Professor Gillian McNamee is director of teacher education at Erikson and co-director of the Assessment for Teaching and Learning Project. She is also the interim director of the New Schools Project. She works closely with early childhood teacher candidates during their preparation for teaching and provides long-term consultation to teachers in schools, particularly those serving children and families in challenging social and economic situations.
Dr. McNamee is coauthor of two books: Early Literacy (Harvard University Press, 1990) and Bridging: Assessment for Teaching and Learning in Early Childhood Classrooms (Corwin Press, 2007). She has been a Spencer Fellow with the National Academy of Education. In 1998, she was one of the first recipients of the Sunny Days Award from Children’s Television Workshop/Sesame Street Magazine, which recognized her innovative work in arts infused teacher education.
Areas of Expertise
Language development; curriculum for preschool and primary classrooms; early childhood teacher professional development (pre-service and in-service); methods of teaching reading and writing to young children in diverse and inclusive settings; after school programs; family literacy; the role of the arts in early education; assessment of children’s learning across the curriculum; cultural influences on teaching and learning.
- Fellowship from the University of Chicago Trustees’ Unendowed Funds for three years of graduate study in Educational Psychology, 1974-1977
- Fellowship from the Institute for Comparative Human Development, Rockefeller University, New York, N.Y., Summer, 1976
- Paul A. Witty Fellowship, Northwestern University, for two years of graduate study in Reading and Language, 1977-79
- National Academy of Education, Spencer Fellow (1986-1988)
- Sunny Days Award, Children’s Television Workshop/Sesame Street Parents. October, 1998
- Taylor and Francis Most Distinguished JECTE Article of 2006 Award (with Jie-Qi Chen)
B.A. in culture and cognition, Hampshire College;
M.S.T., University of Chicago;
Ph.D. in reading and language, Northwestern University
- Assistant Professorial Lecturer, Saint Xavier College, Chicago, IL, 1981-85
- Evaluation Consultant, Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, IL, 1980-81
- Research Consultant, Threshold’s Mother’s Project, Chicago, IL, 1979
- Research Assistant, Center for Psychosocial Studies, Chicago, IL, 1977-80
- Substitute teacher, University of Chicago, Laboratory Schools, Chicago, IL, 1977-79
- Assistant kindergarten teacher, University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, Chicago, IL, 1975-77
Member, American Educational Research Association
Member, National Association for the Education of Young Children
Member, Society for Research in Child Development
Member, National Association for Early Childhood Teacher Educators
New Schools Project – Erikson Institute’s Prek – 3rd Grade School Reform Initiative.Project Co-Director, 2011-2015
High Quality Teachers for Low Income Classrooms. Illinois State Board of Education. Project Director, 2007-2010.
Teachers Professional Development: Supporting and Documenting Effective Teaching in Early Childhood Classrooms. Educational Foundation of America. Co-Principal Investigator with Jie-Qi Chen, 2007-2009.
Induction and Mentoring of New Teachers, 2002-2006.
Linking Child Assessment to the Development of Curriculum and Instructional Practices. Co- Principal Investigator with Jie-Qi Chen, 1998-2006.
Teaching-Learning Enterprise: Professional Development for Early Childhood Classroom Teachers. Project Director, 1998-2002.
Faculty Development in Undergraduate Teacher Education. Project Director, 1997-2000.
Development Through the Arts. Project Director, 1996-1998.
Head Start Family Literacy Training Program. Co-Director with Joan McLane, 1995-1997.
Evaluating Educational Innovation In An Inner-City Setting Inspired by Principles from Reggio Emilia. Co-Project Director with Dan Scheinfield, 1995.
Capitalizing on Diversity: Participating in a Distributed Literacy Consortium Through Computer Telecommunications. Chicago Principal Investigator. (Consortium headed by Michael Cole, LCHC, University of California, San Diego), 1991-1996.
Chicago United Family Learning Centers. Project Co-Director with Joan McLane, 1991-1994.
Head Start Family Literacy Centers. Co-Director with Joan McLane, 1990-1995.
Literacy Development for Inner-City Children Through Computer Telecommunications. Principal Investigator, 1990-1991.
Working with Adults to Support Young Children’s Literacy Development. Project Co-Director, 1989-1990.
Computer Clubs: Literacy Development for Children at Risk for School Failure. Principal Investigator, 1988-1989.
Professional Publication in Early Literacy Development. Co-Director with Joan McLane, 1987-1988.
Head Start and Title XX, Day Care Early Literacy Teacher Training Program. Project Co-Director with Joan McLane, 1986-1994.
Learning to Read and Write in Inner-City Communities: A Longitudinal Study. Principal Investigator, 1986-1988.
Literacy Development with Head Start Children and Their Parents. Project Co-Director with Joan McLane, 1986-1987.
Literacy Development Through Computer Clubs for Learning Disabled Children. Principal Investigator, 1986-1987.
