Research at the CYC
A CYC Mission
The Center for Young Children (CYC) is a laboratory school with a three-fold mission of educating children, training teachers and supporting and conducting research studies.
Research is a component of the CYC's three-fold mission. Parents enroll their children in the school with an understanding that they will be asked to participate in center-approved research studies throughout the school year. Such studies increase information about how children develop and learn . Many studies are observational in nature and do not require the child to leave the classroom, while other studies require individual children's participation, usually outside the classroom.
Research at the CYC is divided into two categories: observational studies and participatory studies.
- Observational Studies
- Undergraduate and graduate students observe children in a naturalistic classroom setting. Observation rooms allow students to view the cognitive, social, emotional, and physical development of children without classroom presence. Many university courses have observational components and CYC serves this academic purpose.
- Participatory Studies
- Researchers requesting permission to interview young children outside the classroom must follow specific rules. Approval must come from the University's Institutional Review Board (IRB). Documentation of this approval must be given to the Director for final approval. Researchers request parental permission to interview a child and participate in the study. When parental permission forms are returned, a child will be allowed to participate. Most children enjoy participating in these special activities, but a child may decline to speak to a researcher at any time in the process. A child's wishes are always respected. Researchers are asked to make every effort to disseminate results to the parents in a timely manner.
Dr. Melanie Killen
Dr. Melanie Killen from the Department of Human Development and Quantitative Methodology has been conducting research at the CYC for over 15 years. She received her doctoral degree from the University of California, Berkeley in 1985 and has been conducting research on children’s social and moral development for over 20 years. The topics that she studies with young children include conflict resolution, moral judgment, social cognition, social exclusion, intergroup attitudes, gender stereotypes, and peer relationships. She has a team of doctoral students and undergraduate research assistants who are well trained in interview methodologies with young children. She greatly values the wonderful center that we have on campus for conducting research on children’s development. Currently she is conducting two studies at the CYC, one on moral judgment and intentionality understanding, and the second on social exclusion and inclusion in peer groups. She routinely distributes reports to the families at the CYC regarding the findings from her studies.
Dr. Melanie Killen's Social and Moral Development Laboratory web site.
Dr. Jeffrey Lidz and Dr. Andrea Zukowski
The Department of Linguistics at the University of Maryland, College Park has conducted research at the Center for Young Children for many years. Currently led by Dr. Jeffrey Lidz who has been studying language acquisition for over ten years. This research focuses on how children learn the structure of sentences in their language (syntax) and how sentence structure relates to meaning (semantics). An important component of this research involves the comparison of children learning a wide range of languages. The children who attend CYC come from various cultures and this allows researchers to compare and contrast language acquisition patterns.
Dr. Geetha Ramani
Dr. Ramani is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Human Development and Quantitative Methodology. Before coming to University of Maryland in 2008, Dr. Ramani received her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh and worked as a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Carnegie Mellon University. Dr. Ramani’s research focuses on how young children’s social interactions with adults and peers influence their cognitive development. She is also interested in how play and informal learning activities can promote children’s thinking in the areas of mathematics, problem solving, and planning. Dr. Ramani believes that the CYC is an ideal place to conduct her research because of the value the center places on using motivating activities, games, and lessons to help preschoolers learn about math and develop their problem-solving skills.
Dr. Ramani's Early Childhood Interaction Lab web site.
Dr. Meredith Rowe
Dr. Meredith Rowe is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Human Development and Quantitative Methodology. She received her doctoral degree in Human Development and Psychology from the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University. Dr. Rowe's research examines the role of parents and family factors in child language development. She also studies ways to facilitate language learning in young children and recently conducted a study at the CYC on the role of gestures and pictures in vocabulary learning.
Dr. Hedy Teglasi
Hedwig Teglasi, Ph.D., ABPP, a professor in the School Psychology Program within the Department of Counseling, Higher Education and Special Education at the University of Maryland, and Fellow of the American Psychological Association, Society for Personality Assessment, and American Academy of School Psychology, has published numerous journal articles, book chapters and books on topics relevant to personality, temperament, and social competence interventions. She has published two books on storytelling methods: Clinical Use of Storytelling and Essentials of TAT and Other Storytelling Assessment Techniques (now in its second edition). Dr. Teglasi has served as an associate editor of the School Psychology Quarterly, as member of several Editorial Boards, and as guest editor and co-editor of special topics journal issues about temperament and personality assessment. She has recently served as President of the American Board of School Psychology and currently serves as treasurer of the American Academy of School Psychology. Dr. Teglasi and her students have conducted research at the CYC on children's temperament, social understanding, and social competence. She has also presented workshops to the teachers.
How to Schedule Research
If you are interested in scheduling research at the CYC, please contact Dr. Fran Favretto, the CYC Director at: for guidelines and application.