Texas Tech University

Center for Early Head Start

Current Research at the Center for Early Head Start


Coalition for Natural Learning

The Coalition for Natural Learning (CNL) is a collaboration between faculty in the departments of Design, Landscape Architecture, and Human Development and Family Sciences. CNL is working with the Center for Early Head Start to modify and design their outdoor learning environment based on the 12 best practice indicators for outdoor learning as defined by the Natural Learning Initiative (NLI). Data to assess children's play and interactions in the environment during and after the completed modification will be collected. The CNL team is interested in effectiveness of implementing best practice indicators for children's development across all domains.

Primary Investigators: Charles Klein, Ph.D., Kristi Gaines, Ph.D., Malinda Colwell, Ph.D., and Muntazar Monsur, Ph.D.
Graduate Research Assistant Team: Lori Guerrero

Wee Read

The Research in Early Development (RED) Lab in Human Development and Family Sciences is launching a parent-mediated research project called Wee Read, which will provide families with strategies to make book reading routines engaging learning opportunities. The 8-week program will be offered in two formats to caregivers of children age 1-3 years: (1) virtual book reading coaching sessions offered through Zoom or (2) book reading educational handouts. In addition to the book routine strategies, each week families participating in either format will receive a copy of the book of the week and materials for a book-specific craft or pretend play activity. The research team will be investigating how participation in the program can effectively promote parent responsivity, child attention, parent-child synchrony, and attitudes toward storybook routines.

Primary Investigator: Ann M. Mastergeorge, Ph.D.
Graduate Research Assistant Team: Katheryn Webb and Jessica Blume, M.S., CCC-SLP

Healthy Eating Behaviors

An interdisciplinary team of researchers in Agricultural and Applied Economics, Nutritional Sciences, and Human Development and Family Sciences is collaborating to assess family nutrition and implement a parent program on healthy eating behaviors. The team seeks to examine the impact of the pandemic on family and parent functioning to reduce the projected effect of COVID-19 and to improve nutrition and other family outcomes using small group meetings and parent peer education with distance technology. The small groups will focus on topics such as strategies for healthy eating, coping with stress, parent self-efficacy, mealtime behaviors, and other issues as determined by the baseline needs assessment.

Primary Investigators: Conrad Lyford, Ph.D., Wilna Oldewage-Theron, Ph.D., RD(SA), Wonjung Oh, Ph.D., and Stephanie Shine, Ph.D., Center for Early Head Start.

Parental Involvement and Family Outcomes

This study uses a longitudinal secondary data set to examine the association of parental involvement in parent committees, socialization events, and parent education classes with family outcomes based on the Head Start Parent, Family, and Community Engagement Framework (family well-being, positive parent-child relationships, families as learners, family engagement in transitions, family connections to peers and community, and families as advocates and leaders).

Primary Investigators: SuJung Park, Ph.D. and Ann M. Mastergeorge, Ph.D.

Center for Early Head Start