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Childhood Obesity

Area of Interest Assignment

The purpose of this assignment is for you to connect course content to an area of interest you have related to the field of early learning (birth to age 8) and/or families.

The assignment culminates in a

4-5 page/double spaced paper


Step one is to select a ‘interest’ on which to focus this assignment.  A ‘interest’ is broadly defined and could include a focus on child learning and development, an examination of a policy, or an overview and further investigation of an issue in the field of early learning.

The Interest of this paper will be:

    “Childhood Obesity”

Your paper and brief presentation should be organized in the following way:

Use the Sample Paper for your reference

Part 1. Description of the ‘interest’:

Provide an introduction to and description of your ‘case’.  What information do you think your reader needs to have about this ‘case’ in order to have foundational information about it?  For example, how does this case represent an issue or problem in early childhood/family studies?  Who might care about it?  Why?  To whom does it matter?  What are some questions people are trying to answer about this case? 

Part 2.Explorations of research efforts related to your selected case:

Describe some of the research efforts being done related to the “Area of Interest”.
What are some of the major research questions?
You can also (if you wish, not required) explore through the list of research groups below to find one (or more) that focuses on your case.
National Institute for Early Education Research
Foundation for Child Development
Center on the Developing Child
Harvard Family Research Project
Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences (UW)
Haring Center (UW)
Center for Child Health, Behavior, & Development (UW)
National Center for Children in Poverty
National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition
Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning
National Institute of Child Health & Human Development
Center for Early Care and Education Research
The National Center for Research on Early Childhood Education (NCRECE)
Child Trends


Part 3.Professional Organization Review:

Explore anational professional organization website including at least one ‘position paper’ or summary paper from this site.
Describe the organization and some of the positions or perspectives this group provides for your case.
What are some of the major professional development efforts?
If you wish, you can also explore through the list of groups (or find one on your own…check with me) below to find one (or more) that focuses on your case.


National Association for the Education of Young Children
Association for Childhood Education International
Council for Exceptional Children (Children with Special Needs)
National Head Start Centers (there are 6, each focused on a different topic):
(see sidebar for 6 topics)
Department of Early Learning (Washington State)
Thrive by Five (Washington State)
Zero to Three
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (see Early Learning)


Part 4: Connections to course readings (see attachment):

MUST use the course readings as your reference
MUSTInclude at least 3 concepts from course reading
You are also encouraged to select from the reference list included with this assignment description.

Part 5: Conclusion

Summarize what you have found out across not only class sessions/readings/discussions but from Parts 2 and 3.  Include a reference list. 


References for Additional reading:

Aber, J. L., Bennett, N. G., Conley, D. C., & Li, J. (2007).  The effects of poverty on child health   and development. Annual Revue of Public Health, 18, 463-483.

Barnett, W. S. (2008).  Preschool education and its lasting effects: Research and policy implications.  Boulder, CO, and Tempe, AZ: Education and the Public Interest Center & Education Policy Research Unit. 

Brooks-Gunn, J., & Duncan, G. (1997).  The effects of poverty on children.  The Future of Children, 7, 2, 55-71.  Retrieved from

Carter, P. L. &Welner, K. G. (2013). Closing the opportunity gap: What America must do to give every child an even chance.  Cambridge: Oxford University Press. 

Capps, R., fix, M., Ost, J., Reardon-Anderson, J., & Passel, J. (2004).  The health and well-being of young children of immigrants.  New York: Urban Institute.

Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative. (2012).  National Survey of children’s Health 2011/12 [Data File]. 

Copple, C., &Bredekamp, S. (Eds.). (2009).  Developmentally appropriate practice in early childhood programs.  Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children. 

Duncan, G., & Brooks-Gunn, J. (1997).  Consequences of growing up poor.  New York: Russell Sage Foundation. 

Espinosa, L. (2003). Preschool program quality: What it is and why it matters.  National Institute of Early Education Research Policy Brief, 1, 1, 1-12. 

Espinosa, L., (2008).  Challenging common myths about young English language learners.  Foundation for Child Development Policy Brief No. Eight.  Available online at Doc_id=669789

Families USA. (2006).  Why health insurance matters for children.  Washington, DC: Campaign for Children’s Health Care. 

Galinsky, E. (2006).  The economic benefits of high-quality early childhood programs: What makes the difference? Washington, DC: The Committee for Economic Development with Funding from the A. L. Mailman Foundation.

Heckman, J., &Masterov, D. V. (2007).  The productivity argument for investing in young children.  (Working Paper No. 13016).  Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research.  Retrieved from

Lee, V., &Burkham, D. (2002).  Inequality at the starting gate: Social background differences in achievement as children begin school.  Washington, DC: Economic Policy Institute. 

Lynch, E., & Hanson, M. (Eds.). (2011).  Developing cross-cultural competence: Working with young children and their families (4thed).  Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes. 


Pungella, E. P., Campbell, F. A., & Barnett, S. W. (2006).  Poverty and early childhood education.  Center for Poverty, Work and Opportunity Policy Brief Series.   

Raver, C. C. (2002).  Emotions matter: Making the case for the role of young children’s emotional development for early school readiness.  Ann Arbor, MI: Society for Research in Child Development.   

Shonkoff, J. P. et al. (2012).  The lifelong effects of early childhood adversity and toxic stress. Pediatrics, 129.  232-246.

Shonkoff, J., & Phillips, D. A. (2000).  From neurons to neighborhoods: The science of early childhood development.  Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

Werner, E. (1990).  Protective factors and individual resilience.  In S. Meisels& Jack Shonkoff (Eds.), Handbook of early childhood intervention (pp. 97-116).  New York: Cambridge University.

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