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Editorial Lilian G. Katz & Dianne Rothenberg

Keywords: Early Childhood Education, Electronic Journals, Scholarly Journals

This inaugural issue of Early Childhood Research & Practice (ECRP), the first online refereed journal in the field of early childhood education, marks the 33rd year of the ERIC Clearinghouse on Elementary and Early Childhood Education (ERIC/EECE) at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign.

We offer this biannual online journal as part of ERIC/EECE’s mission to bring to the early childhood community articles, commentaries, reviews, information, and important announcements that address the whole range of current issues in all aspects of practice in the field. The journal will emphasize articles on research and development related to children and parents, and on such topics as the early childhood curriculum, parent participation, teacher and caregiver development and education, policy, and the entire spectrum of emerging ideas, issues, and problems related to practice in the field.

While the number of journals and other regular publications in the field has grown dramatically in the last three decades, we are especially pleased that with this new journal we are able to capitalize on the variety of resources available through the new information technologies. We are continuing to seek submissions that will build on the possibilities for using video, sound, hypertext links, searching capabilities, re-analyzable data sets, and the interactivity of the Internet—as well as text and graphics. Early Childhood Research & Practice is designed to combine the quality ensured by peer review with the flexibility and enhancements made possible by an electronic format, as described by Bernard Cesarone in this issue.

The journal will have three regular sections. The first, titled "Research and Practice," offers research papers on current practice-related issues and topics in the field of early childhood education. The second section, "Observations and Reflections," includes a variety of formats designed to provoke readers’ responses and reactions. Third, the "Features" section presents brief reports and announcements on current developments that we believe to be of interest to readers. We invite submissions for each of these three sections.

The first article presented in the "Research and Practice" section, by McClellan and Kinsey, offers welcome empirical data on the benefits of mixed-age grouping for children’s social behavior. Hains, Conceição-Runlee, Caro, and Marchel describe the current status of distance education and the development of early childhood special education personnel, illustrating the central design issues and the processes involved in course development. Davis’s article shares many insights into the complexities of collaboration between a university school of education and an inner-city elementary school under the rubric of a Professional Development School. Teaching in Australia presents many of the same challenges as elsewhere, as we learn from Sumsion’s account of the development of a teacher’s relationships with parents during her first 2 years of teaching. Sumsion draws implications for further research and development in this very important area of early childhood practice.

In the "Observations and Reflections" section, Clemens discusses the potential value to young children of engaging in the processes of re-visiting and editing their own work, and Katz shares some reflections on her work with early childhood education colleagues in many countries around the globe.

The "Features" section includes an article by Bernard Cesarone, Webmaster of ERIC/EECE, that considers possibilities for presenting information in electronic journals using Internet technologies, especially in the context of this journal. The article on projects presented here was contributed by Sylvia Chard and includes photographs that help us appreciate the kind of learning that good project work can provide. "New at ERIC/EECE" is also planned as a regular feature of ECRP, and we encourage you to examine its listing of new resources.

ECRP will publish two issues (available at no cost to users) in 1999. In 2000, we plan to make ECRP a quarterly publication. We are currently exploring possibilities for funding a quarterly journal. Author guidelines are available at ECRP’s Web site at: http://ecrp.illinois.edu/. Questions for ECRP editors can be emailed to ecrp (at sign) illinois.edu.

We look forward to hearing your ideas and suggestions as we develop this new resource for the field of early childhood education.