Education and Child Care Projects

edandcare keyareas smScholars at the Wellesley Centers for Women have studied the ability of public schools to prepare young children for lifelong learning and have shaped local, state, and federal policies. Our groundbreaking research, policy development, and training programs set the standards for out-of-school time, and continue to inform the field in new areas, including physical activity programming.


  • Open Circle Middle School Expansion

    Ongoing since: 2018
    Open Circle is taking steps to adapt its elementary school social and emotional learning curricula and professional development for integration into middle schools.

  • Equity Lab Charter School

    Ongoing since: 2018
    Open Circle is adapting its elementary school social and emotional learning curricula and interactive and experiential professional development for integration into Grades 5- 6 at Equity Lab Charter School during the 2018-2019 school year, the first step toward an expansion into middle school.

  • The Black Girls Create Project: A Pilot Culturally Responsive Informal STEM Learning Program

    Ongoing since 2018
    This culturally responsive STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) program seeks to increase underserved girls' interest and confidence in science and math.

  • Wellesley College McNair Scholars Program Evaluation

    Ongoing since: 2018
    Lindsay-Dennis is serving as an external evaluator to the Wellesley College McNair Scholars Program, which employs evidence-based practices to increase the number and proportion of low-income, first-generation, and underrepresented minority women who are prepared for rigorous graduate study in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.

  • Youth in Philanthropy Program Evaluation

    Ongoing since 2017

    The Wellesley Centers for Women received funding from the Foundation for MetroWest to conduct an evaluation of Youth In Philanthropy, a program designed to give youth the knowledge to become leaders in our community by learning the importance of philanthropy.

  • Early Education and Out-of-School Time Evaluation

    Ongoing Since 2017

    The Work, Families & Children research group (WFC) at the Wellesley Centers for Women serves as a research partner to James Bell Associates in an evaluation of the Children’s Investment Fund’s Early Education and Out-of-School Time (EEOST) Capital Grant Program in Massachusetts.

  • 21st Century Community Learning Centers and Literacy Skills

    Ongoing since 2017

    In partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE), and the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE), researchers at American Institutes for Research and the National Institute on Out-of-School Time (NIOST) at the Wellesley Centers for Women are undertaking a study that explores how high-quality out-of-school time (OST) programs can promote participants’ literacy development and the role social and emotional learning (SEL) may play in supporting the development of literacy-related skills.

  • Environment Rating Scales Reliable Rater

    Ongoing since 2016

    Provide site visits to programs seeking MA-QRIS Levels 3 and 4.

  • Impact of National AfterSchool Association (NAA) Physical Activity Standards on Out-of-School Time Program Policies and Practice

    Ongoing since 2014

    Pilot survey to assess uptake of the NAA Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (HEPA) standards

  • Massachusetts QRIS Validation Study

    Ongoing since 2016
    The Massachusetts QRIS Validation Study, led by Joanne Roberts, Ph.D., in collaboration with UMass Donahue Institute, involved the collection of quality observations and child assessments in ECE programs participating in the QRIS system.

  • National Center on Afterschool and Summer Enrichment

    Ongoing since 2015
    Out-of-School Time

    The National Institute on Out-of-School Time (NIOST) in partnership with Education Development Center, Inc., the National Summer Learning Association, and Walter R. McDonald Associates will form and operate the National Center on Afterschool and Summer Enrichment (NCASE)

  • 21st Century Community Learning Centers

    Ongoing since 2015
    Out-of-School Time

    State Monitoring Activities with Tracking, Synthesis and Analysis, and Technical Assistance in Implementing a Successful State

  • Digital STEM Badge and Assessment Project

    Ongoing since 2015

    NIOST develops a STEM digital badge to connect student assessments with CitySpan.

  • Assessing the Professional Development Needs of BPS Early Childhood Programs


    The primary goals of this project are to describe the quality of Boston Public School early childhood programs in public schools and in community-based programs, and examine the contributions of current Boston Public School initiatives to quality programs.

