2008 – Edward Zigler, Walter Gilliam and Stephanie Jones

2008 – A Vision for Universal Preschool Education

Making preschool available to all children age 3 and older in the United States would carry great benefits, say three scholars who have won the 2008 University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award in Education.

 Zigler  Gilliam  Jones
Edward Zigler Walter Gilliam Stephanie Jones

The change would improve the school readiness of the nation’s young children, fill a gap for working families, lower the high school dropout rate, reduce crime and boost the economy, award winners Edward Zigler, Walter Gilliam and Stephanie Jones, argue in their winning 2006 book, A Vision for Universal Preschool Education.

Forty U.S. states now fund pre-kindergarten programs, but the programs enroll fewer than 10 percent of all preschoolers, Zigler, Gilliam and Jones found.

Using research gathered over four decades, the winners set out specific actions that can be taken to develop good universal preschool systems. The book “stands alone in its field for its accessibility, clarity, timeliness and ability to combine a solid research background with practical recommendations,” said their award nomination.

Zigler, a Yale University professor emeritus of psychology who helped found the nation’s Head Start program, directs a child development and social policy center at Yale that carries his name.

Gilliam, a Yale psychologist, conducts research on the effects of preschool programs, while Stephanie Jones, a Fordham University psychologist, studies the social and emotional aspects of early childhood and adolescence.

About Edward Zigler

Edward Zigler, Sterling professor emeritus of psychology and director emeritus of the Edward Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy at Yale University, has dedicated his career to child development and its application to early childhood education.

His studies have focused on mental retardation, psychopathology and the effects of out-of-home care on the children of working parents, but he is best known for his work on intervention programs for economically disadvantaged children.

In 1964, he served on a federal panel of child development experts that planned Head Start, a program designed to promote healthy development and learning in low-income children.

In 1970, Zigler became the first director of the Office of Child Development (now the Administration on Children, Youth and Families) and chief of the U.S. Children’s Bureau. He implemented the Home Start and Healthy Start programs, developed the first performance standards for Head Start, created the first parenting education program for adolescents in schools and established the Office of Child Care. He has since served on many advisory panels for the Head Start program.

Zigler earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Missouri at Kansas City and his doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Texas. He taught at the University of Missouri at Columbia for one year before moving to Yale University in 1959. At Yale, he founded the Yale Bush Center in Child Development and Social Policy in 1978, which was renamed for Zigler in 2005.

About Walter Gilliam

Walter Gilliam is assistant professor of child psychiatry and psychology and director of the Edward Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy at Yale University.

Gilliam’s research focuses on improving pre-kindergarten and child care services and the impact of early childhood education on school readiness and educational achievement. He earned a doctorate in child psychology from the University of Kentucky in 1996.

About Stephanie Jones

Stephanie Jones is assistant professor of psychology at Fordham University. Her research interests include the effects of poverty and exposure to violence on social and emotional development in early childhood.

In 2002, she received a doctorate from Yale University, where she trained under Zigler at the Edward Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy.