The Merrill-Palmer Skillman Institute’s Early Childhood Center (MPSI ECC) is nationally known and respected for its research and work in the area of child development. The MPSI ECC serves the children of students, faculty, staff and the greater metro Detroit area from 2 ½ -5 years old. The center is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Please feel free to call for additional information or tours of the facility.
Program Goals for Research
- The ECC will ensure that research activities are safe and compatible with children's ongoing preschool experiences.
- The ECC will 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.
- The ECC will provide a setting for WSU faculty and students to conduct unobtrusive observation and collection of information on children's growth and development.
- The ECC will 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.
- The ECC will provide a setting, with parental consent and collaboration, for the study of optimal ways of assisting children's development in a preschool environment.
The Early Childhood Center is equipped with observation rooms equipped with one-way mirrors that permit unobtrusive observation of children in every classroom. Sound systems permit collection of audible data from classrooms. A room is also available for individual or small group interviewing and testing.
Requests for research at the Early Childhood Center are reviewed for approval by the ECC Executive Director, who has final authority to approve projects conducted in the ECC. Prospective researchers must provide a copy of an approved Human Investigation Committee Behavioral Protocol Summary Form, including an approved consent form for parents.
In addition, researchers should 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 set of the letters addressed specifically to parents. A copy of the consent form must accompany each parental permission letter.
Parental permission is required for taking children out of the classroom, e.g. 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