  • Evaluation of “BridgeUp: STEM”

    Ongoing since 2015

    NIOST collaborates with BridgeUp: STEM to study the delivery of Computational Science (CS) and science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) learning experiences in the context of the education, science, and research resources of the AMNH to a cohort of New York City high school girls.

  • Obesity and Chronic Disease Risk Reduction in Out-of-School Time

    Ongoing since 2014

    Georgia Hall and Jean Wiecha edit a special issue of New Directions or Youth Development (NDYD) to promote awareness on how OST programs reduce the risk of obesity and chronic disease.

  • Consultant to Urban Institute's Assessment of the Massachusetts State Subsidized Child Care System

    Ongoing since 2014

    Project identifying ways to improve the regional and statewide efficiency of the distribution of state supported child care, examining the needs of eligible families in the context of the availability of the support, and considering the balance of quality early education and work supports

  • Second Stage Growth and Scaling Grants Program for Social and Emotional Learning Program Providers

    Ongoing since 2014

    Open Circle receives grant to expand service reach in school districts

  • Food-Assistance Program Participation and Child Hunger in the United States

    Ongoing since 2014
    This project data aims to demonstrate that full participation in federal meal programs results in kids eating three meals a day.

  • Technical Assistance Project for Attleboro Public Schools

    Ongoing since 2013
    Afterschool Programs

    NIOST will assist with the implementation of a new afterschool program.

  • OST (Out-of-School Time) Physical Activity Standards: Implementation Trends

    Ongoing since 2013
    Physical Activity in Out-of-School Time

    Implementation and dissemination of physical activity program for out-of-school time

  • Online Learning Pilot Program Evaluation in Wyoming

    Ongoing since 2013
    Online Learning Program Evaluation

    NIOST will evaluate a new online learning program.

  • Open Circle Boston Public School Research Study

    Ongoing since 2013
    Social and Emotional Learning

    This research and evaluation study examines process outcomes and program impact for a Kindergarten to Grade 5 implementation project in 23 elementary schools within a large urban school district.

  • Growth and Scaling Grants Program for Social and Emotional Learning Program Providers

    Ongoing since 2013
    Social and Emotional Learning

    Funding will support refining plans for growing and scaling Open Circle to serve large school districts across the U.S.

  • Campaign Coalition for Host Advocacy

    Ongoing since 2013

    NIOST will provide expertise on OST field-building, research support, and technical assistance delivery of the Healthy Out-of-School Time (HOST) Campaign.

  • Providence After School Association

    Ongoing since 2012
    Evaluation of the PASA Regular AfterZone and AfterZone Summer Scholar Programs

    This study evaluates the Regular AfterZone and AfterZone Summer Scholars programs.

  • National SEED Project

    Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity (SEED)

    The National SEED ProjectSM is a peer-led professional development program that creates conversational communities to drive personal, organizational, and societal change toward greater equity and diversity.

  • Promoting Public Awareness of the Road to Educational Equity for Girls of Color: A Multi-level Strategy

    Ongoing since 2011
    Educational Equity

    The goal of this collaborative project is to invite public discourse about overcoming barriers to educational equity for girls of color in order to affect educational policy and practice. The specific goal of the project was to create a multi-media strategy in two phases in order to stimulate conversation almongst multiple constituencies.

  • The Importance of Information in the Choice of Study Place and Field

    Ongoing since 2011
    Educational choices and higher education

    This project will evaluate how much high school seniors know about the labor market impacts related to their study choices and how additional information affects their application process and choices among alternative study places.

  • Developing and Validating Practical Teacher Assessments for Use in Center-based Pre-kindergarten Programs

    Ongoing since 2011

    The goal of this project is to produce a reliable and valid measure of teachers’ educational beliefs and knowledge of child development and ECE pedagogy that can be used to validate the effectiveness of professional development programs and interventions, as well as, to provide valuable feedback in applied settings regarding ECE teachers’ professional development needs and classroom appropriateness.

