As a parent, it’s good to have help as you work to give your child the best possible start in life. That’s where we come in — Primrose Schools® is dedicated to providing a high-quality, well-rounded education from infancy through age 5. To do that, we have help, too: the guidance of the early childhood education experts on our Early Learning Council.
Leading academics, educators and researchers serve on the council, which meets quarterly to ensure that Primrose’s Balanced Learning® curriculum continues to be aligned with leading early education philosophies and the latest child development research. Balanced Learning marries academic lessons, such as literacy and STEM, with character and social-emotional skills development.
Recently, five new experts joined the 12-member council. Members are selected based on their research, publications and speeches in their areas of expertise. Each is a recognized figure in early childhood education.
“These early learning experts will serve as informed advisors on issues that impact children, families, staff and school communities,” says Dr. Lauren Starnes, vice president of early childhood education, research and development for Primrose Schools. “Each new council member will help Primrose continue to provide children and families with an unparalleled, premium early learning experience.”
The new council members are:
Dr. Mary Louise Hemmeter
Specialties: Special education and social-emotional development
Dr. Mary Louise Hemmeter is a professor of special education at Vanderbilt University. Her research is focused on effective instruction, supporting social-emotional development, addressing challenging behavior and coaching teachers.
Hemmeter has directed numerous projects funded by the U.S. departments of Education and Health and Human Services. Through her work at the Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning and on research projects funded by the Institute of Education Sciences, she was involved in developing the Pyramid Model for Supporting Social Emotional Competence in Infants and Young Children and the practice-based coaching model for teachers. Additionally, she is a co-author of the Connect4Learning early childhood curriculum and the Teaching Pyramid Observation Tool.
Hemmeter will counsel Primrose Schools on strengthening social-emotional development in the Balanced Learning curriculum and will advise on addressing challenging behavior in young children.
Dr. Iheoma U. Iruka
Specialties: Public policy and equity
Dr. Iheoma U. Iruka is a research professor of public policy, a fellow at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute and the founding director of the institute’s Equity Research Action Coalition at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Iruka’s work focuses on how evidence-informed policies, systems and practices in early education can support the optimal development and experiences of children who are racial minorities and from low-income households and communities.
Iruka holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Temple University, a master’s degree in psychology from Boston University and a doctoral degree in applied developmental psychology from the University of Miami.
Iruka will advise Primrose Schools and the Primrose Schools Children’s Foundation on the latest early childhood research, programming and policies to help ensure healthy development and excellence for young learners from diverse racial and cultural backgrounds.
Dr. Gloria Julius
Specialties: Curriculum development and music
Dr. Gloria Julius is a strategic consultant advising on research and development of early childhood curriculum and instructional programming. Julius previously served as chief academic officer for Primrose Schools, overseeing the research, development, evaluation and continuous improvement of the Balanced Learning curriculum. Before joining Primrose, Julius was the chief learning officer for Calvert Education Services, a 115-year-old home schooling and virtual learning provider.
Julius holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education with a concentration in music from Elizabethtown College, a master’s degree in education with a concentration in curriculum development from Towson University and a doctoral degree in education policy, planning and administration from the University of Maryland, College Park.
She will advise Primrose Schools on the importance of music in early learning and child development, specifically providing counsel on Primrose Schools’ exclusive Harmony & Heart® music, literacy and character development program.
Dr. Chih-Ing Lim
Specialties: STEM and serving children with disabilities
Dr. Chih-Ing Lim is a senior technical assistance specialist at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is the co-director of the STEM Innovation for Inclusion in Early Education Center, which studies how to increase access to STEM learning for young children, especially those with disabilities. She also leads Supporting Change and Reform in Preservice Teaching in North Carolina, where she works with community college faculty to better prepare early childhood professionals to serve children with disabilities and those who are from culturally and ethnically diverse families.
Lim holds a bachelor’s degree in music from the University of York in England, a postgraduate degree in music and math education from Nanyang Technological University-National Institute of Education in Singapore, and master’s and doctoral degrees in early childhood, families and literacy education from the University of North Carolina.
Lim will counsel Primrose Schools on how to further integrate STEM innovations into its Balanced Learning curriculum. In that role, she will advise on providing more equitable access to STEM learning for children from culturally diverse backgrounds and children with disabilities.
Specialties: Early childhood development and social-emotional learning
Rebecca Parlakian is senior director of programs at ZERO TO THREE, a nonprofit focused on baby and toddler development. She directs a portfolio of projects related to child development, parenting, early learning, social-emotional skills and high-quality teaching and caregiving. In her role, she has co-authored five parenting and professional curricula and developed resources for teachers, home visitors (professionals who provide parenting education) and parents. Parlakian’s written work has appeared in a variety of publications, and she has been quoted by media outlets including The New York Times and The Washington Post.
She holds a master’s degree in infant and toddler special education from George Washington University, where she is an adjunct professor in the Graduate School of Education and Human Development.
Parlakian will advise Primrose Schools on the latest research in early childhood development and emotional nourishment, emphasizing the use of Balanced Learning to advance public-private partnerships and maximize parental engagement.
These five new members of the Early Learning Council join the following experts already serving on the council:
- Douglas Bell, Kennesaw State University
- Carol Donovan, University of Alabama
- Laura Jana, Penn State University
- Sandra Linder, Clemson University
- Jennifer Sutton McDonel, Radford University
- Meg Small, Penn State University
- Kathy Trundle, Utah State University
Learn more about the Balanced Learning approach to early childhood education. For a look at the curriculum in action, check out:
- A Child Development Approach That Takes the Pressure Off Families
- The Power of Puppet Play in Child Development
- 6 Surprising Ways Children Benefit from Music Education
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