By the time child development research reaches parents, the findings are often distorted, exaggerated, and misrepresented. Since most parents don't have the time to sift through the data, we decided to create a resource that presents research honestly and accessibly.
The Director of New York University's Early Childhood Education Program, Erin is a tenured professor and holds a Doctorate in Human Development and Psychology from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, a Masters in Teaching from Fordham University, and a Masters in School Psychology from Columbia University. Erin teaches human development and education classes to pre- and in-service teachers in New York City schools. She also co-directs a community partnership working with families and caregivers.
In addition, Erin leads a research program examining relationships with mothers and teachers and the impacts of these relationships on children's development in early and middle childhood. She also conducts randomized control trials of relationship-building interventions on the language and social development of pre-kindergarten children from low-income families and neighborhoods.
Erin has published in educational and psychology journals including the American Educational Research Journal, Journal of Educational Psychology, and Journal of Applied Psychology. Her work is supported by grants from several institutions including the Institute for Education Sciences. She is a member of the American Educational Research Association, American Psychological Association, and the Society for Research in Child Development.
Robin is a PhD student in Early Childhood Education at New York University. Erin is her doctoral advisor. Robin studies children's relationships with their preschool teachers and parents and is especially interested in how those relationships relate to anxiety in early childhood. She is working on data analysis for a study co-led by Erin of the long term impacts of INSIGHTS, an early childhood social emotional intervention that was implemented in elementary schools across New York City.
Before coming to NYU, Robin worked in preschools and elementary schools in Madrid, Copenhagen, St. Louis, and New York City. Those experiences connecting with children and teachers in the classroom and seeing theory come to life cemented her fascination with child development. Robin also worked with teams of researchers studying attachment theory and child anxiety at the Yale Child Study Center, Washington University in St. Louis, and Copenhagen University. She graduated from Washington University in St. Louis where she studied Psychology and Children's Studies.
Erin and Robin have published academic articles about social emotional learning, math and reading development, and attachment theory. Erin's work has been cited over 2000 times.
Testing Associations Between Young Children's Relationships with Mothers and Teachers
Journal of Educational Psychology
Children who have difficulties in their mother-child relationship in the first 3 years of life tend to have less close relationships with their preschool teachers sometimes also with greater conflict.
Examining Teacher–Child Relationships and Achievement as Part of an Ecological Model of Development
American Educational Research Journal
Based on a sample following 1,364 children from across the United States, children with close relationships with their elementary school teachers were found to have stronger academic achievement in third grade.
Enhancing the Academic Development of Shy Children: A Test of the Efficacy of INSIGHTS
School Psychology Review
Shy children showed gains in critical thinking and math skills after participating in INSIGHTS, a social emotional intervention we implemented in 22 elementary schools in low income neighborhoods of New York City.
While pursuing a masters degree in Early Childhood Education and Special Education at NYU, one professor made a lasting impression on me: Erin O'Connor. I was immediately inspired by her enthusiasm for child development research. I was also grateful for the way she presented critical research to our group of teachers-in-training. Erin transformed complex research studies into meaningful, engaging conversations, which later informed our teaching practices and parenting approaches.
When our Instagram worlds collided, I was thrilled to learn that Erin has partnered with PhD student Robin Neuhaus to create Scientific Mommy. Their Instagram account shares bite-sized insights to child development research. Given our commitment to providing parents and educators with valuable resources, we are thrilled to collaborate with Scientific Mommy! You can look forward to Scientific Mommy content appearing on the Rose & Rex Instagram feed each week. I recently sat down with Erin and Robin to learn more about Scientific Mommy. Read on!
-Lauren Vien, Education Director of Rose & Rex