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Nebraska-Brazil early childhood research partnership continues progress

Marjorie Kostelnik, senior associate to University of Nebraska President Hank Bounds, speaks to researchers from Nebraska and Brazil May 8.
Marjorie Kostelnik, senior associate to University of Nebraska President Hank Bounds, speaks to researchers working on joint projects through the University of Nebraska-Lincoln/Brazil Early Childhood Partnership.

Faculty and students from two continents came together recently in Lincoln for a pair of research luncheons to update one another on various joint projects.

Researchers from the University Federal Rural of Pernambuco in Brazil visited Lincoln April 24 to meet with their CYFS faculty and student counterparts in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln/Brazil Early Childhood Partnership. A second group of Brazilian researchers, from University Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, were on campus May 8 to discuss their projects with their Nebraska partners.

Both luncheons were at the Jackie Gaughan Multicultural Center.

From left, Pompéia Villachan-Lyra, professor at Brazil’s Federal Rural University of Pernambuco, speaks with Susan Sheridan, CYFS director, before the April 26 luncheon.
From left, Pompéia Villachan-Lyra, professor at Brazil’s Federal Rural University of Pernambuco, speaks with Susan Sheridan, CYFS director, before the April 24 luncheon.

“We know there are very distinct differences between realities in the United States and Brazil, but there are even more things we have in common,” said Susan Sheridan, CYFS director, at the April 24 luncheon. “We have to build on that to ensure that whatever we do, we do for the children.”

Launched in 2016, the research partnership aims to foster collaboration around priority research areas in early learning, ecology of development, program quality and professional development strategies — all to enhance the lives of young children and their families through global interdisciplinary research collaboration.

During the luncheons, researchers presented updates on three collaborative projects:

  • “Needs and Adaptation of Caregivers of Young Children with Congenital Zika Virus Syndrome in Northeast Brazil”
  • “Preschool Science Talk in Action and Reflection (Pre-STAR)” and
  • “Development and Validation of the Inventario Dimensional de Avaliacao do Desenvolvimento Infantil (IDADI; Dimensional Inventory for Child Development Assessment).”

Each PowerPoint presentation featured project updates and outlines of the next research steps, and were followed by question-and-answer sessions.

We know there are very distinct differences between realities in the United States and Brazil, but there are even more things we have in common. We have to build on that to ensure that whatever we do, we do for the children.”

Susan Sheridan, CYFS director

UNL Chancellor Ronnie Green joined the May 8 luncheon to learn more about the projects. He has supported the partnership since its inception two years ago.

“It’s a pleasure to see this come to full fruition and learn about the three projects that have emanated from that first workshop,” Green told the researchers. “The foundation created two years ago to enable this kind of partnership was very powerful. Thank you for the work all of you are doing. I’m looking forward to the next steps of this collaboration.”

Marjorie Kostelnik, senior associate to University of Nebraska President Hank Bounds, said she continues to be impressed by the UNL-Brazil research partnership.

“We looked at lots of places around the world where people were doing good work with early childhood research,” she said. “We are very fortunate to have made this particular partnership with all of you in Brazil.”

In addition to the faculty luncheons, Brazilian graduate assistants involved in the research partnership met with Nebraska students April 26 at the Nebraska Union. The students talked about their experiences conducting research in other countries, and college in general. They also had the chance to trade contact information with one another and faculty.

The joint studies being conducted by Nebraska and Brazilian researchers are supported by UNL and the Maria Cecilia Souto Vidigal Foundation. Learn more at cyfs.unl.edu/brasil

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