Carolyn Pope Edwards

Emerita Psychology

Getting Ready Project

Biographical Sketch

NAME: Carolyn Pope Edwards, EdD
POSITION: Willa Cather Professor and Professor of Psychology and Child, Youth, and Family Studies

Dr. Edwards joined the faculty in 1997. She received her Ed.D. in Human Development from Harvard University, and she teaches courses in developmental psychology (infancy and early childhood, life span, theories of developmental psychology). Her interests center on social and moral development in cultural context; socialization processes within the family; and international early childhood education. She has conducted research and held research positions at universities in Italy, Norway, and Kenya. She is currently part of the NebraskaMATH project seeking to improve math education throughout the state, and a newly funded second stage of the UNL Getting Ready Project focused on strengthening relationships between parents, their young children, and the children's caregivers and educators. 

Dr. Edwards is married to Richard Edwards, Director of the UNL Center for Great Plains Studies, and is the mother of three children.  Samuel Holland Edwards is a corporate and securities attorney with the firm of Hollard & Hart in Denver. George Edwards is a software expert witness at Quandary Peak Research in Los Angeles.  Rebecca Edwards is a graduate student in the PhD/MD program at Northwestern University in Chicago.

B.A. 1969 (Anthropology), Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
Ed.D. 1974 (Human Development), Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
Post-doctoral Fellow 1976-77, Educational Testing Service, Princeton, NJ
Post-doctoral Clinical Intern 1977-79, Worchester Youth Guidance Center, MA


Outstanding Research and Creativity Award (ORCA)from the University of Nebraska System, in honor of outstanding research or creative activity of national or international significance, 2012
Commencement Speaker, UNL Graduate Commencement, May, 2012
Named Fellow in the UNL Center for Great Plains Studies, 2013
Named Willa Cather Professor for Distinguished Service and Creativity at the University of Nebraska, 2003-2008, 2008-2013, 2013-2018
Outstanding Research and Creative Achievement Award in Social Sciences, UNL College of Arts and Sciences 2005
Distinguished Research/Creative Activity Award, UNL College of Education and Human Sciences 2008
Sally Wysong Award for continuing love, dedication and commitment to improving the lives of all children, from the Lincoln Association for the Education of Young Children, 2010
Lifetime Achievement Award, from the North American Reggio Emilia Alliance, 2010
Distinguished Service to Children Award, Nebraska Association for the Education of Young Children, 2009
Professor with Great Contribution to Chinese Culture and Education, University of Nebraska Chinese Student and Scholar Association, 2010
Dean's Award for Excellence in Graduate Education, 2011 (University-wide distinction)

  • 1997-present. University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Departments of Psychology and Child, Youth, and Family Studies.
  • 1996-1997 Norwegian Centre for Advanced Study, Academy of Sciences and Letters, Oslo. Invited Senior Fellow.
  • 1991-1997 University of Kentucky, College of Human Environmental Sciences. Professor of Family Studies.
  • 1988 National Research Council (CNR), Rome, Italy. Visiting Professor of Psychology.
  • 1977-1991 University of Massachusetts,Amherst, Asst./Assoc./Full Professor of Education & Lab. School Director.
  • 1974-1977 Vassar College, Department of Psychology. Poughkeepsie, NY. Assistant Professor.
  • 1972-1973 Child Development Research Unit, University of Nairobi, Kenya. Research Associate.
  • Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology
  • Early Childhood Research and Practice Journal
  • International Journal of Early Childhood Environmental Education  
  • Half the Sky Foundation, Hong Kong and Beijing, China, 1999-2011.
  • California Preschool Learning Foundations in History/Social Science Expanded Research Consortium, sponsored by the California Department of Education, Child Development Division, and WestEd, 2009
  • Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP) Working Group, National Association for the Education of Young Children, 2007-2008
  • Nebraska Early Childhood Core Competencies Leadership Team, 2006-2008
  • Development Committee for the Center for Childhood and Family Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, School of Public Health, University of Nebraska Medical Center, 2007-2008
  • Nebraska Early Childhood Educator Professional Development Team. 2004-2006
(1) Books:

(2) Recent Refereed Articles:

(3) Recent Invited Chapters: 

