Early Ed Leadership & Innovation

We train frontline early educators and child care business owners in entrepreneurial leadership, and research ways to support them at scale

March 16, 2022
by IEELI
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From preschool teacher to PhD holder

Just as Becky DelVecchio launched her research project for her doctoral thesis, the world shut down due to COVID-19. 

She had originally planned to do an ethnographic study on the psychologically restorative benefits of nature play for children and families by embedding in a nature program to study the lived experiences of children, educators and families as they move through the program. That became impossible when COVID-19 health and safety restrictions forced the closure of ECE programs across the state. For months after reopening, most programs prohibited visitors to their centers and schools. 

She instead adapted her project to a mixed-methods study, which included a quantitative  online survey directed at caregivers of 3-4-year-olds in Greater Boston, followed by qualitative interviews with a sample of the respondents. 

DelVecchio was pleased to receive 173 completed surveys, given the pressures parents were under, especially in the early days of the pandemic. “I was really thankful and just continue to be thankful to all the families who contributed to my research,” she said. 

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February 16, 2022
by IEELI
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Advancing scholarship in early ed leadership: Amanda Wiehe Lopes

Dr. Amanda Lopes

For the Early Ed Leadership Institute’s Amanda Wiehe Lopes, earning a Ph.D. in Early Childhood Education and Care capped a personal, educational, and professional journey that began when she was a teenager ignoring advice from the adults in her life to become a teacher. 

“I thought of teachers as people who wore khakis and had a lot of rules,” recalls Wiehe Lopes, who successfully defended her dissertation in July, 2021. “That was my experience growing up and I just didn’t see myself in that role. I hated khakis, I hated rules —and still do.” 

Instead, Wiehe Lopes wanted to be an artist. So she studied drama and performance art and eventually taught theater to mostly pre-school age children at the Seattle Children’s Theatre Drama School. 

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November 8, 2021
by IEELI
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Teaching young children about post-pandemic social interaction

PMC graduate Emilee Johnson

As early care and education (ECE) programs fully re-opened after the pandemic-related suspension in 2020, educators and caregivers noticed that many children were anxious about doing things that have been—for nearly all of human history—considered normal: playing in large groups and being outside without having to wear a mask.

In response, Emilee Johnson, the educational coordinator at Boston Children’s Hospital Child Care Center, wrote “Our New Normal: A Children’s Social Story for Post-Pandemic Lives.”

Published last June, the book provides guidance about how to address the concerns of children and parents about whether it was genuinely safe to loosen COVID-19-related restrictions (many of which have since been reinstated due to the Delta variant). Even during outside activities, says Johnson, children had so internalized the messages about health and safety that they were reluctant to remove their masks. Continue Reading →

September 11, 2021
by IEELI
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2021-2023 Early Education Leadership Fellows announced

3The Institute for Early Education Leadership and Innovation (the Early Ed Leadership Institute) at UMass Boston is pleased to announce the selection of nine Early Education Leadership Fellows for the 2021-202 cohort of its Post-Master’s Certificate Program in Early Education Research, Policy, and Practice (PMC).

The Early Education Leadership Fellows were selected from a highly competitive pool of over 120 applicants. They represent a variety of public, private, and community-based programs. The 2021-2022 cohort will spend the next two years immersed in intensive training in relational and entrepreneurial leadership, early childhood policy, and the science of early learning. They will also connect with and join our growing network of emerging and established early childhood education leaders. Continue Reading →

September 23, 2020
by IEELI
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Meet Our 2020-2021 Early Education Leadership Fellows

We are pleased to announce the selection of eight Early Educator Leadership Fellows for the 2020-2021 cohort of our Post-Master’s Certificate Program in Early Education Research, Policy, and Practice

This group of experienced early childhood educators will spend the next two years immersed in intensive training in entrepreneurial leadership, early childhood policy, and the science of early learning. They will also connect with and join our growing network of emerging and established ECE leaders. Continue Reading →

August 11, 2020
by IEELI
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Never Stop Learning

When Massachusetts Congresswoman Katherine Clark announced her Child Care Is Infrastructure Act, which would authorize $10 billion over five years to invest in the early care and education sector (ECE), she did so with ECE experts by her side who told reporters how their businesses were being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

One of Clark’s experts was Jessica DeJesus Acevedo, a recent graduate of our Post-Master’s Certificate in Early Education Research, Policy, and Practice program who was accepted this summer into our PhD program.

“Day care and early child care are the foundation for children’s academic and social success in life,” Acevedo said during the press conference, which was streamed live over Facebook. Acevedo added that owners of private ECE programs needed more grants and funding to keep their businesses going through the pandemic. Continue Reading →

September 10, 2019
by IEELI
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Leadership Fellows announced

The Institute for Early Education Leadership and Innovation (the Leadership Institute) at UMass Boston is pleased to announce the 2019-2020 Early Educator Leadership Fellows for its Post-Master’s Certificate Program in Early Education Research, Policy, and Practice.

The Early Educator Leadership Fellows will spend the next year immersed in intensive training in entrepreneurial leadership, early childhood policy, and the science of early learning. They will also connect with and join our growing network of emerging and established early education and care (ECE) leaders. Continue Reading →

November 5, 2018
by IEELI
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UMass Boston Announces New Cohort of Emerging Leaders in Early Childhood Education

UMass Boston’s Institute for Early Education Leadership and Innovation has selected ten Early Educator Leadership Fellows for the 2018-2019 cohort of its Post-Master’s Certificate Program in Early Education Research, Policy, and Practice.

This group of experienced early childhood educators will spend the next year immersed in intensive training in entrepreneurial leadership, early childhood policy, and the science of early learning. They will also connect with and join our growing network of emerging and established ECE leaders. Continue Reading →

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