Frequently Asked Questions - School

In general, we would like to learn more about young children’s social, emotional and cognitive development. For this part of the project, our research is geared toward determining the factors that are important for social and academic competence in the early elementary years, particularly for children who may be "at-risk" due to poverty and/or living in rural settings. While a child’s own traits and abilities and their family environment are some factors that influence a child’s development, there are also factors that are related to the child’s school setting that may help predict his or her ability to succeed. Therefore, we are very interested in learning about characteristics of children’s school classrooms and of their teachers themselves. Your school, along with many others, is an important partner in collecting much-needed data to help us better understand children growing up in rural areas.

Our data collectors will visit the classroom of each child once to observe the child’s day to day environment. The FLP staff will also schedule a subsequent visit, at a time that works best for the teacher and child, to gather data from the child one-on-one. Currently we plan to visit the child and school every school year. Currently we are funded through 2nd grade.

The FLP staff will contact you before any visit to arrange a time convenient for you and the child. At the beginning of the visit, the data collector will provide consent forms and a brief overview of the visit.

  • The data collectors will observe the classroom for one hour.
    • School visitors are there to simply (and quietly) observe the normal classroom activities. The observation will give us insight into the classroom environment and help us understand how it relates to child development. Our goal is to see a typical day and to be as "invisible" as we can in your classroom.
  • One hour with each study child
    • We will be doing basic tasks related to social and emotional competence and general intelligence.
  • Questionnaires
    • You will fill out information about you, personally, and your experience as a teacher
    • Teachers will also answer questions about their pupils and their behavior in the classroom.

To see what research FLP has done so far, explore the Home Visit Summary page.

We will only contact you if we already received parental permission.  Typically families consent the year prior to the visit.  The FLP staff will provide copies of that form to the school administrator for the district's files.  At the end of the visit, we give the child a letter to bring home to their parents so they know we visited with them that day. 

Your participation is voluntary. You are free to refuse or skip any part of the visit and/or questions at any time. Your participation in this research is completely confidential; you will only be identified by a subject number. Data is kept secured and only researchers involved with data analysis have access to the information collected.

As we have been issued what is known as a "Certificate of Confidentiality" from the federal government’s Secretary of Health and Human Services, we can protect the privacy of the families and schools involved with this study. As such, the researchers involved with this study, and any data collected, cannot be compelled or required to be released in any Federal, State, or local civil, criminal, administrative, legislative or other proceedings which would expose participants to negative outcomes of any kind.

There are no known risks that would result from participation in this study. The information gained from this study will not benefit you, your school or the children you work with directly. This study will benefit the fields of child development and education, as well as social policy-makers, by allowing us to learn more about how schools and teachers can promote social and academic competence among at-risk children.

We know teachers are quite busy with what is truly important, educating the children in your classroom We sincerely appreciate your assistance. Teachers who participate in the project will be compensated for their time with a gift card for classroom supplies as well as a gift card for each child questionnaire that they complete.