Research, Observations & Special Projects

As a university-affiliated laboratory school, part of our core mission is to facilitate and conduct research in the early years. Another part of our core mission is to be involved in mentoring and accommodating undergraduate and graduate students.

We welcome all kinds of learning professionals to the ECLC and ask that you read our guidelines below for applying to conduct research or complete a class assignment. All forms within this page are hyperlinked.

The following forms are available to researchers and learning professionals who would like to carry out any kind of learning at the ECLC. Please see below for a full description of the procedures.

Policies for Research
University Institutional Review Board

Research proposals must be approved by the University-wide Institutional Review Board (IRB), charged with ensuring that all studies are in line with federal, local and institutional regulations concerning the protection of human subjects in research. For IRB guidelines and application for ethical clearance for research please go through the Office of Research.

ECLC Research Review Committee

All research proposals at the ECLC must undergo an extensive and rigorous review process to ensure student safety and that any potential risk to participants is outweighed by the anticipated benefits of research. The ECLC Director (or the COE research standing committee representative) approves any research or non-research projects in consultation with the ECLC Research Review Committee. The ECLC Research Review Committee is made up of ECLC teachers and administrators, and faculty from ZU College of Education. The ECLC Director serves as the chairperson of this committee. The committee is guided by the Code of Ethics of the Society for Research in Child Development for conducting research with children.

Guidelines for Research Approval
  • Degree of disruption of student routine
  • Degree of divergence from curriculum objectives
  • Degree of divergence from curriculum objectives
  • Assessment of the importance of the research/Compatibility with ECLC research priorities
  • Potential stress for participants
  • Compatibility with other ongoing research projects
Research Priorities for the ECLC
  • Dual language acquisition (Arabic/English)
  • Promoting literacy in early childhood
  • Early childhood art education
  • Using media to promote early learning and community involvement
  • Technology enhanced early learning
  • Family involvement in early childhood education
  • Health and safety issues in child care
  • Program evaluations of ECLC activities

Applicants may expect to hear from the ECLC within 3 weeks as to the status of their project. After gaining approval from the IRB, please submit the following to Dr Asia Foster at

  • Copy of the IRB ethics application document
  • Copy of the IRB ethics approval letter (including Informed Consent Forms using the ECLC template (Form ECLC2 – please see sample Form ECLC2 for further details)
  • Copy of grant (if applicable)
  • ECLC Application for Research Access (Form ECLC4)

Faculty who conduct research are also directed to the Innovations in Early Childhood Research Cluster.

Policies for Non-Research Projects

Policies for non-research projects apply when the project does not meet the Institutional Review Board’s definition of Human Subjects Research. (see

Typically, projects not involving systematic investigation to develop generalizable knowledge fit this category. Examples of non-research projects include user tests conducted for the purpose of improving the design of products, projects involving gathering the children’s opinions to guide the design process, observing a classroom for a class assignment that will not be published or inviting children to be an audience for an exhibition or performance.

For such projects, please use Form ECLC1 ‘Request for Observations, Special Projects and Class Assignments. Students are kindly asked to go through their professors and get their help with completing the form adequately. Once your request has been approved, please use the 'ECLC ZU Student Experience Confirmation form' for attendance purposes.

*All visitors are expected to review, sign and adhere to the 'Guidelines for Learning Professionals/ Volunteers’.