The Abecedarian Approach: Providing Evidence-Based Care and Education in Early Childhood Settings (Levels I and II)

For the first time in the United States, training is available for using the Abecedarian Approach with fidelity. Developed by Dr. Joseph Sparling (right) in the 1970s and significantly updated since then, the Abecedarian Approach has produced far-reaching and significant outcomes for children that have lasted for decades, as documented by the most famous study in early childhood care and education, FPG’s Abecedarian Project. Ongoing research has demonstrated the long-term educational, economic, and health benefits of the Abecedarian Approach, and a new international study shows dramatic developmental improvement for children from low-resource families after receiving the Abecedarian Approach through weekly home visits for the first 3 years of life.  

FPG offers two levels of training on the Abecedarian Approach. Level I is a prerequisite for Level II, but you may take both levels of training consecutively (below), or you can take Level I Training only. Dr. Sparling has trained facilitators himself to lead all Level I and II workshops and will be present at this round of workshops, serving as a mentor. He also developed the training materials and has used them around the world.

Fee for Level I & II training: $1,325*

Target Audience: Program-based teams, including early childhood program supervisors, TA specialists, and PD providers, as well as early childhood teachers and practitioners working with children birth to age 5 in home-based and center-based settings.

Level I Training prepares a cadre of early childhood teachers to implement the Abecedarian Approach with fidelity in home-based and center-based settings. It consists of 3.5 days of intensive, interactive sessions that include presentation, discussion, video exemplars and demonstrations, and role play with feedback and expert coaching. 

Level I Objectives

Attitudes: value the small steps in learning that occur in the earliest years of life; believe that your role is crucial in promoting strong child outcomes.

Knowledge: understand the four key elements of the Abecedarian Approach as well as why they have a powerful effect on child development and learning; have a wide variety of playful and effective activities ready to use at any moment.

Skills: competently apply all of the Abecedarian Approach strategies and techniques during daily interactions with young children; be able to explain to other professionals and parents the strategies and why they are important.

Level II Training (prerequisite: Level I Training) provides those who support practitioners on teams who participated in Level I Training with tools and strategies for ensuring the ongoing implementation of the Abecedarian Approach with fidelity within their specified organizations. Two additional 6-hour workshops, one immediately following Level I training and another six weeks later, help participants develop skills as coaching practitioners or program leaders. Participants complete field assignments between these two Level II workshop sessions, demonstrating and receiving expert feedback on their skills in coaching practitioners to use the Abecedarian Approach with fidelity, and submit their questions or dilemmas related to supporting practitioners prior to the second Level II workshop. Through discussion, demonstration, role-play, and peer and expert feedback, the second Level II workshop addresses these questions and dilemmas. 

Level II Objectives: use program-focused, responsive mentoring or coaching that focuses specifically on the main features of the Abecedarian Approach—Language Priority, Enriched Caregiving, Conversational Reading, and LearningGames®—and does not simply monitor good classroom management or simply reflect other approaches practitioners might use; use a mentoring strategy that includes preparing, observing, and reflecting and that also engages practitioners and supports them in each step of the process; practice leadership and mentoring skills, including a) observing and providing feedback to practitioners using the Abecedarian elements, b) modeling of Abecedarian techniques (such as the 3S, 3N, and 3R strategies), and c) viewing and discussing planning and implementation documents.

Dates: TBA 

Location: Carolina Center for Educational Excellence in Chapel Hill, NC

Fee for Level I & II traiing: $1,325*

*Cancellation Policy

UNC-Chapel Hill reserves the right to cancel this event. We advise participants traveling by air to confirm that the training will be held as scheduled before purchasing nonrefundable airline tickets. If the event is canceled by UNC-Chapel Hill, participants will receive a full refund. Participants who cancel their registration prior to May 8 will receive a refund minus an administrative fee of $90. Participants who cancel on May 8 or later will receive a refund of $665. 

How to take Level I Training only