Early Childhood Focused Projects

Preschooler’s Adjustment to In-Person Learning Following COVID-19-Related School Closures in Black Families: A Mixed Methods Approach.

Within the early childhood education sector, children of color from low-income backgrounds have been the most negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. There is emerging evidence that Black children experienced larger drops in preschool enrollment, a higher percentage of remote learning, and greater academic setbacks compared to white children during the pandemic—widening racial opportunity gaps and exacerbating parental stress levels. Guided by the integrative model for the study of stress within Black American families, we will conduct a mixed methods, multilevel study with 200 Black families with young children attending early childhood education programs, and their children’s teachers. To obtain a more comprehensive understanding of cultural assets, the study will use a convergent mixed methods approach to assess: (1) children’s adjustment to returning to in-person learning during the 2021-2022 school year and (2) the protective factors that buffer the deleterious impact of parent and teachers’ exposure to racism on preschooler’s social emotional development. 

Pandemic-Related Stressors and Mental Health of Black Mothers from Under-Resourced Communities: A Mixed Methods Approach.

The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately negatively affected Black mothers, especially those from low-income communities, both personally and professionally. Guided by intersectionality, this project seeks to elucidate how interconnected systems of oppression – racism, sexism, classism – impact Black mother’s mental health, parenting, and parent-child relationships. Using a mixed methods approach, we aim to acquire a unique collective of mothers’ experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic, examine the effects of stressors associated with systemic racism on Black mothers, and determine the influence of protective mechanisms of social support and racial identity. We expect that mothers’ social support and positive racial identity will buffer the harmful effects of pandemic-related stressors on parenting and parent-child relationships transmitted through better maternal mental health. Focus group data will be used to contextualize our findings and identify additional protective factors.