Wayne State University

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WSU faculty and graduate students are permitted supervised access to MPSI ECC for research purposes. MPSI ECC follows the  research guidelines as outlined by Wayne State University.

 Goals for Research in Child Development

The Early Childhood Center at Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute is nationally known and respected for its research in the area of child development. The Center serves children (age 2 1/2 to 5) of students, faculty, staff and families in the metro Detroit area. The center is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

In promoting research and understanding of the young child, the Early Childhood Center will:

  • Ensure that research activities are safe and compatible with children's ongoing preschool experiences.
  • Provide opportunities to WSU faculty and students to observe and study the development of children representing the diversity of children living within the metropolitan area of Detroit.
  • Provide a setting for WSU faculty and students to conduct unobtrusive observation and collection of information on children's growth and development.
  • Provide access, with staff and parental consent, for research on child development at WSU that may require work with individual children or small groups of children.
  • Provide a setting, with parental consent and collaboration, for the study of optimal ways of assisting children's development in a preschool environment.

Research Facilities

The Early Childhood Center contains observation rooms equipped with one-way mirrors that permit unobtrusive observation of children in every classroom. Sound systems permit collection of audio data from classrooms. A room is also available for individual or small group interviewing and testing.

Research Procedures

Requests for research at the Early Childhood Center are reviewed for approval by the ECC Executive Director Anna Miller, who has final project approval authority. Prospective researchers must provide a copy of an approved Human Investigation Committee Behavioral Protocol Summary Form, including an approved consent form for parents. Mrs. Miller can emailed or reached by telephone at 313-577-1678.

Researchers should also write a cover letter requesting permission to conduct the project at the ECC. The letter should briefly describe the proposed study, state a time line and daily schedule for all aspects of the study involving the ECC, and describe the characteristics of children desired for inclusion in the proposed project. Names and descriptions of everyone who will observe or collect information in the ECC must be included. A description for what children (and staff and parents, if applicable) will be asked to do should be stated in the letter, along with any relevant information not included in the Human Investigation forms. Finally, researchers should indicate what facilities at the ECC they will need for their proposed study.

Once a project is approved by the Executive Director, a copy of the descriptive letter will be given to parents where appropriate, or researchers may be asked to generate a version of the letter addressed specifically to parents. A copy of the consent form must accompany each parental permission letter.

Parental permission is required to take children out of the classroom, such as to the interviewing room or to the playground. Observational studies in which videotapes or films are used also require parental consent. Parental permission is not required for observational studies without videotape or film records