Christine McWayne, Ph.D., Principal Investigator

Christine McWayne

Contact Info:
Tufts University
Eliot-Pearson Department
of Child Study and
Human Development
105 College Avenue
Medford, MA 02155

Office: 617.627.0478
Fax: 617.627.3503

Professor, Director of EXCELS Lab

Ph.D. School, Community, and Clinical-Child Psychology, University of Pennsylvania
M.S.Ed. Psychological Services, University of Pennsylvania
B.S. Psychology (Minors in Public Service and English), Abilene Christian University

Early childhood education, school success of young children at risk due to poverty, parenting and family-school partnerships in diverse ethnocultural communities, community-based research collaborations

Background and Research
At least since I was a freshman or sophomore in college, I have been interested in understanding more about young children who manage to "beat the odds." Much of my research, first at the University of Pennsylvania, then at New York University, and now here at Tufts, has been in partnership with Head Start programs in Philadelphia, NYC, and Boston/Somerville. I've studied about children's social and learning competencies in preschool through first grade. But, most of my work has been focused upon understanding how to better support the adult contributors to children's early development: their families and teachers. In particular, I have sought to document the ways in which families from non-dominant groups are supporting their children and how, by having more culturally-grounded information, we can bridge divides that often exist between children's home and school contexts.

Most recently, my colleagues and I have worked to co-construct curriculum and professional development supports for Head Start teachers around science and engineering teaching for dual language learners, which incorporates children’s home and community contexts (i.e., their familiar knowledge and the expertise available in these contexts). Underpinning the research with these adults are attempts to "flip the script," so to speak, and allow the practitioners and family members supporting children's development to tell us what they know, what they do, and how they do it, so that their expertise can inform a strengths-based knowledge base and program/policy decisions. All of my research has been the result of significant collaborations with other scholars, students, early childhood practitioners, and low-income families. I am very grateful for these colleagues and mentors and look forward to the contributions we will continue to make together on behalf of young children. If you are interested in this mission, please join us!

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