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The Social-Emotional Teaching & Learning Lab

Conducting rigorous research to benefit the emotional well-being of young children and the people who care for them.

What Our Research Says

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About 35% of the responding Illinois programs had expelled at least one child in the 2019. On average, programs expelled almost 2% of children enrolled in their programs. However rates of expulsion and knowledge of the new law varied widely by program type, funding, location, and populations served. Zinsser, Silver, Hussaini, & Zulauf (2019)

To ensure a highly qualified workforce, programs and policymakers must attend to both the “pipeline” through which new early childhood educators (ECEs) enter the workforce and the “pathways” by which ECEs work toward and obtain the necessary education and credentials for different roles within the field. Zinsser, Main, Torres & Connor (2019)

Thinking Man on Couch

Teachers with greater levels of depression are more likely to request that a child be expelled from their care but that this association is attenuated by their centers’ utilization of infant/early childhood mental health consultation services. Attending to teacher mental health and early childhood mental health consultants may be important in reducing rates of exclusionary discipline in early education settings. Silver & Zinsser (2020)

Father and Daughter

When teachers believe they have high-quality relationships with children's parents they are less likely to describe those children as at high-risk of being expelled in the future. This protective effect is especially potent for Black children, who are disproportionately expelled nationwide. But parent-teacher relationships did not protect children who had previously been expelled from being at-risk of future expulsions. Zulauf & Zinsser (2021)

Children in Classroom

Emotion-focused teaching practices (modeling, responding, instructing) vary across the classroom. These instances of practices are related to children's social interactions with teachers and peers, as well as engagements in tasks. Curby et. al (2021)


There are calls to increase investment in the support of family childcare (FCC) workforce by addressing the FCC providers' needs through recognition of differences in workplace appraisals and provider feelings at work. Park, Zinsser, & Jeon (2021)

The SETLers

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