Skip to content Skip to main navigation Report an accessibility issue

Research and Programs Overview

Early Learning Center for Research and Practice

teacher reading to studentThe Early Learning Center program exists to facilitate the academic mission of the Department of Child and Family Studies, which is part of the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences.

Give to Early Learning Center Funds

The Parenting Education Lab

center for parenting logoThe Parenting Education Lab at the University of Tennessee is a collaborative effort between the Department of Child and Family Studies and UT Extension Family and Consumer Sciences, co-directed by Heidi Stolz and Heather Wallace. The mission of the Parenting Education Lab is to strengthen parent-child relationships by coordinating and enriching existing parent education efforts in Tennessee. The lab offers many networking and coordinating services such as the Tennessee Parent Educator (TPE) Directory, an online class calendar with postings of parenting/family classes, a curriculum database, and the news listserv which sends out quarterly e-newsletters about research, training opportunities, and parent education developments on the state and national levels. Learn more about the Parenting Education Lab

Visit the Parenting Education Lab’s official website

The Intercultural and Classroom Culture Research Lab

The purpose of the Intercultural and Classroom Culture (ICC) research lab is to uncover how the daily life of the early childhood classroom is guided by shared routines, rituals, norms, values, and beliefs. This includes examining how teachers and children socially construct a peer and school culture as they act and react to one another. This also includes understanding how power, language, and ideologies influence the subject positions of children, families, and teachers. Moreover, the ICC research lab aims to explore teacher candidates’ (i.e., preservice teachers) understanding and development of intercultural competence. Intercultural competence is the willingness and ability to respond effectively with young children and families whose backgrounds, ways of thinking, communicating, and behaving are significantly different from the teacher candidates’ norms (Cushner, 2018).

The Early Experiences Laboratory

african american childThe Early Experiences Laboratory is  designed to examine the experiences of infants and young children in multiple and diverse contexts. Research in the Early Experiences Lab is conducted in contexts that represent diverse socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds of families, as well as the multiple ways in which children are cared for in both formal (childcare, school) and informal settings. Each project is tied together by the commitment to represent the contexts and needs of infants and young children in underrepresented and high-risk contexts. Learn more about The Early Experiences Laboratory

The Early Experiences Laboratory is co-directed by Hillary Fouts and Julia Jaekel and is located in the Department of Child and Family Studies, Jesse Harris Building, Room 116. We are always looking for undergraduate and graduate students that are interested in joining our research team. To learn more about available opportunities,  e-mail Hillary Fouts.

Well-Being in Adolescents and Emerging Adults

The Well-Being in Adolescents and Emerging Adults (WAE) Laboratory was formed in August of 2014 by Elizabeth Johnson and Spencer Olmstead to integrate their complementary lines of research and to further the study of well-being among young people between the ages of ten and twenty-five. Specific areas of interest and study include psychosocial well-being in the context of parental incarceration, the implications of daily stress exposure and reactivity for mental and physical health, emerging adult health-risk behaviors, and sexual health education and intervention during the transition to college.