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School of Education & Human Development

Institute for Early Childhood Development & Education

Our mission

The Texas A&M University Institute for Early Childhood Development & Education seeks to use leading, cutting-edge research to transform the lives of all young children and the adults who interact with them, including families, educators, clinicians, and health providers. We will solve complex issues in early childhood from various perspectives by generating rigorous research that informs practice and policy, mentoring the next generation of early childhood scholars and practitioners and leading outreach initiatives for early childhood practitioners across Texas and beyond.

Upcoming events

Texas Early Childhood Summit

March 22, 2024, Thomas Hildebrand Equine Center
3240 F and B Rd., College Station, TX, 77843

About the event: Presentations on innovative research, policy, and advocacy initiatives in early childhood.
Keynote Speaker: Dr. Kathy Hirsh-Pasek

Texas Play and Development Conference

March 23, 2024, Blinn College – Bryan Campus
2423 Blinn Blvd., Bryan, TX, 77802

About the event: A day of research-based workshops for early educators.
Keynote Speaker: Dr. Josh Thompson

Institute goals

  • Promote the development, learning and well-being of all young children and their families by leading innovative research-to-practice initiatives in early childhood.
  • Compete for large-scale research funding to pursue our mission.
  • Educate early childhood leaders, teachers and paraprofessionals in research and evidence-based practices.
  • Enhance the quality of early childhood education across Texas.
  • Rapidly disseminate rigorous research and professional learning.
  • Provide quality research and practice opportunities for Aggies.

Scope & Research


The scope of the Institute is wide-ranging, seeking to promote collaborative research on national, state, and community needs in advancing evidence-based solutions to improve educational, health, and life outcomes for all children from birth to age eight.


Our faculty’s innovative and multidisciplinary approaches to research yield solutions to complex problems and enhance early childhood development and education.

Outreach initiatives

The Institute partners with a range of early childhood professionals across Texas.

The Institute partners with Blinn College and Texas Association for the Education of Young Children to bring you the Texas Play and Development Conference.

This annual event provides engaging keynote speakers and research-based workshop style professional learning for early educators. Join us to network with early childhood colleagues and earn six hours of TECPDS.

Through AgriLife Extension programming, the Institute offers extensive professional learning opportunities in the early childhood sector. Administrators, educators and families can often benefit from these opportunities at little to no cost. The Institute also disseminates research and practices across Texas and the United States.

The WRITE Project

The WRITE project, led by Dr. Hope K. Gerde and funded by the Institute of Education Sciences, aims to support the development of early reading and writing skills for preschool-aged children, including composing ideas, handwriting, understanding that writing conveys meaning, and spelling. The WRITE System includes iWRITE, a fully online professional learning program for early childhood educators to promote high quality early writing opportunities in the classroom as well as a set of early writing assessment. Through additional funding from the Institute of Education Sciences, we are currently creating two writing assessments, the cWRITE, an assessment to understand children’s current writing skills, and the tWRITE, an observational system to understand how a preschool teacher is supporting their students’ writing and areas where they could improve using the iWRITE.

Publications from this study
  • Gerde, H. K., & Bingham, G. E., (in press). Teachers’ beliefs and usage of video exemplars and engagement features of an online professional learning system for promoting early writing. Technology, Knowledge, and Learning. IF: 3.3
  • Gerde, H. K., & Bingham, G. E. (2023). Using the science of early literacy for professional development for writing. In S. Cabell, N. Patton-Terry, & S. Neuman (Eds). Handbook on the Science of Early Literacy. Guilford.
  • Bingham, G. E., & Gerde, H. K., (2023). Early childhood teachers’ writing beliefs and practices. Frontiers in Psychology, 14. IF: 3.8
  • Bingham, G. E., Gerde, H. K., Pikus, A. E., Rohloff, R., Quinn, M. F., Bowles, R. P., & Zhang, X. Y. (2022). Examining teachers’ early writing knowledge and practices. Reading and Writing, 35, 2201-2227. IF: 2.87
  • Bingham, G. E., Gerde, H. K., Zhang, C., & Zhang, X. Y. (2022). Supporting the writing development of emergent bilingual children: Universal and language specific approaches. The Reading Teacher, 76(4), 390-399. IF: 1.78
  • Chandler, M., Gerde, H. K., Bowles, R. P., McRoy, K. Z., Pontifex, M. B., & Bingham, G. E. (2021). Self-Regulation moderates the relationship between fine motor skills and writing in early childhood. Early Childhood Research Quarterly 57, 239-250. doi: 10.1016/j.ecresq.2021.06.010
  • Quinn, M. F., Bingham, G. E., & Gerde, H. K. (2021). Who writes what when?: Examining children’s early composing. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 34, 79–107.
Aggie Opportunities

Our undergraduate and graduate programs educate early childhood leaders, teachers, and paraprofessionals in translational research and high-impact practice through real-world experiences in research and teaching in early childhood.

Institute faculty members are housed in departments and colleges across campus including education, special education, psychology, public policy, agricultural economics, nursing, and more! These connections throughout the University create innovative opportunities for faculty and students to work on multidisciplinary research and outreach projects that solve complex solutions impacting young children and their families. Further, the Institute partners with child care programs, schools and clinics, including our own Becky Gates and Charlotte Sharp Children’s Centers and the Reading Clinic, to support student implementation of research-based teaching and learning practices. Integrative undergraduate and graduate programs provide cutting-edge learning opportunities for Aggies.

Apply to our graduate programs The Institute provides research opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate students as well as post-doctoral fellows from a variety of disciplines across campus who are interested in young children’s development and learning. The Institute provides students multiple opportunities to contribute to federally-funded research sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, the US Department of Education, The National Science Foundation, and more. Using an apprenticeship model, Institute faculty mentor students through each step of the research process from idea generation to dissemination of research. Students are encouraged to present their research at local, state, and national conferences and supported to publish in peer-reviewed journals. To learn more about research opportunities at The Institute contact Jenn Cardona

Questions? Reach out to us.

For questions about the Institute for Early Childhood Development & Education, contact:

Dr. Hope Gerde
Director, Institute for Early Childhood Development & Education
Professor, Department of Teaching, Learning and Culture
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