Effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences on Learning Progress in Young Children Attending Head Start

Date of Award

Fall 12-17-2020

Document Type

Project (696 or 796 registration)

Degree Name

Master of Science in Curriculum & Instruction


Graduate Studies

Committee Chair

Aaron Peterson



This action research study was conducted to assess the effect that Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) have on learning progress and outcomes in young, Head Start children. This study was conducted to answer three questions: How do children with high ACE scores compare in learning progress to those with low ACE scores? Are children with higher ACEs more likely to need extra supports in the classroom? After being exposed to a Head Start learning environment, using the curriculums Conscious Discipline and Creative Curriculum to fidelity, are children with high ACEs able to perform at the appropriate developmental level for their age? Ten students from a rural Head Start classroom participated in this study. The ACE score of each of the children was obtained and the children were split into two groups: Group A (2 or less ACEs) and Group B (3 or more ACEs). Tools to collect this research were the Brigance Screener, Teaching Strategies Gold, informal and formal assessments and observations, and enrollment data from the eligibility criteria to be enrolled into the Head Start program. The data showed that there was not any major differences between the two groups of students. In some cases, Group B, performed higher and progressed more during the four week study period. This data will be used to help inform others the importance of trauma informed care amongst Head Start children and to help prevent learning gaps from ACEs that may occur in later childhood and adulthood by educating appropriately in the early years of life.

Abstract only: No full text available.