Extramural Funding
Intramural Funding


  • "Children of Different Worlds and Its Contributions to Policy Driven Research.”  Invited presentation for a conference on “Psychological Anthropology and Methods that Matter: Anthropological and Mixed Methods to Understand Contemporary Social Issues and Inform Real World.” Miami University (Ohio),  sponsored by the Lemelson/SPA Conference Fund. September 19-21, 2013.
  • “Filastrocca Preschool in Pistoia, Italy: Books, Storytelling and Imagination for Children, Families, and the Community.”  Invited presentation for working conference on “Learning In and Out of School: Education Across the Globe.  University of Notre Dame, May 22-23, 2012.
  • "The Reggio Emilia Experience in Transformation:  Change and Continuity."  Keynote address and workshop for Mirrors Way—Israel Journey Foundation, Tel Aviv, Israel, December 4-5, 2011.
  • “Stories of Infants and Toddlers” and “100 Languages of Children.”  Keynote and plenary addresses in Conference on “A Child’s Right to Participation,” Google Children’s Centers, Mountain View, California, May 20-21, 2011.
  • “The Worldwide Inspiration of Italian Approaches to Infant and Toddler Education.” Keynote address and workshop at the 2011 Early Education Symposium, hosted by the Jiangsu Institute of Educational Science, Nanjing, China, May 25, 2011.
  • “Parent Participation in Early Childhood Services: Lessons from the USA.”  Invited lecture for a course for early childhood teachers sponsored by the European Union and the Minister of Labor and Social Politics of the Region of Toscana, Italy, “Promuovere la famiglie nei servizi per l’infanzia” (“To Suppport Families in the Services for Young Children”).  Montecatini Terme, Italy, March 4, 2011.    
  • “Early Relationships with Adults that Engage Learning and Development.” Invited lecture, Municipal Early Childhood Programs, Pistoia, Italy.  March 8, 2011.
  • “Parents as Constructive Partners in Early Childhood Education.” Keynote address, annual conference of the Association for Constructivist Teachers, Chicago, October 22-23, 2010.
  • “A Long and Meaningful Relationship.”  Invited seminar, annual conference of the North American Reggio Emilia Alliance, Chicago, June 24-25, 2010. 
  • “A Long and Meaningful Relationship.”  Invited seminar for pedagogical coordinators of the city and region as part of the in depth (international) professional development week on “Documentation and Assessment: What Kind of Relationship?” Reggio Emilia, Italy, October 18-23, 2009.  With Lella Gandini and George Forman.
  • “Per Laura: Conversatione con Carolyn Edwards e Carla Rinaldi.”  Invited evening of exhange and reflections to celebrate the book, The Diary of Laura, at Nido Arcobaleno, Reggio Emilia, Italy, October 20, 2009.  With Carla Rinaldi.
  • “Relationships Matter: The Heart of Inspired Early Childhood Education. Conversations with Carolyn Pope Edwards.” Invited keynote speaker and instructor for summer course in the masters program at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. July 13-16, 2009
  • Documentation Diary Pages: A Creative Strategy for Early Years Teachers." Invited keynote speaker for early childhood conference, Curriculum for Excellence -- A Creative Curriculum, sponsored by the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland, in collaboration with Learning and Teaching Scotland, April 24-25, 2009.
  • "On to Digitopolis: Promoting Better Math Education for Young Children," in Demonstrating the Link between Early Childhood Research, Practice, and Policy. Invited speaker for symposium sponsored by the Office of Applied Research, National Association for the Education of Young Children, at the NAEYC annual conference, Dallas, Texas, November 6, 2008.
  • Good Childhoods For All Our Children. Distinguished faculty university lecture. 2008 President's Club Recognition Event, University of Nebraska, May 8 , 2008.
  • "The Diary of Laura: Perspectives on the Reggio Educational Diary." Plenary speaker at the Reggio Emilia Conference, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, February 8-10, 2008.
  • �Beginnings and endings in early childhood education.� Keynote speaker at the Fall Institute Series 2007, Preschool of the Arts, Madison, Wisconsin, October, 2007.
  • �Learning to become teachers through observing and documenting young children in the classroom. Invited lecture to the College of Education, Beijing Normal University, China, September, 2007.
  • �The Diary of Laura: A child�s first weeks in the infant/toddler center.� Plenary speaker at the Conference of the North American Reggio Emilia Alliance, Calgary, Ontario, Canada, August, 2006.
  • �Relationships: A new emphasis in early childhood education.� Fresno Infant and Toddler Regional Consortium annual conference, Relationships: Keystone to Early Learning. Fresno, California: April, 2006.
  • �Digital documental: Identifying the competence of children without testing.� Preconference Day for the Annual Conference of the Midwest Association for the Education of Young Children, Omaha, Nebraska, April, 2006. With George Forman.
  • "Showing that early childhood education works: Lessons from Italy, China, and the USA." Student Research Conference Keynote Address, UNL College of Education and Human Sciences, November, 2005.
  • �Now really dance: Relationship-based programs for infants, toddlers, and families.� Infant-Toddler Specialists of Indiana Institute. Bloomington, IN, September, 2005.
  • "The Contribution of Social Partnership and Activity Settings to the Emergence of Sex Differences." Roundtable on the Emergence of Sex Differences in Early Childhood, sponsored by the Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women and the Center for the Study of Human Development, Brown University, Providence RI, November, 2004.
  • �Introduction to the Half the Sky Reggio and Chinese Combined Approach to the Care of Infants and Young Children.� Half the Sky 5th Anniversary Conference, Hefei, China, November, 2003.
  • �Reggio Emilia: A welcoming approach in many contexts.� Saber 2003, �Tradition or renewal: Possible Acquaintance? Congress of the Union of the Educational Establishments in the State of Sao Paolo, Brazil, September, 2003.
  • �Why Relationships Matter: The Context of Caring for Early Development.� Culture of Childhood Early Childhood Summer Symposium, Sponsored by the Colorado Department of Education, Breckenridge, Colorado. July, 2003.
  • Early Childhood Institute �The Culture of Childhood in Kansas City.� Kansas City, May, 2003. University of Missouri�Kansas City.
  • Conference on Care and Education at the Chung Ang University, Seoul, Korea, 2002.
  • 2001 Scientific Advances in Indigenous Psychologies: Empirical, Philosophical, and Cultural Contributions, October, University of Teipei, Taiwan.
  • 2000 National Head Start Child Development Institute, �Ensuring Quality and Accountability Through Leadership.� Washington, D.C.
  • 2000 International conference on Basic Education and Teachers Education, sponsored by the Education Commission of Jiangsu Province and Nanjing Normal University, People's Republic of China, Nanjing.
  • 1998 International conference on "Second Theory Forum on Mutual Understanding," co-sponsored by the University of Crete and the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters."

