story by Claire Miller
College of Education & Human Development Associate Professor Chenyi Zhang received a $50,000 grant from the Sandra Dunagan Deal Center for Early Language and Literacy to incorporate trauma-informed practices into early childhood literacy instruction.
He will work with Department of Early Childhood and Elementary Education Professor Gary Bingham and Assistant Professor Natalie Davis on the project, entitled, “Supporting Early Childhood Teachers’ Literacy Instruction During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Trauma-Informed Professional Learning Approach,” which will focus on designing and implementing a professional development program for Georgia Pre-K teachers working in communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.
In particular, Zhang will survey Pre-K teachers to identify the main challenges they face when teaching literacy in the pandemic. He’ll use this information to create classroom literacy activities that both emphasize early literacy skills and support social-emotional learning for children coping with COVID-19-related stress.
The project will also offer professional development workshops for teachers to learn self-help strategies for their mental health and emotional well-being before implementing the literacy activities with their students.
“Teachers who participate in this study will be able to use this trauma-informed approach to provide a positive learning environment online or in-person for children. This way, children’s mental health, as well as literacy and social emotional skills can be promoted through a variety of engaging literacy activities,” Zhang said.
For more information about the Sandra Dunagan Deal Center for Early Language and Literacy, visit https://galiteracycenter.org.