NEWS SERVICES 

210 Pittsboro Street
Campus Box 6210
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-6210
 


T 919-962-2091
F 919-962-2279
www.unc.edu/news/ 
news@unc.edu

News Release

For immediate use

Aug. 3, 2006 -- No. 360

UNC's FPG Child Development Institute
awarded $2.5 million federal grant

CHAPEL HILL - The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Frank Porter Graham (FPG) Child Development Institute has been awarded a $2.5 million five-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education to establish the National Center on High Quality Personnel in Inclusive Early Childhood Settings. An inclusive setting educates typically developing children and those with disabilities in the same classroom.

The number of 3- to 5-year-olds with disabilities in regular classrooms has been on the rise for the past decade - increasing by 32 percent between 1992 and 2001, according to the U.S. Office of Special Education Programs.

Today, while most preschool classrooms have at least one child with a disability, teachers often have little or no training in educating and caring for these children. In fact, a recent study by FPG researchers published in the Journal of Early Intervention found that while early intervention and special education is part of the mission of many teacher preparation programs, coursework and training often fall short.

"To overcome these challenges, we are creating this national center to improve the quality and accessibility of rigorous, ongoing professional development, training and technical assistance for early childhood personnel," said Dr. Pam Winton, senior scientist and director of outreach at FPG.

While the center will serve as a resource to all states, FPG plans to select eight states for a more intense collaboration.

"All children will benefit when teachers are better trained and able to meet the educational and developmental needs of children in their care," said Winton. "A resource of this type is in great demand as recent policies impacting publicly funded preschool programs require teachers to introduce literacy, science and math to all children at younger ages, including those with disabilities. These expectations have not been matched by sufficient incentives and opportunities for professional development."

Through the new national center, FPG will offer a variety of resources, ranging from a Web site to a national cadre of trainers and consultants, professional development tools, rubrics for evaluating performance, research syntheses, training modules, listservs, publications and institutes. The center will identify and help states implement the most promising professional development approaches currently available within early childhood education.

FPG is a multidisciplinary institute at Carolina. The institute's mission is to cultivate and share the knowledge necessary to enhance child development and family well being. Through a variety of grants and contracts, FPG conducts research and provides outreach services. Most of the institute's work addresses young children ages birth to eight years. FPG has a special focus on children who experience biological or environmental factors that challenge early development and learning.

-30-

FPG Child Development Institute contact: Tracy Zimmerman, (919) 966-0867 or zimmerman@mail.fpg.unc.edu

News Services contact: Lisa Katz, (919) 962-2093, lisa_katz@unc.edu