Current Projects

Infant Care Decision Making (ICDM)

The goal of this project is to explore how working families make decisions about childcare and how their beliefs about and needs for care change over time from pregnancy to when their infant turns nine months old in relation to demographic, familial, and contextual factors.

Lab Members Involved: Soo-Young Hong, Yao Yao, Jamlick Bosire, Sarah Roberts

Additional Collaborators: Holly Hatton-Bowers, Kara Kohel, Aimee Jiang, Mashael Artwijri, Tuyen Huynh, LaDonna Werth, Jackie Cervantes-Guzman, Julie Tippens, Michelle Howell Smith


  • Hong, S.-Y., Hatton-Bowers, H., & Knoche, L. (2020, in press). Strengthening the quality of preschool, childcare, and parenting. In P. Lazarus, S. Suldo, & B. Doll (Eds.), Fostering the emotional well-being of our youth: A school-based approach.Oxford University Press.

Kindergarten Teachers' Use of Assessments

In this collaboration, we are exploring kindergarten teachers’ perspectives of a state-mandated kindergarten readiness assessment, as well as teachers’ use of other assessments in their classrooms.

Lab Members Involved: Rachel Schachter, Amy Napoli, Pearl Avari


  • Schachter, R. E., Flynn, E. E., Napoli, A. R., & Piasta, S. B. (2020). Teachers’ perspectives on year two implementation of a kindergarten readiness assessment. Early Education and Development, 31(5), 778–795. (available for download at UNL Digital Commons)           

Preschool Science Talk in Action and Reflection (PreSTAR)

The goal of this Nebraska-Brazil early childhood partnership project is to better understand preschool science learning and teaching by specifically examining how early childhood professionals can intentionally reflect on their own practices to enhance children’s learning and development and how facilitators can help teachers to enhance the quality of their reflection.

Lab Members Involved: Soo-Young Hong, Erin Hamel, Jay Joo, Jiwon Shin, Sarah Roberts, Yao Yao

Additional Collaborators: Gisela Wajskop, Anna Burton, Debora Maclean, Patricia Pastorello


  • Hamel, E., Joo, Y., Hong, S.-Y., & Burton, A. (2020, available online). Teachers’ questioning practices in early childhood science activities. Early Childhood Education Journal.      

What Works in Early Childhood Coaching?: A Systematic Review of the Literature

The study addresses a critical gap in the early childhood field by conducting a mixed-method, systematic review of the early childhood coaching literature to derive a list of evidence-based coaching and coach training practices.

Lab Members Involved: Rachel Schachter, Molly Goldberg, Junrong Lu

Additional Collaborators: Lisa Knoche, Johanna Higgins           

Understanding Early Childhood Coaching in Nebraska

This research was conducted in collaboration with community partners to understand the perspectives and needs of early childhood coaches in the state of Nebraska.

Lab Members Involved: Rachel Schachter, Hayley Jackson

Additional Collaborators: Holly Hatton-Bowers, Lisa Knoche, the Nebraska Early Childhood Coach Collaboration Team


Train the Coach Approach

This project piloted an innovative professional learning model that aims to prepare math coaches who support the development of early childhood teachers’ mathematical knowledge and implementation of effective practices that enrich children's mathematical reasoning.

Lab Members Involved: Kelley Buchheister, Rachel Schachter

Additional Collaborators: Holly Hatton-Bowers           

ProPELL (Promoting Preschoolers' Early Language Learning) 

IES CFDA 84.305A

The project seeks to address several gaps in the literature by answering the following overarching questions:

  1. To what extent do children’s language gains during enrollment in early childhood education, in contrast to other emergent literacy skills, predict their kindergarten readiness and grade 3 reading outcomes?
  2. What classroom factors, including those regulated by policy, classroom practices, and other processes, are associated with children’s language gains during enrollment in early childhood education? The research involves a series of five interrelated studies using multiple methods.

Lab Members Involved: Rachel Schachter, Clariebelle Gabas

Additional Collaborators: Shayne B. Piasta, Jessica A.R. Logan, Kelly M. Purtell