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Language Impacts of Early Child Education

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2021 Fall ASEE Middle Atlantic Section Meeting


Virtually Hosted by the section

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November 12, 2021

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November 12, 2021

End Date

November 13, 2021

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Gabriela Maria Morales University of South Carolina Beaufort

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I am a senior at the University of South Carolina Beaufort where I studied computer science. I am a first generation student to study in the United States in my family. This summer I had the pleasure to work with a local boys and girls club early education facility where I discovered how important a cultural impact can have on a child's development.

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Ronald Erdei University of South Carolina Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Ronald Erdei is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at the University of South Carolina Beaufort. A graduate of Purdue University (PhD 2016), his research focuses primarily on reducing barriers to the learning process in college students. Topics of interest include computer science pedagogy, collaborative learning in college students, and human-centered design. Of particular interest are the development and application of instructional practices that provide benefits secondary to learning (i.e., in addition to learning), such as those that facilitate in learners increased self-efficacy, increased retention/graduation rate, increased matriculation into the workforce, and/or development of professional identity.

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William Rigoberto Mercado University of South Carolina

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I am an undergraduate at the University of South Carolina Beaufort (USCB) studying Computer Science, soon to graduate in December of 2021. I am a first generation college student within my family in the United States.

I take an interest in learning how technological solutions are utilized and the effectiveness of these solutions. Additionally, I want to be able to understand real-world problems and potential solutions to assess these issues.

During the summer of 2021, I took the opportunity to work with an early learning organization, The Children's Center (TCC), in South Carolina. Continuing the project started by a peer at USCB and working with another peer the summer of 2021, I learned the importance of working with real world problems and the iterative design process.

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Conference: ASEE Middle Atlantic Section – 2021 Fall Conference URL:

Submission Title: Cultural Impacts of Early Child Education Primary Author: Gabriela Morales Secondary Authors: William Mercado, Ronald Erdei, Sarah Swofford

Abstract: This student paper presents our assistance to a community partner that is continually seeking to improve its ability to serve its increasingly diverse community. More specifically, this paper focuses on our assistance to a provider of early education in our community that increased the efficacy of communication with its ESL (English as a second language) stakeholders. Our community partner, The Children’s Center (TCC) is a small, nonprofit organization of early childhood education and affordable quality childcare for working families in our community [1]. TCC is in Hilton Head Island, an affluent area that attracts wealth. The community possesses a vast divide in wealth, as many members of the community work in low-paying service, sales, and clerical professions [2], and many members are in the opposite end of the wealth divide. Consequently, many community members are unable to afford the traditionally high cost of early childhood education and childcare – it is these community members that are directly served by TCC. TCC employs a sliding tuition scale based on parental income, enabling access to early childhood education to those in our community who would otherwise be unable to afford it. Families served by TCC are racially and ethnically diverse; approximately 50% are Black, Hispanic, or Indigenous. These demographics align with the United States Census Bureau’s 2019 report on Income and Poverty in the United States [3]. In 2017, South Carolina codified a set of early learning standards and developmental indicators (SC-ELS) to describe learning and set expectations for children from birth through kindergarten entry [5]. These early learning practices range across a variety of topics from cognitive development, emotional development, language development, and much more. This wide range of variables to measure makes data collection and data entry cumbersome. Worse, this complexity also makes data analysis, data interpretation, and result dissemination (i.e., information sharing) nearly impossible for small non-profit early education providers. These processes traditionally lack sufficient resources to build or purchase IT tools. This project can be described in two phases. My work begins in Phase 2 where I focus on communication of results to teachers, parents, and other caregivers. Shared understanding is an important step to further a child's development; unfortunately, it is often hindered by divisions in language. In response, I modify the language in report cards shared with parents of TCC’s multi-cultural students. My initial investigation into the impact of these changes was promising and is included in the poster. My work is ongoing, and I will be further exploring the impact of these changes and others like them as I believe it is critical for schools to modify their teaching approaches to benefit all students.

References: [1] "The Children's Center: About Us," 2/2, 2020; [2] "Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) Manual," O. S. a. H. A. United States Department of Labor, ed. [3] J. Semega, M. Kollar, E. A. Shrider, and J. Creamer, Income and Poverty in the United States: 2019, P60-270, United States Census Bureau, U.S. Government Publishing Office, 2020. [4] "Early Learning Standards and Guidelines," Department of Health and Human Services, National Center on Early Childhood Quality Assurance, 2016. [5] "South Carolina Department of Education: Early Learning Standards," 02/02, 2020;

Morales, G. M., & Erdei, R., & Mercado, W. R. (2021, November), Language Impacts of Early Child Education Paper presented at 2021 Fall ASEE Middle Atlantic Section Meeting, Virtually Hosted by the section.

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