Early Childhood Education

NHSA Dialog

 

The NHSA Dialog is a journal devoted to the presentation of research-to-practice studies relevant to the early intervention field. Papers published in the journal focus on the well-being of children and families from economically disadvantaged environments and effectively integrate research findings and application.

The need for this type of connective research is critical to achieving positive and appropriate change in child and family policy. Knowledge of child development assists policymakers in making significant decisions concerning the security, health, and growth of children and what actions will effectively impact the problems and their solutions. The NHSA Dialog is a translational journal that provides a forum in which to present and discuss research and, in turn, to make a useful contribution to positive child and family outcomes.

The NHSA Dialog was envisioned to be a vehicle for promoting closer collaboration among practitioners, researchers, and policymakers interested in child development and early childhood intervention. The mission was to produce a high-quality, peer-reviewed journal that would be relevant to the broader early childhood community. That translated into long discussions with each potential author about how to use lay language to explain their findings, searching together for applications to real-world problems facing practitioners, and exploring with them how their results might be relevant to policy decisions. In 1999, the Dialog’s first peer-reviewed issue was published.

At the same time, other ways of enhancing the written exchanges of ideas were explored. Through the creativity of a dedicated staff, including Gregg Powell, Ph.D., the then National Head Start Association Director of Research and Evaluation, Faith Lamb-Parker, Ph.D., Editor, and Katherine Rogers, Assistant Editor, two sections were added to the first peer-reviewed issue: Dialogue From the Field, and Ask NHSA Dialog, becoming regular sections of each subsequent issue.

“Dialogue From the Field” became the section where professionals were able to express opinions and ideas, share passions, describe innovative curricula, and relay information about current research efforts. The essays were unsolicited and represented a broad spectrum of disciplines.

In “Ask NHSA Dialog,” researchers and practitioners were solicited to pose interesting and relevant questions that then generated lively on-paper discussions about important issues for the field. Sometimes several people would answer a single question, revealing a diverse array of opinions. Short bios were included with the names of participating professionals to help readers better understand the points of view expressed.

Currently, the NHSA Dialog is published once a year and continues in its mission to provide essential, peer-reviewed research to the Head Start community, including researchers, administrators, policymakers, and practitioners. Manuscripts cover a wide range of topics relating to issues of children and families, including child health and mental health, family support and self-sufficiency, parenting, and policy issues.

Tara N. Weatherholt, Faith Lamb-Parker, and Barbara M. Burns