  • Men’s Changing Family Roles

    This is a study of the relation between fathers’ high levels of involvement in childrearing and various family outcomes: quality of the marriage, the mother's report of social support, the quality of the mother-child relationship and of the father-child relationship, and the quality of family interactions when the children are in elementary school.

  • APT Validation Study Phase 1: Identifying and Minimizing Measurement Error

    Ongoing since 2010
    Afterschool programs

    This study will test the Afterschool Program Practices Tool's (APT) stability and accuracy as a measure of afterschool program quality.

  • Program Practices: An Investigation of Physical Activity and Healthy Eating Standards and Practices

    Physical Activity and Healthy Eating in Out-of-School Programs

    This research study uses quantitative and qualitative data collection methods and multiple regression modeling to examine healthy eating and physical activity opportunities in a national sample of out-of-school time programs.

  • Physical Activity Study in the Natick Public Schools: Focus on BOKS

    Ongoing since 2009
    Health Benefits of Physical Activity

    This project will focus on the BOKS program, which aims to improve kids' academic performance and overall health using physical activity to jump start children's brains in the morning.

  • Professional Development Module

    Ongoing since 2009
    Professional development

    This project will analyze and prepare a report on credentialing and certification models related to professional development learning in afterschool staff and administration.

  • Afterschool Matters

    Ongoing since 2007
    A National Research, Writing and Action Initiative

    The primary objective of this project is to manage the continuation of the well established Afterschool Matters Initiative, which includes several publications and a Research Grantee program, in addition to planning for the national expansion of a related action/research writing initiative.

  • Next Generation Youth Work Coalition

    Ongoing since 2007
    Maintaining the Momentum

    The National Institute on Out-of-School Time will lead research aspects in Career Pathway's San Diego and Long Beach sites.

  • Collaborative Language and Literacy Instruction Project (CLLIP) Research and Evaluation-Year 4

    2007 - 2012
    Studying the Effectiveness of Literacy Intervention

    The CLLIP Research and Evaluation Project is designed to assess the impact of a literacy intervention for low-income poor performing school districts in the state of Ohio.

  • Boston Quality Inventory

    Ongoing since 2007
    Assessment of Boston Childcare Programs

    This project provides a comprehensive picture of the quality of Boston's Early Care and Education programs for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers, in both centers and family child care homes.

  • Afterschool Program Assessment System (APAS)

    Ongoing since 2006
    Assessing Quality Afterschool Programs

    APAS is an assessment system that helps programs link quality and youth outcomes together in a comprehensive and integrated fashion. It was developed to help address the accountability challenge that faces afterschool programs.

  • Massachusetts Early Care and Education Studies

    Ongoing since 1999
    Assessment of Early Care and Education in Massachusetts

    This group of inter-related research projects seeks to understand the state of early care and education in Massachusetts and make recommendations for quality outcomes.

  • Open Circle

    Ongoing since 1987
    Social and Emotional Learning: Kindergarten - Grade 5

    Open Circle provides evidence-based social and emotional learning (SEL) curriculum and professional development for elementary schools.

  • Gender, Race, and Inclusive Education

    Inclusive Education: K-12/Higher Ed

    Peggy McIntosh offers presentations, workshops, and consulting on: white privilege and privilege systems in general, diversifying organizational thinking, gender-fair and multicultural curricula, diversifying teaching methods, and feelings of fraudulence.

  • Work, Families and Children

    Ongoing since 1986
    Assessing Child Care Issues in Working Families
    This long-term program brings together research on employment, work and family issues, and child care as a support for working families.

  • Working Conditions and Health

    Ongoing since 1985
    Study of working conditions and impact on health
    Working Conditions and Health is a group of inter-related research projects with a common interest in understanding the relation of working conditions to the physical and mental health of workers.

  • National Institute on Out-of-School Time

    Ongoing since 1979

    NIOST supports the healthy development of children, families, and communities, and advances the OST field through our research, training, advocacy, and tools.


