Adjunct Assistant Professor, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Institute for the Study of Child Development
Research Fellow, National Institute for Early Education Research
Contact InformationCivic Square Building, room 548
Phone (848) 932-2970
Fax (732) 932-6564
- Pre-K-3rd Systems
- Conversation Compass
Dr. Curenton studies the social, cognitive, and language development of low-income and minority children within various ecological contexts, such as parent-child interactions, early childhood education programs, the early childhood workforce, and related state and federal policies. She serves as the associate editor for Early Childhood Research Quarterly, and past associate and guest editor of Early Education and Development. Her research has been funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Office of Program Research and Evaluation, the National Academy of Science, Ford Predoctoral Fellowship, American Education Research Association, and the Foundation for Child Development. She worked as a policy fellow in the Administration for Children and Families, Office of Child Care through a Society for Research on Child Development/American Association for the Advancement of Science Policy Fellowship. She earned her Ph.D. in Developmental and Community Psychology from the University of Virginia. Dr. Curenton has been recognized as a national leader in the early education field through her appointment to the governing board of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). For more information about her projects, click on the tabs above.
Current Research Projects
- Inter-disciplinary education policy lecture series on “The Role of Pre-K-3rd Systems Development in Education Reform: Unpacking the Black Boxes of Human and Social Capital” being co-sponsored by the Foundation for Child Development , the Bloustein School, and the National Institute for Early Education Research/Graduate School of Education
- Longitudinal Effects of Early Childhood Development Programs
- Pre-K Impact Study
- Education policy
- Early childhood education and intervention
- Workforce development for early childhood teachers
- Language and social indicators of school readiness
- Education Policy
- Human Development and Public Policy
- Introduction to Planning, Public Policy, and Public Health
- Public Service Internship
- Senior Seminar
- Schilder, D. E. & Curenton, S. Kimura, S. & Lee, J. (2010, March). Supply brief: Changes in configuration of child care in Ohio. Newton, MA: Education Development Center.
- Curenton, S. M. & Craig, M. J. (2009). Shared-reading versus Oral Storytelling: Associations with preschoolers prosocial skills and problem behaviors. Early Child Development and Care, 1-24, iFirst Article.
- Curenton, S. M., & Schilder, D. E. (2009, Dec). Impact of Pre-K Expansion on Child Care for Low-Income Families: Overview Brief. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University.
- Curenton, S. M., McWey, L., M., & Bolen, M. G. (2009). Distinguishing Maltreating Versus Nonmaltreating At-Risk Families: Implications for Foster Care and Early Childhood Education Interventions. Families in Society, 90, 176-182.
- Curenton, S. M. (2008, July/August). [Review of the book Ready or Not: Leadership Choices in Early Care and Education]. Preschool Matters, 6 (2), 10.
- Curenton, S. M. (2008). Early Childhood Leaders and Literacy. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 23, 597-598.
- Curenton, S.M. & Justice, L. (2008). Children's Preliteracy Skills: Influence of Mothers' Education and Beliefs About Shared-Reading Interactions. Early Education & Development, 19:2, 261-283.
- Curenton, S.M., Craig, M. J. & Flanigan, N. (2008). Use of Decontextualized Talk Across Story Contexts: How Oral Storytelling and Emergent Reading Can Scaffold Children's Development. Early Education & Development, 19:1, 161-187.
- Sofka, A., Sutton, M., Bojczyk, K., & Curenton, S. (2007). Assessing the quality of storybook reading. In K. Pence (Ed.), Assessment in Emergent and Early Literacy. San Diego: Plural.
- Curenton, S. M. & Lucas, T. M. (2007). Assessing young children’s oral narrative skills: The story pyramid framework. In K. Pence (Ed.), Assessment in Emergent and Early Literacy. San Diego: Plural.
- Curenton, S. M. (2006). Oral storytelling: A Cultural Art that Promotes School Readiness. Young Children, 61, 78-89.
- Garner, P.W., Curenton, S & Taylor, K (2005). Predictors of Mental State Understanding in Preschoolers of Varying Socioeconomic Backgrounds. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 29, 271-281.
- Curenton, S.M. (2005). Towards Better Definition and Measurement in Early Childhood Professional Development. In M. Zaslow & I. Martinez-Beck (Eds). Early Childhood Professional Development and Children’s Successful Transition to Elementary School. Baltimore: Brooks.