Society for Research in Child Development
National Association for the Education of Young Children
Society for Cross Cultural Research
International Congress of Cross Cultural Psychology 
Society for Research on Adolescence
International Society for the Study of Behavioral Development
National Council on Family Relations
European Conference on Developmental Psychology 
National Head Start Research Conference
Child Care Policy Research Consortium
National Institute for Early Childhood Professional Development
American Educational Research Association

Liu, W., Dennis, J., & Edwards, C.P. (2015). Chinese parents' perspectives on adolescent sexuality education. International Journal of Sexual Health,

Edwards, C. P. & Gandini, L. (2015). Teacher research in Reggio Emilia, Italy: Essence of a dynamic, evolving role. Voices of Practitioners: Teacher Research in Early Childhood Education, Winter, 10(1).

Note to Jeff: please make these journal articles be live links to the http information provided. Thank you so much!

Ren, L., & Edwards, C.P. (2015). Pathways of influence: Chinese parents’ expectations, parenting styles, and child social competence. Early Child Development and Care, 185(4), 616-632.

Sheridan, S., Knoche, L., Edwards, C.P., Kupkyk, K., Clarke, B., & Kim, L. (2014). Efficacy of the Getting Ready intervention and the role of parental depression. Early Education and Development, 25(3), 1–24.

Edwards, C.P., Cline, K. D., Gandini, L., Giacomelli,, A., Giovannini, D., and Galardini, A. (2014). Books, stories, and the imagination at ‘The Nursery Rhyme’: A qualitative case study of a preschool learning environment in Pistoia, Italy. Journal of Research in Childhood Education, 28, 1-25.

Cline, K., & Edwards, C.P. (2013). The instructional and emotional quality of parent-child book reading and Early Head Start children’s learning outcomes. Early Education and Development, 24(8), 1214-1231.

Fleharty, H., & Pope-Edwards, C. (2013). Family-school partnerships: Promoting family

participation in K-3 teacher professional development. Mathematics Teacher Educator, 2(1), p.55-74.

Knoche, L., Edwards, C.P., Sheridan, S.M., Kupzyk, K.A.,.Marvin, C.A., Cline, K.D., & Clarke, B.L. (2012). Getting Ready: Results of a randomized trial of a relationship-focused intervention on parent engagement in rural Early Head Start. Infant Mental Health Journal, 33, 439-458.

Edwards, C.P. (2016). Styles of mothering, methods of engagement: Bridging anthropology, psychology, and education to inform policy. In M. Cameron Hayes (Ed.), Methods that Matter: Integrating Mixed Methods for More Effective Social Science Research. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Edwards, C.P. & Kutaka, T.S. (2015). Diverse perspectives of parents, diverse concepts of parent involvement and participation: What can they suggest to researchers? In S. M. Sheridan & E. M. Kim (Eds.), Foundational Aspects of Family-School Partnerships (pp. 35-54). In the series, Research on Family-School Partnerships: An Interdisciplinary Examination of State of the Science and Critical Needs. New York: Springer.

Edwards, C.P., Ren, L., & Brown, J. (2015). Early contexts of learning: Family and community socialization during infancy and toddlerhood. In L. Jensen (Ed.). Oxford Handbook of Human Development and Culture: An Interdisciplinary Perspective (pp. 165-181). New York: Oxford University Press.

Edwards, C.P., & Gandini, L. (2014). A welcoming heart and open mind for all: Response to “Aaqib at the Center,” in The Power of Emergent Curriculum (pp. 128-129) by Carol Anne Wein. Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children.