Over the years, key contributors to the Abecedarian Project have included members of the original team and other noted researchers.

The Original Team

Frances Campbell, Ph.D., Principal Investigator of the Age-21 and later follow-up studies
Senior Scientist, Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute
During her time with FPG, Frances Campbell has been an integral part of FPG’s history of serving as an objective, knowledgeable force for social change to enhance the lives of children and families. She has continued to gather information on the positive influences of early intervention. Her work with the Abecedarian Project, which began with a group of infants in 1972, has followed these children as they have aged into adulthood... [more]

Craig Ramey, Ph.D., Principal Investigator of the original study
Professor and Distinguished Research Scholar, Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute;
Professor, Psychology, Virginia Tech; Professor, Pediatrics, Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine
"My program of research centers on the role of experience--across the human lifespan--in the development of competence. My research relies largely on experimental interventions in education, psychology, and pediatrics that provide rigorous tests of plausible developmental mechanism of change. I engage both epidemiological and longitudinal datasets to provide a broad contextual framework for identifying the multiple, inter-related conditions that influence biopsychosocial risk..." [more]

Joseph Sparling, Ph.D, Co-developer of the "LearningGames" curriculum
FPG Senior Scientist Emeritus; Honorary Professorial Fellow, Melbourne Graduate School of Education;
Director, 3A (Abecedarian Approach Australia) Project
Joseph Sparling's 3A Project provides professional development for Aboriginal child and family services to assist them in implementing the Abecedarian Approach. This work is supported by state governments and non-governmental organizations in Australia and is occuring in Victoria, Western Australia, and the Northern Territory. Sparling also continues to work with provincial governments and non-governmental organizations serving First Nations peoples in Canada. The most recent randomized evaluation of the Abecedarian Approach was initated in Winnipeg, Manitoba, in 2012... [more]


Isabelle Lewis, Co-developer of the "LearningGames" curriculum
With Joseph Sparling in 1978, Isabelle Lewis first published the Abecedarian curriculum as the LearningGames® book series—the first scientifically validated infant and toddler curriculum. Today, the Creative Curriculum LearningGames® series still comprises 200 games in five volumes and finds wide use in preschools, group daycares, family daycare homes, parent groups, and home visitations.




Key Researchers Later Joining the Project

Margaret R. Burchinal, Ph.D., FPG Senior Scientist
Director, Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute's Data Management and Analysis Center
Adjunct Professor, Department of Education at the University of California, Irvine
Margaret R. Burchinal has been a leading researcher and statistician in child care research and a widely recognized applied statistician. She has authored or co-authored over 150 papers published in peer-reviewed journals, including Child Development, Developmental Psychology, and Science. As a researcher, she has demonstrated that quality child care may be especially important in reducing racial and economic gaps at entry to school... [more]


Elizabeth Pungello, Ph.D., FPG's Executive Leadership Board
Research Assistant Professor, UNC's Developmental Psychology Program
Elizabeth Pungello's research focuses on early care and education environments and school readiness skills of at-risk children. Her current work includes the exploration of the associations among race, income, parenting, child care quality, and language development and school readiness, as well as the investigation of factors that influence why and how parents search for and select child care... [more]



Lynne Vernon-Feagans, Ph.D., FPG Fellow
Professor, School of Education
Over the last 30 years, Lynne Vernon-Feagans has focused her interest on children at risk–especially African-American children who live in poverty. As part of the Abecedarian Project, she led a study on children’s use of language in their home neighborhood and in their classrooms at school. Her resulting book helped educators and practitioners understand the disconnect between the children’s neighborhood language and culture and the school’s language and culture... [more]


Barbara Hanna Wasik, Ph.D., FPG Fellow
William R. Kenan Jr. Professor, UNC's School of Education
Barbara Wasik's work is based on an ecological framework that recognizes the interactions of the environment with personal characteristics in influencing behavior. This conceptual model, combined with her expertise in psychology and education, drives her work with children in school and home settings and with the adults in their lives, both parents and teachers. Wasik is recognized as a national leader in developing interventions for children who are at risk of school failure. These interventions address early education, cognitive and emotional development, home visiting, family literacy, early literacy, parent education and social problem solving... [more]