years old.
Currently, we are partnering with the YWCA Head Start program in Lubbock. All children enrolled in the program without any significant developmental delays are invited to participate. If you are a teacher or director of a local preschool or childcare program and are interested in partnering with us, please contact the project manager, Francisco Debaran at email@example.com.
Who is funding this project?
This project is funded by a grant from the National Institute of Health (#R15HD065589-01).