The term “abecedarian” means to learn the rudiments of something, or alphabetical arrangement. In educational circles, the Abecedarian Project refers to a study which explores the impact of early childhood education on babies who were born between 1972 and 1977. Researchers have been following the babies across their lifespan to determine the impact early childhood educational opportunities have on them. I am so lucky to be able to talk with interesting, smart, and charismatic leaders on our Buttercup iTunes show. Recently, I got a chance to talk with Dr. Craig Ramey who pioneered the legendary Abecedarian Project.
It is amazing to me how researchers can conduct longitudinal studies without losing participants over time. Attrition, or participants dropping out of a study, can be a problem in research. When I asked Dr. Ramey about this he said that as a researcher he tries to share his appreciation for their contribution and treat participants with respect. He and his team do things like send birthday and holiday greeting cards to participants. The work he and his team do to maintain participation by the people in their study has proven a successful strategy because the babies are turning 45 years old this year and are still participating in the Abecedarian Project.
Thank you to Drs. Craig and Sharon Ramey and all involved in the Abecedarian study for your major contribution to child development research. Check out the podcast to hear Dr. Ramey discuss the interesting things they have found about the importance of early childhood education, as well as implications for policy development. http://www.marisamacy.com/podcast/