The Buffett Early Childhood Institute is an innovative, multidisciplinary research, practice, and policy institute of the four University of Nebraska campuses. Our mission is to ensure all children, birth to age 8, especially those who are vulnerable because of poverty, abuse, or developmental, learning, or behavioral challenges, have the opportunity to reach their potential. We aim to transform early childhood development and education through applied research, professional preparation for teachers and caregivers, and outreach to inform state and national policy related to children and families.
Over our first year of activities the Institute has generated a great deal of excitement and produced significant accomplishments. We have created a comprehensive master strategic plan, established a stable financial and operational framework, engaged in thoughtful and detailed planning for future expansion, conducted extensiv e consultation and collaboration with colleagues and stakeholders, recruited senior staff, established Institute space on two campuses, held widespread community outreach, and forged initial steps to launch the Institute’s signature programs.
The Institute’s work is best described by its two signature programs:
The Achievement Gap Challenge, designed to narrow or eliminate the gap in learning and development between economically advantaged and disadvantaged children in Nebraska
The Workforce Development Program, intended to increase the quality and quantity of early childhood educators.
During the coming year we will be collaborating with the Learning Community to begin to create birth – Grade 3 prototypes that will have an impact on the achievement gap. We will also be conducting a statewide survey of all early childhood personnel preparation programs to obtain a baseline on the needs of the workforce. Many other plans and programs are in the works for next year as well. We look forward to partnering closely with First Five Nebraska and other colleagues across the state to reach our goal of making Nebraska the best place in the nation to be a baby.
Samuel J. Meisels, Ed.D.
Founding Executive Director
Buffett Early Childhood Institute
University of Nebraska