  • APT Validation Study III: Reducing Cultural Bias in Youth Program Quality Observations

    2017 - 2018

    Funded by William T. Grant Foundation in 2013-2015, the purpose of Afterschool Program Practices Tool (APT) II Study was to develop and test drive a multi-pronged online reliability training designed to improve rating accuracy for youth program observations.

  • Ready Educators Quality Improvement Pilot


    Pilot project in improving quality in early education and care.

  • APT Validation Study II: Improving rater reliability

    2013 - 2016
    Afterschool programs

    The goal of this study is to enhance rater accuracy of the Afterschool Program Practices Tool (APT).

  • Undergraduate Science Education Grant Evaluation

    Ongoing since 2012
    An evaluation of student outcomes 

    The Wellesley Centers for Women will develop appropriate assessments, collaborate with the Office for Institutional Research and team members to collect date, conduct data analyses, prepare reports, and provide feedback from the evaluation to Science Center and College representatives.

  • Understanding the Impact of Arts Programming on School Dropout

    Completed in 2011
    Afterschool programs and school dropout

    This study will investigate the effective practices and support offered in an arts-based afterschool programs to reduce the dropout rate among high school students.

  • State Advisory Council on Early Childhood Education and Care Needs Assessment

    Completed in 2012
    Early Childhood Education

    The purpose of this project is to inform the Massachusetts board of Early Education and Care (EEC) of the resources that will best serve families and communities in supporting the holistic development of children, youth, and families.

  • Facilities for Early Childhood and Out-of-School Time Programs: Standards and Research

    Completed in 2011
    An evaluation of physical spaces in Massachusetts child care settings.

  • Improving Teacher Quality through the National SEED Project on Inclusive Curriculum

    Ongoing since 2011
    A three-year initiative to expand the influence of the National SEED Project on Inclusive Curriculum (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity)

    The aim of this three-year initiative is to expand the influence of the National SEED Project on Inclusive Curriculum (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity), to make its model of schooling inclusiveness for all children and families, including its innovative professional development practices, more widely known and available to educators in the United States.

  • After-School Gets Moving

    Research Study on Physical Activity in OST

    The National Institute on Out-of-School Time (NIOST) conducted a research study on After-School Gets Moving, a physical activity training resource tool for out-of-school time (OST) professionals.

  • Child Care Voucher Project

    Completed 2007
    Assessing Massachusetts' Voucher System
    WCW researchers participated in a study, led by Dr. Valora Washington and under the auspices of the Bessie Tartt Wilson Children’s Foundation, to evaluate the child care voucher system in Massachusetts.

  • Outcomes Evaluation of FasTracKids

    Evaluation of Participants in FasTracKids

    The FasTracKids Research Study is a 19-month international study aimed at examining the link between participation in FasTracKids enrichment programs and child outcomes (children 4 and 5 years old). FasTracKids Enrichment Centers offer a variety of classes and activities designed to promote early learning, develop creative thinking and problem solving, build verbal communication, promote leadership and personal growth, and encourage a lifelong love of learning.

  • From Out-of-School to Outer Space: Exploring the Solar System with NASA

    Completed in 2011
    Afterschool Activities from NASA

    The project combines out-of-school time (OST) professional advisors, the National Institute on Out-of-School Time (NIOST), and NASA experts from across the agency to use research-based strategies to develop afterschool activity guides adapted from NASA Planetary Science formal education curricula.

  • Youth Worker Career Pathways Project

    Completed in 2010
    Guiding States, Localities and Organizations toward a Framework for Policy and Practice

    The Career Pathways Project will lead to a set of guidelines promoting success and strengthening the work force for afterschool providers towards stability preparation, support and commitment to the wellbeing and empowerment of youth.

