Tulsa Children’s Project: Applying Evidence-Based Interventions in Early Childhood Settings

  • Jennifer Hays-GrudoEmail author
  • Ruth Slocum
  • Jerry D. Root
  • Cara Bosler
  • Amanda Sheffield Morris


Based on evidence that strong and nurturing relationships between children and caregivers can be improved through evidence-based interventions, the Tulsa Children’s Project (TCP) was designed as a highly integrated set of programs for parents, teachers, and administrators at three high-quality early childhood centers serving low-income children from 8 weeks to 5 years. Three groups of interventions were coordinated into an integrated model, including physical health promotion programs (nutrition, exercise, increased access to care), teacher and administrative professional development and curriculum support, and a parent workforce training and development program. To address the stress associated with poverty and a documented history of individual trauma and adversity, mental health and socioemotional development concepts and activities were featured in each of the components.

The authors describe the processes involved in applying conceptual models, research theory, and previous empirical findings into feasible and sustainable programs, present preliminary evidence supporting this approach, and identify next steps and lessons learned from the process.



We wish to thank the George Kaiser Family Foundation, particularly Annie Van Hanken and Monica Basu for their partnership in this ongoing process; Caren Calhoun, Executive Director; site directors; teachers and staff at Tulsa Educare, Inc.; and the many colleagues (Diane Horm, Sherri Castle, Shannon Guss, Julie Miller-Cribbs, Steve Hoppes, Kent Teague from the University of Oklahoma in Tulsa, Jack Shonkoff, Bill Beardslee, Catherine Snow, Hiro Yoshikawa, Jennifer DiBara, Tassy Warren, Gillian Najarian from the Center for the Developing Child in Boston, Chris King and Bob Glover from the Ray Marshall Center in Austin) and students (Candice Primm, Trishia Pratt, Amy Treat) who participated in the many components of this project. Most of all, we thank the families of Tulsa Educare who shared their thoughts, hopes, fears, joys, and frustrations with us. We were honored to be part of their lives.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer Hays-Grudo
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ruth Slocum
    • 2
  • Jerry D. Root
    • 3
  • Cara Bosler
    • 4
  • Amanda Sheffield Morris
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesOklahoma State University, Center for Health SciencesTulsaUSA
  2. 2.Tulsa Educare, Inc.TulsaUSA
  3. 3.Center for Integrative Research on Childhood Adversity, Oklahoma State University Center for Health SciencesTulsaUSA
  4. 4.Department of Human Development and Family ScienceOklahoma State UniversityStillwaterUSA

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