News Releases

News Releases

For Immediate Release

Heinz Endowments Awards Early Childhood Research Grant to Children’s Hospital

The Heinz Endowments recently awarded Stephen J. Bagnato, EdD, director, Early Childhood Partnerships at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, and associate professor of Pediatrics and Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, a $1 million, three-year research grant to continue his evaluative research of the efficacy and outcomes of high-quality early childhood education programs.

Dr. Bagnato’s research team, known as Scaling Progress in Early Childhood Settings (SPECS), is comprised of interdisciplinary health and education professionals from Children’s Hospital and the University of Pittsburgh’s UCLID Center, a U.S. Maternal and Child Health Bureau leadership education institute.

The innovative SPECS approach uses an authentic assessment model to observe the natural learning of preschoolers in their everyday settings and to give feedback to teachers and parents so that they can improve care. SPECS conducts longitudinal evaluations of child, family, program, health, nutrition, early literacy, community and school transition benchmarks in a broad effort to upgrade the quality and scope of early care and education and early school success locally and across Pennsylvania. SPECS follows children involved in Pittsburgh’s Early Childhood Initiative (ECI) into third grade and works with principals, teachers and parents to document each child’s success in acquiring important developmental, pre-academic, social and behavioral competencies.

SPECS research results from the first three years of the ECI (1997-2000) demonstrated the short-term effectiveness of the model in promoting preschool progress for children in high-risk communities and for reducing kindergarten retention problems and special education placement rates for children entering school.

This new research grant will enable SPECS to continue researching the comprehensive ECI programs in Braddock and Wilkinsburg that are now operated by the Office of Child Development at the University of Pittsburgh. SPECS also will continue to evaluate the early care and education programs in Sto-Rox, Homewood and East Liberty that received funding previously from the United Way. With new Heinz funding initiatives across Pennsylvania, SPECS will expand its research to include diverse programs in Erie, York and Lancaster.

The Heinz Endowments comprise two separate private foundations, the Howard Heinz Endowment and the Vira I. Heinz Endowment. With combined assets of approximately $1.5 billion, The Heinz Endowments organization is considered one of the nation’s most innovative philanthropies. The Heinz Endowments share a commitment to supporting the efforts of non-profit organizations, primarily in southwestern Pennsylvania, in the areas of arts & culture, children, youth & families, economic opportunity, education and the environment.

Contact:
Michael Laffin, 412-692-5016, Mike.Laffin@chp.edu

Last Update
February 20, 2008
  • Increase/Decrease Text Size
  • Print This Page
Last Update
February 20, 2008
top