  • Out of Harm's Way

    Completed in 2009
    Preventing Violence in Boston Middle Schools

    The primary goal of the Out of Harm's Way (OHW) Initiative is to address the escalating violence in a subset of middle schools in the Boston Public Schools by offering comprehensive services and care, and increasing the participation of students in after school programming. Wellesley Centers for Women and the National Institute on Out-of-School Time would perform as the project evaluator.

  • Building an Outcomes Evaluation System Phase III

    Ongoing since 2007
    Developing Youth and Family Surveys

    During this phase of work, National Institute on Out-of-School Time (NIOST) will design and develop two additional measurement tools—a youth survey (SAYO-Y) and a family survey (SAYO-F). These two tools will be used by Massachusetts Department of Education grantees to better understand youth needs, their program experiences and help pinpoint areas where youth may benefit from additional support.

  • Boston Ready

    Universal Access to Professional Development for Early Childhood Educators
    Using a randomized control design, Michelle Porche will conduct an evaluation of the Boston Ready professional development intervention to test its effectiveness.

  • Learning Circles

    Girl Scouts Mentoring

    This was an evaluation project of Learning Circles, a group mentoring program designed to provide opportunities for girls and adult mentors to meet regularly to discuss issues relevant to their lives. The results showed that girls enjoyed the opportunity for discussing issues relevant to their lives with women who were attentive.

  • NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development

    Completed in 2010
    Early Environments and the Development of Children

    This study, funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, seeks to determine the relationship between children's early experiences and their developmental outcomes.

  • Massachusetts Early Care and Education and School Readiness Study

    Completed in 2007
    Early Care and Education and School Readiness: Massachusetts

    Researchers focus on aspects of school readiness, including social and language development, along with other data such as hours in care, so as to better understand the ways in which a child's growth is influenced by situational factors. 

  • Success in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (SISTEM)

    Girls' Ongoing Success in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (SISTEM)

    While girls do well in science and math courses in middle school, they are less likely to enroll in higher-level STEM courses in high school, thus few will choose these subjects for a college major, and even fewer will complete such a major or go on to pursue a STEM career. The increased knowledge generated by this study will inform ways to increase the participation of girls and other under-represented groups (e.g., racial and ethnic minorities, low-income youth) in sustained STEM study and employment.

  • Boston Public Schools Early Childhood Studies

    Assessing Preschool and Kindergarten Programs
    The Work, Families & Children team has conducted a series of studies for the Boston Public Schools (BPS), including the BPS K1 and K2 Programs Needs Assessment, and a 2007-08 follow-up study.

  • Health and Safety in Massachusetts Early Care and Education Programs

    Assessing Health Practices in Early Education

    This project prepared a report to describe the prevalent health practices and concerns in early care and education programs in Massachusetts, as part of a larger project of the Schott Fellowship in Early Care and Education.

  • Hear Our Voices: Evaluation Project

    Completed in 2005
    Girls in Computer Clubhouses

    This project was an evaluation of an all-girls program that provides technology resources, female mentors, and a learning environment to improve girls' attitudes toward and understanding of computers.

  • Family Income, Infant Child Care, and Child Development Study

    Completed in 2005
    Child Care Centers' Influence on Infant Development

    This study followed a random sample of hundreds of children and 100 child care centers in order to examine links between family income, the quality and cost of child-care, and infant language and social development.

  • Fairer Science

    Gender and Science

    This project seeks to help scientific researchers better communicate their findings on gender as it relates to science, technology, engineering and math to key audiences: media, advocates, policy makers, public.

  • Developing Direct Connections on Bullying and Harassment to Curriculum Frameworks and Performance Standards Nationwide Using Bullyproof

    Linking Bullyproof to Curriculum Frameworks and Performance Standards: Nationwide

    This project led to the development of a teacher's manual that links curriculum on bullying and harassment directly to national education standards, based on Bullyproof curriculum.

  • Influence of Early Care and Education on Children's Outcomes and Family Functioning: An Ecological Model

    An Ecological Model: ECE, Children's Outcomes and Family Functioning

    This study examines the varying quality of child care in Massachusetts and across the nation, and its effect on children's performance and family functioning.

