Project Title: 

Early Academic Readiness and Learning Intervention (EARLI)

Funding detail: 
NEA Research Lab
University of California, San Diego
Principal Investigator: 
John Iversen, PhD, Timothy Brown, PhD
Project summary: 

The University of California, San Diego will establish a group of Early Academic Readiness and Learning Intervention (EARLI) studies that will test the influence of various school-day musical interventions on early childhood development. Activities include a phased research plan beginning with an initial feasibility study of a vocal music intervention, with a focus on assessing language, brain, and social development outcomes. Children in Transitional Kindergarten (TK) classes who participate in a daily singing program will be assessed three times a year on cognitive, affective, social, academic, and music skills through standardized and experimental performance-based measures, observational measures, and teacher and parent questionnaires. The research agenda will progress toward a major, multidimensional study of the effects of several hypothesized enhancing and protective aspects of musical experiences during childhood. This Research Lab builds on an interdisciplinary team's deep experience in music and large-scale longitudinal child development studies, bridging fields such as cognitive science, developmental psychology, neuroscience, musicology, and education. The ultimate goal is to identify and characterize potential effects and to define their interactions with child's age, status of brain development, and genetic variation. Partners include nonprofit arts partner San Diego Children's Choir and education partner Vista Unified School District.

The research agenda aims to address the following research questions:

  • Can improved outcomes in learning, emotional well-being, and/or school engagement be demonstrated for early childhood music interventions? If so, what is the strength of the relationship, and are these effects sustained through elementary school?;
  • How do learning-related outcomes associated with arts participation vary by age, socioeconomic characteristics, and other demographic and behavioral patterns?; and
  • What are the most sensitive neurocognitive tests and technologies to measure outcomes?
Other Key Personnel: 
  • Terry Jernigan, PhD
  • Matthew Doyle, EdD
  • Margie Orem, MA

For more information on this Lab, see their Research Lab webpage.

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