Patricia Snyder - David Lawrence Jr. Endowed Chair in Early Childhood Studies

When Patricia Snyder was a child, kindergarten in public schools was not widely available, and preschool was a luxury beyond her Pittsburgh steel-working family’s modest means. But she was fortunate: She had nurturing parents who provided early experiences and opportunities that fostered a love for learning.

“I wasn’t born into a family with great financial wealth, but I was born into a family with a wealth of love and one that valued education and provided early learning experiences,” she recalls.
In her work, Snyder advances the science and develops the tools to give every child those types of early experiences, whether it’s at school — through quality early-childhood education — or at home, through parent skill-building and family support.

“As a civil and moral society, we have a responsibility to ensure that those services and supports are available for all children and families who need them,” she says.

For the rest of the story


When a passionate advocate and a leading professor unite to advance a cause, it’s a powerful combination.


David Lawrence Jr.

Visiting a community center in an underprivileged part of Florida, David Lawrence Jr. held up the children’s book he was reading and showed a drawing of a rabbit to his audience of preschoolers. Not one child knew what it was.

“Two of them said ‘cow,’” Lawrence recalls. “What a tragedy.”

Knowing a rabbit from a cow might not seem critical at age 3, but it highlights the learning disparities that can take root long before a child starts school.

For the rest of the story