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Texas A&M Launches State’s Most Comprehensive Institute For Early Childhood Development & Education

Texas A&M Launches State’s Most Comprehensive Institute For Early Childhood Development & Education
March 20, 2023 Ruben Hidalgo

Texas A&M Launches State’s Most Comprehensive Institute For Early Childhood Development & Education

Texas A&M University is strengthening its commitment to supporting Texans’ education at all stages of life with the launch of the Texas A&M Institute for Early Childhood Development & Education.

Housed in the School of Education and Human Development (SEHD), the institute will be the most comprehensive institute of its kind in the state, involving faculty, students, centers and clinics across the campus and state. Its multi-disciplinary approach leverages faculty across engineering, nutrition, health, policy, development, and education to form novel frameworks to catalyze scientific discovery and innovation that make critical enhancements in the early childhood sector.

“Our commitment to lifelong learning extends to the earliest age, and through this new institute, Texas A&M will lead significant advances in early childhood development and teacher education for the state,” said Texas A&M University President Dr. M. Katherine Banks. “This translational research institute, composed of multi-disciplinary experts from across the university, will ensure our young Texans have the best start possible.”

The institute’s mission is 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. The institute will work to create research that solves complex issues in early childhood and mentors the next generation of early childhood scholars and practitioners while informing policy in Texas and beyond.

Dr. Hope Gerde, a professor in SEHD, will serve as the director of the institute. She brings over 20 years of experience in early childhood education. “My role is to broker relationships that build networks among faculty and community partners in the early childhood sector,” said Gerde. “I want to empower these teams to generate and disseminate research-to-practice initiatives that transform the lives of young children and their families.”

The Institute for Early Childhood Development & Education’s undergraduate and graduate programs will provide quality research and practice opportunities for Aggies. It will also serve as a hub for professional development in the early childhood sector, providing programs to administrators, educators and families at little to no cost.

“We are committed to supporting learning at every stage of life,” said Dr. Michael A. de Miranda, dean of SEHD. “We want to be at the forefront of improving the development and education of children, and the high-impact research our faculty will provide through this institute serves as an index of our commitment.”

The institute will collaborate with the Texas A&M Becky Gates Children’s Center to take the solutions developed in the institute directly to real children, families and educators to support the rapid application of these solutions. In turn, the collaboration with the center provides early childhood education students in SEHD with a real-world demonstration and training ground. In November, the Board of Regents approved the university to begin negotiations for the purchase of the Charlotte Sharp Children’s Center to expand the portfolio of children’s centers under the university’s leadership. These negotiations are under way.

The institute will also work closely with affiliate members, which include AgriLife Extension, Texas A&M System institutions and Texas A&M centers in SEHD, the College of Arts and Sciences and the Bush School of Government and Public Service.

To learn more about the Texas A&M Institute for Early Childhood Development & Education, visit the website

For media inquiries, contact Ruben Hidalgo.

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