- Curenton, S.M. (2004). The association between narratives and theory of mind for low-income preschoolers. Early Education and Development, 15, 121-145.
- Curenton, S.M. & Justice, L. (2004). African American and Caucasian Preschoolers’ Use of Decontextualized Language: Use of Literate Language Features in Oral Narratives. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in the Schools, 35, 240-253.
- Curenton S.M. (2003). Low-income Preschoolers’ False Belief Performance. Journal of Genetic Psychology, 164(4), 411-424.
- Curenton, S.M., & Wilson, M.N. (2003). “I’m happy with my mommy”: Low-income preschoolers’ causal attributions for emotions. Early Education and Development, 14(2), 199- 213.
- Lillard, A. S., Zeljo, A., Curenton, S. M., & Seja, A. (2000). Children’s understanding of the animacy constraint on pretense. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 46, 21-44.
- Lillard, A. S., & Curenton, S. M. (1999). Do young children understand what others feel, want, and know? Young Children, 54(5), 52-57.
November 15, 2011
Improving Impacts of Classrooms: Professional Development and Classroom Observation
Dr. Robert Pianta, Dean of the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia, as well as the Novartis US Foundation Professor of Education and a Professor in the Department of Psychology. He serves as Director of the National Center for Research in Early Childhood Education and the Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning.
Dean Pianta and his education research team have proven what it takes to build better teachers by developing a system to both assess and improve a teachers effectiveness in the classroom. The Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) is an observational measure that has been tested and proven effective in several large national studies and is being utilized by every Head Start program in the country to assess teacher effectiveness and quality. In Piantas recommendations to the Obama Presidential Transition Team for public education, he wrote, Good teachers are key. If we want to improve our students learning, we need to improve the quality of teachers and of teaching.
October 18, 2011
The Importance of Kindergarten-Entry Academic Skills
Dr. Greg J. Duncan, University of California, Irvine
Recent research shows that future school achievement is much less a function of a childs’ school-entry social and emotional development than concrete literacy and numeracy skills like knowing letters, word sounds, numbers and ordinality. Expanding the conception of school success to include not only doing well on achievement tests but also completing high school and attending college changes the picture somewhat. School –entry achievement and anti-social behaviors are only very modestly predictive of these outcomes. More consequential was whether persistent learning or behavior problems were evident in primary school. The best bets for promoting later school achievement would appear to be proven preschool math and literacy curricula, while longer-run educational attainments are most likely to be influenced by curricula or other programs that ensure that children avoid persistent achievement and anti-social behavior problems in primary school.
September 20, 2011
The Link Between Third Grade Reading Skills and High School Graduation Rates
Donald J. Hernandez, Professor, Department of Sociology, Hunter College and The Graduate Center, City University of New York, and Senior Advisor, Foundation for Child development
Educators and researchers have long recognized the importance of mastering reading by the end of third grade. Early reading skills are a primary focus of federal education policy. President Obama’s Blueprint for Reform : The Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary School Act calls for “Putting Reading First.” This lecture presents evidence on calculations of high school graduation rates based on children’s third-grade reading levels and poverty experiences. It identifies specific groups of children who are especially likely to experience low reading skills, and it explores implications for education reform.
March 17, 2011
Latino Early Learning Circumstances and Opportunities
Dr. Gene Garcia, Vice President for University-School Partnerships, Arizona State University Latino Early Learning Circumstances and Opportunities
This is an interdisciplinary discussion series of early education policy issues, “The Role of Pre-K–3rd Systems Development in Education Reform: Unpacking the Black Boxes of Human and Social Capital.” The series explores the role families, educational institutions, and communities play in fostering social capital to improve educational outcomes for socioeconomically disadvantaged children. These lectures are funded by the Foundation for Child Development and sponsored by the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy and the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University.
February 22, 2011
Early Learning at the U.S. Department of Education and Its Impact on Human and Social Capital
Dr. Jacqueline Jones, Senior Advisor to the Secretary for Early Learning, U.S. Dept. of Education
In the last twenty-five months, the President has continued his commitment to improving the quality of early learning programs and achieving more robust outcomes for young children. The Department has adopted a P-12 educational reform agenda that integrates early learning in high-profile programs and in the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. This provides a unique opportunity to impact outcomes for young children and their teachers, as well as build cooperative relationships and positive interactions between children, educators, families and other community members.
Information coming soon