Wilton resident Caroline Perry and fellow Eastern Connecticut State University student Morgan Winship presented their research on Authentic Experiences with Families: Impact on Pre-service Teachers’ Knowledge and Dispositions at the National Coalition of Campus Children’s Centers conference in Albuquerque, N.M., earlier this month.

Caroline, a senior early childhood education and English major, said “the essence” of the research was to “find out how positive family-teacher communication can strengthen a classroom's interpersonal environment.”

"Family communication is such a large and integral part of a classroom teacher’s role,” she said. “However, there is minimal preparation for this component in education certification programs."

Under the mentorship of early childhood education professor Jeffrey Trawick-Smith and Niloufar Rezai, director of Eastern’s Child and Family Development Resource Center (CFDRC), Caroline and Morgan developed strong relationships with families of children enrolled at their university’s CFDRC preschool by maintaining communication with children’s families, going on a home visit, planning a family event at the center and more.

"We found that family communication is such a valuable resource for creating meaningful learning experiences for children,” said Caroline.

“If you support your students’ families, they will support you. Together, you become a strong team with a shared interest: their child’s success.”

Following their successful presentation at the conference, Caroline, Morgan and their mentors aim to publish their results in the Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education.