Writing in Non-School Settings. Project Co-Director with Joan McLane, 1985-1986.
Community-Based Training in Literacy (with Hull House Association of Chicago). Principal Investigator, 1984-1986.
Literacy Development Through Narration and Dramatization with Learning Disabled Children. Project Director, 1984-1985.
Investigation of Teacher Training in Literacy Development. Project Director, 1983-1984.
Enhancement of Literacy Development in Learning Disabled Children Five to Nine Years of Age. Project Director, 1983-1984.
The Origins of Literacy During the Preschool Years. Project Director, 1982-1983.
The Development of Writing in Young Children. Co-Project Director with Joan McLane, 1982-1983.
Mathematics Teaching and Learning in Low-Income Black Preschool Classrooms. Co-Investigator with Barbara Bowman and Lucinda Lee Katz, 1981-1982.
McNamee, G.D. 2015 The High Performing Preschool: Story Acting in Head Start Classrooms. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
Chen, J. and McNamee, G. (2013). Assessment for Learning in the Early Childhood Classroom. In J. Johnson & J. Roopnarine (Eds.), Approaches to Early Childhood Education. (6th ed.). Pearson, Upper Saddle River, NJ.
Chen, J. and McNamee, G. (2011). Approaches to Early Childhood Education. In J. Johnson & J. Roopnarine (Eds.), Approaches to Early Childhood Education (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson. (In press).
Chen, J.Q. & McNamee, G.D. (2011). Positive Approaches to Learning in the Context of Preschool Classroom Activities. Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education, 39, 71-78.
McNamee, G.D. (2010). Book Review: “The Classrooms That All Young Children Need.” Schools: Studies in Education.
Chen, J.Q., McNamee, G.D., & McCray, J. (2010). The Learning Profile: A Means to Understand the Learning and Development of the Whole Child in Content Areas. International Early Learning Journal, 1, 1-24.
Chen, J.Q. & McNamee, G.D. (2010). Young Children’s Approaches to Learning A Sociocultural Perspective. Early Childhood Development and Care, 00, 1-16.
McNamee, G.D. (2009). Imaginary Stories in School: First Steps Toward Literacy. Bank Street College of Education Occasional Papers. New York.
Chen, J. and McNamee, G. (2008). From Spectrum to Bridging: Assessment for Teaching and Learning in Early Childhood Classrooms. In J. Johnson & J. Roopnarine (Eds.), Approaches to Early Childhood Education (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
Chen, J.Q & McNamee, G.D. (2007). Bridging: Assessment for teaching and learning in Early Childhood Classrooms. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
Cole, M. and Distributed Literacy Consortium (16 contributing authors with McNamee representing work carried out in Chicago). (2006). The Fifth Dimension: An After School Program Built on Diversity. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.
Chen, J.Q., & McNamee, G. (2006). Strengthening Early Childhood Teacher Preparation: Integrating Assessment, Curriculum Development and Instructional Practice in Student Teaching. Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education, 27, 109-128.
McNamee, G.D. (2005). The One Who Gathers Children: The Work of Vivian Gussin Paley and Current Debates About How We Educate Young Children. Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education.
McNamee, G.D., & Chen, J.Q. (2005). Dissolving the Line Between Assessment and Teaching. Educational Leadership, 63(3), 72-77.
McNamee, G.D. (2002). Children’s Development in the Arts: Birth to Age 10. In Sousa, J. (Ed.). Looking at Art Together: Families and Lifelong Learning. Chicago, IL: Art Institute of Chicago.
McNamee, G.D., & Sivright, S. (2002). Community Supports for Writing Development among Urban African American Children. In G. Hull (Ed.), School’s Out! Studies of Literacy in Non-School Contexts. New York: Teachers’ College Press.
McNamee, G. D., Chen, J., et al. (2002). Assessing and Teaching Diverse Learners. Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education, 226, 1-8.
McNamee, G. D. (2002). Early Literacy Development: The Mind of the Teacher. Connections, a publication of the Chicago Metro Association for the Education of Young Children.
McNamee, G. D. (2000). Child Development Research in Early Childhood Classrooms. Human Development, 43(4-5) 246-251.
“Listening to Learning in the Early Childhood Classroom.” 92nd St. Y Early Childhood Wonderplay Conference, New York City – keynote. November 2014.
“New Leaders for Young Children: Realizing the Promise of Early Childhood Education.” New Leaders: Chicago Public School Principals in Training – keynote. October 2014.
“The Story of A Princess, Dragon and Batman: Listening to Head Start Children with Vygotsky and Mrs. Paley.” University of Nebraska – Omaha Early Childhood Conference – keynote. October 2014.
“Teaching friends: Vygotsky and Mrs. Paley discuss how young children learn from each other in school.” Chicago MAEYC. January 31, 2014
“Literacy in Early Childhood Then and Now.” October 2013. Houston, Texas.
