Early Childhood Institute

SJSU Early Childhood Institute

Recognizing the potential each and every child brings into the world, SJSU’s Early Childhood Institute (ECI) promotes equitable and inclusive access to high-quality early learning experiences by collaborating with campus and community partners; advancing applied research; building the capacity of early childhood professionals; and advocating for professionals, young children, and their families.

ECI has established a network of university researchers dedicated to asking and answering questions related to early childhood care and education. We strive to connect them to early childhood practitioners and family members to ensure our work addresses the critical needs of the field. ECI advocates for the professionalization of early childhood care and education and provides training and support to early childhood practitioners and family members so that they can take what is found in our research to support the children in their care. 

Parents: If you are looking for early education and care for your child, please contact our partners:


Emily Slusser, Andrea Golloher, and Maria Fusaro

Lurie College faculty Dr. Emily Slusser, Dr. Andrea Golloher, and Dr. Maria Fusaro.

Maria Fusaro

Maria Fusaro, EdD | Associate Professor, Child and Adolescent Development

Dr. Maria Fusaro’s (EdD) research centers on how young children, under age 5, learn from and with other people, through verbal and gesture-based communication and through question-answer exchanges. Bridging her teaching and research, she also studies the preparation of undergraduate students for careers in infant/toddler care and education, and for providing high quality, supportive learning experiences for young children.

Andrea Golloher

Andrea Golloher, PhD | Assistant Professor, Special Education

Dr. Andrea Golloher (PhD, BCBA) has been passionate about the field of early childhood special education and the power of research to improve practice since she entered the field as an in-home therapist for children with autism. Her current work focuses on developing support systems to increase capacity for inclusive practices to benefit each and every child, from the start.

Emily Slusser

Emily Slusser, PhD | Associate Professor, Child and Adolescent Development

Dr. Emily Slusser (PhD) began her career in child development as the program coordinator for a community based organization where she developed language and literacy curriculum for preschool children. Her current research explores how cognitive resources drive language learning and how language, in turn, supports further conceptual development.

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The Early Childhood Institute serves as a campus hub for interdisciplinary research and training, in line with our mission of promoting equitable and inclusive access to high-quality early learning experiences for all young children.  Join us at an upcoming ECI event, bringing together faculty, students, and community partners engaged in early childhood research, practice, and advocacy.

We invite you to connect with the ECI and support us in meeting our mission.

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The SJSU ECI is a community-focused Institute, designed to generate opportunities for interaction among current and past students, SJSU faculty, local early childhood leaders, and practitioners.  Our work is informed by, and tailored toward, the needs and interests of diverse populations and stakeholders within the community.

Are you an SJSU alumni whose career involves working with young children and their families?  Are you interested in connecting with other alumni and with current students who share in the mission to promote high-quality learning experiences for children?  If so, connect with us as we build a student-alumni network.

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