FIE continues to build on a rich body of research to support young children’s learning and the active engagement in that learning by their families. FIE researchers worked collaboratively with school readiness and prekindergarten teachers to develop and test innovative instructional strategies using concept mapping designed to strengthen children’s background knowledge, vocabulary, and connection-making skills. This past year was a busy one in the school readiness sector.
The Early Literacy and Learning Model/Plus (ELLM/Plus) is a research-based, comprehensive curriculum for 3-, 4-, and 5-year old preschool children that has been proven to be effective improving children's early reading achievement in an experimental study. The literacy-focused curriculum builds children's cognitive development through literacy, mathematics, science, social studies, the arts, motor experiences, and physical health. Children's acquisition of important cognitive and social/emotional development is facilitated through interactions with supportive teachers and other adults who encourage children's curiosity, persistence, and creativity by planning and implementing engaging activities and providing support during learning experiences. ELLM/Plus is designed to expand children's vocabularies and refine their understanding and comprehension of words they know and use.
The Teaching with Technology Initiative aims to explore ways to use educational technology/digital learning tools to improve children's learning as well as to explore ways to increase teachers' access to professional learning opportunities designed to increase teachers' content, pedagogical, and technological knowledge.
FIE continues to promote educational opportunities for students from early childhood learning through post-secondary education. Two major initiatives are the PreK-Grade 2 Transitions and the UNF/FIE PreCollegiate Connections: College Reach-Out Program. PreK-Grade 2 Transitions is designed to support children and their families as they transition from prekindergarten to kindergarten. The UNF/FIE PreCollegiate Connections: College Reach-Out Program aims to increase middle school students’ aspirations for enrollment and success in post-secondary education.
FIE partners with community agencies to develop a well-coordinated early learning and transition system to improve PreK-Grade 2 children’s achievement, promote meaningful family engagement, and provide professional learning opportunities for Prekindergarten-Grade 2 practitioners.
The Family Home Instructional Units are designed for Family Home providers and teachers who work with 2-,3-, and 4 year old children. The Family Home Instructional Units are supplemental curriculum that support recent emergent literacy research that strengthens children's knowledge.
The Florida Institute of Education created and implemented the FIE Strategic Coaching Model to help build capacity of teachers and address the school readiness gap between children living in poverty and their more affluent peers. Initially, the model focused on improving teacher skills in the areas of reading aloud, oral language, letter/sound knowledge, phonological awareness, and emergent writing.
Concept maps are two-dimensional, hierarchical diagrams depicting relationships among concepts. Their use helps individuals visualize the structure of the mapped knowledge. The construction of concept maps helps transform non-spatial information into connected webs and, as a result, supports the development of spatial thinking both on the part of the mapper as well as those reading the maps. Concept mapping was used to organize the FIE Annual Report and is used to present the Table of Contents.
FIE works toward this vision using a systematic approach for improving practice and informing policy, an approach which embraces a sustained commitment to research, to university/practitioner collaboration, to innovation and development, to dissemination of evidence-based tools and strategies, and to data-informed decision- and policy-making.
FIE provides COEHS doctoral students interested in improving educational outcomes for at-risk children and youth opportunities to work with researchers in ongoing research studies and curriculum research and development efforts taking place at FIE.
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