Early Childhood Partnerships


Early Childhood Partnerships (ECP) is a Community-University service and research collaborative dedicated to improving the lives of vulnerable children and families, especially those at developmental risk and/or with disabilities (birth to 8 years) and to enhancing the practices of the professionals who support them.

ECP is affiliated with both the Schools of Education (Psychology-in-Education, Applied Developmental Psychology) and Medicine (Pediatrics; Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC) at the University of Pittsburgh.  

ECP’s grants and contracts are affiliated with the School of Education, Department of Psychology-in-Education, Applied Developmental Psychology program.  Funding for ECP initiatives derive from community-university partnership grants from community agencies, schools, non-profits, and also foundations.

ECP promotes innovative and effective prevention, intervention, resources, advocacy, policy, and applied research delivered on-site in natural community settings for early childhood professionals and young children. ECP uses mentoring and "participatory action research" methods to promote the use of "best practices" by interdisciplinary professionals. 

The SPECS (Scaling Progress in Early Childhood Settings) team within ECP is comprised of faculty and graduate student interns who are experts in conducting applied program evaluation research with community programs and partners in natural real-world settings and routines using innovative assessment and analytical methods.

Simply, ECP forges collaborative relationships with community partners to enable them to practice and prove "how good they are at what they do."

ECP has been recognized as an exemplary institute by the Chancellor’s Office of the University of Pittsburgh through the 2001 Distinguished Public Service Award; the 2008 Penn State University Excellence in Education Alumni Award; the 2014 Penn State University Distinguished Alumni Fellows Award; and the Office of Head Start, US Department of Health and Human Services in 2005 for its HealthyCHILD program. 


Stephen J. Bagnato, Ed.D., NCSP
Principal Investigator
Founder, Early Childhood Partnerships (www.earlychildhoodpartnerships.org)


Check out some of our programs!

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