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Yale-China Faculty

  • Co-Director

    Professor Adjunct in the Child Study Center

    Walter S. Gilliam is the Elizabeth Mears & House Jameson Professor of Child Psychiatry and Psychology at the Yale Child Study Center and Director of Yale’s Edward Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy. Dr. Gilliam is Vice President of ZERO TO THREE, a past president of Child Care Aware of America; a board director for the Irving Harris Foundation, First Children’s Finance, and All Our Kin; and a former Senior Advisor to the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Dr. Gilliam is co-recipient of the prestigious 2008 Grawemeyer Award in Education for the coauthored book, A Vision for Universal Preschool Education. Dr. Gilliam’s research involves early childhood education and intervention policy analysis (specifically how policies translate into effective services), ways to improve the quality of prekindergarten and child care services, the impact of early childhood education programs on children’s school readiness, and effective methods for reducing classroom behavior problems and preschool expulsion, as well as issues of COVID-19 transmission, vaccination, and health and safety promotion in early childhood settings ( His scholarly writing addresses early childhood care and education programs, school readiness, and developmental assessment of young children. Dr. Gilliam has led national analyses of state-funded prekindergarten policies and mandates, how prekindergarten programs are being implemented across the range of policy contexts, and the effectiveness of these programs at improving school readiness and educational achievement, as well as experimental and quasi-experimental studies on methods to improve early education quality. His work frequently has been covered in major national and international news outlets for print (e.g., New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Chicago Tribune, LA Times), radio (e.g., NPR), and television (e.g., CNN Headline News, NBC TODAY Show, CBS Early Show, ABC Good Morning America, ABC World News Tonight, FOX News). Dr. Gilliam actively provides consultation to state and federal decision-makers in the U.S. and other countries (e.g., People’s Republic of China and the United Arab Emirates) and frequently provides U.S. Congressional testimony and briefings on issues related to early care and education.

  • Co-Director

    Research Scientist; Co-Director, Yale-China Program on Child Development, Child Study Center

    Dr. Tong Liu earned her PhD in Education History Study (American Education) at HeBei University (PR China) in 2007, where she studied the American Head Start program and how Head Start can be used to influence early education policy in China. Currently, she is a Research Scientist at the Yale University Child Study Center and a Professor of Early Childhood Education at HeBei University. An acclaimed early education scholar, in 2000 she won the prestigious Chinese national First Class Prize for her multimedia courseware kindergarten chorus education and in 2003 she won the Third Class Prize for her distance learning work on music education in early childhood education. She has published over 40 journal articles on early education in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, the United Kingdom, and Germany, focusing on cross-national approaches to early education. She is the chief editor of the 1997 book, Children Learn How to Sing with Play, and chief translator of the 2005 book, A University for the 21 century, Peking University Press.

    Dr. Liu is the Executive Director of the Yale-China Program on Child Development, a program that creates an early childhood education bridge between China and the US by training Chinese early education teachers, directors, and officials; conducting collaborative research between institutions of higher education in the US and China; and fostering educational exchanges for doctoral students, postdoctoral fellows, and scholars in early childhood education.

    The Yale-China Program works on three levels to bring improved early education proactive to China. First, the program works directly with a set of kindergarten programs in China that participate as lab schools in our efforts to adapt curriculum and other supports for use in Chinese kindergartens. Second, we work with Chinese universities to conduct collaborative research on topics of interest in early education and child development, as well as train PhD students, postdoctoral fellows, and visiting scholars. Third, we work with through government and media channels in China to provide training in early education and child development for early education teachers, directors, and political leaders.

    Much of our work in China is in collaboration with our strategic partner, Kaplan Early Learning Company, a premier early learning supply and training company in the US. Through our Yale-Kaplan partnership we have been translating, adapting, and validating a comprehensive curriculum for use in Chinese early education centers, as well as an assessment to measure development in young children.