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TransformED: Transforming the Early Childhood Education Workforce

Research Team

Name Name Name

Principal Investigator: Lisa Knoche

Co-Principal Investigators: Susan Sheridan, Holly Hatton

Funding Information

Funding Agency: UNL Grand Challenges Catalyst Competition

Award Date: Sep 1, 2023

End Date: Aug 31, 2028


Nearly 28 million children in the U.S. experience major childhood adversity. Events such as neglect, parental substance abuse, mental illness, racism and bias introduce significant stress to children’s developing brains, putting them at risk for academic difficulties and health and behavioral issues – all of which have consequences into adulthood.

This large-scale program is designed to deliver proven, evidence-based interventions in early childhood settings using a multi-pronged approach. The interventions aim to boost children’s social and emotional skills, which offer protective factors that improve resilience and reduce the risk of future problems. The team also will promote skills in family engagement and deliver mental wellness programs with the goal of preparing educators to address at-risk children’s needs while reducing professional burnout. 

The project also supports development of an innovative, equitable method for measuring children’s social-emotional skills. 

The project team includes 19 faculty, plus university, state and community partners. Several Nebraska communities will be involved in this program. 

A five-year, $3.44 million Grand Challenges initiative award supports the project.

Rural Schools and Communities, Social, Emotional and Behavioral Well-being, Early Childhood Education and Development

Project team members include, front row from left: Natalie Koziol, Jenna Finch, Lisa Knoche, Jennifer Leeper Miller and Holly Hatton-Bowers. Back row, from left: Julia Torquati, Carrie Clark, Sue Sheridan, Changmin Yan, HyeonJin Yoon and Soo-Young Hong.
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