  • Gender Equity in Model Sites (GEMS)

    Gender Equity in Schools

    This project was centered around the question of research, funding, and results: was it possible to implement gender equity in a school over just three years?

  • Massachusetts Capacity Study

    Assessment of Massachusetts' Education Workforce

    The Capacity Study describes the current early education and care (EEC) workforce in Massachusetts and evaluates the capacity of the State’s higher education system to meet the increased demand for a qualified workforce in early education and care.

  • Maine Cost and Quality Study

    Cost and Quality of Child Care in Maine

    workfamilieschildren_small20This study sought to examine full-day, year round child care for preschool-age children in Maine to better illuminate links between the quality and the costs of early child care in Maine.

  • Global Issues Teaching Guide

    Completed in 2000
    Teaching Global Issues: Junior & High Schools
    This teaching guide was developed after scholars attended the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, and includes discussion of human rights, ethnic conflict, and biodiversity.

  • Massachusetts Cost and Quality Study

    Cost and Quality of Child Care in Massachusetts

    The goal of the Massachusetts Cost and Quality Study was to examine full-day, year-round, community-based center care for preschool-age children (2.9 years to 5 years) and for infants and toddlers, pre-k classrooms in the public schools and family child care programs.

  • SCOPE: Evaluation project

    After-School Program at Ecotarium, Massachusetts

    This three-year evaluation project was designed to measure the outcome of SCOPE, an inquiry-based science enrichment program for upper-elementary and middle-school aged girls.

  • Massachusetts Afterschool Research Study (MARS)

    Completed in 2005
    Researching Quality Afterschool Programming: Massachusetts

    This project sought to identify the most successful elements of afterschool programs in Massachusetts; including staff, policy making, funding, and program/activity participation.

  • CityWorks: Building Strong Citywide Afterschool Initiatives

    Completed in 2004
    Building Strong Afterschool Initiatives: Policy Planning

    This project sought to improve the availability and preservation of out-of-school time programming and to disseminate information on recruiting, training, development, and finance.

  • New York City Urban Debate League: Investigating Youth's Experiences in a "Democracy in Action" Afterschool Program

    Completed in 2006
    NYC Debate Teams in Afterschool Programs

    This study examined the ways in which youth participate in the League: how do they experience the democratic ideals of a debate program? How do they come to consider and participate in democracy?

  • Met Life Discovering Community Initiative: An Evaluation Project

    Completed in 2006
    Creating Communities in After-School Settings

    This was an evaluation of a national project that fosters more positive attitudes and stronger affiliations among middle school teachers, students, and parents within school communities.

  • WEEA: Review Project

    Gender Equity in Educational Materials

    This long-term project was designed to assess gender equity educational materials which were created in relation to the development of Title IX.

  • Cross-Cities Network

    Completed in 2007
    Leaders of After-School Initiatives

    This project connected high-level leaders from different cities and states to educate them on the dynamic landscape of after-school programs. in hopes of directing the influence, funding, and high expectations of these leaders towards a "critical mass" of associated initiatives across the country.

  • Women in Engineering: Evaluation Project

     Evaluating Women in Engineering

    This was an evaluation of a program that aimed to increase the number of middle school girls interested in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

  • Oral Storytelling in Math: Evaluation Project

    Learning Math through Storytelling

    This was an evaluation of materials/programs to help educators teach spatial relations and geometry through the use of storytelling, and its benefits for girls and boys.

  • Empathy Project

    1998 - 2008
    Teaching Preschoolers Empathy

    One of the major developmental tasks of preschoolers is to develop empathy; this project researches and designs curriculum in order better understand and cultivate empathy at a young and critical age.

  • Boston After-School Experiences Study (BASES)

    Experiences in Boston After-School Programs
    This study was created to better understand how children spend their after-school time, and how it may be best used to improve growth and learning. The study was stratified by ethnicity and took into account gender and social class.

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