As part of Delaware Institute for Excellence in Early Childhood (DIECC), NDEHS values the importance of research. Here are our most recent research projects:


Starting at Home Project

Many New Directions Early Head Start families are participating in the Starting at Home project.  This is an ongoing research study being carried out by faculty members in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Delaware.  The Starting at Home project is supported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which also provides the funding for NDEHS.  A goal of the research is to help understand how interactions between caregivers and children are influenced by family stress.  The researchers are also studying how Early Head Start services can influence parent-child interactions.

One part of the Starting at Home project includes a parent training program called Promoting First Relationships (PFR).  PFR consists of 10 weekly sessions, and NDEHS home visiting staff have been being trained to incorporate PFR into home visits for families who are participating in this part of the research project.  Other parts of the study involve families completing questionnaires and collecting saliva samples from their children, as well as observations conducted by researchers while parents and caregivers play together with a different toys and games.  The Starting at Home study began in 2011 and is expected to continue through 2016.  Additional NDEHS home visitors are currently being trained in the PFR program, so that it will be available to more Early Head Start families.

Here is a UDaily article about the study


Mentoring Coaching Project

NDEHS, through its partnership with community based child care programs, serves 72 children in a center based model in 17 classrooms at three different sites. The pilot coaching project implemented in 2009 was expanded to serve all to include all fours sites and 14 classrooms in October 2010 with a coaching mentoring grant. Specifically, training and coaching/mentoring was provided to 28 teachers and teacher assistants in all four NDEHS center sites. In August 2011, the classroom in Kent County was closed, and the mentoring model at that site changed to support the transition of teacher to home visitor.

Teachers and teacher assistants received 18 hours of training during the seventeen month period accompanied with coaching and mentoring. Each teacher and teacher assistant participated in an individual mentoring/coaching process twice a month outside of the classroom for about an hour. As teaching teams, teachers and teacher assistants met together once a month with the coach/mentor for about an hour to promote a positive supportive team approach and to promote joint planning and implementation of high quality literacy and language experiences within the classroom. Each teaching team also participated in a weekly coaching/mentoring process within the classroom. The coach/mentor worked alongside the teacher and teacher assistant supporting the translation of knowledge into practice and action. Coach/mentors developed individualized plans with each teacher and teacher assistant. Weekly in class coaching was individualized and ranged from 1 hour to 3 hours depending on what each team was focused on at the time.