“Child Development at the Art Institute: Conversations Among Friends.” April 2013. Chicago, IL.
“Common Core State Standards in Vivian Paley’s Classroom.” 92nd St. Y Wonderplay Conference. November 2012. New York, NY.
“Common Core State Standards and Early Childhood Education.” NAEYC Conference panel discussion with Samuel Meisels, Lynn Kagan, Sherri Killins, and Kyle Snow. November 2012. Atlanta, GA.
“Teaching Friends: How Young Children Learn from Each Other in School.” NAEYC Conference. June 2012, Indianapolis, IN.
“A Song, a Story, and a Question: Listening to Young Children Learning.” University of LaVerne. April 2012. LaVerne, CA.
“The Early Childhood Years in a World Class Education.” University of Illinois Chicago World Class Education Colloquium. April 2012. Chicago, IL.
“High Quality PreK—3rd Grade in the Age of the Common Core.” Erikson Institute New Schools Project Forum, February 2012. Chicago, IL.
Teaching Friends: How Young Children Learn from Each Other in School.” 92nd Street Y Early Childhood Conference. November 2011. New York, NY.
“Voice, Presence, Rhythm and Community: Essential Elements of Effective Online teaching and Learning.” NAEYC Conference. November 2011. Orlando, FL.
“Friends – How Young Children Learn from Each Other in School.” 92nd St. Y Wonderplay Conference. November 2011. New York.
“Common Core State Standards and Early Childhood.” Business and Professional People for the Public Interest. October 2011. Chicago.
“Basic Teaching Skills: Developing and Sustaining Effective Teaching in Early Childhood Classrooms.” January 2011. CMAEYC Conference. Chicago, IL. (with Jie-Qi Chen)
“Intentional Teaching of Literacy and Math in Early Childhood.” January 2011. CMAEYC Conference. Chicago, IL. (with Jie-Qi Chen)
“A Song, A Story and a Question: Advocating for Young Children’s Learning in School.” September 2010. The Wonder of Learning Reggio Emilia presentations at Columbia College. Chicago, IL.
“Schooling and Our Children’s Future.” May 2010. Washington Island School District, WI.
Language Development and Cognition: Developing Sources of Strength in Children Experiencing Stress and Trauma.” 3rd Annual Professional Conference: Erikson Institute and Positive Parenting DuPage. November 2009. Oakbrook, IL.
“Teaching Children to Play in School: US and International Perspectives.” NAEYC Professional Development Conference, June 2009.
“Bridging Teaching and Learning: Instructional Assessment in Prek–3 Classrooms.” NAEYC Professional Development Conference, June 2009.
“Intentional Teaching: A Conversation between Chinese and American Educators about Cultural Assumptions and Practices.” NAEYC Conference, Dallas, with Jie-Qi Chen, November 2008.
“From Instructional Assessment to Teacher Development: Field Reports from Chinese and US Classrooms.” NAEYC Conference, Chicago IL, with Jie-Qi Chen and Chinese colleagues, November 2007.
“How Play Works: First Steps Toward School.” National Association for the Education of Young Children Annual Conference. Chicago, Illinois, November 2007.
“Strengthening Early Childhood Teacher Preparation.” American Educational Research Association, Chicago, IL, with Jie-Qi Chen, April 2007.
“No Child is Average: The Specificity and Distinctiveness of Young Children’s Learning in Early Childhood Classroom.” Annual Conference of The Society for Research in Child Development, Boston, MA, with Jie-Qi Chen, March 2007.
“Becoming Skilled in Chinese and American Classrooms: Cultural Contrasts.” Association of Professionals in Education and Children’s Trusts, London, England, June 2006.
“Supporting Teachers in Early Childhood Classrooms: Opportunities and Dilemmas.” Association of Professionals in Education and Children’s Trusts, London, England, June 2006.
“The Dramatic Life of Young Children in Play.” Alliance For Childhood, Franklin Park, IL, May 2006.
“Classroom Assessment and Teaching: Two Sides of the Same Coin.” Annual Conference of the American Educational Research Association, San Francisco, California, with Jie-Qi Chen, April 2006.
“Operationalizing MI theory in Child Assessment.” Annual Conference of the American Educational Research Association, San Francisco, California, with Jie-Qi Chen, April 2006.
“Assessment for Teaching and Learning in Early Childhood Classrooms: Examining the Content and Process of Learning in Young Children.” Annual Conference of The National Association For the Education of Young Children, Washington, D.C., with Jie-Qi Chen, December 2005.
“Play in the School Life of young Children.” American Montessori Society. River Forest, Illinois, November 2005.
“Assessing Diverse Cognitive Abilities in Young Children’s Learning.” 27th International Congress, International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology, Xi’an, China, with Jie-Qi Chen, August 2004.
“Teaching and Learning in Early Childhood Classrooms.” Presentation and discussion with early childhood teachers in Beijing, Nanjing, and Shanghai, China, July 2004.